Each spring Sunnydale Academy provides students with an opportunity to experience an overseas mission trip. This year, one of their mission trips was to Tanzania. Elizabeth Burgeson, a senior at Sunnydale, shares about her experience below.

I was sitting in the crowded bus with the breeze sweeping over me like a cool blanket. The tall silhouettes of the mountains coated the sky as the locals looked at us with utter amazement.

It was almost magical. Here these people are with almost nothing but finding joy in anything. You could see pure joy in the little kids’ faces as they saw these strange people with the odd complexions waving at them from the bus.

This moment–I want it to last forever. I want to get to know these people and their stories. I want them to know that they are loved.

This. This is what I want to do. It’s a completely different experience seeing this lifestyle for myself up close. I have always had a passion for seeing the world, and more so for seeing the children of the world. But when you finally experience it all up close it’s breathtaking.

Not everyone can experience this for themselves, but I believe everyone should be aware. That is why I want to deliver a piece of it to them. I want privileged people and even non-privileged people to get to know these people and their stories and fall in love with them as I have. I want every child to feel loved and cared for. I know that is a big, almost unrealistic dream, but that is what I believe we as a people should strive for.

I want to go home with this new found knowledge and live every day with this lesson and these memories fresh in my mind so I can appreciate everything that I am blessed with. I want to work toward my goal of going to school and eventually getting to come back and share these peoples’ stories with the world. I want to help these children find comfort, joy, and, most importantly, Jesus. I also want to raise my children to love life no matter what they are given, to fall in love with other children around the world, and to have a desire to spread the gospel and help them. I am so thankful for everything this trip has given to me and I will truly never forget it.