I was first so thankful to have been given the opportunity to go on the third Altar’d State Mission Trip.
Working as a designer and art director in the Marketing Department, I have literally looked through every photo and story from the past trips. Even with my digital experiences of the trips I was not prepared for the immense amount of joy that I received. From meeting my sponsor child, Vania, to seeing where our mission started in Peru, I became truly motivated and thankful to Stand Out. For Good.
One of the most impactful moments for me was visiting the Canete school. This school is where our partnership began. The kids’ joy there was something I never experienced before to that level. They all gave us the sweetest hugs and their smiles were the biggest that I have ever seen. What most affected me was the circumstances from which their joy was coming from. Canete is a very impoverished area that never fully recovered from recent earthquakes and mudslides. The landscapes outside the school were dry and barren. Once you stepped inside the walls of the school you saw colorful flowers and heard children singing and laughing and just felt love. These schools that Altar’d State help build and function literally provide a sanctuary for these children, a place of true happiness. Experiencing that feeling truly changed what it meant for me to work at Altar’d State. My work and hard efforts impact something more than just me…it changes the world.
My favorite moment was one that I didn’t see coming. As we were building a house near the San Fernando school, I befriended the little girl that we were building that house for. Her name was Milagros. She was four years old and a sponsor child at the school we were visiting. As we were building the house, she came home from school. She was so curious on what we were doing. I was mostly standing around…my construction skills aren’t the best. So once she got there we decided to play. She found a balloon and became the happiest little girl ever. We played with the balloon for a while. Once the team got the beds built inside the house. We went inside picked her favorite pink sheets and made her bed. She was so happy and thankful. She had never had her own bed before. She immediately laid down and pretended to sleep. After we presented the house to her mom and grandmother, Milagros and I had to say goodbye. Even though I was only with her for about 4 hours, I felt like I had been with her all week. I picked her up and she wouldn’t let me go which pulled at my heartstrings more than anything. I held her for 30 minutes and we walked and danced around. Even though she didn’t know English and I didn’t speak any Spanish, we created this forever bond that I will always remember. Bringing happiness to her meant the world to me.
I am truly thankful for my experiences in Peru. It taught me that the world is much much bigger than just me and that my efforts impact so many. It showed me to be thankful for every little thing I have and that true happiness doesn’t come from material processions. It comes from the heart…from community…from fellowship… and true thankfulness.
-Haley, Creative Designer & Art Director