Jennifer Jennings, CBF student.go intern 2016
Growing up in a church that was missions minded with parents who are both ministers, I always had a heart for serving, and with that heart for serving came a desire to do summer missions. In fact, the elusive promise of a summer spent devoted to mission work became a repetitive empty promise I made to God year after year while I stuffed my schedule full of resume builders. And suddenly I was confronted with graduation from college and no real idea of what I wanted to do, and my parents (and God) reminded me, “Hey, there’s always summer missions. Call Lane Riley and see if she needs someone.” Thankfully, she did.
If I’m being honest Shaw, Mississippi was not the place I had in mind for my overly romanticized notion of what summer missions was all about. However, Delta Hands for Hope was exactly the place I needed to be. I came to Shaw to serve the community, and I don’t doubt that I did that. The relationships that I built with the kids were so incredible. Just being able to give them a smile and a hug was enough. But the people of Shaw also ministered to me and loved on me, and for that I’m even more grateful.
Through my time in Shaw, I have to come to understand God better. The kids at Delta Hands for Hope taught me what it means to unconditionally love someone, and through that love, I could better understand God’s love for me. Their joy in the simple things has made me even more aware of my privilege and how ungrateful I can really be. And, probably most importantly, their pain at the discrimination and the hatred that they face every day because of the color of their skin has inspired me to use my privilege to be an advocate for equality.
At Delta Hands for Hope, God has opened my heart and my mind and has called me to meet people where they are, to share in their joys and pains, and to love them deeply. I still might be uncertain of God’s call on my life, but I know that I am changed for good because of the love I experienced and the joy that I shared in Shaw, Mississippi.