For me, this trip was very heart warming. Seriously everywhere we went throughout the trip, we were met with smiling faces and open hearts. On numerous occasions people would donate or discount food to the team. Every night, we would sleep at a family's house (people we know of course) instead of a hotel. Those were just a few of the many blessings we received on this tour. And what I learned through this is that no matter where you are, there are people with open hearts who will receive you and help you in your desperate times of need. For those who may not know, we were in a car accident in which a semi-truck hit our van from behind, basically totaling the van. Yet we, the 11 passengers of the van escaped with just minor injuries. So we were in Kansas in a snow storm basically stranded without a van for a while. So for us to receive open minds, open homes, and open hearts was a real heart warming and tear jerking experience for me personally and for the team. All in all in was quite an amazing trip full of good times and smiling faces I will never forget.
The Mid-west WAIT outreach trip was fun, trying, tiring, and exilirating, as expected. Being in a new state practically every other day, we had to constantly work in new environments, meet new people, and adapt to new situations. The spontinuity in this trip was exceptionally high, and I was constantly surprised and amazed by the incredible results that it produced. Our team members showed enthusiasm at every opportunity to share about WAIT and spread joy and inspiration, and not only did it seem to work, but people in turn were given the opportunity to help us in our travels, donate food, money, or offer us lodging when were too tired to continue driving. This was definitely a constant source of inspiration throughout the trip.
My best experience of the trip was training the Kansas WAIT team at the Saarna's house. It was really nice to see them because I had stayed with the Saarna's before and they are like family to me. The training was amazing. In just a few short days, we were able to work with Kansas WAIT team's breakers and dancers and help them to learn and grow in their art... and we learned a lot too. One guy, Xavier Dowell, was an exceptional krumper, so he helped us make a krump dance synch. It was definitely great to be able to incorporate everyone's talents into WAIT, and learning a little krumping was just icing on the cake.
The interstate trip was an amazing experience that truly changed my life, but it was not without it's fare share of troubles. As I'm sure many people have heard, the WAIT van was totaled by an 18 wheeler. I won't go into detail about the accident itself, but several people were taken to the hospital for minor cuts. Not a pretty experience, but looking back, it was so amazing how united we were in helping each other and making sure everyone was safe. We who arrived at the Saarna's first, stayed awake until 4AM, patiently waiting for the rest of the team to arrive safely from the hopital.
My main feeling throughout this trip was just gratefulness - even though we had many up and downs - love has always surrounded and protected us. Before we embarked on our journey, we contacted a McDonald's branch in Indianapolis, and they guaranteed us a meal for everyone. Although we did not know the details, and doubt was set in my heart, we were all in high anticipation of what's to come. When we entered the fast food chain, however, all doubt, all negativity was dashed in an instant when we met with the manager. She was so proud of us, and was so genuinely excited about what we're about and what we're doing that we were in as much awe of her as she was us. After we performed for her and the whole restaurant, she offered us - on top of an actual meal - one complementary ice cream for every member of the team. At that point Aunt Kate burst into tears of happiness from all the love. We experienced that every where we went - from a local Subway chain donating us sandwiches to the hospitality of families whom we stayed with.
We weren't just blessed with food and lodging, but also with our lives. The height of our misfortune in this trip came in the form of a freak snow storm in the middle of Kansas. Not 5 miles away from our destination, we were hit by a 18-wheeler semi truck. The trucker, attempting to stop after one of their tires blew, swerved on the icy road and collided first into the back side of our van, and then again on the driver side. Through this I experienced a miracle. The first collision completely demolished the rear driver side window, and the second hit cracked the frame of the car and caved in the driver door. Had there been a passenger next to the destroyed window instead of luggage, or had Aunt Kate been injured after the hit, or even if we pulled onto the shoulder a few miles ahead, underneath a unlit bridge, where we could have been hit again by oncoming cars, our fate would have changed drastically. From this, we escaped with cuts and bruises, but nonetheless with our lives.
This experience has shown me how valuable each and every one of our lives. Our lives were created for a reason, and we have to do as much as we can with what time we have. I feel that our lives were saved because of the importance of our mission, because we still need to keep spreading on this message - that simple "You are worth waiting for, and so am I". I am just so grateful for everything that has happened in the trip, but even more so grateful for everyone that worked so hard and united in order to make this trip a success. It's thanks to all of the people who hosted, sponsored, and ultimately, love us. Because miracles can only happen on the basis of love.
Kansas WAIT Team Director:
I was SO grateful for the DC WAIT Team and WAIT Year of Service to come to Kansas!!! Thank you for traveling the long distance. It was so great to have other WAIT teams come together. I think it was an awesome experience for the WAIT members in Kansas to interact with other WAIT members. Through our trainings we were able to open up more talents through Desert Rose dance. Even though we had our unexpected van accident we stuck together like family every step of the way. Also, even though our schedule wasn’t exactly the same as planned we used our time productively. We were able to do even more. I was so inspired from our new WAIT member, Xavier Dowdell, of all the involvement he has been doing in his community. He started his own krumping group and being a youth minister.