When we finally went to West Virginia, I had a great time. Every fear I had – being out in the heat, being away from my home state, and stepping out of my comfort zone – dissipated over time. Our team helped a woman who had just become a widow. Her husband had died a few months before from a heart attack, and she had felt very lonely. She lived in a cluttered house with her two dogs and two cats. At first, I wondered what we were doing. We spent all this money, time, and preparation…to help a woman clean her house?
Within a few days, I realized how appreciative she was of us coming to help her. I was assigned to paint her room, and she wanted to help. Since this was my first time doing this, I didn’t know if she was allowed, but I told her that she could help me anyway. She talked my ear off about her life. As I listened, I could hear her desperation simply for a listening ear. She needed hope; she needed someone to make her feel like she was important. When I listened to her concerns, her needs, and her requests, I told my team members about them. On the first day I met her, she said that she was raising money for a vacuum. My team members and I put our money together and bought her the exact vacuum that she wanted. She was able to use the money that she was raising for something else. The point of my trip, it seemed, wasn’t simply to do house work for this woman. It was to show her that she was worthy of us coming all the way down to visit her. Despite her lack of hope, we were willing to show her that through God, she has a hope and a future.
At the end of my trip, my pastor spoke to us about purpose. He asked us to consider our individual purpose. As I closed my eyes, I thought I had known. I was going to be a writer, simply to use my voice and show the world how well I could write. But God had bigger plans. He basically showed me how important it was that I gave hope to this woman in West Virginia. He was telling me to do that with my life, to give hope to those who have no hope. Since God had given me hope, I had the ability to share it with other people.
In that moment, God confirmed that I had a hope and a future. My life is not a dead-end road. I had no reason to be anxious anymore. I was not a failure. God did not destine me to fail. Since God saved me, my life now had a purpose.