Trying to pick one story from this summer has proven to be a difficult task. It’s not because there are none that stick out to me, but because the most meaningful stories are the little glimpses of love I saw throughout the summer:
•Smiles and laughter of kids as they used me as protection in order to not get tagged while playing mouse on ground.
• The first time the kids wrapped their arms around me because they hadn’t seen me all weekend.
• Times when my kiddos ran to me in tears seeking comfort because they had just gotten hurt.
• When they ran up to tell me in excitement to tell me their accomplishments, because they wanted me to celebrate with them.
• The first time they said they were going to miss me when I left.
• The first time they told me they loved me.
• When they started to make me crafts every day so I could take them home with me.
• Hearing them talk about Jesus and the Bible stories.
• Tears and sobs and telling me, “I love you,” as they said goodbye to me on my last day.
Tears stream down my face as I write this. I realize no words truly can describe these precious moments. It truly is only God and God alone who can place such a deep love for people and a place I spent only two and a half months.
Walking away from my kids as I heard them crying behind me was by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do. My heart aches for Alaska, and I want to see my kids’ beautiful smiles at least one more time. One thing is for sure: Those kids have been imprinted on my heart, and they shall remain there for the rest of my life.
Sydni Aceves, a student at Sam Houston State University, served with Leadership Boot Camp in Achorage, Alaska, this summer through Go Now Missions.