Name: Ana Demendoza
From: Miami Lakes, Florida
Grade: High School Senior
School: Miami Lakes Educational Center
Lakes Educational Center
FORWARD SCHOLARSHIP 2016
In the summer of 2013, after just turning 15, I received the blessing of
going on my first mission trip to Paraguay through my church. I was
ready to present mime drama, which shows how one can be relieved from
a life of hardship and pain. As one may assume, my eyes saw poverty
and need at every corner with children in slums as well as high
school students deprived of the chance of a post-secondary education.
A part of my heart stayed in Paraguay with assurance that no other
mission trip experience would ever open my eyes like the country of
red dirt did.
Oddly enough, for my second mission, I was chosen to go to England. In my
mind, England was the complete opposite of Paraguay. Paraguay was the
third-world country known for its poverty and economical struggles.
England was the great and powerful first-world country where no true
problems seemed to arise. I was quite doubtful on the impact that
missionary work in such a wealthy nation would have in my life and
those in the country. I quickly learned that I was mistaken.
On June 30th, 2015, I woke up in a plane in the sky with only an hour
left until I landed in the Union. My team of 11 other teenagers and 2
leaders were equipped for what was to come in the next two weeks
since we had trained the weekend prior to the flight. After having
difficulties in both airports, in Miami and London, we finally
touched English soil to meet our host missionary, Ryan Johnson.
Meeting and learning about a missionary’s call to a country is always an
exciting feat, but to find one who saw need in a place of wealth was
even more thrilling. “Why London instead of poorer a city in a
poorer country,” was the query we asked since it was the question
on all of our minds. “London is the capital of the world. You touch
and you move London, you touch and you move the world,” he told us
on our second day in London. I understood his sentiment, but it would
take time for my eyes to truly grasp his vision.
In the following two weeks, my eyes and view changed completely. The
reactions we received from our mime dramas differed, yet stayed the
same as they were in Paraguay.
Grabbing the attention of our audience
was easier in the third-world country than in the first-world country,
but when we grabbed their attention it was as if time stopped and we
were all they saw, truly capturing them. The message we presented
through our dramas captured the attention of both those who lived in
dirt and those who lived in gold. When we visited schools, the
students would applaud us and tell us how our dramas opened their
eyes for true salvation, just as they did for those students in
That is where it truly clicked for me. Social and economic status was
irrelevant. Everyone on Earth has some sort of void; whether it be
financial, spiritual, social or personal. The child in Paraguay may
not have the chance to go to university, but the child in England
could be battling depression and insecurity. Needs are simply
different, neither is superior to the other.
“We think it is complicated to change the world. Change comes little by
little. Nothing worthwhile can happen in one generation,” states
Andrew Young. There is need anywhere and everywhere in the world.
London made me realize that need is not only on how rich a country
is. A country swimming in wealth may have depression levels through
the roof, and a country living in dirt could have the happiest
people. We must be willing to be the change in communities near and
far to make this world a better place to live in. London
will forever give me the vision of a worldwide effort to service.