My Grandma Patti has always been an inspiration to me because of her faith, wisdom, and love for others. During my senior year of high school, she provided me with a gift that helped transform me. Her financial support allowed me to do a mission year with Kairos, the organization that started Grandly.
At the beginning of that mission year, I viewed myself as one who knew things. I loved to be the teacher, the one in charge. I was always putting myself in a position to teach others. I saw the mission year as another opportunity to be the teacher, the guide, the one who just knew! Instead, to my surprise, my mission year was more about learning humility as the Lord and others taught me, helped me, and informed me. It was a humbling experience for me to be the student rather than the teacher. I soon began to realize, however, that my grandmother had it right. While serving, I found myself following her example of being the listener. When I met others, I listened, rather than taught. Only after listening did I speak, and then I spoke simply, about my faith. People listened with respect because I had listened to them with love the way my Grandma Patti would.
I ended my year kneeling before God, realizing I had a lifetime ahead of me in which I would need teachers, mentors, and helpers to grow my faith. My attentiveness to and respect for those who want to help me, have grown immensely.
I am grateful to God for the teachers and mentors he has placed in my life to grow my faith, especially my Grandma Patti. Through her wisdom, love, and generosity, she launched me on a new adventure of faith. Without her prayers and her financial gift, this experience would not have been possible.
I am back home now as a 20-year-old youth worker eager to listen and learn and hopefully help the six girls I work with in our youth group of 80.
Esa Vance lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and was a speaker at the “Do It Grandly” Seminar in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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