Student Volunteer: Bina Johnson
School: International School of Bangkok (ISB)
Mission: Ubon Ratchathani province, 2013
When going to Ubon for my first mission ever, I found it wasn’t anything like I’d had in mind. I thought it would be just us goofing off to make kids laugh and learning a few things about a surgery. And although we did do quite a bit off this, this mission had so much more to offer. The Ubon mission changed my perspective on everything, and helped me see how much I take for granted daily in terms of not only my possessions and accommodations, but also my health. It felt selfish thinking about the fact that I came to the mission with personal conflicts on my mind and feeling sorry for myself and was completely overtaken by the realization that there are people far less fortunate, that have may more to worry about than I do. I realized from this trip that I need to let go of my ridiculous problems and worry about helping others. I also learned from this mission how much our club is helping others and this has made me decide to continue operation smile for all four years of high school. Before with advocacy and raising money I didn’t really feel like I was making a difference but after seeing all of the children that benefitted so greatly from all that I realize that helping people can be done in many forms and is something I want to do constantly throughout my lifetime. I’m not going to lie though: playing with the kids, goofing off, and making them laugh did leave a mark on me and was one of the impacts on me left on the trip because it showed me that just making someone feel better about a bad situation, as simple as it may seem, can make a big difference. I am so thankful for this experience, and the operation smile mission in Ubon had a great impact on my perspective on things. Thanks so much!