Hey guys, it’s Ronni!
I want to tell you about a trip that really changed me. That’s the cool thing about life. Sometimes fate just brings you something that transforms you and changes the way you view the world.
It all started back in 2017 when my church Spanish River Church organized a medical mission trip to Villavicencio, Colombia. On this medical mission, volunteers would have the opportunity to help provide critical dental, medical, and eye care to those that can’t afford it.
Once I heard about this opportunity, I knew it was something I had to do. My dad is a dentist, so it really seemed like fate itself led us to this incredible opportunity. After speaking with my mom and dad, we decided to go on this journey together, as a family.
I could not wait for this trip. TBH, I was so excited that I even set up a countdown on my phone a month in advance (#realtalk).
To help prepare for the upcoming trip, our church leaders held regular meetings to discuss the itinerary, items we should bring with us, and what we should expect during our visit. But no amount of planning could have prepared me for how much the people of Colombia would change my life.
From the moment we arrived in Villavicencio, we were welcomed with so much love and appreciation. My church partnered with the local church Iglesia Betania de la Reforma to organize a special vacation bible school to serve over 250 kids in the community. My brother Jared and I had so much fun playing games and making arts and crafts with them. Kids are just SO creative, and I love seeing where their imagination takes them. It reminded me of the creativity I see whenever I work with the Young Storytellers.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was working with my dad as his dental assistant. So many people within the community were suffering from dental and medical issues and it was great to be able to help them. Growing up in the States, it’s easy to take going to the doctor or dentist for granted. The mission trip really opened my eyes to how many people in other countries cannot afford to purchase basic necessities. An over-the-counter pain medicine you or I could buy at the drugstore is a luxury for many in Colombia and other countries around the world.
In spite of these challenges, what stood out to me the most was how much joy each and every person had. That was the biggest lesson I took with me when I returned back home: gratitude. I realized that I should live with a grateful heart instead of sweating the small stuff. Sure, sometimes life may not go as planned or sometimes haters will try to knock you down, but it’s important to take a moment to think about all of the ways you are blessed every day.
I know my blessings and they are: my Mom and my Dad, my brothers and sisters, my friends and my fans. My family is my world, and I was so lucky to share this experience with them.
Have you ever taken a trip or had an experience that changed the way you see the world? Please share below or on my social media channels.
Remember, you don’t have to travel to another country to make a difference. Find ways to help out in your local community. It can be as easy as reading to kids at school or walking an elderly neighbor’s dog. You have the power to make a difference in someone’s life.
About the Author
Known for her roles in such hit shows as “Stuck in the Middle” and “On My Block,” Ronni Hawk is a popular actress and model. Ronni Hawk is also actively engaged with a number of charitable organizations. She regularly volunteers at animal shelters, goes on mission trips abroad to help people in need and is very passionate about protecting the environment. She shares her thoughts and experiences on several blogs, including Blogspot and Medium, as well as her YouTube channel.
Mike St Angelo
It is a wonderful thing that you and your family and church do for other people. So many don’t realize how good a person you are. We Love you