Post written by Autumn White.
Hey Everyone!!! My name is Autumn. I’m a rising senior in high school and originally from New Britain, CT. This summer was not at all what I expected. It was filled with so many fun, strange, and new eye-opening experiences. This was my very first year EVER doing THP, and I had no clue what to expect. There’s always been this passion inside of me to work specifically with urban cities since they offer a demographic of diverse people from all different ages, backgrounds, talents but also a boat load of issues that need to be tackled. THP allowed me the experience to help in a more hands-on way while also allowing me the opportunity to grow in relationships with others from these communities.
My friends and family would constantly judge and question why I would spend half my summer doing an internship that’s volunteer and “so much Jesus”. I could’ve been doing what everyone around my age was doing this summer, and some part of me did by lifeguarding at Lake Compounce. However, the smile I had when I got paid was nowhere near compared to the smile I had when I handed out food kits to families in need at Love Wins. I noticed how my small act of kindness affected their day, and that’s when I learned it didn’t matter what others thought about what I was doing because I knew that I had never felt so much joy.
Before THP, I was craving a new change, an experience to grow as an individual since my old self was nowhere near the “perfect Christian” and constantly depended on others' validation. It was here that I learned two very important things about myself.
The first thing I learned was confidence! I never had an issue speaking aloud and making connections, but being vulnerable and intentional while doing it was something different. Giving announcements and leading groups at worksites was a fairly easy thing, but when I was asked to go pray over a stranger or share a testimony, I just wanted to hide, but week by week that barrier slowly started to open. I always feared people would view me as less capable of leadership or commitment if I was vulnerable, but I learned that’s the best way to effectively communicate with others - by being honest and intentional. By the end of the summer, I found myself talking more, dressing like myself, and building my relationship with God.
The second thing was patience. My first thought going into this was: “What have I gotten myself into?” We were asked to lug around hundreds of boxes and do numerous tasks each day, and I was so confused as to what this had to do with the mission of THP, but in the end God showed me how it all came together. The boxes filled with food kits would later go to a family of five in need, and the daily worksites would help organizations like World Vision, Gardner's House, Church Army, and more carry out their mission. God was revealing to me that sometimes I need to trust the process of things instead of always being in a constant rush. Patience is truly a difficult thing to practice, especially when it feels like everything is falling apart and you need answers. God revealed to me through THP that in the midst of the storm, if it’s going to help others and bring glory to you and him, then it’s definitely possible. If he can use me amongst hundreds of other youth and adults from different ages, races, communities, and backgrounds to unite together and show love to each other and people in Hartford, then he can use anyone!
Written by the many voices of The Hartford Project!