About two months into my time at Maggie’s Place, all of the Summer Corps were gathered together for dinner, swimming, and a reflection on our time in the homes. During this discussion, we read a section of the Maggie’s Place book in which Mary Peterson talks about what she didn’t realize she was saying “yes” to when she responded to God’s invitation to start Maggie’s Place. We were prompted to discuss the things we didn’t realize we were saying “yes” to when we committed to a summer as Mission Corps. Being only halfway through my time with the organization, I struggled to think of anything that I didn’t realize I was agreeing to. Now that my time with Maggie’s Place is coming to a close, there is a long list of things that I know I wasn’t expecting when the MissionCorps Director asked, “How would you like to stay in Tempe for the summer?” and I said, “Yes!”
I didn’t realize that I was saying “yes” to almost no alone time and to living off whatever food was donated that week. I had no idea that in my 4 months at Maggie’s Place, I would share a room with 9 different Corps members and interviewees. I didn’t know I was saying “yes” to awkwardly putting an end to inappropriate conversations and to 5-hour long meetings with my fellow MissionCorps. And I would have seriously questioned my commitment if I had known I was saying “yes” to constant goodbyes, 60+ hour work weeks, and to the heartbreak of a mom leaving unexpectedly.
But I also didn’t know I was saying “yes” to being with my contact mom as she saw an ultrasound of her baby for the first time. Or walking around the hospital with her for two hours, talking about anything and everything as she prepared to deliver her baby. I didn’t know I was saying “yes” to the wonderful relationships I have developed with moms and MissionCorps. I could have never known the love and support I would feel from volunteers as they came to my rescue time and time again, like when I was the only Corps home and the outlets in our kitchen sparked or when the majority of the E-House Corps were at New Corps Training and there were only two of us who could be on duty for an entire week. I didn’t know I was saying yes to the overwhelming love I would feel for the babies in our home. And I didn’t know I was saying yes to a front row seat from which I could see amazing women accomplish life-long goals and mature into their roles as mothers.
I am so grateful for all the “yes-es” I didn’t know I was committing to. They have helped me mature and develop a greater dependence on Christ. My next big “yes” is committing to 5 months in Thailand, where I will be teaching English to hundreds of elementary-aged children. Like every other time I have said “yes” to Christ, He is not leading me there unprepared. My time at Maggie’s Place has prepared me for this adventure in so many unexpected ways. I have been forced to adapt to constantly changing situations and have learned how to better interact with and love people from all backgrounds.
I cannot express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity to spend the last four months at Maggie’s Place. I have learned so much more than I have taught and have received so much more than I have given. If you are considering becoming a MissionCorps, don’t be afraid to say “yes.” I promise it will be worth it.
By April Hanks, a MissionCorps member