As the year comes to a close, many people are taking time to reflect on the experiences that broadened their horizons in 2015. For Kansas City Christian student Maya Mastin, it doesn’t take long to come up with a prime example.
Over the summer, Mastin spent three weeks in Urubamba, Peru, as part of a trip with VISIONS, an international community service program. Along with 25 other teens, Mastin helped build a kitchen and bathrooms at a pre-school as well as maintain and repair the canal system they used to irrigate their fields.
“The canals were usually in people’s backyards so they would bring out Peruvian food to share with us for lunch and we would share the food we brought,” she said.
It was the furthest Mastin had gone on such a journey, but it wasn’t her first service experience. Her father has been involved with VISIONS for 20 years, so Mastin has had the itch for travel and service for several years. As a seventh grader, she went on a trip to Montana to work on a Cheyenne Indian reservation. A couple years later, she worked at a community in the British Virgin Islands.
The trip to Peru gave Mastin a chance to use the Spanish she had learned at KCC. But it also helped her appreciate how far a little kindness can go.
“The people in Peru are very generous. They were always welcoming and kind to us, letting us into their homes,” she said. “Thinking about this reminds me to not just think about myself and what I want this holiday season, but what I can do for other people. It could be a small gesture of kindness that could make someone’s day or it could be donating to those who need presents and other things more than me.”