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Pure Joy & Human Connection – Chris Sorensen

June 21, 2019 - 2019: Asha Ki Chamak

If I were to tell you I was planning to take your teenage son/daughter to a third world country, put them in a cramped room with 2 – 3 other people, only a bucket to bathe with, no air conditioning, a toilet that can barely handle toilet paper, no internet, no TV, no Social Media, and continual power outages, How do you think that would go?

What if I then told you I will expect them to work 8 – 10 hours a day.  Their workday will require they prepare for 30 – 60 minutes the night before, get up early, pack a lunch, and spend an hour in a dusty hot bus on a windy mountain road before hiking another 15 – 20 minutes carrying all of their supplies to their final destination.  At their destination they will spend the next 7- 8 hours sitting in the dirt trying to teach children how to speak English.  They will be required to think on their feet, apply discipline where necessary, and develop a rapport with the children in order to create an environment conducive to learning.

At the end of their eight (8) hour day, they will gather up their supplies, make the 15 – 20 minute hike back to the pick-up point for the bus where they will ride the bus for the next hour back down the windy mountain road.   Once back at the hotel, before doing anything else, they must review their lesson plans for the next day, unpack and re-pack their supply bag, and make sure they have everything needed for the next day’s activities. 

With preparations complete, they are given a meal that tastes surprisingly similar to the one they had the night before, and the night before that, and virtually every night since arriving in India.  After dinner, they are free to enjoy a bucket shower, that may or may not be warm, depending on whether or not the power had been off that day.  After the bucket shower, they fall into their beds, which are somewhere beneath the bags, school supplies, clothes, and who knows what else in their overcrowded rooms. And then, they get to do it all over again the next day. 

Welcome to a day in the life of a YMAD teen.  It is not an easy job!  It is demanding and often requires the teens to push through when they feel they have little or nothing left to give.  As they persist, the reward for their efforts is a deep and very real connection to the children they serve.  They love the children and the children love them.  When the day comes to say goodbye, they leave a piece of their heart in India and take a piece of the children’s hearts back home with them. As the teens drive away from the schools for the last time, they realize they had come to India to change the lives of the children but those children have changed the lives of the teens.  

So why is there no complaining or bickering amongst the teens while living in relative discomfort and working in miserable conditions day after day?  The answer is simple.  They have lost themselves in the service of others and found the pure joy that comes from lifting the arms that hang down and strengthening those who need it most.

Marce and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to work with your teens.  They have been nothing short of amazing!  We love them as our own and feel it is such a privilege to witness their self-discovery as they learn that joy and happiness are not found in things, but rather through service and human connection.  Our hope is that these teens will now move forward in life with a continuous desire to serve and to make the world a better place.  I have no doubt they will!!

9 Responses to “Pure Joy & Human Connection – Chris Sorensen”

  1. Thank you for your sacrifice and everything you have done to make this experience possible. The kids will always love and remember you too!

    Teresa Royall (Emily’s Mom)

  2. Thank you so much for all of the work you have put in to this. I know gabby loved you both dearly before she left and I have no doubt that her love for you and for everyone on this expedition has grown exponentially. Thank you for your examples and for your leadership and for keeping these kids safe. See you in a couple days!

    Camille

  3. Thank you so much for providing an experience that we never could have here at home. Your diligence and unwavering love has surely made a lasting imprint on the heart of these kids.
    I love that they have all had to learn the value of doing "hard" things and that they now know they are capable in every way to move forward and conquer the challenges that lie ahead. Everything about this experience is so Awesome! A million thanks to all the staff and to you and Marcee! I can’t wait to see my girl on Sunday and to hear all about everything in her great storytelling ways!
    Safe Travels everyone!

    Kimberly

  4. Thank you for all you and Marce have put into this life changing experience for Sydnee! We can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back.

    Patrick

  5. Wow! I knew that it was going to be rough and interesting conditions there in India but never realized just HOW rough! Our kids CAN do hard things! Thank you ,thank you for all you and Marce have done to make this remarkable and amazing opportunity for my Maddie to have possible. As a parent I can’t imagine having to take on that kind of “parent” role that you both have had to take on in behalf of the kids! It takes very special people to do what you and Marce did- I am forever grateful! I cannot wait to see you all on Sunday! Thank you again for everything! Travel safe! ❤️
    Tya Smith (Maddies Mom)

  6. Thank you so much for the love and energy you put into YMAD. You guys are amazing!

  7. So well said Chris. I know Joseph looks up to you and Marcie. What a gift for him to have second parents like the Sorensen’s. This experience will forever be embedded in the teens hearts. Thank you ♥️

  8. Chris & Marce, your love and passion for the teens and for YMAD is invaluable! We love you both, and are deeply grateful for your untiring efforts to create this life changing experience for your team!
    ❤️ Brett & Lisa

  9. Thank you for all your work for the group this year. Be safe! Nameste.

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