These past three weeks have shown me the importance and incredible benefit of intentionality – intentionality in purpose, actions, and every conversation. The relatively short time frame of the trip seemed to impose a productive pressure on us to make the most out of our time here in Shangri-La. From the start, our group seemed to share this wonderful balance of being driven to serve the community and eager to explore, try new things, and get to know each other. We’d often play cards in the CERS gazebo, ping-pong, or foosball together every evening. Conversations cut deeper much quicker than usual, as many of us sought to get to know our team in a much more meaningful way, building our trust, understanding, and collaboration. Conversations were raw, genuine, and wonderfully present. This intentionality overflowed to our relationships with the CERS staff, interns, Compass staff, and other locals we met along the way. Conversing over dinner, talking while working together in the fields, or even interviewing the Compass staff, we found ourselves learning more about raw life and genuine people in this part of the world than we ever thought possible – delving into histories, clashing cultures, exciting successes, devastating challenges, faith, dreams, opinions, and aspirations. Each person we met, and each person on the trip, had their own story and sense of humanness that added vibrancy and meaning to each day.
“Conversations cut deeper much quicker than usual, as many of us sought to get to know our team in a much more meaningful way, building our trust, understanding, and collaboration. Conversations were raw, genuine, and wonderfully present.”
This intentionality especially influenced our purpose and work ethic when approaching service. Everyone’s energy and enthusiasm was contagious during the camp, as we rejoiced in our students’ successes and thought long and hard about how to help each child learn and grow individually. Even at the farm, while manual labor is often monotonous and grueling, there was a greater sense of purpose, striving to get as much done for the farm during the week of work we had there. This joy in service and joy in sharing that pursuit with those around us erupted in songs, entertaining debates, meaningful conversations, and even hilarious mud fights while we dug trenches, mixed cement, transplanted lettuce, or picked weeds. I hope to bring this sense of intentionality and eagerness with me in my everyday life from here on out, as it cultivated an environment of genuine relationships, driven purpose, raw understanding, and a ridiculous number of adventures.