A New Challenge

by Julissa Avila

Hi! My name is Julissa Avila, but some people like to call me “Juli”. I  have  3  little  brothers  and  2  loving  parents.  My  mom  and  siblings  and I started going to Impact about 12 years ago, and my dad joined us from Mexico 4 years later when his immigration situation allowed him to. I never got to go to VBS when I was a kid because we would visit my dad during our summer vacation, but I started getting more involved  at  Impact  the  summer  before  6th  grade.  I  cried  every  time  someone from Impact came to my house because I really didn’t want to go to church. I was shy, timid, and I didn’t want to talk to anyone because I was scared. However, as the years went by I began to love Impact and the people in it.

I became a VBS intern during the  summer  of  2015.  I  didn’t  know what I was getting myself into,  but  I  knew  that  I  loved  kids  and  I  wanted  to  make  them  happy.  My  first  summer  as a VBS intern was so amazing that I decided to keep coming back.  I  bonded  with  the  kids  and    made    new    friendships    with  them,  and  they  taught  me new things everyday just as much  as  I  taught  them.  They  fill  my  heart  with  joy,  and  I  can’t  even  explain  the  feeling  I  get  when  they  run  up  to  me  to give me a hug. I come back every year because of the children, and want to show them the love that God has for us and teach them about it. Although I’m still shy, being an intern definitely brought me out of my shell.

This summer I became a VBS director for the first time. Lluvia asked me  if  I  wanted  to  be  a  director  last  year  and  I  told  her  that  I  was  scared but that I would do it. Again, I didn’t know what I was getting myself  into  and  thought  I  wasn’t  going  to  be  able  to  have  as  much  fun as I did as an intern. I also thought that I wasn’t going to have a relationship with the children. And to be honest, the first couple of days I didn’t like being a director at all because I didn’t know most of the children and I would get stressed easily. I would come home crying because I was so stressed and tired.

But quickly things began to improve. The kids I got close to are the ones  who  are  dropped  off  by  their  parents.  Every  afternoon  at  the  end of VBS they would wait for their parents and I would supervise them, watching them play and have fun. I got so emotional the first time Demi told me she loved me and Ja’Dan told me thank you for being his teacher, things I thought I would not hear as a director.

Being  a  VBS  director  isn’t  as  bad  as  I  thought  it  was  going  to  be.  It has been so much fun to be Lluvia’s right hand and would love to do it again. Every year, when VBS is almost over, I get so sad because I won’t get to see the kids for a whole year. I always complain when I get tired or stressed during VBS, but then end up being sad when it ’s   over.

Impact is my second home. I’ve made lots of friends and hope I keep them for a really long time. Whenever I come to Impact, I feel safe, loved,  and  cared  about.  My  mom  always  says,  “is  it  a  NEED  or  a  WANT,” and Impact is both a need and a want. I want Impact to stay in my life and at this point I need Impact in my life; I can’t imagine a life without it. Impact has helped my family sooooo much through the years, and I’m so thankful for them.

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