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.