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A Little Difference is a Difference


Peter Martin September 12, 2019
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TeenPact Leadership Schools, in conjunction with the Jimmy Brazell Foundation, presented the Eighth Annual Jimmy Brazell Impact Scholarship Second Place Award to TeenPact student Lauren Wagner from Florida.

 

Read her award-winning essay below, written in response to the topic question, “How have you impacted the world or your community through servant-minded, Christ-like love?”

 


 

My name is Lauren Wagner I am 16 years old and just returned from my second year of Florida’s TeenPact week three class.  I love TeenPact, both years, but especially this year, has impacted me immensely, by taking stepping outside my box to the next level.  My courage and confidence to approach others with love has grown dramatically. I have not yet attended National Conference and desire to this year.  I would like to share how I have impacted my community though volunteering at our local pregnancy center. The South Lake Pregnancy and Family Care Center (SLPFCC) serves women who are in a crisis pregnancy or are low-income.  We offer a women’s wellness program, earn while you learn programs, parenting classes, pregnancy tests, Christian counseling, a blessings boutique, and ultrasounds. Providing ultrasounds shows life and significantly reduces pregnancy terminations.  

 

I have always been passionate about standing against abortion and fighting for life, and always wanted to get involved.  Each year around Mother’s Day, the SLPFCC runs a baby-bottle drive at our church. Baby bottles are passed out and used to put spare change in, then on Father’s Day the bottles are returned, and the center gets substantial donations. I had always taken a bottle myself and put my change in.  Each year when the SLPFCC came to speak at church, I wanted to get involved somehow, but was discouraged at the fact that I was young. In May of 2018, I decided to talk to the director of the organization, and she was encouraging, reminding me of 1 Timothy 4:12 which reads, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” She assured me that they would have jobs for me if I wanted to get involved.  I was delighted, and the next day I visited the SLPFCC to fill out a volunteer application.  

 

It turns out that there was plenty for me to do.  The Pregnancy Center was short on volunteers (and still is) so I was quickly put to work.  I answer phone calls, file paperwork, mail letters, take in donations, organize, clean, make appointments, and much more.  I really wanted to feel like I was making a big difference, but I didn’t.  I wanted to change the world and stop abortion forever, but that wasn’t happening by taking out the trash and answering phone calls.  I enjoyed being at the SLPFCC, but just didn’t feel like I was really doing anything.  But once again the Bible reminded me that even the little things can make a difference.  Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I figured that if this was my purpose, then it mattered to GOD.  I continued in faithfulness to my calling to volunteer there.  

 

I really wanted to feel like I was making a big difference, but I didn’t. 

 

I have been volunteering for almost a year now, and I LOVE it.  I am there every single week eager to serve. More responsibility has been given to me and am able to use some of my talents to help out as well. For example, no one at the Pregnancy Center enjoys public speaking or desires to do it.  I enjoy public speaking, especially when I am passionate about the topic. I used this gift to run diaper drives at my church and my homeschool group. I spoke about the Pregnancy Center’s impact on the community, and then spoke about our current needs.  The outcome was amazing, and resulted in numerous donations. I was also able to help organize and run a sidewalk sale. After this, I really started to see my impact on the community. Connecting with many of the moms at the Pregnancy Center has been truly special.  I may not be legally old enough to participate in counseling sessions with them, but I can impact them with the warm smile I give when they walk in the room, and the kind encouraging words when they are struggling. I have been given opportunities to share my faith, especially with my recent experience of surgery.  In December of 2018, I underwent a Brain Decompression Surgery and Spinal Laminectomy. The recovery didn’t go as expected, as the surgery had complications and I became very sick. I was in the hospital for over a week and couldn’t walk. After another week, I was able to use a walker, but was limited. During this period of healing, it was the opportune time to do lots of thinking, praying, self-reflecting, and lots of growing closer to God.  I evaluated what I was doing at the Pregnancy Center and more importantly why I was doing it; for the Lord.  This experience gave me even more ways to share about my faith in Christ with the girls at the SLPFCC.  

 

I have impacted my community by impacting the women and children who come into the Pregnancy Center.  Even though at first, my job felt small and worthless, I have come to realize that I am where God wants me to be, therefore I am doing the right thing no matter how small it may seem.  

 

Even though at first, my job felt small and worthless, I have come to realize that I am where God wants me to be, therefore I am doing the right thing no matter how small it may seem.  

 

Every story has a hero, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, Noah’s Ark, and the Israelites in the Desert.  Contrary to popular belief, the heroes are not David, Jonah, Noah, or Moses. The Hero is GOD. He is always the hero of every story, including mine.  I was able to organize diaper drives and sidewalk sales not through my own strength, but the Lord’s. The Lord has given me the gift of love, and I share this with every person who walks through the Pregnancy Center doors, because a little difference is a difference.  Thank-you for this life changing opportunity, Jesus.  

 

About the Author

Peter Martin

Peter Martin grew up in Minnesota before moving to California for college where he met the sunshine of his life—Lydia. While working for a… Read More