We are the Same: Everyone Suffers // A Guest Blog by Joybelle Grant.

Every summer, Blueprint opens it's doors to hundreds of students who give their time and hearts to the ministry and the homeowners whose homes are being repaired each summer. Joybelle - a student from Hope Church San Antonio - shared words on her experiences this summer, check them out below. 


My name is Joybelle Grant. I am a sophomore in high school. I attended the Blueprint Ministries mission trip with the youth group from Hope Church San Antonio this summer.  

Blueprint Ministries is an inner city mission in San Antonio, TX that finds local families or individuals who are around or below the poverty level and brings in youth groups for a weeklong camp experience. Blueprint supplies all the tools and materials to repair their homes while the youth do the labor.  

This was my first service trip. I wanted to go to serve others and have fun with the other teens. The experience impacted me in a surprising way.  It was different than walking away feeling good that I helped someone else, although that was true as well.

While working there, in a decrepit old house with the ceiling and walls falling in and layers of grime on the walls, I realized I am not the only one who suffers.  This was not a brand new idea for me.  I know that we all suffer in different ways and to different degrees.  But sometimes because of the trials God has allowed in my life I can start to believe that I am alone in my suffering.  Many of the people that we were serving had close to nothing and although I was able to appreciate how much I have materially, I felt we had suffering in common.  I felt a sameness.  There was a communication barrier and we really didn’t get to talk to our homeowner much, but I sensed a sadness.  To see so much tangible suffering around me made me feel sad, yet less alone.  It was comforting to realize I am not the only one that hurts.  
Lots of thoughts followed: Suffering isn’t necessarily all bad - God allows suffering to show us his presence and love for us in the face of hardship, many times he uses others, sometimes I can believe that because I am suffering something is very wrong with me, that’s a lie. I can look at people around me who seem on the surface to suffer less and believe that it’s unfair, the truth is that God is wiser than me and perfectly just, that I have the same worth whether I am suffering or doing well, like really valuable sometimes I even feel angry and ask, “Why am I the only one facing this kind of problem?” We all suffer to some degree, it is inevitable and within the suffering there is God’s love and peace and the comfort of others who share our burdens. This was just one aspect of my experience.

It was also so much fun.  There was a lot of fun in the dorm room with the other girls and counselors.  At the job site we had fun during the demolition phase.  There was a seemingly endlessness of cake at dinner.  There might have been a Chinese fire drill.  There was a memorable sawing of body parts of large cuddly stuffed animals during chapel.  We enjoyed some Starbucks at quite an expense of peace between the teams.  

Overall it was just a great experience and I can’t wait till next year!

Thank you, Joybelle, for sharing your experience with us! We can't wait to see you next summer. 

Interested in coming to camp next summer? Click the link below to register your youth group.