The week I’ve been waiting for finally arrived!!! As difficult as it was to listen to and learn about, it really helped me at this point in the Fellowship to kinda see a bigger picture. The second week of the Academy was Aftercare with Nola Brantley of MISSSEY, Inc. The name Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, Serving, Sexually Exploited Youth is EXACTLY what this young lady does with a heart of love and compassion that pours out of her experience. I knew the week would affect my passion level, but I never realized to what degree that would be. I still don’t know how much, but a lot of good things came out of last week for me.
Not only did I play a support role to Don and Nola in the Academy, but all of us fellows got to be a part of the Aftercare Academy since we hadn’t been to this one as of yet. It was a highlight of my day to write during Reflection Time. Here are some of my thoughts from those times. The first day I answered the question, “What have been some individual or social challenges I’ve faced in life?” In brief, I’m a product of a single-family home for the most part and have come to realize recently that that has really had an affect on me. One I’ve never realized before this year. I realized that my choices in life have been directly related to “saving face” or doing what is “expected of me” to do. I’m trying to live my life now, in this stage of it, according to how I would like to live it, rather than someone else’s thoughts of me. I want to let women of the world know that they don’t have to act a certain way, that’s unnatural for them to be loved by anyone. Be true to oneself! That seems to be a problem with shame-based societies.
The next day the question was,”What brings me joy?” I get the most joy when I’m with people of like-mind. Whether talking about Christ, music, children, motherhood or education — to talk with people about these things or topics brings me great joy. I am a person who loves being around people and finding our commonalities or differences and discovering ways to help them. I naturally go there with people. Whether they ask for it or not, I tend to offer help or offer some sort of help to people. I guess I’m always serving people. I’m a connector of people. I tend to know many people and connect those I know to each other. Things always work out that way. Whether talking about any of the above, I like making the connection between people or me and people. That connection can be social or environmental. People have always gravitated towards me, as well. When this happens, it gives me a since of character and responsibility. I feel needed and wanted. This brings me great joy!
Lastly, we were asked the loaded question, “What gifts and talents do I bring to the issue of modern-day slavery?” I feel I bring my natural talent of music, yes, but more than that. I feel my natural personality of serving people with a smile enables me to reach a place with some people that go beyond the outer surface of things with them. I love to get to know people and make them feel like they are important or that someone cares for them. I’m a connector of people. I will probably know someone who knows someone else who can help in a certain area. I LOVE helping people in that way. Every little bit helps! It might seem little at the time, but a little can become much when placed in the right hands. My relationship with my Lord and Savior allows the opportunity to place all that I am and all that I do in His hands.
My gifts in music and education can really be a tool to bring to this issue to help bridge gaps, help people bond and open lines of communication and self-expression for those trying to come out of this arena. I feel being able to use drama and theatre, music, art and writing are means of healing. I can see myself definitely using the art forms. The children may be able to write and use that as a tool of release and reflection for healing. I’ve always wanted to start a school of arts. Maybe that school is for children in and coming out of this arena. Sponsoring benefit concerts that will aid in sustaining the projects is key and making full use of resources around me.
I also know that I want to be able to go into schools and churches, bringing awareness, developing volunteers to help, teaching prevention and work with law enforcement at some point to help combat this growing disease.
Well with all that said, this was my favorite week so far. Can you tell? I’M EXAUSTED!!!!! It’s been a long time since I’ve rested, so I’m going to do that now. Please comment on my blog! Don’t forget we’re in the final leg of this fellowship. Keep the support and prayers coming. If you would like to continue your support of me log on to: https://nfs.webconnex.com/giving/benitahopkins.
Every little bit helps. Thank you all dearly! MUCH LOVE!!!!
Until next time,
“. . .until the whole world hears.”