Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In her own words

Our sweet Agniya has an opportunity to apply for a trip to Washington, D.C. and participate in a leadership program. In order to apply, she had to create an essay answering the question:

"What issue would you like to learn more about while here in the United States, in order to use this information back in your home country?"

Agniya's essay was beautiful, and left me speechless. She has given me her permission to share it with you here:

"The best way to understand a different country, its culture and traditions is to be in this country. However, it is still impossible for travelers to get to know another country as well as native people. Living in America as an exchange student from Russia, I realize with my own experience that to deeply understand another country we have to spend some time in it. The Flex program gave me a great chance to live in a host family, to attend an American school, and to have American friends. All of these opportunities are helping me to discover America’s roots. Also, living so far away from home, I see a lot of differences in my life. These differences are not only external differences, such as architecture or nature, but inner differences like desires, dreams or goals in life. If somebody were to ask me what issues I want to learn more about in the USA, I would answer: the concepts of selfless giving.

One of the most important things for me is charity. After having met some new people in America, and, of course, spending a lot of time with my host family, I noticed that charity in the United States is one of the most important things to do. People help other people through giving them food, clothes, and money for basic things to survive. For example, my host family suggested for me to join them in packing a shoe box filled with toys for poor children in Africa, who need our help. It is such an easy thing for us to do, but at the same time it makes other people so happy. What I want to say is: I would love to learn more about donation programs and charity programs in America. In the future when I return to Russia, it could be so useful to share my experiences with other people. Without any doubts, Russian people want to help other people, but in my opinion, we do not have enough convenient ways to do it. If given the opportunity to learn the ways of American charity, I could help people in my country to more readily accept the concepts of selfless giving.

As I said before, to understand the roots of a country, we have to live in it. Looking deeper to the roots of selfless giving, I found out many reasons why people give to others. Living in a circle of Christian people, I can tell that Christians pay a lot of attention to charity. Since I am attending Christian School of York, I have a unique opportunity to have a Bible class. I did not grow up in a Christian circle, but my mother always told me that God will take care of me. Now, because of my school, I know more about God and His words through the Bible. Also, I knew before, and now know with the support of the Bible, that all good things in our lives that we do will come back to us in double. The foundation which could help me to open people’s hearts to such a good thing as charity could be based on the lessons learned in God’s word. When I will go back to Russia, I could introduce the Bible first in my school then in some other social places, giving people more reasons to help other people.

Another very important thing which can help Russian people be more open to the concepts of selfless giving is improved government support. For example: my host family donates money to two boys, one in Rwanda and one in Ecuador, and their donation goes toward the boys’ food, clothes, healthcare and schooling. The system of this kind of donation is very easy: you just send a regular amount to the organization who support these children. Moreover, my host family receives a tax benefit for making this donation. I think that it is great to help other people and also to get a small benefit from the government. This tax benefit helps people to make a commitment if they are not fully convinced about the advantages of a donation.

I believe that participation in the Civic Education Program can help me to know more ways to make charity more convenient and appealing for Russian people. I am eager to learn about the structure of American government which provides support to those who would like to give help to others through donations."

6 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Tessa said...

Wow! What an amazing testiment to your family's values. It is so cool that of all that she could have wanted to know about ... she has been deeply touched by your giving! What a special girl you have been blessed with!

Room to Think said...

speechless indeed. your family has been so crucial in her journey towards God. her heart (poured out here) is amazing.

Anonymous said...


Flamingo Mama said...

wow!! how awesome!! what a ministry!!!

cindi said...

What a well written piece. Even though you are only the "host" family, you must be so proud of your "daughter" and what she has learned from you.

p.s. lynnette sent me... and i'm glad she did.

Happy Mama said...

Hands down.

As a Russian not-anymore-student living in the U.S. for 6 years I could not agree more with what Agniya said. Very observant and beautifully written essay. Very touchy as well.