I spent 11 months travelling the world last year doing mission work. I got to see and experience many amazing things! From Central America to Southeast Asia, to Eastern Africa and finally ending in India, I got to see the many forms of beauty. In Panama, beauty was the woman who opened her small house to 21 missionaries, cooking for them and providing for them every day. In Thailand beauty was seen in the women who sell themselves in the bars of Phuket, not knowing how worthy they truly are. In Uganda, the beauty is seen in women with shaved heads carrying huge jugs of water on their heads for miles to provide for their families. In India, I see beauty in the eyes of every young girl, hair braided in 2 long braids, and decorated with jasmine. I returned to America appalled. After seeing true beauty, in and out, in women, men and scenery all around the world, I was immersed back into a superficial culture. Beauty in America is perfect skin, big boobs, height, no excess weight, and glaring white teeth. I remmeber getting off the plane coming home from India in Frankfurt, Germany and really being shocked by the amount of skin being shown. Beauty in other cultures is left to the imagination. Long skirts, modest shirts, no showing above the knees, all of that became normal to me. How has America abandoned the idea of true beauty? How has the world turned to makeup, which was made to enhance natural beauty, to create an entirely new persona? How has what's in your closet become more important than what's in your heart. And how can we teach the young women in our lives to find value in who they are, not what they wear or what they look like? How can we instill worth into them, when the world tells them they are unworthy? That is a challenge that I face on a daily basis working with youth. I may not be beautiful by the world's standards. I don't wear makeup, I don't buy designer clothes. I don't know the fashion, and I'm not sure I could tweeze my eyebrows right if I tried. I don't show off every bit of conceivable skin. But I care, I love, I invest in people, I constantly try to become more selfless, I find ways to give-time, money, emotion-and in that I find that I am beautiful.
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