I hope you enjoy these words of a beautiful, caring and passionate 17 year old that came from her heart.
Dear Daniel” Essay Contest Finalist: Jordan Bayer
In October, the Jubilee Project launched the “Passion: In Essay Form - Dear Daniel Essay Contest” calling on Jubileevers to submit essays about their passion – what is your passion? what barriers do you face in achieving them? how do you want to change the world through your passions? We received 25 beautifully written essays that made us laugh and cry. Over the next several days we will be posting the 7 finalist essays and the winning essay on this blog. We hope they inspire you as much as they inspired us. Here is one of the Finalists. To read the rest of the essays click here.
by Jordan Bayer
“For such a time as this” encourages me daily. It means that everyone has a purpose. My life counts. Leaving the world a better place is my mission. I have come to this realization through traveling. My breaking point is orphans. I live to travel and help children.
On June 17, 1995, I went on my first journey. I was adopted by an American family and came home two days before I turned four months old. I haven’t stopped traveling since. Traveling has not only shown me the great beauty and diversity of the world, but also the immense poverty and need as well. Through traveling, I’ve learned the importance of humility, family, love, and an open mind. I’ve come to love my diversity. I am a Korean American who walks with a faith in God.
I consider any child whose parents are unable to care for him or her to be an orphan. I want to give those children the unconditional love I’ve been given. My parents have fortunately understood my passions and allowed me to travel and help orphans as much as I could. I’ve traveled back to Korea multiple times. While I love every part of my trips, the memory of helping with the babies who are waiting to be adopted stays the strongest. The workers there told me to simply hold a crying baby for no less than ten minutes. In my opinion, this was the best job ever! I got to play with babies all day. I later on realized the truth. My job was to actually love them for at least ten minutes, because no one else could. The children were many, but the care givers were few. I had been ignorant. These children taught me the importance of humility, because this was once me; family, whom I could not live without; love, which is all they needed; and an open mind, because I can’t live as if I don’t know they exist.
My parents have started a non-profit organization called the Hug Away Foundation which advocates for adoption and orphans. Through this, my parents have started a sponsorship in Ethiopia. It allows children to get an education, a meal six days a week, and minor medical care. I’ve been blessed enough to visit the school twice now. My father personally sponsored a boy named Baharu. When my mother first traveled to the school and met him, he promised her that he would get an education, so he could make a difference in his community. I’ve been blessed with opportunities to meet him. I remember this small framed boy with a gentle confidence always following the van my team and I traveled in until we got too far. Unfortunately, he passed away this last August around the age of twelve. He can no longer serve his community, but I can. He taught me that I don’t have to be much to do much. I will miss my Ethiopian brother, but I will make his life count. I will see those children grow up and break the cycle of poverty.
It’s hard to live in such a broad world when my friends live in a narrow one. Last year, during my fall break of junior year, I traveled to Ethiopia for the second time. I came straight from Africa to school. I was passionate and aware, but nobody seemed to care. My teachers demanded my make up work and my friends hadn’t seemed to notice I left. To them, Africa is just a place on the map, but it is place that has stolen my heart, the same with Korea. Although I’ve left those places, a little piece of me remains.
Often, my passions leave me heartbroken. Sometimes, I wish I loved to do other things. Traveling requires a lot of money and caring for orphans is difficult. I’ve tried to occupy my time by painting and playing the violin. While I appreciate the arts, it isn’t my passion. I’m too connected to the people and places I’ve met to quit.
I will always fight for my passions. I have just begun to find the courage to explore who I am and where I came from. There are children around the world that have captivated me. Traveling has been my best teacher and I will never stop learning. I believe love can move mountains.
I will make a difference in the world, so that I won’t regret my life. Most days, I feel lost. I let my shyness and stress of finding a college and a career get the best of me. One day, I will look back and only have memories of wondering what my purpose is, but I will always remain passionate. Although I am currently a day dreaming high school student, I will eventually move mountains.