In June 2016, I travelled to El Salvador with a group from my school to perform service work at COAR (Community Oscar Arnuelfo Romero) and the Cleveland Mission. As we prepared for the trip, I had no idea that it would be one of the most influential experiences of my life. Our mission was to teach English to students at COAR, and help build houses at the Cleveland Mission. As we worked on our mission, I learned about the culture and the lifestyle of Salvadorans. I learned about the danger that Salvadorans live in everyday due to the gang wars between MS-13 and other gangs in El Salvador. I also saw the extreme poverty that millions of Salvadorans live in every day. I was surprised at the condition of the communities that I saw in El Salvador. However, the effect this service trip had an incredible effect on my life After experiencing some of the poorest communities in the world, I began not taking things I have for granted. I realized that having a solid roof over my head, running water, and clean clothes is something that I should never take for granted because there are hundreds of millions of people across the globe who don’t have those luxuries. I learned that I should thank God and thank my parents for everything that they do for me and for putting me in a position where I can succeed. I make sure to pray for those that suffer from absolute poverty so that they may one day have a life full of the same opportunities that I have. This experience also helped me discern that I wanted to become fluent in Spanish so that I can continue to participate in service trips like this and continue to connect with those from other countries. I want to continue to help those who need it the most. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from the Salvadoran people I helped is to persevere no matter what the circumstances may be and always have a smile on your face. All of the children and adults we met always greeted us a smile no matter how bad their living conditions were. I was amazed at the way they went through life despite their unfathomable living conditions. Their perseverance and views on life inspire me to have a more positive view on the world.