About the Post

Author Information

A born and raised Southern Belle, Rebecca is currently studying at Presbyterian College looking to pursue a career in broadcast journalism as a reporter. An avid blogger, she works with the online newspaper The Hudsucker. She also is a part-time Social Media Marketing Consultant. Rebecca is a proud member of Sigma Sigma Sigma who's philanthropy serves children. Rebecca also has the distinct privilege of working with Sounds of Pertussis where she campaigns about the awareness of Pertussis and it's prevention by the Adult Tdap booster. This honor is done in loving member of her cousin, Landon Carter Dube, who's life was taken too soon from this disease. Rebecca loves her Lord Jesus Christ and enjoys pursuing her passion for telling people's stories!

A Little Heaven On Earth

On this Easter Sunday, heaven is a hot topic among people. So is hope, a new beginning, or even angels.

There is a place here on earth, that I like to describe as a little heaven on earth. It is a place where terminally ill children get a chance to feel normal. Where angels are found in the forms of volunteers, and glimpses of heavenly joy is found on the faces of the kids.

This place is called Give Kids the World, located in Kissimmee, Florida. It is a place where miracles happen and lives are changed. Here is how it changed mine.

The story of how Give Kids The World began is best told from the words of Give Kids the World itself:

“The story of Give Kids The World begins with a little girl with a wish and the desire of one man to make that wish come true.

The little girl’s name was Amy. Amy had leukemia and one wish – to visit the theme parks in Orlando. To facilitate Amy’s wish, the request of a complimentary stay was made to a respected hotelier. As he had done many times before, the hotelier gladly obliged and Amy’s wish was that much closer to being realized. Sadly, the remainder of Amy’s travel plans took too long to arrange and her wish was never granted; Amy had passed away. Time simply ran out.

This unfulfilled wish inspired a man, the hotelier, to make a vow that no child in need would ever be failed again. That man was Henri Landwirth and his desire to ensure that Amy’s story would never repeat itself is where the story of Give Kids The World begins.”

Give Kids the World is solely volunteer run. For two years, I traveled down to Florida with my youth group to spend a week working in the village. It was always a memorable week with lots of laughs and moments of frustrations, as found with any trip. We always came home with stories of both the good and not so good times from our mission trip.

I loved the stories. The stories from others in our group, stories told to use by other volunteers or families that were staying there, but most especially my own stories. Here one finds the root of how Give Kids the World changed my life with each visit. However, it wasn’t the facts of the stories that meant so much to me, but the people in them. Last summer, the day after my graduation, my youth group and I were bound for Florida on a church bus. I met many wonderful people during that second time there.  One girl in particular I met though, I am sure was meant to be an angel in my life.

Her name was the same as mine: Rebecca.

We first met on my favorite place at not only Give Kids the World, but  one my favorite things in the world: the merry-go-round.

While we were not allowed to ask the children what individual illness they suffered from, her lack of hair told me what she had. Her spirits though, spoke of anything but sickness. She had a zest for life and the little joys of a day like riding on the merry-go-round again and again. Rebecca and I made a connection when I helped her onto one of the horses. We commented on how we had the same name, and how we were “twins”.

Volunteering at Give Kids the World.

Volunteering at Give Kids the World. Image Credit: Rebecca Rowell

Then a true connection forged between she and I.

All throughout the week we kept running into each other.

When I was awoken really early one morning because of a mix up in shifts, she was in the dining hall where I was scheduled to work. She came to the castle at the resort when I was working there, so I could help her make a wish and place a star among the millions in the castle that each visiting Wish child places on the walls/ceiling. It seemed destined again and again that she and I were meant to keep encountering each other.

It seemed almost a divine intervention.

Finally my week was coming to a close and it was our group’s last day volunteering. I was absolutely desperate to see Rebecca one last time. As our day was winding down, and we were getting ready to leave, I finally accepted I probably wouldn’t see her again.

God had another plan though.

I got to see Rebecca again because her family was getting ice cream outside when I just happened to pass them…right as we were about to leave.

I went over to her quickly, to say goodbye. Then I experienced a life changing moment with Rebecca, one that still brings a smile to my face any time I think about it.

As I was saying goodbye to Rebecca, she pulled out a little disposable camera. A disposable camera that she had bought with her own money to commerate her trip to Give Kids the World. As she I were standing there, she told me that the camera had one picture left on it.

She then told me that she had saved last picture for me. So that she and I could take a photo together, at the merry-go-round where we first met.

I had tears in my eyes and a wide smile on my face as she and I took that picture. My heart was feeling overwhelmed and I was felt blessed.

She was an angel for me, Rebecca was. Typically the volunteers at the village are called Angels, however I had a type of counter experience where this volunteer met an angel.

An angel in the form of a little 10 year old girl who touched my life.

It was Rebecca’s unmistakable strength that taught me a very important lesson about life. A lesson that is the message of Easter as well. A story of HOPE. 

Hope in tomorrow.

Hope in other people.

Hope in ourselves.

We have an immaculate inner strength within ourselves that can be tapped whenever we need it. If we have hope, it is the spark that can ignite that courage to carry on, even during the darkest of storms.

We all just need to lean on each other. Even strangers can become the dearest of friends when we least expect it.

Rebecca is a living example of  that for me.

A living example of hope and love that can only be found in the heart of a child.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wishing Everyone a Happy Easter! | The Hudsucker - April 5, 2015

    […] A Little Heaven on Earth: Heaven is a hot topic for many, but there is a place here on our Earth that gives those a chance to experience it. Past writer Rebecca Rowell visited Give Kids the World and shares her experiences. {Continue reading…} […]

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