Marina - a guest post

When we were living in Japan, we started attending a Japanese speaking ward in our last area. I was 12 or 13. There was one family with a daughter named Marina that went to my school, but was in special ed so I didn't see her very often. Her family hadn't been to church in awhile, but our parents liked each other and got together every so often. We had a ward BBQ at the park, and I invited my best friend from school and her family, who were not members of the church to come with us. I was playing volleyball with my friend's family when Marina came over and wanted to play too. Of course we let her, but after playing with her for a little while, we all noticed that she couldn't even come close to hitting the ball, thus halting the game more often than before. Nobody said anything about it, but I could tell my friend's family was getting more and more irritated. It started to irritate me too. When I talked to my mom about it, she said she couldn't believe that my friends weren't being more accepting of Marina and that I was feeling the same way they were. I felt ashamed.

So it gave me the idea for an Personal Progress project. I probably ended up spending a lot more than the required 10 hours with Marina, but I became her friend. I spent time with her, got to know her, and taught her English. And once I really got to know her, she wasn't really that "special" or "weird". She was shy like me, and just needed time to open up to someone. It taught me patience, and that everyone is more important than a silly volleyball game and that we just need to be more accepting and show love to people with special needs too.


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