Tuesday, July 26, 2011



So I have decided to restart my blog to tell about my next adventure with Operation Smile-- CHINA! I will be traveling half way across the world and through 12 different time zones to lead and attend Mission Training and ISCE-- the International Student Cultural Exchange(previously known as ISLC).
Mission Training will prepare high school students for upcoming missions. Students have to go to an application process and then after they are selected, they come and are trained! There are two mission trainings each year. Winter is held in Virginia where Operation Smile headquarters is and summer is traditionally held the 3 days before the student conference at the site of the conference. In January 2010, I attended winter mission training and then just 5 months later I went on my mission to the Philippines. I am so excited for the opportunity for the newly accepted mission participants.

Anyways, back to the conference! Why China?!
Operation Smile is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of sending missions to China. Co-Founders, Bill and Kathy Magee, have dreamed of having the student conference there. The annual conference is typically held the first few days of August at a college or university around the United States. A few years ago, the conference took place in Ireland. This will be my 3rd conference with Operation Smile. I went to one in Virginia in 2009 and one in Colorado in 2010.
The theme of the conference is “Now is the Time.” “Now is the Time...” to be the change, to be someone, to make a difference. The theme encompasses Operation Smile Student Programs attitude and commitment to making a difference in the world no matter when or where. Student Programs focuses heavily on developing young adult leaders who will make a difference through their journey with Operation Smile and other aspects of their life. It is never to late to stand up for what you believe in or to make a difference in someone’s life.
While at the conference, students will have the opportunity to hear motivational speakers who will talk about how to develop your leadership skills. Also, several off-site activities have been arranged. We will be going to the GREAT WALL and Tiananmen Square! We will also have a day of bonding activities. All of the participants are divided up into teams. I am the leader of Team Believe. Each team is a motivational or inspirational word.

Check out the conference's website at www.operationsmile.org/isce!

I am sitting in Dulles airport, anxiously awaiting my flight to Detroit. After Detroit, I fly 13 hours to Tokyo and then one more short flight to BEIJING. I will finally be there after 36 hours of traveling. I can’t wait to be reunited with my Operation Smile family.

A few words of Mandarin:
Hello- Nín hǎo
Goodbye- Zàijiàn
Thank you- Xièxiè
Smile- Wéixiào

Mary Claire

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