I have always had a love for Canada. In the past few years I have always said to friends, I love my country and I will never leave it, even if I someday get invited to other countries. I only wanted to stay here. I am afraid to admit that my heart is slowly changing and I am falling in love with other places and this could be the beginning of something new.

5 years ago when I was starting out in Graffiti I had two friends older than me that took me under their wing to teach me how to paint.  One gave me my first ever paint marker and the other one gave me my first can of legit spraypaint. Their names are Jeff and Richard and they go by “Sonz” and “Battle”. I look up to these guys a lot as they use their talent to reach many people with their painting. I received a phone call from Richard to come help him teach graffiti lessons in New York City. It was an honour to help for the week and I will never forget that opportunity. It was cool to go somewhere new where no one knew anything about Keep it Real. I could just be Laura and I tried to not even tell anyone there that I did public speaking, skating or anything like that. We were helping with a hip hop camp that YFC puts on. I was really busy leading up to this trip so I didn’t have much time to look into where this event was and who would be coming. After my flight I got a ride to where I was sleeping and as I woke up the next day I walked to the camp with the pastors son named David.  As we took our 20 minute walk I asked him lots of questions. One of the first things I asked was “What are those buildings right there?” David replied, “Well, have you ever heard of the Projects?  You know government housing? That’s where we are.” “OHHHHH, I had no idea. So what is this area called?” “We are in Harlem” he said.  As I got to know the leaders I heard many stories about that area and even other rough surrounding areas.

The kids that came to participate in our classes listened so well and were so well behaved. I was trying to wonder why they were acting so good and a leader told me that it’s because this camp was so special to them and it was rare for them to get free lessons like this. They didn’t want to blow this chance, it was their opportunity to escape from the hard life at home and it wasn’t like school where they were forced to be there. Each day we shared testimonies and bible stories with the Kids and they were so open to conversations about faith. One girl in my small group even shared with me about how she doesn’t have a real father so she looks to God as her father for help. That touched my heart. Near the end of the week a lady that financially partners with keep it Real asked me how my trip was going and I told her about what God was doing. I ended off the message with, “I think I’m on a missions trip, wait, ya I am hahaha”. It’s kind of funny how I didn’t even know that I was.

Its mind blowing to know that there can be so much poverty in one area and yet down the street there can be so much wealth only minutes away. I asked my friends to take me to Time Square so I could see what all the hype was about. As we jumped on the subway we landed into a whole new world. Flashy lights, expensive restaurants, trendy stores, opportunities to buy buy buy were all around me. So many people go to Time Square for vacation. I guess its exciting to be in an atmosphere of lots of people with entertainment all around. I’m not going to lie, as I skated the streets I couldn’t get the smile off my face. I felt for that moment like I was on top of the world and that I was in a Hollywood movie or something. Near the middle of this adventure I definitely had a moment where I stopped and paused in deep thought thinking “Are all these people really happy? No honestly, are all of these people really truly happy deep down inside?” Can money fill that emptiness, I think the answer is YES, but only for a moment and then it disappears. Fun times and fancy trips can be cool for a bit but what happens when you leave that magical place called Time Square? For many kids that I worked with that week I saw more genuine joy inside of them from the dance classes they took as the leaders poured into them. You can’t pay someone to believe in you. You can’t buy real love. You can’t find truth in fake materialism. Whats my point? Well those kids that live in hard areas probably are understanding more about how to be thankful in life more than the rich tourist that came for a few days to visit. Am I saying that everyone in Time Square was evil and that we should never go there? No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just asking where does your joy come from? Are your really thankful deep down inside?

As I finish I want to share about my 2 favorite people I met. It was my last night there so I decided to go check out Time Square again. I went to Mc Donalds and tried to only order 1 big mac but they gave me 2, they had a special deal on so I carried this extra hamburger around. I noticed a homeless man crossing the street so me and my friend stopped to talk to him and he wanted the burger so we gave it to him. I asked this hungry man Charlie where he was coming from and he said that the police just kicked him out of the park he was sleeping at. I asked him if there was anything he needed prayer for and he said no and then walked away. I don’t give up that fast, I still prayed for him even though it was in my head. My friend and I found a nice set of stairs where we were skating at and as we were leaving another skater younger than us rolled up. After a long conversation I said to him “I believe that God listens to people every time they pray, is there anything specific we can pray for you about right now?” He told us how he didn’t want prayer because he is a buddhist. My 2nd time getting shut down in one night, ouch. I was starting to think what am I doing wrong here? We continued to hangout skating around with this new skater. We told him a bit about church and he seemed pretty interested. My friend Diana kept in touch with this buddhist skater. As I got home my friend  Diana tells me that this buddhist skater wants to now try going to church and also his exact words to her were “I need Jesus”.

Lots of stuff happened on this trip, every second was adventurous.  Thanks for listening, please keep praying for us as we travel around North America as young missionary’s for Jesus.