Experience Tucson: Susie Bishara is Putting Down Roots

30 Mar

Over five days during the University of Arizona’s spring break this March, college students who are a part of the Second Mile community explored their city through Experience Tucson. They stayed with local families, learned about vision and purpose in life, played with refugee children, attended a bilingual church gathering, went up A Mountain, visited the San Xavier Mission, ate at El Guero Canelo, and helped clean the backyards at a women’s ministry.

We asked those college students if they would be so kind as to help us see what they saw and felt and learned by giving us their words, pictures, and/or video. They obliged, and we’ll post their reactions to Experience Tucson , in all three formats, over the coming week.

Here are Susie Bishara’s thoughts on putting down roots and learning from playing with children from far far away:

I’ve only been living in Tucson since 2007, but in the last year the city has become my home. My thought was that I was just in Tucson because of the University of Arizona. I saw my time here as only temporary and the thought of leaving Tucson to live hopefully in another state when I graduate excited me. After finding Second Mile and opening myself up to that community, I began to think maybe this is a place I could live in for a long time.

I’ve lived in Tucson now for about two years, but I feel like I’ve only experienced Tucson to the limited extent of a 5-mile radius around the UofA campus. When Second Mile’s college group was told about a local mission trip here in Tucson over spring break called Experience Tucson, I immediately jumped on the idea. This is something I had been longing for.

I know I love Tucson, but I feel there is so much I need to explore and discover. I have a strong desire to get to know families and married couples in Tucson. There are a lot of unique and beautiful people in Tucson that can add to my life beyond just the college students that I’m surrounded by everyday. With such a tight schedule of work and class in the last year and a half, I’ve been unable to fully experience Tucson in these ways. I came in to Experience Tucson with no expectations, just an eagerness to explore Tucson and create lasting bonds with people within the city.

One of my favorite days during Experience Tucson was the day we hung out with refugee kids. We played games with them, took them to Sabino Canyon, hiked, picnicked, and swam in a creek. The activities were so simple, yet the meaning behind them was so profound for me. The more time I spent with these kids throughout the day, the more I had a heart for them.

At first, I could tell they had their guard up, but by the end of the day they began to trust us and showed that they really liked hanging out with us. It reminded me of how I was when I came to Tucson. I was very guarded and not willing to be vulnerable, especially at Second Mile. I was scared to get hurt again like in the past.

But God has been working on my heart and showing me its okay to trust him and to open myself up. As I have been obeying and trusting God in that, I’ve been so blessed through the Second Mile community. I’ve made the best friends I could ask for, have a wonderful mentor, am able to use my gifts in worship and have become really rooted in Tucson because of the community and my willingness to engage in it. God provides. He blesses. He is a wonderful and gracious giver.


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