Tiffany Larson is wife to an amazing man and mother to 3 incredible kiddos. In her former life she graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in International Development and taught ESL for the Provo School District. She now lives with her family in sunny Gilbert, Arizona where her regular activities include driving her kids around to different activities and teaching yoga. She loves to run, hike, bike, and eat delicious food, especially with good friends. Her not so secret passion is travel. She recently returned from her second trip to India and she’s always in the middle of planning a trip- or three! She loves true, authentic life. Favorite quote: “Life is a grand adventure, or nothing.”
In June 2015, my husband and I, along with our 3 kids boarded a plane and flew to the other side of the world. None of us had ever been to India. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we knew we were excited to become a part of the great work Rising Star Outreach is doing among the leprosy affected- the very poorest of the poor.
Our days there were packed full to the brim. In the morning we would alternate between doing construction projects, tutoring students at the school, and going out into the leprosy colonies doing medical rotations. In the afternoon we would head over to play with the kids at playtime, and every evening we had the special opportunity to go back over to the children’s hostels to help put the kids to bed.
We loved every minute of our time at Rising Star, but even more important than WHAT we were doing, were the relationships we were able to build while we were doing it. The quiet moments with individual people, one on one, were the ones that changed our souls.
One experience with a sweet little girl named Abinesha will always stay especially close to my heart. Abinesha and I met on one of my very first days on campus while I was helping her 4th grade class in the computer lab. The class was working on a math program, and I was asked to help Abinesha specifically. She was having a really hard time understanding the concepts. We explained them and worked on them, but it just wasn’t clicking. I sat back and watched her sometimes, and there just wasn’t a sparkle. Things were hard. We got done with the class and she got up, turning to go. I reached out, grabbed her hand and pulled her back until we were looking each other in the eye. I smiled at her and said, “Abinesha. You are SMART! And you are BEAUTIFUL!” She timidly smiled back at me and went on her way. Later that day I saw her again, and I did the same thing I had done earlier: gave her a big smile, got so we were looking each other in the eye and said again, “Abinesha, you are SMART! and you are BEAUTIFUL!” The next time I saw her I did the same thing… but I started making her say it back to me. She was embarrassed, but repeated back timidly… “I am smart… I am beautiful…” The whole time I was there, every single time I saw this amazing girl I would stop what I was doing and we would go through this same little routine together. Always with a big smile and a big hug. And oh my goodness, it was so fun to see the sparkle start to come out! Then one day, at the very end of our visit, I saw Abinesha, and something happened that I never thought I would see. She came bounding up to me with a twinkle in her eye, looked me and said, without ANY prompting… “I am SMART!! I am BEAUTIFUL!!” I tear up every single time I think about this! I adore this sweet girl.
I am so grateful for Rising Star Outreach. Without RSO, I would never have met Abinesha. She would still be in the leprosy colonies, living in deplorable conditions. She would most likely be begging on the streets- trying to help her family survive. She wouldn’t have access to an education. There would be no way for her out of her situation. But instead, she is at the RSO campus- getting an incredible education. She is being clothed, and fed. There is beautiful hope for her future! I believe so strongly in the work that RSO is doing! The impact they are having. They are not only changing lives, they are changing GENERATIONS.
Tiffany can be found here: