Guest Blog – Anthony Del Secco age 17


This is a guest blog post by Anthony Del Secco.  Anthony is one of the Cardinal Newman High School students who visited India with us in February 2014 to witness the outcome of his Community Based Service Learning Project (known elsewhere as a Senior Service Project).  I’ll let him tell you the rest.  🙂  Love, Val

Dear Readers,

My name is Anthony and if you didn’t already know I traveled to India this February to work in a medical camp that was fundraised by my partner, Peyton Smith, and I, as well as help dedicate wells, donate goats and cows to villages in need, and play with school children who truly have nothing. The trip was enlightening – I will never be the same.

I want to tell you a little about India. First of all, it’s hot. Like all the time. It’s hot in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, when it’s cloudy, when it’s raining, even when it’s snowing I’m sure it’s still hot. The food: absolutely incredible. Lots of chicken, since cows are sacred.  Rice is another specialty. Apparently we “white folk” find toast to be a delicacy, since everywhere we turn they ask if we want toast. The answer is yes, I do want some toast, because the toast is awesome in India. Oh, and everything is spicy. Even things that are supposed to be sweet are spicy. Donuts have chili peppers in them; pancakes have onions and garlic. Breakfast is spicy, lunch is spicier, dinner is spiciest, and then there’s ice cream! Overall, I rate the food a solid 10 out of 10, no matter how messy it was to eat soup with my hands.

Next is the wildlife. It’s everywhere. You look to the left and you see wild dogs running rampant, you look right and see a family of wild boars munching on some trash. Animals are everywhere, and when you aren’t in the city/villages looking cows in the eye or holding baby goats, you can spot wild monkeys swinging through the treetops at the nearby waterfall (which was epic by the way). If you’re lucky you might even get to see an elephant, or two like we did. Oh, and the bugs… well, those are everywhere too. Everywhere you turn there are mosquitos and in the bathrooms there are spiders the size of your fist. Don’t go in the bathrooms.

In India you’re a bad driver if you don’t constantly cut people off or don’t use your horn for fun.

The weather is great, the food is delicious, the animals are friendly, the water is warm (except for in the showers. That water is really, really, very extra cold just for your pleasure), and the people are the best.

On a more personal level, this trip has been the best gift I have ever asked for, because it truly is a gift. It’s a gift from everyone who heard my story and helped me get there, and so for that I thank each and every one of you. You are the reason that I could experience such an amazing culture and meet so many amazing people. I am blessed to have even been able to have the chance to go to India, and I am even luckier that I actually got to go. I do believe in fate, and I do believe it was my destiny to find such an amazing group of people to guide me through a long but rewarding process. Thank you Valerie and Vivek for being a light in a very dark room. Thank you Kathy. Thank you Peyton – I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Thank you Kai and Bella. Thank you Owen and Teanna and Carrie and Nobby. I am so glad I could share this experience with all of you. I look forward to another chance at going in July, just four short months from now. I want to go back more than anything.

We live in a society that is so unhappy with what we have when we already have so much. We have shoes on our feet. We have warm showers and a bed. We have food when we are hungry and water when we are thirsty. We have all this and more, yet we are still so unhappy. Don’t take anything for granted, because you have no idea how lucky you actually are. Smile. Be thankful for what you have. But most of all, love. Love your friends, your family, and your neighbors. Love your coworkers and your teachers. Love your past, love your present, your home and your country, your enemies, and your heroes. Love the roof over your head and the shoes on your feet. Life may seem hard at times, but even in darkness, light shines. Even in despair there is hope. Love knows no boundaries, and its power is limitless.

So love. Just love.

Forever Grateful,



Anthony Del Secco

the cool factor


India, February 2014.  Twelve days start to finish, many of them long travel days, and the rest actively loving people in India.

Two of our eleven team members were high school seniors from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, CA.  Anthony and Peyton.  There was something magnificent about them from the beginning, but really blossomed while in India.  I narrowed it down to one thing they lacked.

“The Cool Factor”.

I’m not saying these are not cool kids.  They’re hysterically funny, attractive, smart, honest, engaging, hip, knowledgeable, artistic, extraordinary young people.  But they weren’t “too cool” you know?  Too cool to dance.  Too cool to hold hands.  Too cool to pray.  Too cool to love.

They jumped off the plane with both feet.  All in , and fully immersed before we could even locate our baggage.  I can in all honesty say they never once said “no” to any opportunity.  Whether they knew it was an opportunity or not.



Anthony Del Secco

Within minutes of meeting them, their excitement inspired me.  But after watching them in India, I was inspired to do better.   My ideas of love exploded and I wanted to love more authentically, more fully, like they did.  To laugh harder, sing louder, and dance longer.  To grab hold of every moment and wring it out of it’s last drop.  To exude wordless evidence of a broken heart.   To cry when I had to leave for home.  To long for a return to India while still on the jetway.  To walk off the plane with ideas of how I might help even more.

Every group of teens has been uniquely wonderful, I believe hand picked by God, and I wouldn’t trade a single one for the other.

Each one has taught me something more about myself, about God, and about the love of Jesus for all people.


Matchless.  Borderless.  Timeless.  Ageless.  Limitless.  And not too cool.

Love, Valerie


All members of LoveManifest contribute freely from the love in their hearts and take absolutely no financial gain.
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