Friday, March 19, 2010

show us your life - mission trips

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

kelly's korner's topic for "show us your life" today is mission trips so i thought i'd join in! i have been on 3 missions trips - 2 to ukraine and 1 to afghanistan.

my first trip to ukraine was in june 2005, after my sophomore year of college. while in ukraine we were in kiev and simferopol working in 4 different orphanages and an abandoned baby hospital. at the orphanages and hospital we painted rooms, put together playground equipment, put together furniture and just loved on the kids. out of all the places we visited while in ukraine, i was most touched at an orphanage for older children. the sign on the outside of the building reads "home for the mentally retarded" in russian. after spending time with the kids in that particular orphanage, it was very apparent that these kids were definitely not "retarded". while some of the kids do appear to have some physical and mental disabilities, it was just heartbreaking to think of how they had been so easily labeled and thrown away. i cried {a lot} on the trip, laughed {a lot} and vowed to be back again one day.

little did i know, i went back sooner than later! in december 2006/january 2007, ryan and i had just been married less than 6 months but after hearing about the "blessing bag" trip and we were both excited for me to go back, so i did! during the trip, we handed out several hundreds {maybe thousands? my brain can't really remember} "blessing bags" to the kids in those orphanages. the blessing bags are put together by families in the US {similar to the samaritan's purse shoe boxes} and are filled with school supplies, candy, chips, small toys, clothes, hats and gloves, etc. for most of the kids in the orphanages, the blessing bags are the only christmas gift they have ever received.

as each child got their blessing bag, a team member would sit with them and help them open all their new gifts. the part that was most touching about the trip was that the kids would always try to share their new gifts with us. whether it was chips, hair bows, candy, etc. they were all so willing to give to each other and to us, despite really having nothing else to call their own.

here are a few pictures from ukraine:

my third and most recent trip was to afghanistan in august 2008. since afghanistan is a muslim country, this trip was not a "missions trip" as we would normally think of it but more of a humanitarian outreach trip. however, i know that God will bless the time we spent there for His Kingdom. i traveled with the non-profit organization that i work for to see our organization's operations in 4 different villages where we operate medical clinics, schools, economic outreaches, etc. this country has been so ravaged by hundreds of years of war, oppression and poverty, yet the people are still very warm. most of the people we met were so glad to have assistance and were more welcoming than most americans would be. during our trip, we even got to go onto one of the nato military bases for worship and it was really neat to get the opportunity to thank and encourage some of the troops sacrificing the lives and time to make afghanistan a better place. i have another trip planned to go back late this summer and i'm excited to see how much the country has changed and progressed over the last 2 years.

here are some pictures from afghanistan:

i am so grateful that i have been able to experience God's heart for the nations firsthand. it's so easy to forget that there is a whole world of people that do not know about Jesus and to be comfortable in our own "worlds". my prayer is that i'll never be content unless i'm getting up and going - whether it be in my own city or across the world!! i want my life to be a mission trip!


Beth McC. said...

WHat an awesome post! I love your pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Lexilooo said...

Wow, what amazing stories!