I guess you could say that I’m one of those “church kids”. I’ve grown up in church all of my life and have been there pretty much every time the doors are open. I got saved when I was in the 4th grade and have lived the “Christian life”. I thought it was okay to go to church on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s and never do anything to live out my faith. I became comfortable with that lifestyle. Later, I realized that I had it all wrong.
You see, God does want us to go to church, but He wants more than just that. He wants us to do bold things for Him. He wants us to step out of our comfort zones and say “yes” to Him when He calls. That’s exactly what I did.
My desire to go on a mission trip started when a group from my church went to Ecuador with M-Fuge about five years ago. When they got back and told their stories it really made an impression on me. I had been wanting to go on a mission trip for a while, but this solidified it. This was something that God was calling me to do. I saw how it impacted their lives, and I wanted to experience it for myself. I wanted to be a part of something greater and I wanted to tell others about Jesus.
A few years ago, my church started an orphan care and adoption ministry called Hearts of Compassion. It really opened my eyes to the number of orphans in this world and I realized that God has commanded us numerous times in His Word to care for the least of these. He doesn’t ask us, He tells us.
When I heard that a group from my church was going to Ecuador, I knew I had to go. I came straight home from church that Sunday and asked my Dad if I could. He told me that if I got a job and paid for the trip that I could go. I was so excited! So the job search began…
I applied everywhere that I could think of. Nobody was hiring. My grandparents own an ice cream store and I knew that I could have a job there if I asked, but I wanted to try to find one on my own. I began to pray about it and ask God to show me where I needed to go. After a long search, and no luck on my own, I finally asked my grandparents for a job. They hired me and I finally had a way to pay for the trip, so I signed up.
I was so excited about the trip that I could hardly contain myself. I thought about it all of the time and even had a countdown on my phone. I was counting down the days, hours, and even seconds until it was time.
After a few months of waiting, the day finally came and I was on a plane on my way to Ecuador! It was so surreal. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that it was going to be life-changing.
That is exactly what it did. It changed my life. My eyes have been opened and I will never be the same.
On our first day at one of the orphanages, as we pulled up to the gate, I started to get nervous. I couldn’t wait to hold those kids, but I didn’t know what it was going to be like. Where we going to be able to communicate? Where they going to like me? Will I know the right things to say?
As soon as we walked through the gate, all of the kids came running and each kid grabbed a team member, as if to claim them. A little girl grabbed me and I just picked her up and held her in my arms. That moment is something I will never forget. I wanted time to stand still.
As we spent the rest of the week playing with, loving on, and sharing God’s Word with the children, I realized this: all that the kids need is love. They just want someone to hold them, play with them and let them know that they are cherished. Not just by you, but by God.
Every single one of those kids is etched in my heart and in my mind. I have felt called to adopt for a long time and this trip verified it. I wish I could take them all! I may not be old enough yet, but when I am, it is something that I am definitely going to do. Those children are said to be unloved, but I want to love them! My heart hurts because they don’t have a forever family, but I know that they are taken care of.
On the last night, I told some of the members of my team that I would be back. I am so glad that I have been blessed with the opportunity to go back this summer. I absolutely cannot wait!
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about those precious kids and that beautiful country.