Throughout the past two weeks, to the best of my ability, I have tried to reflect the opinions, viewpoints, and observations of the entire mission team. But with fifty folks in tow, each of whom looks at the world through different lenses, that is not an easy task.
For one of the last blogs on our trip, I offered each participant the opportunity to submit a few sentences about what the trip meant to them. Everyone had the chance to do so, and I hope that now, since have returned to the United States, many more will post their thoughts as a response to this entry.
(I have only edited, when asked by the author, for grammatical purposes.)
From Bobbi Riley – “Some things will stay with me always. The shy little girl who wouldn’t raise her head until she saw the clowns… then a smile filled her face. The joy in the hearts of the handicapped as they so proudly performed for us. That sweet little boy at the first orphanage who eagerly showed me down the hallways. The tears one boy cried when he learned we were not staying with them. The little four-year-old who endlessly hugged and clung to me… then gave me a big kiss when it was time to leave. The faces of these children are forever in my mind and their spirits in my heart. I will remember them always in my prayers.”
Ivonne Long – “This has been an amazing journey… Several times my heart was sad for those precious children. For me, the hardest thing was the transition between spending time at the orphanage (for special needs children) and singing at the church. One child sang his heart out for us as he stood on one good leg and the other leg was a crutch. They all shared an equal love, love for those around them, a giving spirit and kindness… no grumbling… I was able to see them the way God sees them, without blemish or fault. (At the concert), we met very nice people who were very complimentary. One young man and his wife came up to me and seemed to apologize for the size of their church. He said, “Our church is very small. Our choir, too.” All I could say was, “You all may be small in size but you are great in spirit, generosity, and the love of Christ Jesus.”
Ivonne also wanted to share Acts 2:25-28 – “I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. My body will also live in hope because You will not abandon me to the grave nor will You let Your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life. You will fill me with joy in Your presence.”
Julianna Sproul – “To sum up my mission trip experience in a paragraph is not an easy task. The corporate worship we experienced each time we ministered in music was truly a glimpse of what heaven will be like, all worshiping our Lord together in one voice. The looks on the faces of the children at the orphanages as our bus drove away from them will be etched in my mind forever; a photograph would never do it justice. Sharing the whole range of ups and downs of this trip strengthened the bond with my choir family, and I hope we will carry it back home to Mount Paran and be more effective in what God has called us to do. And I felt such pride as we visited our own Mount Paran missionary in the Ukraine, Jane Hyatt, and her home for orphans… a home where the love and the gospel she shares make her a miracle to this country. May I return home with a song and reminder in my heart, “with all creation I sing, praise to the king of kings, You are my everything, and I will adore you.”
Jane Nellums – “Christ made the difference. The children at Jane Hyatt’s (The Ark) knew the love of Jesus, and the sweet teenage girl said the most beautiful prayer as were leaving. The dove of peace was over the estate. “ “We gave Bibles to every child, and it’s the word of God that changes the soul. He restores the soul, whatever the conditions are around the person.”
Jonathan Herrera – “I cannot put into words how my life has been changed by this missions trip. I have built new relationships with my choir family, but more important, with the Lord. It is only because of Him that we made it through these past ten days. The pain of seeing the faces of these children, the teas we shed when we had to leave, the uncertainty of what is to come when we leave… all the unanswered questions and feelings can only be satisfied through a love that is greater than all! I am privileged to be a part of this missions trip and a part of this choir. I can’t wait to see the fruits of our labor. To God be all the glory.”
More to come…