- Posted August 22, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Travel snapshots: Your summer vacation
Let Your Vacation Change Your Life
The last 2 years I have decided to mix my vacation time with sharing the good news on mission trips, so instead of getting somewhere, just lying on a beach, and letting my time be meaningless. I went overseas to Russia in Saint Petersburg and worked in orphanages and hospitals that cater to children who were abused or left with no one or nowhere to go. Every moment that I spent there became much more than just time off, but moments that will reside in my heart and soul. I got to experience a new culture for what it truly was, beyond what it may have been if I was just traveling for my own sake or purpose. When I chose my trip, wanted to go with a church or organization that was Christ centered, because I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What I didn’t know was the changes that would happen in heart because I chose to do Gods will. When I arrived in Saints Petersburg I spent the first couple days working in the orphanages and hospitals doing a vacation bible school with the children and tasting some of the most amazing Russian dishes, Borsch is my favorite! We took one day during the trip to act like tourist, going to the Hermitage, Catherine’s Palace, and the Church of the Spilled Blood.
After our adventures through the city and the amazing rides on the local transit system, we went back to the orphanages to teach, play, and minister with the children. Then the most unexpected thing happened to me, early in the morning one of the girls in the orphanage about 10 years of age, became one of my best friends. She ended up spending the whole day with me and my group from Texas, which is amazing because usually the orphanage will not allow the children to leave their class room and travel to others. I use to be a gymnast so I did hand stand pushups, told stories, played games, and whatever I could do to make the children laugh. By the end of the day, I already knew that I would never forget the little bit of time I got to spend with her. But then something else happened that was unexpected, we sat down to color at the end of the day and she drew a big heart and put a cross inside of it. She wrote her name in Russian on one side and my name in Russian on the other side. She then wrote the name Jesus and the word “friend”, then she looked right at me and told me “you see, you and me we are just friends, but God, He is my Father”. So I looked at her and realized that the very message she wrote on that construction paper, was on my ring, which was a heart with a cross. So I showed her my ring and she flipped out, because she didn’t see my ring or know that I am a Christian. Then as I was leaving, I told her that as long as she believes, one day, no one will be able to separate us. So at the end of the day, I meditated on the amount of faith this child showed and the fact that she was rejected by her family, adopted by another family, then rejected once more and sent back to the orphanage. Then examined what we call our American life and how so many of us in America truly don’t know who our father is, but we all strive to have that relationship. After going over it, over and over again, I came to the realization that maybe I was not ministering to her, but that she was ministering to me. If a little girl who has nothing, no father, no mother, no money, nothing! Can look at me and tell me, that God is her father, then how much more, should we as Americans look to God as our father. Because of her Testimony, I have committed my life to doing Gods will, serving on missions all over the world, and sharing her story, her testimony, in chapels, in prisons, in rehabs, in coffee shops, and restaurants all over the world.