Tag Archives: compassion

To See Them Smile

10 Jul

Blog post by Lauren Y., Team India 2012

I can’t believe I’m leaving for India in a little over one month! Two years ago when God laid the kids in India on my heart, I never imagined I’d actually be able to go make a difference in their lives. I feel so completely blessed to have this opportunity.

Ever since 8th grade, I’ve attended mission trips with my church or school. Usually these trips involved working with kids in some way. I always got such joy out of playing with them, loving on them, and seeing them smile.

I realized that I am most happy and content with my life when I’m helping someone else to be happy. My mom helped me realize this fact when I came home from helping with VBS just beaming and filled with stories. She said, “You might want to consider studying to become a teacher!” So that’s exactly what I did. As an Education major, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different kinds of kids. I realized that I’m often drawn to those who come from difficult backgrounds or are less fortunate than many. I feel as though so often these types of kids are neglected or overlooked.

This is why I’m so drawn to India. Often times I think people are either unaware of the amount of kids living in the streets, or they don’t know what to do about it. I know I can’t fix the situation these kids are in, but I can at least let them know how much they’re loved and give them hope for the future. When I was looking for organizations going on mission trips to India and I came across Journey 117, I was so drawn to what they were trying to do. Loving on kids, just as God loves us, learning about what God would have us do to give justice to the oppressed, and enlightening others on the topic of injustice in the world.

People often ask me, “Why India?” And honestly, I don’t have a definite answer. All I know is that God has given me a passion for the country and its people. For about 2 years, I have been praying for an opportunity to go, and finally God has said, “Yes!” I can’t wait. Although I am so nervous and anxious, I am so excited that this trip could be the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life!

Lauren resides in North Carolina and will be serving with Journey117 this month on Team India.  

I’m Merely a Vessel

7 Jul

Blog post by Christina D., Team India 2012

Ever since a young age, my heart had an interest in those who are orphaned. As a 12 year old, I apparently had found nothing else more interesting than returning home from school to plop on the couch and watch TLC’s show Adoption Stories.  Something about the reality of seeing children in America and various parts of the world who were never cradled by their birth mother and father was gut wrenching for me, and also the long process for couples to finally meet with their adopted child. My heart was stirred. I wanted to have every single orphaned child from infant to teen in my home. I wanted to scoop them up and hug them, love them and be their new mom….at age12. Hmmm not a realistic dream for a 12 year old, but what I did know from that point, is that one day I wanted to adopt children of my own. As I saw it at the time, why would I be selfish enough to bring more children in the world when there are so many in need of a home and so few who choose to adopt. This is where my heart for the fatherless began.

Throughout the years, God only continued to provoke my heart to compassion for orphan children. I was able to serve one day in high school in an orphanage in Guadalupe, Mexico and it amazed me how loving they were despite their circumstances and how eager they were to be loved in return. Living in the border city of El Paso, Texas during college opened my eyes to the poverty and orphanages just across the border in Juarez, Mexico. This stirred my heart even more.

My view today, at 25, is still the same. I wholeheartedly desire to adopt at least one of my children someday. Till then, it does not by any means, mean that my passionate, God given heart for the orphaned has to refrain from acting now. My love and yearning heart for orphans has burned inside me and while that is great, that is just where it stayed, inside me. Which leads me to my journey to India. I cannot even begin to explain how eager I am to serve the Lord in this way with my team and to finally put actions to my God given desire. I do not want to continue to let time waste away while I yearningly stand back. I want to understand the burdens of this culture and how God is at work there; to know their needs and how we can meet them.

I am filled with satisfaction knowing that it is God’s desire and His compassionate heart and love for the fatherless that fills me. His business of caring for the needy is reflected in scripture in Psalm 10:18, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” And my personal favorite James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  This is the Lord’s passion given to me, His heart! I’m merely a vessel that has been given a great opportunity. I can’t say I know how or what God is going to lead me to do in the future, I hope to always serve the Fatherless in any capacity. Right now I know that this is the next step in uncovering more of His heart as a Father for these children. This is my journey.

Christina resides in Texas and will be serving with Journey117 in July on Team India. 

From Spiritual Wilderness to a Life of Compassion

6 Jul

Blog post by Alex E., Team India 2012

The stories of the Old Testament are, unfortunately, sometimes viewed as just that; stories with no relevance for where we find ourselves in the world today. But God’s Word speaks powerful truths into our lives, even through these childhood stories. I have always been fascinated by the story of Moses and the Exodus, a man chosen by God to do the impossible. Little did I know that over the years God would reveal to me that He still does just that.

We’ve all seen the pictures of baby Moses being placed into a basket by his mother and sent down the Nile River. He is brought in by the daughter of Pharaoh and raised as a prince in the splendors of Egypt. But he never forgets his heritage is tied to the Israelites, who are enslaved in Egypt. An unfortunate event sends him from the grand palaces and into the wilderness for 40 years. That, however, is where God meets with him and places an incredible calling on his life. He will return to his former home and deliver God’s people from bondage.

I like to believe that as Moses recounted his life, as he penned the book of Exodus, he stood in awe at the hand of God in his life. I’m praying at this moment that as I recount my own story, I would be amazed at God’s guiding hand in my own life. I don’t know who my birth mother was or why she left me at a hospital in Korea after my birth. But I do know that, by God’s incredible grace, I was rescued and brought into absurd luxury by my adoptive parents. I have been given opportunities to succeed that millions of orphans around the world could never dream of.

But just like Moses, mistakes in my life led me into a spiritual wilderness. I was lost, I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but was never even sure about that. Then, just as Moses had an unexpected encounter with God, I found myself in the same place, and no, I have never seen a burning bush. But about a year ago I read an article about a girl that had also been adopted. In it, she said that she knew she had been rescued for a reason, and that reason was to live her life to rescue others. I don’t know what about that caught my attention, but I started wrestling with deep questions about my life. What was my story? Why was it that story? What did God want me to do? Was I living for the wrong reasons?

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God took Lion King and brought about a life’s passion

5 Nov

Blog post by Breanna A., Team Ethiopia 2011

I can honestly say that what first stirred my heart for Africa was watching Lion King as a kid. I was taken with the gorgeous scenery, catchy music, and wild animals. Now, I know that Africa is not quite how Disney portrays it to be, but that longing to go has been deeply rooted in my heart from an early age. Anytime I was asked that question, “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” I always answered with Africa. My passion and heart for Africa has grown immensely from that first experience with Lion King. The Lord has been stirring in my heart and has constantly brought Africa to the front of my mind. To go was never a question of ‘IF’, but a question of ‘WHEN’.

It wasn’t until I began my college career at Kansas State University that I realized exactly what it was that I felt so passionate about. When I came to college, I had no idea about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was overwhelming trying to decide. So I prayed and prayed. I eventually discovered a major called Family Studies and Human Services. I fell in love with the idea of getting to help people as a job! Over the last three years, the Lord has been creating in me a heart for the fatherless. Organizations like Invisible Children, TOMS, Love 146, Not For Sale and Passion Conferences have added fuel to the flame in my soul. But for me, it just wasn’t enough to learn about the global problem of orphaned children, I wanted to DO something. I wanted to CHANGE the lives of these children. I wanted them to know the LOVE and FREEDOM that Christ offers.

I had been searching and praying for an opportunity to serve and volunteer in an orphanage overseas for the past year. I knew the Lord was calling me to go, but I wasn’t sure when or how. But the Lord was faithful and opened that door to my sister and I at Passion 2011 in Fort Worth. They had something called the RightNow Campaign that placed believers with a heart for missions with an organization that fit their passions. We were given the information for Journey117 and made contact with them immediately. Once I found out that they had a trip in December to Ethiopia that would be focused on serving orphans and visiting orphanages, I knew that I was called to go. So, I applied!

Since the day I applied to go, the Lord has been revealing to me His heart for the orphans. I had the verse 1 John 3:17, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” written in sharpie on my wrist for a good month. My constant prayer is that I would never close my heart to a brother or sister in need. That my heart would break for what breaks the Lord’s, and that I would be filled with passion that moves me to compassion. I love how our study book Get Uncomfortable defines compassion as suffering alongside someone and then doing something about it. Passion isn’t enough. My heart for orphans and Africa isn’t enough. God is calling me to compassion. And in December 2011, I will have the opportunity to live life with orphaned children in Ethiopia. I will see their joy and laughter. But, I will also experience their hurt and pain from loss and rejection. I can only imagine how the Lord will use my time in Ethiopia, but I cannot think of a cause more worthy of my life’s dedication than to the advocacy of orphans.

Breanna A. will be serving on the Ethiopia Journey 117 Team leaving in December 2011.