It was a bumpy bus ride. I remember thinking that the driver didn’t know where he was going and must be lost. But he kept driving, deeper and deeper into the forest. After what seemed like forever, we pulled up to an old building. It was another orphanage. But why was this one so far away from the others we’d been to in the last week?
It was an orphanage for special needs kids. In Russia, they send these kids away. Far away. To places like these, so that it’s easier to forget about them. Pretend like they don’t even exist. How can that be? I was sad. So very sad. We played ball with the kids, we blew bubbles, and we were just smiling happy faces giving out big hugs to all. I was a bit nervous for some reason, but those kids eased my mind with their sweet smiles and cheerful dispositions. I have to say that these kids were some of the happiest kids that I’ve ever seen. How could someone want to forget about them or want to pretend like they don’t exist?
What a tug of war there was going on in my soul. Why is this happening, God? Why can’t we take these orphans we’re meeting from the orphanages we’ve been to and falling in love with home with us? Why didn’t their parents want them? It was mind bending. Heart breaking. And I know this breaks God’s heart too.
I have never felt such a myriad of emotions during the two weeks I was in Russia with Hope4Kids International. I would take that trip again in a heartbeat. I will never forget that trip, and look forward to the next trip I can take to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To give hope to kids, even if it’s just a smile and a hug.
This was back in July of 2000, and I hope I get to take another life changing trip again soon. If this strikes a chord with anyone, I would highly encourage you to check out the Hope4Kids site. They offer trips all year long, and they’re incredible to work with. We even got to do some sight seeing, and a little shopping. I have to say that helped when I felt like I was about to burst from being so drained, it was helpful to see some sights and take a breather. We brought a LOT of medicine, had a medical and dental team there, went to a hospital to help clean it up, went to 3 different orphanages, and did some service project type work too.
Not only does Hope4Kids offer mission trips, they also have several other amazing programs going on. They have Education4Kids, Water4Kids, Adopt A Villiage, Sponsor A Child, and Dress A Girl. Hope4Kids is making a difference, all over the world.
Have any of you been on a life changing trip like the one I described? If so, what organization did you go with? I’d love to hear from you.