It never seizes to amaze me how much perfection God puts into bringing together the most amazing people to make up these teams with which we travel on these life-changing mission trips, at least the ones I’ve been on. This trip was no exception.
It was a first-of-its kind mission/cultural trip and it was perfect. I’m walking away with a tremendous sense of gratitude to each and every one on this trip for the lessons I learned from without them even being aware of it.
Mark and Dee, your leadership always make the ‘yes’ for these trips come easy and given the nature of this trip, I figured we’d be in for a treat. Your vision never seizes to amaze me and the heart you have for the tens of thousands of children whose lives have been impacted so positively is nothing short of contagious. As is usually the case with you Dee, I could see your head spinning as you stared out the window of the bus, very likely planning what’s next. Honestly, I can’t wait to hear all about it. Thank you Dee and Mark for always leading the way.
It was a real treat to see Sherri, Bailey and Dana have this experience together, especially at a time when so much beautiful change is coming to them with Bailey’s quickly-approaching entrance into college, where we all know she’s going to be great. What a beautiful family you are, inside and out. With every tear Sherri cried each time one of the kids would come over to her with a hug, I grew in my admiration for the dedication you have to change the world for these children. Thank you Sherri, Bailey and Dana for reiterating the powerful impact a dedicated family can make in this world.
Scott you are simply amazing. You were the bonding agent, leading the debriefs and encouraging us to open up about what we experienced which I feel really helped us all not only bond as a group but be more deliberate about expressing what we were experiencing, each of us from our vantage points which are so diverse. On so many occasions I could see how focused and dedicated you are to the ‘vision’ aspect of it all, on getting to know the vision of those people leading the charge as child champions and boots on the ground. Thank you Scott for reminding me that there is great power in vision and in allowing God to lead us to where we will do the most good.
I was so happy you were on this trip Peter. We all relied on you leading up to the trip and the surgeon-like precision with which you were able to plan it (which we all have come to know and appreciate to be a daunting task) is nothing short of impressive. It was great to get to know you on a personal level and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking how extremely grateful we are not only for your role in the planning and coordination of the trip but for sharing and opening up about what this meant to you as well. Thank you Peter for your selflessness and your dedication.
Janie although you had to leave us early, it was great to have you as part of this group and really great to get to know you. You have so much heart for these children and it was great that you were able to meet your sponsored child of so many years. The fact that you brought along so many of her letters I’m sure meant the world to her and your relationship has certainly been made stronger than ever before. You are a sweetheart and I can’t wait to get to know you better. Continued prayers for you and your family as you journey through this difficult time. Thank you Janie for reminding me how much beauty there is in an open heart.
I love hearing people’s testimonies and learning how they came to know the Lord and Anna, your story was a beautiful one indeed. I loved your tone, your softness as you shared so many great stories that I know I will always cherish. I also loved how much interest you had in getting to know our stories as well. It was so touching to experience you meeting your sponsored children for the first time and I know you’ve made a difference in the lives of so many children so far, now solidifying that relationship even further. Thank you Anna for sharing your faithfulness.
Karol, meeting you was a real treat and I so enjoyed your adventurous spirit when it came to the food. Brave Karol was willing to try it all. It was so nice getting to know you and hearing stories about your travels to exotic places to meet other sponsored children. Your dedication and passion for helping them thrive is a beautiful thing indeed. Thank you Karol for sharing your story and the importance of learning how to make ‘lemonade’.
I forgot to ask you during the trip but Mary, I need to find out what vitamins you take. You are always so much fun to be around and since this was a second trip with you, I knew you were going to be a blast. I love love love how much you enjoy playing and being around the children and since you’re a magnet for them, you rarely had an opportunity to rest when they were around. I love your heart for service and always enjoy hearing you share stories about so many mission trips which you’ve been on. Thank you Mary for reminding me that the most important thing we can offer children is our time.
Karla, you’re always so much fun. In your own quiet way, you’re always looking into how you can do more. I love your willingness in all things – your willingness to serve, your willingness to inquire about how you can help and your willingness to make a difference in the lives of children every day. I love your adventurous spirit and can’t wait to hear about your travels this summer (secretly wishing Florida is somewhere on that list so that at least we could meet in the middle). Thank you Karla for reminding me that there is always more we can do to bring hope where hope is needed.
One of my goals for this trip was getting to know you a little better Garrie and I feel blessed and honored that I was able to do that. You are an amazing lady and you have taught me that there is a great deal of God-given power in living a life dedicated to elevating others as you have done with your family, as a successful Alumni and as a successful woman in a business which is all about helping people get to that next level. You are walking your walk lady and I admire that so much. I love the connection you made with Risa and know that the impact you are making in her life will help her to elevate her family and community as well. She has a great example in a sponsor to follow. Thank you Garrie for reminding me that we can always make a difference (and look great doing it).
When Jorge first agreed to come on this trip, I have to admit I didn’t know what I was in for. I’m so blessed that you came along and have so loved watching you connect with these children and experience first-hand the impact you have been dedicated to all these years for all our children around the globe. I know what a giving heart you have and could tell you instantly became addicted to missions, experiencing first-hand what a difference you are actually making, which I was not-so-secretly praying for. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you on this journey but can tell it’s going to be amazing.
And then there’s Mai – the life of the party, the lover of all the foods in this exotic land. It’s been a treat to have had a front-row seat to see you blossom into this amazing young badass woman, successful entrepreneur and conductor at times of your beautiful family over the years. Having said that, it’s only fair to say that it’s truly been a blessing to experience this trip with you. You embraced vulnerability to open up and share the gift of your stories with us so that we could hear what your heart was experiencing. You laughed, you welcomed every experience with a team-player attitude and you made it a blast for the rest of us. What was most beautiful was seeing your heart in full force and effect. The compassion, empathy and love you naturally have for people is beyond beautiful. Dareach is so blessed to have you in his life and we know he’s already proud. We loved watching him show you off to his friends and the realization that your letter and picture are going to mean so much to him is a testament to the impact you have already made in his life. You have a huge heart for giving and service and making a difference and surely I’m not alone in saying that watching all of it made this trip that much more special. Thank you for teaching me that God’s gifts of compassion and love are meant to be shared with everyone we come in contact with.
I will thank God for the rest of my days for the beautiful people I was able to share this experience with and can’t wait to see what’s next for all of these world changers.