By Bailey Kalvelage | C2C Mobilization Director Isn’t it true - “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)? If this is the case, the giver in fact becomes the receiver - of joy, contentment, wisdom, and much more. Join me to peek into the lives of five US churches most often viewed as the givers. In this blog we’ll see how they have, in fact, become receivers.
Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for five fabulous US churches from Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. These faithful followers of Christ have partnered with World Orphans to lovingly care for orphaned and vulnerable children. With a combined 24-years of partnership experience, these churches will share how World Orphans short-term mission trips have impacted their own hearts and communities.
Our interviewees include…
- Suzanne of Lakewood Christian Church (McAlester, OK): Co-leader of their 5-year-old partnership with Eglise de Dieu D’Andullan of Haiti.
- Bethel Korean Presbyterian (Ellicott, MD): 3-year-old partnership with Eglise Baptiste Bellevue Salem of Haiti.
- George of Temple Baptist Church (Hattiesburg, MS) – Leader of their 5-year-old partnership with Eglise de Dieu de la Bible of Haiti.
- Kim of Calvary Chapel of Troy (Troy, MO): Leader of their 5-year-old partnership with United Community Methodist Church of Uganda.
- Kathy of River Oaks Community Church (Maryville, TN): Leader of their 6-year-old partnership with Fountain of Hope of Kenya.
We asked our panel of all-stars to describe the impact that World Orphans short-term mission trips, within their partnerships, have had on both the goers, as well as their church.
Four major themes emerged…
DYNAMIC IMPACT #1: Deeper Understanding | One can be rich in spirit, regardless of material possessions and circumstances.
“I think on an overall level, our eyes have been opened to what it looks like to live for Christ in a different culture. We have seen families, with little worldly goods, live a life of love and community in Christ… Personally, I have learned so much from my Haitian friends. God used a woman to show me that while her day-to-day life may look different than mine, we are both mothers just trying to do the best for our kids in the best way we know how… I've seen sacrificial love lived out, I've seen hospitality done well, and I've seen faith, hope and love lived out well" (Suzanne of Lakewood).
“The Haiti trips have given me a greater understanding of God's people, and have shown me what truly loving others is supposed to be like. I've seen how God works in the lives of people who have close to nothing, yet have so much joy. This has changed the way I view circumstances in my life. I always remind myself that no matter what I go through, God is with me and He is enough" (Danielle of Lakewood).
“[I have been impacted by] the home based care visits. I thought we would be a blessing, but I came away so blessed by them and their strong HOPE in Christ in the midst of such poverty...” (River Oaks Team Member).
DYNAMIC IMPACT #2: Lives Transformed Eternally
“Once a person chooses to obey God's calling to go, God starts His transforming work with that member. Obedience and submission lead to transformation” (Kim of Calvary Troy).
“[The trips have] made eternal differences in the lives of our students. Some have focused their career paths to social work, ministry, language, medicine, or civil engineering as a result of these trips” (George of Temple).
“It's made me more aware of other needs in the world. I am more thankful for what I have and have an increased desire to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with” (Brett of Lakewood).
“Tracey, who has been our team nurse for the past 3 years, never felt led to evangelize at our medical clinics. However, this year she felt called to spend time in prayer with some of her patients… She and her husband spent one whole day at the medical clinic praying and sharing the gospel with those waiting to be seen. They led several people to Christ, including a few Muslims” (Calvary Troy Team Member).
“Gene has been transformed from a germophobe who highly valued his comfort zone into a man who totally trusts God in all circumstances” (Calvary Troy Team Member).
DYNAMIC IMPACT #3: Hearts Stirred to Love and Action
“[The trips have fostered] increased motivation to act on behalf of vulnerable children - both here and there - by the significance and beauty of hands-on ministry” (Kathy of River Oaks).
“Fred has been transformed from a borderline racist to a man who wants to live in Africa. He now considers our church partners his brothers and can't wait to see them again soon” (Calvary Troy Team Member).
“Our ministry has helped encourage other members of our church to think and move outside the four walls of the church building” (Kim of Calvary Troy).
“The teams often return with a deeper sense of perspective regarding 'what matters most', increased faith in the God, increased passion for the fatherless, increased willingness to serve those in need, and an increased willingness to give” (Kathy of River Oaks).
DYNAMIC IMPACT #4: Authentic Partnership Within the Body of Christ
“Every year a team goes [to Haiti], it is really the whole church that is sending us. Even just in fundraising, we would not have been able to raise all the funds we needed without the support of our church in donations and helping with fundraising events. Every year we go, we add new people that are interested in going to Haiti. We also hold monthly prayer meetings to pray for the children and to get updates on status” (Leader of Bethel Korean Presbyterian).
“Short-term mission trips don't have to be about projects or about entertaining the visiting church or making us feel good about what we're "doing". Visiting your partner church is about people. It's about developing a relationship, loving and encouraging one another, glorifying God together. … We have connected with people in another country who were once strangers to us, but who are now our family. We miss each other throughout the year. We pray for each other. And when we see each other again, it's like a family reunion” (Suzanne of Lakewood).
World Orphans is blessed to serve alongside these rock-star church partners! We are encouraged to hear how Christ pursues and transforms willing hearts among those who have traveled on a partnership trip. We praise the Lord who has taken our simple act of visiting each other on short-term mission trips and created moments that will impact lives for all eternity. He enables us to love well, give selflessly, and receive humbly.
If you are interested in joining one of our dynamic trips, check out JOURNEY!
If you want to learn more about how your church, too, can partner in international orphan care, check out WO PARTNERSHIPS.
What a joy it is to serve together with brothers and sisters around the world to care for children!