A Candid Missions Testimony from Grace: Once an Orphan & Now a Beloved Daughter
There are times when we get to sit and watch something incredible happen. Something that completes a circle… a circle that started with loss, but now carries a story of redemption, family, and new beginnings. This particular something is the story of a little girl who was adopted from China at a young age and now as a teenager serves overseas with One Orphan partnerships whenever she has the opportunity. This is her story.
Let me start off by saying how good God is. The way He orchestrates each and every one of our lives. The way He crosses our paths with others. How He has a purpose for ALL of us. He is a God of indescribable love. He planned this mission trip and this trip has impacted MY life, but also the lives of the other people on the team.
I was speechless when it came to writing about this trip. I thought to myself, “How can I put such an amazing trip into words?” But I sat down and ended up with this:
What a life changing, heart wrenching, revealing, and amazing trip**. God revealed how His love is stretched around the whole world. That He is with us, these orphans, and their country. When I heard we were able to go, I had an expectation of what it would be like. This trip, this country, the people totally exceeded my expectations to the point where I was in awe. In awe of how God could make such beautiful, loving, and compassionate people, and somehow cross our path with theirs. The light of God in them shines brighter than the darkness around them and they were SO hard to say goodbye to. Countless tears were shed when we had to leave these children, but God has a plan for them. We WILL NOT cease to pray for our return, and spread His Word and worship Him in all the nations.
I would trade the WORLD to be with them one more day…one more hour…even one.more.minute. I can’t even fathom what my life would be like without this trip. This has changed my life and I don’t know where my heart would be without it. The children at the orphanage were the most kind, compassionate, and humble people I have ever met. They have so little, yet their love for God and each other exceeds anything I could’ve ever imagined. As I look back over the pictures and videos of the children, all I can do is cry. Cry and long for our return. I just want to see them again, see them laugh, see them play, see them being themselves. God is calling me to this country, and I WILL return because HE is on my side. I will fear no evil because He is already in the situation. He has always provided a way and I have no doubt that He will ever stop.
I was an orphan too. Not knowing WHY my birthparents gave me up is a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing because I can think about all the good reasons they might have done so. They might have done it for my safety and protection. They might’ve done it so I’d have a better life. Not knowing has been very helpful, but it also leaves room for the bad reasons to creep into my head. Maybe they didn’t want me. Maybe they thought I wasn’t good enough…. See? Who knows why they gave me up! But either way, I now have God. When those untrue reasons creep into my mind, I can refocus and think about how if they hadn’t made another plan for me, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have an amazing mom and dad who love me. I wouldn’t have amazing brothers who would protect me. I might not even know Jesus… So, I can look back at my past and think of it in a bad way and think about all the negative reasons, or I can think of it in a good way. I can think about all I have now that I might not have then.
I’m going through all of this to explain one of the reasons I was called on the One Orphan service trip. I have a different perspective on how life would be as an orphan…because I was one. I know the feeling of not knowing my birthparents, and not knowing why they abandoned me. I can see some of the children’s hurt, and it breaks my own heart.
When I went to China in 2016, I was with the 1 and 2 year olds. They are extraordinary and I regret nothing about that trip, but China is completely different from this new opportunity. They are not even comparable. This year, I was with the kids that are my age, but in China I was with kids much younger than me. To be honest, this trip was a lot harder. Don’t get me wrong, China was definitely hard, but this was a different level. The 1 and 2 year olds in China couldn’t comprehend their own past, or why they didn’t have parents, but the kids that I hung out with this year…they could understand. Hearing some of their stories just BROKE my heart. They understood if their parents didn’t want them, or if their mom and dad were dead. These kids could understood their past, and they knew what they had been through to end up in the orphanage. It was extremely hard to realize this. I saw how strong they were…rephrase… I saw how strong they HAD to be. Many of them had younger siblings, they had to be strong for their little brothers and little sisters. They were put in a role that they might have not been ready for. Nobody can understand how hard it must be for them, unless you are one of them.
I say all of this to explain that this country has been a unique experience that I will never forget. I wish all who read this could feel and understand how bad I long to go back with those kids. Every night when I’m trying to fall asleep, my mind and heart think of this trip and all the amazing memories that were made there. I remember the kid’s laugh and they’re voices singing out to the Lord. Every morning when I wake up, my mind and heart think of them. I cannot escape the fact that this country has changed my life for the better and I would never want to escape that fact. This country has been one of the best things that I have experienced. My words above can’t even do justice to what my heart feels and longs for. But I want to say that nothing is going to keep me from doing service work because God is within me, and I will not fail.
** The destination of this service trip has intentionally been excluded from the testimony. One Orphan operates under strict guidelines in certain countries.