The 2011 winter trip to Belarus was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. There were many memorable events that occurred in Belarus—including but not limited to what seemed to be the longest flight ever, a lengthy recovery time after the flight, the distance traveled by car, the food we ate, the places that we slept… but the most important part of the trip involved the places that we visited, the people we met, and the lives that were touched during this past holiday season.
Visiting several places a day and sometimes driving for more than two hours to get from one orphanage to another, repeating the same play, and singing the same songs, we quickly became exhausted; this was especially the case toward the end of the trip. Day after day we were reminded to not forget that it could be our 20th visit, but for the children it would be their first one! Each day we asked God in prayer for strength and His blessing to be poured out onto our group, so that we in turn could be a blessing for the children we were about to visit.
I was amazed at how impatient and excited the children were for our arrival. Some of them were even counting down the days! I did not realize how much joy and excitement our program and the gifts that we distributed would bring to the children. Their eyes would light up with excitement and their faces were full of smiles as soon as small gift was placed in their hands.
Although much money and effort were spent to get to Belarus and to reach each child, seeing the joy and thankfulness in return was truly the most amazing and memorable experience. It was worth it to spend the money and time to go and visit those who are forgotten and hurt: the children who have do not have parents to care for them or a home of their own. I saw how just a small Christmas gift could change a life!
If you in some way, either financially or in prayer, participated in this past winter trip to Belarus– please know that you have made a difference!