My summer journey started on the 29th of May after saying good-bye to my family and friends in Maine. We first headed to New York by bus. The trip there didn’t go as planned! By accident we had taken the wrong exit and it took us about nine hours (instead of six or five) to get to New York.
God was really testing us and seeing how much faith we had in Him. We got to the airport 15 minutes before the plane was to depart. After arriving at the airport everything happened so quickly that is was kind of scary because it was my first time flying. But with prayers and faith we all made it on the plane and were on our way to Belarus.
We first flew into Moscow, from Moscow to Ukraine, and from Ukraine we took a bus to Belarus. The bus ride was extremely long. From Ukraine to the first border crossing it was about eight hours. Till the next stop it was another eight hours. That was where we dropped off the first team of volunteers but also picked another team up. From there it was another eight hours until we arrived in our orphanage located in Bykovshina, Belarus.
After being on the road for that long we finally made it, but when we got there it was already morning. We had driven through the whole night. After getting settled in our room we explored a little. From all of the stories I have heard I imagined it a lot worse. We had our own room with the girls, we were allowed to shower every day, and we also had hot running water for most of the time. We had seven people in our team.
The children were divided into three groups: oldest, middle, and youngest. So we divided our team into three groups as well. I was placed in the older group along with another volunteer named Anton. While we had crafts, sports, and game time together with the other groups, we did the Bible classes in our own individual groups.
The children in my group were from 14-16 year of age. They know a lot of the Bible stories. There were several times when they would tell us what happened before we could even finish the stories! Many of the children even had their own Bibles in their rooms. But there we times when they would ask questions about God’s love and other deep topics. We would end up having deep conversations with them because these things had never been explained to them.
The three weeks went by fast, but amazing. I got to know so many of the kids. You get so attached to them that you feel like you have known them for so much longer than one or two weeks. As it came closer to the last day the children would always remind themselves (and us as well) that we were going to be leaving soon. It all happened so fast that it didn’t feel like three weeks.
Good-byes were the hardest part. Knowing that you might not see some of them again was the saddest part. After spending three weeks there it made me really think about my life and how blessed I am to have so much. And I ask for you to keep these children in your prayers so that they don’t forget that God loves them.