Last year, for the first time ever, I decided to go on a missionary trip with “Hand in Hand” missionary team.
Although my brother and sister had gone on missionary trips multiple times, I never got a chance to go until now. The trip was really amazing and there is a lot I could tell about it, however, I would like to share about one child that really touched my heart during that trip.
Her name is Valya.
Valya is a girl from a family whose parents lost their parental rights and who was adopted by another family. Despite the fact that the family lives poorly themselves, they adopted quite a few girls among whom was Valya. My missionary team leader, one local Christian man, and I got a chance to visit their house when we gave out food, clothing and Christian tracts with small gospels to certain families.
I noticed how poorly the family lived. They didn’t have a lot of furniture or other necessary things around the house, but had empty, plain walls covered with thin wall paper. We talked a little, gave them the things we had brought with us and invited Valya and other girls to come to our day-camp.
Because we invited her quite late, Valya was not with us for that long, but that was enough for her to get attached to us. When she came to play with us, she was not always dressed as well as the other kids. Some of her clothes had holes and stains. Sometimes she didn’t look so clean herself. I and some of my team-mates heard kids talk behind her back that they don’t want to play or be friends with her because she looked poor and couldn’t take care of herself. This made me feel really bad for her and I tried to give her more attention than I gave to some of the other children.
When the day came for us to have our last day-camp, out of all the children that we played with, Valya was the last one to leave us. She cried, hugged us and didn’t want to let go of us. This really touched me and I could feel that she did not receive enough love and attention at home. This made me wonder: if she does not feel loved in her family and around other children, where will she feel loved?
During our travels from place to place I often thought about her. For a while “she stayed in my eyes” and in my thoughts as if I had just seen her. She changed my priorities and made me realize that there are much more important and valuable things than just to live for yourself: to to live for others and to give them your love, your care and your compassion… that’s what it is all about.
If God is willing, I will get a chance to see Valya again. I will spend more time with her and try to build a close relationship in order to help her, to see her needs and to tell her about Jesus Christ who died for her as well.
However, even if I will not be able to see her, I know that children like her changed my life and my view of it. I once read a quote by Flavia Weedn: “Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.” Valya was that person for me. I pray and hope that one day she will receive Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and live a new, happy life with Him.