HOW MY MISSION TRIP BECAME A JOURNEY OF PERSONAL GROWTH
Judson senior, Leslie Morris, was one of those. This is her story...
"Words cannot accurately express how incredible my trip to Niger, Africa truly was...
There were many obstacles to overcome, and sometimes raising enough money seemed impossible, but the hard work made the reward even sweeter. Other than coming to know Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, no other time in my life has ever been as significant as this trip was. The change that this experience brought about in me helped me understand how all of the "other stuff" was completely worth it.
During preparation for the trip, there were a few obstacles early on. As a group, we woke up every weekday at 6 a.m. and worked out for an hour. We also had to give up carbonated beverages, coffee, and tea in order to get our bodies used to not having caffeine while we were in Africa.
In addition, it was harder to raise funds than I expected. My parents were also unsure about whether or not I should take this journey. Luckily, it all came together in time for the trip. Once we were finally in Africa, I started feeling sick.
"I am a little unsure if I should even be in Africa - the kids seem so dirty, the heat is never ending - but maybe it's just because I feel so miserable."
The morning time was more structured, while the afternoon was relaxed so we could just spend quality time with the children. The group in Kollo went from village to village in that city telling stories and hanging out with the people. While there, they distributed school supplies (pencils and pads of paper).
I have never been much of a "kid person" so I was a bit apprehensive about working in an orphanage. I prayed that God would grant me patience and wisdom, because I have never been a patient person. However, it was nearly impossible not to fall in love with these kids. They were not perfect little angels by any means, and we did not speak the same language, but they taught me so much.
From my journal, "... we brought them all cookies and lemonade. Even though they have so little, most of them offered us one of the two cookies they received."
These kids were the poorest of the poor, and yet they wanted to share with us. Their generosity really humbled me. The last day at the orphanage was very difficult. In my journal I wrote, "... I tossed and turned all night..." the night before our last day, saying that, "This is going to be a hard day." We did not get to spend as much time with the kids as I wanted to that day. I also wondered if the kids understood we were saying good-bye for the last time.
From my journal, "It was sad saying good-bye. It really hurt my heart. Amber (another student on the trip) started crying, which made me cry a little. It's sad to know that I will probably never find out what will happen to these kids...."