19 Lives Forever Changed!
By Cinda Rachor
From the outside, this looks like an ordinary group of teens…sons and daughters, students, fast food workers, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, softball, volleyball and football players, actors, musicians, and experts at texting and facebooking. But, on the inside there is so much more…and I believe God has only just begun!
For nearly 4 years, my husband and I have been in the process of adopting Amelia, a sweet, loving, and sometimes shy little girl who for 3 years has lived at Dorie’s Promise. Our youth group has heard lots of stories about Amelia, the other orphans she lives with, the poverty of so many in Guatemala and the joy we experience each time we visit. After awhile, the teens began asking us if they could go with us on our next visit to Dorie’s Promise. They wanted to meet the children that we for so long had been asking them to pray for. They not only wanted to meet them, they wanted to serve them, love them, make them understand they are valuable, special and wanted. And there it began…teen’s lives being forever changed…changed from only focusing on their own needs to wanting to make in a difference in the lives of others.
With our youth pastor’s support, a youth mission trip was officially on the schedule! Teens filled out applications, turned in references, and with the team chosen, the year-long training process began.
The mission team meets once a month to learn about Guatemalan culture, the plight of orphans, and our Christ-ordained responsibility to care for those in need. The students learned about themselves and about each other as they shared their personal faith testimonies and brainstormed about how to raise the money needed to travel. These kids were eager to organize and work at several different fund-raisers in order to have the funds it would take to go and serve others.
We now have about 2 months until we travel. The students have most of their money raised (phew and praise God!), passports and immunizations received, relief items collected, and a renewed focus. We are beginning to “get it”…beginning to understand that we are doing this trip not JUST because we want to or JUST because we can, but because we are realizing how much we have been LOVED, FORGIVEN, and BLESSED by Jesus Christ.
This mission trip has the potential to truly be one of those “forever changed” experiences. As we intersect our lives with the lives of orphans, prisoners, the homeless, the abandoned, and the forgotten…our most sincere prayer is that they would know the power of the God in whose name we come.
Our community is inspired by these “ordinary teens” as they set aside a week of their summer, work for months to raise the necessary money, speak to their church about their passion, and anticipate the lasting impact they want to have on the orphans at Dorie’s Promise and on the people in surrounding communities.
Your community may be ready to be inspired, your teens may be eager for the challenge, you as a youth group leader may be ready to walk along side teens as they allow God to work in and through them. Come to Guatemala to forever change the life of an orphan and watch your own life begin to be changed…maybe even before you get there!