Friday, September 23, 2011

I Want to Be There

It's been almost 9 months to the day I picked up my little sister from the Orphanage she had called "home" for the first four years of her life. The day I met a room full of Orphans that inspired me. In a lot of ways, I guess you could call it Speaking for the Silent's birthday. And hey, if you share a birthday with the savior of the world,  you're on a pretty good starting point!

Ever since returning, I've stayed in my home state of NY. And while that may sound boring, it's hardly been that way. I traveled up to Jellystone Park Campgrounds and Pathfinder Village and partied with some seriously awesome adoptive families and individuals with Down Syndrome. I met the family that adopted two of my little inspirations. It's been the summer of the orphan-no-more, to say the least.

And yet there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Ukraine.

I admit that my "Mission Work" there wasn't very extensive. Besides taking pictures of two of my little lovies, and visiting Julia every day, I didn't do much to further the love of God in that orphanage.

Yet the foretaste was enough.

It only got worse after the Reece's Rainbow get-together. Here I was helping families and loving on Special Needs people who know love and have love and it makes their day, imagine what it would mean to work with the least of these, showing love they might have never experienced. I've yearned for a mission trip, to say the least.

I'll often talk with other friends in the orphan ministry about the things I feel and go through. Because fact is, most of us know the same joys, hurts, happy's sad's, and everything in between. One close friend of mine has a HUGE heart for Peru. She's been there three times, she's done so many things to help and change lives there, it really is the place where she feels God the most. For me, I can feel God wherever the least of these, wherever or whoever they may be, are. I see Heaven in the eyes of people with Down Syndrome and other special needs, whose innocence is channeled the most in beautiful, selfless love. I see God in countries that need Him most, a large part of the reason Ukraine will always hold a place in my heart.

There's a scene at the end of the final Lord of the Rings movie, the Return of the King, after all has been won for good and the nations are restored to their normal lives. We see Frodo, the small, good-hearted Hobbit who carried the accursed One Ring across the world, pacing his small Hobbit House. The quote the narrates the scene is a stunner for sure.

"How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things time cannot mend, some hurts that go to deep, that have taken hold."

While Frodo's journey might have been far more perilous than 16 hours stuck in an airport, and my greatest wound was falling flat on my back on the icey sidewalk, there is no way to accurately describe the change of a journey made for adoption. Experiencing a culture so you can tell your son/daughter/sister/brother about it, and falling in love with it yourself. Saving one orphan, but realizing this won't be the last orphan you raise the shout for. Knowing the hurt an orphan feels will change you. And just like Frodo, you know there is no going back.

In so many ways, I would do anything to journey back to Ukraine. Endure 15+ hours of travelling, just to see the country that introduced me to international travel. To a different culture.

To the plight of the orphan.

I have no idea the next time I'll be able to go to Ukraine. I don't know the next time I'll travel internationally to follow God's call. It could be 6 months from now. It could be 6 years.

But if mission trips are the roaring wind of discipleship, we must also hear it in the still small voice. Carry that same vigor and closeness to God wherever we go.

I.E., the here and now.

 A friend once told me, "Honestly, "missionary work at its fullest" is wherever you go. We just refuse to see it. Germany or Ukraine or China need missionaries just as much or more than Haiti or Africa or Peru."

We live in a society today that's in need of God. Anywhere between Albany, NY, and Albania, someone needs the good news of the Gospel. That their sins have forgiven. That a second chance is right there waiting, and all they have to do is embrace it. And it's our Job to be missionaries not only where the need is most visible, but everywhere. That man on the street in NYC may be in just as much need as a Leper in Ghana. Your baby sister with Down Syndrome needs just as much love, care, and attention as that little lovie across the sea who's captured your heart.

So with all these thoughts in my mind, I offer a simple prayer: "God, you know my heart lies in the Words you inspired and the Work that comes with it. Help me to see the need for You just as much here as there, so I not only say, 'I want to be there,' but 'I'm glad to be here.'"


  1. And that is the bottom line. Serve him in the here and now, and the chances to reach the world will come in time. His time.

  2. You have a heart of compassion that extends well beyond your years! I can hardly wait to see how God will continue to use you!