Going into the mission, I did not know what to expect. I knew we would be working with orphans and giving them shoes, but this mission was so much more than that. God used this mission to open my heart to what he calls us all to do—bring others to Christ.
I went into this trip feeling as though God would use me to make a great impact on children in need, but God surprised me and used the orphans of Moldova to have a huge impact on me. In working with these children, I encountered incredible joy and sadness. Some of the kids were ecstatic, while others were in despair. Seeing the light some of these children had, even in the conditions they were living in, opened my eyes to what true faith looks like. These kids represented the Christ-like joy we all should present in a world of temptations and corruption. The kids who expressed sadness showed how much living in these bad conditions was taking a toll on them. They seemed to represent people who are losing hope and letting their struggles overcome them. Serving in this mission, God allowed me to see just how much people in this world are faced with and how blind I was to these things before.
Living as a middle-class citizen in America, it is easy to live the typical American life of going to school, getting a degree, having a job and starting a family. Not that this is necessarily a bad way of life, but it’s not a life of giving yourself to Christ. This trip taught me God calls everyone to radically abandon themselves to him, because alone we are dead, but he lives in us and gives us life.
I was on the path of the American Dream. I wanted to help other people and grow in my relationship with Christ, but I was holding back. I was not giving all of myself to God. I was playing it safe. I was focusing solely on my own spiritual growth, rather than sharing the Good News of Christ with those who have little or no relationship with him. After serving the orphans, working alongside CERI and studying Scripture more, God changed my life around.
Now I strive to live a life of abandoning myself to Christ. I want to live a missional life wherever I am, because there is need everywhere. I want to use my college degree to serve those who need their physical and spiritual needs met. I want to show others the grace of God. I ultimately want to live a life serving God and following his will for my life. God used this trip to help me grow more than I ever imagined. I am so thankful for the things God constantly is doing in my life and the blessings he has given me in order to use to serve those around me.
Hannah Willhoite, a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, served through Go Now Missions with CERI (Children’s Emergency Relief International) in Moldova.