Last summer, I had the desire to go on a mission trip, but I didn’t know which one would be the right for me. I looked at different mission trip programs, but they didn’t really stand out to me. That all changed when I went to Baptist Student Ministry at Tyler Junior College and saw a Go Now Mission booklet. When I found the page with the mission trip to the Ukraine, I thought: “Wow, this is it! It involves kids and shoes, and I love both of them.” It also was close to my heart because I was adopted from a Russian orphanage.
It felt so right, and everything fell into place. I truly put all my trust in God with this trip. God amazed me once again with what he can do if I trust in Him. God blessed me in so many ways throughout the mission trip. He gave me an incredible team who worked so well together and encouraged one another.
One memory that stands out to me happened when our team couldn’t deliver shoes to one orphanage on schedule. The truck that had all the shoes couldn’t go on the road leading to the orphanage, because it was too difficult to get through with all the branches in the way. So we as a team decided we would still go on to the orphanage in the van and let the organization give the kids the shoes later that week.
We thought it would still be a good idea to see the kids and pass out bracelets and candy and tell them all about our amazing God. They were so joyful to see us and interested in hearing more about God. We were able to give them lots of hugs and high fives. The kids unfortunately don’t get too many visitors because of how isolated the orphanage is located.
Our leader was talking to the director, saying how sorry we were that we didn’t have the shoes with us at the moment and explaining to her that they will have the shoes later that week. She responded that the best gift was having us see the kids and spend time with them. That brought tears to my eyes, because that is an amazing gift that sometimes we tend to forget about.
We get so caught up in tangible gifts and lose sight on the best gift of all, which is quality time with one another. This is one of my fondest memories of the mission trip to the Ukraine and one of the best gifts I personally received.
Katia Snyder, a student at Tyler Junior College, served with Go Now Missions in Ukraine over Christmas break.