Landing in Moscow, as I collected my bag with books, trail mix, and earplugs, it began to sink in that I truly have not been on a mission trip in over 15 years. For years, I led youth mission trips but this all came to a halt when I had kids. The truth is, it’s felt like I’ve had a youth group in my own home, which has rendered me unable to even think of venturing on a mission trip for a while.
So, it’s hard to explain my feelings as we landed. Most of all, I was overwhelmed with the thought that the last mission trip I led to Washington DC, I was expecting my first baby – Chloe. And now on this my first mission trip in 15 years, I am journeying alongside Chloe. God is so good.
While I knew that the mission experience would be awe inspiring, I was unprepared for the amazing richness of traveling with a community of believers again in mission. And I was particularly unprepared for the beauty of being able to share this journey during Holy Week with my daughter. This feels like a unique gift – being able to reach out in love to orphans who God loves deeply – along with my daughter who has actually been here to Russia and to this orphanage before me.
Scott and Chloe came with Mission 1:27 last year to Slobodskoy with many of the same pilgrims who are on the trip this year. So I knew this experience was going to be wonderful; I’ve heard about this trip for a year and about the power of this mission for even longer. But the faith of these believers illustrated in their utter willingness to serve has been an absolutely breathtaking reality. They have ministered to me by the example of their faith – including my daughter.
The children at the orphanage radiate the image of God so purely. Their smiles and joy are bold and unreasonable in the midst of the reality of their lives, but God is surely with them and it shows. And this love of God flows from our faithful believers to the children and from the children, who are the “least of these,” back to us all. Because of the promise of the Resurrection, the orphanage is a holy space and it is a joy to be here. God is indeed good and it is surely Holy Week.