April 26, 2018
By Shelley Ray
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Recently, I had the overwhelming joy of traveling with our student ministries to Romania. The team consisted of 11 senior girls, as well as four chaperones. When Jono approached me about going on this trip, I was hesitant at first. I often let fear keep me from doing the things that in my heart I really want to do! I decided that this time, I was going to put fear to the side and go. And I’m so happy that I did!
Our trip was memorable for so many reasons. We traveled to The Deborah House, a mission that has been supported by our church for many years. I had heard about it, but never really knew much about it. I was blown away! And I was so grateful that my church is a part of what goes into supporting this mission. The girls at The Deborah House have been removed and rescued from abusive situations, including human trafficking. They are cared for spiritually, physically, and emotionally in the most honorable way.
We were able to go spend a week with these beautiful girls and learn so much about what it means to love others. Despite a significant language barrier, our girls and the girls from The Deborah House became fast friends. They laughed together, cried together, sang together, and danced together. Our days were filled with crafts, singing, playing sports, watching movies, and sharing our love for our Savior. It was effortless for everyone involved to engage and give their hearts to these girls. One morning, we had the opportunity to visit a juvenile prison center. Again, our girls approached these young women with love and acceptance. The young women opened up to the girls as we sang together and shared testimonies of all God has done in our lives. The confidence that our seniors displayed as they answered tough questions was so beautiful to watch!
As we spent time at The Deborah House, one thing became very clear to me. We, as humans, all have a common desire and need. We need to be loved. We all want to feel loved and accepted. It was so fun to watch all of the girls, including our seniors, just love each other. It didn’t matter that there was a language barrier. It didn’t matter that they came from very different backgrounds. They loved each other so well!
It was a life-changing week for all of us. It’s amazing what God can do with people who are willing to go and spread His message of love! I’m so proud of our seniors. You are going to do big things for the Kingdom!