missions5

Mission Trip Stories

Occupational Therapy for Orphans

All God’s Children Intl. and G.O.T. Orphans teamed up last September to provide occupational therapy services and training to the staff at two orphanages, New Day Foster Care Homes and Harmony House, located just outside of Beijing, China. Both homes care for infants and children with special needs. The staff provides amazing care and love to these children and were an absolute blessing to work with during this week of training. Read More…

 

Hedase School Project (January 2012)

This week, an AGCI mission team led by Dan Wilson, retired Seattle Mariners catcher and vice-chair of AGCI’s Board, and his wife Annie, are traveling to Addis Ababa to begin one of the largest orphan care community construction projects AGCI has ever undertaken. Hedase Elementary School: Hedase, which means “renewal” in Amharic, was named with the hope that through improved education, Ethiopian children will have a better future than previous generations. Read More…

 

Christmas in Rwanda
By Lisa McColm, Rwanda In-Country Host

For many Rwandans, Christmas is just a day like any other. While they may know the true meaning of Christmas and His birth, life’s challenges offer little opportunity to celebrate. If you have no presents to give or receive and no special meal to share with friends and loved ones, what makes December 25th different than any other day? Read More…

 

Rejoicing With The Children of Haiti
By Nicki Jay, Haiti Mission Trip Participant

I am outwardly still the same woman after being in Haiti; however, inwardly I sense that I’m much closer to the REAL me than I have been in years. Before our trip to Haiti this past October, I was feeling anxious, generally cranky, hurried, and tired—not just physically tired, but weary. The experience I had in Haiti has renewed my dried-up faith and refreshed my weary spirit. Read more…

 

Love Creates Miracles in China
By Erica Stillar, Orphan Care and Missions Manager – AGCI

Love permeates every single corner of New Day Foster Care home. You can see it everywhere you turn, in every preschool classroom, in every crib, on every volunteer’s face. Love is king in these walls, and the children are the evidence that love creates miracles. Each child that is welcomed into the New Day family is cared for in the most supreme way, and each little life is proof that the human will can accomplish so much. Read more…

 

Carrying “Hope”
By Frank Betzer, Development Director – AGCI

As we walked across the steaming, hot tarmac to our waiting plane, I was filled with anxiety. Only two hours before, I had been entrusted with a responsibility that weighed heavily on my heart—to carry Hope from Ethiopia’s western province of Gambela to the capital, Addis Ababa—the next step in a journey that would bring a child closer to a forever family. Read more…

 

Haiti: 19 Months Later (August 2011)
By Frank Betzer, Development Director – AGCI

As our mission team drove through the streets of Port-au-Prince, wet and cold from the drenching rains that poured through the screened sides of our truck, a hush fell over everyone. Just moments before, we shared stories of our experiences during this all-too-brief trip to Haiti. We marveled at the beauty of terraced hillsides, steep valleys, and homes perched atop one another in the mountains outside the capital. Read more…

 

Bulgaria: Walking in His Footsteps with a Smile and a Hug
By Chantel Sloan, Bulgaria Mission Trip Participant

As the big blue bus rumbled through the winding roads of Bulgaria, our anticipation grew and our hearts fluttered with the desire to serve. The rolling green hills and sun-soaked valleys rose up before us; the endless fields of shocking bright yellow sunflowers made a pathway for us, dancing and celebrating a warm summer day in all their unadulterated glory. We bathed in the warmth and basked in the beauty surrounding us, reminding ourselves with a tiny whispered prayer of thanksgiving and surrender, that God was with us every step of the way, even in the little Eastern European country of Bulgaria. Read more…

 

Orphan Care: My New Understanding
By Paul Fortenberry, Ethiopia Mission Trip Participant

The Lord placed a desire on our hearts to serve the orphans of the world. This desire started when God opened our eyes to the fact that we are orphans who have been adopted by our loving Father. He adopted us into His family out of His tremendous love for us. He sent His Son to die for our sins and made a way for us to come before our Holy Father. We are sons and daughters of the God of the universe through Jesus’ work, and not because of anything we have done. What amazing news! Read more…

 

Rwanda: A New Calling
By Liz Jeyes, Rwanda Mission Trip Participant

Upon feeling called to missions work in January of this year, I never imagined where it would lead me. When a trip to Rwanda with AGCI came up, I jumped at the opportunity.  One month ago I was boarding a plane to Africa. I had no idea what to expect or how Africa would change me. I grew spiritually and emotionally as I worked at the Home of Innocence in Kigali. I went to Rwanda with the hope that I would change the lives of the people there, but I did not realize that the people of Rwanda would impact me so greatly. Getting to know the boys at the Home of Innocence was life-changing. I was given the name Mahoro, meaning peace, because God worked through me to show the boys that we are all the same in our hearts. As the days passed and the time to return home came, I was not ready to leave Rwanda. Read more…

 

Love Shines Through
By Shaina Allen, Rwanda Mission Trip Participant

Have you ever watched a bubble land on a child’s face and listened as he laughs hysterically as it pops on his nose? Have you ever danced and clapped alongside a child with a big smile upon your face no matter who is watching? I was blessed to have these experiences daily during my mission trip to Rwanda. You can learn so much about true happiness and pure love without even speaking a single word. Love knows no boundaries – culturally, linguistically, or geographically. Throughout this trip, I felt a deepening of love not only for the people of this beautiful country, but also for my husband, and ultimately my God. Read more…

 

AGCI MissionsTrading a Cubicle Career for a Mission in China
By Kristin Sando, China and Haiti Mission Trip Participant

Three years ago I realized that my cubicle-desk career just wasn’t cuttin’ it for me. Two and a half years ago I quit my job, packed my Civic, and hightailed it to Hollywood, where I soon found work in ‘The Industry.’ Humanitarian sensibilities were on my heart, however, and when a trip with AGCI to an orphanage in China presented itself, I said, “Sign me up.” Last spring I traveled to Beijing, walked into Grace Minority Orphanage, and within days fell so in love with Xin, Gu Zha, and the many other disabled children living there, I decided to move to China. If spending one week with them was good, how much greater would a year with them be? Six months ago I arrived in Qinhuangdao, China, with the organization ELT Edge to start work as an English teacher and visit Grace Minority once a month along with a few other committed and generous teachers. Read more…

 

Missions: A Life-changing Experience
By Garry Matlow, Ethiopia Mission Trip Participant

When I told my friends I was going to Ethiopia on a mission trip, one of them said to me, “It will change your life.” In the past year, my friend had been to Southeast Asia on a Habitat for Humanity work project, gotten married, and become a father, so I figured he knew something about life–changing experiences. But little did I know just how I would be affected.  Our journey to Africa began on a Sunday morning in October 2009 at North Addison Baptist Church in Spokane, Washington. Our youth pastor and his wife announced that God had put it on their hearts to lead a mission trip to Ethiopia, homeland of the son they had adopted a year earlier. Pray about it, we were told, and remove any obstacles to answering God’s call. That meant getting a passport. Read more…

 

A Reflection: My Rwanda Mission Trip
By Amy Cole, Rwanda Mission Trip Participant

How much pain can the human spirit endure? How much hurt can it live through and still be joyous? I have always wondered these things, and until recently I did not know the answer. However, it came to me. It came to me in a small Rwandan church, down a dirt road, about a 30-minute drive from Kigali.  This church was no longer a church, just a shell. A building that witnessed many tragedies that I may never comprehend. It was an empty structure that told many stories – stories that were screaming in my ear so loud that the air felt non-existent. It was a struggle to breathe, and the reality hit me that I, as an American, was sheltered. Sheltered from knowing what had happened here, sheltered from the truth. Read more…

 

12 Special Orphans
By Erica Stillar, Orphan Care and Missions Manager – AGCI

AGCI Missions

Imagine waking up one day and leaving behind everything familiar in life. What thoughts would be going through your mind? What emotions would be welling up inside? What questions would you be asking yourself? Will I be safe? Will I be taken care of? Where am I going? I’m sure that’s how the 12 orphans, the beautiful children I met during my time in China, felt that cold March day. And yet, with a hopeful heart, the orphanage caretakers had packed up the children for the five-hour drive west to Beijing.
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The Knitting Project
By Karen Firstbrook, Adoptive Parent and China Mission Trip Participant

I’m a dishpan hands kind of mom, so painted nails are not the norm for me. But right now, as I examine the chipping fire-engine red polish on my fingernails, I smile and lift a prayer from my heart. Last week while I was visiting an orphanage in Beijing, a sweet 10-year-old girl asked to do my nails. How could I refuse her? So fire-engine red they became, and each time they catch my eye, my heart bursts with gratefulness for all God accomplished in the short week we were able to serve in China.
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Serving in Ethiopia
By Lauren Saruk, Ethiopia Mission Trip Participant

I recently had the privilege of serving the orphans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This was my first mission trip. My prayer before I left was that I would come away with a greater passion for adoption and a deeper love of Christ. I asked the Lord to change me, and He has. Three things cling to my heart most. Read more…