When I was little, maybe around 7 or 8, we met a family who had immigrated to Canada from Singapore with just the shirts on their backs. With no place to stay, they temporarily moved into our house. Our home which already had 4 girls, 2 cousins and 2 fostered teens living under the same roof as my parents. I'm not sure how long they stayed but I do remember they were there over the Christmas holidays.
We didn't have a lot of money but we had a lot of love to share.
I remember my younger sister and I wrapping up some of our own possessions to make sure the kids from this family had something to open on Christmas morning. I wrapped up my favourite blankie that my Grandma had made me. We learned at an early age that it's better to give than to receive.
My parents started a non-profit, charitable organization in 1986 called International Help Ministries Inc. (iHelp) so they could help people in need on a bigger scale. Their first trip to Romania was a couple years after Chauchesku was assassinated, to help the people learn to live after such a terrible communist rule. Among a ton of things they did there, they also helped establish the very first Christian radio station in the Eastern block. They've been back 8 times since.
|Romania 2010 - We gave the Orphanage a giant parachute to have fun with!|
My younger sister knew exactly what she was going to do once High School was over! At 16 she signed up with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and headed to Kenya, Africa. She built as many mud huts as she could before she was hospitalized with Malaria, she came very close to dying, calling to say good-bye. Thank God she was healed! Shortly after she returned home, she enrolled in a mission's trip to Ireland, we couldn't keep her grounded for long!
|My sister in Kenya 1991|
In 1998 my husband introduced his congregation to the missions in Romania my parents started almost a decade prior. He joined my dad on a trip and since then our church has gone back to Romania many times. We've continued the work my Dad started at the Radio station, helping in orphanages, art schools and much more.
Other short-term mission's trips my church has been involved in:
|2008 - Embo Township in KwaZulu-Natal|
- 2008 - I had the privilege of joining another church on a mission's trip to South Africa, I brought 5 youth from our church with me.
- 2009 - We sent 3 of our youth with another church to Guyana.
- 2010-2012 - We've sent team to Romania from 2 - 6 weeks each summer.
- 2011 - We sent 3 of our youth (my son was part of the team) to Peru with a large US based missions organization.
|2011 - Lima, Peru (my son was 12 yrs old on that trip)|
Next summer we are sending another team back to Romania and now my 12 year old daughter is urging me to put a team together to take them to South Africa!
I love that 3 generations of my family are missions-minded!
It's not just overseas that needs our help, we know that. Last year my oldest son, turned his 13th birthday party into an event to raise funds for a local shelter that helps homeless teenagers. We can't ignore those in need in our own backyards - it's actually a great place to start.
It takes a lot of time to put these mission's trips together, a lot of money too.
If you have any successful fundraising ideas, please feel free to share them. The bake sales and garage sales are fun but they're a lot of work with very little return. There has got to be a better way to keep doing what we love to do. xoxox