"I had never truly appreciated the life that I was given until I visited China. My time and experience with the children during the 2014 Left Behind Children Volunteering Trip gave me an eye-opening and enlightening experience.
My time with the kids gave me a different perspective on life. They changed my attitude towards poverty around the world and made me realize that we need to work together to create global awareness in order to make a difference.
I had gone to China in 2014 not knowing how I would make an impact. There were hurdles that I did not know how to tackle as I entered my first short-term missions trip. My biggest barrier was language. My Mandarin was limited to Hi, How are you? I do not know. and I am well. I truly did not know how I would be able to communicate with them.
From the moment we landed in the villages, I was able to witness the impact I had on the children even though we did not speak the same language. Through the simplest action of playing and spending time with the kids, I was able to develop a non-verbal bond with the children. We sat and ate together, played together, took pictures together and developed a friendship together. I saw smiles on faces that were once filled with sadness.
What resonates in my memory was the heart breaking thank you that we received from the kids. Our team had gone back to the first church we had visited to say a final goodbye. We were greeted by an amazing surprise performance that the kids had prepared for us. As they performed their dance to express their sincere gratitude, tears flowed from their faces as they knew we were leaving. The hardest part was leaving them as they hung onto us, begging us not to leave, faces drowned with tears as we hugged and said our final goodbyes. It was a bitter sweet moment that I will carry with me.
Though the time spent with them was short, I built a strong bond with each individual child who in return changed my life for the better. Even though I could not verbally speak to them in the same language, they recognized that someone who did not speak the same language, someone who lived halfway across the world truly cared. They felt love and kindness from a group of total strangers, something that they did not receive on a daily basis from their parents.
We cannot change the world in one day, but we can all make an impact through our own individual actions. Follow your heart and intuition and they will guide you. Learn to love and care for others, not just yourself and your life will touch the hearts and souls of those around you.
My name is Nick and along with my mother, we took part in the 2014 Left Behind Children trip. It was an opportunity that I will definitely never take for granted as it opened our eyes to the rapidly growing situation of Left Behind Children.
This trip was an exceptional test of faith not only for myself individually but the rest of the team as well. Though I know how to converse in Mandarin, it surely wasn’t a language that I consider myself fluent in. That makes it even more difficult when we go to rural villages such as the ones we ventured into and try to communicate with the people there. A lot of us including myself became sick at some point during the trip primarily because of not being to adapt to the type of food there and the weather also played a factor.
I think the most memorable thing was just the experience in the first church especially. It was the most memorable because even though we were there for a short time, attachment grew very quickly between the kids and us. I remember that when we had lunch – which was the same place where they have their activities such as singing, reading bible verses, etc. – the food that was there was so simplistic but it got the kids so excited. I remember there were a lot of kids who were so excited that we were there simply eating with them that they kept feeding us food over and over, joking around and all that. There were two kids specifically that I interacted with, that treated me like a big brother instantly. They felt embodied with so much love and care and it was reciprocal for me as well just to see how much of an impact that we have on them just by showing up and having fun with them for a few days.
When were leaving that church, as was the same with all the other churches, tears and sadness had overwhelmed these kids because of our departure. There were kids begging us not to leave; there were kids asked us why we were leaving, telling us that they have been good kids. Even when we were leaving on the bus, as we were driving away, we saw the kids run after the bus. Eventually, we were too far for them to catch up. Though the reality is that we can never physically be there with them forever, our presence among them will always be one of the happiest parts of their memories.
"In the summer of 2016, I had the opportunity to go on my first short-term mission trip as part of Love Foundation Canada to serve the Left-Behind Children in mainland China. Through this journey, I had witnessed many things, which had become a rarity in my own Christian community in Canada.
One thing that left a deep impression on me was the pure and strong faith of the brothers and sisters that I encountered. The trip had taken my team and I to the rural countryside of our motherland. The brothers and sisters there were always joyful in their serving, always willing to give whatever was their best, and always wholeheartedly trusting in God’s grace and providence. Even though, compared to my own background of growing up in a church, they were very limited in many areas, they served without grumbles and complains but only with joy, thankfulness, and faith that was very simple, pure, and strong. Many local churches that we visited were lacking in the material resources, were extremely short on staffs, had very limited training and experience in working with children, or were all of the above. Despite all these and other unfavorable factors, the local brothers and sisters continued to place their faith in our Father. They put all their worries before Him and trusted wholeheartedly that He has the power and plan to make things work out of the best. Then, they would put all the resources and energy they had, however limited, into carrying out the vision He had given them.
Through the left-behind children, God has opened a door for me to be a witness to the faith of the brothers and sisters in the rural part of China. Although they did not have much, but I had learned much from the way they lived out their faith."
Going to an oversea mission trip was a spiritual resolution that we have set for 2016. In the past, when we had time off and extra money saved, we would spend it on entertainment or use it for vacation. Then, God challenged us, “why not spend this time and money on people who are in need… given that you know I (God) will still provide you with what you seek?”. It was indeed a difficult decision because we were afraid to step outside of our comfortable lifestyle. On the other hand, we knew that God would never challenge us beyond what we were capable of, so in the end, we took a leap of faith. While searching for a ‘suitable’ mission, we felt insecure and incapable because of the conditions that were attached to these mission trips: language barriers, teaching experiences that we lacked, visiting remote areas with poor hygiene are just a few to name. We prayed continuously and were reminded once again that everything comes from God, including our insecurity and lack of experiences. In fact we now know this was true because in the end, we gained more than what we gave.
Thank God that we said “yes” to this mission because it was definitely a big eye-opening experience for both of us. The moment we stepped into China to serve, we received many blessings and felt the presence of God all around us. We were exposed to poverty and sanitation problems at the various churches we visited. They lacked in many things that developed countries would see as basic necessities: clean water from the tap, washroom with flush, abundant food supply, tissues and napkins within reach, clothing for all seasons, and much more. But their hearts were not lacking and God has provided them with abundance of love. The children were given a safe place to attend the summer camp, locals who volunteered as teachers to run the camps, neighbors who offered crops and cooked for the children, teenagers and university students who volunteer to look after the children, and much more. We soon learned that what the children and teachers truly needed were our presences and encouragements. But more importantly, to share the love of God with them and the idea that the family of Christ can be cross-cultural and worldwide.
Nelson & Kitty
"As a member of the 2016 Volunteer Team for Left-Behind Children in China, I had the opportunity to spread God’s love. I believe that teaching a class helped me develop my leadership skills, and inspiring my students to pursue their goals and have faith in God was an extremely impactful experience. However, not only did the children learn about God’s grace, but I also experienced it many times for myself during my time in China.
Before the trip, I was extremely uneasy in front of crowds and did not wish to speak in front of large amounts of people. I did not know how to lead or teach a class and did not know what to say in the beginning. I would often pray that I would be able to deliver a lesson that the children would both enjoy and learn from, and my prayers were answered, as I soon became comfortable taking action in my class. I believe that this experience improved both my public speaking skills, as well as my confidence around groups, but I would not have been able to improve as significantly as I did without God’s support.
My personal relationship with God has even further strengthened, as I was able to witness His love and grace, as well as his impact on the Left-Behind children. Prior to the trip, I was extremely nervous, as I had never been to China, and I had no idea what to expect. However, as He answered my prayers while supporting my team and I for the duration of the trip, I knew for certain that whatever happened was all part of His perfect plan. I feel that I am more comfortable following God’s path, knowing that I have someone who listens and aids me in my journey as a Christian, which is something that I cannot describe with words alone.
Despite my personal growth, providing faith, love, and support to these children who are so often neglected was my real goal. Hearing every child’s situation and story, I became more grateful for the education and opportunities that I have, and taught to my best ability so that they could receive the quality education that they deserved. By learning about each of their dreams and ambitions, I inspired them to work hard and reach their goals, and look to God as their personal guide. Inspiring the children was especially important to me, because they did not have as many opportunities as most youth should. I wanted so strongly for them to chase after their dreams in order to have a better life.
During my days in China, I learned that the Left-Behind children needed love and attention above money, as they had been neglected for much of their lives. By bringing faith into their lives, we taught them that they will always have God there for them, no matter what conditions they are in. Although we had limited time with them, God will forever be with them.
What the children needed was something so simple, yet so powerful. With the love of God, they became inspired to strive beyond their circumstances. Despite the growth I experienced as a leader, being able to help others realize God’s grace was truly my real accomplishment. Katherine Nie