2013 SE Asia Retreat | A Trip to an Orphanage

Posted on: October 12, 2013 Written by
2013 SE Asia Retreat | A Trip to an Orphanage
Photography by: Mary Ellen Payken from iStock          

DSC01000Today’s Post By  Thrive Volunteer, Kristi Hedstrom

Today I experienced something incredible that I was not prepared for.  As a first-time volunteer on a Thrive trip, there have been lots of new experiences in the past few days.  But today, I had the privilege of visiting an orphanage here in Bali – an unexpected treat.  But this orphanage was not what I was picturing – not at all.  For one thing, the kids were teenagers instead of children. For another, they lived in a small house in the middle of a busy neighborhood, 11 teens and 2 staff.

DSC00878Immediately upon arrival, it became obvious that these kids were special.  Don’t misunderstand – they were typical teenagers, variously shy and outgoing.  But what set them apart was their obvious love for Jesus.  Even though they live by faith (quite literally), they displayed no sign of discontent or self-pity.  On the contrary, they seemed content and even grateful for their living situation. They have dreams for their future that include attending university and serving Christ with their lives.  One wants to be a teacher some day; another expressed her desire to be a global worker in Africa.

And the worship – oh, the worship!  Shortly after we arrived, one of the teens picked up a guitar and began leading us in a simple praise chorus.  Quickly the other teens joined in, singing with strength and conviction.  There, in the midst of the simplicity of their home, they led us into the presence of God.  I was humbled by the opportunity to worship alongside these beautiful sisters and brothers in Christ, and I couldn’t keep my eyes dry.  It was not pity I was feeling.  No, it was a sense of wonder at God’s amazing provision for these rescued kids.  Their lives are in His hand, and He is using them to build His kingdom now and in the future.  As I exchanged facebook information with a few of the girls, I realized how much I desired to watch God’s plan for their lives unfold. I am confident that these kids are going to change the world – for Christ.



About the author

Linda Swanson serves with Paraclete as a member care provider, retreat speaker and spiritual director. She comes alongside global workers to help them be effective in life and ministry. Via Skype, Linda provides spiritual direction for global workers. With her husband, Kevin, Linda served for 28 years with MAF, both overseas as a pilot/mechanic family and at headquarters in administration and member care. During eight of those years, she helped direct Fairhaven Ministries, a retreat center for clergy and global workers. Now, Linda lives in Englewood, New Jersey where her husband is a pastor with the Evangelical Covenant Church. Their two children are married and they have two grandsons.

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