Archive for April, 2016

Kirill~Audrey

This is the first of a set of three stories about specific children that touched my heart during my mission trip.

 

On our first full day at the orphanage, I sat down at the craft table with the children. I sat next to a cute little boy who was so excited to show me his art work. They were using IMG_9499punch outs to create a cute little basket of flowers. As he glued his flowers to his sheet, he would peak at me and see if I was watching. Then he proudly displayed to me his finished art. I was lovely and I told him so.

I didn’t think much of the exchange. I went about the rest of my day. I went out side with
the kids and enjoyed being with them. He and several other children wanted to hold my hand as we walked to a nearby playground. Once again, I didn’t think much of it; there were new people and all the kids want to be around them. We were a novelty, and I didn’t think much about interacting with certain children or forming a particular bond (except one kid; but that’s another story). But that day meant a lot to Kirill.

That afternoon, after nap time, when I walked into the room, he came flying into my arms. This happened every time I came in. He would sit with me often and join groups I was playing in. I was so surprised by him. I hadn’t done anything special: I hadn’t made an inside joke with him and I hadn’t gone out of my way to do anything special for him.

But I think that is the point. Children just want someone in their life who is attentive and will give love. I didn’t do anything other than be part of his life and give him positive encouragement. This something the orphans don’t get. And they aren’t the only ones. This small story is just a big reminder that everything we do affects those around us. We have to remember to be good to one another; one small gesture can change someone’s life or change their perspective.

In the case of Kirill, he just needed someone to sit beside him and encourage him. I am so blessed to be have been one of the team members on this mission trip and to be able to do this for him.  Not only did he need it, but I did too.

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

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Shelf-Shaming~Guest Blogger

I have suffered from trauma related to being let go from a job I had for a long time. As I come up on the one year anniversary, bad dreams, anxiety and negative feelings have plaque me. I have been angry at the way I was treated and beat up myself because I took their abuse. I couldn’t kick my distress with the situation until I am could admit: their behavior was horrible but it was my self-abuse that was the problem.

I loved my last job. I wasn’t big on some of my responsibilities or the way management treated the employees but I loved changing lives every day. It made me happy. I was happy with that but I was ridden with anxiety and depression because of the way the organization was being run.

I did see my fall coming. I won’t go into detail. It causes me anxiety but I never thought of leaving first. I could have but I decided that they would have to let me go and reap any consequences that would happen because of it. This was my control and, logically, the best for my departure. I was able to stand on my own feet and branch out. It was probably one of the best things to happen to me. I love my current job and my coworkers. I have less anxiety and depression. I am a different person, and I am happy. I still make a difference and change the world for the better.

So why am I still upset? They did what they did and they deserve whatever comes from their actions but I am no longer angry at them. Instead, I found that I am mad at myself! I am blaming myself for letting the abuse occur! I am doing what I did when I broke up with the boyfriend that always lied to me: I thought I was the problem!

You ladies know what I mean. We blame ourselves for believing their lies or putting up with their inappropriate behavior. We tell ourselves we should have known better. But here’s the thing: we can’t do that. We made our choices based on feeling and what perceived truth we had. I loved him and wanted to believe him so I did for the longest time. I loved my job and what I could do for others so I decided that passion was more important than their behavior. I keep saying I shouldn’t have let myself be treated like that.

While that has some truth to it, we cannot be blamed for their behavior. Quite often these traits are core to their personalities. I wasn’t the first girl he had lies to, and I sure wasn’t the first worker they mistreated. There was nothing about me that was the ultimate problem because even if I had been perfect, it would not have changed the way I was treated. Their actions are their fault. Maybe I should have quit a long time ago but everything has led up to my current situation. My current situation is happy and joyful.

So I have to wash off my self-shame and say thank you for getting to move on with my life. I wish no one any ill will, but I am not going to let them have hold on me anymore.

 

Peace, Love & Prayers

Hollywould

Holly Weitz changed jobs in 2015 and is living happily in a rural community. She loves animals and spends her time enjoying a variety of water sports

 

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Mission Trip: A Retrospective ~Audrey

I really expected that when I stepped off the plan in Kiev, I would feel like a stranger in a strange land, that my I would feel like a totally different person.

I am, of course, referring to my trip to Ukraine earlier this month as a missionary working

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The view out my plan window on the way to Amsterdam. with young children in an orphanage.

I had envisioned being overwhelmed and scared in a place where I didn’t know the customs or the language. I wasn’t too concerned with these feeling as I prepped; I had to worry about my health more and reserved any nervousness for the airport for my first international flight. I had visions of security hell and bureaucratic red tape (every story ever told me magnified by ten). While there was an issue in Atlanta, that was cleared up after ten minutes, and I never had another spot of trouble even when I flew home all by myself 9 days later.

Many will give a variety of reasons: I was at least familiar with the sounds of the language, I was with a group of people I knew and trusted, the landscape was somewhat similar to what I was used to. But I stand by this: I felt at home because I was where God was calling me to be. The first day was tough health wise, but I quickly learned from my own mistakes and made it through the week (I did suffer when I got home; my body was ready to shut down for a day to catch up lol).I was in Ukraine for a purpose, to reach out to his children who had been left frightened and alone. Because I stepped out in faith, he kept me safe and eased my path. In fact, I am still reaping benefits and rewards from him for stepping out in faith.

Getting on this trip was pure faith. I had to raise funds and didn’t quite reach my goal. My job graciously made it so I could go, and I will continue to pay them back with money and hard work. Getting my passport proved challenging but then it came back quickly and with no issues (two weeks!!). Everything started rough but easily smoothed out.

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In Ukraine with old friends and New

I will admit that while I was there was some struggle. I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with the children and that I wasn’t being helpful enough. I was frustrated with my illness and how it limited me. But about half way through, I understood: God has sent me on the easy trip because he knew I needed it. He made sure I was on the trip that was the least taxing to my body. I had heard stories about lack of sleep and comfortable beds and even bathrooms. So I stopped complaining in my journal and in my head.

When I came back everyone wanted to know what my favorite part was. This is the most difficult question: I didn’t know. I loved the food, the orphanage, the city, the people, the kids, the culture. But in the end it was the passion for my work that was my favorite part. God used the trip to solidify the thoughts I have always had about my talents and he rekindled my passion for children. The normalness and the use of my gifts was the best part. It was like home away from home and I loved it.

Stay tuned for my next entries cataloging events within my trip and stories about the children.

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

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