“Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?”

Photo Credit: Karina Oliani

By Yuliya Belikova

Going on a mission trip was one of my New Year’s Resolutions. It was something I wanted to do just to say I have done and maybe receive a different view of the world that everyone who has been on a mission trip keeps talking about. I was dreading the day of departure and wanted to get it over with. This was something out of my comfort zone, but that is why I needed to do it.

This journey was only 10 days long but it taught me so much more than I could have learned in years. It expanded my heart to love the way I didn’t think I could. Building those relationships with the kids and the locals, hearing their stories, their everyday lives, and having real conversations. One of the things that I admired about the kids is when they asked you about your life they actually cared and wanted to know more about you, with no hint of jealousy. They genuinely wanted to get to know you, respect you, and love you. These are the people that our society talks about as if they lack the “important” things in life, but in my eyes, they have it all and even more than we do.  They may not have the materialistic things of this world, but they have the most important thing in life, a developing relationship with God that is not forced, and the relationships within the community and each other. It made me realize how shut out we are to making new relationships with others, but in reality that is what keeps us alive.

Going on this trip has taught me the simplicity of life and the importance of relationships. Putting away your phone and getting up early, actually listening to another person’s answer when you ask the generic question “how are you?” These may seem like small and little things that others take for granted, but for me, it changed my perspective. It would have taken me years to develop this mentality, but here I am after 10 days. You may not believe me or won’t be able to fully understand the emotion until you go through it too. This is why I 100% suggest doing this at least once in your life. The relationships that were made on that small island of Mana were made for a lifetime. Now I can point to that small island on the map and say, “I have a family who lives here and I can’t wait to go back and visit them soon.”

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