Expanding horizons – Taking kids on outreach trips

Mum of two, Sara, works for the worldwide mission organisation, Operation Mobilisation (OM). She and her family recently went on an outreach trip together and she told us about the impact this trip has had on their whole family.

“Please God, give us a host with an indoor flushing toilet.” This was my prayer as we walked along the dusty road with the OM outreach team.

Two days earlier, we had flown from Luton to Chișinău, Moldova – me, my husband, and our two children aged seven and ten. While my husband and I had done short outreaches in the UK as teenagers, this was our first time as a family, and in a country we had never been to before. To say we were anxious is an understatement!

After arriving in Moldova, we had spent one day at the training base, learning the local culture and customs, finding out more about what we’d be doing, and praying about what was ahead. Then we spent the second day visiting a church plant in one of the villages and sharing in their Harvest Festival – a long service conducted in a mix of Romanian and Russian, which we all found difficult to follow, but we were rewarded with a traditional Moldovan feast afterwards!

As we left the village, we visited an elderly lady who lived with her daughter, to take her a food pack from the church. Her stories from the war when Moldova was part of Russia were so sad, but her joy in the Lord and her trust in him were utterly inspiring. Her daughter took my children into her orchard to collect apples, and we marvelled at the numerous hutches of rabbits. We were so quickly struck by the poverty of the country, coupled with such great generosity, which has left an imprint on my ten-year-old son.

After staying overnight again at the training base, we had now arrived at the village where we’d be spending the rest of the week as a team working alongside the local church. God answered my very specific prayers and we were hosted by a family that had an actual flushing toilet – a real luxury!  It was very basic living, but the food and the hospitality were amazing, as well as the generosity and open hearts of those we were helping.

My faith grew in so many ways as we shared in this experience together.  My seven-year-old daughter prayed that the Moldovan children in the kids’ club we were running would understand her as they played together. She told me God had answered her prayer, and that she was now praying that she would understand them! Again, she told me that God answered her prayer, and she made some very special friendships during our short stay. 

My son particularly enjoyed serving God in practical ways, helping carry and chop firewood for an elderly lady who lived alone.  She had no-one else to help her, and the church had provided the firewood to help her survive the winter.

We learnt so much together as a family about trusting in God and loving others. As I sat on the plane back to the UK I reflected that this week had been far better than any family holiday we’d ever had. My kids loved it and are begging me to take them back again this year.

This opportunity had arisen through OM (Operation Mobilisation), who as part of their initiative to mobilise more people into mission, organise hundreds of short-term outreaches every year, some of which are suitable for families. If you are interested in joining an outreach with your children, you can get in touch with the Short Term team at OM – ShortTerm.uk@om.org.

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