Significant Connections

From the Spring 2009 issue of Relationships magazine.

"With sweat and mud running in my eyes, I saw two little girls standing in front of us giggling and smiling. We didn't speak the same language, but I could see the gratitude in their eyes," recalled Braedon McCoy, who engaged in manual labor alongside 22 other Young Life students from Singapore and Japan, as they served the staff and children of a Filipino orphanage.

The children of Home of Hope orphanage welcomed the Young Life leaders and students warmly and, likewise, the Young Life students bonded quickly to these kids. Though it was their intention to serve the orphans, the lives of the Young Life kids were equally impacted.

"Most of the orphans attached themselves to a student or two for the duration of the week. Though we were expecting to shower love on these kids through our time and energy, it was these kids who taught us a rich reality of God’s unconditional love," said Sarah Mae Billingsley, on staff with Singapore Young Life. "The students felt a significant connection to these orphans, so much so that their Facebook profile pictures were changed to ones with their special orphan."

One of the students, Kelsey Lightfoot, was excited and inspired by the trip: "I came back not only being more closely connected to Young Life and the people involved, but also closer to God. I am currently pestering all of my friends to come and experience what I did. It was the best week of my life."

Even as the team boarded the plane for their return, however, the trip was far from over. "While I studied math with one student," Billingsley said, two others behind us engaged in a focused conversation that was spiritual in nature. An hour-plus later, the chat wrapped up in prayer, one walking the other through asking Jesus to be the center of his life. What a joy for us to set the stage for a student to speak love and truth to a peer."