Most volunteers have the same doubts and challenges when deciding to go on a mission trip. We asked three CERI volunteers about the challenges they faced, what they wish they had known and the advice they have for anyone on the fence. Here’s what they said. Spoiler alert: go!
How many CERI mission trips have you been on?
“I have gone on the last three CERI Shoe Missions – 2016 Romania, 2017 Moldova & 2018 Ukraine.”Kristen
“This will be my third trip with CERI. My first was in 2012, second was last summer and I decided I prefer cold weather, so this year I am returning during winter!”
“14 trips: 2004, 2005 (2 trips), 2006 (2 trips), 2007 (2 trips), 2008 (2 trips), 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, June 2019.”
What challenges did you face before going on a mission trip?
“Fear – fear of traveling across the world, fear of being vulnerable, fear of God pushing me out of my comfort zone… But it was clear to me that God wanted me to go on this trip. So, I believed in the power of God, and He had something big in store for me.
Another big hurdle was coming back home to my comfortable life in Texas after witnessing the reality of extreme poverty that so many children face around the world.”
“Taking off work for a long period of time or raising funds can be challenging. But I find that when God wants you to go, He will provide! I have been so amazed in the ways He has provided for me! “
“I wondered if the work would be too physically taxing. It was not!! The excitement of each day outweighed any labor that was involved – and the work was very manageable.
I wondered if it would be better to make a donation rather than spending money to go. But, once there, I quickly learned that the personal interaction with the children and their families was invaluable.”
What do you wish you had known before going on a trip?
“I wish I had known that December in Europe is REAL winter! This Texas girl was not ready for that cold air.”
“I wish I had known there was no need to worry about not knowing the language or not being able to communicate. Once there, I was quickly reminded that love is the language of the heart, and no words were necessary to convey love and a caring spirit to the hundreds of children we met. Hugs and high-fives are a universal language!”
“I wish I had known how big the needs are of orphaned and fostered children.”
What advice do you have for someone debating to go on the Shoe Mission or not?
“GO! It is the best decision I have ever made, besides accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior. CERI is a wonderful organization that plans trips very well. All the accommodations are planned for you- meals, housing, travel, etc. honestly you have nothing to worry about except being the hands and feet of Jesus to children who need to know there is hope in Jesus Christ.”
“GO! Do whatever it takes to get there! It will change your life forever, you will touch the lives of so many, and have a huge eternal impact!”
Regina “The Shoe Mission experience will be one of your life’s greatest experiences. You will never know or remember the names of the many children you will meet. But you will never forget their smiles as they realize you truly care about them. The opportunity to share the love of Jesus to so many, in such a short time, is a blessing you don’t want to miss. “Marilyn