Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
I'm very excited about this next blog. This young woman has an incredible story about how KIM has had an impact on her life! I'm excited to introduce you to Chandler, an incredible girl close to the KIM family's heart. Here is her story:
When I was in high school the Lord made it clear that He wanted me to serve abroad. By the time I graduated high school I had been on two international missions trips and had fallen in love with learning about and living in new cultures. I loved going to serve, doing construction work, and helping with church retreats, but I longed to serve in a children’s home! I have volunteered in the children’s ministry at my church since I was in 6th grade, therefore; I thought the Lord was naturally leading me to work in an orphanage somewhere (and boy was I wrong!). So I started looking for ministries that would allow people to come and serve, just so I could experience what life working in a children’s home really looked like. To my disappointment, I was struggling to find real options. However, when I was explaining my dilemma to a friend of mine while visiting her in Singapore, she excitedly shared her experience with KIM and put me in contact with Mr. Jeff (who mentioned that I could hop on over for a visit since I was on their side of the world). Unfortunately, my father was not too excited about the idea of his 18-year-old daughter flying from Singapore to the Philippines by herself. However, he promised that he would talk to Mr. Jeff and see if we could make it a family trip later that year. Within a few months my family of five had a trip planned to the Philippines for our Christmas break. When it finally came time to board the plane, I was elated! I couldn’t believe that the day had finally come! Little did I know that the Lord was about to rock my little world and turn it completely upside down.
A little over 24 hours later we landed in the PI, exhausted, but excited to be there. The next morning Jeff laid out our options of service until we were needed at the children’s home in a few days(our family came to serve so that the house moms could have time off for a Christmas Holiday). One of the options was to serve in a ministry that had only begun a few weeks prior to us landing, a ministry for expecting mothers (which has now blossomed into Hope Alive Clinic). This immediately caught my attention, so after breakfast I made my way over to the clinic area and told them to put me to work. Within a few minutes, Ate Rona was showing me how to work the fetal heart-rate monitor as I sat wide-eyed trying to take it all in. Over the next hour, my life took a huge turn. Seeing the looks on the faces of young mothers who were hearing their babies’ heartbeat brought me more joy than I had ever experienced and it left me yearning for more time with this ministry. For the rest of my two-week trip I spent time with Daisy and the ministry as much as possible, soaking in all the information I could get. As a result my mind began racing with possibilities: Why do I enjoy this so much? Do I need to change my major? Lord, what in the world does all of this mean?
At the time of that first trip I was a sophomore at Berry College where I was in an amazing college program called WinShape, and majoring in Psychology. Now, here I was in the PI thinking about changing my major to nursing (which is a science major I might add, a subject I have always run away from) and pursing midwifery. I was completely confused! So I began praying and I confided in my mom about these new possibilities, but mostly kept quiet.
As the days passed, I transitioned into our time at the children’s home, primarily working in the nursery. Again, my world was rocked. I fell in love with the 12 kiddos I was taking care of every day. I desired a loving home for each of them, families to give them the one-on-one attention they so desired. The hours in the nursery seemed long at times, but I learned more than I could have ever dreamed about what it takes to be a parent, and all it takes to run a children’s home.
Before I knew it, our time was up in the PI. I left with an overwhelmed heart, knowing that I had to return to hold my babies soon, not knowing what the Lord was going to do with my future, and convinced that my family needed to adopt. When we landed I began preparing to return to my home at Berry and my WinShape “family”, but that only lasted two days. As a result of my mothers prodding, I had to admit that the Lord was giving me a clear command and I needed to follow it. That night I announced to my family that I would not be returning to Berry the next week, I was withdrawing, moving home, and enrolling in a local college to begin nursing school. The next week and a half was a whirlwind but the Lord truly gave me peace that surpassed any peace I had ever felt, gave me the opportunity to find closure with my Berry community, and gave me an amazing class schedule at my new school.
That first trip was in December of 2012. I have since returned three other times; once with my family, and twice leading other people/groups to experience the vast ministry opportunities in the Philippines. I was accepted into the nursing school of my choice on my first attempt and the Lord continues to open doors for me to work with young families as I work on completing my nursing education. I have also gained a huge appreciation of science in general, and I am daily awestruck at how beautifully intricate the Lord made the human body.
Although I never thought I would leave Berry or move back home, the Lord has led me to do both. What I didn’t realize was that He had more than one reason for doing so. Not only did He change my whole career path, but also the February after my families’ first trip, my parents announced that they decided to adopt from the Philippines. Through God’s providence, He brought me home so I could be here to welcome three precious Filipino children into our family, yes three! We are now a chaotic family of 8 and we couldn’t be happier! And to top everything off, these aren’t just any three Filipino children, they are a sibling group that we came to know and love while we served in the Children’s Home the past two Christmases!
My heart is in constant overflow of thankfulness as I look back on the past two and a half years of my life and how much the Lord has used KIM to shape my family and my future. I truly can’t wait to see where the Lord will lead in the next two and a half years!
I want to thank Chandler for sharing her story! God directs our path and leads us into a beautiful future when we trust completely in HIM! Check back soon to see updates from the NFFCH's Christmas and relief efforts in Tacloban.