Inspired May IV - Page 12

FEATURE Madeleine’s South African Mission Before actually going on this trip, I was extremely excited, but I wondered if what I was about to do would actually make an impact in these kids’ lives. I mean, I was just going for ten days; could that really be long enough to change their lives? Would they even remember me in a couple months, or would everything I do just be forgotten? The first weekend we were there, we put on the retreat. We brought about thirty African teenagers to a game reserve, where we were able to go out on safaris, and I don’t think these were normal safaris. We were charged by an elephant, we saw lions roar and lion cubs play, and at one point I could have reached out of the Jeep and touched a rhinoceros. But those experiences will never compare to what I was able to do with my new African friends. Madeline Junior Carmel High School Carmel, IN 12 Inspired My name is Madeleine and I am a junior at Carmel High School. For my spring break this year, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa for a mission trip with other teenagers from my church. It was the most incredible experience I have ever been a part of. Our goal on this trip was to spread God’s message and love to children orphaned by AIDS. We put on a retreat for high school students at a game reserve, visited villages and prayed for people in need, and we also put on vacation bible schools for younger children throughout different villages. On that retreat, each of us American students prepared talks,we divided into groups and discussed the topics further. The girls in my group were incredible, but because of the language barrier, they were pretty shy. Looking back on it now, I understand why they were quiet, but at the time I thought it was because I wasn’t impacting their lives or they weren’t enjoying themselves. But as the retreat went on, I became closer with a girl named Gloria. Gloria is an orphan and she has struggled with feeling unloved. She told me she would literally cry out and ask for anyone to love her, she didn’t care who. One of the topics we discussed was how Jesus is the bread of life. This message spoke directly to Gloria and I had the chance to talk to her about it. She said she was no longer going to cry out for people to love her, but rather she was going to cry out to God for His love. She said she was going to learn everything she could about Him and spread