This blog was originally posted for Faith to Action
Growing up in a small southern town, my travels by the time I made it to college consisted of trips to my grandparents’ farm in Kansas and one failed family vacation to Six Flags in Texas. I was raised in a Christian home in the heart of the Bible belt and participated in everything from vacation bible school to church camp and all the youth group get-togethers in between. I listened to Steven Curtis Chapman and loved to belt out Carman ballads. I learned about the needs of the world through sermons and videos and even started sponsoring my first child through World Vision my senior year of high school. I had a lot of head knowledge that pulled at my heartstrings but I had never seen the needs of the world with my own eyes. Honestly, I lived in a comfortable Christian bubble.
My first trip abroad was to Asia, where I encountered street children in Mongolia who were fending for themselves in sub zero temperatures. A few years later, I moved to North Africa when I came in direct contact with people living in poverty and specifically orphans. I experienced shantytowns and children begging on the streets. I felt helpless in the enormity of needs and lost in how I could do anything to make any sort of change. I questioned God and His providence for these beautiful yet neglected children; I questioned my own upbringing; I questioned the role of the church. The impact this had on me was profound.