A life changing experience in Benin, Africa

“I think I had a romanticized idea of what the trip was going to be like,” Kyra admitted about the LIFE Team to Benin that she participated in last May. She was ready for a life-changing experience, and a life-changing experience is what she got, but it happened in a way she did not expect.

“Going into it, the focus was more on myself and how we were going to do this really great thing. But as we were there, the leaders were talking about how it is more about partnering with our brothers and sisters in Christ and working together. It is not us coming from North America to make things better. You go in expecting to help all of these people, but really, it changes you.”

For the two and a half weeks she was there, Kyra got the chance to work on a variety of projects with the Water for Life Initiative with GAiN, Global Aid Network.

Each one sgain-2he worked on – whether it was building well pads, performing a drama with the local DRIME team or helping build parts of a church – had its fair share of challenges and uncomfortable moments, but pushing through was worth it.

“One of the main things I learned was the importance of stepping out in faith and trusting in God. There were times on the trip where I was nervous and afraid to step out of my comfort zone, but I did it. It might seem frightening and scary to go and be in a place where you’re unfamiliar, but you learn so much and God pushes you a lot in that short amount of time. There’s a lot of growth that happens.”

With the team, Kyra helped build four well pads, alternating jobs each time: digging, shoveling and wiring. A highlight was witnessing villagers’ reactions to the flushing of the wells and seeing clean water come up for the first time.

“Seeing the villagers and how excited everyone was, realizing what that meant for their village and health and families – that was huge to see. Knowing that the partnership that GAiN has with villages wasn’t just a one-time thing and seeing that process start was a highlight for me.”

gain-3Witnessing, firsthand, the need for clean water also changed her perspective on life back at home.

“Even now, I still reflect on the trip and realize things I had learned, like how fortunate we are. At first I was kind of mad coming home, seeing the stuff that we had and how we don’t appreciate it – even the freedom that we have in church to worship. We have these resources and tools to help others and to use these things that God blesses us with to serve others.”

Part of her life-changing experience was seeing word and deed work together and witnessing how that can change a person’s life.

“As we were working on the well pads, the villagers were watching and wondering what we were doing,” Kyra recalled. It was at this time that some people on the team, with the help of a translator, had a chance to have a conversation with some of the villagers and share God’s message of hope and love.

“When you just love people as Christ would do, it opens up opportunities. When you show them God’s love they begin to ask why. And then you can share that you do it because Jesus loves you.”

GAiN is a worldwide humanitarian relief and development organization dedicated to bringing hope and tangible help to the poor and the suffering. There mission is to demonstrate the love of God, in word and deed, to hurting and needy people around the world through relief and development projects.

Since beginning in 1998, GAiN has mobilized resources to help people in over 35 countries around the world. Their Water for Life Initiative, capping water wells of safe, pure water for the thirsty is only one of a number of ongoing initiatives throughout the world. Learn more about their work and how you can become a volunteer on one of their upcoming trips or support them financially here.

On MissionFinder, we have over 1,000 ministries offering opportunities like this to serve at home and around the world. Does your church or organization need help organizing mission trips? Check out our partner site, MissionMinder.com. Their easy to use software will help you manage all the details for your short-term mission trips and team members online. Unlimited Trips. Unlimited team members. Easy online fundraising pages. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.

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