MiKayla S. recently traveled with us to Brazil as a returning team member. Here she shares what God taught her through her experiences.
To describe what God can do in you and through you—plus how amazing the individuals are that he can connect you to—in a mere ten days is a difficult thing. Spending just over a week in a country different than your own and stepping away from routines and comfortability changes you. So does encountering the love of Jesus through children and the most selfless people you’ve ever met.
After three years, I felt a stirring in my heart to return to Projeto Amar in Goiânia, Brazil, with the VisionTrust team. My first trip there in 2013 completely changed my view of who the Father is. I realized I could never begin to comprehend just how much He loves each and every one of His children. And I knew that I would continue to connect with Projeto Amar and the children there in some way.
The opportunity to take part and serve through VisionTrust and Projeto Amar this summer has yet again changed and impacted my heart. I served alongside an amazing group of young women from all across the country, who committed to lay their lives down and submit to what Jesus wanted to do through us. The testimonies about how each young woman was called to join this specific team seemed unending—and this alone revealed to me how beautifully and purposefully God knits things together.
Our time spent serving at Projeto Amar’s annual summer camp was absolutely amazing. This camp serves as a weekend where children can experience the love of the Father and hear the Word of God, and allows many to step away from unstable and dangerous home environments. The Holy Spirit was evident when we witnessed the children and youth raise their hands and worship the Father with everything they had. In the midst of team games and times spent playing ping pong or Uno, the joy of the children, staff, and volunteers was contagious. Catching the joy in the little moments and being present in those moments in itself was life-changing. As I stepped back and soaked in this experience and all the amazing people, God began to reveal His heart to me.
Through holding hands, leading crafts and activities, singing with, laughing with, and simply being with the amazing children of Brazil, I could feel on the inside of me that this is exactly what God had intended; to just be with His children. It never fails to amaze me how little language is needed to connect with another individual. Being present is all that is required from us and allowing God to use us step-by-step is all it takes.
I am currently reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does. In one of the chapters, Bob describes people that serve humbly and selflessly as “secretly incredible.” They serve without limitation and when they see a need, they do all they can to meet it without question or concern of being recognized. The staff and volunteers who serve at Projeto Amar are secretly incredible. These individuals serve day in and day out with joyful hearts and do the will of the Father without need of recognition. They take these children and embrace them with love and hope despite life’s circumstances. I was amazed at their faithfulness and willingness to yield to Jesus, even when it isn’t easy.
There are so many things God has done in Goiânia, Brazil, did during those ten days, and will continue to do. I feel so grateful and humble to have been able to meet these incredible people and show love to the beautiful children. During one of our team’s nightly devotions, one of my teammates shared something she read about prayer, and it stuck with me for the rest of the trip and has still since returning home. There is no perfect way to pray, serve, or love people. We will make mistakes, mess up our words, and slip. But the beautiful thing about God is He sees all of that and loves us and chooses us anyway. I have learned from these children to pray, serve, and love people by just letting God use me. We did not know their language or have everything in perfect order, but the children loved and chose us anyway. That sounds a whole lot to me how Jesus loves us all relentlessly.