Venture Stories

Preparing Your Heart for Mission Trips

You spend a lot of time preparing for your mission trip—fundraising, gathering supplies, packing your giant suitcase. But make sure to include one last item on your list: preparing your heart. Amber Rettke just returned from a trip to Malawi. Below, she shares five prayers that helped her focus on God and prepare her heart for the journey.

A Good Roof Helps a Child More Than You Think

Santa Ramirez looked up at the sky and knew tonight would be difficult for her family. Soon it would begin raining, and the tin roof on their home in the Dominican Republic leaked badly. She would have to find enough dry places for all the beds, but with thirteen people crammed into one small home, that wasn’t an easy task. Tonight, no matter what Santa did, her children would end up cold and their belongings would be soaked by the rain. In the morning, they would go to school tired. 

Life After a Mission Trip

I couldn’t wait to go on my first mission trip to Malawi and Uganda four years ago. I spent months preparing for the experience of entering a completely different culture, and I’m glad I did. My team leader mentioned that transitioning back to life at home after a trip might be just as difficult, but I secretly believed I wouldn’t have any trouble. Just in case, I had a little book called Unearth, which was supposed to help with the transition.

Joining My Sponsored Child's Family, Two Socks at a Time

“Aunty, let me launder your socks.”

“Oh Titus, don’t worry, they are fine. See! I did not wet them.”

A serious, earnest look from the boy in front of me, then we quietly go back to rinsing dishes in front of his wood and mud house. I steal a glance at the head bent over our plastic bowl of murky, sudsy water.

A Fairytale Night for Girls in the Dominican Republic

It was a night the girls will never forget. All thirteen of them arrived at the party dressed in beautiful evening gowns, tiaras sparkling. Tonight was their quinceañera—a Latin-American tradition that celebrates a girl’s transition into adulthood on her fifteenth birthday. But what made this night so special wasn’t the fancy dresses or the party. It was what the girls were celebrating that night: the way their lives have been transformed, and the bright future they now look forward to.

God Chose My Sponsored Child for Me

Almost everyone on Chelsea’s Venture Trip to Malawi already sponsored a child there. At the team meetings and on the flights over, they gabbed cheerfully about what it would be like to reunite with their sponsored child or see them for the first time. But not Chelsea. She still didn’t know who she was there to meet. 

My Day with a Malawian Family

Today I visited with a family in what is called cultural immersion training. I, along with my translator, Steve, went to visit a young mother named Lenia. She and her husband have three children—two daughters and one little boy. With Steve's help, we asked questions back and forth. That visit was nice, but it was only part of the adventure. 

Three Surprises Meeting My Sponsored Child

I work for Children of the Nations, so I thought I knew what to expect when I went to meet my sponsored child. I've answered tons of questions about child sponsorship, written countless appeals for letters and love, and put together several stories about sponsors meeting their kids. But when the day came for me to actually meet my sponsored child, there were a lot of things that surprised me. Here's what I wasn't expecting:

Malawian Students Enjoy Learning about Who They Are

It was almost too good to be true. Seniors at the International Christian Academy, COTN’s secondary school in Malawi, were told they had to take a test, but they didn’t have to study for it and there was no such thing as a wrong answer. 

Welcoming Others as He Was Welcomed: Spengy's Story

If you travel to Sierra Leone with Children of the Nations (COTN), a tall young man with a warm smile will greet you like you are family. Throughout your time there, you may see him in the kitchen, serving you, or supervising a small group of Sierra Leonean teenagers as they clean, cook, and serve you and your team. 

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