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God Uses Two Sisters and a Mission Trip to Change Lives

The decision to join a mission team

It all started with two sisters who chose to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua. Val spontaneously joined her sister Donna at a trip team meeting, and decided during the meeting that she too wanted to serve with the team.    

A Humbling Experience

During the trip, Val found herself with the opportunity to visit the home of a little girl living in Managua, Nicaragua. Immediately she longed to do something to improve this family’s living situation, as she was humbled and shocked to see the poverty. The team leader, Kay, and other staff told Val the best thing she could do was to point the girl’s family to the church in order to receive the help they needed.

At the end of the trip, Donna and Val began reflecting on this question that was asked of each team member:

“What do you do with this experience? You can do nothing; you can come back here; or you can serve back at home. What is God asking you to do?” 

Looking back, Donna shares, “I was expecting to be uncomfortable, physically and emotionally and to have a life changing experience. My expectations were met on both. I never worked so hard or felt so hot, and I never realized how amazing a cold shower would feel after a day of true physical labor. I didn’t realize how guilty I would feel for complaining about trivial things, like when my house was a mess, or we ran out of bottled water. At least I had a roof over my head and water was free and clean.” She continues,

“The trip put my entire existence into perspective. God opened my eyes and I was humbled because I realized that even though the people I met in Nicaragua were poor in a way that I had never seen, they were so happy with whatever they did have. I realized that maybe we don’t need all of the ‘stuff’ and that relationships we acquire mean more than the stuff we acquire.”

Donna reflected on what God had done in her life, and said, “This trip set my heart on fire for God and serving others. God taught me that service fills up your heart in a way that nothing else can and the passion to serve continues to grow and grow and brings you closer and closer to him.”

God’s Surprise Adventure for Donna and Val

When Donna and Val returned home, they began to help at a local food pantry serving the poor in their community, but soon felt God calling them to something more. Shortly after returning home from Nicaragua, God led Donna and Val to embark on the adventure of starting a nonprofit ministry called “People Loving People”. The primary focus is a large food pantry where they serve 150 families in need with food, love and kindness. Food donations are constantly collected and they are at the point where they have outgrown several community centers.

Kay, the team leader, reflects on what God has accomplished in and through the lives of Donna and Val, and shares, “Their story needs to be told. It has a profound impact on team members wanting to serve.” She continues,

“It’s not just about answering God’s call to go; but in bringing it full circle and asking God what He wants team members to do once they return home, and how to serve their community on an ongoing basis.”

When asked what advise Donna would give to future team members, she shares, “I think team members need to be open to anything. To doing whatever is asked of them, even if they think, that’s not what they are good at. Every task is equally important and when the trip is over and their heart is full. Continue to pursue that feeling by doing for others in any way they can and getting involved in local service work or just helping others.” She ends by reminding those who have been on a mission trip with this humbling statement,

“Don’t forget the way you felt those nights when you laid your head on the pillow during the trip; you should feel the same feeling every day of your life.”

If you’d like to know more about serving on a mission trip with Forward Edge, click here or contact our Senior Mobilization Officer, Sheri Stanley, at 360-558-5896 or sheristanley@forwardedge.org.

To learn more about how God is working through Donna and Val and the nonprofit “People Loving People”, visit their website or facebook page.

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