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I am Forever Changed


If you’ve stopped by the Orphan Outreach offices this year, you may have been greeted by Kari Munsell, a Dallas Theological Seminary student who served as an intern. She organized the vast library of Bible curriculum used by mission teams and assisted the missions department in preparing teams for their journeys. And she was a much-appreciated source of encouragement and support with special events.

Kari is completing her studies at DTS and has just begun a new job as Children’s Pastor of Farley Street Baptist Church in Waxahachie, Texas. She was asked to share what she learned during her time with Orphan Outreach. Her response is a reminder of the value of leadership and the power of faith.

“I sit here amazed at all the Lord taught me during the eight months I was with Orphan Outreach as an intern. I have gotten to experience not only the “going” side of missions but the “sending” side as well. I have been able to see what goes on behind the scenes and the amount of work that goes into organizing trips and partnering with orphanages around the world. I remember the first meeting the staff let me be a part of; I left thinking, ‘I have never met a more solid, Christ-seeking, God-honoring, group of nine individuals all passionate about serving people, serving children, and above all serving the Lord.’

anand

“I was given the opportunity to travel to India in June, and I was able to see two ministries in India that work with children in severe poverty and children with ‘untouchable’ diseases. I was completely blown away by the humility and faithfulness of the three leaders I was able to meet during my time in India.

“One of those leaders was Umashankar Shankardas, who is the in-country staff member for Orphan Outreach. He does not only work year-round with the three orphanages we are partnered with in India, but during the summer, he goes on every mission trip and literally takes care of every detail. He is there to pick you up from the airport, serves alongside you during the trip, and then makes sure you are on the correct plane as you exit the country. He loves what he does and he loves the children he gets to work with. He is the perfect mix of compassion and business acumen with such a servant’s heart.

“The next leader I was able to meet was sweet Lucy, who is the founder of the first orphanage we were able to visit called Gan Sabra in Aizawl. This home was specifically started for children with AIDS. About 10 years ago, Lucy encountered a girl named Jessica, whose mother was dying of AIDS; Jessica had no place to go. Lucy, as a single woman, knew that the Lord was drawing her to care for this child and so in obedience, she adopted Jessica. Ten years later, Lucy cares for 20-25 children in a mountainous city in northeast India. Each child either is at risk for being HIV positive, already has tested positive for AIDS, is a sibling to another child who has AIDS, is orphaned because their parents have died of AIDS, or has been neglected by their own families because of other disease. One of the girls at the home, who had been severely abused and was ill due to AIDS, said to us one morning, “I do not want to be blind to the blessings that the Lord has given to me.” These kids, despite their illnesses and their history of neglect and abuse, display a true joy that is found only in Christ. These kids get it! They understand their need for Jesus and they cling to Him. They see that in the trials and the suffering, God is still good and worthy of their praise. We would get in a circle every day while we were there and just sing worship songs together. Lucy is such an example of Christ to these kids and the community around her. I have never met a more humble and servant-hearted woman. One day, she showed us the land that has been given to her to build a new home on. In my head I was thinking, ‘Really? Here? On this mountain? Is that even possible? That would take forever!’ But Lucy has a faith that is much greater than my own. She sees that land and sees such blessing and hope. She sees that land and sees more opportunities to love and care for children in need. She sees that land and sees the promises of God.

“The second orphanage the team was able to visit was an all-girls home located in Anand, Gujarat, India. This orphanage, started by a man named Mainesh and his beautiful wife Snehlata, was home to 25 precious girls who suffered from extreme poverty. One day as we were doing a VBS with the girls, the question was asked: ‘How would you identify yourself? What are words that would describe you?’ Every single one of the girls wrote, “Child of God.” The girls might not have earthly biological parents, but Mainesh has taught them that their hope is in Christ and that they are His children. While in Anand, I had the opportunity to teach at a women’s meeting at a local church in a nearby village. There is not a more humbling experience than to teach on joy in suffering to a group of women who had little to nothing (by a worldly standard), but worshipped and prayed as if they had everything, because they do in light of eternity. They know the Lord and to them, as it should be to us all, the only thing they need in order to experience true joy.

elephant

“The Lord used each of these trips, the leaders, and the entire Orphan Outreach staff to teach me about true humility, true dependence on Christ, and true joy. Each person I have met throughout this internship pour their every being into these ministries and their hard work is evident to all. The Lord has given each of them a faith that goes beyond what I have ever seen. I am forever changed by this internship with Orphan Outreach and I am so thankful that the Lord allowed me this opportunity to be a part of His work all around the world.”

And congratulations and prayers of heartfelt blessing to Kari and her new husband! They were married on August 29th! 


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