Feb 28 2012

CFCA staff member’s life-changing trip to India

By Veronica Lay, CFCA sponsor outreach specialist

Veronica Lay on a CFCA mission awareness trip to India

Veronica receives a warm welcome on her mission awareness trip to South India.

I arrived at the Kansas City airport Jan. 21 to embark on a CFCA awareness trip to South India, unaware that I would soon be forever changed.

I work in Sponsor Services at the CFCA headquarters in Kansas City, which means if you call our toll-free number, there is a good chance I’ll be on the other end of the line.

Most of my work involves helping sponsors with any questions and helping make the sponsorship experience a positive, rewarding one.

I enjoy speaking with our sponsors and was looking forward to meeting many of them face to face. Although I was looking forward to this trip, I was also experiencing a surge of anxiety and panic.

I, like many Americans, have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and experience panic attacks on a regular basis.

Anxiety and panic come from a fear of the unknown, and traveling halfway around the world to another country was the ultimate unknown for a normal, routine girl like me.

My doctor suggested that this trip would be a good opportunity for me to learn more about myself and of what I was capable. So I packed my bags and headed to the airport, prepared for the worst.

The first few days in India were a culture shock. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw, and what I was feeling.

Trash littered the streets, and I had never witnessed poverty to such a degree. However, despite all of the hardships the people experience, they were so joyful and full of life.

We visited a family in their home, and I was truly humbled by what I saw. We removed our shoes before we stepped into the small area. This house was one room and was around 7 feet by 7 feet, in which four people lived.

The same day, we visited another home where one sponsor was able to meet her sponsored friend for the first time.

Children and youth who met Veronica on her mission awareness trip.

We were greeted by the family, and they showed us the pictures and letters that Aneta, her sponsor, had sent to her sponsored friend. The young girl and her mother were very proud and happy to see their sponsor.

As they were happily talking, a staff member pulled me aside and explained to me that the child’s mother was too sick to work because she had ovarian cancer.

It felt like a ton of bricks hit me in the face. I looked at the child and her mother, and everyone looked so happy together.

It was then that my years of anxiety and fear melted away. I realized that all my fears and worries were so trivial and meaningless.

I thought about all the times I complained and how I worried about things that didn’t really matter. I have plenty of food. I have clean water. I have a safe home. I have clean clothes.

I knew I was growing and developing a new understanding of the world around me, and I was so grateful for everything I was experiencing.

I remember leaving India thinking about what others at work had said about their awareness trip, that “it is a life-changing experience.”

Before I left, I didn’t think that would actually happen to me. But after experiencing India, I realized the trip did change my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

I took many photos while in India, and I printed and framed some of these photos. I placed these photos of the landscape, the children sponsored through CFCA and their mothers, right beside my front door.

Now, every day I can remind myself of the positive effects that CFCA and our sponsors are having in the lives of others and how grateful I am for everything I have.

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0 thoughts on “CFCA staff member’s life-changing trip to India”

  1. I’m so proud of you my friend!!!! I actually got tears running down my face after reading your post. You are truly an amazing person, and people like you can be truly touched by experiences like this. Keep growing strong. Love

    Maria Liscano

  2. Veronica – Yeah! You did awesome! Loved reading the article. Glad I was able to experience this trip with you. Whenever I call CFCA even if I don’t speak with you I will think of you and the positive attitude that you and all of the members of the Sponsor Services team carry whenever I have a question. This trip was very inspiring witnessing the work the mothers and sponsored friends are doing. I feel that world peace would be possible if we could adopt their attitudes, spirits and practices. You are a gem and keep up the good work. Anyone thinking of going on a trip but has doubts. Doubt no more and take a leap of faith like Veronica!

  3. AWESOME!!!!!!! Delightful!!!!! Brave!!!!!
    These are three words that first came to me when I listen the chronic of your trip and now that Iíd read your experience, I can say that you must feel proud of your accomplishments. Congratulation, I admire you, keeps the great work!

  4. Hey Veronica…I am touched, really, and life is all about give and take…what you give, you receive. You were open to give yourself and thus were able to absorb all the good things around you. E njoy; just as we are all doing at CFCA.

  5. Simply amazing. So glad to see how far you’ve come in conquering your fears and happy for you to have this life changing experience!!

  6. Veronica,
    Awesome! I saw you face and especially your eyes grow relaxed and joyful in spite so all we saw ans shared in India. If ant sponsor reads your blog and questions if a trip is worthwhile they can see there are so many unexpected blessings these trips provide. It was my pleasure to travel with you and all the others. I. Ame also carrying some hidden hurts but left India realizing Life is too sweet not to walk with the Lord and to serve Him by caring for our families of the world. God Bless You especially on that special Day!

  7. Veronica,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I went on the MAT in January 2011. Sarita and her staff were just wonderful and helped make the experience even that much more rewarding. I hope more people read your blog and feel moved to make that ‘leap of faith’ and take the trip. Thank you for sharing!

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