Elaina recently graduated in April from the University of Valley Forge with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology-Counseling. She loves working with children and currently works as a teacher in a daycare. She plans on going to graduate school to pursue a degree in the business field and is marrying her best friend this summer!
i.When have you visited Caring Hearts Ministries?
I visited Caring Hearts Ministries with my youth group at Monroeville Assembly of God during the summer of 2011.
ii.How did you get involved in short-term missions?
The church I attended during high school was very missions-focused. There were always many opportunities to travel on a short-term mission trip. I first heard of Caring Hearts through my friend, Natalie, who had traveled there multiple times with our youth group and always came back with powerful stories of lives being changed. When the opportunity came for me to go, I knew right away it was something I wanted to do! The trip with Caring Hearts really sparked my love for short-term missions and since this trip, I have traveled on three more foreign trips and hope to go on more in the future.
iii.Describe your favorite or most memorable experience or encounter during your trip.
My most memorable experience on this trip happened on the last day we were in San Luis when we traveled to the local garbage dump. It was incredibly eye opening to see people call this place home. It was a massive landfill with mounds and mounds of trash, yet people lived here. It was something my mind could not completely comprehend and my heart began to break. I had the opportunity to share my testimony here, which was very memorable, as I had never shared it in front of a large group of people. Afterwards, we dispersed suitcases full of clothes and shoes we brought to hand out. I remember walking up to a woman and asking her if she wanted my shoes and gave them to her right off my feet. It was a blessing to be able to bless others. My heart was full of joy as we were able to give clothes and shoes, but it was also very heartbreaking to know these precious people would stay at the dump as we traveled home.
iv.How has your time in san Luis impacted your life back home in the United States?
My perspective and view on my life here in the U.S. has completely changed since my time in San Luis. I have learned what it truly means to be thankful and never take anything for granted. It was difficult to return home to such luxury, but it is just a greater reminder to be thankful for the things I have. I think it is so important to see different areas of the world and the way people live in other countries. There is so much to learn, but it is something that can only truly be learned through experience. Furthermore, San Luis has forever impacted my prayer life. It opened my eyes to things I never thought imaginable, but it just reminds me to never stop praying for the people of San Luis.