MEI Secondary School
“Our missions program has done a lot for me, and not just for the short term. It has helped to broaden my awareness and my love for people.”
Hi, my name is Julie, and I am currently in Grade 12 at MEI. I have attended MEI since I was in kindergarten, and have had an extremely positive experience here. It has been a blessing to me, and has really become my second home in the last few years, as I have been heavily involved in the social, academic, leadership, musical and service aspects of the school.
My desire to take part in the missions program was initiated by my love for people, my love for travel, and the strong stance MEI took in supporting missions in my younger school years. I knew from a young age that I wanted to go on a mission’s trip with this program, and that turned into a reality last year.
In the spring break of my grade 11 year, I was put on a fantastic team of students and leaders to go serve in Makeevka, Ukraine. In the months prior to the trip, we met together as a team, bonded, prayed and prepared ourselves for the journey ahead. We also prepared DRIMES – a major part of our outreach program. DRIMES are wordless dramas with a spiritual plot, set to music. They have always been very powerful to me, and I was very excited to be a part of them. We were commissioned and sent off, and the experiences that followed are ones that I will not soon forget.
After many many hours of planes, trains, and car rides, we were in Makeevka. We stayed with homestays, and worked mainly in the Good Shepherd Shelter. We performed DRIMES, shared about our lives, faith and our country, but ultimately showed God’s love to the people of Ukraine. We got to work with a lot of people, from children, to people our age, to adults. Leaving the Good Shepherd Shelter was a heartbreaking experience, to know that the children we had invested so much love in would likely not be able to get that much love in the days to come. I still think of them and pray for them to this day.
Walking into the orphanage on the first day, it was evident that the children were starving for love and affection, regardless of what language is spoken – kids are kids, with the same actions and desires. It was difficult for me to see the lack of love and affirmation these children had received, even at such a young age. A girl at the Shelter, who I became very close to, Dasha, was so convinced that she was not pretty, and because of this, not worth much. This was absolutely not the case; she was a beautiful young girl full of life and love. So I, in my extremely limited Ukrainian, told her that she was creciva (beautiful), and that Jesus loved her, and that I loved her. We told so many of the children that, and it reaffirmed that people of all ages want to be loved, valued and important – and someone needs to show that to them. Fortunately, for Dasha and others there, we were able to tell them.
And as you probably know, there is a lot of unrest in Ukraine now. There is so much pain and hurt, so much violence and destruction. It breaks my heart to think that the orphans, homestay family and others that I interacted with are not safe. That place has a strong hold on my heart, and I am so grateful to have been able to see Ukraine and love it, so that I can tell people about it and pray with passion.
Our missions program has done a lot for me, and not just for the short term. It has helped to broaden my awareness and my love for people, and it has increased my passion for justice, and my desire to defend those who can’t defend themselves. It was an eye opening and humbling experience, to see the people who had so little giving us so much. We went there to love and teach the people of Ukraine, but truly, they taught us so much more.