Volunteer: Give and Receive Through Short Term Teams
Since 1993, ICC has mobilised teams of volunteers from around the globe to China to bring extra care (and fun!) to the precious children and young adults in our care. One thing we have heard repeatedly from our volunteers is they realise after the trip that they didn’t just give to the children but they also received so much, with many experiencing deep transformation in their own lives.
We spoke to Kati and Lindy, two volunteers from the Short Term Team in March, regarding their experiences from this special trip.
Kati is from London and this is her fifth volunteer trip with ICC since 2012! She has a heart for the big boys at ICC and loves doing fun and exciting activities with them.
What changes have you seen after your multiple visits to ICC’s project centres?
The new centre building was up in 2014 when we were last in Hengyang, but not ready for use. It has been great to see the building in use during our most recent trip in 2018, with children and young adults living in different group homes, forming a vibrant community. You hear noises and laughter and can feel life here.
What was the highlight of this trip for you?
It was great to see the children I’ve known for six years growing up and thriving. It was among those who moved from the government welfare centre into ICC that you really see the difference. There is one young man who was tied to the toilet when I first saw him because he used to regurgitate his food during his time at the welfare centre; he rarely went out and was obviously very distressed. Today, he is living within a family and is able to participate in daily activities. He has become more engaged and looks a lot healthier. You can tell he is well loved and cared for at ICC. It is amazing to see children who were once so weak but are now doing so well! I can see that the carers and nannies really put their heart into loving and caring for the children. Everything here at ICC is children-centred.
Please share a little about your experience of being a volunteer on this team.
Although you come to work with the children, there’s something really special about being with a group of Christians. You eat, live, work and pray together with your team members. In essence, you spend two weeks living in a Christian community. There’s a strong sense of community here, which is not something you get when you live in central London and have a busy life. You might get it for a few hours on a Sunday morning at church or with your small group, but you don’t get that kind of quality communications and encouragement, and to know people that you probably otherwise would never get to meet. I’ve made some lifelong friends in these trips!
Lindy is from Hong Kong and recently went on her first trip with ICC. Together with her friend from Canada, they went to China with a humble and open heart to see God’s work among a group of special yet precious children.
What expectations did you have before the trip?
I didn’t have any specific expectations. I just wanted to learn more about ICC’s work. When I first arrived at the Hengyang Care Centre, I was surprised to see a girl wearing something that looked like a “helmet”. I realised later that was for the protection of her head because she fell easily. This was totally new for me and it was amazing to see these children who are so different but so special.
What has impressed you most?
God’s grace in the lives of these underprivileged children! When I took them out to play in the courtyard, it seemed to me they were in heaven. I am happy for them and am deeply blessed to have had this opportunity to visit them. It was also wonderful to see how ICC has brought love, hope and opportunity to the children and young adults here. Some of them can live and even work in the community, taking care of each other as they live in the same community group home.
How do you feel God has spoken to you on this trip?
To learn from the children, to love and welcome them as they are because they are the beloved of God too. In the past, I never wrote a diary when I travelled. But in this trip I would write everyday about my experiences and what was new to me. I want to give thanks to God and I pray that the children and young adults are blessed by God’s love and mercy.
Learn more about different volunteer opportunities with ICC.