Timehop reminded me that four years ago today, I was flying from Chicago to Seoul to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I spent three weeks in the Asian country (south of Russia, north of China), and that trip remains one of my absolute favorite traveling memories, in large part because of how it came to be.
In the fall of 2010, Samaritan’s Purse Children’s Heart Project sent 14-year-old Sarangoo and her mother, Byamba, to Peoria, IL for heart surgery. They stayed with a couple from my church, and the rest of our congregation poured food, entertainment, and love into their lives. Except me. I was recently returned home after college and five months in Senegal. Bored with the familiar and feeling very single amongst married or dating friends, I was depressed. And in my depression I couldn’t be bothered to help someone else.
Luckily for me, there was another depressed person in the mix. Gany was Sarangoo’s translator, and their host family sent out an email that essentially read: “Gany is bored! Will someone take her out for something fun?” That sounded exactly like me, so I volunteered. We went out to eat at Culver’s, took pictures of the Holocaust Memorial at the mall, and played the piano at my parent’s house. Almost immediately, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Continue reading