Tricia Goes Camping With Orphans

Outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – July 2011

Sometime around five years ago, I decided that James 1:27 (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”) ought to be taken literally.  I am still determined to adopt someone someday, and while I’m not opposed to single parenthood, I’m holding out for a marriage first.  For a while, though, I considered working in an orphanage.  When I mentioned this to Gany, a Mongolian girl working as a temporary interpreter in my hometown in Illinois, she invited me to visit the orphanage her church runs in Mongolia.  Several months later, I did just that.

DSC00265Every summer, The Children’s Place orphanage goes to a camp in the countryside to escape the polluted air of the capital city.  Gany and I joined them for several days.  Our taxi played a Backstreet Boys CD on repeat as we bounced down country roads and avoided massive potholes flooded with water.  At the campground, the door to a simple one-room building opened, and five children ran to greet us.  I had never met any of them before, but one grabbed my bag and two more grabbed my hands.  I immediately knew that my heart wasn’t going to escape this visit untouched.  Continue reading