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‘I felt closer to God and more fully alive’

Laura Askew went out to China with International China Concern to work with abandoned and disabled children. She shares something of her inspiring story …

Are you open to new and life-changing adventures? Do you sense God calling you to step beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone? I heard the still, small voice and my life and heart has been changed forever.

Following a strong call from God to serve the people of China, I discovered International China Concern and was thrilled when I was offered a place on a short-term team. The rest, as they say, is history!

I didn’t have much experience of being with disabled people, so I was nervous travelling out to Hong Kong, but when I met up with the rest of the team I realised I could do this. Everyone was so supportive and we quickly developed a strong bond, encouraging each other as we shared an incredible experience together.

I was really anxious about meeting the children, worried that I might focus on their disabilities rather than seeing the person. And did I mention, I don’t speak Mandarin? Then I met them and oh my goodness! All my fears simply disappeared. I saw beauty and trust and love in ways I'd never witnessed before.

Of course there were challenges, but I wouldn’t have missed a minute of this great adventure. I felt closer to God and more fully alive too. My heart was opened as I held these children with what I knew was a powerful God-given love. I’ve returned to China several times since that first trip and had the joy of sharing the experience with my husband Phil.

I held little babies, letting them lie on my chest, then relax and fall asleep as they listened to my heart beat. Somehow they knew they were safe and loved, and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. And there were tough times too. My heart was shattered as a La, a very sick little boy I’d cared for, passed away. But through it all God gave me the strength to cope.

My time in China totally changed my perspective on life, and the same is true for Phil. You realise what’s really important; that you don't need to strive to be anyone other than who God's made you to be.

The children of ICC are an incredibly important part of our lives. Their pictures are all over our walls and we can’t wait until our own children are old enough join us on another trip to China.

If you want an adventure, and you’re willing to open your heart to the precious and beautiful children of China, why not consider a short term team with International China Concern? Or as Phil puts it, “Do it. Do it. Do it! It's not something that you would ever regret.”

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Pictured: Laura and Phil Askew with their children Maymi and Benjamin

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