It was with much enthusiasm that the eleven participants of the annual Bethany Home pilgrimage met at the airport at 5.30am on April 8. The eighteen days to follow had been around six months in planning and preparation and we were all ready to gain the ‘Bethany experience’. Bethany Home is a school for disabled […]
It was with much enthusiasm that the eleven participants of the annual Bethany Home pilgrimage met at the airport at 5.30am on April 8. The eighteen days to follow had been around six months in planning and preparation and we were all ready to gain the ‘Bethany experience’.
Bethany Home is a school for disabled students located in Malaysia, about three hours’ drive north of Kuala Lumpur, on the road to Thailand. In the lead up to our departure we spent time learning about Bethany home and Malaysia more broadly and also discovering ways to work with disabled students. Fundraising is an integral component of our preparation because Bethany Home receives little government funding. As a result of this they rely heavily on donations to operate. The 2016 team organised a variety of activities to raise funds for them and they were very successful in these endeavours. It was with a real sense of pride that we were able to donate $11,500 that Bethany will put to good use throughout the year.
While at Bethany Home, we helped in the classrooms, assisting the students in completing the tasks the teachers set. Bethany has some basic physiotherapy facilities where they provide treatment, and many of us were able to help out in this part of the school as well. A highlight of the trip is the Special Olympics which is annual event that is always held on Saturday morning during the Immanuel visit. The Bethany students love this event and they compete fiercely, in spite of their disabilities. The weather was extremely hot while we were away, according to some of the locals they are currently experiencing drought conditions and the Special Olympics day was the hottest of the hot! Nonetheless, we all soldiered on and this was certainly a memorable day for each one of us.
The purpose of the trip is to help instil in our students a heart for service and while the trip is certainly a lot of hard work combined with a healthy dose of fun, there is no doubt that we are there to serve and that Bethany benefit from our assistance. We made connections with the students and staff at Bethany very quickly and these relationships developed during our time at the school. It was through these relationships that we were able to make a difference. Whilst we go to serve those in need this experience has an amazing impact on us and we end up discovering a lot about ourselves through the range of life lessons that get served up on a daily basis. The annual pilgrimage is not only a wonderful opportunity but really is a life-changing experience. It helps us put our own lives into perspective and value the things we often take for granted.
If your school would like to know more about how they can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission service-learning and ministry partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/service-learning/
Read more stories about school partnerships and school service-learning at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/schools/