The Best Birthday Gift

By Susan Frost
Dublin, Georgia


In the fall of 2003, as I anticipated my upcoming 50th birthday, my husband asked me what I would like to do to celebrate. I knew that I did not want a party or a cruise or a vacation or any trinket. All of those seemed too inconsequential, too temporal, and too material for the occasion of having lived a half century. I wanted to do something that mattered. So I told Vic that I would pray about it and get back to him.

A few days later the Christian Index, the newspaper of Georgia Baptists, came in the mail and as I sat down with my cup of coffee to thumb through it, my eyes fell on a small paragraph at the bottom of a page. The Georgia Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries, in conjunction with Buckner International, was sponsoring a Shoes for Orphan Souls mission trip to Russia. The minute I read the article, as plainly as if it were a letter addressed to me from God, I knew in my heart and mind that this was my 50th birthday present.

And what a present it was! Oh, the privilege of working with the precious children in the St. Petersburg area orphanages! Oh, to spend a few hours holding and rocking the AIDS babies knowing how short their little lives will be. To sit with a 5-year-old on your lap putting heart stickers all over a piece of paper while he talked non-stop in a language that you did not understand and then to have him wrap his arms around your neck in a language that you could not mistake. Oh, to tell those old favorite Bible stories to children who had never heard them before and see the lights of “aha” go on in their eyes. To take ragged worn shoes off dirty little feet that were so excited they would not even wait for you to cut the ties that held the two new shoes together! Or to see the strong faith of Russian Christians and listen to them tell of their blessings despite government oppression. Oh, to have the opportunity to give your personal testimony of who Jesus is to a roomful of hardened, street-wise teenagers, see most of them listen attentively and then have the rowdiest boy in the group bring you a handmade gift. It really was the best birthday ever.

It is my prayer that because of our going that at least one person – a child that we taught in VBS, an orphanage caregiver who listened at the door, a nurse who watched us love her little charges, a bus driver or videographer who went with us along the way – that at least one person will come to know our precious Lord and Savior, and will celebrate their birthday also. It’s an eternal birthday, a birth from being in lost in sin to life with the Father forever!

Have you been on a Buckner mission trip? Volunteered with one of our ministries? Are you an adoptive or foster family? We want to hear from you!
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Buckner is now accepting story submissions for Buckner eNews Now and the Buckner Web site from people who have participated on mission trips or local volunteering.

Send your story in a Microsoft Word document to news@buckner.org. Include your name, city and state in the subject line along with the title of your submissions. Stories should be no longer than 1200 words. (ex. Your Perspective – John Doe, Houston, TX)

Send any photos as jpegs. We can accept anything up to 10 MB in one email.

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