GREEN FOREST -- For 17-year-old Meghan Scholtens of Green Forest, leaving next week on a mission trip to Kenya will be the dream of her young life and the start of what she plans to do with her life.
Meghan, her mother Lydia King, and her friend Alleshia Fritz, Southern Heights Baptist Church youth pastor Marci Rogers and Kim and Jeff Phillips will leave July 19 for 10 days in Kitale, Kenya, where they will serve at a children's orphanage called Mattaw Children's Village.
Meghan and her mother attend the Church on the Hill Assembly of God in Berryville, but the trip was organized by Southern Heights through the organization Servant Life. It sends teenagers and church groups on short mission trips to seven different countries to, as it quotes scripture, "go and make disciples of all nations." It does this through serving in various capacities, such as building houses, helping with orphans, teaching English and other activities, focused on building personal relationships with the people they serve.
"At 13 I was at a church camp, and the speaker had been to Tanzania," she said. "I've always wanted to be a doctor since I was little."
Last year at a church camp she heard more about Servant Life taking groups to various locations and became excited about the idea of going.
"We've been preparing for about a year since last July," she said.
Preparing includes a Bible study based on the book "Don't Waste Your Life," by John Piper.
As Meghan writes in her blog, "Do you want to be 60, 70, or even 80 years old looking back on your life one day and be having to seriously ask yourself, 'Did I waste my life?'" I definitely do not want to have to ask myself that. And even beyond that, I want people to look at my life and be able to tell that I didn't waste my life. I pray that you have the same dream for your life."
Mattaw Children's Village was started in 2007 by Bud and Kimberly Huffman, who purchased acreage near the village of Kitale to begin an orphanage. They are building homes, have a school and provide worship services and medical care.
"They have orphans from surrounding villages," Meghan said. "Sometimes they rescue children from abusive situations."
Meghan, the recipient of several scholarships, graduated from high school this year and will attend Brown University in the fall, after which she will attend physicians' school to become a doctor. Her dream is to serve medical missions on the African continent.
"I've felt like that's what God wants me to do with my life," she said.
Meghan started her blog last month. Titling it, "It Takes A Village," she intends to record her experiences while in Kenya if she has internet access, and continue it when she gets back. In preparing for the trip, she writes, "We are traveling half way across the world to a place that is so much more destitute than any place in the U.S. and, even then, most Americans can probably only imagine the physical state that some of these African people live in. So, no. We are not mentally prepared for this trip. But then I was thinking. . . that doesn't even matter. The only preparing that we need to care about is our spiritual preparedness."
Readers can follow her experiences by visiting her blog at www.meghanscholtens.blogspot.com. Meghan has also included videos about Mattaw Children's Village and links to other Christian organizations serving missions around the world.