Name: Michelle Goddard
HomeTown: San Jose by way of Petaluma, CA
Occupation: Leadership Recruiter, Diversity @ Google
KIDS: What Impact Teams have you participated in?
Michelle: My first journey was to South Africa with Dave Dahl and team. This time around I had the privilege of going to Israel and Palestine.
KIDS: What made you decide to volunteer for a KIDS’ Impact Team trip?
Michelle: Definitely called by God to volunteer. I had intended to go to Hungary with another organization for my 35th bday (Aug 1) in 2016. Something just didn’t feel right about the trip and I recalled that my old business coach had gone on a trip to South Africa. Africa was definitely on my heart and as I spoke to him about his trip, I realized that I truly wanted to go there and loved the mission of giving back to children by way of play, something that should be a normal part of every child’s life but is not, unfortunately. When I hung up the phone with him, I prayed to God that if this was the trip that I was supposed to go on then please let it be around my birthday and I’ll know for certain that I’m meant to go. I went to the KATW website to see their upcoming trips and lo, and behold, I saw one for South Africa that not only started around by birthday but started on my birthday. God confirmed that it was meant to be!
KIDS: What is your favorite memory/experience from serving as an IMPACT TEAM volunteer?
Michelle: You know that is a hard one. There are so many to choose from, but if I had to choose just one I would say that it was actually when I went back to the nursery school where we volunteered in South Africa. I had stayed on a few extra days post-build and Dave (our Team Leader) had arranged for me to go back to our worksite to play with the kids at the nursery school where we had volunteered. I truly realized at that moment just how fortunate we are and how much we can give back to the little ones in that area by giving of ourselves to them. I had two full days of playing with the kids, watching over them and getting to know them first hand. They called me ‘Tannie’ or Auntie by the time I left and I felt the immense amount of love pouring out of these little ones – truly something that I won’t forget!
KIDS: Did you learn anything on this trip that was unexpected or made an impact on yourself?
Michelle: This time around I think I saw more of how God shows up in unexpected ways and how you need to act when called. For instance, we went to Shiloh, one of the sites where the Holy of Holies and the Tabernacle were kept at. While Moran, one of our tour guides was praying, I was prompted by the Spirit to grab another tour guide’s hand who is not a believer and I didn’t act on it immediately. It is a time that I regret but was a good lesson in that Israel and Palestine are the most holy of places and you will feel the Spirit there like no other, when the Spirit tells you to act you have to be in obedience to receive all of the blessings that he has in store for you and for others.
KIDS:What would you say to someone who is trying to decide if they should join one of our teams?
Michelle: Go! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. These trips will teach you so much about yourself, more than you could ever imagine. I never could have imagined the impact that it would have on myself and those around me. When I came back from each of the trips, I would tell stories to my coworkers which opened up the possibility of hearing the gospel and have the love of God touch their hearts and minds. I would show them pictures and inevitably it would spark a great conversation about our Lord and the prompting to have me go and the difference that I was able to make by letting God use me in this way. If you are looking to make an impact, one that is undeniable to both the giver and receiver and beyond, please go and don’t think twice, you will not be sorry and be very grateful that you made this commitment.
KIDS: Is there anything else you to want share?
Michelle: Kids Around the World is an amazing organization with such dedicated individuals; they really pour their hearts and souls into everything that they do and each ounce of this work. Join them for an adventure of a lifetime, one filled with laughter, love and play. Some of my most fond memories of this decade and life are from going on these trips. They have truly changed my life for the better. If I could provide one piece of advice, it would be to share these memories with each person that you meet and carry on that blessing forward. You will be glad that you did!