Meredith Kull

Effingham High School senior Meredith Kull spent time this summer on a mission trip to China where she worked with orphans at Maria’s Big House of Hope.

By Kim Jansen
News Report Staff
Meredith Kull isn’t like all high school seniors.
The Effingham High School student can be found participating in activities like track, cross country, choir, the fall play and the spring musical … but that’s not what sets her apart.
Meredith has a calling to mission work, and at the young age of 17, she has already participated in three missions, including a recent trip to China where she helped care for medically fragile orphans.
“You are never too young to get involved,” said Meredith. “I feel this call toward mission work, and I have been gifted and geared specifically toward kids. I feel like God has given me that skill set.”
According to Meredith, the seed was planted by her parents for her to become involved with orphans, after her family adopted two orphans from overseas.
“My parents planted this seed when they were going through the adoption process,” she said. “My mom felt like God was calling us to adopt and bring another child into our home.”
As a result, the Kulls adopted two boys — Andrew, 8, was adopted from South Korea when he was 2-years-old; and Simon, 7, was adopted from China in March. The two boys joined Meredith’s family, which also includes her older sister and her two younger sisters, making them a family of eight.
“My little brothers bring so much laughter and joy into our home. They are little goofballs,” said Meredith. “I really don’t know what our family would be like without them. I can’t even imagine life without them. We are just a family.”
Having two adopted brothers who were orphans reinforces Meredith’s belief that she is meant to work as a missionary.
After applying online to participate in a mission through Show Hope, Meredith was selected for a trip that took her to Maria’s Big House of Hope, located in the city of Luoyang in the Henan Province of China.
“I just put myself out there,” said Meredith, when asked about traveling without her parents. “I went with a group of 12 people who I had never met before. They were from across the country and I didn’t know anyone.”
However, that quickly changed, as Meredith got to know her teammates during the 12-day trip to Maria’s Big House of Hope, which is home to more than 140 children and provides a family atmosphere and comprehensive medical care to orphans.
“The orphanages send their sickest kids there,” said Meredith of Maria’s House.
During her stay at Maria’s Big House, Meredith spent a lot of time with the children, job shadowed nurses and doctors, and completed small projects to improve the facility.
“We spent a lot of time with the babies and loving on them,” said Meredith. “I got really close to this one little guy, and it was really hard to leave. A lot of these kids will never in their life get adopted, especially the ones there.”
At the end of each day, Meredith spent time thinking about the children at the facility.
“I struggled a lot throughout the week, mostly at nights, after leaving the kids and thinking about the kids. It just hit me really hard. There were lots of ups and downs,” said Meredith, especially when she made comparisons to the orphans and her brothers.
When it was time to head back home to the United States, Meredith had a hard time saying goodbye to the children.
“It was really hard to leave. I could live in China,” she said.
As she begins her senior year of high school, Meredith has a plan for her future, which includes earning her nursing degree and pursuing long-term mission work overseas.
She also would like to teach children overseas, which she would be able to accomplish with a nursing degree, since degrees specific to teaching are not required in the areas where she would be working.
As to whether she will find her way back to China, Meredith said, “I love China, but it is too early to tell.”
Meredith encourages others to follow their hearts, if they are interested in mission trips.
“There are so many ways to get involved. You don’t necessarily have to travel across the world,” said Meredith. “It is definitely worth it. There are people who will support you and take care of you.
“If that is what you really want to do, you will get there,” she added.