In February 2011 (just a few months away) I will be traveling to Ethiopia with the organization Visiting Orphans on a mission trip to help care for orphans and underprivileged children in the area. And by underprivileged I don't mean food stamps and 40 cent reduced-lunches. These are children often solely with the clothes on their back, children that thankful and joyous that they have covering... regardless of how tattered, stained and odorous. Children that would give anything for shoes or a consistent meal or a stable roof over their heads. These are children that struggle daily and by early grade school age are their family's primary source of income... if they even have a family.
So, how did the whole mission trip come about? Well, the past 12 months have been quite the whirlwind for Christie and I and our family. After returning from Ethiopia last December, times were difficult as we struggled to adjust to our new “normal” … not only from the shock factor of bringing a new baby into our home, but the sights we'd seen were unlike anything we'd ever witnessed. Honestly, it didn't hit us at first... it probably took 3-6 months to process everything. And now the thought hits us like a ton of bricks daily… “what can I do?” or “what can we do?” We have life so easy… our family has no worries about food, shelter, transportation… or to an even greater extent clean water, shoes on our feet and the knowledge of our savior, Jesus Christ, the one that loves, accepts, forgives and saves.
I’ve been blessed with a kick in the rear to travel back to Ethiopia on a 10-day mission trip this coming February. And no, this isn’t going to be a mini-vacation. I’m leaving my family at home… not because I want to, but because this is God’s calling right now in my life. That is where I need to be for that 10-day stretch. A stretch that will help continue to shape me into the wholehearted, fully-engaged believer I long to be.
Of course, with any happening of this magnitude, a ton of support is needed. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have reservations and second thoughts about this trip...daily. But then I think and reflect on this passage...
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -- Phillipians 4:6-7
Knowing that the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding" is my guard and is protecting me from the attacks of Satan lifts a large burden off my heart. I don't have to know how or why, or think "what if..." I just have to believe and trust God to take care of me.
As I embark on this journey I need your support. Prayer comes first and foremost. This is a huge step in faith for our family. One parent, four kids, 10 days... those are difficult odds for Christie and her peace and patience is concern #1 for me. Another point of needed prayer is my safety, we will be doing a lot of traveling and visiting a lot of places and there is that possibility of sickness. Also, please pray that God will teach me more about Himself and that our team will be able to communicate God's love to all that the children that we meet.
These are children that need our prayers, our love, our time and our touch. They need to know that they are valued and that they matter to us and to God... these children need to know that they are important.
In addition to your prayers, I ask that you consider supporting me financially. The cost for my mission trip will be around $3,000. That figure includes all my travel, lodging, food and even a donation to the orphanages we will be helping.
Currently, you are able to help support me financially in one of three ways...
- T-Shirts ($15 or $18.50): I designed t-shirts specifically for this mission trip (see picture @ top right of blog). They are one of a kind and are probably limited to this initial run of 100. If you live in or around Indy you can pay in cash or check and pick up a shirt for $15. If you need it shipped you can pay online for $16 ($1 extra to cover PayPal fees) + $2.50 shipping, for a total of $18.50 ea. They just came in today and look/feel awesome. I love mine! More info on the shirts is available in the top right corner of the blog. At least $9 from each shirt sale will go to support my mission trip.
- Acacia Bead Necklaces ($20): These one-of-a-kind necklaces are handmade by widows in Uganda. The necklaces are awesome, the girls (Maggie and Hazel) both emptied their piggy banks because they wanted to each buy one (they were a little short, so we had to make up the difference). :) The beads are made out rolled magazine, they are beautiful and fascinating... I stare at them and wonder... how did they do that? I have a variety of colors available (pictures of all available necklaces will be posted on Facebook soon!). I have a few necklaces with super large beads and those necklaces are slightly more expensive at $35 each. $8 from each necklace sale goes to support my mission trip, the remaining balance is split between the Ugandan Widows that actually make the necklaces and Visiting Orphans so they can continue their ministry.
- Donate ($1 and up): Or if necklaces and t-shirts aren't your forte you can always donate the old-fashioned way. You can drop off or mail checks. Or you can donate online via PayPal! The link is just below the T-Shirt link up in the upper right corner of the screen. Include your shirt size with any donation of $20 and up and I'll send you a T-shirt! All these monies (minus cost of shirt for donations above $20) will go to support my trip.
Over the next several weeks I will be profiling different places we will visit and things we will be doing while in Ethiopia.
God Bless and Merry Christmas!