Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Psalm 82:3

What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?
What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?
(excerpt from The Hole in Our Gospel)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to prepare for a Mission Trip 101 AND How to spend your friends' money on things orphanages desperately need

Sign up and send in your deposit
Ask yourself "What have I just gotten myself into?"
Participate in a conference call
Organize "teams" and "projects" and a "plan"
Put together a supply list with 25 people you've never met before
Prepare to deviate from your assigned teams, projects and plans
Host a fundraiser
Get a T-Shirt
Receive some pretty nifty pre-trip devotionals
Participate in more conference calls
Have your two healthy children get sick
Read devotionals and talk them over with the 25 people you've never met
Say a prayer for each person who tells you "I wish I could do that someday"
Pack some more
Get audited by the IRS (no kidding!)
Prepare to haul 50+ pounds of formula from SL to DC to Africa
Learn about the countries you are about to visit
Brush up on your HIV/AIDS education skills
Ask yourself at least once a week "What am I getting myself into?"
Be thankful for a husband who embraces this crazy idea with you
Watch God move mountains!!!

Maybe when I get back, I'll write something about the "mountains" that have been moved these past few weeks. For now, just know that some not-so-small things have come up for me and my family that easily could have really discouraged me (and briefly did at times). Fortunately (yes, fortunately) I can be a bit stubborn, so quitting or slowing down was just not an option. In fact, I think these potential stumbling blocks caused me to feel even more determined to give it my all, and more encouraged that I'm doing exactly what God wants me to do.

How to shop for donations & spend other peoples' money in 10 easy steps
-there is just no other way to say it :o)

  • Step 1) Host a fundraiser
  • Step 2) Take some of the money you raised to Target
  • Step 3) Ask the manager for a discount and end up with a $50 gift card
  • Step 4) Shop the clearance racks for kids clothes & baby needs
  • Step 5) Watch the look on other people's faces when they see your cart filled with tons of kids clothes and baby needs (even in Utah nobody buys that many clothes at one time!)
  • Step 6) Go to the check out and watch the faces of others in line as you take hangers off of everything. Notice them NOT being angry at the wait, but curious instead.
  • Step 7) Say "Thanks for asking" to the ONE person who flat out asks if all those cloths are for your kids.
  • Step 8) Smile at that same person who said "Wow, I wish I could do something like that. That's totally awesome."
  • Step 9) Say a quick pray for that stranger to go to Africa someday too (you just never know, right?)
  • Step 10) Take a photo of your loot, post it on your blog and write THANK YOU in big letters. After all, without the donations from your friends and neighbors, you would have never been able to afford all that stuff - even if everything was on clearance!

(photo TBA: 50-75 lbs of formula)
(photo TBA: candy, flip flops and small games)

Finally, our team leader from VO sent an e-mail out this week about an additional stop we'll be making. Some of you have probably already heard. Here is part of her e-mail:
I just chatted with my friend Sumer in Ethiopia and she said that this orphanage is pretty rough. They have had 3 babies die in the last 2 weeks and she said that there are about 6 that are very, very sick. It sounds like the babies have mostly been getting water and not formula. I’ll explain more details later, but an American is going to be heavily involved in overseeing this from this point forward (hopefully!) to make sure that these children are properly cared for. Sumer said that there are about 19 babies and 20 older kids. We might visit this place twice because it sounds like they desperately need some love and some help.
After reading that e-mail, I figured that some of the money my friends have given me for orphanage donations should be spent on this one. Thus...all the clothing, bottles and diapers in the above pictures. Thank You for making my dream of taking lots of STUFF to these orphanages come true. And thanks, Tiffany, for the newborn boy stuff! See it in the piles above?

Going to borrow a space saver now (what's that vacuum thing called you use for food storage?) and see how much I can fit...knowing full well I may be paying that hefty fee at the airport for an extra piece of luggage. Funny, though...I really don't think I mind.

Later in the evening:
This is what my stash looks like now.

Look what vacuumed packed storage can do! Wow! I'm not an infomercial kind of gal, but I would seriously do one for these bags. I'm sold!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

HIV Education Cube

Education using pictures.
This would be the "cube" I ordered to help teach about HIV/AIDS

Monday, April 18, 2011

What A Night!

The Card-Art Gala & Spaghetti Dinner was a success. What's my definition of success? 1) Fun. 2) Educational. 3)Kid-Friendly. 4) Lots of $ to spend on kids who don't have a family. 5) You fill in the blank_____.

Our MC for the night was amazing!
(way to go, Madam C)

Hope you all noticed the "conflict free" info.!!!

What a sweetie my sweetie is...

Donations & Volunteers... make me laugh. Are you stealing the treats?
Or bringing them back?

See...volunteers get to eat, too.
& look at that loot!

A Giant Cake Walk. Who knew Oreo Cookie Balls would be such a hit?

"Look what I won!"

I think every kid there helped out. Aren't kids great!

An "adult" table VS. the "kids" table (wonder that they ate?)

Some very sweet friends joined us for our little Africa "party"

See the drip? It dropped. (hope your mom has Spray 'n Wash)

More friends...

Kids trying very hard to look innocent.

All in all, $1,353 was raised. Wow! Here is the breakdown:
$130 in "Card Art Gala" donations.
$ 520 in Auction donations and other fundraisers (necklaces, coffee, hair bows).
$700 from tickets & friends who just wanted to help out.
$3 from a cute 9 year old who handed me all of her change from her piggy bank.

A BIG thank you to sponsors for the night, too. I couldn't have done this without your generosity!

Olive Garden (@ the District)
Kneaders Bakery (@ Jordan Landing)
Little Caesars (on 4800 West and 7000 South)
Family Dollar (@ Airport Road)
Cinemark Theaters (@Jordan Landing)

If any of you head to these places, will you stop by and tell the managers that their donations were much appreciated? Thank you cards are nice, but a face-to-face from someone down the road might be nice, too. And...maybe when YOU need to raise funds for YOUR trip, they'll help you out too.

And, for the record, $600 from the above goes towards the cost of my trip (because donations made to VO have to be used that way) and $753 will be what I take with me to purchase whatever needs the places I visit have. Looking forward to finding out what kinds of needs can be met with your generosity!

Thank you for making Saturday a very special night. I'm sure God was smiling at all of you who gathered to pray for, learn about and donate to children that are sometimes forgotten. I LOVE MY FRIENDS!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Itinerary: Going to Prison

VO has a newer ministry they've been working with. It's called Sixty Feet. It's a Children's prison. It's not what you think.

Apparently there is a section of the "prison" for children from 0 - 12 and one for teenagers. There are about 120 children in each section. I put a link to the right about this ministry. God has already moved some rather large mountains to say the least! Why the name "Sixty Feet"? You'll have to read the story behind the name for yourself :o)

The itinerary for our team is set. Here it is:

Day 0
Leave for Washington DC. Stay the night with some of the team.

Day 1
Fly out of the Dulles airport on Ethiopian Airlines at 12:00 PM.

Day 2
Arrive in Addis Abba (Ethiopia) at 7:45 am. Check into the Ethiopia Guest House.
Rest. Lunch. Mother Theresa HIV Orphanage in the Afternoon.
Dinner at Guest House.

Day 3
Korah with Project 61. Dinner at restaurant.

Day 4 Kidane Meheret Orphanage in the morning and Fistula Hospital in
the afternoon. Dinner at Guest House.

Day 5
Kebebe Tshai in the morning. Shopping in the afternoon. Traditional
Ethiopian Restaurant in the evening. (optional)

Day 6
Depart from Addis and arrive in Entebbe (Uganda) at 12 PM. Drive to Jinja.
Exchange money. Arrive at Canaan Children’s Home and spend the
afternoon/evening with the children. Dinner with Pastor Isaac.

Day 7
Breakfast with the team. Spend the day with the children at
Canaan’s. Dinner at King Fisher resort & boat ride on the source of
the Nile.

Day 8
Breakfast at Canaan’s. Walk to Amazima to spend the day with Katie
Davis & her children until 3 PM. Depart to Jinja and head to
Kampala. Check into the Adonai hotel and have dinner.

Day 9
Breakfast at Adonai. Attend church with Pastor Samuel at Return
Ministries and spend the day with the children. A few team members
can preach in the main service, and the team can lead them in music
worship and also conduct children's service.

Day 10
Breakfast at Adonai. Visit children & teach a VBS at the Kampiringisa
Children’s Prison through the ministry of Sixty Feet.

Day 11
Breakfast at Adonai. Rest and relax. Arrive at the airport for check-in
by 2 PM. Flight leaves at 5:15 PM for Ethiopia. Flight leaves at 10:15
pm from Addis to DC.

Day 12
Arrive home in the States! Your trip has changed your life and
touched the lives of hundreds of orphans in Uganda & Ethiopia!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nice People, Spaghetti & Shots

T-15 days til the Cardboard Art Gala & Spaghetti Dinner (scroll down for the details).

Nice People:
After some not so good days, one really great day followed. Two managers from two local businesses said YES when I called them and told them I was raising money for orphans in Africa. All I had to do was ask if they'd be willing to donate something OR give me a substantial discount on purchases. (Side note: Four other managers of stores I frequent - who shall remain nameless - told me "well...that goes through corporate and you have to apply...bla bla bla...and you need to submit in writing bla bla bla...). I know there are policies. I get that. But is a $10 or $20 gift card that hard to give away?

So, Thank You Tina at Little Caesars in West Jordan and Thank You Kelly at Family Dollar in Salt Lake (or maybe Kearns?), for wanting to help and being willing to add a few minutes to your day to help me help raise money for the children I'll be meeting on Mother's Day...children who don't have a mother any more. Even if I'm not successful getting other donations, please know that the two of you made my month!

If you're attending our little event, we have some wonderful family friendly and especially kid friendly baskets to be auctioned off. And please, please, please RSVP! I want to be sure I have enough food and drinks to feed your families!

Lastly, I got my Yellow Fever shot this week during my international travel clinic appointment. $186. for a nurse to tell me what to eat, what not to eat, what to touch, what not to touch, what different sicknesses look like, what countries to get to should I get rabies, meningitis, malaria, etc. and ONE poke in the arm.

I still have 4 more shots to get next week, but fortunately I can call them "vaccinations during my annual check-up" and bill my insurance! Had I gotten everything I needed at the travel clinic, it would have been $399!