For the past three years, Hannah, our now 13-year-old teenager has had a deep and heartfelt calling to work with orphans in Africa. That was the wide swath that she laid out several years ago. Our church, Foundation UMC, has been closely involved with several Africa missions and this is where it all started for her and for us. She has wanted to join one of those mission trips since she was 10. The church is doing great things through their mission efforts but they did not seem to fit what Hannah was being called to do, which is get up close and personal with children.
Several years ago the words “someday maybe we will…” came out of our collective mouths and since that time it has been very evident that an Africa trip is what God had planned for our family.
As mentioned, the church trips did not fit what our daughter was being called to, so we looked at some other options. A dear friend, the youth pastor’s wife and mentor of Hannah’s goes to Ethiopia every two years and the opportunity was available for them to travel together. After some prayerful consideration on that possibility, it became clear that this trip was not “it” either. Plus the fact that through this process, Renay and I had come to the realization that 1.) We were not sending our daughter to Africa with someone else and 2.) We were also being called and wanted to go to share the experience.
Led to Family Legacy Missions International
We knew that some long time friends of the family had gone somewhere last summer as a family and reached out to them to find out more details. After spending several hours overlooking Lake Belton while eating lunch and hearing the stories and testimony of all the kids from their multiple trips to Camp Life, the deal was sealed for us. All 3 of us walked away from there convicted. There was no discussion about it…we as just knew that this is where God wanted us to go. We know that God will provide for making happen what needs to happen. We will be traveling with Family Legacy to participate in Camp Life next summer and can hardly wait.
Our trip is planned and we are excited for the next 5 months to pass. We still do not know exactly all the details other than we have made out applications and have been approved as participants for one of the week-long sessions in Lusaka, Zambia next summer. During that week we will each have about 10 orphans that we will spend time with each day, loving on them, letting them know that they do have worth in this world and that there is hope…hope through our Savior Jesus. We will get to spend very personal time getting to know their stories and situations and are quite sure we will be moved more than we could ever move them. This is something that is top of mind in our house and not a day goes by that we do not discuss it in some manner. So much so that when we asked Hannah what she wanted for Christmas this year, the answer was “nothing, I already got my Christmas present”. Very humbling to say the least and we are blessed beyond words.
This is the reason we are going…
Update April 2014:
Travel is booked and tickets are purchased! We will be spending about 40 hours travel time each way from Dallas to Lusaka, Zambia and back. 20 hours of that is layover time in Dubai, UAE going and returning. It is a 15 hour flight to Dubai and another approximately 8 hours to Zambia from there.
Our hearts are full, the anticipation is high as we make our final preparations for what we hope to be a regular Zambia mission trip for our family. Please keep us lifted up in your prayers for being a vessel for God’s holy spirit to dwell, safe travels and a transforming trip.
Update September 2014:
We have been back from Camp LIFE for 7 weeks! It seems like a lifetime ago but just yesterday at the same time. We are in the final stretch to get all of our kids sponsors by October 1st. At the same time preparations are being made for our 2nd Zambia mission trip in late June of next year. The anticipation to get back to see our kids and the progress they have made in school is almost unbearable but we will wait patiently until we can go again.