Friends and Family,
Lots of you probably already know, but for those of you who don't...I want to share with you what God's been doing in my life lately...to prepare me for His plans in Ethiopia. If you'd asked me a year ago if I could see myself going on a mission trip this summer...ABSOLUTELY NOT! I had JUST had my sweet baby girl, and quite honestly could never have seen myself being able to leave her for 10 minutes, much less 10 days! Still, I have had a deep heart for orphans since my first mission trip to Vinnitsa, Ukraine...and I have always known in the back of my mind that "someday" I wanted to go again...that "someday" I wanted to possibly adopt one of those precious orphans...that "someday" I'd be ready...I just had no idea "that day" to GO was so close. During my pregnancy, my burden for babies without mommies became all the more real to me, and I can remember sitting and sobbing over emails and videos from friends on mission trips...not really able to see how or where this crisis could "fit" into my life, but my heart truly breaking for the children who were victims to the demons of poverty and hunger and sickness, without even a mom or dad to ease their pain. One night, my sweet Rich said, "Dana, your burden for these children is extraordinary. They touch you in a way that I don't think everyone is touched... and I believe God has put it in your heart because He wants to use YOU to make a difference. We need to start praying NOW that He will start opening doors and directing your path!" And we did. And let me tell you God started answering, FAST!
Now let me back up just a bit...for a couple years, my sister-in-law, Courtney, had been telling me about her blog...and right about 6 months or so before all this praying started happening at our house, she'd been telling me about this organization she'd found and helped out on a couple projects that she just knew I'd love. But I wasn't really at a place where I could get into blogging back then (for "bored" mothers only, right??? :)), so I never checked it out. Now here I am 6 months later, praying for God to direct my path...and at church one Wednesday night, just right on the spur of the moment, the pastor called a couple down to the front to testify (yes, the good ole fashioned testifying happens at Bethel on Wednesday nights! :))I honestly don't remember all of what they said. What I did catch was that this woman and her husband had recently adopted a little boy from Ethiopia...and that they had started a nonprofit organization (I didn't even hear "Ordinary Hero" mentioned, if it was) to help more kids, and that deep place in my heart was touched by the Holy Spirit again. We got in the car that night and I cried, again, as I talked to Rich about "being like them" and just wanting to "follow God." I had NO IDEA that God was movin' and shakin' RIGHT THEN! The next day was busy and I'd planned that night to meet my two best friends to walk in downtown Franklin...but that afternoon, my sister-in-law, Courtney, called me. She asked me if I'd ever checked out that website on her blog (no!)...and said she was actually going to go to a meeting that night at the lady's house who started it...and for some reason, she just felt like she was "supposed" to call and see if I wanted to go. So random. So unplanned. So God. My thoughts immediately were that I'd been praying for God to open doors to serve...maybe this was it. And even though I'd made other plans that night, I believed it was GOD who told Court to call me. I started sharing with her how much we'd been praying lately for God to show me where He wants to use me...and how a woman at church the night before had really spoken to my heart about being ready to be used...and somehow through the course of our conversation we figured out that that woman at my church the night before was the founder of THIS organization that Courtney was calling me about!!!! People it was CRAZY I tell ya!!!Honestly, I got big chills all over and KNEW God was answering my prayers!!! Isn't it so refreshing when you just KNOW that God is AT WORK??? So 24 hours after the Holy Spirit touched my heart at church, I was sitting in Kelly Putty's living room with about 10 other women- the first few people she'd enlisted to help her get this God-movement off the ground---in total awe that He'd called ME to be a part! It was that night that Kelly told us about this mission trip she was planning to Ethiopia. At the time, I had a 4 or 5 month old...and I can only tell you that the mommy in me fought what I knew was God's call! I didn't commit for several months...but I prayed that God would calm my anxieties if I was supposed to go. And He did...
Our team will be leaving on July 14---and though I must be honest and say my belly jumps at the thought of being away from Shaelyn Jade so long, wild horses could not keep me from this mission that I know is of God!
Now, I know that we all gets TONS of letters this time of year requesting support...and yes, I am here to ask for MORE! :) I read them myself and honestly, I usually just write the check...and forget that GOD DOESN'T NEED MY MONEY TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES. What He WANTS is for His saints to gather together and call out to HIM with one heart. I am asking you, right now, to bind your heart with mine, for His great purpose in Ethiopia. I am not going to lie and say I don't need the money---'cause people, I do! :)...but I am fully confident that I am called to this trip, and I know the money will come. What I am most concerned about is that His purpose for me going will become evident and that I will be open to anything He wants to put on my heart. I NEED your prayers, most of all. Please pray:
1) I will be free from anxiety and fear- of all kinds. Sometimes I struggle with that, and Satan knows this...so I need prayer warriors helping me ward off his fiery darts!
2) Please pray that God will use this time in Ethiopia to confirm His calling on my life. I know a deep place in my heart beats for this mission, and I just want God to use this time to show me where He is leading.
3) Pray that I will have the courage to follow. All of the "frills" of life can sometimes get in the way of me seeing HIS big picture, and I just want my heart to be pure and open.
4) Pray that I am filled with compassion that oozes out---so that I can just LOVE LOVE LOVE every child I come into contact with! Pray that I will have energy and health and safety. Also, I will be helping to organize the "art" portion of the trip where we will do all kinds of crafts with the kids. I am praying that God will give me creative ideas that the kids there will really love!
5) Pray for the unity of our team. We have members on this trip from all over the country, so some of us will not meet until we leave. I just pray that God will immediately BIND OUR HEARTS to accomplish our common purpose.
Now, about the money.... :) The total cost of this trip is $3000---which includes the flight, lodging, food, everything...and a little bit that will go toward the orphanages we visit. I know money is tight for us all right now, but every little bit helps---and it all goes to the most worthy cause! If you feel led to give, there are several ways you can:
1) For direct donations to my trip, go to the Visiting Orphans website (this is the group organizing our trip) @ www.visitingorphans.org. There is a DONATE button. You can find the Ethiopia trip July 14-24 with Ordinary Hero/Shane and Kelly Putty...and just be sure you designate that your funds are for ME.
2)COOL T SHIRTS!!!! My friend, Teri, is also going on this trip. Her brother has designed THIS very cool shirt for our trip!
We are selling them for $25 ($10 is the COST of the shirt...$15 will go toward my trip!) They are American Apparel brand--so super soft..you'll love it! We need to sell as many of these as we can, so HELP ME GET THE WORD OUT!!!! If you'd like to buy one, leave me a COMMENT on this blog w/ your email address and I will contact you.
3) We will be having a CAR WASH towards the end of the month...more details to follow. Come let us make your car sparkle---for a good cause!
4) We are also selling soccer jerseys that you can purchase for a child that we will meet in Ethiopia! You will get to write a message to "your child" on the jersey and take a picture of yourself with the jersey that we can take to the child. Over there, they will be THRILLED with a soccer jersey from you...and we will also get a picture of "your child" for you. What a wonderful way to connect with a child in need, personally...and be blessed yourself! These jerseys are $50 and 100% of that money will go toward my mission trip! (Also COMMENT if you'd like to participate in this fundraiser.)
There are no words for how excited I am about this trip. Please visit the Ordinary Hero website (www.ordinaryhero.org) and click on the link for the Kicking and Dreaming Ethiopia 2010 Team to find out more details on our trip. I just KNOW that God is doing big things, and I am so thankful I get to be a part. Thank you, in advance, for your "ground" support--- you, too, are a part of accomplishing HIS purposes!
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