For as long as I can remember, I have loved children. Even as a little girl, I was drawn to babies. I remember I used to line up my baby dolls and pretend they were my class. I would sit for hours teaching them, talking to them, holding them. I would say from the beginning I was equal parts mother/nurturer and educator. So naturally, as I grew up, my love for children grew with me. I babysat for the better part of my jr. high and high school career. I was a camp counselor at the local summer camp (my technical title was an LIT: Leader In Training… very glamorous) and I also loved helping coach the peewee soccer and basketball teams. It wasn’t a big surprise to anyone when I decided to pursue a career as a teacher once in college. Children just kind of captivated me. I loved their innocence and the way they loved with no hesitation. I respected their honesty and cherished the moments I spent with them. Just before I graduated college, I began working at a local elementary school as a Special Education Personal Aide where I was introduced to children with special needs. God began to absolutely break my heart for these children; the ones who were overlooked and often forgotten. I began to see how deeply God burned for these special ones. This was the first time I experienced Gods passionate love for children who seemed to be unwanted, discarded, marginalized. These were the voiceless ones, the ones who had no control over their circumstances. I believe this was my first taste of what was to come.
Last summer I embarked on a journey that challenged and changed me. I was part of a team that traveled between Kenya and Uganda and visited over 2,000 orphans. Suddenly, God’s heart for the overlooked, the marginalized, and the unwanted children of this beautiful nation was alive and raging within me. I was so grieved and broken by the intense contrast I witnessed there: beautiful and breathtaking sights surrounded by profound devastation. But what really captured my heart was the children. They were all so full of love and beauty and joy. Some were infused with sorrow as well, many of them had watched one or both parents suffer and die. Some had fought for their lives. Their stories were powerful and wonderful and through these marvelous children, God began to show me his heart for them and his dreams for them. God began giving me glimpses of his hopes and dreams for the beautiful nation of Africa.
Since I returned from that trip, I have been dreaming and longing to go back. But just as I knew God had set up my first trip with such intention, I knew the next trip would come in the right time and with the right opportunity. That opportunity has presented itself as a two-month trip (September and October) to the nation of Burkina Faso in West Africa through an organization called Envision (weareenvision.com). I will be living and serving at an orphanage in the small village of Yoko. Sheltering Wings Orphanage (www.sheltering-wings.org) is home to children of ALL ages. I will have the opportunity to care for babies, build relationships with school-aged children, teach toddlers, help with construction, visit neighboring villages to distribute food and medical supplies, and so much more!
If you are interested in contributing to my trip in any way, whether through prayer, financial or another form of support, I would deeply and greatly appreciate it!
For financial support, you can email me for more details (email@example.com)
You can also give online at www.cmalliance.org/give. Under “Give to International Workers and Special Projects” type “ENV – [and My Name]” and then add amount etc.
It’s wild to look back and see how God has had such a plan for my life from the very beginning, and how that plan has given way to such passion and so many dreams! As I anticipate this trip I am excited and hopeful for what God will reveal next!
If you have ANY questions, please feel free to contact me! Also, keep an eye out for more blog updates and news about my trip!