More than just a trip

I want to get a little more in-depth with my explanation of just *why* Allan is going on this mission trip to Haiti. After the earthquake, I felt a particular pull for the Haitian people. I would like to say I'm a fairly compassionate person for those who've been struck by disaster, but this was different. I felt an intense need and longing and a pressure on my heart to DO something for these people. GraceAnne started a change drive at the school she attended at the time, and they raised over $900. I was so proud of her, of course! After that, I thought of them and prayed for them frequently, but was at a loss of what else to do. I wondered if God would call us to Haiti in some form of ministry-but honestly, it scares the bejeeses out of me for a number of reasons.

In January of this year, Jeff-a member of our small group, a great friend and now our pastor-told us that his best friend was involved with a group who went on mission trips to Haiti. He expressed his desire to go in March. We encouraged him, but didn't think much else of it until a couple weeks later.

At that time, Allan had been out of work for 2 months. He wasn't exactly sure why he'd been called away from the VA, but we both *knew* he had been and finally heeded that call. Through a lot of prayer and WAITING, God pressed on Allan's heart that our disabled veterans have organizations that help them go on physical expeditions, help them rehabilitate to civilian life and give them all kinds of funds/opportunities to help them move forward after their losses, but many of them still feel...well, LOST. Allan and I know first-hand that Christ is the only thing that has catapulted us from "making it" to thriving. We have heard so many stories of men with the same injuries (physical and mental) as Allan, but they were falling through the cracks, going so far as to beat or even kill their families and even more frequently, themselves. These men just can't seem to move past the "making it" phase into a better life.

So Allan realized that these men need the love of JESUS and they need to see that there are people out there who are less-fortunate than they to remember that life is worth living, even if it's different now. They need to know that *because* of the differences, life can be more beautiful. So was born the idea of taking disabled veterans on missions trips to foreign countries. It only took us a few minutes to connect the two ideas--Jeff's idea of GOING on a trip and Allan's idea of TAKING people on trips. Of course, Allan should have an idea of what a mission trip will involve for a disabled person.

So more than just a good deed, a mission trip, a fulfilling of the Great Commission, this trip is also a fact-finding mission. It will be part of our foundation for building an organization that can truly help disabled veterans move past "making it" into thriving. Allan will be keeping a detailed log of what kinds of set-backs he faces. How long can a man with one leg work without a break? What kind of mental stresses will this kind of environment place on a man who suffers PTSD? What kinds of emotions are unleashed after "re-entry" that will need to be addressed and dealt with? How can we be sure to connect every dot back to Christ for someone whose understanding might be weak at best? I'm sure many other questions will be posed and answered that we haven't even thought about yet.

This is SO EXCITING!!! I pray the excitement is contagious. The trip has been post-poned once, but I know that was God's will. He knew Jeff wouldn't be able to go in March and He made it so Allan couldn't go without Jeff. As I've said before, the trip is now scheduled for June 24-July 2 and both men are on track. Allan's deposit is paid and we have about $400 toward Jeff's deposit. We have a great friend and another fellow small group member working on finding more donations, but we only have 6 more days! Please, if you feel God tugging on your heart to help, know that every dollar will be going toward these missions and also, if you wish, we can get you a tax deduction for your donation. If you cannot help financially, please PRAY-first and foremost-because God DOES answer prayers. We are living testimonies to that! And please also pass this blog post along to other people. God uses all kinds of people and He is the God of the little things so that no man can boast. He will make sure that a $5 donation here and a $10 donation there adds up to a great sum so that the Blessings may be spread to many.

God Bless you all. We love and miss you!!


Phase 1 down: how many phases to go?

Praise God this weekend was successful and is over! It was incredibly full! Our first real outreach since we changed pastors at our church was this weekend and I'd say it was an overwhelming success! We had lots of kids at our egg hunt and they all had a blast!

If I can manage to get blogger to take pix off my phone, I'll post them here soon. Otherwise I'm going to have to do some fancy finger-work to get them onto the computer and then on here. The long and the short of it, though, is that our ticker has changed! Thanks to a VERY generous donation by Allan's sister, (THANK YOU, TRISH!!) and selling some bows we are *that* much closer to our goal.

Now's where it comes down to the line, though. Allan's deposit is taken care of, but Pastor Jeff still needs his. We have $200 toward it, but it's $700, so $500 more by April 30th. After that, the remainder of the funds are due by June 1, so we'll have a month to work on them. I'm hoping to pull off a pancake breakfast, maybe a bake sale and the guys will be sending out donation request letters to family and friends soon.

If you would, you can help by posting these fundraising posts on Facebook or sharing on your blogs. You can also donate using the donate button at the top of the page. Paypal is fast and easy and you can use ACH funds, debit or credit cards. We have been so Blessed by the people passing this on and we thank each of you very sincerely!


Our Other Efforts

In other fundraising efforts...this Sunday marks our first booth. Our church is having a community-wide Easter egg hunt. We'll have up for donation only some amazing bows that 3 fabulous mommas helped me make and some "paint your own" flower pots for Easter baskets. Here is GraceAnne modeling some of our bows. The booth will be by donation only, so this is all God. We're praying He lays it on people's hearts to give generously, but if someone can't afford to put any money in the bucket, we will not tell them they can't have a bow or a pot. I can't wait to see how this turns out! And there is an "example" pot that I painted real fast. It contains a baggie of potting soil, a packet of seeds and paints/paintbrush. They'll be the perfect gift for grandma on Easter or to put in the kids' Easter baskets. I picked seeds of flowers that won't get massive, so they won't outgrow their containers. I'm so excited to see what God does with all this. I know He WILL provide for Pastor Jeff and Allan to go to Haiti. Furthermore, I know He WILL provide for Allan to start up his non-profit. More about that in another fundraising post :) Thank you EVERYONE who has reposted my links. I'm very grateful for friends who will help spread the word of our efforts and grateful to God who will provide the people who are interested in helping get these children the message of Christ's love!


Kicking it off!

This is it, the time has come! Allan and Jeff will be going to Haiti with a group called Christians United for Haiti in June. It's run by a man named Calherbe who was actually born and raised in Haiti. He now lives in Virginia and takes groups down for relief missions. The trip was spawned by a conversation with our home group. Our pastor, Jeff, knows a man who is closely associated with this group and was considering going in March. Jeff prayed and felt led to go with and brought it up to the group, not knowing that Allan was feeling called to something himself. We raised Allan's deposit from some close family members and he was set to go at the end of March, but the trip got post-poned due to an illness in the organizer's family. The trip is now scheduled for June 24-July 2.

We need more help, though! Allan still needs a minimum of $900 more and Jeff needs the full $1500. We know God will provide through our friends and loved ones and possibly even through people we don't know!

So how will your donation help? Haiti's infrastructure is non-existant. There is no government to administer aid as we would see here, (and yet still fails when disaster strikes many times!) and the native people were very poor to begin with. Many children were left parentless after the quake and many parents can't afford to care for their children since the quake. People are still living in tents on the streets and clean drinking water is scarse. Because resources are so limited, there is not even wood to burn to cook a meal or boil water to sanitize it. Allan and Jeff and the rest of the crew will help in a Haitian orphanage, bringing food, clothes and supplies to the children and workers who live/learn there. Find pictures HERE of the last trip CUH organized to the orphanage in Haiti.

Allan and Jeff will bring the love of Jesus Christ to these children by meeting their basic needs and doing repairs to the buildings they are housed and schooled in. They will also take a team on the streets at night to bring hope to those living in the tents. What we need even more than money is prayer. Please soak this trip in your prayers, that God will Bless the travel, the orphans and these men who are going. Please pray for safety and for God's hand to be evident to all. Thank you so much for all you do for us!

PS-we will be having other fundraising events throughout the next couple of months, so I will be updating the ticker above as donations come in from my website and from those events. Any additional funds raised will mean more kids will be given food, clothing, shelter, medical supplies and clean water.


Birthday wishes from God

It never ceases to amaze me how much God cares for me. I kinda expect (sorry...that's really selfish) my friends and family to care about my birthday and send me well-wishes, but God of the universe? Well...I mean, He is eternal, what is a birthday to Him? Evidently something special. Because I swear to you He sent me birthday wishes today and I can't help but share.

First...my day has been absolutely amazing. My hubby and babies have come shining through and truly have Blessed me today. But then started God's gift. The mail came early-a miracle in itself-and I got an envelope with a book inside from my mother-in-law. Then she called as I was reading the back cover thinking to myself, "I dunno about this..." The book is called Heaven is for Real and you can find it here. She said that she thought it was a great read and that there was a GOOD note inside for me. I thought it was something she wrote. No way could she have orchestrated it.

I don't want to give the book away, but you can venture a guess by the title, it's about a 4-year-old boy who nearly died and then later told his loved ones about his experience in heaven with God and Christ...and with his unborn little sister. (By the way...she was lost before he was born and his parents had never told him about her) He talks about her and how, even though she had died in her mother's womb at only 2 months gestation, she was very much a little girl who loved her family and was waiting for them to come home. It goes into such great comforting detail that I can't possibly outline it here, but I cried several times. I also read the book in 2 hours and as I type my husband is in the livingroom devouring it. Any hesitation I had is absolutely washed away. READ IT!!!

It addressed the mother's healing over this revelation and the healing of others who had miscarried and learned the little boy's story. But if that wasn't enough...and it was...I then checked my email and this was in my inbox: Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other.--Matthew 12:13

I hope that speaks, because I don't have any other words for it. PRAISE HIM WHO BRINGS COMFORT AND RESTORATION!!!