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!!