Sunday, September 25, 2011

One person can change the world

One person can change the world for at least one person.

My Great Aunt Dot passed away while I was in India and I found out when I got home. She lived in California and I first met her when I was in middle school and she and my Great Uncle Hank came to Michigan to visit family. In 11th grade, my cousin Heather and I got on an airplane (my first ever flight) and flew to California to visit my Grandma & Grandpa Kerr and Aunt Dot & Uncle Hank who lived nearby. Aunt Dot was a spunky woman - very smart in business and very proper. I'll never forget the night we got back from Disney Land and went out to eat and I was tired and put my head down on the table at the restaurant and she scolded me and told me it was not acceptable to do so nor to have my elbows on the table. I hated being scolded and wanted to cry right then and there but I held it in and sat up straight and removed my head and arms from the table. Aunt Dot intimidated me but I also respected her and admired her. I loved her straightforwardness and admired how she also spoke her mind. She was a strong woman. Towards the end of the trip she pulled me aside and asked me about my future plans. I told her that I wanted to go to college and she told me that her and Uncle Hank would gladly help me pay for it. She said that she knew my parents couldn't afford to send me and she believed I had a bright future and didn't want me to not be able to go because of money. She told me to work hard and do well in school and when the time came, to give her a call and she would help me. I was honored with such an offer. I didn't quite know what to say but I can tell you what a difference in makes in a life to know someone you respect believes in you and sees a bright future in you. It motivated me even more to do well.

My first two years of college, I was determined that I could pay for it myself. Even though she offered, I felt awkward asking. So I worked a job waitressing and paid for the first two years of community college myself, along with some great grant money that helped with tuition. When I got to my 3rd and 4th year at a different, way more expensive school - I realized about 2 months into it that I wouldn't be able to swing the cost myself and I had to swallow my pride and call Aunt Dot. It was one of the most humbling, hardest things I've ever had to do. She didn't hesitate. She asked me to send her a document of how much everything cost, how often payments were due and how much housing was and she then got back to me with how much they were willing to help with. I told her I was going to try and pay for as much of it as I could too and I also had a lot of financial aid which was a huge help. With her help, I graduated with a bachelor degree from a private art school and only had to take out $7000 in loans. What a blessing. I made sure to write thank you cards as often as possible and I felt like I couldn't quite say enough how much I appreciated their help.

After college, I went out to California for a week to visit while my Grandma Kerr was out there staying with Aunt Dot and Uncle Hank. It was a sweet time with them and I'm so glad that I went. To be able to go and thank her and Uncle Hank in person is something I would have regretted had I not gone. Now both her and my Uncle Hank have left this earth. And yet, the impact of their help and not just the financial aspect of it - but just the confidence it gave me early on to know they were willing to help - lives on. When I graduated college, I called and asked about paying them back. I was fully prepared to pay every penny back and wanted to talk about a payment plan. Instead, Aunt Dot told me that her and Uncle Hank didn't want me to pay them back - they wanted me to help someone else someday and that would be payment enough. WOW! I was blown away and if I recall correctly, I started crying and saying of course, I would gladly help someone else.

So here I am, 13 years after college and a little over a week after my dear Aunt Dot has passed away and I'm thinking about all the people who have changed my life. I'm reading two books right now - The Blessing and True Religion. I feel like I received a huge blessing from Aunt Dot - in the words that said "you have a bright future and we will gladly help you. We believe in you." In True Religion it talks about changing the world for one. You start with one and there's no telling the impact. I truly hope that I can not only change the world for one but for many. I think about the kids I've sponsored through Compassion and this little boy that I'm praying that I get to adopt - it's not a stretch for me to help others. It's who I am and what I love to do. Maybe a huge part of why is because of what Aunt Dot showed me by helping me. Give your life, your money, your talents and your resources away and it will not return void. The Lord will honor your gifts. And there's no better feeling in the world than knowing you partnered with Jesus to help somebody else. I have no doubt that Aunt Dot felt that same joy in helping me and I am truly thankful. She was truly an amazing woman and I'm sad that she's gone but at the same time, I rejoice because she is now with Jesus and her body is no longer plagued with cancer or pain. She's free and I picture her dancing with Jesus. And I hope that no matter what I do in this life, I live it in a way that would have made her proud of me and glad to have invested into my life.

You never know what kind of difference you can make in someone's life by the words that you speak or the finances or help that you give. We can all change the world for one.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What a last day!

I am now back on US soil, sitting in the Newark airport waiting for my flight to Nashville in a few hours. We left Delhi, India at almost 11pm at night and our flight was about 15 hours. I watched "Water for Elephants" and then went to sleep and honestly slept almost the entire way. Not straight through but kept falling back to sleep. I woke up and realized we only had 3.5 hours to go. Sweet!!! I love nighttime international flights.
Yesterday was our last day in India and we ended it with some amazing home visits. God showed up and it was quite an experience. We had gotten up and took our time getting ready, then Ananthi took us shopping. (I got some awesome stuff to add to my international store page on my blog by the way. I will get busy adding those things this weekend.) After that, we had another yummy Indian lunch with her and a few others. Then we went back to the flat to pack for an hour before going to the slums of New Delhi to visit the home of a young girl who had been having major breathing attacks off and on for a few weeks. The doctors cannot figure out what it is and it seemed to go away so they sent her home. We went to pray for her and one of our translators from another part of India said he felt called to pray in his native language which none of us nor the people we were praying for would understand. There are many languages in different states in India so the people in Delhi didn't know his native language. He started praying and I was next to the girl with my hand on her back praying and she starts having a full on breathing attack. It was honestly like nothing I've ever seen. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she was breathing so heavy - kind of reminded me of how people describe a panic attack but also with her back arching and eyes rolling back - it really seemed like something spiritual was really going on. Come to find out, the girl only has had these attacks when she goes to school or church. Coincidence? I think not! Her whole family have recently come to know the Lord and we all felt strongly that this was a spiritual attack on this girl. When Prabbat started praying in his language is when it really started happening. Come to find out later - he was asking the evil to show itself and boy, did it. I've heard about these kinds of things but I've not seen it. And I was literally holding onto the girl on one side with the rest of the team, the girls family and some teachers from the school all laying hands on her and just praying. As things got more intense and her breathing was getting really scary, we just kept on taking authority in Jesus name. It was a serious spiritual battle for this young girl and I can't even really fully describe it with words. All I know is that something evil was terrorizing this sweet young girl and we were battling it with prayer and the name of Jesus. At one point, most of us backed up to give her some air cause it was really hot in there and a small room and we wanted her to have some air. She was still very scared and panicked. Abner started singing Hallelujah our God Reigns Forever All my Days. He just held her hand and kept praying. One of the teachers then moved over to her and got the young girl to say the words Hallelujah several times and that was helping to calm her breathing. She then got her to say Jesus and continued to pray with her. She got her completely calmed down and her breathing went back to normal and I'm not kidding, her eyes had a totally different look in them. Like a look of peace and relief. I am believing that she was healed of these attacks right then and there in that prayer time. Our team is going to fast and pray for her for the next few Mondays. The young girls name is Neha - she's about 14 and if anyone who is reading this would like to fast and pray the next few Mondays for this sweet girl, that would be most welcomed. When we left her home, she was in good spirits and even went up onto the roof of their home in the slums with us and took some group photos and was smiling and talking to us. It was like night and day from when we had first arrived. Praise the Lord. That was THE most powerful prayer time I've ever been a part of and I feel honored to be on a small but mighty team who has full faith that God can and does heal today! So, so thankful.

We had one more house to visit when we left hers - a young high school boy whom Abner had been talking to at the school and knew we were coming. We were running very late and Ananthi was waiting for us back at the school to say goodbye. But we saw on the few home visits that we did how incredibly important it was to these families that we came. They truly seemed so honored that we would come and they were so welcoming to us. They gave us tea and cookies and invited us into their homes with such joy. We were honored to visit them. So we went to this young boys home and while we couldn't stay long because Frances and I had a flight to catch - you could tell it truly meant the world to him and his family that we came. We prayed over their family in a circle holding hands. Every home visit we went to this past week - the people so badly wanted us to pray for them. They treated us as I can imagine they would treat Jesus himself. And who are we? Nobody special. But they feel special because we would travel from afar to come and visit them. They are considered by a majority of Delhi as the lowest of the low and we don't see them that way at all. I feel like when you go and you visit what the bible calls the least of these - it makes total sense why Jesus says the least will be the greatest. We have so much to learn from these amazing people in the slums of New Delhi. So much. They are truly inspiring, loving, welcoming people. And this school - the Good Samaritan School - started only with one child and one amazing woman willing to welcome this little one in and show him love - is literally changing thousands of lives. Reading their dreams, hearing their hopes - it is because of this school and the compassion and love of this woman who was obedient when God called her to do something - that these kids have a hope and future. The Lord has his hand on this school and me and my team was truly honored to be able to spend a week+ in their midst.

What a trip! What a journey! What a God we serve!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dream Big!

Today was a cool day. Amanda and Abner performed and shared with the kids at the morning assembly at the high school with the 11th and 12th graders.

Then we had a little bit of time before teaching our first class of the day. We taught 4 classes total. I was praying this morning about what to share with these kids, high school kids. Honestly most of my time with kids has been little kids so I wasn't totally sure what to talk to them about. I knew the name art project was too basic for kids that age. This morning it came to me - a message I heard a few years ago from a great speaker from my church named Joseph Watson - it was a message that impacted me when I heard it and it seemed perfect for these kids. Basically, my version was not as good as Joseph's and it was much shorter but I shared 3 bible verses with them to start.
Ephesians 3:20
Mark 29:27
Jeremiah 29:11

I then talked about how God has put gifts and talents in each one of them and how God is big and therefore their dreams should be big. I encouraged them to not just have one dream or a small dream but to dream big and to believe God to be big enough to fulfill their dreams. I asked them to write down their name and their dreams on a piece of paper and then when they were finished, if they wanted to, they could give their papers to us and we would read their dreams and pray for them and pray for God to fulfill their dreams. Every single kid wanted to give their dreams to us. I asked them if they had ever done this before and they said no and they seemed really into it. They were so focused on writing - it was very quiet in those classes. As they were getting close to finishing their list, Abner got up and shared some of his dreams - including being able to travel the world and play music and how coming to India is a dream of him and Amanda's. He sang some songs by himself and Amanda came up and sang with him on a few also. The kids LOVED it! We prayed for them and then we headed on to the next class. It was a really sweet time with them.

Now that we're back at the flat, I'm reading this huge stack of dreams and I'm blown away and inspired. These are just a few of the things I'm finding in these papers:

"I really love my God. God has given me everything. I see poor children, who are not able to go to school and I really feel sad for them. Whenever I see those peoples then I realize how kindly the God is for me."

"I want to be a doctor. I want to help the poor children by providing them medicine and knowledge. I want to help my parents in their older age."

"I want to become a Prime Minister because I want to see corruption less in India in the future and want to help poor people."

These are high school students. Wow! I love reading their dreams. I told them that God has dreams that He put in their hearts and He has a plan for every one of them. I loved watching their eyes light up as they thought about what to write down on that paper. And I really love that they have such big dreams! So, so good!

So thankful for an opportunity to share that message with them. Tomorrow evening, Frances & I head home and Abner & Amanda head out the next morning to their next stop. It has been an amazing trip. I am so thankful that we were able to spend time at the Good Samaritan Schools - they are doing such amazing work in New Delhi. They are giving these kids the opportunity to get an education and be able to dream. The Lord has had favor on Ananthi and this school and she gives all glory to Him. She is an amazing woman. A true jewel. I am fully convinced that the father will most certainly say to this amazing woman someday "well done, good and faithful servant!" This country, these people, this amazing woman of God and these awesome, inspiring children have truly blessed our team more than we could have ever blessed them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 6 India

Today was a great day. We are all glad we got to see the Taj Mahal yesterday but I think we'd all take a day like today over a tourist day any day. We went to the elementary school this morning and broke up into 3 teams - me doing art with the kids, Frances doing stories with them and Abner & Amanda of johnnyswim doing music. Between our 3 groups, we were able to get to all 8 classrooms of adorable, precious kiddos. I made it to 3 rooms with the art project and even sang with one of the classrooms I did art with - I taught them "I Am Not Forgotten" - a song I learned from the kids in Haiti. Abner & Amanda made it to 7 of the classes and the 8th was the one I sang with so they all got some sort of music. I think Frances made it to about 5 or 6 of the classes. I was hopping back and forth between 3 classes pretty much at once because the art took so long - I would go get another class started and let them work and then come back periodically and check on them to see how they were doing. At the end, every child gave their artwork to me. All of them had written their names on it - that was the project - I talked to them about how God knows each one of their names, knows every hair on their head and loves them. They wrote their name and decorated the papers. Some made them into cards and wrote my name on it too. Some wrote scripture on it, drew flowers and crosses and wrote "Thank you for visiting" and so on. Sooooo soooooo precious. Once they gave them all to me - I told them that not only does God know their name, but I will know their names now too because I have it on those papers! After we were finished with our whirlwind teaching morning, we took the 1st grade kids outside and did two rounds of Simon Says with them. The kids at the elementary school are so much fun and so precious. In between checking on classes, I was also popping in on the other rooms where Abner & Amanda were doing their song - overwhelmingly beautiful and so precious to have all their voices singing it with hands in the air praising the Lord. It brought tears to my eyes so many times. To think of how hard life is for these kids who live in the slums and yet thanks to Good Samaritan school, they are able to get an education and have a hope for a better life. Truly awe inspiring. These kids can teach us all something about perseverance.

After we finished our lesson and game time, we headed back to the big school at Jasola where we got to spend some time with Ananthi and have tea before getting a Cricket lesson outside with the 8th grade boys PE class. Us girls decided it would be more appropriate to watch so we sat on the sidelines with the boys who were sitting this one out. Abner and a young man from Canada who is here helping the school joined the game and got schooled on how to play or at least sort of. It was scorching hot out so it was good that it wasn't a super long game before the bell rang and it was time for next period.

We have lunch after and then got to hear stories of a group of kids that started out in the toilet complex school over 10 years ago. One kid said he walked 9 miles each way back then to go to that school. Seriously these kids are inspiring. They are so dedicated to their studies and so strong. Many of them have a lot of difficulties at home and yet, they are there at school putting in the hard work to do well and rise above. We asked them what they want to be when they grow up and we heard answers like lawyer, accountant, teacher. We asked them where they would go if they could go anywhere - many said to the US, one said South Africa and another said London. We told them to dream big because we serve a big God. Frances shared that she thought they were heroes and that they were to be commended for all they've overcome and that they are role models for the younger generation. We prayed for them and they prayed for us. It was a sweet, sweet time. Amazing kids. It was an honor to sit and talk with them and hear their stories and hearts.

After an amazing day with remarkable kids, we were taken through the crazy roads to a market for souvenir shopping. It was very low key compared to other places I've been in that we weren't being shouted at or followed around by vendors wanting us to buy items. It was nice and calm and pleasant. We all got some neat items. On the way there, we even saw a guy on a pedal bike with literally two small monkey's on the back holding on to the guy. Can you even believe that? I have the picture to prove it! Now, I've seen it all:)

Got home to the flat and ordered some pizza. Getting some rest shortly because we have another full day of teaching tomorrow - this time at the high school.

Thanks for all the prayers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our Tourist Day in India

The kids had school off today after their exams yesterday so we had the day off too. We went 3+ hours on a death-defying drive to the Taj Mahal. I've been a lot of places but the driving here is by far the scariest. There's the usual weaving in and out of bikes, cars, motorcycles and pedestrians but here it's often at pretty high speeds. You're heading straight for a giant motor coach at oh 50 miles an hour and none of us can see where our little minivan is going to go in this scenario and yet, the driver whips around at the last minute to a little crack next to the thing and we go on our way and all of us get our breath back. Whew. We may have needed more prayer today for that drive than any other day. But we made it safe and sound, praise the Lord.

The Taj Mahal is beautiful but not functional. It was never even used which is kind of a waste. It's designed just to be beautiful and symmetrical and that it is. The photos almost look fake. It was so bright and sunny today and scorching hot. Thank God for shaded areas. We were sweating horribly! So if we look shiny in the pics, that's why. So glad we went and now I can say I've seen two world wonders (the other was the Great Wall of China) but I'm cool with just going once.

Afterwards, our guide had to take us on his usual stop off to this place that makes marble carvings and try to sell us stuff. Kind of reminded me of a time share pitch that you sort of have to do when you get sweet hotel deals on vacation. We sat through a short video and were shown to a gorgeous showroom. Very expensive stuff. And we were all ready for lunch and not very interested. Nevertheless, it was good to see and two small items were bought by my team members. Nothing for me - I have a little boy to bring home so no extra spending or gifts for anyone. Sorry y'all!

We found a McDonalds nearby and were so excited but it's India so they didn't have burgers. But they did have fries. Not as good as home but it was nice to be able to eat on the go and get headed back. I don't know how with all the weaving in and out but I fell asleep off and on for almost the whole way. In fact, I'm pretty sure we all did which made it a much shorter drive.

We got back to the flat about 5:45 and ordered takeout and have just been chilling for the evening.

Tomorrow we get to go back to the first school we visited and go from class to class teaching the kids music, a story and artwork to go along with the message that we did yesterday at the other school - that God created each one of them, they are special and He knows their names and loves them. Very excited to go back to this school tomorrow. Precious, precious kids. This is the elementary aged kids.

Please keep praying for us. We have 3 days in a row of teaching the kids and this is the main purpose of our trip - to teach them about God's love for them!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 4 India

‎6pm here in India and we had a GREAT day. We visited a different Good Samaritan School about 45 minutes away. It was small but the kids were so precious!!! Abner and Amanda did music with the kids including having them sing along to their AWESOME new song. Frances read them a great story called "You are Special" by Max Lucado which went along perfect with the art work I had them do. I told them they are each special, loved and important and God knows every single one of their names and all the hairs on their head. They each decorated a page with their name and art on the page. At the end, they were so excited to give their art to me. I told them how great they did and how now, not only does God know all their naames - but so do I!
After that, we came back to the big school in Jasola and got to take part in PE class with the 7th and 8th grade girls. The teacher mostly led but in the second class, Abner got to lead the girls in Simon says. It was so fun!
After that we had a yummy Indian food lunch. We then got to pray for all the teachers and Abner & Amanda shared two songs with them. That was a sweet time. We encouraged them and prayed for them and thanked them for the important work they are doing. We went to exchange money after that and then came back to the flat. We're having yummy leftovers from last night Indian takeout for dinner tonight shortly. And then we'll try to go to bed early. The kids had exams today so Ananthi decided to switch our tourist day so the kids could have tomorrow off school. So tomorrow we are going to the Taj Mahal instead of Wednesday. Fun, fun. I'll get to see another wonder of the world.
Wed through Fri we will be working with all the other grades and kids at the big school and the first school we went to.

Thanks for praying!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

photos from India

Sunday in India

This morning, we got to sleep a bit later than we had the past few days which was nice. After breakfast, we headed to church at one of the Good Samaritan schools. We got to worship with the people and then Abner gave the message. He did a great job! After the service, Ananthi announced that we would individually pray for people if they wanted - told them to come over to us if they did and asked some of the students to translate. A lot of people took us up on that and asked for prayer. I think each one of us probably prayed for at least 8-10 people. I prayed for a lot of people with pain and health issues and several for provision for jobs. Several of the kids came up after and asked me and a few of our other team members to pray for their exams. They so value their studies - it is so obvious by how proud they are to show us their work and how much they ask for prayer for exams and to do well in their studies. After prayer, we had tea and hung out with the people and they we helped clean up. Ananthi wanted to teach them not to throw their trash everywhere so she asked if we would be willing to help clean up so we could be an example to them and get them to help us. OF COURSE we would be more than happy to do that. And it worked like a charm - the entire school was out there picking up trash, sweeping and I even got to show a few of the kids how to mow the lawn. It's one of those old school hand push non-powered mowers. Fun! Afterwards, Ananthi took us to a fancy hotel downtown to a really yummy Chinese restaurant. Of course, you can't come to India and not have Chinese. ha ha Abner has been saying that they do have great Chinese food here though and he was right. It was SO good. The hotel let us a use one of their conference rooms - Abner talked them into doing it as a "favor" and not charging us. Sweet. We got some video of Ananthi telling her story and some stories of specific kids she's helped. What an amazing woman - the Lord is using her in such mighty ways. And she has such joy in her eyes. I rarely ever see her not smiling. She is a precious, precious woman. When we got back to the flat, we did a rooftop photo shoot with Abner and Amanda - my team members of the fabulous duo johnnyswim. They were so kind to model our Visiting Orphans t-shirts. We will now have some seriously high fashion photos of them. The fabulous Sarin, also on our team for these first few days to shoot video and photos - took the photos. Amazing. Can't wait for y'all to see them. Now we are chilling at the flat and getting ready for our big week. We'll be teaching bible stories, doing art with it and sharing music with the kids all week. Each day, we work with several different classes. With over 2000 kids total, we won't have the same kids more than once so we're working on one message to do with each group. Thank you so much for all the prayers. We can feel them and we so appreciate them.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Getting Outside Comfort Zones

I'm overwhelmed right now. Have stepped way outside my comfort zone in new ways already on this trip. I think we all have. We may have a small team but it is truly mighty. We just had a very powerful day that the Lord's presence was all over. We got up and went to the Good Samaritan School for a Saturday morning prayer meeting with the administrative staff of the school and Ananthi who started it. She asked each one of us to share during this time and I think we were all a bit nervous but the Lord spoke through us. Abner gave a great message about Gideon and how God used an ordinary man armed only with horns and clay pots to defeat an army. He talked about how God can use all of us if we are only obedient to what He's called us to do. Frances shared her own personal testimony and I felt like it really spoke to many in the room and Ananthi in particular seemed especially blessed by it. I shared James 5:13-20. Amanda, Sarin and I thanked them for letting us be there with them and thanked them for their work at the school and just emphasized how important their work is for God's kingdom and in the lives of the children. They prayed for us and I got to pray for them at the end. It was a sweet time.
Afterwards, we had tea with Ananthi and then headed up to the worship service. It was their first one and they hope to have many. They invited all the high school students to come. There weren't a ton but there were some. We worshipped together with worship led by staff at the school and a young man who is here for a few months on guitar. Then he led a few songs by himself and then Abner and Amanda - johnnyswim - sang a beautiful song they wrote. The kids sang the chorus with them. It was so sweet. It's an awesome song. I can't wait for y'all to hear it. They are going to record it when they get home and use the proceeds from any downloads to help Visiting Orphans. So cool.
After worship, we got to eat yummy Indian food for lunch and then we rested for a few hours before being picked up to go do home visits in the slums. We just got back an hour ago. Whew. My emotions are heightened. We were welcomed into 3 different homes and had the privilege to pray with each family. The first home we went into was a young girl taking care of her grandmother who has blood cancer. We laid hands on her and prayed for healing in her body. Abner shared a word from the Lord to her and I could see in her eyes that it spoke to her heart. The second home was a mom and dad and 3 kids - mom and dad had both been having problems with their knees and legs. And one of the kids, the oldest, was having white spots on her skin that they were concerned about. We got to gather around them and lay hands on the whole family and pray healing, protection, provision and a blessing over them as a family. The third home we were waiting for the residences to arrive so we prayed over one of the lady who was with us - for provision for her and her husband to get jobs to provide for their babies. The family that came in - a mom and a child - she asked for a job for her husband and to pay off some debt they had incurred. We prayed for provision and for her children - that they would be mighty warriors for God's kingdom. We also prayed for another lady who had been chatting to us as we walked - we couldn't understand her but our interpreter told us she wanted prayer too. So of course, we were happy to pray with her. She asked for pray for her son for work and debt. We prayed for wisdom for the son and her for him. We prayed for provision and also for the Lord to continue to dwell within her - she had such a light in her eyes and a joy you could see. We were able to get a few photos at the second two homes of the family in front of their homes. Such a sweet, sweet time. When I got to the car, I felt very emotional and just so thankful for such an amazing team of prayer warriors. We had such a powerful time. I truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. We had a sweet prayer time when we got back to the flat too. I LOVE this team. I LOVE how God knows exactly who is supposed to go and when! He is such an awesome God. May He continue to work in us and through us on this trip. We are being stretched and are definitely operating out of comfort zone - but that is exactly where God wants us. Because in that, we are being transformed more into His likeness. And in that, all Glory must go to Him because we can't do any of it without him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Great first day

We had a great day getting to meet Ananthi, the women who started the Good Samaritan school - what a neat lady with a huge heart for the Lord and children. The 4 school locations now have about 2000 kids. I asked her if she ever dreamed of it becoming so big and she just laughed and said "no - it's all the Lord" - it started with one and now 2000 kids are helped and offered an education they wouldn't otherwise have. That's the impact of being obedient when God calls you. We got to meet most of the kids at two of the schools and through our time here, we will get to do bible stories, music and crafts with most all of them. It's a lot of kids to reach with a team of 4 but God is bigger than us! Tomorrow we are helping with Saturday worship and getting to pray with the staff. We will also visit a few homes in the slums where the children live. Praying we all adjust to the time by tomorrow. So thrown off by this time change - feeling WAY tired! Other than China, I haven't felt this affected by jet lag in a long time. It's 10.5 hours ahead of Nashville so it's similar to China in that the days are pretty much flip-flopped.

The children here are so beautiful and precious and they really value their education. They were so proud of their school work and were so happy to show it to us. In other countries, the kids are more affectionate and want to just pile on you. It's not that way here. So far, the kids here just want to talk with you and tell you about themselves and show you their school work. It is so cute how happy they are to go to school. Our kids in the states could learn alot from these kids about the value of education. This school is giving them hope for a future. And they are learning about Jesus everyday while they are here. I'm so glad we came. This is such an amazing ministry. The needs are great and the workers are few. We need more people to come.

Thanks for your prayers. We have a great team - we will all be getting outside our comfort zones this week as we try to share bibles stories and crafts with 2000 kids and only 4 of us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 1 - actually day 3

I just woke up here in India - well actually, I woke up every hour from 1 am on because my body was a little bit thrown off by the time change and I slept a lot on the flight over. But I finally got up and showered at 5:30 am. It's 8:30 pm at home right now and 7 am in the morning on Friday here. I didn't know some places were off by not just hours but also half hour increments. Learn something new everyday:) Weird that it's technically day 3 and we are just now about to do our first visits. We get to meet all the kiddos this morning and hear the story of the woman who started Good Samaritan School then this afternoon, we have a planning session where we will plan out what we'll do with the kids for the week!
Last night, we didn't really get to see much cause it was dark. But I will say that the traffic and the driving here is a bit crazy. It kind of is everywhere but probably because it was night and not AS much traffic - we were wipping in and out of traffic pretty fast. Lines in the road are more of a guideline than a rule:) And they drive from the right side of the car here.
The flight seemed short to me - maybe because my last one was 17 hours from Ethiopia. This one was 14 and I slept a majority of it. Not too shabby. And so awesome that it was a straight flight from Newark to Delhi. That made it really nice. We hit some pretty rough turbulence in the middle of the night that scared me but it was really brief and all was fine. Whew.

Our rides should be here to pick us up shortly. We have good wifi here at the flat so I should be able to blog later.

Thanks for the prayers!

We Made It!

We made it safely to India. We couldn't find our ride but got it all figured out - so glad I had the VO phone with me. It's a big airport! We just got to the flat where we'll be staying. It is 11pm here and we have to be up at 6am so we're heading to bed. Tomorrow we'll get to visit the community where we'll spend most of our time and get to meet the amazing woman who started the school. And since it was dark when we came in, we'll actually get to see India:) Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Off To India

Tomorrow I leave for India. I'll meet my 3 other team members in the Newark airport and we'll be on our way tomorrow evening on a very long flight to Delhi. We will get to visiti the Good Samaritan School in the outskirts of New Delhi where over 2000 kids go to school. We will also get to visit some homes in the slums. We'll get to love on lots of kiddos and minister to staff as well. I'm praying for divine appointments and opportunities to pray for people wherever we go. Please pray for our small but mighty team. I will try to update my blog as much as I can. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us in India. May we be used in mighty ways to impact the kingdom!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It was a few months back and Amanda, my boss, sent me this image of a team member in Uganda holding a child on a bench. She said "this needs to be on our website home page" and I proceeded to think of what the headline might read. And then it came to me. Go. Be. Love. I believe that came from the Lord. And that's exactly what we do on these trips. We GO outside our cities and beyond our comfort zones and when you leave your day to day busy, crazy schedules back home behind and you just BE in the moment and love on kids and you forget about all the things on your to do list and you just LOVE with all that you have and you see Jesus in those little faces and you get to be Jesus' hands and feet to little ones halfway across the globe. It's there that you see Jesus the most. You see Jesus all around you when you go and you break free from your everyday grind at home. You don't miss what God has for you or how God can use you to meet someone else's need. It's powerful. And quite honestly, you can't return home unchanged. Or at least you shouldn't be able to.

This weekend was spent with almost 80 people from around the US who are or who want to be Visiting Orphans team leaders. 80 people with a heart for the Lord and a passion to GO BE LOVE to the fatherless in this world and teach them about their father in heaven. They're willing to sacrifice time, money, and even leave their families for the 1 or 2 week trip to go. They're willing to lead conference calls and prayer meetings and organize activities and facilitate the schedule on the ground. They're the reason we can do what we do with over 50 trips a year! There's no way we could send that many teams without them. We only have 10 staff so there's literally no way we can go on all the teams. These leader volunteers go. They lead the charge. And we are so grateful! And I was so overwhelmed to see an entire room filled with 80 of them this weekend. The first night at the cookout meet n greet at the park - I was so taken aback that I literally started crying. To just have so many like-minded hearts all together with a common purpose - to live out James 1:27 - is completely amazing and inspiring! It was a lot of work getting ready for the event but the event itself didn't feel like work it all  - it recharged me so much to share and encourage and hear from these amazing people who are willing to get out of their comfort zones and go! It was the perfect weekend to charge me up even more to head to India. I leave Wed and I can't wait to see what God has for this small but mighty team!!! I'm thankful that I get to GO BE LOVE and that 80 others are joining with me in that and will lead the charge for teams in the coming year to love on the "least of these" around the world. If you want to join the charge - sign up for a trip - we have a ton on the calendar for 2012 and 2013 dates are already in the works. Get out of YOUR comfort zone and GO BE LOVE!!!!

Check out or online store too - we now have GO. BE. LOVE. t-shirts:)