Speed up a few years and I meet this amazing guy, from a super cool family, and they were missionaries to this tiny island I had only heard about because of all the people trying to get out of it on make shift boats. He had this crazy idea that the ultimate life story would include being martyred in a village somewhere. So, of course, as soon as the opportunity arose, I signed up for the first missions trip I could. I got a passport and packed my missionary clothes and jumped on a plane headed for Haiti. Do I need to tell you that I was scared out of my mind?
I will never forget walking off the plane onto the jet way and the hot Caribbean air hitting my face, the melodies of the band playing on the tarmac, the smells of Haiti which one can only experience for oneself, and the people. Pushing and crushing forward and all of my American sensibilities rose up and vied for supremacy. These people are in my airspace...Can they just step out of the way so I can move my luggage on through? Seas of humanity unlike anything I had ever set eyes on in my own little bubble back home.
This first missions trip held so many eye opening experiences for me, most important of which was the realization of what a sheltered life I lead. Reaching out caring hands to people who have never had care shown to them becomes more real in another country. I took for granted the impact of a smile, a hug, just the availability of knowing who Jesus us in my everyday life. A part of me dies just a little bit every time I visit another country. It is a death to self and a rising again of who God has called me to be, a discipler of nations, a preacher of the Good News.
Over the course of our married years, Joshua has dragged me along on so many of his adventures and one of my absolute favorites was Thailand. If I could pick up and go anywhere for my Lord, it would be Thailand. Such a beautiful people, such a lovely country. Our church has worked to raise money to build numerous churches there and the missions organization we love to support is Living Word Ministries International with Charlie and Cathy Milbrodt. Along with building churches, LWMI also has a ministry to the children, Abundant Life Children's Home. They have several homes for children from different backgrounds and within the ministry these children receive food, housing, medical care, clothing and an education.
Last month, our family chose to sponsor a child through Abundant Life and commit to supporting this child monthly. On their website, you can check out their work and profiles of the children who live in the homes. If you chose to sponsor a child, the ministry sends you a letter and packet including a beautiful photo of the child you are sponsoring. One thing that I love about Abundant Life is that Joshua and I were able to visit one of the children's homes while we visited Thailand. We were able to see this ministry first hand and 100% of the sponsorship money goes to the children for their care.