I had almost kind of put it out of my mind for now, that a trip to Africa probably wasn't going to happen this year. Originally we thought we would be in South Africa for the World Cup. The organization I work for has a partnership with the World Cup and we are distributing 100,000 pairs of shoes to children in need in and around the cities where all of the games will be played. Things didn't quite come together though like we thought they would, and it turned out that our team that is already on the ground will be working with YWAM to distribute all of the shoes. Basically we were no longer needed in South Africa. I was disappointed, but not crushed. My dream is to go to Uganda, so I kind of felt like God had something else planned.
So, Scott and I came up with a plan that we would go to Uganda on our own, we would try to visit Katie, and visit the orphanage that we want to adopt from. And we were going to raise money to take enough shoes to distribute to all of the little ones that Katie supports. We were trying to come up with some creative fundraising ideas. And we decided, or mainly Scott agreed, to run the Mini Marathon in his bare feet. He has been practicing the Pose method of running which basically is the most natural form of running, it teaches you how to run with the least amount of impact on your feet...at least I think anyway (should probably ask him for a more scientific explanation). Anyway, to make a long story short that really didn't come together all that well either. We never really got a final decision that we could do this until just a couple weeks ago, and we never got a final answer about what the best time would be for us to come to Uganda. Scott ran 4 miles in his bare feet on the Monon, and he literally couldn't walk the next day. He had several, very painful blisters on his feet. So, all of this combined...I just kind of thought it wasn't going to happen this year.
Well last week, one of my co-workers got a call from the founder of our organization saying that someone had donated some extra money to be used for an employee to go on a mission trip. They wanted her to go because she hadn't been on one yet. And they wanted her to go on the Nigeria trip. She was super excited, and I was super excited for her. She said though, "I really wish you could come". I thought it would be pretty cool, but I didn't really take it very seriously. Honestly I thought there was no way I could raise $3500 in just 6 weeks. A couple days went by, and all I could think about was how much I wanted to go to Africa. So just out of curiosity I sent an email to the director of our International trips and asked her if the Nigeria trip was still open, when she would need a final commitment from me and as an employee, knowing we get a percentage off of trips, what would my total cost be? She said she would do some checking and get back to me, but the trip was still open, she would just need a commitment ASAP because I would need to get the Visa process started right away. At the end of the day I got an email back from her saying that I needed to talk with Manny (our founder) and his wife regarding what my cost would be. I sent him a quick email right before I left the office for the day. Later that night I checked my email again and he had responded by saying that they would give me 50% off of the total trip cost!!! Bringing my total down to $1700. I was almost in tears I was so excited. Scott was hanging out with the guys, so I called him right away and told him all about it. He was so excited for me, and said we couldn't pass it up. So, I'M GOING TO AFRICA!!!!
I sent off all of my paperwork this past Monday, so they could start working on the Visa. Sent my support letters out yesterday. My next step is getting all the shots I need. Hepatitis A & B, MMR, Polio, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. Just looking at that list makes my arms hurt already. I'm waiting on a call back from the travel clinic to make sure there's not anything else they suggest. Hoping to get all of these taken care of though in the next few days.
I leave on June 16th, which is only about 6 weeks away...I can't believe it! There is just a small group of us going, only about 5 people, but we'll be traveling with a team of Dentists who will be providing dental care. We're going to Lagos, Nigeria which is the capital and also where Manny is from, so we'll be meeting his family. We'll be distributing about 2,000 pairs of shoes, and hoping to do more. We have a shipping container full of about 10,000 pairs of shoes that has been siting in Lagos for about a year. When it was shipped, money was given to the director of an aid organization in Lagos to pay to have the container released. Well, he spent the money, so the container hasn't been released. We're praying that having Manny there in person will help and that the container can be released.
The most exciting part about this trip for me is that we'll be visiting several orphanages in Lagos. We'll be playing with the children, helping during meal times, conducting basketball clinics, just doing lots of fun stuff. Please pray for me though, it's going to be really tough for me to leave those kids. Pray that I can pour out God's love for these children while I'm there, but when it's time to leave that I'm at peace with knowing that I'll be back in Africa soon when we go to pick up our new son or daughter. Pray that God reveals his plan for us regarding adoption while I'm in Africa.
I'm so excited...I think about Africa all the time. Who will I meet while I'm there, will I get to hold a little baby in the orphanage. I hope we get to go out to a remote village and meet people there. So many questions and pictures that my mind keeps coming up with.
Please stay connected with me while I'm gone, through my blog. I'll post as much as I can, and take tons of pictures.