Alexandra won the Mission Trip Giveaway!!
Back in January, my friend’s mother (whose church sponsors the Ludlati carepoint in Swaziland with Children’s HopeChest) posted about a trip to Swaziland that was going on this summer. I did some research on Swaziland and saw the high number of orphans and the AIDS infection rate. The life expectancy in Swaziland is only around thirty years. All of this astounded me and I felt this huge push to go on this trip.
There was also a spiritual side to my desire to go on this trip and it’s explained in my post called Jesus on Purpose (http://givingbackthebighalf.
When I learned how much it would cost for me to be able to get to Swaziland, I was slightly terrified. However, the team leader assured me that he had seen God provide for everyone who was truly interested in these service trips. He had faith that the funding would come through and so I decided to commit to finding a way to go.
I told my friends and family and got immediate support. They encouraged me to start a blog so I could journal my experiences before and after the trip. Within a few days of learning about my trip, I had people doing bakesales for me and selling jewelry. People were sacrificing their time, energy, and resources to make my desire to serve in Swaziland a reality.
Then, a few weeks ago, my friend’s mother posted a link about the t-shirt contest. I was excited because I saw it as a good way to support many good causes at once. A few days after I learned about the contest, I got an email saying that if I posted a link to the shirt store in my blog and anyone bought a shirt from the link, I would get another entry into the contest.
I didn’t think it would greatly improve my chances since not a lot of people read my blog in the first place, but I decided it was worth a shot. My sister decided to buy a shirt from my blog because she wanted to give me an extra entry. She was the very first person to use the link from my post and it was her purchase that made Children’s HopeChest aware of me. The day after Aliyah bought a shirt, Tom Davis wrote an article about my blog post (http://blog.beliefnet.com/
People read his article and I got several emails offering encouragement. People were praying that I’d get to Swaziland no matter what it took. I was incredibly thankful, but when the store closed and I saw 676 shirts had been sold, I thought there was pretty much no way I would win the contest. I was ready to congratulate whoever the winner was because I knew that this was so much bigger than just a trip! This contest benefitted so many people beyond just the winner and I had faith that I would find a way to go to Swaziland even without winning a prize.
When I told my sister I was fairly certain I wouldn’t win, she told me not to lose heart because even if the chances were small, it was completely possible.
Well, yesterday when I was on a car ride from Iowa to Illinois I got a text from my friend saying that my sister had won the contest and was giving it to me! My heart started pounding, but I couldn’t believe it. I had talked to my sister earlier in the day and she would have told me this, right? I called Aliyah to see if this was real and it was. She had been waiting for it to be a surprise on Facebook! I started screaming and laughing and almost cried. I was so beyond thankful I could barely speak!
676 shirts were sold and my sister bought only one. Her purchase off my blog is what lead to Tom Davis’s article and all of the encouragement I got from people online. It also miraculously ended up being the shirt that won the contest. I don’t believe that this was all just by chance. I think God had a plan for me to go on this trip before I even realized it. I am so incredibly thankful for this whole experience. I can’t wait to go to Swaziland this summer! It will be my first mission trip, but I am confident it will not be my last.
Thanks for asking about my story, Kari!
My Life Is Crazy Too is a new series of reader submissions. This is your opportunity to share stories about life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. If you would like to submit a story to this series, email me.