I can’t believe I’ve only been home 3 weeks from Africa! It took me a long time to recover physically and emotionally, but now feeling the excitement bubbling inside my heart to share the good, bad and craziness with you. I think the best place for me to start is from the beginning. I would never have had the opportunity to lead a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia without the incredible ministry of Visiting Orphans. I stumbled into the leadership role of an extraordinary team of 30 for reasons I still do not fully understand. I am grateful for all the twists and turns that happened to redirect me, change me and guide me to serve in Africa.
The executive director of Visiting Orphans is my friend, Amanda Lawrence. We have never met in person, but have a shared passion for missions, orphans, adoption and craziness. She opened up her heart wide in faith and allowed me to jump on board due to our relationship with America World Adoption. She has lead countless mission trips all over the world and taught me so much about leadership and serving with her grace and love for orphans.
My personality, as you know is a little on the crazy side, but Amanda poured her patience in abundance as she worked with me during the months preparing for the trip. The best part, announcing to her that I was going for a week to Alaska with my family the week before the trip. She never wavered in kindness, understanding and willingness to help.
I wanted to give my best effort as a newbie leader and allow God to lead through me. God lovingly taught me through my team how important it was to be flexible, patient, joyful, loving, and courageous every step of the way. I was so humbled. I watched my team demonstrate love and generosity and compassion to every single person they ministered to.
(Thank you team- Ashlie, Ernie, Randi, Dee Dee, Vit, Kevin, Judson, Juliana, Kari, Carrie, Joe, Emily, Darrell, Cherie, Ashlie, Amanda, Beza, Carly, Chaye, Cynthia, Cynthia, Eryn, Janette, Jen, Karen, Kinsey, Lindsey, Marge, Rebecca, Sarah for loving radically in Africa!!)
In the next few weeks, I want to celebrate on my blog the incredible people we met in Uganda and Ethiopia. I have so many stories and photos to share with my readers. I want to dig deep down in my heart and tell you how God changed my life. I pray that God will use our craziness in Africa to help spread His message of love and service and ministry to orphans.
I want to invite you to join me on a bloggy adventure to Africa. I hope that you will read the stories, leave your comments and share your own personal stories of mission trips and orphan care. We are all in this together. If you have any questions please email me.
My New Crazy Mission Trips 2011
I will be leading two trips in 2011. Please join me serving orphans in Africa!! You can go directly to the website Visiting Orphans to sign up today!! The first 5 men who sign up for the trips will receive a FREE Man Up T shirt!!!
10 Day Ethiopia Trip: February 17th – 26th 2011
- Leaders- Kari & Roger Gibson and co-leader Kelly Blackwell
10 Day Uganda Trip: June 2nd – 11th 2011
- Leaders- Kari Gibson and Michael Smalley
Men Needed- Visiting Orphans has available spots for an Uganda Mission trip Dec. 28 to Jan. 12!! Sign up today!!
Visiting Orphans vision is simple:
- To enlist Church volunteers to visit orphanages so they may meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs of orphans.
- To develop relationships, provide comfort and to share the Gospel with orphans.
- To provide financial aid for child sponsorship, medical assistance and construction to improve the living conditions of orphans.
- To mobilize Christian churches to help orphans experience the blessing of family.
Visiting Orphans mission is simple:
Visiting Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Established in 2005 by America World Adoption Association as a way to further help the orphans of the world. Visiting Orphans works to fulfill the biblical mandate given in James 1:27 of “visiting orphans” in their distress.
Visiting Orphans has conducted many missions trips for churches, schools, and individuals from around the United States to orphanages around the world including China, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Russia and Costa Rica.
Looking ahead, VO’s plan of action is to begin mobilizing and working more directly with churches in the United States. While we will still work with individuals and schools in order to bring people to orphans and expose them to the hardships they face, partnerships with churches will drive our expansion and positive impact on orphaned children around the world.
Mission: Visiting Orphans works with Christian churches to help raise orphan awareness in the hopes of each orphan experiencing the blessing of family through:
2. Transitional Services
If you are part of a church looking to start or expand your orphan ministry we would love to assist you!