Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our family is going to AFRICA!!!

Our family is going to AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that's right. That line says that our family... all six of us... are going to Africa.
It's been a bit crazy the last couple months talking about things, praying for clarity and wisdom.
But, on January 1st God clearly confirmed that He is calling our entire family to go to Swaziland, Africa, this June.
And He keeps confirming it! (Because He's so good like that.)

Swaziland countryside (photos via Children's HopeChest)

Nate, myself, Taylor, Jordan, Brittney and Ian will be traveling with a team from our church (New Life) to Manzini, Swaziland, where we have two Children's HopeChest care points in the vicinity.
Swaziland has been ravaged by the effects of AIDS. 40% of the people are infected, and the population is literally shrinking each year. Without intervention, the country will literally no longer exist in a few decades.
Children are left without parents, and whole communities are unable to work as the strong are killed off by a disease the people don't understand.

HopeChest is an amazing organization that connects Christian communities in the U.S. and Canada with impoverished orphan communities abroad. These intentional, purposeful relationships empower villages to survive, thrive, and ultimately succeed within their culture, producing economic sustainability with dignity.
New Life has adopted two such care points in Swazi, which we will be visiting, bringing encouragement and personal relationship to the orphans and broken families there. 
HopeChest care points are a place where surrounding villages can gather for support and care... to receive the "survive" part that will in turn lead to the "thrive" part... and ultimately to the "succeed" part. They are not places of devastation, but of hope breaking through

One of the incredible things about this trip is that I am the child sponsorship coordinator for our care points and have been working to connect these Swazi children with sponsors so we can move forward in the care and education of the communities.
We will get to meet the children I've been working to find sponsors for!!! And not just meet, but hug, love, sing with, play soccer with, dance with.
These children... together with my children... at a place that really is an extension of our church. Where we will actively come alongside of the people, providing the needed resources and training so they can stand in their culture, gain life-saving education, and ultimately no longer depend on foreign aide to be able to not just survive, but to thrive.
It's so exciting!!!!!

BUT, not ONLY is our entire family going to Swaziland in June, when the boys fly back with that team, Brittney and I will be following on to Uganda where we'll meet up with a team from the New Life Worship Choir and School of Worship.
(I mean, we're already in Africa, so why not?)
We'll spend our time in Lira, Seeta and Kampala, where we'll join with Christian Life Ministries at two orphanages. We'll build a perimeter fence and spend time with the orphans and moms who work there. We've been asked to lead worship and do some training at churches in Kampala. We'll get to visit a Compassion center and witness the amazing work they do.
Our team will also have the opportunity to minister to people in the largest slum area in Kampala, as well as visit a village where over 200 people were killed in recent years by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.

Our family is GOING, investing and building relationship with these African communities.
My human nature has wondered, would it be better to simply send money and resources, instead of go?
But God has clearly shown us that, as our family goes... together... there will be something unlocked in our future...
in the futures of our children...
that no amount of money sent will replace.
In my prayers over the going, I hear whispers and see visions of a global future for our family. I don't know exactly what that means, but I know we're called to faith-filled obedience.
And I know our family is called to Africa this June.

So, that is what we're doing.

And amidst the walking out of faith-filled obedience, I will also be traveling to Cardiff, Wales, in early April. In the extremely post-Christian atmosphere, we are helping put on the Ignite Hope Youth Conference. The youth will canvas the city, reaching out with the hope of Jesus to teens that truly don't even know He's a person. The Christians there are very alone, with their faith being seen as antiquated, and the name of Jesus as simply a cuss word. When people do begin a relationship with Jesus, they are mocked and often ostracized. New believers are desperate for discipleship, for encouragement. The few steadfast believers have been earnestly praying for revival, and we are going to come alongside them in that.
Our team will also be speaking at a women's conference in conjunction with Ignite Hope.
Recently I started to think, "With Africa, should I even be going to Wales? God, is this right?"
The answer was so immediate and so authoritative, "Yes, you are going. You will not fully realize why until you are there. But, I am the One leading you into it."
Like I said, it's been a crazy last couple of months praying over the "what" and the "which one" and the "how." But then we heard the answer: "ALL."

Will you consider coming alongside of our family? 
Will you pray for us, for wisdom, for insight, for provision?
Will you pray for Nate and I as we lead our children into such adventure, and into a global perspective that will shape their futures?
Will you consider partnering with us financially as we walk this out?
Swazi is $3,300 per person, equaling $19,800.
Brit and I will only have to get in-Africa flights to Uganda (variable rates), and then pay ground costs ($1000 each), so we're estimating around $3500 to $4000.
Wales is $2000.
When I went to Kenya last year, I was a bit nervous about the $3,000. But, God called me... and He provided... so MUCH of that was through YOU!!!
Now He's calling us into something that will cost around $26,000... and I'm not a bit nervous.
He is calling, so He will provide.

Please pray, and if it is on your heart to come alongside and help us GO, there are a few different ways to contribute:

You can give easily via paypal. They only charge a 2.2% transaction fee, and the rest will go directly to our trip(s).

You can also give online through New Life, which is tax deductible!!! All of your donation will go entirely to our trip(s).
You simply go HERE, click the "Give Online" link on the lefthand side, set up a simple account (so we can send you a tax statement at the end of the year), and then choose from the drop down list under "Fund" to contribute to:
Swaziland Missions June 2012 trip, and sub-fund of White, Nate and Angela & family (the biggest need, obviously!)
Uganda Missions Choir 2012, and sub-fund of White, Angela and Brittney
Wales Missions Women's Trip 2012, and sub-fund of White, Angela

If you would prefer to send a check, email me (Ask Angela link) and I can give you further details on that.

What an amazing adventure God has called us into!!! Our family is so excited to GO and see what He is going to do. (The kids are even okay with getting all the shots so they can go. THAT is miraculous in and of itself.)

I'll be posting updates as we navigate this adventure, but I have also added a separate link
Help us GO to Africa
that will remain at the top of the blog. I will have this post on that page, as well as easy donation links to both paypal and New Life's online giving link.
That way you can access it easily at any time.

He has definitely called us into full life.

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