Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swazi Update: FUNDED!!!

(This post is an update on where our Swazi finances are and the amazing things we have seen take place. We are still taking donations to make the Uganda goal for the follow-on trip Brittney and I are making. Details below.)

Last week we witnessed a miracle... 

Wednesday morning we launched a matching campaign for our Swazi trip. An extremely generous donor said they would match, dollar for dollar, all donations up to the cost of one trip ($3500, which has gone up from $3300 since we first started on this journey). We were blown away at this amazing opportunity!!!
That meant that if we could somehow max out this matching gift, we would raise $7000 for our family's trip to Swaziland!!!

When we started this journey back in January, we had an estimated $27,000 to raise for our family of six to go to Swazi, for me and Brit to follow onto Uganda and for my Wales trip (that I took in early May).
***Get those full details here.***
We had no idea how the funds would be raised, but we knew that we knew that we knew God was calling us into all three of these trips.

My Wales trip was covered about a week before I left, which was amazing and miraculous in and of itself.
When I returned we looked at the $12,000+ balance in our Swazi account and said, "Okay, Lord. We can't do this... we knew that when you called us into it. But YOU can. ONLY You can."

SO many incredible people had given to put that $12,000 into our account. We were humbled and beyond thankful at the generosity of our friends and family. The tutu sales and fundraising nights at Marco's Pizza had been helpful, but we knew we couldn't stop there if we were going!

Last Wednesday morning when we launched the matching campaign, we were two weeks away from leaving...


Donations came into paypal, and we received messages and emails from people committing to give.
Thursday early afternoon we received an updated donation report from the church that told us we were getting closer to maxing out the gift, but we still had a bit farther to go.
I spread that news via emails and facebook, and we said, "Okay, God. You know what this is supposed to look like."

And we waited.

More messages and emails came in indicating that people would donate. And we received paypal emails saying that people WERE donating!!! People were pouring out their hearts into this Swazi trip and coming alongside of our family!
And in the midst of that Thursday so many other immediate things were clamoring for our attention with kids and doctors appointments and school ending. We knew God had it... and that we wouldn't receive a report from online donations until sometime Friday.
My parents flew in that night, and we prayed and waited.

Friday morning came and went, and we cheered on Brit as she walked up to receive her 5th grade continuation certificate and officially move into 6th grade... and middle school.
Friday afternoon came and went, and we jumped between classrooms and schools as the kids got out for summer break and celebrations were had.
Friday evening came and we went as a family, with Mom and Dad and Hanna Who Is Most Awesome (our very own School of Worship Intern) to the kids favorite restaurant to celebrate the end of another school year... Golden Corral. 
I kept glancing at my phone, looking at email every so often... and then it came.
A text message from the Amazing Melissa: "I just sent you an updated report."

I looked at Nate and clicked into email. It started downloading. He took the phone from me. "Honey!" I exclaimed. He opened one email... opened the attachment... a grin spread across his face...
"Our Swazi trip is covered."
"WHAT????" I called out in the middle of Golden Corral.
"It looks like our Swazi trip is fully covered and the plane flights for you and Brit up to Uganda are probably covered, too, with some left over for the Uganda ground costs."
"AAAAAAAA!!!!! HONEY!!!! Really??? REALLY???
He showed me the amount, and between the church's online giving site, paypal, and the checks that had come in and we knew were coming, we not only maxed out the matching gift, but we raised over $10,000 in 36 hours!!!!!
Enough to put our total to around $23,000!!!!!!! 

And in the middle of Golden Corral we cheered and celebrated and rejoiced in the faithfulness of our God and the amazing hearts and generous spirits of our friends and family... some who hardly even know us, but believe so deeply in what we are stepping into.

We are blown away. Absolutely blown away. For the past few days I have been walking around with a somewhat dazed look and a slight smile. 
Sometimes laughing,
sometimes with tears pooling in my eyes,
sometimes randomly squealing (which I'm sure is hard to imagine). *wink*
Because one of the huge things with our Swazi finances being covered right now is that we didn't have to spend our last week and a half scrambling to fundraise the remaining money.
We leave a week from tomorrow, and we are able to focus on packing and prepping... get everything laid out, wrapping up loose ends.
This going-across-the-world-with-four-kids thing is no joke! Man. And because of all of you who have stepped in to be a part of this, we can breathe and take these last few days to focus on our family being ready.

You are all SUCH a blessing to us!!! When I say that, I hope you can hear the sincerity in my words. From giving throughout the months, to giving during the matching campaign, to praying fervently for our family and our trip... SO many of you stepped up and into our Swazi story. Not only have you come alongside of our family in this, but you have come alongside the story of these beautiful Swazi people. YOU are going WITH us in carrying the hope of a future to this AIDS-ransacked nation.
YOU have invested in them... and us.

So many of you have invested financially, with sacrifice... THANK YOU!!!
So many of you have invested with your prayers, putting our picture on your fridge or mirror or car dashboard and covering us in the most foundational aspect of this trip... THANK YOU!!!
And so many of you have done BOTH... THANK YOU!!!

Our Swazi trip: funded.
Mine and Brittney's plane flights up to Uganda: funded.
Our Uganda ground costs: we still need to reach that goal, but we're getting there!
Donations keep coming in, and if you still have a heart to join this story and help us go, we do still need help covering the rest of our Uganda costs. I don't have an actual amount on that, because with group fundraising and other elements, it's hard to nail down what remains.
But, we're going to keep moving forward, knowing that just as God has provided for everything else, He will provide for this, too.
(Just follow the giving guidelines on our Africa page.)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone that has come alongside of us.
We're so excited to frame that picture of our family in Africa and write every single one of your names on the mat, to be hung in our household and remembered in our Swazi story... in our family's story... that has become part of your story.

God is faithful. He does provide for what He calls us into.
Thank you for being part of that provision for our family.
Many said it couldn't be done, that we were launching into the impossible.
Good thing that's what our God specializes in... making the impossible possible.
We hear, we obey, and we do it with confidence in the One who calls us into the adventure.

Africa, here we come...

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