Sunday, December 27, 2009

Last blog from the states!

It's 12:30am, so please pardon my sleepiness!

This is my last message from the states! Sign up for the email updates on here! I probably wont be able to respond to individual emails while I'm out there.

SO i'm all packed! I was packing and unpacking and packing all day today. And then tonight our team had a packing party for the supplies.

First update on that... GOYA received a donation of 2 SEMI TRUCKLOADS FULL OF VITAMINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, since we are limited on how much we can take, we packed 30,000 pills. The rest will hopefully be shipped at another time or some will definitely be taken for the next trip in June. P.S. they are accepting applications for the June trip if you're interested in going!

We collected 232 sunglasses! A big thank you to Vine Community Church's youth program for donating 190 of them!

We are also bringing with us 100 bible bags, A handful of reader glasses donated by the Lions club, a bunch of medical supplies donated by the Bloomington Fire Department, and a bunch of newborn receiving blankets.

I'm really excited to be working with my team. All three of them are medically trained. 2 of which are firefighter EMT's. I can't remember what April does... sorry April! I think she works in a hospital though.

I got a little more information as to what I'll be doing my final 2 weeks there. I will be doing a lot of data collecting for the organization, since the board of directors can't be there. This includes searching for land to hopefully build a school. I will also be doing assessments and various other things.

Anyway, i'm super excited to see what God does out there! We are supposed to leave Bloomington tomorrow around noon and head up to Chicago. Our flight leaves in the evening. After that, we will be landing in London for a 12 hour layover. Wahoo! Then we will be on an 8-10 hour flight straight to Nairobi, Kenya. So I will be flying probably a total of 16 hours. Hopefully I will be sleeping on those flights!

Please keep me and the rest of the team in your prayers as we begin our clinic!

Thank you everyone for all of your love and support! This trip would not be made possible without it!!!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

suffering... just in time for xmas!

This trip is soon approaching!

I can finally say that I feel prepared to go. For the past 6 months, God has been equipping me for this trip. After much prayer from all of my friends, I can finally say that I feel like I can do this. My heart is open to whatever I experience, and my hope is that I see these people as my brothers and sisters--not people with a label attached to them. While I want to help them with their medical needs, I yearn to hear about their personal stories. I look forward the most to hearing about their lives.

God is sending me on this trip for a reason. I don't know yet what it is, but his promises have held true. At the begnning of this trip, he told me that I would raise enough funding to go. Through this process, he has proven to me how little faith I have. He has countlessly provided funding for this trip. Not only did he provide enough funding for me to go, but he provided MORE funding for me to stay by myself for an extra 2 weeks. I remember earlier this fall he told me that I would recieve a large amount of money. The next day, an aquaintance showed up on my doorstep with $100. Later that week, I was given $300.

What amazes me the most is that I put in 10% of my personal money for this trip. The other 90% is from you. To be honest, I don't think God wanted me to put in any of my money, but being as stubborn as I was in the beginning, I wanted this trip to happen. How selfish of me to take matters into my own hands; this was God's plan...not my own!

Through all of this, God has been showing me a bigger picture. My pastor back in Carbondale said it best this morning... that as Christians, we must suffer and endure hardship to attain spiritual maturity.

Many of you know me to be a "planner" or what I call a "control-freak." As I have SLOWLY given things to God, I've suffered. But the suffering was really all in my head. Suffering to me meant not knowing what was next for me. So this past year has had a lot of "suffering." I suffered because somewhere in the back of mind I didn't think this trip was going to happen since I wasn't personally contributing to making it happen. I suffered through doing poorly on the GMAT test, not sure if I'd make it into grad school. I suffered being told that my test score wasn't going to make the cut even though my GPA was a 4.0. I'm STILL suffering not knowing where I'll work after this trip.

But you know what? It's worth it!

Pray for me this week. Especially for distractions.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

13 Days!!

We are getting so close!!

Don't forget that we are still accepting UV protected sunglasses! You can drop them off any time between 9am & 5 at the Cybernautic Studio: 900 W. College Ave, Bloomington

Just a quick reminder that we will be having our packing party on Sunday, December 27th @ 5pm at the Cybernautic Studio as well.

Make sure to double check the items listed in the field guide so that you remember to bring everything you will need. :)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

As we get closer to December 28th, the departure date of our medical team, there are still needs to be met!

1. We are looking for donations of UV protective sunglasses to distribute to adults suffering from cataracts or to prevent such an issue from occurring.

2. Our Medical team needs $931.37 which will cover all medical supplies that they will need during the Medical Clinic, December 28, 2009 -January 11, 2010

Contact Roxy to learn how to donate specifically to the medical supply fund.

3. We need $2856 to build our 8th grade students a classroom. Click here to learn more about this opportunity!

Thank you for choosing to make a difference in other people's lives this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I reached my goal!

This world is full of hatred…but it’s also full of love.

You have all proven that love is powerful. Your prayers, laughter, and personal stories have all been inspiring.

Do you see what has happened? You have all proven that our hearts are full of yearning for adventure. Some may say they are too old, too broke, too… you get the picture. But if I had for one moment listened to the too’s of this world, I wouldn’t be going on this trip.

This trip was just a vision. From the realistic point of view, you would think you were just crazy… it was a day dream… if even that. God gave me the courage to take a risk. I could have not said a word to anyone about what I saw. I could have gone about my day going through the same motions in this world; which all too often gets us caught in. Instead, I took a risk. The risk of being ridiculed. The risk of being told I was na├»ve. Comfort is numbing. Comfort on the outside sounds good, but on the inside it is a death sentence. Instead of being comfortable, I took that risk. That is one of the best decisions I have made. I challenge all of you to step out of your comfort zone—to come alive again and step out of the numbness that we think is life. You may find to be much happier by doing so.

God grows us by going through pain and suffering, but only if we are willing to take that risk. Jesus told us that we must have childlike faith. Risk can be considered childish. If so, then I feel honored to be called childish.

Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being a friend. Thank you for helping me reach my goal. Now go out there and do it yourself!



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunglasses Drive

On the last medical trip that GOYA took, April (one of the team members who will be currently going on this trip) collected brand new shoes from payless shoes to give to the children. This year, April has a new challenge.

We take for granted the simple pleasure of shielding our eyes from the sun during the warmer months. Since the equator divides Kenya, Nairobi has increased UV light compared to the United States. Because of this, many people living in the slums can not afford sunglasses and have eye problems. This year, April would like to give sunglasses to the adults living in the slum. As we had our GOYA meeting last night, she pondered how she could find funding to give the adults sunglasses.

I immediately thought of how many people have supported me through my personal fundraising. I suggested to her that we have some type of fundraiser or collection. We all agreed that this would be a great idea. I told her that I would like to take it upon myself to set this up. I asked her how many pairs she would want and she said 600!!! I know that I personally can not get 600 pairs of brand new sunglasses, but I know that many of you could help me out!

Here's where you come in! I need volunteers to help spread the word about this and to help in the collection of BRAND NEW, adult sunglasses that must have UV ray protection (otherwise this defeats the purpose). If you're in Bloomington, then you can drop off new pairs at:

Cybernatic Studio
900 W. College Ave
Normal, IL 61761

Make sure you mention to the receptionist that they are for GOYA.

We will be collecting sunglass pairs until we leave for our trip on December 28th.

If you don't live in Bloomington, shoot me an email, and I'll tell you what to do at

Collection Idea:
If you work in retail, or some other type of place with high customer traffic, get creative!-(but first check with management that it's ok) Cut a hole in a shoebox and wrap it in holiday gift wrap. I'm sure you can go onto the GOYA webpage and print off their logo. Take some clip art of sunglasses and paste them onto the box. Make sure the box says somewhere that we are only collecting BRAND NEW adult sunglasses with UV protection labeled somewhere on them.

Your contributions will IMMEADIATELY affect these people... That's what I like about this trip, is that I will see people's lives change immediately while I'm there. I'll make sure to take pictures of people wearing the sunglasses while I'm out there!

A letter from God

Many people have told me that they were touched by my letter that I sent out to my friends, family, and supporters. I must say that letter was not my own words. I prayed before I wrote it, asking God to give me the words to say what he wanted. I heard the words flowing in my head and this is what came out:

Dear Friends and Family,

This journey is hard. I cannot do this on my own. The only one that I am relying on is the lord. That sounds very churchy, but I’m serious. This trip would not be possible without Jesus. I have met someone who escaped from the hard life in Africa. Someone who buried hundreds of his dead friends just to see hyena’s eating their bodies the next day. Someone who ate mud and urine to keep himself alive. His name is John Bul Dau and he came to my university to speak about his life. His story is incredible. The odds were against him. He should have been dead. Not only did he survive the Sudanese civil war that ranged from 1983 to 2005, but God had a purpose for his life. To tell his story. His memoir, “God Grew Tired of Us” was created into a documentary, produced by Brad Pitt. The documentary received the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

What is your story?

I was nervous waiting in line, with his book clutched in my hand, waiting for him to sign it. I’m not really sure why I was so nervous. I took out my business card and wrote on the back of it: “God has a lot of favor on you”. As I got to the front of the line, I introduced myself to him and handed him my card. I told him that I was going to Kenya to help children. His eyes lit up as he began signing the book. As he was signing it, he asked me when I was going and then he wished me good luck. I thanked him and walked away. As I got into my car, I opened the book. It read: “Never ever give up!” During his lecture, he said that he relied on two things to get through the painful walk to Ethiopia and Kenya: To rely on God and to never give up. Had he not relied on either of those, he would be dead right now.

This trip isn’t just about doing something for the common good. It’s about finding myself and telling my story. Through this trip, I have been brought together with so many people…people which I probably would not have become friends with. My heart has changed tenfold. About 7 months ago, I didn’t want to have anything to do with children, I thought they were annoying. Now on every other Sunday I get excited to teach Kindergarteners about God.

You see, everything happens for a reason. Had I not been so motivated with my schoolwork, I wouldn’t be graduating early. If I weren’t graduating early, I probably wouldn’t be going on this trip. If I got into grad school, I wouldn’t be staying longer for this trip. Had my heart not changed for high school students, I wouldn’t have developed counseling skills with students who deal with depression, sexual abuse, and coping—Skills that I can use while on my trip.

You see, I can not sit here and pretend that I got to where I am by my self. Even before I became a Christian, God was working in my life, and the cool thing is that my life is a constant process of finding myself. This is my story so far, but it’s definitely not the end. Like John Bul Dau, I refuse to give up, even if I’m staring death down. God will do all the guiding; all I have to do is stand my ground and not give up.

Now is a crucial time. I have yet to raise $645 in about a week. Can it happen? You bet it can!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hello Everyone,

I've had a few people asking about financial support and deadlines. Here are a couple things just to keep you up to date:

~The $50 for your visa application is included in the entire trip cost so don't worry about bringing any money to the team meeting. We will take care of it as funds begin to come in from your supporters.

~The first deadline for funds is October 15. We would like $1700 by that time so that we can buy plane tickets.

~A couple of you had let me know that you may need to fly out of a different city, that is alright. We can discuss that at the team meetings more in depth and I will coordinate more specifically with you when the time to buy plane tickets gets closer.

~So far there are 7 team members going. I have heard from 3 other students that are interested in going as well! It looks like we are going to have a great team again this year!

Once again I encourage you to write letters to friends and family for support! I am so excited to see that we are already getting a great response and a couple of our team members are well on their way to getting their full support in just a couple months!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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