I am back home after an adventurous first half of the summer. It is so nice to reconnect with my friends and my church community. Travel is that much sweeter when you have a home-base to return to in between.
As much as my last newsletter was filled with celebrations, this one is too. Together with World Orphans, you and I are part of God’s great work to not only care for the fatherless, but to draw each person closer to Him. I could share a million moments where God clearly showed up this summer through one-on-one conversations, prayers, worship, and so much more. However, I will try to limit myself to a few highlights.
Kirkwood Camp and Conference Center: In early July, I had the pleasure of spending a day and a half at Camp Kirkwood, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Though I grew up with knowledge of this camp, I had never visited. As soon as I arrived, I knew it was a special place filled with people who love the Lord.
The camp generously gave me an hour to teach a breakout session. Since the theme of the week was “Storytelling,” I wove together my testimony with the story of Usha, an orphaned teenager from India. I encouraged the campers that their stories were instruments for sharing God’s love with others and speaking out for those who are in need. Next, everyone broke into small groups to pray for orphans and to discuss how they could use their gifts to make a difference through World Orphans Rescue Teams.
After spending eight days working from my parents’ house and enjoying time with them, it was time for my next camp experience, the one I had been eagerly anticipating for months. As a college student, I spent two summers serving as a counselor at Seneca Hills Bible Camp in Pennsylvania. They were two of the best summers of my life and I spent the years afterwards missing that special place and the amazing people there. I thought I would never get the chance to go back, but God knew better. Earlier this year, the program director invited me to serve as the missions’ speaker for one week!
Knowing this was a huge task and that I could not do it alone, I invited my friend and India trip team member, Kim, to come with me. Together we spent six days bonding with the campers, counselors, and staff. We taught missions each day to over 100 campers, ages 6-12. Since the age group was young we focused on what it means to be a missionary, the challenges orphans face, and how children of all ages can make a difference. The campers engaged well with all the topics and were especially invested when we shared the stories of specific orphans in India. Plus, they had a blast learning about Indian culture and singing “Yeshu Tera Naam, (Jesus Your Name is Higher)” in Hindi.
At the end of the week, at a special campfire, campers were given the opportunity to share what God had done in their lives and what they had learned through all the camp experiences. A few quotes stood out to both Kim and me.
"I learned that you can worship in any language and God will understand."
"I learned that there are 1.2 billion people in India and most of them are Hindu. I am not the only one who needs Jesus."
"I learned that you can be a missionary wherever you are!"
Children often say it best. It is incredible to realize that God is opening their eyes and hearts to the world even at such young ages.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Now that we have celebrated the summer, it is time to look ahead. Right now, I am busy launching three new Rescue Teams that resulted from Big Ticket Festival. Hopefully, a few more will get going soon. Also, I am preparing for a very exciting trip to…Guatemala!!
Guatemala Trip: This trip is designed specifically to cast vision and to invite churches to partner with World Orphans and international churches in Guatemala. For this purpose, World Orphans invited me and two others from my church to join the team. This way we can experience the work being done there first-hand and report back to leadership. In addition, my experiences in Guatemala will enable me to communicate more effectively about World Orphans to many others as part of my daily advocacy work.
As part of my preparation for this trip, I am responsible for raising $1500. To help with this process, I will be selling shirts. The cost is $20. I would be so grateful if you would not only pray for me and the whole team, but prayerfully considering donating and/or buying a shirt.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!