Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why the Honkin' bird made me go to Africa

I have always loved hummingbirds (Ella Mae used to call them Honkin'birds). The main reason is likely because my grandmother loved them. I have so many memories of her standing at her kitchen sink and watching the delicate little birds flap their wings, so fast that the eye cannot see them move, while they drank red juice from a feeder that one of us probably gave her for Mother's Day or her birthday. I guess she loved them because they are such interesting little creatures, and very beautiful.....maybe even inspirational.......and super hard to photograph! :)

So now I have a hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window. I have random stuff with hummingbirds on it. I even have a hummingbird tattoo......don't let that little bit of info turn all your attention to the tattoo issue, because it really isn't a big deal. I have 2 others. I just say that to make the point that you have to really totally ALL CAPS pink puffy heart love something to get a tattoo of it...because they a really lot.

I recently came across FUNKY FISH DESIGNS via Project Hopeful, an organization that has done AMAZING things for children who are HIV+. Please oh please oh PU-LEASE follow those links and see what amazing jewelry (much of which benefits Project Hopeful) and read all about Project Hopeful.

While browsing through all of the awesome stuff on the Funky Fish website, I came across this:

There is an African proverb that goes like this:

"She told of the hummingbir­d who sees all the jungle animals fleeing a fire. The hummingbir­d, the tiny little hummingbir­d, races to the river, picks up a drop of water, and carries it to the fire. Time and time again, to the confusion of the rest of the animals. The animals ask: What exactly do you think you're doing? 

The hummingbir­d says: Whatever I can.”

Now I love hummingbirds even more than before.....don't worry though, I think I am done getting tattoos...I think. :) But isn't that a wonderful story? I love it when God lines things up in such a way that they all come together at just the right time and make total sense.
So here is the wonderful necklace that Dawn at Funky Fish custom made for me!
It has a heart at the top, a tiny Honkin'bird after that, then "Aidan" and then "Ella Mae". I will be wearing this necklace on my trip to keep my kids close to my heart while I am away....but what does all of this have to do with why I am going to Africa? Glad you asked.....

Many people have the notion (I know this because I was very recently one of them) that it would have a bigger impact on the nations to just send money rather than actually GO on what many consider "Christian Vacations". I will say as a disclaimer, that there are some organizations out there who unfortunately offer these sorts of trips, but Visiting Orphans is not one of them! We will be doing just what the name says, visiting orphans. Some of whom are in prisons and living in filth and dying a little more every day. No vacation here.

But, that still doesn't answer the question: why not just send these orphans the money that is will cost for our team to fly there, have places to sleep, eat, pay for transportation etc? Through the Radical Experiment at Brook Hills, our church was challenged to PRAY, GIVE, GO! You can go here to read more, but the gist is this: we are commanded by God to GO and make disciples of ALL NATIONS (Matt 28:19-20). Short term trips can only do so much, but what we can do is support the local organizations and churches in Uganda and Kenya .....people who have given their LIVES to serve the least of these. So we go to serve THEM, to support THEM and along the way, spread the GOOD NEWS about Jesus to children who may have never heard it.

Hopefully, as we go, we will be able to encourage the workers there, support them and help equip them in any way we can. I can imagine that if I were a little Ugandan orphan, it would mean a lot to me to know that someone came halfway around the world just to visit me and to be the hands and feet of Jesus to me.

Mid and Long term missionaries are the people who are able to go into un-reached places and spread the gospel to entire groups of people who have never heard it. But, I have never met a Mid or Long term missionary who wasn't a Short Term missionary first! :) So as a faith family we go to serve the church on short-term trips with the hopes that God will use that exposure to different contexts to prompt many to serve in longer capacities and advocate for the "least of these" in many different ways!

We don't all have to move to Africa or India. We don't even all have to go there. But, I know that this is something God wants ME to do. So I will go. I won't adopt all of the orphans, I won't end hunger, I won't cure HIV/AIDS, but, like the little Honkin'bird, I will do . . . . .

whatever I can.



"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do an doesn't do it, sins." James 4:17


  1. that is good stuff, my friend. good stuff.

  2. You may have a skinny body but you have a big fat heart JennyMo, and I love it!

  3. You make me so very proud to have and always will have as a daughter.
    Go forth and spread the love to those little ones from us all left behind. I will be praying for you and your group on your journey. I'm sure you will never be the same.

  4. Grateful for your testimony that makes much of the love of Jesus. Praying for your ministry as you press in to God's grace.

  5. My heart overflows for your passion! I love you and am praying for your insane craziness not to rub off too much on God's children there in Africa! ;)

  6. Dawn and I just met last night. :) She came through town "on her way" to the beach. BEAUTIFUL person, inside and out!

    This is a great post. Hugs to you in Africa!