Thursday, March 29, 2012

China is close to Africa.....right?

Most of you know that I traveled to Uganda and Kenya last summer. I fell in love with Africa and God taught me MANY lessons along the way. I had every intention to travel back there this year, possibly leading a group through Brook Hills....but no matter how hard I tried to open the doors, they kept getting closed.

As I learned more and more about human trafficking over the course of the last year, I wished for an opportunity to mesh my heart for the orphan with a way to somehow make a difference for the 27 MILLION worldwide victims of human trafficking (I will be blogging about this in more detail soon). So I began to think about Haiti, as many of the children who are orphaned there are in danger of being trafficking on the Haiti/Dominican Republic border if they do not have proper care and shelter. But, all of the organizations I contacted did not need any volunteers over the summer, which is the only time I can travel because my kiddos can go to their dads house. This is not to say that there are no organizations in Haiti that need help.......please don't misunderstand! Just that the few I contacted didn't pan out......which in turn led me to believe that maybe that wasn't God's plan for me at this time either.

In my heart, I didn't want to plan a trip or sign up for a trip just for the sake of marking "mission trip" off my list for 2012. If that was the case, there are plenty of things I could have done and probably had a great time.....but it would have been self serving. I needed to be needed. That sound very co-dependent. I know this because I have a tendency to be very co-dependent. So I just asked God to show me a NEED. Not a trip that sounded good to a place I really wanted to go anyway that happened to fit in my time frame and didn't cost too much. Just a that I could meet.

So, I went out on a limb and talked to the dude at the Global Missions desk on a Sunday morning a few weeks back. I simply asked him "If you could pick one trip on the list (Brook Hills has tons available year round) that you would say you NEED someone to go on what would it be?". I honestly thought he would Jesus Juke me with an answer like "Well there are approximately 6,400 unreached people groups in the world so I would say they all NEED the Gospel" or "The Bible says make disciples of ALL just pick one!". But, what he said was......China. He said "There is a trip to China this summer to work with college students. If they don't get a couple more people to go on the trip, it will have to be cancelled". So my brain said "Ok. China it is." By which I meant "I will contact the lady in charge of short term trips, pray diligently that she will find me to be much more qualified to go to North Africa even though it isn't EXACTLY what I wanted to do but it is much closer to what I want to do than CHINA because China is not even on my RADAR." Just being honest here folks.

I emailed her the next day and said "of all the short term trips you have this summer, which one would you say is currently the greatest NEED?" I will give you one guess what she said. China. So I started to think....ok, well if you take a right to get to China you practically go directly through maybe I could stop there on the way back......see I even looked on a map.....

....but then I realized you probably go left to get to which case we won't even get in the neighborhood of Africa........


Then I thought, you know what? When you ask God to show you a need, and He does, you better get on it. Because when people in the Bible asked God what He wanted them to do and they didn't do it, it typically didn't turn out well for them. There is your theology lesson for the day folks.

So I filled out the application and sent in the deposit 2 days later! All I really know (so far) is that we will be working with an American teacher at a University from July 13th-22nd hosting an English Camp for some of the students who are English majors. We will also spend time teaching them skills (like photography) playing games etc and building relationships. These students come from all sorts of religious backgrounds and have little to no contact with Christ followers. This trip is important because we will be working with the same student the whole time we are there, thus building lasting relationships with them, rather than just meeting them and then moving on to other groups, places, etc. 

Although I will learn more specifics about the trip through our training in the coming months, I won't be able to share most of it as security is apparently very high on this trip.

Now, you may have many questions, just as I did:

Q: Where in China will you go?
A: I don't know.

Q: What will you be doing exactly?
A: I don't know.

Q: Why is the security so high?
A: I don't know.

Q: Isn't this all a bit out of your comfort zone?
A: Yep.

Q: Do you need to raise money?
A: Yes....but not nearly as much as I needed to go to Africa!

So, consider this your pre-support letter-blog :) If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of this trip the info is below! In the meantime, please pray for our team, for the students we will be forming relationships with, for the Gospel to be made know and for my selfish heart as I miss these babies......

but as my sweet friends from Fiwagoh would say:

(those Fiwagoh kids know what is up!)



Please make your check payable to The Church at Brook Hills. Include a notation in the memo line that states "appealed by Jenny Clark-East Asia July 13-22". 
Checks may be mailed to:
The Church at Brook Hills
c/o Jenny Clark
Attn: Global Disciple-Making
6166 Eagle Point Circle
Birmingham, AL 35242

Thursday, March 1, 2012

To Ella Mae on her 5th Birfday!

I cannot BELIEVE this little mess pot is already FIVE! Five!?! Wow. It truly seems like only yesterday that she came into this world under many tumultuous circumstances. There were tornadoes in Alabama that bad that we had to be wheeled out in the hallway shortly after she was born. I should have taken that as a sign of things to come. My gallbladder tried to explode. Well my whole digestive system was very unhappy due to her residence amidst my internal organs. Did I mention the whole divorce part? And the fact that I had a 2 1/2 year old AND had just moved with my parents into a new house a few short weeks earlier? Yeah. MANY tumultuous circumstances.

However, I knew then....... and I still know now, that God has a great big plan for this little girl. I couldn't imagine her being one bit different than who she is and I know that the things about her that make me crazy at times are the same things that will make her a strong woman some day.

So, to my sweet princess loving, lipstick wearing, bug and animal loving, always dirty, rarely fully clothed, stubbornest woman I know, smarter than she should be, crazy booty dancing, tender but tough as nails little mess pot.......HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY!