Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I'm About to Embark on a Mission Trip!


I've had a dream, for many years now, to be part of a WAR mission trip.  Let me back up and tell you a bit about WAR and my experience with them so far.

Women At Risk is a non-profit organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan that aims to provide circles of protection around at-risk women and children through value-added intervention programs. 

The two years Chad was working in DC and then Pakistan, I had some time on my hands and really wanted to get involved with helping women in some way. Women are my passion.  I love a cup of coffee with a woman, I love Bible studies with women and I wanted to help women who had little opportunity in the world.  I don't even remember how I learned about WAR, but they were only a 15 minute drive from my house so I went over there to see how I could be involved.  About once a week, I would go over to the volunteer center and help inventory items that were returned, unpurchased, from home parties.  I began to learn how WAR was working with women around the world who had been slaves in the sex trade, or poor and at risk of being taken advantage of.  They were being taught to make jewelry or sew purses and clothes that were brought to America and sold at home parties and in the WAR store.  Before Christmas that year, WAR began a new program where they sold blown glass ornaments from Egypt in dental and doctor's offices.  I jumped on board and was given a route.  I first set up a tree, then decorated it with ornaments.  Every week I returned and added more ornaments and collected the money for WAR.  It was a great way to be involved in my community, and help women around the world.

When we began this job with the State Department, I thought it would be easy for me to find organizations to be involved with that were working in each country.  I really thought I would have the opportunity to help women and children where some of the problems were going on.  Quite the opposite has happened.  I've found it very hard to find organizations or be involved.  There are language barriers, nationals don't want help from outsiders, the host country may not allow foreign aid in any form (Russia) and a host of other deterrents.  It's been disappointing.  There have been many times I've asked God what He does want me to be involved in.  I've tried to follow those open doors and promptings.  I love the Bible studies I've led and hope there are many more on the horizon.  I loved rocking and feeding babies in the Colombian orphanage.  I enjoyed helping with the donation box at the embassy in Russia.  I love these things, but women and the oppression they face in this world, always come back to me.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I hurt for them.  I want to be able to do something for them.

This has led me to my strong desire to attend the WAR Circle Tour.  Every other year, WAR takes a group of women to Thailand to visit safe houses, encourage the rescued women and learn how we can help.  I signed up for the trip last spring, before we had even moved.  Life seemed to take over, leaving Russia, home leave, and settling into Taipei, and I didn't take the time to become excited about the trip.  Then I was med-evaced and given an MS diagnosis and I didn't even know if I would be able to go on the trip.  But everything has fallen into place, and I'm going!  

My trip is just around the corner.  I arrive in Bangkok on February 12 to meet the team at midnight.  We visit Bangkok and Chiang Mai then I will return to Taipei on Feb. 23.  

Why do I tell you all this?  Because I know that I need a group of people to be praying for me from now until I return.  I haven't know what to expect from this trip until recently.  I've been watching the orientation videos and what I'm about to embark upon has begun to sink in.  I'm hoping to share with  you the experiences I have.  I hope that through my eyes, you too can learn more about the needs of oppressed women around the world.

As you think of me, please pray for me.  I know what I'll encounter will be difficult.  I know the dynamics within my team may become frustrating at times.  I know that the devil doesn't want good to come about.  I also know that God is greater than all these obstacles.  

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