Tag Archives: Africa

Back to Ethiopia

26 Jun
Blog post by Leah G., Team Ethiopia 2012
Last summer, I was trying to find an organization that was doing a mission trip that I could go on. I didn’t end up finding any that would work out for me so I just kind of gave up. There was a group of ladies from the church going to Ethiopia and they asked me to go with them. One of the organizations we visited was World Orphans. We went to visit some of the families that were part of the home-based care program. Their houses were in terrible condition and their floors were all muddy. One little boy we visited sang for us and it was the sweetest thing. He and his mother were both HIV positive and his father had died from AIDS. It was really sad and didn’t seem fair. We also visited a school that they had and they washed our feet. (Which were super muddy from walking through a muddy field.) It was very humbling. During the trip we visited a bunch of other organizations that worked with orphans. At the end of the trip I didn’t want to come home.
When I got home and went back to school, we started planning a school trip to go back to Ethiopia. I was so excited. That’s when I heard about Journey 117, our principal told us that was the organization we would be going with when we went. It was even cooler to find out that it was one I had visited in the summer. When I think of Ethiopia the things that come to mind are the kid’s faces and how happy they were. I can’t wait to go this year and see more smiling faces.
Leah resides in Canada and will be serving with Journey117 in July on Team Ethiopia.
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Orphans at War

22 Jun

Blog post by Blake & Michaela B., Team Ethiopia 2012

Blake & Michaela resided in Texas and will be serving with Journey117 in July as Team Leaders for Team Ethiopia.

My Journey to Uganda

25 May

Blog post by Kimberly, Team Uganda 2012

My life has been absolutely crazy. Getting to this place in life after only twenty years of living is mind-boggling to me. Growing up in a wealthier area of Atlanta suburbia has creates a specific mindset for those growing up in it. Honestly, I was a spoiled brat for most of my life. It’s disgusting to think about. I was given everything and anything a girl could possibly want, until my sweet parents made me go on my first mission trip to New Orleans for my spring break instead of getting to go to the beach with all of my friends. This was sophomore year of high school and the year that my eyes would be opened to the needs of others outside of my bubble. The next year I went back to New Orleans where God furthered a heart and passion for missions. It wasn’t until senior year that the Lord had manifested a heart for Africa, specifically Uganda, in addition to orphans.

The beginning of senior year I began babysitting for a family in the church. They had two beautiful daughters and for the year I watched them make preparations for their newest addition, a baby boy named Samuel from Ethiopia. When the baby had gotten there, my heart leaped at the sight of a once-orphan now being loved and taken care of by probably the most amazing people I know. They are in the process of adopting HIV-positive siblings. This was the first point in my life that God stirred my heart for the orphan. I then got involved with Invisible Children at my school which further cultivated my heart for the children of Africa. After graduation I went for my final summer to church camp. As I was praying for some younger student, a woman of the church came to me bawling. I had asked her what was wrong and she told me that the Lord had given her a word for me three weeks prior. I asked what the word was and she choked out Uganda. Well that was the final straw. Since then, it has been a journey in itself of the Lord getting me to this point of my heart being ready to go. He’s told me to go and led me straight to World Orphans and that’s why I’m going on this team. If nothing else, I know that this is the next step the Lord has for my life so it’s the next step I’m taking – totally walking in faith while abiding in Him.

Kimberly resides in Georgia and will be serving with Journey 117 in June on the Uganda team.

Taking a Stand Against Child Soldiering

9 May

Blog post by Katrina F., Team Iraq 2012

I chose to research the topic of child soldiers.  I honestly did not know a thing about what was going on until I started researching… and I am sick to my stomach as I sit here reading quotes from actual child soldiers and the things they are made to do.  They are made to do some sick things, so sick.  They have to kill their best friends to prove their loyalty, they are beaten to death sometimes for no reason at all, the girl soldiers are raped repeatedly at night by the other youth soldiers and adult men… at ages of 11 years old… and if they cry, they will beat them.  It is seriously one of the worst things I have ever heard.

As I research, most of my quotes from the children came from this website.  You too will be sick after reading a lot of these “voices” of these child soldiers.  Continue reading

HIV/AIDS and the Orphan

26 Feb

Blog post by Laila B., Team Haiti 2012

It is estimated that more than 15 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS. Every 15 seconds, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa.  Today alone, 5,760 children will lose a parent to AIDS.  Some countries are so negatively impacted by the epidemic that approximately 20 percent of all their children are orphans – the majority having been orphaned by AIDS.

Caring for HIV/AIDS orphans presents many unique challenges.  Even the best orphanages struggle to meet the physical needs of children with HIV/AIDS and cannot meet the emotional and spiri­tual needs. Institutions are not replacement for the structure of a family.

Inside institutions where there is little or no education children with HIV can be treated poorly by caretakers, even neglected. Often times sanitary conditions in orphanages are poor and exacerbate children’s weakened immune systems. Infections are common among children in orphanages and can quickly lead to death for children with HIV/AIDS. Simple antibiotics could prevent fatality in children with HIV/AIDS, yet often they are unavailable in developing countries.

Stigma is a another major challenge facing people infected with HIV/AIDS in the US and around the world. In the US families with adopted children who are HIV+ often suffer rejection within their communities and even among family members due to ignorance regarding transmission and stigma.

(adapted from www.projecthopeful.org)

Laila and her daughter will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from their church in Evanston, IL.

AIDS Orphans: Overwhelming Statistics

23 Feb

Blog post by Wendy K, Team Haiti 2012

Looking through the lens of my mind’s eye, I see two children.
Two children separated by continents.

One sitting pretty clothed in family,
A backdrop of abundance….
A broad smile…
Eyes of hope…
A triumphant shout…
A life of promise.

The other –
Utterly alone.
A backdrop of empty…
A vacant look…
Eyes of misery…
A silent scream…
A life lost.

Two children made in God’s image, precious in His eyes, worthy of respect, dignity and a opportunity.  Two lives- one full of hope, the other hanging in the balance.  I ask myself what I would do if this was the plight of one of my children.  One life lost is tragic enough, but over 16 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.  14.8 million of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading

A First Step for Me

4 Feb

Blog post by Curie C., Team Haiti 2012

I have been involved with various Christian ministries since childhood. Along with my family, I have been — whether voluntarily or not so voluntarily — a part of international ministries, children’s ministries, and college ministries as both participant or organizing team. I’ve always been hesitant to start mission work, though.

I’ve had a friend throughout middle and high school whose family always went on mission trips for the summer to Africa, but I didn’t really see why it was necessary to go abroad in order to do what we can do right here where we live. Yet, I found that I was drawn to the work that was being done in areas where “bare necessities” quickly became luxuries that many couldn’t afford. Through sermons at Evanston Bible Fellowship and learning more about the scriptures, I became interested in exploring overseas mission work. This trip to Haiti is a first step for me to determine how I can fit into mission work and how, in turn, mission work can be part of my future plans.

Curie C. will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from her church in Evanston, IL.