Monday, July 31, 2017

Time to Embark

Our flight is only days away! On Friday morning our mission begins by piling into our respective vehicles, and finding our seats amongst the luggage. Since the airline allows multiple checked items we will have substantially more luggage than people. (I hope the team is up for a game of luggage tetras.) Despite our lack of vehicular cargo space, the extra bags are proving quite handy for all the tools we are bringing.

This will be the final post before the Africa mission team leaves. Fear not though, aided by the reliability of Wifi I shall be posting daily while we are there. However, I will not be held liable due to unforeseen internet connection problems or exhaustion. That being said the team is super excited and ready to work hard.

Over the course of our 10 working days there we will convert a 3 bedroom house into a place capable of housing 24 at risk girls away from the dangers of the streets of Yaoundè. Additionally, our congregation's own Caroline will be running the center. We hope to have it open in January of 2018.

During this Sunday's announcements at Incarnation Lutheran Church one of the younger members of the team, Max, talked about the significance of this trip for him. "Being a teenager myself, I know how hard it can be without all the challenges these girls face living alone on the streets, so I'm really looking forward to making an impact on the lives of these girls and making their lives at least a little bit easier."  I plan to feature a new member of the team each day and give a run down of our progress.

On behalf of the entire team we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this mission. Whether it was through financial generosity, prayers, advice, or well wishes. We met our initial goal of raising $10,000 and we are ecstatic about the amount of support we have received. That being said, there is still $2,200 in matching funds left for anyone who feels called to contribute. Additional funds will go toward unexpected materials or costs and help get the center open by January.

Whatever you can give will help, and the team thanks you in advance not only for donations but for your prayers and support while we are away. Bon Voyage!

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Against All Odds

Deciding to take on an International Mission is a big decision for any congregation. Questions of why, how, when, and where constantly plague Church council meetings. To put it frankly International Missions are hard, and there is a lot of reluctance to commit.

Thankfully God always has a plan, whether we know it not. Our mission in Cameroon was definitely a "God plan" and here's why. Incarnation previously carried out mission work in Cameroon building a Church. After that work had been finished a desire to do more for the community still lingered. As a result someone inquired with community leaders regarding their other needs. And, boy was it a steep request. They desperately needed a center for children in danger of human trafficking.

The initial reaction to this request was an immediate no, followed by every excuse that could be found. We would need government permission. We would need a local Church partner in Cameroon. We would need a building. We would need a well qualified caretaker for the center and the children. We would need significant financial support. We would need support and approval from the Incarnation congregation. We would need a team of volunteers willing to give their skills and time to build the center. As per God's plan each of these excuses became irrelevant.

We have a contact in the Cameroonian government who is more than willing to smooth the path for this mission. We have a Church partner in Cameroon that will stand by our work. Someone gifted us a house! In our own Incarnation congregation we already had the perfect person to take command of the center. With a little bit of persuasion, for some, our congregation hopped on board. Volunteers stepped up to the plate to lend their talents. The only excuse left to conquer is the finances.

God's plans can be difficult to discern sometimes, and when your excuses start to diminish it's time to start taking action. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."

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