Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why Go? Wednesday: To Be Aaron and Hur

My parents live just around the corner from us and that means our kids get to spend a lot of time with their grandparents. Sometimes I envy those grandparents. It seems they have it easy. They get the kids in small doses – for play time and snack time and then they get to send them home. They are not around for feedings, baths, homework, meltdowns, sibling rivalries, etc. It’s nice to be a grandparent.

But then I remember that we can’t do it alone and quite often when we are at the end of our rope it is our parents who step in and fill the gap. When a kid is sick and we have to work… grandparents. When a car breaks down and we have to get kids from point a to point b (and c and d and e)… grandparents. When I am not sure how to handle a situation and I need some parental guidance, who do I call… grandparents. It really does take a village and we could not do what we do without their help.

Life is like that. We often need the help of those around us to do all that we have to do.

There is a great story that illustrates this concept in Scripture. In Exodus 17 Israel is fighting the Amalekites. As the battle rages on Moses is standing at the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands overlooking the fighting. We are told that as long as Moses held up his hands the Israelites were winning. But whenever he grew tired and lowered his hands the advantage shifted to the enemy. In verse 12 we read that whenever Moses grew tired Aaron and Hur would come alongside him and hold his hands up “one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady until sunset” and Israel won the battle because others helped Moses do what he could not do on his own.

At Visiting Orphans we view our role in a similar fashion. We send people on short-term trips who get to go and be with children, love them and then come home, but our role is so much more than that. Our desire is to come alongside local churches and long-term missionaries who are doing the hard work every day. We want to be Aaron and Hur to them as we hold up their arms so they can do what God has called them to do.

Peter Rwagasore is a pastor in Rwanda. He and his wife Jane serve as guides for our teams who come to Rwanda. We also partner with their church to serve the community. Here is what he has to say about how VO is supporting their work…

“I may be tempted to write a book on how much the VO teams have been of great help to my family and the church. Jane and I started New Covenant Church in Kigali Rwanda in 2007 and our vision was to take the Gospel to the forgotten ones, poor, orphans, and the backsliders and our goal was to empower them so that they may live an abundant life. We met financial challenges in the ministry because we were not being paid by the church. When VO came to Rwanda they hired Jane as their Guide and this brought a huge blessing to my family because many teams started coming every year.

One and a half years ago we moved our church from our living to a place full of prostitutes and drunkards and The Lord brought many who getting saved in our church. (At that time) VO began to partner with our church. Teams that came started serving with us in different areas of ministry like supplying food to the widows, single moms, renting homes for former prostitutes, buying musical instruments for the church, and encouraging our members by making home visits. Last year, we started another church in Bugesera in the Pygmie community and we saw a need of starting a nursery school and VO team members helped us to pay for the rent of two classes. VO team members are helping us to build a school on land donated by the government.

Indeed VO has been our Hur and Aaron!  I don't have enough vocabulary to say how much VO has been of great help to us. I may say that VO has been a beacon of our ministry. May The Lord continue to strengthen in everything you do for the Glory of his Kingdom.”

Visiting Orphans partners with ministries in 14 countries. These ministries do the hard work that God has called them to do every day. They battle poverty, disease, corruption, and more to bring hope to the hopeless and light to dark places. I think all of them would tell you that they cannot do it alone. We hear story after story of teams arriving at just the right time, with needed supplies and even more needed encouragement.

When you support VO you help us support them. You help us be Aarron and Hur to 45 ministries who serve over 5000 children and families in 14 countries.

In Romans 10 it says that we can’t go if we are not sent. Will you come alongside us as we come alongside these amazing ministries? They can’t do it without us and we can’t do it without you.

-written by Frank Pass, VO Trip Coordinator

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday spotlight: Lori Hayden

Lori Hayden is a team leader for Visiting Orphans. She has led teams to Uganda and will lead a Costa Rica trip next month. You can read about her and the other VO team leaders on our Team Leaders page here.

If someone would of told me I would be leading mission trips to Uganda, I would of never believed them. As a widow, I was looking for my "new normal." Part of my "new normal" was the calling for short term missions.

After my first trip, I knew it was the experience I needed to choose joy in my life. At first I thought I would bless others and found out quickly I received so many blessings! I have been to Uganda numerous times and each time I learn something new. I learn to love deeper and grow wider as Christian.

Joy is such a gift!! It's not dependent upon circumstances, like happiness is. Missions are such a gift! They bring joy.

I no longer question why me but what me. In November 2014, I am leading a group to Costa Rica. Outside of my comfort zone of Uganda. I am so excited as I am taking one of my daughters and several friends with me.

I no longer look for that burning bush but a sense of contentment and peace. It's easy to love those we have never known. I have been so grateful for the opportunity for mission work. As for me, I will continue to seek and rejoice in the Lord. No one can steal my joy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

MINISTRY MONDAY spotlight: Out of the Ashes in Korah, Ethiopia

One of our partner ministries in Ethiopia is Out of the Ashes. Read more about them below and watch their latest promo video. To sign up for one of our Ethiopia trips to work with this amazing ministry in Korah, Ethiopia, go here. 

Out of the Ashes Primary purpose is to reduce the suffering of the orphans and vulnerable children of Korah by helping them break the cycle of poverty. We want to Empower and build their character through the love of Jesus Christ while caring for their basic needs and educating them so they can one day become productive members of society and positively impact their community. Sponsorship includes education, room and board, medical care, supplementary food, clothing, counseling, life skills training and economic developments. One of the ways we will achieve our mission is through development of personal mentoring relationships with each child. We encourage sponsors to actively engage in building a relationship with their sponsored child which we believe is spiritually rewarding for both the child and sponsor.

If you can't view the video below, you can watch it here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#TBT - China, 2010

#TBT to our very first VO team to Chifeng, China in 2010. One of the highlights of the week was making and eating dumplings with the children. As you can see it is easy to tell which were made by the Americans. In a place like China where the language barrier is so big, a small act like making dumplings can break down walls and help us to build relationships with the children and workers. Is God calling you to Go. Be. Love. in China? Check out our China page for upcoming trip dates. ​

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WHY GO? Wednesday spotlight: Hannah Kramer

We recently asked past team members to share their most memorable moment from their Visiting Orphans trip and a few of their favorite photos. 

Hannah Kramer from the July 2014 Kenya/Uganda trip wrote:

The most memorable moment of my trip has to be when a young boy, Eric, who I had just met gave me the biggest hug and said "nacupendasana" which means "I love you so much". My heart melted. This young three year old knew how to give love better than I did. Throughout the rest of the trip I was shown a great amount of love from everyone I came in contact with. God is good and working through these people. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday spotlight: Kerri Ballard

Going on a mission’s trip was never a thought until I heard the story of Katie Davis. After reading her book Kisses from Katie I knew God was calling me to do something outside of my comfort zone. Before going on my first Visiting Orphans trip everyone always asked, “Are you nervous?” I knew God was calling me to go and nothing was going to stop me. What God had in store was so much more than I could have ever hoped or thought.

The team I went with became instant family. I even met my ‘sister’ on the team. That bond is still there today, two years later, only because God knew I needed it for the trip and for what was happening in my personal life.

When I arrived in Uganda I cried from the moment my feet hit the red dirt till about two weeks after I returned home. I am forever grateful for the experiences that I had on my first trip. Seeing children and grown adults touch and taste clean water for the very first time, seeing children smile even though they sleep on a dirt floor, playing jump rope with teenagers, and caring for babies that don’t have a parent to tell them “I love you” forever rocked my world. Pictures of orphans had become real to me - they were actual people with a name and a face.

 When I returned home my first night I wanted to sleep on the floor. Why me? Why do I get to have a bed, clothes to wear, a nice house, and a family that loves me?  Those were just a few of the questions I was asking God. Then He made it all very clear to me. You know the saying here in America—Rags to riches. Well, he told me I have it all wrong. True riches have nothing to do with material wealth. It’s all about Him, our relationship with the Father.  We only experience true joy and riches when we totally and completely trust Jesus and put our faith in Him alone.

That is why I’m so passionate about Visiting Orphans and missions. My life was forever changed by going and being the hands and feet of Jesus. I want everyone to have the opportunity to experience what I have experienced. Putting others first and loving the orphan has caused me to love people more and to care less about temporary things that will soon pass away.

Monday, October 20, 2014

MINISTRY MONDAY spotlight: Imana Kids Sponsorship Program in Rwanda

This week we want to feature a ministry that was started by a couple that went on a trip with us to Rwanda. Imana Kids was founded by Kara & Ryan Higgins who still lead teams to Rwanda through us and are changing the lives of the children at Kimisagara. To sign up for their next trip, go to their trip page. Watch their latest video below to learn more about Imana Kids and the precious children they serve.

Kimisagara Orphanage is nestled in the hills of Kigali, Rwanda. Imana Kids is a 501(c)(3) created to place the orphans of Kimisagara into boarding schools. Education is one viable solution toward ending the orphan crisis. Visit Imana Kids website at, like them on Facebook at Imana Kids: an Orphan-Care Ministry or follow them on Twitter @imanakids

If you can't see the video below, you can watch it here:

Sponsorship is one way to make a difference in the world.   One child matters.  Sponsorship provides a vulnerable child with the necessary tools to achieve.  Sponsorships are available at four different levels - preschool/daycare, primary, secondary, and university.   Additionally, opportunities to travel to Rwanda each year are available for sponsors to meet their children.

Sponsoring a child age birth to 5 years for daycare/preschool is a $40/month commitment.   Sponsorship will provide three nutritious meals a day, trained nannies/caregivers, and additional supplies for daily living.  It also includes safety improvements to the structure of Kimisagara.

While in Rwanda in September, we attended church of our friend, Pastor Peter and James, our in country staff. During worship, we interacted with three lovely women.  They sat with us, visited and generally made us feel at home.  Later, when we inquired about who they were, James told us that all three women had been baptized the previous week, given their hearts to Christ and turned away from their jobs as prostitutes.  The church members were praying diligently for employment for these ladies so that they could support their children.  We knew that God had already done so; they are now Imana Kids "Aunties," daily feeding, bathing and caring for our little ones. The orphanage is on the bus route from their neighborhood and they can bring their children to work with them.  

Primary and Secondary Students
Sponsoring a child at the primary level (grades 1 to 6) will allow your sponsored child to attend GOOD HARVEST BOARDING SCHOOL.    Good Harvest received national recognition for their academic achievements in the 2012-2013 school year.  The staff at GOOD HARVEST stood out to us; as we visited their classrooms, many of the teachers had children sitting close to them or even on them.  There was a lot of affection demonstrated in the classrooms.

Secondary students will (grades 7 to 12) attend HIGH HILL BOARDING SCHOOL.  In both schools, students will receive 3 nutritious meals a day, a warm and safe place to live, school uniforms and supplies, and an education.    

Both primary and secondary level sponsorship will entail an $85 dollar a month commitment.   Sponsoring an older student involves regular communication through letters and emails.  Sponsors will receive their child's report cards as well.

University Students
We are currently in the process of coordinating the sponsorship program for university students.  If you are interested in knowing more about sponsorship at this level, please let us know.

Prayerfully consider if sponsorship is a commitment you would like to make for 2014.  If so, please complete the information below.    Please indicate what level you are interested in for sponsorship and if you have a preferred gender.  Or, if you do not have a preference, please indicate that at well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday spotlight: Gael Nichols

Gael Nichols leads China trips for Visiting Orphans. She wrote this last year when she was delayed on the way to our team leader training. We love sharing the stories of our leaders and giving you a glimpse into their hearts. We are honored to have Gael as one of our amazing team leaders who step out in faith to GO BE LOVE! To read her and other Visiting Orphans team leader bios, go to our Team Leader page here.


I'll share something some of you may find odd. I'm not really an adventurous person. Seriously, I like my adventures best read in books in the comfort of my own home. The only reason I would say, "yes" to following Jesus into orphanages in China is sheer obedience to my king, and a deep thankfulness. Thankfulness for the child that is now mine that was once dependent on the kindness of those who were strangers to me.

So this non adventurous person set off this weekend by myself heading towards a visiting orphans conference in Nashville, TN. My prayer, "don't send me from here (home) unless you go with me and bless me to be a blessing".

Travel didn't exactly go as planned. (Rule number 1. Be flexible). My first flight was delayed. It was so delayed that I was going to miss my connecting flight, so I rescheduled my whole itinerary.

I made it to the airport extra early and found a comfy spot by a window. Within a few minutes I was joined by an older man who sighed as he sat down and made a joke about sharing my chips. I laughed and offered him some but of course he wouldn't take any. With plenty of time to visit, we started to chat. I found out he was a radiochemist and although he had been in the US for almost 30 years, he was originally from Ghana and he was on his way back to Ghana to see family. He had gotten a phone call that left him unclear to whether his 96 year old mother was dead or seriously ill. He didn't know what was waiting for him. I asked him if he was a believer, if he knew Jesus, and he immediately said "Yes! Hallelujah!". We shared that moment of recognition. A moment of mini worship staring out the airport window, and the shared understanding that

ALL things, all THINGS are under His Feet.

He asked me where I was going and why, and so I told him about VO and about going to my daughter's orphanage last summer and my commitment to go and lead teams into other orphanages if God willed. He asked me, "do you like it"? (Not a simple answer to that). I said, "I love China. I love the people. I'm thankful for the opportunity,'s hard.". He asked me what was hard, and I struggled to put it into words. I said, " just belong in families that love them. They just do better there. I'm sure there are things about Ghana that are hard?". He took his glasses off and looked me in the eyes. "I want to tell you a story". He proceeded to tell me a story of being born with a white spot on his cornea and of younger years being held down by his uncles while they tried to treat his eye to get rid of the spot. He told me how scary it was, how painful it was. With tears in his eyes he told me, "I was lucky. Do you know what they do with babies in Ghana that are born with physical imperfections? They kill them. They don't kill them themselves. They get someone else to come and kill them. Even if they are just missing a finger. They KILL them. You don't even KNOW what that child had the potential to be". He got quiet and he told me, "you need to keep going to China".

All things are under his feet. All things.

As my plane finally started to board, he said, "we may not cross paths again in this life, but I think we will meet again in heaven". I grasped both his hands and said, "I think we will."

All things are under his feet. All things.

I won't talk about the second DELAY and the cocky flyboy I had to crawl over because he had stolen my aisle seat. (He ended up being a nice guy). I also got my sweet revenge by parting ways with him thinking about adoption. I imagine his wife and mother of their four beautiful kids might not thank me. (Rule number 2: maintain your sense of humor). Evidently the Lord had a use for the extra hour we spent on that plane before it ever left the ground.

I was originally scheduled to get to Nashville around 5pm. I arrived at 11pm.

All things are under his feet. All things
Ephesians 1:22

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ministry Monday spotlight: Healing Faith Uganda

It's the last week of our 7 Impact Area 127 Campaign videos but it's not the last week of our fundraising for this campaign. We have a long way to go. If you go to our 127 Campaign website, you can watch all 7 videos for a very detailed explanation of what the 7 Impact Areas are for this campaign and ultimate what the funds we are raising will help us be able to bring to life.

This week, our feature ministry is Healing Faith in Uganda - we're helping raise funds for mosquito nets, malaria testing equipment and treatment for those with malaria in Uganda. This is an amazing ministry that we are blessed to partner with. Our teams have been able to help them hang mosquito nets, help them with their medical clinics and malaria education days and have completely fallen in love with the work they do in Uganda. And best of all, they share Jesus when they do it.

Watch their video below. And then go to to partner with Visiting Orphans financially to help this and 44 other ministries in 14 countries with the amazing work they are doing.

If you can't view the video below, you can watch it here:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Help us reach our goal over the next week!

$5789 has come in so far for general donations to Visiting Orphans during our‪#‎127Campaign‬. We are incredibly grateful for all those who believe in the mission and vision of VO and want to partner with us. Many of those donors are now monthly supporters. They are truly helping us continue to send teams out to go be love to vulnerable children and communities all over the world. 


Can you give $25 or $50 or more a month to partner with us in helping 45 ministries in 14 countries? We have far more to raise in order to bring our 7 Impact Areas to life and help with the 7 Ministry needs we're focusing on during the campaign. YOU can be a a part of something bigger! 

Read about all the 7 Impact Areas and BECOME A WORLD CHANGER at:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why Go? Wednesday spotlight: Andrew Vose

This weeks feature blog post was written by Costa Rica team member Andrew Vose and was originally featured here. Reposted below with permission. 


Most people go on missions trips, get a spiritual high and then come back and have it slowly fade away. For me, the Edge’s trip to Costa Rica was a foundation and a launching pad to do missions trips from now on—and hopefully to be in full-time ministry.

It was so nice to have my oldest daughter with me, to experience the trip with her and with other sisters in Christ. This trip wasn’t about going to Costa Rica and building shelving units for an orphanage, this whole thing was about relationships. About our relationship with God, our relationships with one another and about building relationship with these children.

One young girl at the orphanage named Claudia confirmed this for me. She was mute and deaf, but before we even left for Costa Rica, God gave me a vision of a girl who needed a special dose of love and prayer to help get her through this season of her life and into the future God holds for her. Claudia was that girl!

The trip was about more than a “first missions trip” or white water rafting or seeing the ocean for the first time—it was about loving people and touching their lives with God’s love.

Two of the teenagers that were with us were at a spiritual crossroads in their life, so this trip was critical for them. For me, it was “steady as she goes” with the Lord. Every morning I got up early to walk on the beach and spend time with God. Physically I was always on guard to protect the team, but mostly I did what God called me to do.

On our way back home, our flight was delayed. This might sound strange, but that 26-hour delay was probably the best thing that happened for me because I got to spend time with my daughter. As soon as we found out we were delayed, I prayed and asked God “What’s next? I’m open to whatever you have for us to do.”

My daughter and I ended up visiting a church in the neighborhood. We didn’t understand a word that they said, but we were one in spirit. The time of worship touched my daughter so much that it was the highlight of the whole week. Because of that time, she has new goals and a new purpose for her life. God showed her what He is calling her to do.

In the end, I will never forget the people that I met and the team I shared this trip with. I think about them and pray for them everyday. I think most of us had our own agenda in going, but God had His. If you are thinking about going on a trip and the Lord releases you to go …. do it! Use your vacation time if you have to, it’s worth it! Perhaps someday we may get to see some of these kids in heaven and they will come up to us and thank us for touching and changing their lives.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday spotlight: Jennifer Wynn

In July 2012 I went on my first mission trip ever to a place I barely even knew anything about, Ecuador. I had no idea how that trip was going to radically change my life. From the moment I stepped off the plane in country I knew God was up to something. I tried to soak in every moment of that trip. The sounds, the smells, the people, and the interactions with the precious children. My heart was completely broken knowing that each child I came into contact with had no Mommy or Daddy to kiss their boo-boos, hug them and tell them everything would be ok or tuck them in each night. I fell in love with one particular boy on that trip and it's been neat to see him grow each time I have been back. About going back, I will never forget the missionary woman, Denise whispering in my ear the last night we were there on that first trip "Follow your heart, God's got something big in store for you, listen and follow him".

After coming home and not being able to get Ecuador or those children out of my everyday thoughts I decided to see what it took to be a leader. In February of that year I went to leader training and lead my first team in October 2013. I've also lead a team in June 2014 and am leading a team this November and May. My prayer is to continue to go until God tells me otherwise. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about and pray for every single orphan that I have come in contact with there. Once you go you don't forget their faces, they become a part of you. I've always had a passion for the orphan but through Visiting Orphans that passion has become a burning desire to do something and to bring awareness to the orphan crisis around the world.

  I can't go without mentioning something that happened on my June 2014 trip. I was in country for less than 24 hours when I received a phone call that my 7 year old son was having emergency surgery (an appendectomy). That moment was truly the hardest moment of my life. I had to surrender everything back home to God and knew that I had to put complete faith and trust in him because I had absolutely no control. We were in the van on the way to Covi, a street kids ministry in Quito when I got the call that he was going into surgery. I was offered to go home immediately (well, as soon as we could get a flight out) but I felt like God was telling me to stay for that moment. So, I went on with the trip as planned. God has our life's planned out and while this surgery was a complete surprise and shock to us it wasn't to him. He chose to send me to a foreign country during that time for a reason. Looking back, maybe it was to learn once again to trust him. Two days later I received a call telling me that my son's body was not responding well after surgery and there were complications. I knew then it was time to come home. Within hours by the grace of God I was on an airplane on my way home. I can't even begin to tell you what a roller coaster ride all of that was but my point in sharing is this, God IS in control of every situation in your life. We go on mission trips to share the gospel and love on others and to be a light for Jesus but in the end he uses them to change us and draw us closer to him in the process.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ministry Monday: Exciting news - VO will partner with Orphan World Relief to send a team to BOLIVIA in 2015!

It's week #6 for our 127 Campaign and we are excited to announce that we'll be adding a partnership with Orphan World Relief to GO BE LOVE in Bolivia for 2015. You can find out more and sign up for this trip here.

Watch our Week 6 Campaign Video below and go to to become a Visiting Orphans partner!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

THROW BACK THURSDAY: 2012 Ecuador Team member Brittany Hall

I guess you could say that I’m one of those “church kids”. I’ve grown up in church all of my life and have been there pretty much every time the doors are open. I got saved when I was in the 4th grade and have lived the “Christian life”. I thought it was okay to go to church on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s and never do anything to live out my faith. I became comfortable with that lifestyle.  Later, I realized that I had it all wrong. 

You see, God does want us to go to church, but He wants more than just that. He wants us to do bold things for Him. He wants us to step out of our comfort zones and say “yes” to Him when He calls. That’s exactly what I did.

My desire to go on a mission trip started when a group from my church went to Ecuador with M-Fuge about five years ago. When they got back and told their stories it really made an impression on me. I had been wanting to go on a mission trip for a while, but this solidified it. This was something that God was calling me to do. I saw how it impacted their lives, and I wanted to experience it for myself. I wanted to be a part of something greater and I wanted to tell others about Jesus.

A few years ago, my church started an orphan care and adoption ministry called Hearts of Compassion. It really opened my eyes to the number of orphans in this world and I realized that God has commanded us numerous times in His Word to care for the least of these. He doesn’t ask us, He tells us.

When I heard that a group from my church was going to Ecuador, I knew I had to go. I came straight home from church that Sunday and asked my Dad if I could. He told me that if I got a job and paid for the trip that I could go. I was so excited! So the job search began…

I applied everywhere that I could think of. Nobody was hiring. My grandparents own an ice cream store and I knew that I could have a job there if I asked, but I wanted to try to find one on my own. I began to pray about it and ask God to show me where I needed to go. After a long search, and no luck on my own, I finally asked my grandparents for a job. They hired me and I finally had a way to pay for the trip, so I signed up.

I was so excited about the trip that I could hardly contain myself. I thought about it all of the time and even had a countdown on my phone. I was counting down the days, hours, and even seconds until it was time.

After a few months of waiting, the day finally came and I was on a plane on my way to Ecuador! It was so surreal. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that it was going to be life-changing.

That is exactly what it did. It changed my life. My eyes have been opened and I will never be the same.

On our first day at one of the orphanages, as we pulled up to the gate, I started to get nervous. I couldn’t wait to hold those kids, but I didn’t know what it was going to be like. Where we going to be able to communicate? Where they going to like me? Will I know the right things to say?
As soon as we walked through the gate, all of the kids came running and each kid grabbed a team member, as if to claim them. A little girl grabbed me and I just picked her up and held her in my arms. That moment is something I will never forget. I wanted time to stand still.

I was nervous about the language barrier, even though I did know a little bit of Spanish, and I was worried about connecting with the kids. All of that anxiety seemed to vanish instantly when I held that beautiful girl in my arms. I realized that all of that worrying was so silly. It was as if in that moment God was trying to tell me something. Just like I was holding that little girl, letting her know that I was there to love on her and to let her know that everything was going to be okay, God was telling me those same things. He was right there with me every step of the way.

As we spent the rest of the week playing with, loving on, and sharing God’s Word with the children, I realized this: all that the kids need is love. They just want someone to hold them, play with them and let them know that they are cherished. Not just by you, but by God.

Every single one of those kids is etched in my heart and in my mind. I have felt called to adopt for a long time and this trip verified it. I wish I could take them all! I may not be old enough yet, but when I am, it is something that I am definitely going to do. Those children are said to be unloved, but I want to love them! My heart hurts because they don’t have a forever family, but I know that they are taken care of.

On the last night, I told some of the members of my team that I would be back. I am so glad that I have been blessed with the opportunity to go back this summer. I absolutely cannot wait!

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about those precious kids and that beautiful country.

I went to Ecuador wanting to change someone’s life, but really it changed mine.

If God is calling you to go on a mission trip and to love on orphans, GO! You won’t regret it and it will change your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.

Check out the list of upcoming trips with Visiting Orphans here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Don't Let Fear Keep You At Home

written by Frank Pass
Mission Trip Coordinator at Visiting Orphans

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. – Matthew 24:6

It is an interesting time to be working for an organization that sends people on foreign mission trips. Ebola is in West Africa, terror is spreading in Iran and Syria and the Islamic State seems to be a mounting threat, and there is conflict in Ukraine. It is a scary world out there and people are afraid to venture out into it. These days it can be a little challenging convincing people to sign up for a mission trip to Africa or just to get on a plane to anywhere.

So what’s a Christian to do, especially one who believes in the call to go? Recently I have answered a lot of questions from people who are worried, concerned and afraid about going themselves or sending their loved ones. Here are some thoughts I have that I think we should consider when answering the call to go, especially the call to go to the nations.

1.     God is sovereign and He is still in control. He is not surprised by what is going on in the world and the actions of evil people are not thwarting His plans. I do not imagine that God is saying, “If I had known about this whole war on terror thing, I would have toned down the Great Commission a little.” His call to go in Matthew 28, Acts 1 and Romans 10 is still valid and it is still a call we still need to take seriously.

2.     God gave us a spirit NOT of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7. The call to missions is not a call to safety. It is a call to share in the suffering of Christ but fear can be crippling. The fear of ridicule can keep us from going to our neighbor and the fear of danger can keep us from going abroad but God gives us the spirit of power that gives us the courage to go and the spirit of love which gives us the desire to go.

3.     God does not just give us power and love, He also gives a spirit of self-control. That doesn’t mean we should run off without a care in the world and it doesn’t mean we should stop asking questions. It does mean that we are wise and thoughtful about where we go, what we do and how we do it. A spirit of self-control is cautious about safety – a spirit of fear is obsessed with it. PLEASE if you are going yourself or sending someone you love, ask tough questions, do your research, be informed, make wise decisions, but please don’t let fear cripple you and keep you from answering God’s call on your life.

4.     Going is risky. It doesn’t matter if you go across the street, across town or across the globe – the safest thing to do is stay put, but the need is still great. At No. 41 in Rwanda, the girls there, girls who are former orphans, have expanded their feeding program, because kids are still hungry. In China, the orphanages are still full, mostly with girls and special needs kids, because children are still being abandoned. In Haiti, classes have begun at a new school in Mirebalais, because kids in poverty still need access to education. Yes we live in a dark and scary world but it is also a world that is lost and we have the hope this fallen world needs.

5.     There are a lot of places to go. Maybe Africa is still just a little too scary for you. Guess what? We send teams to Haiti, to China, to Costa Rica, to India, and a whole bunch of other places. Each one with kids who need to know they are loved. Maybe getting on a plane is still too scary for you. Guess what? There are needs in your church and in your town, and probably in your school or in your office. I cannot tell you where to go, but if you follow Christ I know for certain that you are called to go somewhere. Don’t let fear keep you at home. Go. Be. Love.

6.     I wanted this post to be about the spirit of fear and how to overcome it but I’d also like to share just a bit about what Visiting Orphans does to keep our teams safe. While we believe that fear should not keep us from going we also firmly believe that God has entrusted us with the teams we send and we take their safety very seriously. At VO all of our leaders are trained and experienced; we partner with awesome guides and ministries in the countries we visit, they know the lay of the land and they take great care of our teams; we receive daily updates from a private company alerting us to “hot-spots” around the world, we receive State Department updates for the countries we visit, and we constantly monitor what is happening on the ground with our in-country contacts; we register every team with the US Department of State and we provide emergency insurance for every team; we have an experienced staff that has been doing this for a long time, a staff that is on call 24/7 when a team is in country; and finally we pray over every team we send as a staff and a ministry.

If you are thinking about going with Visiting Orphans and have questions or concerns, please let us know. We would love to talk with you. If you are considering travelling by yourself or with another organization, please ask tough questions. If they are worth traveling with, they will not mind talking with you.

I can’t help but be reminded of a great quote from the Lord of the Rings trilogy…

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." – Bilbo Baggins.

Good thing that the One who calls us and sends us, also goes with us.

Where is God calling you to go?
Is fear keeping you from answering that call?

Why Go? Wednesday Spotlight: Ashley Hafer

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37:23 NLT

As for most of the Visiting Orphans participants, the trips are a major role in God’s overall plan for their life. As for Ashley, her life will never be same after her trip to Kenya and Uganda.

“Traveling to Uganda and Kenya with my VO team was truly a life changing experience for me”, explained Ashley.

An unexpected encounter with Ugandan children touch her heart deeply and illustrated God’s great love for us all.

“As we rounded the corner towards the church, we saw so many little ones. As soon as they saw us coming, there was a pause, then they came running”. She continued, “These children were charging at us with a desire for us to hold them and love them. They ran to us, grabbing at our hands and propelling us forward, so we could sit with them in our laps”.

It was then Ashley realized the bigger plans God had for her life.

“At that moment, I was undone. I knew that even as I returned home, I would never be the same. A change took place in my heart over my trip. Although it was just two weeks long, God used that short time to prepare me to move to Uganda”.

Moving to Africa never crossed her mind prior to that. However, she exclaims, “God knew what He was doing when He put me on that short-term team. He lovingly and patiently prepared me, step-by-step to move here”.

It has been a little over a year since Ashley has moved to Uganda, but she knows God has ordered all of her steps.
Ashley traveled with Visiting Orphans
on a Kenya/Uganda trip in June of 2013