Friday, October 30, 2015

Meet the newest addition to the VO staff family: Jessica Gunn

I am so honored to be featured on VO’s blog today!

My journey with VO started back in 2012 when a friend of mine told me she was leading a trip to Kenya & Uganda with them. I immediately felt a whisper in my heart that I was supposed to join her team! The timing was crazy as my husband and I already had plans to serve on a missions trip to Alaska that same summer for a whole month, and between both trips and the cost of missed work, we needed to fundraise nearly $10,000! We took the step of faith and I told God that if He really wanted me to go on this VO trip, He would have to provide. Well, He did and less than a week after returning from Alaska, I boarded a plane to go serve in Kenya & Uganda. It was wild!

The entire trip was absolutely incredible in every way. I had been on many different missions trips before, but this trip absolutely impacted me the most as we specifically loved and served orphans. I love children and have a huge heart for orphan care so this trip felt like it was designed specifically with me in mind! I did not want to come home!

It was on that trip to Kenya & Uganda that my heart was wrecked in the most wonderful way. I purposed in my heart that I could not simply travel to Africa and not come home and take an action step to help make a difference. Upon returning home, I formed my own non-profit organization called Project Hazina (Hazina means “treasure” in Swahili). Project Hazina provides pillows, blankets, and mattresses to orphans as well as funding for projects in East Africa through the sales of fair-trade jewelry made by artisans in India! God has blown me away with his faithfulness in that journey as I have simply just continued to hand him my “yes”. When you hand God your yes, it is absolutely amazing to see what He does with it!

I am deeply passionate about orphan care and adoption and have worked in the adoption field serving adoptive families.

I have had a heart for missions since the age of 14 and have had the deep honor of serving in over 40 Nations all over the world. Growing up I always knew that God had called me to be a “goer” and His faithfulness to provide for every single one of my trips still leaves me in awe! Never let the fear of raising money keep you from going on a missions trip! Step out and watch God move! The process is truly so exciting!

I am bursting with joy and thankfulness to announce that I have the honor and privilege of being VO’s latest staff member! I have joined the team to work as a Missions Assistant, working in admin, a little bit of bookkeeping, and social media. I will also be working to help coordinate VO’s trips to Kenya, Uganda, and India! This is truly a dream come true and a huge answer to prayer, I’m still pinching myself!

To think that this journey started by simply feeling led to go to Kenya & Uganda with VO and now I am on staff, leaves me absolutely speechless. I cannot put my thankfulness into words! I am deeply excited to see how God uses me in this role at Visiting Orphans and cannot wait to dive in!

A little bit about me:

My husband Chris and I have been married for 5 years (next month!). We met in an airport baggage claim area and have been adventuring together ever since. Last year we sold everything and backpacked to 25 countries serving in missions wherever we went. It was the most incredible year of our lives so far and we are even writing a book about our trip! 

I love to spend time with my big family (I'm one of seven kids!) & friends and spoil my 4 adopted baby siblings. I love coffee, Chipotle, blankets, globes (my husband has banned me from buying another one!), running races, discovering companies that give back and shopping fair-trade whenever possible, watching the sunset at the beach, and going to see a movie! I am never without at least 2 books in my purse, I have a slight (major) obsession with cream cheese and I love to decorate my house constantly!

I have such a desire to get know each of you individually! Please leave me a comment and tell me how you came to join the VO family and what trip(s) you’ve gone on or are planning to go on and tell me about yourself!

I love all of my fellow world changers out there! I will be praying for each of your journeys daily!

With Love,

Jessica Gunn

***Follow me on my personal instagram: jessicagunn and also at: projecthazina***

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A past mission trip winner sponsors this year's giveaway!!!

I am so honored to be able to give back to this amazing ministry, VISITING ORPHANS, and sponsor this years Mission Trip GIVEAWAY. I was blessed to win the FREE mission trip giveaway in 2012 and am so excited to be able to use my business to help someone else have this amazing opportunity!! I started my own business this year with Rodan & Fields, the 4th largest and fastest growing premium skincare brand in the US created by the PROACTIV doctors. With my new business adventure I have been able to give back to so many different ministries that my family is passionate about while bringing in some extra income for my family.

I could not believe that I actually won the mission trip in 2012! I had actually been wanting to go on a mission trip with VO for awhile, but the funds just weren't ever there. I grew up in church my whole life, but never really understood until about 5 years ago what it meant to "have a relationship with Christ." One day God really spoke to me and challenged what I believed and why I believed it and got me to dig deeper into really communicating with Him and developing a relationship with Him. The more I studied, read my Bible, and talked to my heavenly Father....He pressed on my heart His calling for ALL of His children to look after the orphans, the poor, and the widows. I have been striving to do that DAILY since then. What you believe can not be different from what you do! I thought that I just had to go to Church on Sundays and be a "good person" and I would go to heaven. But the more I read God's word, that is not what He tells us at all. The parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 really hit home for me. You always hear the part "whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me".......but I had never heard the very next part where Jesus says ""what you DID NOT do for the least of these, you DID NOT do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." We are God's solution for the poor, the orphans, and the widows. It is not a requirement to serve, but a privilege.

Once I opened my heart to God, a flood of emotions came over me. It was like all of the hurt and the suffering that "the least of these" were going through.....I could feel it too. My heart broke for them. I immediately started serving locally, and have continued to over the past 5 years. Many people questioned why I would go on an international mission trip since I am already so active in my community. But I believe in reaching the lost and the hurting with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion in my hometown AND in other parts of the world. In Acts 1:8, the last thing Jesus told His disciples before ascending to heaven was, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea And Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

I pray that others would answer His Call to go to the ends of the earth to share the good news by going on an international mission trip. By entering this giveaway you can possibly win a FREE mission trip too. I am also going to continue to GIVE BACK to this amazing ministry by donating a portion of my proceeds from any sale through my Rodan & Fields business....just mention that you want your "GIVE BACK" portion to go Visiting Orphans! Contact me by email: or on Facebook here - let me help you get the best skin you have ever had AND support an awesome ministry at the same time!! Message me and get 10% off and FREE shipping.

.......and they will know us by our love,

Sarah Snell

Thursday, October 1, 2015

We're Giving Away A Free Mission Trip

The Visiting Orphans 6th Annual Mission Trip Giveaway

Watch our brand new 10 year video above and then get involved by supporting Visiting Orphans between October 1st and November 1st, 2015 and YOU could win a free 2016 mission trip to any of the 14 countries we serve in. Keep reading to find out how you can get entered to win!


1. Get 1 entry for every $10 donated to Visiting OrphansAll gifts are tax deductible and help support current and future initiatives of our ministry. You can give now at our special Giveaway fundraising link here.

2. Get 1 entry for every $20 purchase (pre-tax and shipping) on our online storeOne year the winner won the mission trip giveaway by buying Christmas gifts on our store! You never know - it could happen to you. 

3. Get 10 entries when you become a monthly supporter of Visiting Orphans and set up your monthly gift of $10 or more herePlus an entry for every $10 you give in the month of October. Monthly support is a huge way to invest in the work Visiting Orphans is doing to serve children and communities around the world. 

4. Get 25 entries when you sign up and pay the $250 trip deposit for any upcoming 2015 or 2016 Visiting Orphans Mission Trip. If you're signing up for a trip anyway, now is the best time to do that. You could end up going for FREE!

5. BONUS ENTRIES: After you've entered the giveaway through any 1 (or more) of the above 4 options, you can get bonus entries by sharing our social media posts about the Mission Trip Giveaway each day on your facebook, twitter or instagram with hashtags #VOMissionTripGiveaway #gobelove #visitingorphans. You may get 1 extra entry per day between October 1st, 2015 and November 1st, 2015 when our Giveaway posts are shared and the hashtags are used. Get 1 additional bonus entry PLUS an entry into an extra drawing for a $50 store credit to shop on the VO store when you create your own video encouraging others to participate in the Giveaway by supporting VO in any of the 4 ways above. Make sure to use the hashtags so we can track all the extra entries.

See our website for the official Visiting Orphans Mission Trip Giveaway rules and restrictions here


Special thanks to our sponsors who are making this giveaway possible.

Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsors

Assemblies of God Credit Union
Membership Changes the World™

Isaiah Industries
Manufacturer of unique and beautiful residential metal roofing systems.

MKI Group Travel
From where you are, to where you need to be.

Sarah Snell, Independent Consultant with Rodan + Fields
Changing Skin... Changing Lives

Silver Sponsors

Brotherhood Mutual
Insurance and payroll services for America’s churches and related ministries.

Custom Hand Painted Signs