Chances are, if you are reading this, you've received my letter. If you haven't, but stumbled upon it through Facebook or some Providential way, this is what it's all about.
Since before I graduated high school, I have had a growing desire to experience more than the typical route of most young people—finishing high school, attending college, settling down, and working a 9-5 for forever and a day. I came to realize that the American Dream was certainly not for me, that God wanted me to see more than my own little world in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Nearly two years ago, I acquired a little piece of this through my trip to Ecuador, which some of you reading may remember. Nevertheless, those ten days in Ecuador were not enough to quench the passion in my heart to see, experience, and know people and cultures around the world. When I began my two years at my local community college, my plan was to take a year off from school after finishing and fulfill the tug that God has had on my heart. Time has passed quickly and soon I will begin the last semester of my two years. But as the adventure of college is going to be paused, a new adventure will ensue.
Beginning in early July, I will depart on a 6-month long overseas mission trip called Immersion. The trip was planned and mapped out by an organization entitled Experience Mission, which I found through hours of online research of different organizations. The trip begins July 6th, where I will fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico to spend a few days training and preparing. My team will consist of 15-20 people, all between 18-30 years of age, as well as several leaders with us. We will then remain in New Mexico and Arizona for the next month and spend time on the Navajo Reservation there. After this, we will travel to South Africa, then Lesotho (which is in South Africa), and finally we will spend time in Mozambique, which is located in Southern part of Africa as well (I have included a picture at the end of this letter to give a more clear visual of the locations). I will remain in each place for approximately 4-6 weeks. The work my team will do will vary from place to place but it will consist of mostly relationship building, but also physical needs such as HIV/AIDS education, water sanitation projects, and church outreach. Each of these locations has specific needs, for example, 40% of the people in Lesotho live on $1.25 a day, and consequently necessary resources are limited. Nevertheless, the people in Lesotho thrive off of agricultural opportunities, and though they are few, the farmers are seeking for any and all possibilities for growth. Furthermore, part of my time spent in Lesotho will be working alongside the farmers and community toward these agricultural opportunities. My trip will end on December 19th, when we travel back to Albuquerque. We will spend a few days debriefing and then on December 21st, I will return home to Pittsburgh.
Truthfully, I am a little scared. But I am even more so excited. I feel as if I have been waiting all my 19 years for this kind of opportunity. It is so easy to forget the rest of the world that God created when we are busy with our own lives. I am more than willing to give up these six months of my life to give to the furthering of God’s kingdom. Though I am just one person, I know if I am willing, that God can take my weaknesses and little offering to create big changes in the lives of many. The biggest thing I need right now is your support—whether that is through prayer, financial gifts, or encouragement. The cost of the trip is $9,000. This number scared me at first, but after breaking it down, I realized that it is not so big after all, especially with God’s provision! Although I am working as much as I can, as well as attempting to get a second job, I know I cannot raise the money alone. As of now, I am mailing letters to 63 individuals and families. If each of these 63 recipients gave about $145 dollars, I would reach my goal. But maybe you are thinking that $145 is too much, and I understand that financial gifts are not easy to make, especially in this economy and job market. This is why I have provided a second option of giving. Through Experience Missions’ website, you are able to sponsor me through monthly donations. Instead of giving $145 all at once, you could split this amount into however many months you choose up until the month I return. If you did this for the next 3 months, it would be around $48 a month. If you did it for the next 6 months, it would be around $25 a month. Say that is still too much per month. If you began giving in February and gave each month until November (the month before I return), that would be 10 months of giving less than $15 a month! Please do not feel obligated to give the amount I listed though, I will value and appreciate any and all of the donations I receive, whether that is a onetime gift or monthly. As always, all donations will be tax-deductible. If you feel that you want to be a part of this journey with me, please consider giving through prayer or financially. The easiest way to give, either by a onetime gift or a monthly donation, is by following these simple steps:
1. Go to www.experiencemission.org
2. Click DONATE and then SPONSOR A VOLUNTEER.
3. Create a UserID and password by filling out the information at the bottom of the page.
4. Follow the instructions for making a donation. My UserID is RCHI1001.
I know giving is a huge sacrifice and that I am asking for a lot. I want you to know how much I value and appreciate your giving, and consequently I will send you a small gift in return. It is nothing big, just my way of saying thanks and reminding you to pray for the rest of the team and me.
I can’t wait to see where God leads me through this experience. It will challenge me in ways I have never endured through before and ultimately will mold me more into the example and character of Christ. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
If you have any questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to contact me via commenting on here or through sending me an email to email@example.com.