Something happened a few weeks ago, and I can’t get it off my mind. I feel the need to share.
But first I need to backtrack a little. My newest obsession that I found while perusing the internet has been a little website called Pinterest. (No, this is not a blog about this website! But it is an integral part of what led to a cascade of thought that has the potential to help me reach a long-time goal. Please bear with me!) I absolutely love this website! I’ve found so many wonderfully useful ideas…. everything from recipes to DIY projects, to gifts and ideas for a future home. Have you ever had one of those moments where you are just astonished with an, “Why didn’t I think of that?!?” moment? Well, I found something that gave me one of those jaw-dropping moments.
My parents raised me to always help out those in need, especially those who are homeless. We always gave money to those along roads with “Homeless”, “Anything Helps”, etcetera, signs. The way I was raised was, even if someone is using it as a hoax, that is not for me to decide. I don’t want it on my conscience that I didn’t help someone in need. We always gave whatever we had. Cash in our pockets, an extra bottle of water, an uneaten burger from the drive-through lane. Whatever we had, we gave. On one occasion when I was still in college, all I had on me was a $20 bill, and the older gentleman’s sign read, “Veteran”. Yes, I gave him my $20, and never looked back.
There have been multiple occasions where I didn’t have anything on me. And of course, I’ve felt awful. I’ve always wanted to figure out some way to prevent that sort of thing from happening.
Here’s where Pinterest comes into play. I found a pin, entitled “Blessings Bags”, off of the website http://kwavs.blogspot.com/2011/05/blessing-bags-how-to.html by the group Kids With a Vision. Jaw, meet the floor. In a gallon zip-lock bag, they put items such as a bottle of water, tylenol, deodorant, soap, crackers and nonperishable foodstuffs, facial tissues, etc. What a wonderful idea! I couldn’t wait to immediately go out to purchase items to make my own and keep them in my car.
Much to my embarrassment, I forgot to go and purchase supplies for several weeks after that. During this time, I started taking a new route home in the afternoons. On three separate occasions, I passed three different people holding signs, and I had nothing to give. I must have been especially emotional on that third day for some reason, because there was a girl with a sign that read, “Homeless. ANYTHING helps,” and I cried the whole way home. Just having the knowledge of something that would help these people, and having the capability to help but not acting on that knowledge, felt downright immoral to me. The utter guilt was eating away at me, so I immediately went to the store, bought supplies, and made several of my own Blessings Bags to keep in my car so I would never have to go through that experience again.
March 2, 2012 is a day that many will never forget in my hometown. I grew up in a small town in southern Indiana, called Borden, and have only been living away from there since our wedding day. On March 2nd, an F4 tornado passed by my hometown, demolishing most of Pekin, IN and Henryville, IN and made national news. All of my family and friends were accounted for and well, even if they did lose possessions or homes. I was at work on that Friday, watching and listening to every single thing the local news anchors were saying about the approaching storms. I had already been through a mild case of marble-sized hail at work that day, and made several phone calls to my brother in Evansville, IN and my mother in New Albany, IN, making sure everyone was okay, completely scared to death all day. My dad was at home when the storms came through; there was no damage to the house or garage, but the 100+mph winds did manage to rip our basketball goal out of the concrete base. I watched from my work computer as the local news reported that Henryville High School was demolished, and the small town of Marysville was wiped off the face of the Earth. I spent most of that day in prayer, and thankful that all of my loved ones were alive and well.
That was the first day that I was able to give one of my Blessings Bags to someone in need. I was so glad to help, so overjoyed to do something, anything to somehow repay my fortune that my family was well. I know there is/was no way that I could ever repay God for protecting everyone I loved, but I felt like maybe I was making a small headway in giving back all that I had been blessed with. I truly hope that my humble little Blessings Bags were able to help those I gave them to, even if only in a small way. In less than a week, I had ran out of Blessings Bags.
This was exactly the day that I ran out, that I heard about KONY 2012. If you haven’t seen the video or heard about it on CNN, I highly recommend looking it up. In summary, Joseph Kony is leading a regime of African children, giving them weapons, having them kill their parents and watch their sisters being raped. It is absolutely horrendous, and gives me nightmares. I know he’s not the only one of his type in this world, but I do believe that he needs to be stopped, and I hope the organization Invisible Children is able to catch him and bring him to justice. I know how very blessed I am to live this life, so comfortable and relatively worry-free. Hearing of these atrocities in the world just make my blessed life seem even more undeserved. My husband and I have a roof over our heads, food in our fridge, enough income to pay our bills and build our discretionary funds (noticed I said discretionary and not disposable… disposable means you can throw it away and it wouldn’t matter; discretionary means we can use it to help others where we find a need). What more could anyone really ask for?We are so very blessed… and I hope I never take this for granted, a single day in the rest of my life. Life is so precious, and I hope to make it one of giving back in every single way that I can.
Which brings me to the ‘big announcement’. After making Blessings Bags and still not feeling like I was helping as much as I could, to hearing of atrocities somewhere else that I am powerless to help out, to feeling so guilty for not being able to help those back at home who had lost everything in the tornado, I found that my heart was burdened with the desire to give more of myself. And that’s when I decided it was time to make good on one very important item on my Bucket List.
As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to go on a medical missions trip, bringing aid to those who do not have access to healthcare. Recently, I’ve been having dreams about working for UNICEF (and having to rescue African children from a massive flood in the middle of the Sahara desert… don’t ask me to interpret my crazy dreams!)… so I cannot even escape my burdened heart while I sleep. I just always assumed that I would have to wait until after I finished my medical degree to begin going on missions trips. That is when it came to me: an article in the hospital newsletter about a missions organization, Mission to the World, that takes volunteers to many countries, for trips that vary in length.
So now, I’m hooked. I cannot escape this call I feel from God that is telling me to go, and to go now. So that’s where my big announcement comes into play. I am going on a medical missions trip with Missions to the World, as soon as possible. Part of my paycheck every month is going into my Mission fund so that I can make this a reality, and I’m praying over a destination. I’m hoping to be able to go as early as summer 2013. That may not seem very immediate to many, but that is what my heart is telling me I need to do.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
Well, Lord, here am I. Send me!
May you each be blessed,