This is the post that I have yearned to write the last few years but never really knew if the time would come. When I went to Kenya nearly 9 years ago, my pastor asked me if I wanted to do missions long term. My answer was a big fat NO! I wanted to travel and experience things and then move along to the next exciting thing in life. I did not want to fundraise or ask for support, nor did I have any understanding of commitments or life beyond myself. I had moved apartments/dorms/housing 9 times over the past 6 years and the thought of continually going back to one place didn't even enter my mind.
And then of course, God just tipped my little world upside down.
Kenya has changed me, wrecked me really, and I'm certainly glad for that.
And as I've found myself more and more involved with Grain of Rice Project, I have known for quite some time that this is my passion, this is where my heart is ---to serve and empower people who come from challenging circumstances, to help them see their full potential of who God made them to be. Four years ago, when GORP was just starting, my dad insisted that I please not quit my job (as in the teaching job that I was getting paid for), and I respectfully agreed to wait. I have continued to teach and enjoying learning from my students. But beyond the school doors, the labor of love that comes with starting a new organization has continued to grow and grow. Our vision started small with only a few people, and now has continued to expand to include more than 65 people in Kenya that we are ministering to. With that growth comes more responsibilities and organization and that is why I now feel like the time is right for me to step into the role of running GORP full time. The end of this month will conclude my eighth and last year of teaching art at Three Creeks Elementary. And although it is a bittersweet moment to step from one chapter to the next, I am really excited about all the possibilities ahead.
You probably wonder what this means. This is the part of the post that is very uncomfortable to write. A lot of people have asked me how I will survive and how will I get paid. Up until this point we've really been running on a shoe string budget with minimal expenses. We've been completely volunteer run on the U.S. end with our volunteers donating everything from time to their own gas money to drive to events, to supplies for our kids program, and more. This has been a wonderful blessing, and we are grateful. Yet in order to continue to grow and sustain ourselves long-term, I am now stepping into a missionary type role where I am support raising my own salary. While this is difficult to do, I believe that many of you also would like to be part of this journey with me...a journey where we are working together to empower people in Kenya and beyond.
If you feel God is prompting you to support our ministry in Kenya and want to partner with me, I would love your support. You can make a tax deductible donation through our website and under "Add special Instructions", write "For U.S. Admin Costs." Thanks to all of you who have already jumped into this journey with me. Also, if your church might be interested in joining my support team, I would love to come and share my story. It is so hard to take this leap of faith...not only because it means leaving the security of the job that I have known, but also because I really wish every last penny could be going to the children and families we support in Kenya. And yet, if there is no one to continue running the ministry, it is not sustainable long-term. If you already support GORP and want to solely give to our programs that support people in Kenya, I understand...choose them. But if you have a special heart for supporting missionaries and the work that God is allowing me to do there, I invite you to join my support team.
Thanks to all of you!