Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A cheapskate goes to...Africa!

Photo taken from visitingorphans.org

Yes! You read that correctly. I will soon be traveling across the world to Africa, more specifically Uganda. Me. A cheapskate who has never traveled overseas. Bananas. Hope you have your coffee handy because this post is going to be a long one!

It all began earlier in the year when my friend Lauren emailed a group of us asking if anyone would be interested in serving somewhere in Africa because she had been longing to go back since she traveled there the first time. Her original plan was to stay a couple of months. Well, I'm not a teacher, so summer vacation doesn't exist for me anymore, so I thought nothing more of the opportunity, said thanks but I couldn't possibly go. Then the plan was altered to going for a couple of weeks instead of months and all of a sudden I was interested. Lauren and I had coffee to discuss the trip seeing as I have never traveled anywhere further than the Bahamas...on a cruise. I had many questions and was nervous about the travel and the money (of course) and also what we'd be doing.

See, there's a small group of us who are part of a larger group who are going to serve orphans in Uganda with an organization called Visiting Orphans. I have never participated in a mission trip either, so clearly this is a BIG trip for me. I absolutely love that my first stamp in my passport will be Africa AND that it's there because I am going to help others who are in need, particularly children without parents. I have been so blessed in the family department with two awesome parents who have done whatever they could for me, and also with a great brother, sister-in-law and nephew, that I am so happy to go and serve and bring that family joy I have experienced to children in need. And something tells me they will in turn give me joy and love as well. You can learn more about the trip I am taking to Uganda on July 22, 2011 here. Overall, we will be working with children at Return MinistriesMy Father's HouseAmazima MinistriesCanaan's Children's Home and SixtyFeet. I have no idea what I will see or experience, but I can tell you that I am so excited to go and will hopefully hit the ground running with open arms as soon as we arrive in Uganda.

As you can expect from anyone going on a trip like this, I have a few requests for friends, family and my blog readers. Basically, I need help!

There are five major ways you can offer your assistance:

1. Money. Of course I have waited until the last minute and I have less than two weeks to raise $2K towards my trip. But I have decided that nothing is too big for God. So if I'm supposed to raise $2K in two weeks, then it will happen! If not, I have money in savings and He will just provide for me (as He always does) later down the road. So if you are able to donate just even a few dollars, I would be so grateful. Because a little truly does go a LONG way! Especially in Africa, according to our trip leaders.

Here's how you can donate money. Just go here, type in how much you are able to donate, click on on the July 22 - Aug. 2nd Uganda trip from the drop down box, continue to fill out the remaining fields with your payment information, then click continue at the bottom of the page. Somewhere on the following page there should be a field to enter "Christen Lewis" as to the person you are donating the money to. It's pretty simple really! You should receive an email with a letter for tax purposes, but if you don't, please let me know and I will be sure to take care of that for you.

2. Buy a magnet. My sweet friend Ashley at Magpie Magnets has created a magnet called "One Love" specifically for my trip to Uganda. She is donating ALL the proceeds from the sell of these magnets to my trip! Just another illustration of how a little goes a long way. Plus, wouldn't it be a great reminder to have that image on your fridge to remind you to pray for that country and those orphans every day?

3. Buy stationery. From now until the end of July, everything I sell from my personal stationery collection will go towards my trip. I had hoped to already have some Africa-themed stationery designed, but life has been a little too hectic lately. Hopefully I will have some new designs uploaded soon though.

4. Items for donations. If you are in the Birmingham or nearby area, I will also accept donations of items that are needed at these orphanages. Just let me know when and where to pick them up and I will do that for you sometime before July 22nd! Here's just a quick list of items I know have been specifically requested:
• granola bars
• hair elastics
• good coffee
• peanut butter
• crayons and coloring books
• school supplies of ALL kind (pens, notebooks, pencils, chalk, whiteboard markers, rulers, maps)
• sports items
• first aid/medicines (particularly baby medications)
• children's clothing and shoes

The list could honestly go on and on, but I thought I'd just put the smaller items I felt I could fit easily into my luggage. (btw, doesn't it just make you want to cry when you see this list and all these things that are so trivial that we take for granted all the time?!)

5. PRAYER. I possibly should have put this item first. Prayer is always welcome, always helpful and it's free! Please pray for our group's safety and health. Pray that we are what the children need and can tend to them in the way they need to be cared for and tended to. Pray that we are able to bring them more than what we or they expect us to bring—whether that is the physical or intangible items. Pray for those who are serving these children on a daily basis, those who have dedicated their life to caring for them every day because no one else can or will. Most of all just pray that God's will be done on this trip. I think that should cover everything if that's your prayer!

Ok, I think that is actually everything! Sorry for the long post. And if you have any questions or wishes or problems with donating, anything at all, please feel free to e-mail me at fashionplatecheapskate{at}gmail.com. And of course, expect an AMAZING update post after my return from Uganda in August. And for those of you who are able to fund a part of my trip, I would love to hopefully come back with a little something special for you :)


Kelly said...

OMG jealous! You are going to have an amazing time. Once you start traveling to developing countries, you will never be the same... enjoy it!

MLS said...

Love this post!! Can't wait for our trip!!