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Home. Home is the word I would use to describe what I feel. The joy of seeing the orphanage children again is so indescribably. I wish that everyone could feel this right now. It feels as though nothing can ever make me feel as happy as I do now.

We went to the orphanage today just for a bit but just that short time made my heart feel like it will explode. Seeing the improvements that have been made to the orphanage are astounding- from new staff members added to Sara Rose, to the physical changes that have been added to the orphanage, and most of all the growth of the children.

If anyone has been following my journey since my first trip you will know that there have been a couple children that have made a lasting impact on my life- Given, Pasco, and Deborah.

Given has been at the orphanage since she was little and has a very sweet spirit about her. She has had her fair share crap in her life but she presses on. She is 8ish years old and totally recognize me this morning!! She had the biggest, brightest smile on her face the whole time we were there!!!

Pasco is a 6 year old little boy who has cerebral palsy and as result he doesn’t have a very high range of motion that other children his age would have. He has involuntary muscle spasms and is unable to support his head. He has been at the orphanage since he was a baby. He spends his days laying on a mattress in the common room watching TV. When we walking in the room he looked very sad but as soon as I went over and he saw me and I said hello his face lit up like no other and brightened the whole room! My heart felt like it would explode with overwhelming joy!

And last but not least my sweet little Deborah! Victoria had one of the other orphanage moms bring her out and my heart skipped a beat!!! She walked up, in her school uniform, with her friend Moses and it was all I could do to hold back the floodgates! My frail and fragile little girl from last year is all grown up!! I ran over to her and picked her up immediately p gave her the biggest hug. We went into the common room and sat down and her friend Moses was with us and they started playing together. She was running around with him, smiling, laughing, and being the happy little girl I wasn’t sure she would ever be!! She is talking, she knows her numbers, and overall has improved so incredibly compared to last year!!

I knew I had left my heart here in the past years but coming back and feeling God slowly put the pieces back together has been amazing. I feel so at home here in Zambia. Everything that I remember being astonishing on my first trip seem so normal. Having spotty electricity, trash fires, crazy bumpy dirt roads, speed bumps every 30 feet, children walking around everywhere you go, people walking alongside the road with the cars and crossing the street in a moments notice, driving on the other side of the road than in America, school children in uniforms, moms carrying children on their backs, women and children holding baskets of food on their heads. It all seems so normal and I love it!! I am so incredibly thankful for all that God has done in my life to bring to to this very moment!!

Prayer Requests:

  • continued strength as we are still adjusting to the 9 hour time difference
  • wisdom when interacting with the children
  • faith to trust in Jesus and His timing for everything
  • Rissa and Johnny- especially for Rissa to reach out to the church we told her about

Jesus,

Thank you for bringing Jenna and I to Zambia. We trust in you that you have an amazing plan for our life and for this summer! Thank you for all that you have done in Zambia through Sara Rose Childrens Foundation. Please help Jenna and I to have wisdom when we are interacting with the children around us. Thank you Jesus!

In Him,

Shelbyrae

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His Grace Abounds

I am in awe of how amazing Jesus is. He is always there. Never changing. He loves me unconditionally. I love that about Him. He is full of grace and is willing to forgive me no matter what I do to stab Him in the back. I get so caught up in myself that I forget these things. We become so focused on ourselves- having the best clothes, the best job, the most money, the newest phone, etc. We become so focused on material possessions and supporting ourselves that we forget to give our lives to God. We forget what is means to be solely reliant on God and to trust that He will provide what we need exactly when we need it.

One of my friends who is currently in Costa Rica with Trek7 wrote a blog about how it is so hard for us to surrender things-the big things and the little things. We get so caught up in serving ourselves that we either forget to serve those around us or we just choose not to. (To read her full post click here)

I pray that on this trip and beyond I will continue to learn what it means to surrender my life over to Jesus. That isn’t just a one time thing, it is a daily act of waking up in the morning and saying “Ok Jesus this day is yours, do with it what you desire.” It is a conscious daily activity that needs to be done. In the Jesus Calling for June 28th it says “The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I (God) together can handle anything that occurs.” We do not need to do this life alone, we need to turn to Jesus and surrender our life to Him, and let Him take control. Much easier said than done trust me I know!

The past two years have been some of the hardest years of my life. I spent two weeks of my summer before my Junior year in Africa and fell in love. But coming back to America and the materialistic nature we embody disgusted me. Often times it literally made me sick to my stomach to see all of these people who are complaining about not have the newest phone or the newest style of clothes when I had just spent two weeks around people and children who need the basic necessities to get through life. I was angry. I was bitter. I was disgusted. But most of all I was broken. I couldn’t understand why God has put me in America when my heart was clearly in Zambia. It became a daily struggle to turn to Jesus and let Him take control. I remember there were days that turned into weeks that I was so mad at God it made it hard to get through the day.

Last year coming back from my 7 week trip was no different. I was still angry, still saddened, still disgusted, and still broken. But God placed a couple people in my life who showed me that there were hurting people right in front of my eyes. He showed me that these people have everything anyone could ever need except for Jesus. He showed me that I could be a missionary in my own backyard just as long as I was willing to put myself out there and love on those around me.

Romans 8:7-8 “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rush destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lead up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where you treasure is, there your heart will be.” These verses are incredibly convicting but they serve as a good reminder that we cannot put our hope and faith in things of this earth but in the things of above.

I pray this prayer for everyone who will read this blog and I pray that you will start to pray this for those around you as well!!

I pray that when you look at those around you that you would see them through the eyes of Jesus. I pray that you will be able to speak to them the same way Jesus would speak to them. I pray that you will be able to love them the way Jesus would love them. And most of all I pray that you will listen to God’s calling in your life-whether that be long term, short term, or someone who He placed on your heart to pray for. I pray that you are sensitive to the Lord’s little and sometimes not so little nudges.

Prayer Requests:

  • Jenna, and I met with some of the leaders and administrators of Sara Rose to plan out our time here- we will be doing a lot for GlobalFingerprints, we will be going through some bible studies with the children and discipling them!
  • Please pray for wisdom, pure hearts, and clear minds for Jenna and I as well as everyone else who will be helping us with the children!
  • Please keep Rissa and Johnny in your prayers!
  • Please keep all the other teams in your prayers (If you missed my blog with prayer requests for each team you can click here)

Thank you all so much for faithfully praying for Jenna and I on this trip so far!! It means the world to us!!

He Is Writing My Story

The summer after my seventh grade year was when it all started. I had recommitted my life to Jesus and was totally on fire for Him! About a year after that I was back at the same camp in Glorietta, New Mexico hanging out with friends and so immersed in Jesus’ love. Little did I know God was going to wreck my heart and shatter it to a million pieces.

The missions focus for that summer was in Canada and in Africa. We would spend the nights after worship praying for a specific missionary in either one of those places. One night there was a video for a missionary organization in Johannesburg, South Africa called the Door Of Hope. The Door Of Hope is a babies home that cares and loves for abandoned babies around Johannesburg and on top of that they have a “drop box” that is a place for mothers to place their children if they don’t have the capabilities to care for them. (If you would like to learn more about Door Of Hope click here) Well, after watching this video and crying my eyes out I knew God was calling me into missions in Africa. I didn’t know what country or when but I knew I would go to Africa at some point.

A yearish later I was kind of at the point where I wasn’t sure I still believed God was calling me to Africa. God knew that so He sent a friend to give me the book Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis. God yet again broke my heart into a million pieces for Africa. Katie went over to Uganda during her Christmas break of her senior year and fell in love with the people and the country and knew she had to go back. She convinced her parents to let her go back for a year after she graduated but only under one condition, that she come back and go to college. She agreed and went over and yet again fell in love with the country and saw such a huge need in Uganda. Over the years she has adopted 13 daughters, started a sponsorship program, a feeding program, a primary school, and is in the process of building their secondary school. After reading this book I knew for sure that I was going to Africa!!

Again it was about a year after that that God placed the opportunity to go to Kitwe, Zambia with my church for two weeks. If any of you have been following my journey since then you know that I fell completely head over heals in love for the country of Zambia and the people in Zambia. I knew that I would go back but little did I know that I would be spending my whole summer there the following summer. I fell even more in love with Africa and Zambia and most of all Jesus. I love every aspect of missions the good , the bad, and the ugly and knew that I would go back.

And that brings me to where I am now. I am staying in Johannesburg thinking about the Door Of Hope and how God used that organization to put a fire and gave me a passion for missions and that has not stopped since.  I am so excited to get on a plane tomorrow morning and head to ZAMBIA!!!! I am so in love with how God works and how little things like a short video can impact my life in such a HUGE way like it did 5 years ago. I hope that 5 years from now I can see how God was working in my heart during this trip for where I will be then!!

Prayer Requests and Praises-

  • Praise! As far as I know all of the teams have made it to there destinations safe and sound! Yay Jesus!! haha
  • Pray for safe travels as Jenna, Stu and I hop of a plane to take us to Ndola, Zambia and have someone pick us up from there and drive us to Kitwe, Zambia. We should arrive there around 2 or 3pm.
  • Pray for wisdom and strength with what we will be doing in Kitwe.
  • Pray for Rissa and Johnny that someone will come into their lives and will invest and disciple them so they can be more like Jesus.

 

Thanks so much friends!!!

The Little Things

It’s the little things in life that make tough travel days like today worth it!

It’s being prayed over and supported by so many other young people who all have a huge passion for Jesus.

It’s meeting new friends who you haven’t known for more than a week but know you will be forever friends.

It’s hearing stories already of how God can use you exactly where you are and how He calls certain people to speak to specific people around them and how that can touch those individuals lives.

It’s being told by a stranger they would pray for you while you are on your trip because they saw us praying before we left for the shuttle.

It’s having a conversation with the very unhappy lady sitting next to you about her travel mishaps and missed flights. And being able to pray for her the whole flight. By the end she seemed to perk up and told us more about her life and what she did when she was young. Again very cool to see the amazing power of prayer!

It’s being able to share what God is calling you to do this summer in Zambia and being so encouraged by complete strangers.

It’s sitting in the Atlanta meeting a youth group of 20 going to Haiti to help build a school. And being so incredibly encouraged by them and how young they are but so willing to go and help those in need in Haiti.

It’s watching Tim Hawkins videos during our layover and driving everyone around us crazy because we are laughing so hard we are crying!

It’s meeting a guy who is going to Zambia for work but his work involves bringing sustainable energy and efficient energy to the country on Zambia!

It’s sitting behind two precious little girls probably 3 and 8 years old who behaved exceptionally well for being so young and going on such a long flight. The oldest of the girls became my friend and we talked for a good chunk of the plane ride and after we landed and were getting ready to disembark she told me she would miss me! Totally made my day!

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It’s sitting in our room at the guest house we are staying at in South Africa, being so completely exhausted to the point that the dumbest things we say will cause an eruption of laughter from the both of us- like Jenna trying to figure out which water is hers and her blurting out “I can probably smell my own saliva!!!”

 

Here is a list of prayer requests and if you would like to scroll all the way to the end and join me in praying for these-

  • A good nights sleep for both of us and a quick adjustment to the major time change
  • Safety while going to the game park tomorrow
  • For all the other teams, those who have arrived already and those who have not (not sure on which ones have made it, which ones haven’t, and which ones have had difficulties but will keep you posted)
  • Safe travels from South Africa to Zambia on Monday!
  • Rissa and Johnny (the two ladies we met in downtown Minneapolis) that they will give up on trying to fill this void in their lives with worldly and material things but that they will find their worth in Jesus Christ!

 

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for these little things that make the toughest days worth it. Thank you for getting Jenna and I to South Africa all in one piece with all of our luggage! Please protect all of the other teams that they will have safe whether they are still traveling or on site. Please give them the words to speak what you would speak and the eyes to see what you see. Father work in and through all of the other teams wherever they may be in the world! Lord I lift of Rissa and Johnny to you, I pray that they will turn to you Jesus and will no longer be on the search for worldly and material items but will be completely reliant upon you for everything they need!! We love you so much Jesus!!!

 

In His Name,

Shelbyrae

 

 

God Around the World

Airports are a complex system of passengers, flight attendants, pilots, restaurant waiters and waitresses, airplanes, and so much more. It blows my mind every time I get on an airplane that so many people are coming from the same place, going to the same place and the chances that anyone us are doing the same thing is slim to none.

ReachGlobal has spent the last 4 days, equipping, guiding, and empowering each and every person embarking on a Trek7 trip today and tomorrow. There are teams going all over the world. And we all have one main purpose in mind-to serve our Lord Jesus with everything we have in any way we can.

If you would please be praying for each of our teams!! I will post the name of each team, and a short blurp about what they will be doing. If you want more in depth prayer requests let me know and I can send them to you!!

Delhi, India

  • They will be doing a lot with children in Delhi, pray for what they are doing with these children and that they will impact at least one little child of God!!
  • There is a major Darkness covering India please pray for God’s light to be shone on the people put team touches.

Tokyo, Japan

  • As many of you know Japan is very much a shame culture, please pray that our team will be able to reach out to the lost and hurting people they interact with!
  • They will be working for a bit on a university campus again just pray for the light of God to be shone through this team and onto the lost and hurting youth in Japan!

Berlin, Germany

  • Germany as a country has been through so much and because of that it is a very unique, and special culture, please pray for an openness of the people our team speak to!!
  • Last year Germany gained around 1 million refugees from the middle east, our team will hopefully be working with them, again just pray that the light of our Heavenly Father will shine through our team and onto these people!

Pray Europe

  • This team has a very unique purpose, they will be going to four countries and 5 or 6 six cities across Europe to do prayer walking! This is the first of that kind of trek7
  • Please pray for a safety for the team as they are going to be encountering intense spiritual warfare!!

Bangkok, Thailand

  • This team will be doing at lot with the sex trafficking business in Bangkok, please pray for a lightness and a joy that can only come from Jesus to be shone to those lost and desolate people they meet.
  • Please pray for everyone involved in the sex trade business, the men the women, and the children-they are all inslaved in this business

Minneapolis and Crisis Response

  • These are two separate teams, one will be staying in Minneapolis working in the downtown area doing similar stuff that we did when we went down a couple days ago-please pray for a their eyes to see what God sees in these people they meet
  • Both teams will be going to the challenge conference and helping out with that so pray for safety!
  • The Crisis Response team will be doing a lot in New Orleans, just continuing to rebuild houses and relationships with those who were affected with Hurricane Katrina!
  • There is also a possibility of them going to New York, South Carolina to help in the aid from the past hurricanes and such- pray for a safety from the heat and that the Lord would speak through them to impact those they work with!

Costa Rica

  • Jenna and I got really close with the girls on the Costa Rica team during training and we are all a little sad we won’t be going to the same sight all together but God has a plan!
  • This is the first Trek7 to Costa Rica so the girls will be blazing a path for those that come after them and because of that they don’t know exactly what they will be doing- please pray for the girls that they will be flexible with what the Lord is calling them to do in Costa Rica!

 

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We called ourselves the ZambaRica team!!!

Birmingham, England

  • I can’t say much about this team because of the nature of what they are doing and who the are interacting with but much like the others please pray that they will be able to impact those the interact with and that the Lord Jesus will shine through them and work in them!!

Zambia, Africa

  • And last but not least, us. As you know we will be traveling toZambia . Please pray that we will be flexible and will listen to what the Lord is calling us to do and what His plan for our trip is!
  • We would like to start discipling the older children and the workers to disciple those below them!

Thank you friends for praying for us and these teams! I will keep you  updated with more prayer requests for us and other teams as they arise! If you would like to receive a notification for when I post a blog, click the follow button beside this blog and you will get an email notification for every time I post something!!

In His Name,

Shelbyrae

Power of Prayer

Throughout the last couple days of training I had an idea of what I wanted this blog to look like. I wanted to share with you all that we are learning and what God is teaching us through these amazing leaders! But God had other plans. Today Jesus completely wrecked my heart in a way that I was totally not expecting, for a city I never knew was so broken, for a culture that is made up of so many different cultures. My eyes were opened to the hurt, the brokenness, the longing, and the nearness of so many hurting people. I knew going into this trip that God has big plans for Jenna and  I in Zambia and I was so excited to see what He is going to do but never in a million years would I expect Him to use me in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But God works in mighty, and often times strange ways, today was definitely one of those ways.

When we first came to orientation we were given a schedule with what we were going to be doing for each day and today there was a big chunk of time carved out, 1-5, and all it said was cultural immersion in downtown Minneapolis. If I am being honest I was a little hesitant about this, I had no idea what the heck this had to do with preparation for our trip to Zambia but I went along with it. In addition to having that on the schedule we also learned about the importance of culture and how to try to blend in with the cultures we are going to, how to prayer walk, and other ways to be adequate and open vessels to carry God’s word and love to our countries. As 1 o’clock rolled around and we headed to our hotel shuttles that took us to the Mall of America, from there we walked to the public transit line that took us all the way down to downtown Minneapolis. Each team was given a sheet with different addresses of places to go as well as questions to ask people the people we encounter. Jenna and I were teamed up with the the girls going to Costa Rica- Clara, Leah, and Hannah. As we were walking to our first spot we were talking about how we could use this as an opportunity to prayer walk and how we would like to ask to say a quick prayer with each of the people we would meet. Within five minutes of that conversation we crossed paths with this lady whose name was Johnny. She was walking beside us for a little bit just minding her own business and then just started talking. At first it was pretty meaningless, she started talking about the clothes a man she passed by was wearing. Being the sin filled person I am, I wasn’t listening to what God was saying and I was hoping she would turn the corner at the next block so that we could get on with what we had to do but of course God had bigger and better plans. She ended up sitting down and we decided to hang out and talk to her for a bit. Well this lady kept talking, and talking, and talking. It was probably a good 10 or 15 minutes of her just talking and us listening not saying much just being there for her to talk to. She just seemed desperate to talk to someone. She told us about how her daughter died in a car crash when she was two and a half years old and how her daughters dad has so much guilt over her death for various reasons. This sweet lady just seemed so desperate to be heard and for someone to listen to her. We were able to listen to God and what an amazing experience it was!

While we were talking with Johnny this younger lady named Rissa approached us. She had many tattoos and looked as though she had been through some tough things in her life. She came over to check on the other lady and asked if we were praying for her (for a second I thought that she was angry that we were possibly praying for this lady and was going to “help” her, but she ended up being super sweet). Anyway she came up and told us how nice we looked and that it looked like we were having fun and she wanted to join us! She came over and sat down and started talking with us. One of the first things she told us was that she had never been to jail before and that she was a pretty good person but that everyone was mean to her. This statement completely broke my heart. She felt the need to tell us that because she had been judged and hurt by so many others. She continued talking and she told us that she was only 23 but that she had two little boys who were 5 and 7 but they were taken to foster care. (If anyone knows me you know I have a huge heart for foster care and for the children that are in the system but this gave it a new light, I was able to see a parent of some of the kids in foster care and put it into a different perspective for me). She told us that she had overdosed just a week ago and by the time the ambulance got there she had died and they were able to revive her!! We kept trying to reiterate to her that God still has a purpose for her and that she has big things to do with her life. She seemed so hopeless. We asked if she had a church home and she said no but she would like one. We were able to contact a leader of another group and get the name, number, and address of a church in town. We gave it to her and we hope she will go! We also asked if she had a place to live and she told us she was homeless. When we were done talking with her we asked if we could pray for her and she was very enthusiastic about it, so we all huddled around her and prayed for her that God would reveal Himself to her and that He would become her rock!

I am truly amazed by this situation. Neither of these conversations were initiated by any us, both ladies came up to us and started talking to us. I believe 100% that it was Jesus in us that made those ladies come up to us and talk. They saw something in us, a joy, a happiness, and a light!! This is not about me at all, none of this is it’s all about God but after we were done praying for these ladies I was physically shaking and I could not stop. The presence of the  Holy Spirit was SOOOO evident my physical body was shaking. I am amazed to see how God can use little old me, to further His kingdom. Even though neither of those ladies came to know Jesus today with us I truly believe that a seed was planted in their lives and I hope and pray that others will come along and will water that seed until it grows in to a mighty, strong, everlasting love for you!!! I am still in awe with the fact that there are so many broken people in this world and that I will never be able to touch all of their lives but that I was able to hopefully touch sweet Johnny’s life and Rissa’s life!!

I was planning on writing prayer requests for each girl but instead I decided to write out a prayer that I would absolutely love if you guys would pray this prayer for these ladies!!!

Lord,

I pray for Johnny and for Rissa that their lives were changed because of us today Lord. Both of these sweet ladies have been through so much hurt and pain and have seen so much God but I pray that they will turn to you and that they will be able to use their past experiences to further your kingdom Lord. I thank you for the opportunity that Jenna, Clara, Leah, Hannah and I had today God. I thank you for opening our eyes to see these women the way you see them. I pray for Rissa that she will take the initiative and will go to Salem Evangelical Free Church and that those there will reach out to her and love on her! I pray that the team that is doing work here in Minneapolis this summer will run into her at some point and will continue to water that seed that we planted in her life. I thank you again for always being sovereign, loving, and merciful. I pray that each of these ladies will come to know that Lord Jesus. Thank you for all you have done today!!! In Your Name I pray, Amen.

 

Beginning of a Journey

Hi friends!! Our journey has begun! Jenna and I are currently hanging out at the airport waiting for our flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We will be meeting all the other Trek7 teams tonight and will be doing training with them until Thursday. I am so excited to be around other like minded young adults who have a passion for missions just like me! On Friday morning, Jenna, Stu (our team leader) and I will leave Minneapolis for Atlanta, Georgia. We have a few hour layover in Atlanta before we board our 16 hour flight to South Africa. We are staying the night close to the airport and the next day we will go to a game park to relax a bit before we jump into it in Kite. The same day we will be taking a short 2ish hour flight to Ndola (a town a couple hours from Kitwe kind of like Phoenix to Prescott) where Pastor Edward and Barbra will pick us up and take us to where we are staying! We are so excited to get to work in Zambia. We don’t know for sure what we will be doing in Zambia but we are flexible and are waiting to see what God calls us to do! We will keep you updated as much as WiFi allows us to! I can’t thank you all enough for supporting me through prayer, monetary support, kind thoughts, encouraging words, and just the fact that I have such a huge support group doing this trip with me! Love you all!!

Prayer Requests:

Strength and Endurance for our travel time, Travel mercies, Good fellowship with our other trekkers and leaders in Minneapolis, and overall that God will be at work in Jenna and I and that we will see what He is doing in Zambia!

In Him,

Shelbyrae

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