Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's your mission story?

Recently someone asked me this Question:

What's you mission story?

I would love to tell you how God called me into mission work in Africa! It actually all started at CCA (Cornerstone Christian Academy) in Bloomington, Illinois. I taught preschool there for 8 years before I began working with The African Children's Choir. In one of the early years our preschool staff decided to get our classes involved in sponsoring a student from another country. We wanted to help the kids see outside of their own little lives. (little did I know about what it would do for my own perspective on life!) We started sponsoring a little girl named Zamambo that was from South Africa. She went to an Association of Christian Schools International School (same organization that CCA is a part of). Our class prayed for her, learned about her country and also gave money to support her care and education. I loved seeing how the children ages 3-5 years were so "black and white" about giving. Since I told them that Zamambo needed money for food and school they thought nothing of giving all they had. The kids would bring in whole piggy banks full of money or give the money they got from their birthdays for Zamambo. God used that experience with my students to give me the desire to go to Africa and do mission work during my summer break. I started looking for organizations to work with but it seemed like most places just wanted money not me. Then in the fall of 2005 The African Children's Choir came to my church. They performed a wonderful concert and God used it to move my heart. During the concert they told of a need for people to come and do short term work in the countries they work in. Immediately after the concert I inquired about going on the next trip. So in the summer of 2006 I went to Uganda and joined a group of about 10 westerners (people I didn't know from all over Canada, US, and UK) and we spent about a month in Uganda doing Bible School Camps in the outreach schools that ACC supports. While doing the camps our team worked with 6 former ACC members who were university students. They were wonderful young people who loved the Lord and wanted to give back to the organization who changed their lives. It was like seeing the direct outcome of the work the organization does. Because of this I decided I wanted to become involved in a more full-time basis and started planning to travel with a choir as a chaperone. The way the choir works is that ACC finds children that are in vulnerable situations, places them in a loving Christian environment and teaches them music and dance. The music is wonderful therapy for these little ones who have been through so much trauma. The children become so confident after receiving so much praise and love. In 2007 I went back to Uganda to meet the 26 precious children that I was going to tour with. It was an amazing experience to see the kids in their own environment and meet many of their families. I spent about 2 months in Uganda and loved every minute of it! The next month the children came to America and I began traveling with them. For the next 15 months I traveled many places in the US and even coast to coast in Canada. Touring with ACC is a unique experience. During tour we are busy doing concerts, continuing the kid's education, and making sure the children many fun experiences in the West. During this time I fell in love with the children and came to truly think of them as my own. When the tour was over in Dec. 2008 the children went back home to Uganda and Kenya and go to our boarding schools there. I miss them so much and can hardly believe it has been an entire year since I have seen them! After tour I found it very hard to consider living a "normal" western life! I had been praying for God to show me what He had next for me. I had been home for about 3 or 4 months when the organization contacted me about working with ACC in South Africa....
To be continued.....

My Choir #30 Family