Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amazing skydiving weekend!

Well last weekend after camp I made my 300th skydive. A wonderful milestone to reach but this weekend surpassed that. Today I jumped four times into a small regional airfair. I made several level 1 open field demo jumps in front of spectators. I have to admit it kinda felt weird to get applause, but to be able to talk to the kids about skydiving made it all the more enjoyable. To top it all of I was able to jump from a very historic aircraft. We jumped a C-47 named Southern Cross. The C-47 is the military designation for a DC-3.

This particular aircraft saw service in WWII. It was surreal to be in a plane that helped defend our country so many years ago. The plane had several patched holes in the fuselage that were caused by damage while in service. Thanks to all of you who served and continue to serve to defend our great country. God bless!

God sent another mini blessing my way, after packing I went to the flight line to talk with the kids about skydiving.  I noticed a father and son who happened to be adopted from Ethiopia.  It was my privilege and joy to talk to them and share my experiences there just a few weeks ago.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Canaan's Children Home Video

This is a short video of the time we spent at Canaan's Children Home in Uganda. Thank you to the Chlebanowskis for putting this video together! Visit their blog: Give. Share. Serve.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Worlds Apart

I still think about my experience in Africa quite frequently. After coming back I had a brief week at work and then I was off for a week of summer camp with the youth from our church. We went to Wyoming and had an absolutely amazing time. God wanted me to take notice of Him. It was not so much a revelation but gentle reminder about how big He is. Central Africa and central Wyoming are worlds apart in just about every way. To see that within a week of each other made the contrasts even more vivid. How beautiful it is to be reminded that He is the same God who moves there who moves here. He is wholly concerned the well being of His children whether they are orphans in central Africa or our youth kids relaxing in central Wyoming. He knows each of us intimately though we may be worlds apart. To top it all off, we were able see the Milky Way Galaxy on a moonless night in its full splendor. Then to realize that the same God who created those worlds cares more about each of us, than we can ever imaging, is absolutely awe inspiring. I think I need these little reminders so that I never under value God's greatness!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lion Chasers Manifesto

The best book I've read in the last couple years is “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars” by Mark Batterson. This is an amazing book that will motivate you to act despite your obstacles. The book examines the life and actions of a man named Benaiah. He is briefly mentioned a couple times in the Old Testament. Benaiah took risks and did not let obstacles stand between him and his destiny. The book really brings this story to life. It has changed the way I look at the opportunities God places before me. Put this at the top of your list of books to read! Here is an excerpt from the book:

Lion Chasers Manifesto
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Grab life by the mane. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.
Chase the lion.

This was my prayer for the missions trip and I want this to be my personal manifesto as well!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another photo album

Here are a couple more photo albums from our trip: Trip Album & Fistula Hospital Album.  Photos of people it honestly catches something more than just an image, they capture soul.  Carrie thank you for the're an amazing photographer!

Chasing the jump plane in my wingsuit!

This is my first post that really has nothing to do with the trip.  I am so blessed that God allows me to have some fun that is completely frivolous.  I was recently reminded of the following verse (from another blog post):

Luke 12:48b (NLT) From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

This is something I must take to heart and live by!  I am working on some final thoughts.  I'm gone next week because I am going with our students to summer camp up in Wyoming.  You can't really put a final stop on this will be with me the rest of my life.  Those thoughts will have to wait until I get back.  God bless!

Missions Trip Videos

These girls were singing so they could hear their own voices recorded. Return Ministries in Kampala, Uganda.

Jenn singing Amazing Grace with the ladies at Canaan's Children Home in Jinja, Uganda.

Singing at the feeding program with Amazima Ministries in Jinja, Uganda

Or just check out VitteeVit's YouTube Channel.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Village of Korah - A short documentary

Our team was blessed to spend time with Sammy.  His testimony is amazing!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My photo album is finally posted!

It took me a while to sort through my photos.  I've selected what I like the most.  I hope you enjoy my photo album!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Final Day

I am writing this entry as I am flying over the Atlantic Ocean on my way home. I have to start this post with my experience of spending the night near the dump at Kore with Project 61 and the children there. I was a little apprehensive about it, but it was unforgettable time. When we left the relative comfort of the guest house where we were staying it was raining. The rain was a bit disturbing because I knew the muck and mire I was about to head into. Our arrival was greatly anticipated. As soon as we were a bit situated in their surroundings their hospitality was on full display. They had prepared a large tray popcorn and cookies for us. Apparently popcorn is a favored treat by many Ethiopians. I am guessing because it is inexpensive and filling. Then I had one of the experiences I had been anticipating since arriving in Ethiopia. An Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

For those of you who don't know, I don't like coffee nor do I care much for the aroma. I knew I had to try it. It starts with the roasting of the beans in a little pan over an open coal flame. Then the beans were pounded in a mortar and pestle until it was a fine powder. I tried my hand at pulverizing the beans. For the full experience I tasted a roasted bean. Then they boil some water. They carefully measure out the proper amount of coffee grounds and added the boiling water. They let the grounds settle in the pot and mixed the coffee with sugar. They gave me a small cup. I have to admit it was actually really good. It was not harsh or bitter at all. I also asked to try the coffee black and even that was pretty good. I have it on good authority from several avid coffee drinkers that it was the best cup of coffee they had ever tasted. I was so thrilled that my coffee experience was as authentic as I could have ever hoped for, and that I actually enjoyed it. I still don't think I am going to become a coffee drinker.

They entire evening was filled with joy. We talked, sang, danced and ate more food. I was hand fed by some of the kids. In their culture to be hand fed by someone is an honor. We shared pictures. They were absolutely fascinated when I shared with them that I jump out of planes. I showed some videos and they were all crowded around in amazement. I was just happy that my frivolous activity brought them some joy. The ladies were getting their hair braided in corn rows. I also shared some of the pictures on my digital camera. They were particularly interested when I got to pictures of the Mercado. When I got to the pictures of people sleeping in the gutter they were eager to add that they used to sleep there. They were most interested in pictures they could directly relate with. Some of the other boys added that they used to sleep in the dump with hyenas. There was no way I could relate with these boys on this level. All I could do I was express how sorry I was. Their response was amazing. They just how good God is, how He loves them and that He brought them to this place. In the midst of what I would consider misery there was real joy and happiness. Later we busted out the glow sticks. They were a big hit! We shut off the lights and they jumped around in utter joy with their glowing bracelets and necklaces. It looked like a rave...not that I have any idea what one looks like since I've never been to one.

Then when I finally thought things were slowing down and we were getting ready for bed we started a movie. The night was not over until a little after one in the morning. I was already running on empty but every moment of was worth the experience. I slept with the guys in the boys room. They gave up one of their bunks for me and doubled up. Their room is very simple. There was a single fluorescent bulb in their musty room with no light switch. They just covered their heads with their blankets and went to sleep. Their living conditions were, we as Americans, would consider far below acceptable. My mind was just full of thoughts of how this is infinitely better than how they were sleeping only a few short months before. I stopped and realized that the next time I lay down in a bed, I will be in my own bed half a world away and they will still be here. This is an experience I never want to forget.

Saturday was filled with our final plans but with a group of 30 it is difficult to make last minute adjustments. Time flew by and before we knew it time was running out. We had a final team meeting just to debrief and talk about all our experiences. It is hard to believe that after all the months of anticipation and preparation the trip is essentially over. The one thing I think we all walked away with is that it is now our responsibility to share this experience with others. Even though we may be gone physically their need is still there. Not everyone will have the privilege to personally have an experience like this so it is up to us to continually advocate for these people, the ministries, and the missionaries who are in the midst of following God's calling.

As I sit here on the plane...only a few rows ahead of me is an American family who is taking their newly adopted son home. I am giddy inside just thinking of the homecoming that is awaiting them in just a few short hours. I can't help but seeing my brother, his wife and their little Jo some two short years ago in exactly the same place. Time after time this last week I met people who are getting ready to meet the child are adopting for this first time or experiencing the new addition to their family. What a joy it is. I don't think everyone is called to adopt but I do believe we are all called to act on the behalf all of God's Children.