Rumblings and stirring launched Plan A. Go somewhere uncomfortable, do something meaningful, and bless everyone along the way. Plan A pointed to Africa. For years, God placed the beautiful continent on my heart and mind. Time to step into the unknown. An internet search led to a ministry working with children in Uganda. I completed the extensive application process and waited. Shocked and saddened when rejection arrived, I tossed Plan A and embraced Plan B. Sponsoring a child in Malawi through a Christian organization prompted a phone call and inquiry about trips and service opportunities. A pleasant lady nixed Plan B. No organized trips for sponsors. Why was this so hard? Africa? Maybe not. Maybe I heard wrong. Maybe this was a mid-life crisis. No to Plan A. No to Plan B. No to Uganda. No to Malawi. Africa consists of 54 countries, 52 remained. Frustrated but determined, Plan C landed me on Compassion International’s website. Serving those in poverty, the child-advocacy ministry operates around the world including eight countries in Africa. Woo hoo! Scanning tours for sponsors to meet their children, an upcoming trip to Tanzania caught my eye. Only eight short months away. Crazy but possible. Next step, search through the beautiful faces of available children to sponsor and decide. Tough, challenging, and joyful. Plan C brought Jackline and Tanzania into my life. Partnering with Compassion put me on a plane and in the arms of a shy seven-year-old. Wearing a gray sweatsuit, Jackline smiled and my heart melted. Quiet and reserved, we connected by drawing pictures. Two years later, a second visit revealed the playful side of nine-year-old Jackline. We splashed in a hotel swimming pool, located our home countries on an inflated globe, and kicked a soccer ball. Smiles and laughter filled the day. Good-byes brought tears and sad hearts. In 2020, a third trip to visit teenager Jackline will occur. Now a young lady, I look forward to dreaming together about her grand future and speaking truth of how uniquely wonderful she is. As plans changed and questions arose, decisions emerged. Ignore the plan God placed on my heart or persevere through the journey? God’s guidance and direction at each crossroad drew me to Plan C and Jackline. Rejection, hurdles, and uncertainty aligned my path with hers. Each visit overflowed with blessed opportunities to know her, encourage her, and love on her. In October, Jackline celebrates her golden birthday. A special day for a precious young lady. Happy Golden Birthday, Jackline. Deciding to pursue Plan C was God’s best plan for me. It led me to you.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)
Throughout 2019, I’ll share stories inspired by children.
October 2019: Plan C lead me to Jackline!
September 2019: Always say yes to Mercy!
August 2019: Farewell, Chisomo. Thank you for the opportunity to love.
July 2019: Be brave like Samuel, the man of the house.
June 2019: Reach for the stars like Goodluck, the pilot.
May 2019: A gold medal day spent with Ledy.
April 2019: The children of Karatu brought Love close.
March 2019: Celebrate the highs and help carry the lows. But be present for both.
February 2019: Pray so others will know Jesus like Rosmeiry’s father.