Friday, August 27, 2010

In Repair

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12:40 AM
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen


I had surgery today. After waiting an extra 2 hours [for a total of 4 hours], the surgery was quick and the post-op time even quicker. I'm home now, repairing and mending. Believe me, it was not how I was planning things! See ever since high school, I've had a reoccurring problem with a cyst that likes to get infected. Best case, is it's cured with antibiotics. Worst case, surgery. When I heard the dreaded "s" word earlier this week, I picked the first date available, so I'd be ready for my upcoming departure. But this isn't how I wanted to spend my last 4 weeks at home! I wanted to finish out my job and say good-bye to all the co-workers I've grown to love in the last 3 years. I wanted to take a roadtrip to see friends and family that I won't have a chance to see for quite awhile. I wanted to throw myself into planning the upcoming art fair, Create:Freedom. And ultimately, I wanted to relax and enjoy the time I have to plan and pack before the biggest change in my life. But...that's not what God had planned. I keep telling myself that He has a purpose in this. That there's something He wanted to teach me before training begins, and this is how He is getting my attention. Well, God, attention is gotten. I'm here and I'm all ears. What do you got for me?

"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9



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Monday, August 23, 2010

Create:Freedom

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3:55 PM
Local Tampa talents join together in “Create: Freedom” event in an effort to help put an end to modern-day slavery in Cambodia.

Create:Freedom is a gathering of artists, musicians and creatives from the greater Tampa Bay area for one common purpose: FREEDOM. The fundraiser and awareness event is being held Friday, September 3, starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Springs Theater in Tampa.

Enslavement:
27 million men, women, and children are enslaved in our world right now, which is more than any other time in history. Southeast Asia is a source and destination area for human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. And Cambodia is right at the heart.

Human Trafficking & Sex Trade Awareness:
Tens of thousands are working as prostitutes in Cambodia right now, and many of them are just children. Create:Freedom desires to not only bring awareness to this country and issue, but also to do something about it. The event will provide information about human trafficking, the sex trade and also provide a chance for people to donate to an organization [YWAM] that is actively working to help these girls in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Birth of a Passion:
In August 2009, Joy Engdahl journeyed to Siem Reap, Cambodia for the first time. She spent two weeks living at YWAM [Youth With A Mission] White Doves Home for young girls who had left the sex industry. This experience changed her and she has decided to go back. In September 2010 she will begin a 6-month training with YWAM and upon completion she will return to Cambodia.

How You Can Help:
Please partner with Joy as she raises the support she needs in order to live in Siem Reap, Cambodia long-term and help love these girls into a new life where they can find hope, healing and recovery. Attend this event, Create:Freedom, where you get to have the opportunity to hear musicians like: The Sun Society, Preson, MrEnc, and see a variety of local vendors who are all donating their proceeds for this cause.

Friday, Sept 3rd at the Springs Theatre,[8029 N. Nebraska Ave.] Tampa. Doors open at 7pm. Suggested $5 donation at the door.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letters, Love & Prayers Vol. 4

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11:30 AM
Dear Family & Friends,

This has been a great summer! I am so excited to share what’s been happening these past couple months. In June, I sent out 75 letters to friends and families about my upcoming journey through training with YWAM [Youth With A Mission] and on to Cambodia. I boldly asked for supporters to come alongside of me, and help me reach the amount needed to be part of this missions program. Your individual donations and monthly pledges put me at 70 percent of funds raised for my YWAM training.

Recently, I had an extremely successful fundraising event called Mission Rescue. It was an awareness event about human trafficking around the world, including my upcoming trip to Cambodia. We provided desserts, coffee, tea and vendors sold bags, tshirts, jewelry and art. With a $20 donation at the door, and a percentage of funds from vendor merchandise, I raised over $1,700 at the event! God really showed up and just blew us all away. Next month, my church is putting on an art fair event, called Create: Freedom, with bands and vendors as an awareness event for modern-day slavery. All the funds raised at both of these events will benefit my cause.

Training begins September 23rd in Orlando, FL, which starts the 3-month lecture phase of training. Following the lecture phase is the outreach phase, which will be held in South Africa for another 3 months. The total cost of the training is betweem $6,000 - $7,000 [depending on international airfare]. I am thrilled to report that with the amount I have collected and have pledged, I’m at 100 percent of that total!! Praise the Lord! Now that training is covered, I can begin raising a separate account of funds to move and live in Cambodia. These funds will cover my plane ticket, room, board, meals, and necessary living expenses. The best way for me to meet this goal is through monthly donors. In June, I laid out my Training to Reach the World Campaign, and several of you stepped up to be regular supporters. Here’s the beginning of the Freedom for Cambodia fundraising plan...

- 1 Champion Donor at $100/month for 6 months. These Champions are committed to not only the gospel being taken to the ends of the earth, but are also invested in my personal mission to Cambodia. They recognize a long-term commitment in myself, and desire to be a partner in this journey.

- 5 Sender donors at $50/month for 6 months. These Senders are excited for a chance to give to a ministry in a part of the world where they may never set foot. They are able to feel invested in the kingdom and eagerly share in my enthusiasm to reach and rescue the lost and hurting.

- 8 Supporter donors at $25/month for 6 months. These Supporters are passionate about God’s work. They are motivated to see that Christ’s love and forgiveness is being shared with others. They recognize the sacrifice on my behalf, and wish to come alongside in support.

- 8 Giver donors at $10/month for 6 months. These Givers recognize a worthy cause when they see it. They see themselves as part of a team being used by God to fund His work. They humbly accept His prompting to do their necessary role with the means given to them.

Please pray and consider how God could be using you to give and invest in this ministry opportunity. My dream of moving to Cambodia to reach and rescue enslaved by the sex trade is finally going to come true. But I need YOU to get there. I am so blessed to have the training amount covered, and am trusting God to provide the funds needed to Cambodia now as well. Please fill out and return the enclosed card with your information and giving pledge. Each and every gift received is a blessing, and just gets me one step closer to the ministry God has burdened on my heart. I thank you in advance your prayers, encouragement and support.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet Net

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12:58 PM

Meet Net. Her jubilant, toothless smile really sums up the day we just shared. I fell in love with Net the day I met this little beauty, which was the day I arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia. She and mother live in a home for girls and women leaving a life of prostitution. This home allows the women to not only learn new life skills, but to also reconnect with their families. And Net loved every moment of reconnecting to her family. Her joy was contagious in the house, and it wasn’t hard to be in a good mood around her.

This day in particular myself, the girls in the house, and many members of their church, went out to a nearby lake for a picnic and a beach baptism. The children and adults were giddy about the idea of swimming in the lake, as it was not an everyday experience. We spent the morning singing, eating, praying, swimming and talking. It was a beautifully exhausting day. As we load up our 2 flatbed trucks to ride home, the Cambodian sun was beating down. Net picks up one of the banana leaves in the truck, and covers her little head, and hopes the sun doesn’t burn her skin. She looks up at me smiles and I do the same thing. Together we rode back to the home, with our leaves above our heads and smiles as bright as the sun. What a way to spend the day.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition. I'd love to hear any comments or thoughts on this post!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

A Night of Rescue

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11:58 AM
Last night was my Mission Rescue fundraiser event. Together with Tami Kent and Joyce Kelly, we planned an awareness event about human trafficking around the world, including my upcoming trip to Cambodia. We planned the event, and then watched as God took over and did some amazing things. I hope I can even begin to communicate the greatness that was Mission Rescue.

Tami, Joyce and I began planning about 2 months ago. The three of us were brought together under pretty unique circumstances, and so early on we knew God has His hand on our event. He provided the location [The Empress Tea Room], the desserts [Bonefish Grill], the vendors [Heaven Rules, Eye Heart World, Mustard Seed Jewelry], and the volunteers….with no out of pocket cost! Seriously, what a blessing.

We began promoting it, and again I knew that God was at work. The majority of the RVSP’s were people I didn’t even know, which was exciting that I’d be able to meet and share with so many new people.

The day of the event arrived and my stress level was at max. One of our speakers from a local organization was in the hospital and couldn’t attend. So I called one of their volunteers who already planned on attending, and she stepped up to speak. Then I get a call from my pastor who was supposed to close the night with a song, and him and his entire family was sick, and couldn’t make it either. I was like God, what’s going on? I get to the Empress Tea Room and tell Tami about the music, and she tells me her 13-year-old son has a song that he wrote that I should hear. He played it for me, and I knew what God was doing.

The event itself went off with out a hitch. I saw friends, family, familiar faces and new faces. Each person that spoke shared with such passion and such intensity, that it was impossible to miss what was happening. The videos were educational, heartbreaking, and inspirational. When it came time for me to speak, I was sure I’d screw it up. I talk all the time in front of people, but this was different. This was personal stuff about my life that I was sharing. And I so desperately wanted people to catch my heart for this cause and this country. God took over, and my words were the right ones. I’m sure it wasn’t eloquent, but it was what needed to be said. Then Josiah Kent got up to close with his song. And well, just listen for yourself...



By now, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The presence of God has been in our midst. Jamie Kent, Tami’s husband, got up to close the night and he asked how much I still needed for my training funds, and I said about $2,000. And he said, well we raised $1,700 for you tonight. It was all I could do to keep from crying right there on the spot. My training costs are covered! My first 6 months as a full-time missionary are taken care of! GOD IS GOOD.

Now, with future events and additional supporters, I can begin to cover the costs of moving back over to Cambodia. I never thought I’d be this ahead of the game so soon! I was reminded of the verse Romans 8:28 as I left the tea room last night. I think sometimes as Christians, we only use this verse to talk about when really bad things happen in our lives. But last night I saw it how I think Paul meant it. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God orchestrated that event last night, and who supposed to be there, and who was supposed to give. And I’m just humbled to have been a part.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mission Rescue

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4:33 PM
You are invited to an evening of tea and desserts at the Empress Tea Room and Bistro in Tampa, on Thursday, August 12th at 6:30pm. Join others in making a difference in the world of human trafficking. There is power in one, and together we can make a change. A minimum donation of $20 will go towards sending Joy Engdahl, a missionary, to Cambodia. There, she will help rescue women caught in human slavery. Your small donation WILL make a difference.

What is human trafficking...? Human trafficking is the modern day practice of slavery. There are currently 27 million victims of human trafficking in our world today.

For what purposes are these victims enslaved? Victims of human trafficking are people forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation.

Where is this happening? Human trafficking affects every country around the world, regardless of socio-economic status, history, or political structure. Human traffickers have exploited the many benefits of globalization, creating an international market for the trade of human beings, which has grown into the second largest criminal industry in the world.

Cambodia is just one of the many countries affected by this injustice. Join us to learn more about this crime, and what we can do together to make slavery history.

Event sponsored by The Empress Tea Room, Bonefish Grill, and Heaven Rules, Inc.

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