As we prepare to head to Thailand in just under two weeks (oh my!), we are feeling *kind of* ready, and very validated in this endeavour. With just a couple of months notice, the trip was confirmed, and about 6 weeks before the travel date, we made our decision & put in our application.
(Quick side note: They anticipate about 300 or more Karen refugee children to attend the day camp we will be helping facilitate in the camp...can't really even picture what that is going to look like)!
Financially, this trip seemed daunting, especially given the additional costs associated with our adoption (agency re-structuring & country switch)...but it seemed like something we couldn't really pass up. Over the past few weeks, we have been so thankful and honoured, as our church and individuals within it, as well as some family members, have willingly come forward to share their financial resources to support us. Being on the receiving end of things, I have been thinking a lot about what it means when others invest in this way into another person's project, ministry, adventure...
Certainly the financial contributions are greatly relieving. But there is so much more - whether people choose to give because they want to help us specifically, or because they value giving to a cause in general, or because they have a particular interest in work with Karen refugess - this money tells a story, and I think it builds community, too. It is very much a tangible way in which we feel people behind us, backing our decision to do this.
I always felt uncomfortable for folks getting up in church and including requests for financial support in their presentations about missions trips. I have grown up in the ministry "system", so it wasn't a particular issue I had with the requests, but feeling kind of bad for the person asking because I always imagined how I would feel doing that. Well, a few weeks ago, I was that person. And I tried to work the financial information into the middle of other prayer requests and points of interest, so it wasn't a big focus. But in the end, it didn't feel that bad, and I really have a sense that those who have given money (I only know who some of them are) have truly done so out of a desire to be part of this in some way, or show their support in a practical manner.
As of today, the official trip costs (for both of us, combined, including airfare, other travel, accommodations, meals, etc., and excluding personal spending related to the trip) are $6780. Today I paid the outstanding balance of $2260. The rest has been covered. Sure, it would be great to have more come in (those adoption costs aren't going anywhere, after all, and a possible second trip to Ethiopia when that time comes will increase them yet again), but I am pretty sure I can honestly say that I am content with what has been given, and the love and care behind it. What an encouragement.