The story below was submitted to us by Melinda Salle, Storyteller Missions trip member.
"Definitely a good thing."
"Neat when people do that."
These were some of my thoughts towards mission trips before last March. Have you ever just been doing life comfortably, when God totally stops you in your tracks and completely changes your direction in life? That is what He did with me last March. A friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time sent me a message on Facebook and asked me to pray about going to China with her on a mission trip to an orphanage. China?! I immediately dismissed the idea and thought of all the excuses why I COULD NOT possibly go. Well, God didn’t let me off that easily and made it clear that I was to GO to China in October of 2014. I thought my excuses were pretty good. I mean, I have four kids I have to care for, I homeschool two of them, I didn’t think I could find childcare for ten days, the cost of the trip was so expensive, and on and on. Logically, those were all GOOD excuses. But here’s the thing: if you don’t get anything else from this blog post, remember this: There will always be good or even great excuses that we can come up with for why WE CAN’T GO. But God is so much bigger than that. If He calls us to go, he will provide whatever we need to go. The ONLY thing we have to do is say YES. So even you who are reading this post today, maybe God is calling YOU to go on a Storyteller Mission Team this year. But let me tell you the rest of the story…
I signed up to go on the trip on March 31, 2014. The night I filled out the online application I lay on my kitchen floor sobbing. How could I go this far away from my family for this long? I am not an adventurous and independent soul who travels alone across the world. I HATE flying, I mean I really have a serious fear of flying. I just signed up for 14 straight hours on an airplane! I only know one other person on my team. All of these fears filled my mind and heart for months but again and again God showered me with the peace that passes all understanding. He provided ALL the needed funds, He provided childcare, and meals were even brought to my family while I was gone! He completely CHANGED me, my life, and the course of my life through this trip.
As our plane floated down from the sky towards the place in China that I had been preparing to come to for the last seven months, my heart was filled to overflowing as I looked out over the mountainous landscape and the huge ravines. Later that day, when we visited the orphanage for the first time and I saw the faces of these precious little ones my heart was crushed into a million pieces. My life, my “stuff”, my problems all seemed so insignificant in comparison to these little treasures that had no one in life who truly loved them. No one that is, except God. The very same God who had sent me half way across the world to hold and care for them and love them, even for just a brief time. Throughout that week, the visible changes in many of the children was amazing. God gave us the ability to touch lives and see miracles accomplished that had and are still having an impact on those little ones.
I came back home a changed person and I hope to never go back to the comfortable, complacent life that I came from. I have seen that saying YES is the best thing that you can do, even when, ESPECIALLY when, you are scared. My eyes have been opened to the very real needs of orphans and the fact that I have had the privilege of seeing this firsthand is humbling and motivating. At the end of our trip when our plane took off from Beijing towards Chicago, I whispered to myself, “I will be back, China. I will be back.” My husband and I will be back in China this year to adopt a little miracle from God. And after that, I pray that you will find me on more Storyteller Mission Teams bringing others along who have seen God’s work in my life, how he takes such a weak vessel and is able to use it to bring all glory to HIM.
Storyteller Missions trips are now open for 2015 and we would love to have you join us, but trips are filling up. Check out our trips to China, Ethiopia, Haiti, Uganda and Kenya and Be A Storyteller for orphans who need their stories told!
#BeAStoryteller in 2015!
America World’s Domestic program is working to spread the word to those women and families who are considering adoption, the adoption of their unborn child. Here’s how you can help:
Talk to your pastor, youth pastor, or ministry team at your church. America World provides free counseling or referral services to any woman or family who is unexpectedly pregnant. We want women to know that adoption is an alternative to abortion. Pass on the contact information listed below so if they are contacted by someone considering adoption, your church staff can directly contact America World's counseling staff.
Share your journey to adoption. Most of the women who reach out to create adoption plans know an adoptive family directly or through a friend. God could use your story to reach a woman who is pregnant.
For anyone interested in learning more about creating an adoption plan for unborn or recently born child, feel free to reach out via text, phone, or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visit our website.
Contacting a birth parent counselor is the first step to gathering helpful information and does not mean you have made up your mind regarding your plan for your baby.
24/7 Emergency Contacts for Pregnant Women:
Timothy is a sweet little boy waiting to be matched with a forever family. He is social and affectionate, and loves to be hugged! He enjoys swimming, playing on the playground, swinging, and playing with balls. He feels discomfort with loud noises and covers his ears during those times. Timothy is also known for his neatness as he is especially clean and enjoys items being in their correct place!
Storyteller Missions trip members, Shelly Wilson & Suzanne Ward noted:
“Timothy is very affectionate and came up and laid his precious head in my lap. He would love a family who could love on him and give him the special attention he needs and deserves. Timothy hums songs a lot as he navigates through his day. He also loves swinging on the play set and playing on the slide. During our time at the transition home, we also had the opportunity to attend music class with some of the kids, and Timothy came alive during the instrument and singing portion. He especially liked the rhythm sticks!”
Timothy is currently on our Waiting Children's List, which is where you can find his specific special needs listed. To learn more about our Ethiopia Waiting Children’s List, please fill out a short, free pre-application found here, and you will be contacted by an Ethiopia Family Coordinator. Please keep Timothy in your prayers!
If families ever want to share a story on our blog about one of the children on our Waiting Children’s List, please contact Ethiopia@awaa.org!
#BeAStoryteller for Timothy!
Olivia is a sweet and cheerful 18 month old girl who is loved by her caretakers at the orphanage. She loves attention and is very fond of being held and cuddled. She enjoys playing with toys and hearing music.
She has cerebral dysplasia and a skin condition that covers much of her body. She is designated by the CCCWA as Special Focus and is from one of our agency’s orphanage partnerships. A family at any stage of the process is eligible to review this file.
#BeAStoryteller for Olivia
Four America World families were in Ethiopia last week for their visa appointments and returned home at the end of the week! The Halpin family (pictured above, and daughter below) had a grand welcoming at the airport and shared their photos with us. Congratulations to all 4 families! We are so excited for you all and rejoice with you.
America World Adoption Association is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of serving adoptive families and we are looking forward to our next 20 years. Serving orphans in 10 countries throughout the world, America World desire is to 'build Christian families according to God’s design of adoption'. The passion behind our mission is to see every adoptable orphan to be placed in a Christian home.
America World is currently building 6 charity running teams (Team America World) for several running events throughout 2015. To start off our season, we are partnering with Chosen Marathon who "host sporting events that financially impact orphans & adoptive families, and raises awareness of the 165 million orphans worldwide.”
Chosen’s purpose is to help children come into families, provide direct orphan care to those who are not adopted, and mobilize people to respond to the orphan crisis. America World supports this mission and we invite you to run with us whether you prefer a short social run, or a long distance run.
Team America World’s goal is to raise the funds necessary to continue our work of placing children from around the world into adoptive families and to equip individuals to become advocates for orphan care initiatives.
Joining our charity race team gives you the opportunity to share God’s promise to the least of these: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.
Team America World 1K/5K teams, ½ Marathon teams and Marathon teams are now forming! Getting involved is easy…
(1) register for a race,
(2) join our team,
(3) build your fundraising page and
(4) let us motivate you!
May 9, 2015
Schlitterbahn Dash & Splash 5K
New Braunsfels, TX
Enjoy the family friendly festivities all day. Run this 5K run alongside the Comal River and through the Schlitterbahn park. Stay and spend the rest of the day at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort.
September 26, 2015
2nd Annual Chosen Half Marathon, 5K & 1K Kids Fun Run
Salt Lake City, UT
Challenge yourself to run this great Half Marathon with a scenic view of the Great Salt Lake and on the rolling trails along the Mountain View Corridor.
November 21, 2015
6th Annual Flagship Chosen Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K
New Braunfels, TX
Located between Austin, TX and San Antonio Texas this flagship race takes place along the Guadalupe River. 5K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon fundraising teams now forming for all ages.
Virtual Runners – Can’t make it to the race? Consider becoming a Virtual Runner. Check out this link for more details! http://www.chosenmarathon.com/virtual-runners/
Sleepwalkers - Wanna help but not a runner? Sleepwalkers register to donate & sleep in! You don’t run but your registration fee is a gift & goes solely to benefit orphans & adoptive families!
DOWNLOAD OUR RACE DETAILS SHEET for more information on how to become part of Team America World by registering for any of these races and to learn more about our charity team fundraising perks.
Questions? Please email Development@awaa.org
Jackson is a familiar face if you have been visiting the China Waiting Children pages. We really want to advocate for him so he can finally have a family to call his own! Please help by sharing his information with your network of friends and family.
Jackson likes music and dancing. He is an active boy and gets along well with everyone. He has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. He is in a special class and is cared for by a caretaker who is part of the family parenting center.
Jackson is on the CCCWA's shared referral list. He is from one of AWAA’s orphanage partnerships and is designated by the CCCWA as a special focus file. A family in any stage of the adoption process is eligible to review his file.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Jackson and how he can become a part of your family should contact our China staff at WaitingChildren@awaa.org or call 800-429-3369. We know God has a plan for Jackson and are excited to see his story unfold!
#BeAStoryteller for Jackson