Deciding to go on the trip was relatively easy it seemed compared to the task of raising $6000 in support to go on the trip.
$6000 is a lot of money... like two months of living expenses, a really nice vacation or several nice vacations, more money than I have seen in cash ever before!
I really had basically no faith that we would actually be able to raise the money. None of our friends or family are rich and honestly we don't have a ton of friends to even ask!
Thankfully our community group really called me out on my lack of belief. They encouraged me to ask boldly from the Lord and from others and to trust the money would all come together.
So we took some family pictures, wrote letters, addressed envelopes, prayed and sent out about fifty support letters.
The funny thing about the letters... there were people we knew had money or knew loved missions that we were pretty sure would support us and then there were other people that we just wanted to keep updated on what was going on with us, who we would be thrilled if they could give $10 or just prayer.
However, when money started to come in, we were surprised over and over again at the generosity of people we never expected to give. Family and friends both sacrificially gave to our mission trip and I was humbled again and again. I can't tell you in words how thankful I was to the Lord for providing and to our friends and family for being so willing to join with us for this crazy journey.
Another awesome fact of the fund raising is that we had one specific deadline halfway through and got just enough money right before it was due. Then there was a long period where we didn't get anything at all. We were thankful for reaching the half way goal and were prepared to use tax refunds or savings for the rest and then the week before the final amount was due people generously stepped up again and we met our entire goal right in time. Not a minute too soon but not a second late!
I am still in awe of how good my heavenly Father is and that even raising this money was a part of His plan to help me trust in Him for an even bigger plan.
We are also blessed with two sets of parents that helped us keep SJ while we were gone. They are true champions (though I think they would gladly kick us out to keep SJ any time).
Leaving SJ was an even bigger fear for me than the money issue. However, SJ did amazing. We started talking about the trip just a few days before we left (we tried earlier but she didn't get it at all) and she was great with it and excited for her gparents to arrive.
However, two night before the trip she started screaming in the mornings for her mommy and I was pretty sure that was her little mind trying to cope with mommy leaving and a little spiritual warfare mixed in too perhaps. It was so hard on my heart and then right as we were leaving she started crying that she wanted to go with us. My heart actually broke I think. I almost completely lost it and thankfully my mother-in-law stepped in to cheer SJ up about going to the park etc and so she was fine and then so was I. I figured I would lose it after she left but I didn't. My heart was totally at peace. I knew she was happy and loved and going to have a blast and I was so thankful to be on this journey with Drew.
Praise God, she didn't wake up crying a single time while we were gone and never melted down for mommy or daddy but was then SUPER excited when we came back and was all love and cuddles for a few days.