Sharing the Journey

As you probably know, our family was leveled by our recent trip to El Salvador–in a good way. We’ve known about orphans, and have felt compassion for them, but there’s something about living among them. Holding a hurting child in your arms makes it personal–puts a name and a face to the statistics. On our last night in El Salvador, my husband and I made a commitment to one another and to God–a commitment to not forget. A commitment to do what we can to create positive change. We refuse to allow the downward spiral of apathy strangle out the love God instilled in our hearts for these hurting children.

And in the meantime, God’s opened our eyes to the millions of other children living on the streets right now. Initially, we decided to keep our journey to ourselves…out of self-preservation, I’m sure, in case we fail. But as we’re trying to navigate our way toward what we believe God is calling us to do, finding little by way of direction, we realized…what if someone else wants to follow in our footsteps? Maybe the reason it’s so hard to find information is because everyone’s like us–afraid to tell others what God’s doing for fear they’ll fail, or hit a dead-end, or fizzle out.

So we decided to be candid about our journey. We’re not saying we’re going to do anything great. In fact, our goals and dreams may come to naught. But…perhaps in watching our journey you will be encouraged to press forward, even when every door appears to be closed or when common sense tells you to seek the predictable and secure.

Because here’s the thing–we were never intended to live in a vacuum. We need each other.

And, if we’re following whole-heartedly after God, there’s nothing to fear. Even failure becomes a glorious stepping stone, because if we “fail,” but do so following God, then we know our failure was God-ordained. Meaning, there was something we needed to learn, or a weakness that needed to be strengthened, or a sin that needed to be sliced out, through that failure.

So join us as we, along with a few members from our church, seek God’s guidance on how to deal with the enormous problem of global orphans.

Our journey began in a 500 foot El Salvadoran hotel room. It was our first mission trip. You may remember, I’m terrified of flying. Terrified. Prior to this trip, I hadn’t been on a plane in about 10 years. We’ve traveled all over the united states, by van. (I always joke that my husband’s an enabler, giving in to a twenty hour car ride rather than forcing his neurotic wife on a plane.)

The plane ride was rough, and at one point, the plane actually dropped. So it’s pitch black, we’re flying through a storm, and my stomach’s knotted to the point of nausea, then we drop. It felt like one of those roller coaster rides when your stomach leaps into your throat. I thought for sure we’d die. Yep, my imagination flew. I white-knuckled my seat’s armrests the rest of the flight. Then, we landed with quite a blam! (Not a crash bam, but a very rough landing, as if the ground caught our pilot by surprise.)  As I followed my husband and daughter down the aisle I wondered how I’d ever make it back home because I never, ever wanted to get on another plane. Told my husband that very thing. “I’m never doing this again! Once we get home, I’m never flying ever again!”

He laughed.

Then we got to the hotel room. We were exhausted. We’d left our house at 8:30 that morning and pulled into our hotel about 11, maybe 12. The hotel was not quite what we expected, and once again, I told my husband I was never coming back. Honestly, I wondered how I’d ever make it through the week. I’m sure God laughed, knowing the three-sixty He was about to bring me to.

Because by day three, Steve and I realized we HAD to come back.

Funny how God flips our hearts taking a selfish couple from, “I can’t do this,” to “Show me what you’d have me do. Lord, please love through me. I want to STAY!” in less than three days.

But that’s how God works. If you give Him access to your heart, He’ll rock your world. And hopefully, the world around you.


  1. What an adventure, Jen! I will pray the Lord guides you on this new journey as you wait to hear His voice. I understand the “fear” factor. When I fly now, I pray—and envision in my mind—angels carrying the wings of the jet to safety. It is a beautiful image to hold! Praying for you—and for these precious orphans. Blessings.

  2. Thanks, Elaine! And that is a great image! And thank you for praying for these girls. It is my prayer that they feel God’s love daily.

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