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A secret I’ve been keeping for a few months…


You know that feeling you get when you know a secret that almost no one else knows? You go through your day and you keep feeling the corner of your mouth turn up into a smile. Because you know a really, really exciting secret and you can barely hold it in.

That’s how I’ve felt the last few months. I’ve had a secret I’ve been keeping and my heart’s been about ready to burst — because I’m excited and humbled and just plain in awe of how God orchestrates things.


First, let give you a little background…

In 2013, my friend, Lisa-Jo Baker, had asked me to read a pre-release copy of her new book, Surprised By MotherhoodI loved it so very much that I wrote her and asked her how I could help promote it for her.

Well, the email she sent back just blew me away. She shared with me about this huge vision she has to impact the culture in South Africa — where she grew up, where three of her siblings are adopted from, and where her parents still live and minister.

As she shared about this massive dream she had to encourage women around the globe to come together to change a community of kids in South Africa, I knew I had to tell my readers about it.

SouthAfrica-ScottWadePhotography-153 (1)

Lisa-Jo didn’t know I was going to blog about it. We hadn’t talked ahead of time about the best strategy or post time or anything like that.

She just put her post up, I followed up with a post encouraging you all to Fall in Love With the World Next Door, and then dozens upon dozens of our readers and blog friends shared those posts with their friends.

And then we were absolutely humbled and stunned and overwhelmed by the donations and emails that came in — from all over the world. Hundreds of you gave.

It was one of the most beautiful Valentine’s Days I’ve ever celebrated. Because of your giving hearts, a community center, veggie garden, and playground was funded for the Maubane community in South Africa.


It still gives me goosebumps to think about.

But I had this nagging feeling that this wasn’t the end of the road for my involvement in South Africa. My heart kept feeling a pull that we were supposed to do something more.

I didn’t know what that more looked like, but I just felt like we weren’t done there yet. Lisa-Jo felt the same way.

So the past six months or so, Lisa-Jo and I have been emailing about what this looks like. We’ve been praying. And we’ve been talking with the folks from Help One Now about how we can partner with Take Action (the ministry on the ground in South Africa) to impact this beautiful community and country.

Ty Clark_HON_SouthAfrica-2889

And that leads me to the secret I’ve been keep for oh-so-many weeks now. Y’all: In 10 days from now, I’m GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA with Lisa-Jo!!!!

Yes, me. The girl who lived in Kansas all her life until this past year. The girl who is afraid of meeting new people. The girl who doesn’t like to go outside her comfort zone. The girl who doesn’t like unknowns. The girl who has never been on an airplane for longer than 5 hours.

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I’ll readily admit that there are many things about this trip that are scary to me. I have no idea what it will be like to be on a plane for 18 hours. I have no idea how my body will react to jet lag. And I’ve been told that our agenda once we get there will be packed from sun up to sun down every day so that we can learn and soak up as much as possible.

There are a lot of unknowns and a lot of things I could (and do!) feel anxious about. But I have this deep down peace in my heart that this is the next step in my journey. That I’m not just supposed to send money or encouragement from far away. That I’m supposed to step outside my comfort zone and GO.

To meet the local leaders and hear from them personally. To see the needs with my own eyes. To experience what life is like in South Africa. To better understand the struggles of this community. To bring encouragement and hope to those who are working tirelessly to make an impact.

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And so I’m going. And I’m going to be bringing you all along with me through my blog.

As Lisa-Jo wrote so beautifully in her post:

So we’re going. And we’re paying our own way. And we just want to take you in our virtual suitcases and let you see for yourselves what happens when between the loads of laundry and dishes and commuting and deadlines a community takes the time to love on their sisters who are also juggling laundry and homework and kids and dishes.

It won’t be a fundraising trip, it will be a FALL IN LOVE TRIP so you can see in person all that your love and prayers and donations and enthusiasm and encouragement have built.

It won’t be a fundraising trip, it will be a COME AND CELEBRATE WHAT WE DID TOGETHER trip as we enter this New Year reminding each other again that there is absolutely no such thing as “just” a mom – because “just” a mom couldn’t possibly have raised over $50,000 together for vulnerable kids in South Africa. And YOU GUYS DID THAT!

It won’t be a fundraising trip, it will be a MEET THE MOMS AND KIDS THAT ARE JUST LIKE YOU trip as we share photos and video of the community you are now connected to – virtual next door neighbors.

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We want you to come along with us as we share pictures, stories, and details on life in South Africa. We hope that you’ll not only be encouraged to see what your generosity has done for this community, but it’s our heart’s desire that you’ll prayerfully consider standing with us long-term to make a difference in this community (after we get back home and have time to unpack and process, we’ll be sharing more about what that looks like).

For now, won’t you come along and join us? To follow along:

I can’t WAIT to share this adventure with you all! {And if you have any advice for a newbie international traveller, I’m all ears. Please, no horror stories, though! But I welcome any and all tips for how to survive long plane rides and jet lag. And if you’re a reader in South Africa, I’d especially love to hear any tips or suggestions you have for me!}

photos used with permission from Ty Clark and Scott Wade

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  • cam says:

    Wow! This is so exciting that you are able to go to South Africa! What an amazing time you will have! About 2 years ago I went on my first mission trip there, and absolutely fell in love with the people and the country, and in was able to go back this year, and just got home about a month ago, and it was AMAZING!!
    As far as the jet lag goes, I never had any issues with it there, I was a bit tired once it hit 3-4 in the afternoon, but it wasnt unbearable….coming home is when it’d the hardest! Just try and make yourself sleep when everyone else sleeps, and awake when everyone else is up.
    You said you have a packed schedule while you’re there, so I would encourage you to soak everything up! It’s a lot to take in at one time, so I always found it very helpful to write things down at the end of the day. Whether it be a kiddos name, or about how beautiful God’s creation was in that area! Contoured working with kids, one thing that a missionary there told me the first time was to let them love on you. They love to be held, and to hold your hand, and to play with hair! So let them! He told us that that could be the only physical touch/example of love that they may receive. Have an amazing time!
    Oh! And in the airplane I would HIGHLY recommend Dramamine is a must(also for motion sickness, mom f poo under these things called sea bands! They work wonders! I wore them every time we went anywhere in the car. We got ours at a Walgreen, but you could probably find them in any kinda pharmacy store!) A pillow, blanket, and scarf! I tend to freeze on the plane! Music on an iPod or.someting is nice as well as a book because the flight can get long, and th r res only so many good movies worth watching haha. But sleep, and enjoy the relaxing, and get ready for the amazing journey God is bringing you on!

  • Eryn Lynum says:


    I have been praying for you and your team the past few days, but was still unaware of what your trip was about–until I read this post today.

    And it brought me to tears.

    My heart aches for the experiences I myself had in Africa 10 years ago now; the beauty, the poverty, the passion, the God-sightings…everything I am sure is impacting your heart this very moment.

    I’m praying that God shows you the little things; helps you to pay attention to each detail, and let those details weave together His beautiful picture for South Africa, and your involvement there.

    Eryn Lynum

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