Wherein My Comfort Zone Gets Blown To Smithereens

Hello, Internet.  Welcome to my Comfort Zone.

It’s a cushy little place, with soft pillows and high-speed internet access.  The remote control always works, and there is always a Diet Coke from Sonic just around the corner. 

Not too much is expected of me in this Comfort Zone.  I know my way around quite well–I’ve spent most of my life here, in fact.  No mosquito netting is required, no special immunizations are needed, and for the love of Pete, no children are ever hungry.  Or orphaned.  Or afraid.

And so it was, a couple of months ago, that I was having a fairly leisurely morning in my Comfort Zone, checking my e-mail, munching my breakfast and listening to some cable news.  A nice and cushy and comfy morning.  Just like always.

And then a little e-mail popped up on my screen.  It was from Compassion International, the highly-regarded relief agency that works all over the world.  I’d known of them for years.  We’d even been planning for a few months to sponsor a Compassion child–we just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

But they weren’t asking me to sponsor a child.

They were asking me to go to Africa.

They’re taking a team of bloggers to Uganda for ten days in February, to live-blog the relief efforts going on over there.  And would I like to go?

Oh-how-kind-of-you-to-ask-there’s-absolutely-no-way-I-have-four-kids-but-thanks-anyway.

I forwarded the e-mail to Hubs.  My solid, logical, ever-rational Hubs, who never makes an emotional or impulsive decision.  I just knew he’d agree with my assessment that this was a huge impossibility.

Except that the minute he got my e-mail, he called me from his office.  "I think you should go," he said immediately.

Um-yes-excuse-me-did-you-know-there-are-lions-there-and-you-have-to-fly-a-very-very-very-long-time-over-an-ocean-or-two?

"Yes," he said, "and I think you should go.  Let’s talk about it tonight."

I wrote back the Compassion folks and told them their offer was very kind, and I’d need to pray about it and talk with my husband. 

But instead, I started making a list of all the reasons this wouldn’t work.  And there were a lot of reasons.  I’m a mother of four kids, for Heaven’s sake–who on earth would check their backpacks if I went trotting across the globe?  And I’m terrified beyond words of flying, even going just a couple of states away.  Flying across the ocean?  Alone?  And I know there are many, many people doing very heroic and brave work in Africa MUCH more demanding than what I was being asked to do, but I am not at all one of those heroic and brave and adventure types.  Not at all.  And did I mention there are lions?  And airplanes?  And that the only international travel I’ve ever done was going to Cancun and staying across the street from a PLANET HOLLYWOOD?

I did actually pray about it, and a surprising thing happened.  All the reasons I couldn’t do this began to fall away one at a time.  Friends and family eagerly lined up to help with kids and logistics.  It turned out I wouldn’t be going alone–Sophie was going too, and she promised to faithfully coach me through the bazillion hours on the airplane.  The passport and immunization stuff was do-able.  The reasons not to go kept falling away until there weren’t any left. 

Well, there was one left.  It was the one that had been there, sitting beside me in my Comfort Zone for a really long time. 

I’m not sure I want to be changed that much

My well-intentioned ideas about sacrifice and making a difference are well and good, but those things are easy to say sitting in your carpeted, air-conditioned living room with your well-fed children.  I’d be going to Africa specifically to see the vast and overwhelming need there, so that I could in turn write about it.  We’d be going out into the villages, and the hospitals, and the orphanages.

A person doesn’t see something like that and just stay the same. 

To make a very long story (sort of) short, the last two months have been a time of wrestling with some ugliness in my own heart, not wanting to admit how dependent I am on being surrounded by loveliness and convenience.  And let’s just say it:  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid to fly, I’m afraid to be away from my family that long, and most of all, I’m afraid to see the kind of suffering I’m going to see.  And while I’ve come face-to-face with a whole heap of my own fear and selfishness, I’ve seen more of God’s grace than I ever have before.  He’s already used this whole experience to turn my heart upside down.

And I haven’t even gone yet.

So yes, I’m going.  The passport is on my kitchen counter, and the immunizations are scheduled for later in the week.  I’m hammering away at all the logistics, and I plan to be taking you all with me every step of the way.  I’m excited and nervous and terrified and humbled and–dare I say it?–ready to be changed.   

228 thoughts on “Wherein My Comfort Zone Gets Blown To Smithereens

  1. Kendra says:

    Wow, Shannon! What an amazing opportunity for you, and us since you’ll be blogging along the way. We had ‘Missions Sunday” today at church. Hearing the stories really stirs the heart, even when your mission field is littered with laundry and Hot Wheels. You will do fine on the plane-God knows you and knows what you need. He even had this in His plan when He had you start your blog. You will be blessed beyond imagination for following Him into this great unknown. Read Exodus 3….When Moses asks “Why me?” God says ‘I am with you.” He will be with you, too.
    Have a fab time!! And I can’t wait to read all about it!!

  2. Sue says:

    Oh, Sharon, I’m so jealous. I really am. This is so close to my heart. What an amazing, life changing opportunity. I have acquaintences who run a volunteer organization that builds schools in Kenya, and my dream is to go with them to Kenya at some point. How wonderful. And how much good you are going to do. What a huge blessing.

  3. Rachel says:

    In Hebrew, we say “Kol Hakavod” (roughly translated as “all the honor”) when someone does something well, stretches beyond their normal boundaries, and achieves something. So kol hakavod to you for deciding that you can and should do this. Its a big step and a huge decision but hopefully it is one that will make an impact on your life for years to come. I’ll be intrigued to read about your journey!

  4. Boysmum2 says:

    You go for it girl, what a fab oppurtunity. Enjoy it, learn from it, love it.
    It will be hard, fun, emotional and 100 other things but you will grow from it.
    Look forward to reading all about it down here in NZ.
    PS flying is ok, done it loads of times and love it, you will be fine,

  5. Owlhaven says:

    Wow, I’m thrilled for you!!! My mom, dad and sister are going on a mission trip to Africa this summer too. I will be blogging about it soon
    Africa is amazing
    Mary, mom to many, including 4 Ethiopians

  6. Amanda says:

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity and what an amazing thing that all of your obstacles that were in your way started to disappear one by one after prayer. I love prayer. I love the power of prayer. I will pray for you on your journey if this is one you will be making. What an amazing opportunity!!

  7. Stretch Mark Mama says:

    Am wishing I was skinny enough to fit in your luggage. Then again, maybe I WOULD fit in your luggage.
    Oh, I’d go in a second! A nano-second!
    From this Mama who went to China a year ago: I can attest that you will never regret it, and will never be the same again. I have never been so humbled and changed as I did when I saw the heart of God amongst the people and places of China.
    And one of those little people is sleeping in my house right now.
    Godspeed to y’all.

  8. mel from freak parade says:

    Wow. Just wow. Coming out of lurking with that verbose comment. πŸ™‚ I think that is amazing. I, too, would be very afraid to leave my comfort zone. You will be in my prayers. I just know it is going to be an amazing experience for you.

  9. Sarah says:

    That’s great! I look forward to reading about your trip there. I guarantee that you will come back changed – what a wonderful opportunity!
    I know what you mean about not wanting to be changed, though. It’s a hard thing to do, to give up that little bit of control that we think we have in our lives…and here I am a missionary wife in Indonesia!!!

  10. jessica says:

    Don’t be scared to fly… God will remove your fears and will protect you! You are going to be changed in so many ways and you will be so blessed! How cool that blogging is taking you around the world! Can’t wait to read about it!

  11. The Thrifty Blogger says:

    Wow! That is amazing! I’d have all the same fears too, I think most people would. We all get to experience it too, through your eyes. I am SO looking forward to reading all about it. That’s excellent! πŸ™‚

  12. dcrmom says:

    WOW. Girl, I feel ALL of your fears. But I can’t WAIT to hear about it through your eyes. I will pray for your peace and comfort and most of all that God will work his will in your heart. I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience.

  13. Zoe says:

    Oh WOW, what an amazing opportunity.
    I really want to go on one of the trips with Samaritan’s Purse to deliver Christmas Shoeboxes, but heck, a compassion trip would work. We used to sponsor through them but had to stop when our budget tightened, I still have the photos of “our” girls though!

  14. SusanInGermany says:

    What an amazing opportunity. I visited my Compassion Child in the Dominican Republic when I was in college. It was an amazing experience. Of course that plane ride was in our hemisphere. If it makes you feel better, I went to Afghanistan in 2004, that took about 30 hours. Anyway, when the people ask you, “Why are you here?” What will you tell them?

  15. Tammy says:

    That sounds so neat and will be life changing for all.This year my son has been studying Africa ,i have never learned so much about this place until now.

  16. jackie says:

    You won’t regret it at all, it will be a life changing experience, one that every person, espeically Christian, should have. And I wouldn’t worry about the lions. I have many friends in Uganda, all of which live healthy,full, normal, lion-less lives! Oh, and for the plane…take Dramamine!! The only thing you should really worry about is that international travel is ADDICTING! You’ll be signing up for many more trips after this one. I’ve been to eleven countries…and long to see more!

  17. karen says:

    “I’m not sure I want to be changed that much.” That statement hit me right between the eyes. There is so much truth to that and it pretty much sums up every struggle I have.
    It is a wonderful opportunity and I am glad that you decided to go. You are right. You will never be the same. And although that may seem frightening, it’s going to be great!

  18. YewNorkbabe says:

    Oh I am so excited for you ladies, and I can’t wait to read all about your adventures. What a blessing you will be for all the children.
    Please take a look at the video I posted today, it shows exactly what is happening to today’s youth.

  19. Jacki says:

    Oh my gosh, what a wonderful opportunity! I so envy you right now….
    While my Dad was in the Navy (mid 1990’s), he did a several month tour along the west coast of Africa, visiting several countries doing “goodwill projects” in the local villages. Then they would join them for celebrations at the end.
    I still love looking at all his pictures and hearing the stories. He has little sourveniers from some of the villagers, like a seashell he paid a little boy $1 for.
    It will definitely change your life! I can’t wait to read about it.

  20. Happy Momma says:

    That is so wonderful. My FIL has been to Africa several times, recenteley a mission organization (who I will remain nameless due to the vast internet), was asked to take on their vp role of this mission organization, he knee jerked and said no, and then the Lord kept telling him yes. He is now resigning from his senior pastoral position in 8 days and will be stepping out on the Lord’s faith the first of February.
    The Lord can do amazing things as long as we are willing to let him! We are firm believers in this household that Satan and fear go hand in hand, therefore stand firmly on the word and your 23 hour flight will seem quicker than you can imagine!
    We will be lifting you up in our household!

  21. Tara says:

    I’m a faithful reader although I don’t comment much at all…but I am SO excited to read this and excited for you. God is so awesome!

  22. Jada says:

    I know just how you feel! I hate to fly, aboslutely hate it (not that I’m a control freak or anything!) and was called to go on a mission to the Ukraine! I went and survived the flights, with a lot of help from God and a little help from my doc prescribing a little something to help me relax! It didn’t do much so I didn’t even take the pills on the flights home.
    With everything falling into place for you to go, I know God will use and bless you!
    Prayers,
    ~Jada

  23. Heather says:

    As far outside of your comfort zone as it is (and it would be for me, too) I can’t wait to see what the Lord does with you there. I haven’t seen anyone come back from these trips with their heart in the same place. And, since yours is already upside down, this will really be awesome! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to take the journey with you through the blog and lift you up in prayer.

  24. Dana says:

    Wow, I’m blown away Shannon. That is really reaching out of your comfort zone…but such a worthy thing to do. When do you guys leave? And Boo Mama is going too? Oh my gosh – that would be so awesome…but I am sure it won’t be fun and games, but at least you’ll be in good company (both of you) πŸ™‚
    I have some friends from our city that are in Africa right now doing missionary work. They are also blogging. Here is their link if you are interested in checking it out.
    http://kenya007.blogspot.com/
    I’m really excited about following your journey Shannon!!!

  25. Lynley says:

    I spent two summers in Kenya establishing programs for street girls while in grad school and Africa completely changed my life and my faith (for the better). In fact I am working on a blog post about it right now (hopefully to be completed by the week’s end).
    You will be blessed by your trip, but most importantly others will be blessed by the work you do.
    Although there is no Sonic, you most likely will get the chance to sip a coke (diet is hard to come by) out of a plastic bag with a straw. Fun times.

  26. Jamie says:

    That is so exciting!!!! What an incredible opportunity. I’d be nervous, too, (I don’t like to fly, I don’t like to camp, I don’t like to get out of my comfort zone either) but just think of what a life changing experience this will be for everyone and what a positive thing this will be. Awesome!

  27. Rachel May says:

    What an incredible post. Thank you for sharing your heart on this, because what you wrote is EXACTLY how I would have responded (except change the four kids to one, but still…).
    I can’t WAIT to see what God has in store for you, and, by extension, your family. You know that coming back closer to God will only have benefits for them!

  28. Susan G. says:

    What an opportunity! I understand your fears completely. Change is very, very hard. Thank you for saying yes (and thanks to your family and friends for making it possible). I think your trip will change all of us for the better.

  29. Kim says:

    Wow! That is so awesome. And, you will be changed, unless you have a hard heart, which you have never shown here. I have been to China into a village, into the orphanage and it did change me forever. China is where I met my daughter face to face for the very first time. It is also where I met my Western pride. It is where an old man with one chair humbled me with his hospitality, and where the graciousness of those who served us humbled my feeble attempts at being gracious. Your heart will melt, and quite possibly break. And God will mend it into a soft, pliable and living heart which has seen things that need to be talked about and will love as it has never loved before. You will have the ability to love as Jesus loved. May you go with open eyes, open arms and an open heart.
    Blessings, Kim

  30. Amy says:

    You are SO brave. Good for you! I absolutely can not wait to read about your experience.
    Everyone I know who has been to Africa has been changed, permanently, but for the better.
    Bon voyage!!

  31. Mich says:

    Shannon, I am so excited for you. I will give you a call sometime this week to hear more about it. I wish I was going with you!!!! Especially after todays speaker at church. If you have time, go to Fellowshipnwa.org and podcast Sunday’s message (a really cool speaker that made us laugh so loud). It spoke exactly to what you are getting ready to do. How awesome!!!! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you from NWA.

  32. Julia says:

    Shannon,
    I have never been to Uganda – but am planning to go in July of this year – however, I have been to 17 countries doing mission work – and I will warn you. You will never be the same. First of all – you realize all the things we complain about are just not as big of a deal… but more than that – doing great things for others is addicting! You will find yourself wanting to do more!
    I can’t wait to see your writings about Uganda… so I can see what it will be like when I get there in July!

  33. Donna says:

    What a great opportunity! I can’t wait to read all about it! I have been to Kenya twice to visit my parents who were missionaries there while I was in college. It was awesome, heartbreaking, humbling, difficult but fun all at the same time! You will find that although the people (africans in general) there have *nothing*, they will be so generous to *you* and thankful for every little smile you give them. It’s overwhelming the differences between our land of plenty and their land of nothingness. You will never forget this trip, and even though you are scared out of your wits right now, when its all over, you will be so glad you did it.

  34. Barbara says:

    Good for you. This is what being brave is about. Being scared and doing it anyway. The very best of luck and I can’t wait to read all about it.

  35. Jenn says:

    WOW! Most people started with that but I have to say it too…again…WOW!
    That’s amazing. I’m glad you are going…for all of us who can’t πŸ™‚
    I’m praying for ya!

  36. Jessica says:

    Oh my! This is such an amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to the live blogging. I think it can be life changing for many! What will you be going?

  37. Aunt Murry says:

    What a fantastic opportunity. My heart is just screaming to go with you! If you need any tips on international travel just ask. I went to Singapore last April. Which isn’t the same. I am so happy that you decided to go. It will change you in way sthat you cannot imagine.

  38. Jenni says:

    Oh MAN!!! I am so crazy jealous! But mostly I am simply and completely excited and thrilled for you! My mind overflows with superlatives about how wonderful an opportunity this is and how blessed I just know you’re gonna be by it…
    We have sponsored three kids through compassion for years now, and they are a fabulous organization. I look forward to reading the live feed, and to hearing your very own thoughts on the relief efforts!!
    CONGRATULATIONS SHANNON!!

  39. Beth says:

    Wow! What an amazing thing to do. I think you are very brave, and that this will change your life. I am so glad I found your blog and I will be able to experience this vicariously by reading along. Have a safe trip.

  40. Lady Why says:

    Wow. WOW!!! That will be an amazing trip! One that I will faithfully follow… from the comfort of my cushioned computer chair with my glass of iced tea. Comfort zones, you just got to love them. And stretch out of them from time to time. I’ll be praying for your safety, a peace that passes all understanding (while you’re over that ocean and all), and for you to be changed in the most miraculous of ways!

  41. Jane says:

    What an amazing thing this world of blogging is! What an amazing opportunity. I read a blog called http://africankelli.com anyway, Kelli works for a non profit that goes to Africa to work on water systems and such in rural villages. She also works with orphanages. Maybe you would enjoy looking over her posts and stunning pictures? She has captured both the poverty and the beauty that is all people. Might be reassuring? Anyway, the posts, I think, are in her sidebar under Africa or travel.

  42. Nicole says:

    This is so fantastic – can’t wait to read about your adventures. God always finds us when we’ve wiggled down deep into the cushions and blankets of our comfort zone, doesn’t he?

  43. Jeni says:

    Wow. I can just imagine this will be a life-changing experience. My brother and SIL are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia, and included in the process will be a week-long trip there. My hubby and I have considered adopting, but the idea of travelling to Ethopia has given me pause…
    You’ll be in my prayers, and I look forward to reading about your adventures and about how much God has grown you through this experience!

  44. E says:

    Delurking, because Compassion, an amazing organization, is close to my heart. You will be touched greatly by such a trip, I have friends who have been on many of Compassion’s overseas trips and they have, as previous posters suggested, been changed in so many unbelievable ways. What an amazing opportunity for the writer behind one of my favorite blogs. I cannot wait to hear about your time away.

  45. Jeana says:

    Wow, Shannon, that’s huge!
    And…that’s all I can think to say, how big this is. But I think you’ll be glad you did it.

  46. pam says:

    Wowie, wow, wow, Shannon!!
    After your hint the other day, I thought y’all were headed for an international adoption . . . which would be cool, too.
    Yet, this is an incredible opportunity and a privilege. I am so proud of your Hubs for encouraging you to go. One more reason to laud that man!
    Have a fabulous time and know that I will be praying daily over all your fears, your plans, and for all God is planning to teach you while you’re there.
    We sponsored a child in Uganda for several years via World Vision, so that area holds a special place in my heart.
    Looking forward to reading of your heart change as you follow where God is leading you, dear Shannon.

  47. Melissa says:

    “fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
    I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
    I can’t wait to read about all you see and hear! Thanks for being willing to step out of the familiar to be the eyes and ears of so many!

  48. Kai says:

    Delurking as well to say what an incredible experience!!! And what an experience to share with your family! My thoughts and prayers will definitely be with you on your amazing journey!

  49. connie says:

    The flight won’t be that bad. (I have flown to Thailand, so I’ve done the longdistance fly thing.)
    Take extra socks on the plane and change during layovers. Your feet will love you for it.
    Congrats! Your life will change! It’s a good thing!

  50. Charity says:

    Hello there, I’ve read your blog for a long time now and just wanted to say that I am so glad you are going to Africa and that you are stepping out of your comfort zone! God will honor that, for sure!
    We serve with the IMB over here in the UK, but my hubby’s parents have been in Africa (and hubs grew up there) for 25 years. We just returned from a 2 week trip to see them and had a fabulous time! I’ve got some pics on our blog if you want to see them.
    Blessings! Can’t wait to hear about your trip!
    Charity

  51. Megan says:

    Isaiah 41:10
    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
    “Do not fear.” This was the Bible verse for 2 year olds last night at church. I have been repeating it for the last 18 months as I have lived so far out of my comfort zone here in France that I’m not sure I even have one any more. But as in France, so it is in Uganda. He is already there. Waiting.
    So go with wild expectations, and be ready. You will no doubt experience the magnificence of God, the beauty of the people and the annointing fire of the Holy Spirit as lives are changed.

  52. Jen says:

    Wow… I have so much to say to you that there is no way I can fit it on this little comment. I mean, so… so… much to say. In a nutshell, I am thrilled for you. Long time reader, rarely comment, but I read your blog every day.
    I have been to Zambia twice working with AIDs orphans in bible camps. You WILL be changed. You can’t go there, hold this living precious Child of God, feel and see their pain, BUT above all, see their absolute JOY despite the pain, and not be changed. But the change will be glorious, precious, and you will be so blessed and God will give you a peace that passes all understanding as you are there. There’s just something about Africa, and the orphans there that will grab your heart and keep.
    Can’t wait to read your blog while you’re there.

  53. Beth says:

    I’m going to Africa some day. Short term missions trip. Hopefully to Mali or Burkina Faso. I cheer you on!! God goes before you and thousands will pray. It will be great!

  54. momrn2 says:

    I am so glad you decided to go!! I am excited for/with you! I will begin, even now, praying for you and that God will continue to pave the way!
    What an incredible opportunity! Keep us posted!!…

  55. Lari says:

    Shannon,
    It’s always amazing to see God at work. What a wonderful thing! It will change you. I’ll be praying for you and everyone on the trip.

  56. Tara says:

    GOOD FOR YOU!!!! I’m sure it will be an amazing experience for you.
    When I was a teenager I spent 2 months in Nepal at an orphanage with Teen Missions and it changed my whole life. It has altered my perspective permanently- It has been 17 years since I was there but the lessons were lifelong.

  57. Andrea says:

    Wow – so, so excited for you. God is amazing – I can’t wait to read about your trip … and your heart during it!

  58. Amy says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your journey. What an awesome opportunity and from the sounds of it you worked through each and every detail. Thank you for your honesty.

  59. Frazzmom says:

    You are going to get so hooked! I took my first mission trip to Tanzania in 2003, since then I have been there three times and am planning to go again this summer for a month… On one of the trips we spent time at a Compassion Center in Arusha- they do wonderful work there.
    It is my dream to someday go to see my sponser child, Juma, who lives in Dodoma…
    I am so jealous!

  60. Melissa Markham says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I know we will all be blessed by your travels. Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone! Maybe it will encourage more of us to do the same!

  61. Karen @ Simply A Musing Blog says:

    Incredible. Just incredible. I’m so excited for you to have an opportunity like this, and I know that we will all be changed as well just reading about it. Thank you for your honesty and for overcoming your fears and going for it. You go, girl.

  62. aimee says:

    Oh I am so excited for you! And, I can understand your reservations, but I just know it will be amazing. I can’t wait to learn from you about what is happening over there.

  63. Liz says:

    Bravo to you for admitting what was really keeping you back. I’ll be praying for the boldness of the Holy Ghost for you for this trip! (Acts 1:8)

  64. Jean Stockdale says:

    I am so thrilled for you! What a God-thing. I also never dreamed of leaving my comfort zone but God began to open doors to travel out of the country and teach His Word. My husband and I have been trained to teach a program called Pioneer Evangelism about church planting and discipleship to pastors and church leaders. In 3 years we have been to Nigeria, Angola, India 2x, Uruguay and we just have returned from Nepal. Who knew? A wife and a mom getting to proclaim the excellencies of Christ in the uttermost parts of the world!! You are right-you will never be the same, but you and your family will benefit from the world vision God will give you. And your gift for writing will expland the ministry and bring it “home” to a fresh audience. I will be praying for you and anxiously watching for all the details. Blessings.

  65. Abby Hyink says:

    I love reading your blog and have for some time. My hubby and I visited Kenya for 10 days 6 years ago. We didn’t see orphanages, but we had the opportunity to spend an afternoon ministering in a slum village in Nairobi. Sobering. Even now, when I am tempted to complain about what I don’t have, remembering that immense span of true poverty reminds me how incredibly rich I really am–I know Jesus, I have a happy, healthy family and I have material possessions far above what those people could imagine. It begs the question–why did God see fit to bless me with the life I have? It is only His grace.

  66. Amy says:

    Oh, I think I’m so jealous! That is awesome!
    I’ll definitely pray for you and your fears. God is so big and I can’t wait to see what happens!

  67. Fresh Girl says:

    Shannon, I am so thrilled for you! You’re right, you *will* be changed. I’ve only gone as far as Honduras (four times on mission trips) but oh how it changed the way I looked at the world and the people in it. You are in for the experience of your life, I just know it! Good for you for being open and willing to be changed. πŸ™‚

  68. Charlsie Swadley says:

    Oh my I am so excited for you!!! Missions is such a great experience!!! Go Shannon wooohooo.

  69. Terry says:

    What an awesome opportunity! I know I would feel much the same as you. A wise friend once told me something that I have to remind myself of alot. If I only do the things I can easily, comfortably do in my own strength–where is God in that. Congrats for listening to His leading and being willing to follow even when it’s uncomfortable. I know what you gain from being obedient will be beyond what you can imagine. I can’t wait to read all about it.

  70. Erin says:

    Wow, what a great blessing! I would be scared too but you know that everything will be wonderful because the whole thing was orestrated by God! I can’t wait to hear all about the trip!

  71. Jen says:

    What an awesome opportunity for you, Shannon! I can assure you, you aren’t alone in your feelings. I would probably have even uglier ones. It’s shameful to realize how much I like to be in my comfort zone! I will be praying for you from now until you leave and throughout your trip! I cannot wait to hear about your experiences!!!

  72. katherine says:

    Just have to say this one more time — wow. Can’t wait to read about it. We’ll be praying for safe travels. πŸ™‚

  73. Someone Being Me says:

    That is an incredible opportunity. Obviously you are meant to go. You can’t mess with divine intervention. I am so excited for you. We just started sponsoring a Hope Child through World Vision. I would jump at the chance to go and do something as life changing as that. I’ll pray for your safe passage and that God will keep your eyes and heart open to see whatever it is he wants you to see over there. I promise the overseas travel isn’t as awful as you are imagining. I flew Air France to the Ukraine from Houston a few years ago and the food was great and we each had our own screen to watch the inflight movies on that we could choose from. And I flew coach. Bring a couple of good books and you should be fine. I can’t wait to read all about it.

  74. Mummymac says:

    Wow that’s amazing, not wanting to repeat everything already said but what came to mind was how blogging can make an EVEN BIGGER difference.
    Can’t wait to read all about it.

  75. amy a says:

    What an opportunity! You are right, you will never be the same. I’m looking forward to reading your reports from Africa and becoming aware of what’s going on in that part of the world. I know it will impact me, if only a fraction of how it will you. Thanks for taking us on this journey with you!

  76. Shelia says:

    I’ve been lurking for a while now without commenting. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for you. We sponsor a child in the Honduras through Compassion. Every dealing we’ve had with them has made me more confident of them. So I know that you will have a great and safe trip that will impact you in a way that changes your life for the better. God truly is awesome! How blessed we are to be in His hands!

  77. faithful chick says:

    How thrilling! Sometimes the first step to God using us is to admit that we are scared and don’t know what to do ourselves. THAT, he can work with!
    Praying for you.

  78. Jenny from VA says:

    WOW! You are so brave! It would be totally out of my comfort zone too. I am really excited to hear about it! He who keeps you is faithful, and HE will do it!

  79. Queen B says:

    Wow. That is huge. I am really proud of you. I know those fears really well. You are already being so obedient…it would have been easy (and understandable) to say no, thank you. God is going to change you. Through you he will change lots of other lives, too. I will be praying for you.

  80. Mommy Cracked says:

    Oh Shannon! I just know I would feel the same way….the comfort zone and not wanting to have my own little wonderful world changed would be my only reserve, but it seems like the Lord is really calling you to do this. He’s made all the arrangements possible and I know HE we will be there, holding his daughter and helping her through it all just as a Father would. Much prayers for your safety AND your heart. You will be forever changed, but it reminds me of “to whom much is given much is expected”. This is MUCH. But you have an AWESOME outlet to SO MANY people through your blog and I just know we will be forever changed, too. God bless you.

  81. jennielynn says:

    I admire you more than I can possible say. I will pray for you every single day, starting now. Go with God, Shannon. You are a truly a warrior. Only with a laptop instead of a spear. And Anti-virus instead of a shield. And…okay, I’ll shut up now.

  82. Lois says:

    How exciting! Be prepared for a life-changing, life-stretching experience! My daughter went to Uganda this past summer on a mission trip. Last night, she
    showed her video presentation and spoke about her experiences in her college-career group at church. God did a great work in her heart while she was there, and He continues to teach her and use her since she’s been home. Be prepared: the faces of the children will live in your heart forever! I will be praying for you & Boomama as you go. Can’t wait to read
    your blogs!

  83. kimberly says:

    How very wonderful! Wonderful opportunity, wonderful chance to overcome a fear, wonderful chance to learn new things and feel new things and see new things and share new things. I’m completely and utterly envious!

  84. tonni says:

    Life changing indeed! I went to Cuba on a mission trip last year. Lots of the same objections, 5 kids left behind, etc, etc, etc, I am not the same person I was. And I am so amazingly blessed!! May you feel his changing power throughout the trip!

  85. Monique in Texas says:

    Yirrah! God is good. You go–see amazing and moving and heart-breaking things and write about them. Then sit back and watch how God will use your words to move people to help. I’ll be thinking of you!
    Monique in TX

  86. Linds says:

    Wonderful news, Shannon! I haven’t read all the comments posted already, but I honestly think that this is going to be so much more special just because you are out of the Comfort Zone. This is not easy for you, and that makes it even more wonderful. You will have a memorable time and I can’t wait to hear everything!

  87. MaryLu says:

    Answering God’s voice is sometimes hard. I’m praying that you WILL be changed. He changes us in His timing, in His way, for His glory!

  88. Christa says:

    Wow! What an amazing opportunity. I read your blog often, and am amazed at how similar your thoughts are to my own. I would be feeling the exact same way, but I’m proud of your courage. I’m anxious to read those blogs.

  89. Ashleigh says:

    I have chills, Shannon… what an amazing opportunity, and what an amazing God we serve. Beginning the prayer vigil now for you, Sophie and the whole group you’ll be with.

  90. Shalee says:

    Oh my lands! What a blessing! Go, Go, GO! I’m not going to be jealous (which I really want to be), but rather I’m going to start praying for you to be of great use to God in so many ways. (But if you know of another blogger slot, I’d be much obliged if you’d throw my name in the hat!)

  91. courtney orrange says:

    We’ve done a lot of international development work and therefore have travelled quite a bit. Plus I was the missions director at my church for two years.
    Let me promise you: You will be changed. Forever. And it’ll be worth it.
    It will be scary and hard, but you’ll see God work miracles and you’ll rely and depend on Him like you probably never have.
    It is the coolest thing ever to have the daily dependancy on God.
    I’m glad that you made the step out to do this.
    Get lots of people praying for you and try to connect with someone who’s traveled internationally (for this type of work) a week or so after you get back. They’ll be able to help you process.
    You will be changed. You’re family will be changed. The people you meet in Uganda will be changed.
    And God will get glory.

  92. jody says:

    I am a bit of a lurker but you got my blood pumping on this one. i just returned from a trip to Africa, one of my first acts of reckless obedience. There we adopted twins (to add to our family of 6) in a hot West African courtroom. We are waiting for further paperwork before we go back to bring them home.
    But the process, like you said, is much the aim. And I believe you will hear His heart beating and see His hands moving there like no where else in the world right now….
    What a privilege! Have fun!

  93. Donna Scott says:

    This is an awesome experience for you! You will be in my prayers and I will be here reading! Can I mention your blog on my blog at Blogger? I think this is great.

  94. Pam says:

    GO GO GO! What a wonderful gift from God. You will be changed and changing the world at the same time. Thank you in advance for your sacrifice. I too would have a million reasons for not going but pray that God would show me that I had not 1…. Will be praying for you and your family.
    Enjoy the journey!

  95. Kelly says:

    God truly does desire us to be willing to leave our comfort zones. The ironic thing is that as He chooses to use us to bring Hid message to others, we are blessed beyond what we thought possible.
    Will look forward to hearing about it on your blog. My husband was just on a mission trip to Kenya last August-really an amazing experience for him.

  96. Dena says:

    Awesome!!!
    This time last year I was preparing to fly to China to meet our baby, and I was SCARED TO DEATH!!! Of all the things you mentioned, every one of them.
    Don’t be scared like I was! It was hands down THE most amazing, wonderful, life changing, so thankful I got to go, trip of my life.
    So excited for you!

  97. Nicki says:

    Wow, what a great opportunity. You are very brave to do this and I am sure you will benefit greatly, as will all of us who follow you on your journey. Change is a scary and powerful thing–good for you to conquer it.

  98. Lisa B says:

    That is absolutely wonderful Shannon! Better you than me πŸ™‚ I’m not afraid of flying, but I have never been drawn to international travel. I tend to see heartaches here in our own country that I’d like to help impact for the better. I can’t wait to read about your trip!!
    So when do you go? When will you be back?? Oh the excitement! Many prayers will be going up for you — no worries πŸ™‚

  99. Elizabeth says:

    WOW! I am so excited that you will be blogging all the details for us! I would have jumped at such an amazing opportunity!!! When do you leave? Did you say that and I missed it?

  100. jen says:

    You are going to have an amazing journey! I am so excited for you! We just got back from Ethiopia a month ago, and I’m still on a high. Find a good thick book and a good travel pillow; that’s all you’ll need for the plan – sleep and read! I can’t wait to hear about this trip! Yay!

  101. Ericka says:

    WOW!!! Wow, wow, wow!
    That is AWESOME!!!!!! So happy, excited, a little nervous, but mostly HAPPY for you!!!!!
    And really, really proud.
    Can’t wait to hear about all the adventures.
    We have two moms at church who started Seeds of Grace, which helps moms and kids in Kenya. I can hook you up with them if you ever want any travel advice, etc.

  102. Christy says:

    Wow, Shannon.
    May God continue to pour His grace over you through the whole experience. I cannot wait to read your posts on this. I’m not even going and I feel trepidation at being changed by what you share. But strangely enough, my heart WANTS to hear it and be changed by it. We need to hear it. Say on!
    P.S. And God bless your dear husband and his reaction. What a wonderful man you have (of course, you know that!).

  103. Connie says:

    I’ve been to Uganda…you will have an amazing time. Good for you for saying YES to what God is calling you to do.

  104. seized by hope says:

    Great Post! I would offer that LIFE is what happens outside of our comfort zone. You, my dear are about to embark on a journey filled with potential for more life than you can currently concieve of having.
    How spectacular that a comfortable mom who has put herself “out there” in the bloggity world is now traveling across the world.
    I love our wild God!
    Can’t wait to read all about it! Blessings on you and your family as you prepare to leave.

  105. Nikki says:

    Whoa. Not what I expected to read this afternoon. You are a brave woman and you will be in my prayers– as will the children and families that live there– and of course your family at home.

  106. suzanne says:

    Wow, whoa and I understand….and Isaiah 41:10 to you, ma’am. Can’t wait to read ya’lls blogs

  107. Lylah Ledner says:

    How good of God to trick us out of our comfort zone (or force us) so that we can experience His grace. As an “older mom”, and one who’s been to the wonderful nation of Africa, I have learned that there is NO grace to be had in the comfort zone. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear (read) what you write about and through the new heart God gives you. blessings! lylah

  108. jessie says:

    I just went to west africa and I am a mom to three little kids. It was the best decision I have ever made. I am so glad you decided to go. I think more moms need to be able to go and see the world so that we can come back and help change the world. Have an amazing trip.

  109. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    That’s so awesome, Shannon. I know many people at Compassion headquarters, and they couldn’t have picked a better blogger.
    May God break your heart and remold it to make it even more effective for Him.
    I will be so excited to follow you on this faith journey.

  110. Jenn says:

    What an incredible (sometimes scary) opportunity! WE have had the opportunity to sponsor a child for a few years now it is humbling to see how God is using Compassion International for His Glory. I will be praying as your trip approaches and I can’t wait to ‘see’ what you see as you blog.

  111. Elysa says:

    WOW! Our God is amazing, isn’t He? I’m a mom of 7 and He’s also taking me to Africa. I’m going in just a couple of weeks and I had the same reaction when the idea was first put to me? No way! Love to go but what about the kids? What about this and that and whatever? And God worked it all out.
    Of course my 2nd son came down with chicken pox a couple of days ago and my 2 daughters who are supposed to be going with me in just over 2 weeks have never had the pox…so now we wait to see how God will handle this latest obstacle.
    Praying for you as you go on this journey…I understand the fear of how it will change you. I lived in Africa nearly 20 years ago and it radically changed me then. I’m afraid this time it will leave me unfit and unsatisfied for good with this calm, comfortable American life.

  112. Sheila / Kiki36 says:

    How awesome is that! God moves in mysterious and wondrous ways! I understand your fears as mine would be the same, but God is watching over you, He will be with you all the way. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. πŸ™‚

  113. Tiffany says:

    What an opportunity!!! Of course, your fears are all 100% valid, but you will be forever changed in very good ways when you return. I predict it will not only make you a better person, but a better mother, wife, friend, etc. How can it not change you for the better. You are in my prayers as you dive head first into a once of a lifetime opportunity. To God be the glory.

  114. Terina says:

    as i was reading your post, in my mind i was saying “you must go”. i’m glad you decided to go. i didn’t read any comments because it’s dinner time, but i am very excited to see what you learn and what you are able to help us understand about Africa. how amazing that blogging has done all of these amazing things for you. we never know where amazing blessings will come from. good luck!!!!!!! and take LOTS of pictures.

  115. Terina says:

    one more thing, i am also terrified of flying. if you can get to a doctor that will give you some anti-anxiety meds just for your flights, i know they will help. i have also flown across an ocean six times. the last four of them was with children. if i had it my way, i would be knocked unconcious for the entire thing. you will be fine, books, movies, naps, and if you knit, or cross stich, cross word puzzles, word searches, scriptures will all help pass the time. and have sophie hold your hand. having that hand helps to remember there is a bigger hand under that airplane…..

  116. Lesley says:

    You are very wise to know that the changes within you will be profound. My sister spent a week in South Africa this past summer and it changed ME quite a bit. I am excited for you and I can’t wait to read about your experiences.

  117. Brandi says:

    Wow, I’d be thinking the very same things you thought about. I am a big scaredy cat!!!! I am the type of person that is afraid to walk around the block for fear of some ferocious, hungry Pitbull looking to eat some children and their mommy! I can’t even imagine lions!!
    It is truly amazing, though, how God gives us the peace that passes understanding when He has indeed called us to do something we wouldn’t ordinarily even consider doing!
    Can’t wait to go to Africa with you via the internet.

  118. margalit says:

    Kol HaKavod! What an honor. We have a very close friend of my son’s who is from Uganda and has been in the US for 4 years now. It is a very difficult country to understand. Yes, there ARE lions there, but they’re in nature preserves and you don’t need to worry about running into one in the street. But you do need to be careful to keep your belongings on your person at all times, especially your passport, and by on your person, I mean under your clothes and impossible to pickpocket.
    Stick with your group, be careful of the government, the army and the police, be respectful of what you see regardless of how you will hurt inside, and you’ll be fine. You’re doing God’s work, and it’s a real honor.

  119. Hestial says:

    This sounds like an amazing opportunity! I hope you have a wonderful trip πŸ™‚ (and I am definitely looking forward to your posts!)

  120. Amy @ By His Grace says:

    Many prayers for you and the group as you begin this journey. It is truly amazing when you follow God’s lead and trust him completely what amazing, awesome, eye-opening experiences we have. I can’t wait to follow the journey with you through the blog and see how your life is changing and see the lives that are being changed because God placed you there.

  121. shawna says:

    what an amazing opportunity! can’t wait to hear about your trip.
    i just saw this video yesterday…i’m not sure when it will air next, but it’s worth your time. these are amazing people. the last few minutes blew me away. these are people that have lost husbands, wives, children etc…that are at peace…because of what Jesus Christ did for them, they are able to forgive what’s been done to them.
    http://www.elca.org/readytoforgive
    peace of Christ.

  122. jen says:

    I’m so glad you are going, and so glad I can “go” with you. I’m sure someday I will make a similar trip with our church, and I will have to go through the same wringer. Good luck! We’ll be there with you.

  123. Janel says:

    This is so exciting!!!! I sponsor a Compassion child and cannot wait to read your blogs and what God does with this experience!

  124. Chris says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for you. When I faced a similar trip around the world with terror in my heart about flying. I asked my Doctor for a sleeping pill prescription. I slept for 8 hours of the trip. It allowed me to get to my destination but also helped adjust to the time change! God Bless you!

  125. Texas in Africa says:

    Uganda will rock your world. Know that the poverty there isn’t as bad as it is in most of Uganda’s neighboring countries. I think you will also be surprised at what you’ll learn from those who are poor. You’ll meet people who value community over individualism and who share from what they have, rather than sharing from their leftovers. Keep your eyes open and listen.
    Oh, and here’s my foolproof flight-to-Africa method: get up really early the day of your flight, eat dinner at the airport before you get on your overnight flight (out of New York or wherever), don’t eat on the plane, drink tons of water and NOTHING else (everything else dehydrates), take Tylenol PM or Benadryl (but not both!) as soon as possible, put on a sleep mask and earplugs/noise-cancelling headphones, and force yourself not to watch the movies while trying to sleep. Take a change of clothes in your carry-on and change and brush your teeth on your European layover, where you have to make yourself stay awake. There are showers in terminal 4 at Heathrow if you’ll be there. If you have another overnight flight to Kampala, you’ll probably be tired enough to sleep on that, which will get you on a schedule even faster. Have fun!

  126. Linda Sue says:

    I’ve only just met you via BooMama’s blog and I’m so thrilled for you! Compassion is one of our favorite ways to serve the Lord – we have two beautiful boys in Bangladesh and BTW don’t wait – adopt as many as you can right NOW! For less than the price of your family going out to a fast food restaurant or a movie with coke and popcorn – you can change the life of a CHILD! Bless you – I’ll need to add your blog to my favorites so I can keep track – this is so exciting. God does the coolest things doesn’t He?

  127. Leah says:

    Africa, absolutely changed my life. I know it will change your life as well. I wrote about my experience on my blog. You should check it out.

  128. Elaine says:

    Yeah! Love that Compassion International. You’re gonna be just fine, Mama. You will tell us [more things] to pray about, won’t you? Love, -e.

  129. Prisca says:

    Sorry I’m late in reading this wonderful post. I can’t help but notice that you’ve already been changed just in the act of deciding to go where God so clearly wants you to go. Think of all that is to come!
    Be safe and blog like crazy. Godspeed!

  130. Laura says:

    I can so relate to your fear. I am a control freak that lives in a very controlled comfort zone. I’d like to hope that I too could overcome my fear as you are doing to be a part of something big like this. God will bless you abundantly for following his leading.
    Praying for you and Sophie both,
    Laura

  131. Diana says:

    Isn’t it amazing how God changes us when He calls us to move outside our comfort zone. I remember a particular time in my life when God wanted me to do something I thought was impossible. I finally gave in and told God, “okay, I’ll do it, but you’re just going to have to get creative and work out all the obstacles in my way!” And then I realized…I just told the creator of the universe that He was going to have to get creative! God must have a sense of humor to allow me to live!!! Can’t wait to read your posts! You go girl!!

  132. Deb says:

    So glad that God is working through you in this way! I read your posts on occassion and can tell that you lead a life of prayer. I’m sure God has big plans for you. One small piece of advice I’d like to pass along as a fellow Christian who has traveled is this: pray through your coming home as much as you pray through your going. As much as you’ll love coming home to your family and comforts, it’s likely that it will be a very difficult experience. Many of us don’t expect the struggles that we face after coming home, so if you can cover your homecoming in prayer (and have others join you in that!) then God will guide you through the transition. Way to take the leap!

  133. BUSH says:

    i found your blog through Briay Seay. i just got back from Peru with Compassion, and it was one of the best trips i’ve ever been on in my life. it will rock your world…in a good way.
    i’m leaving for Ethiopia on friday to do photography for another missions organization…so i feel your excitement on Africa.
    congrats on the trip.

  134. Jana (sidetrack'd) says:

    Wow! What an amazing opportunity! I, too, would be apprehensive, afraid, and not want to go, but oh the things God can do. He will drive out the fear and you will come back with an amazing testimony.

  135. Erin - ExpectingExecutive says:

    Too cool! Sorry I am so late in offering my congratulations. Just now catching up with my blog reading. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as your prepare and embark on your journey! Godspeed. Hugs- EE

  136. Sandra Joseph says:

    Shannon,
    This year I won (yes, that is right, won) a mission’s trip to Latvia with Shoes for Orphan’s Souls (Buckner, International). It was a life changing experience for me and my 15 year old daughter who went with me. I started blogging on this trip and have continued since I have been back. If God is opening the door for you to go – I encourage you to walk through the doors and enjoy the journey!
    Sandra Joseph
    Recognize & Remember
    http://www.sandrajo.wordpress.com

  137. Lisa says:

    I have one close friend who spent two years in Ghana in the Peace Corps and another who travels to Africa through a Christian AIDS relief organization (and has suggested I go with her this year, yikes!). You will never be the same, as many have said.
    Compassion is a great organization. Congratulations on your decision to go, and to them for choosing you and Sophie! I can’t wait to read what both of you have to write about your time there.

  138. Christi says:

    Shannon, I could have wept reading your beautiful words. God’s grace is sufficient, as the verse said, and His strength will not only carry you through, but will use Your words to change others as well! I am so excited for ya’ll! Is there anything I (we) can do to help? Do you and Sophie need financial assistance? Are there things that they need that we could send with you? I’d love to help!

  139. Nancy Jinks says:

    Hi Shannon,
    We are sending a team to Uganda in February from Covenant Presbyterian Church…..in fact our Pastor has such a calling for work in Uganda! If you google uganda missions, his website will be the first that comes up (i’m pretty sure) and he has a ton of info that is helpful for those going. So God go with you and be with you and your family while you’re gone.

  140. Vickie says:

    Shannon,
    I was moved to tears by your post. I struggle with those same fears. As I was reading your post, I was coming up with a list of similar excuses in my head. God is so awesome how He will take our fears and find a way for us to step out of what is comfortable for us and put us smack dab in the Refiner’s Fire.
    I just know this trip is going to be incredible for you and Sophie. But as I was reading, I could see how the Lord was already preparing your heart for this journey.
    I can’t wait to hear from ya’ll about this phenomenal experience. I know that your readers will be changed!
    I will be praying for your fears of flying. I have those too and struggle with it greatly at times.
    What a joy it will be to pray for this trip!
    God’s richest blessings,
    Vickie

  141. Paige says:

    That is truly amazing. And scary. I would be scared, too. But I’m so thrilled for you that you get to go. I can’t wait to read all about it. And a small part of me hopes I can do things like that someday. Lifechanging things. Good for you!

  142. Girlymom says:

    What an amazing opportunity- glad your Hubby saw that! Good luck with your logistics, I can’t wait to read what you have to say about the trip.

  143. Angela says:

    Though I haven’t read the other comments, I’m sure I’m repeating what’s already been said…WOW! What an AMAZING opportunity. Having said that, I understand/relate to your trepidation. It’s one thing to see it from afar and something entirely different to face it on a personal level.
    We’ll look forward to taking the journey with you. I would venture to guess you won’t be the only one changed. Know that there are many praying for you.

  144. Maricar says:

    What a great opportunity! God bless you with much peace, and excitement and everything you need for your trip. We’ll all be looking forward to you posts!

  145. edj says:

    Well I’ll let you in on a secret. The people you’ll meet over there–the ones that right now seem brave and adventurous? Are exactly and totally just like you. I remember staying next to the speaker at a women’s conference in Dakar one time, and she commented on how freaked she was about the little cockroaches in her sink and how she wasn’t like us. So I had to tell her how I still screamed at the big ones.
    I’m so excited for you! It’ll be life changing, you’re right, and also you’ll love it and always want to go back, even though you’ll hate it a lot at the time.
    E me if you have any ?s you think I might be able to answer.
    (You no longer need a cholera shot, for instance.)

  146. elizabeth says:

    Amazing! It IS so very hard to step out of our comfort zone. I have never taken on such a venture FOR GOD. I have had many adventures, but this is different, this is a calling. I so admire your admittance of reluctance and fear, I believe He knows all of course, but we need to tell Him and He will always answer and be there.
    You go GIRL, and then help us do the same ~ to step out and to FEAR NOT!
    God Bless you and your family!

  147. Hollie says:

    I would be so scared also, thank God (literally) that he is sending you with a friend, he knew what he was doing sending you this opportunity. I couldn’t think of a better blogger to send. Your blog is awesome and I can’t wait to read what will happen along the way.

  148. AprilMay says:

    I was a missionary overseas for 3 years, and I can tell you that without change, we [Christians] don’t grow. πŸ™‚ So GO and GROW girl! I can’t wait to read all about it!

  149. Ronnica says:

    How exciting! After traveling overseas, I have been greatly changed (though I know God still wants to work in me!). God can use it as such an opportunity to open your eyes in ways you never thought possible. What’s special about this trip is that you’ll be able to use your typing fingers to open all of our eyes too!

  150. Sincerely Anna says:

    God at work. It makes me want to shout AMEN all the way from the east coast! Did you hear me? Hope all goes well (I know it will) and that every detail continues to fall right into place. My husband went to Indonesia a few years ago and it was indeed life-changing.

  151. Susanne says:

    I’m so excited for you guys, and I’ll be praying earnestly for you. We sponsor two kids through Compassion, and it has been such a rewarding experience. The girl we sponsor in Tanzania sends us the sweetest letters. I know you’ll meet some precious souls in Uganda. May God bless your trip! I’ll look forward to reading about it on your blog.

  152. Sarah says:

    Wow, what an exciting trip. I can see how you would be apprehensive (especially about flying, I’m not too great at that either). I pray God will really bless your trip. Everything happens for a reason and so much good will come from it because God will make it good.
    Blessings.
    β˜†*Β΄Sarah`*β˜†

  153. Kelly says:

    What a blessing this will be for the rest of us who can sit in our own Comfort Zones and learn about what is going on “over there.” Thank you for doing this, Shannon!

  154. oh amanda says:

    Oh, I’m so EXCITED and JEALOUS! What an amazing experience! Are you sure you don’t need someone else to go with you and you know, hold your computer or something?

  155. Ann Kroeker says:

    This is one of those amazing moments where the good old-fashioned call of God merges with the 21st Century high-tech tools that believers today utilize for ministry.
    Because you have faithfully maintained this blog and demonstrated your skillful storytelling ability, you have caught the attention and earned the respect of people who also understand the power of high-tech communication.
    The people of Compassion International know you’ll tell the stories well. They know you’ll be honest and capture the truth of the situation in multi-sensory word pictures that speak with power to your many readers.
    I look forward to hanging on your (and Sophie’s) every word, living vicariously, my faith growing as yours is stretched.
    People seem to consistently come back from Africa with a piece of it wedged in their hearts–I’m not talking about parasites, either; I’m talking about some stirring power of people and place. My father-in-law, a niece, two aunts, and several friends have all experienced this–Africa is in them.
    May God surround you with His presence and protection, continuing to assure you that this is His thing…He’ll lead you and guide you, and give you words.
    If you pass through Belgium, give a big wave to my relatives–and eat a waffle (the ovalish kind with sugar chunks inside, not the rectangular kind on a plate). That’s sure to give you the strength needed for the next leg of your journey.

  156. Tracy says:

    I got tears in my eyes reading your blog. My husband is a musician and his band just recently went to Peru with Compassion International. We are both changed, even though I did not go. Prior to his trip we had started sponsoring a child in Africa. While my husband was in Peru they were given the opportunity to begin sponsoring a child there and meet them. How awesome! We did not sponsor in Peru because we had just began to sponsor the girl in Africa. I really wish we would have, it is not often that people get to meet their sponsored child. Since you were considering sponsoring a child anyway, you should ask before hand if that option is available. If so, you could bring gifts and pictures of your family to share with them.
    What an awesome experience you get to participate in. Blessings to you!

  157. Frank says:

    I am a bit late to reply, but I think you were very accurate in the “changing you forever” department. I spent a month in Kenya in 1996 and it has forever changed me. Whenever I feel myself sliding back into my “old self” I take out my photos and refresh my perspective and memories of that experience.
    I hope you are able to move out of your comfort zone.

  158. lildb says:

    It sounds scary and terrifying and you are going to be SO GLAD that you went.
    (I was an exchange student approx. half of my life ago – oh, how old I feel just *typing* that – and, granted, it’s not quite the thing that you’re about to do, but it’s def. a departure from same-itude, and I wish you the safest trip and, simultaneously, the most moving moments. So, okay, maybe not *all* that safe.)

  159. Ann@ HolyExperience says:

    Shannon…
    What do you say when you’ve been thinking on something for a day or two, looking for the right words? When you want to tell someone, somehow, “Go for us who can’t go, be our eyes, our ears… our heart. Let us change through you. Compel us. Wake us up. Chink, carve, mold us.”
    I guess that’s it. That’s what you say. It just took me awhile to say. Does that convey how much I mean it?
    I can’t begin to pray you enough Godspeed, enough grace, enough strength.
    You go not alone. Our prayers blanket you and His arms uphold you.
    Write the epistles home… we too are ready for transformation.
    All’s grace,
    Ann

  160. daring one says:

    Shannon. That will be amazing! You guys will be phenomenal and it will be a life-changing thing for you and hopefully all of us when you share what you’re doing and seeing over there.

  161. Seaton says:

    Looking forward to your blogging the event. I’ll pray for your family while you’re gone. You’ll realize how helpless you are half a world away, and how all you can do is pray for them. So I’ll join you in doing that. At least that’s what I wanted when I went.

  162. Tami says:

    And changed you will be!!! I led a team to Africa (for the 2nd time) this last August. As my missionary friend says, you will be “ruined” forever. Missions work gets into your heart and soul. You will have a new world view and a new outlook on missions everywhere.
    I am also a mother of four and now my goal is to expose my children to missions as much as possible. I have even taken the younger ones on small trips to work at an orphanage in Mexico, they did great. The older ones I encourage to go overseas at every opportunity. Our children in America need to know that the blessings and abundance that they know are not the norm for the rest of the world. It helps them to look outward and focus on others.
    The flight is not bad, long, but not bad. The entertainment systems keep you occupied and it a great time to catch up on some reading. If you are flying British Airways, they have personal systems for each person in the seat backs, and you can choose the programming so you are not subjected to their choice of movies. They have a good selection.
    If you have any questions about what to pack or what to expect, I would be glad to help you. My passion is missions and getting others excited about what God is doing all over the world.
    I can’t wait to hear all about it:)

  163. Diane Wolfe says:

    I completely understand how you feel- I am lucky enough to be going to Africa in Feb with compassion (to Ghana & Burkino Faso) and meet my sponsored child. I have only flown a few times so understand the whole flying part, but I did go to Colombia with compassion 2 years ago, and it was so worth it, and life changing. I will be thinking of you when I’m over there too!

  164. kathryn Stanford says:

    OMYGSH..I really am excited for you..I WANT TO GO!!! Please let me know when the next trip is. I work at a homeless shelter with women and children in Hawaii. I love my job. Maybe someone could contact me for the next trip. May the Lord be with you, “Talitha Cumi” (Rise up little lamb).

  165. Lindsay says:

    I was directed here from a bulletin on myspace by Compassion. I will definitely be keeping up with all of this. Your blog is officially added to my bookmarks. I sponsor a Compassion child in Uganda, so it grabs my attention even more than if it were another country. What an amazing gift… to be able to go & see everything firsthand. Grab a couple of books for the flight & try to relax! Oh, let me suggest an author – Karen Kingsbury. Just get the entire Redemption Series. You’ll be so wrapped up in the books, you won’t have a chance to worry about the flight! God bless all of you!

  166. Perry says:

    Hey Shannon.
    I was also directed here from a MySpace bulletin, and I figured I would let you know you’re not alone in your worries about the trip.
    I’m 15, soon to be 16 in May. Two or three weeks after I turn 16 I’m going to be making the same trip you are. Memphis, to Chicago, to London, and then to some airway an hour north of Kampala, Uganda.
    Yeah, I’m pretty much terrified. Never flown; scared out of my bleedin’ mind.
    But God’s good. It’s gonna work out, no matter how frail I may be. Same with you.
    But I don’t need to tell you that, do I? πŸ™‚

  167. To Think is to Create says:

    I’m probably one of like two people on the planet that didn’t know about your blog…I have to tell you, this post is so inspirational. It’s so awesome that you are not only crazy good at self-reflecting and figuring out why you are feeling things, but then you go and share it with all of us in such an eloquent way. I’m excited to read along with you. Being crazy and taking this huge leap of faith will bring you such huge rewards. All your readers here are just one facet of this. Will be thinking of you…

  168. ~Amy says:

    PTL! I’m so excited for you to be the eyes and ears and hands for us who will be sitting at home waiting to “live” this experience through you! They picked the perfect “blogger” for this experience.
    God Bless,
    ~Amy

  169. Andrea says:

    We adopted our first Compassion child in October. Our pastor talked about Compassion for a few weeks and my 11 year old daughter trotted right to the lobby to pick up an information packet on a 5 year old who needs help. I have to admit, with 4 children, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the thought of adding yet another, but everyone else was all for it, so I agreed.
    We got our first letter from her in December. Her letter came in with all of the other Christmas Cards that were travelling to the mailbox. My heart was changed in the first sentence… dearest Mama Andrea. Just like one of my children when they began to talk, I couldn’t wait to hear “mama”. God chose those words to get my attention and to show me that I can love yet another child – one who I may never see – but one that I can protect and love through prayer and letters.
    I will pray for you to have the safest travels as you head to Africa to let us know how it is going over there.

  170. Nic says:

    Wow, Shannon, what a wonderful opportunity. Think of the stories you’ll be able to tell, not only to us, but (more importantly) to your children! Good luck!

  171. Amber says:

    We sponsor a Compassion child in Ethiopia and I have always thought how great it would be to go and meet him.
    I am really looking forward to reading your posts about your trip.
    I am so proud of you for letting God use you – so many people will become aware of Him and what He is doing because of your trip. Lives will be saved – both physical lives and souls.
    I will not only pray for you, but will pray for me and all the other readers who God will use through you. Thank you for being His tool!

  172. Sally Ferguson says:

    Shannon,
    I am so proud of you! You have an opportunity to be a voice for someone and represent these little someones to the rest of the world.
    You represent all of us, as you go to that part of the world. You are my eyes and ears in this adventure. I am your prayer warrior as you travel.
    God bless!

  173. candy says:

    I don’t know you, your blog was forwarded to me by my sister because she said it reminded her of me. Let me tell you God is about to rock your world, and it will be the best thing that has ever happened to you and your family! I was just like you, happy in the bubble life I had lived in forever and had no desire to pop my bubble. God had different ideas and took me to Tanzania on a mission trip 2 years ago. God broke my heart wide open and filled it back up with His love for the amazing people of Africa. Don’t be afraid… He will equip you for what He has called you for! Put on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride. I’ll be praying for your heart to be fertile soil and God will plant seeds of love. Please feel free to contact me, I’d love to talk more.

  174. Heidi says:

    Hey! You didn’t check with us to see if we want to be changed by reading about it! I hear you about all those fears. I’m not afraid to fly, but I’m right there with you on the rest of them, most especially the one about not wanting to have to cope with all that need and suffering. Godspeed to you, and I’m looking forward (I think) to reading about it.

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