Our journey of 10,000 miles (literally) starts today.

We are heading off on this crazy, wonderful, exciting trip around America (again, literally, around-America) and all I can say is “Wow!”  God is so good, and we are so thankful for all the blessings that have poured out to help this all come together.  I mean, we could not have planned a better, more perfect trip if we had years to put it all together.  We are getting to see the most wonderful, loving people all along the way, I can’t decide which stop I am most excited about because they all seem so great!  From the blogger who Jessie has read faithfully for the past 8 years who is opening up her home even though she has something like 15 kids, to the people in Minnesota who are putting together a spagetti dinner that already sounds like it might be sold out, and so many more I could go on and on!

Then there is the timing of it all, literally these past weeks we have started busting at the seams in our intake center, three more houses are in the processing of being opened, and kids keep coming in the door, and they are going to keep coming!  We could not be heading out to raise money for this at a better time than today.

Suffice it all to say, this is a huge blessing, and I can tell already by how things are going that this trip is going to be a huge success.  God is doing something!

And just so that we are all on the same page, and so I can come back on here and brag on how AMAZING God is when this all happens… Here are the things we are raising money for on this trip.

1. Forever Families!  Our goal is to get sponsors for twenty forever family houses in Ethiopia.  Big, crazy goal I know, but why not?  We have always said that we were building from the ground up, laying a solid foundation for a real lasting impact on the country of Ethiopia.  And so now that we hear the doors are open for more orphans to come into new families, and see that we are able to find many Godly, wonderful mothers who are ready to take on the challenge of parenting orphans… It is go time!   And we and all the incredible staff in Ethiopia who make up Bring Love In, could not be more ready for it.

2. House Setup. With all these sponsorships we are going to have to set up new homes as well.   For each forever family that we create we found that it costs us $5000 to setup a new home, that means furniture, beds, kitchen appliances, prepaying the first year of rent. All of it.    So our big crazy goal in this area is to raise enough funds to start these twenty houses as well.

Are you getting scared yet?  Keep reading…

3. General funds.  With the increase in number of homes that we will be caring for we will aslo be needing to add a few more staff on the admin side in Ethiopia.  We are looking for some donors who will come along side us in this, the not-so-glamorous, but equally important part of what it takes to give orphans families.

4. Long Term Financial Stability.  Yeah, you read that right, big words for a simple goal. We have spent the past weeks getting time to catch up with our board members and talking through the vision for this next season, the one theme that seemed to come up over and over again as we talked was; building a solid foundation.  With each new family that we create we will be taking on a huge responsibility.  (Ask any parent… It’s true.) And so we want to put together a fund that will ensure that no matter what storms may come in the future, we will always be prepared.   The number that we all felt peace about… Are you ready for this???   $250,000.   I know, my heart goes into my stomach every time I hear that number too.  But all of us felt that this is right, and something that we need to reach for. God is amazing! And these are His kids, we are just stepping out in faith here, doing our part and waiting on Him to do the rest.

Honestly though, if this number is what it took to just save one child, to give one child the forever family that he deserved and take him from an orphanage where he was not loved and into a better place.

I would do it.   I would give all I had for one kid.  But this is for so, so many more!

5. A car for our family.  Many of you have seen the van that we own, and some of you have even driven in it.  We love our van, and are thankful that it often does the job of getting from points A to B.  But we have come to the realization that we need to get something a little more reliable and also with four wheel drive for the muddy roads that we navigate every day.  So we are putting this out there as well, stepping out in faith and letting the need be known, praying for another miracle.

 

Ok.  There you have it, the big, crazy, audacious goals that we somehow, strangely, feel peace about.

If there ever was a time when you felt your faith stretch it is now, I mean like literally right now, as I finish writing this post to you, and feel the lump in my throat about all these kids that we are trying to place in families, and how uncomfortable it is putting our hearts out there like this, and trusting like this..    God is good though.  Always good.

Lastly, I just have to share these pictures with you of our awesome road trip machine!

Here is the super duper car top carrier that is loaded up with hundreds of t-shirts and books. 

My personal favorite… A cooler that stays cool while we drive! 

More books that did not fit on the roof. 

The neatest under-the-floor storage that you ever did see.  Each kid has their own tub of clothes in here.  The Zip-Loc bags each have a complete outfit in them.  So whenever we get somewhere we just grab a few bags and we are ready to go.   I just have to put a plug in here for my wife, Jessie is the best! She put all of this together. As you can see by these pictures, she knows how to plan a pretty mean road trip.  A guy could not ask for a more wonderful lady-friend  (No way I could have done any of this!) 

This is the van that we will be driving.  (Thank you Scott and Natalie!)  

And here is the super rad storage system that we created while perusing the tub-isle at Target. Each tub is a different category.   One for events, one for each of our clothes, one for shoes… And so on…

 

Pretty neat huh?  Anyone want to come with us?  We have one extra seat.

 

Levi

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