Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What if YOU were a teenager, WITHOUT PARENTS, and ON THE STREETS?

Below is an email that I sent out to explain my mission, and to raise funds. A friend of mine who wasn't even a recipient of this email called yesterday to tell me that she has $370 for me. Yay and PRAISE GOD. I still need to raise $1,400 - $2,100. I really need help. Thanks so much for reading!

Dear Friends & Family,

I am sending an email to save postage. Please forgive the de-personalization of a mass email.

I am returning to Zimbabwe in August, for my 3rd solo missions trip. I have booked my flights to depart on Aug 4 and return on Aug 13. Each flight takes two days, so I will be on the ground with the children in the orphanage for 6 full days. This time I will be visiting only 1 orphanage rather than 5. If you have been a part of my journeys before, or the recent truck fundraiser, you will know that I have developed a very close and special relationship with a group of 15 orphaned teenagers in Zimbabwe. They range in age from 15 - 19. Some have HIV Aids. All are facing the harsh reality of life as an orphan in Zim, and that is that they will all be forced onto the streets when they "graduate" from the orphanage. Their orphanage founder does everything she can to raise money for them to go to school to learn a trade, or even Bible school...but still many will turn to drugs, prostitution, or theft, if they are manipulated or brainwashed by strangers to believe that those are their only options for survival.

Due to the Aids epidemic, the average life expectancy in Zim is age 27. Treatments, anti-virals are available and all of these kids who are infected now are receiving their meds. When they are forced out of the welfare system by their government, they might rapidly decline and face an early, unnecessary death. Their country does not care about them, in the slightest. They are alive today because Fatima cares for them. When she is legally forced to push them out, they will need buckets of hope.

For whatever reason, these kids love and trust me. Their orphanage director (& founder), Fatima, believes that I can motivate them and inspire them to be more and do more than what their own country believes in. And I believe this too. But my understanding and belief is simply that God is preparing me for this, not at all that I can do it on my own. I can know this firmly and soundly because of His presence with me specifically on my first trip to Zim. Their questions were intense. My answers were delivered of my voice, however the words were quite honestly, supernatural. If I could ever know with confidence that I have ever been used as a vessel of the Holy Spirit, it was then. And it is now. And this is all I know. I am going back to inject their spirits with hope. I have been the recipient of hope. Over the years of my life, hope has been gifted to me by random people at various times and with a multitude of consequences. I know first-hand how powerful it is to be encouraged and motivated. I have a gift to encourage. My plan is to exhaust that gift over a 6 day period in Zimbabwe, even if it somehow means that I do not eat or sleep. I might come home empty and depleted, and that is okay.

My airfare was $2,400. I paid for that with $1120 in mission donations and my credit card holds the balance. I will have to pay for lodging and food, my visa to enter the country, and incidentals. I would like to purchase a laptop computer for Fatima (approx $600). I need to raise a minimum of $1800 more and up to $2500 more. The more I raise, the more possible it becomes for me to purchase a computer for Fatima, which she needs.

If you can help to support me as a sender on this mission, I am asking that you do so right away. I will need to receive funds no later than July 24. However, if you need to mail me a post-dated check, that will be fine. I can wait as late as July 30 to deposit any checks that I receive. Once again, this is not a tax deduction, because I am not a charitable organization. However, I do believe that in God's economy, there are many deductions, rewards, and benefits to supporting the missionary for His kingdom. I also just happen to believe the benefit of the sacrifice is greater than anything that can be measured.

Please know that any amount is humbly appreciated. Every dollar matters so much. I truly cannot express the magnitude of the value of each dollar. Please feel free to send $5 if that is all that you can afford right now. It all adds up in the end and I could not be more grateful.

If you have a computer connection and have the ability to help me provide a computer for Fatima, one that can be used on a Zim electrical system (or converted somehow) please contact me about this.

Thank you as always for reading my plea and considering a donation. Asking for contributions is by far the hardest part for me. Indeed, the kids are worth it.

Please mail donations to me at 6840 Bridgewater Drive, Nashville, TN 37221.

Please don't hesitate to ask me questions or share your thoughts with me. I am always so appreciative of the prayers, the words of encouragement and the motivation to not give up. I need those things as much, if not more, than the generous donations.

P.S. I will be posting this letter on my blog website as well. If you have friends, coworkers or family that you can share this with, it would be a great blessing. Please direct them to www.untilthejasperwalls.blogspot.com Thank you again! I WILL ALSO BEGIN UPDATING THE DONATIONS ON MY BLOG SO THAT YOU CAN KEEP TRACK OF THE PROGRESS.

Be blessed. Thank you.

Melissa Irwin

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