If you get buried under a pile of toddlers or your laundry room devours you before you make it to the end of this post, let me start with the bottom line: keep dreaming crazy, because sometimes it all comes true.
At Allume this past fall, in the middle of my session, I mentioned my blogger dream team fantasy. Like most of my ideas, it felt like an unattainable pipe dream* and I almost couldn’t make my mouth say it.
See, I kept seeing these ginormous bloggers do amazing things through their blogs, like getting an entire hospital in the developing world funded in one afternoon, or getting approximately five million kids sponsored in an hour. It was breathtaking and amazing, and I was over here thinking about the people I wish I could help if only I was
I wondered what would happen if we could find a bunch of bloggers to all point their blogs to one spot to make a difference in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children. Like how Star Lord couldn’t hold the infinity stone by himself but with the Guardians of the Galaxy, they could wield it together. (Can I get a “We are Groot?”)
I’ve been working with HopeChest for six years now and love the Community-to-Community model where they take a community here and partner it with a community in the developing world, for the transformation of both. Everything sustainable is done in relationship. And blogs are online communities….
So, I had this blogger dream team fantasy that I was almost too scared to mention because it felt too big to say out loud, but I felt like if I didn’t say it out loud it would burn a hole right through my heart. So at Allume, I said it out loud in the middle of my session, kinda fast, and then I moved on to the next slide.
“Blogger Dream Team Fantasy.”
Guatemala has become this country embedded in my brain. One of my best friends is Guatemalan, and when I went to HopeChest’s Deeply Rooted conference last spring I happened to sit across from one of the Guatemalan staff, who told me all about his country and his ministry with kids there. I felt the dream start to flutter around inside my head.
At the end of my Allume session, I had a group of people who came up to the front, and one by one they told me they wanted to be part of this, they wanted to go, they loved Guatemala.
I said, “Um, wow, okay, lemme get a piece of paper or something and write down your emails.” I was so unprepared that anyone would be interested that I didn’t even have a signup sheet.
I scrawled names and contact info on the back of my session notes and when I got home, I contacted everyone, along with a few other people on my heart.**
You guys, the trip is happening. I have about ten people interested in pointing their attention to Guatemala, and four of us are going there on April 18-22 to look at the possible partnership opportunities in several different locations, called “CarePoints.” Besides myself, we have Ashlee Gadd, editor at Coffee+Crumbs and a kickass photographer, Tammy Perlmutter, editor of The Mudroom and a fellow Whovian, and Chantel Adams, owner of Forever We and my best friend.
Please join us in prayer as we travel over and make decisions about where to partner and how to work together. During and after the trip, we’ll show and tell you all about it and how you can help.
It’s going to take all of us.
I’m completely terrified that not enough people will care, but I’m dreaming big and working small, one step and one person at a time. One child, one sponsor, one dollar, one story.
I know this works because I’ve seen it in Uganda here and here and here and here. We partner with all local leadership; people who are in their communities and know what they need will guide us on how we can help. Our goal is community transformation, because the best way to meet the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children is to create a healthy, safe community around them. We work in relationships, between sponsor and child, between child and local discipler. We focus on asset-based development, looking at what assets a community has already and how we can empower them. We work humbly, going in asking, “How can we help?” rather than “Here’s what we’ll do.” This is about sustainability, not creating dependence. We are not the leaders, or the teachers, or the workers. We are the relationshippers, the cheerleaders, the faithful friends. We get the glorious role of being the sidekicks as the superheroes tackle poverty and injustice in their own towns.
So. Stay tuned as Unexpected heads to Guatemala in April. I have so much more to tell you. Dreams really can come true. Step one: speak them out loud. Step two: work your butt off.
*What is a “pipe dream” anyway? Where did that saying come from? I picture it’s like when you play too much Super Mario Bros. and dream all night about descending into sewer pipes, or is it a crack pipe? I don’t know anything about those, but pixelated sewer pipes I know.
**”On my heart” is such a weird, Christianese thing to say. I’m not sure how else to say when I’m talking to someone or see that person’s name online and just feel this socially awkward compulsion to see if they want to go to Guatemala with me. And “on my heart” sounds nicer that “in my bowels.”
images from Children’s HopeChest