Hello, Blogging Friends! If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I try to help my friends. My good friend Joel sent me this letter and I would like you to read it too.
I hope this letter finds you well! I am very excited to tell you about an opportunity that the Lord has been working on recently. This fall I plan to go to India for 4-5 months of intentional missions work! In September, I will be traveling to southeast India, to the state of Andhra Pradesh. There, I will be working with a local ministry called ALMA (Abundant Life Ministerial Associates). You may recognize ALMA, as they are the same ministry organization that I was able to partner with on my trip in May 2011. On that trip I was blessed to be part of a team that partnered with Courts for Kids to build a basketball court for one of ALMA’s two orphanages, as well as spending a week working in the villages to deliver God’s message to His people. It has ruined my heart for the people of India for what I can only assume to be a long time, and I look forward to working with these amazing people again!
This time, I will be going by myself for the majority of the trip, and will be joined by the team for two weeks in the last part for another court build! During the first four months, I will be ministering in the villages, teaching and serving the people that ALMA works with. They have near 350 churches state-wide that are supported directly through this ministry. My housing will be at ALMA’s original orphanage in, which means I will be blessed by being able to hang out and love on the children of the orphanage on a daily basis! What a blessing it will be to teach, play, and see these kids near every day!
In December, the group from Portland will arrive and I will join their itinerary and become part of the team. During the first week we will be building the second basketball court for ALMA. At the end of the build we will put on a sports clinic for the kids, inviting neighboring kids to join them and use the court alongside the ALMA children! This is one of the major reasons ALMA has requested that we build this court for them – it becomes a space of community! The second week will be spent visiting villages, running programs for the adults and the children of the communities to see worship and hear about the Truth and Love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All of this to tell you that I have contacted you on purpose! There are many reasons behind my reaching out to you, but it all boils down to asking you for your support in my going to India. This can come in many ways, but there are two specifically that I am asking for. First and foremost, I ask for you partnering with me in prayer throughout this process. Pray that God would continue to write on my heart a grief and burden for the people that I am going to come in contact with while in India. Pray that He would prepare me with courage, with confidence and most of all with a humility that could only point to His Spirit. Pray that as I go I am able to safely go through the traveling process all the way to the orphanage and home. Pray for all of the details that go into this trip. Please lift up a prayer for the tickets, the visa, the money, the words and lessons that I am preparing and the travel, both air and land. Pray that as I am there, I am being used by Him in mighty ways. That I am not the one reaching the lost, but it is He reaching out through me, grabbing hold of hearts and tearing down walls. And as I leave, be it the villages, or India entirely, pray that the words and actions that I was blessed to give do not sit idly, but are instead continuing to grow in the hearts of these people.
The second way that I would ask for you to partner with me is financially. If you are in a place where you feel blessed to bless, where you feel God’s beckoning to give, where you have a desire to fill a need, my prayer for you is that you seek it prayerfully, and give faithfully. My total fundraising goal is just shy of $5,000. My total I need to raise $2,000 before leaving, to pay for the airline tickets, the visa fees, and the transportation fees to get me there. Once there, I need to raise $500/month to cover my food cost, my transportation, my supplies, and my rent while staying with the orphanage. I also have a fundraising goal for the basketball court, to contribute to the team goal for making that vision a reality. I am not looking for you to give all of what I need, though if you feel led to, I won’t stop you! But any amount helps. I know it sounds nice and cliché, I have seen it firsthand and now fully believe that anything will help. If you feel led to give money towards getting me to India, thank you! If you feel led to pledging money while I am there, I thank you as well. And if you are not in a place to give financially, but want to support me in other ways aside from prayer, please let me know! I am certainly willing to take help and support in any way!
Thank you for considering partnering with me in this trip in however you can! You mean more to me than words could say, and I appreciate all that you have been to me. I look forward to telling you all about how God is changing my heart, and the hearts of these wonderful Indian people, and of the miracles that I know He is going to allow me to see!
Living in the light, shining in the darkness, Joel Chandler
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I was able to see Joel just a few days ago and I can tell you first hand that he is very excited, with a mix of slight nervousness, about this trip and the opportunity ahead of him. I realize that part of his letter is in regards to fundraising, but please know that I am not necessarily asking you to give to this trip (unless you really feel called to); moreover, I am asking you to join me in praying for Joel as he prepares for this trip in the coming weeks and months. Please pray that the needed finances are raised, the application process for visas goes smoothly, and all the details get worked out with no issue. Joel is taking a step in faith and answering God’s call on his life…a call to go and serve among the poor and needy…among the people that truly need God and His love…remember this when you pray for the trip.
I am so proud of Joel and his decision to follow through with this trip. I am glad to have given what I could to the trip…and will give more, as I save my tithe money. For now, I partner with Joel and others in prayer for the trip. God is going to do great things through him, I just know it!
Joel- blessings be on you, brother.