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Meet Spark Ventures

I didn’t get my first passport until I was 31. A few years later, I’ve collected a small handful of stamps; this is partly due to Spark Ventures. I learned about Spark during the application process for a short term missions trip to Zambia. Since then, I’ve served on two of Spark’s Transformation Trips (in conjunction with North Park University’s Global Partnerships Program). While I’m in the States, I continue to support the work of Spark and Hope Ministries by volunteering my time, talents and money. I made a special $50 “Lent” donation to Spark (read why here) that will Read More

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She touched my heart

Today’s repost about my 2009 trip to Zambia deals with the power of touch… – – – Just one touch… I went into the missions trip to Zambia with no expectations. I’d heard the stories and seen the pictures of previous team members and how they’d bonded with the children. I’ve always had a soft spot for the littlest lambs, so I was excited about the opportunity to spend time with the children of the Hope Community School and Hope House Orphanage. But I’ve been a part of enough service projects to know that going in with expectations will usually Read More

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Zambia: How it all started

This weekend, I’ve decided to share some old Facebook notes that I wrote about my first trip to Zambia in 2009. Today’s repost is a collection of excerpts from my journal: – – – Africa, Zambia, My Home: Journal excerpts… Tuesday, May 12, 2009; 8:27 a.m. (Zambia) So we’re here…and it is quite amazing…to see so many people who look like me…to wonder if THIS is where I’m from…wanting to just run up to people and hug them because I am HOME. Thursday, May 14, 2009; 11:36 p.m. (Zambia) I feel like somehow…when my feet touched African soil, my ancestors Read More

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Dealing with disappointment…

Warning: This post is purposely not “polished.” It’s a peek into my brain as I process through this situation…I chose this way because I hope that my transparency and willingness to be “raw” will help someone else who may be dealing with disappointment. So, here’s another peek into the way my mind operates. Fasten your seat belts, and please keep your arms inside the ride at all times… One evening, in the mid-nineties, while at my college’s gospel choir rehearsal, I had a thought…a little inkling of a thought that maybe one day I might be some sort of missionary. Read More

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A picture’s worth a thousand words

I toyed around with topic’s for today’s post, and nothing was really jumping out at me…at least nothing that didn’t require more time than I had to dedicate to a post today. Then I thought about something that had made me smile most recently, this photo: This was a candid photo taken while I was playing with a toddler named Eden at the Seeds of Hope orphanage in Ndola, Zambia. Eden and the other children at the orphanage have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Some of the children are also infected with HIV. What you can’t see is the big grin Read More

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Never stop dreaming

Yesterday, I saw a video spread across the internet like wildfire, but it wasn’t until late last night that I finally decided to click “play.” By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden radio voice. In the original video (taken by a newspaper reporter from the Columbus Dispatch), we see Williams on the side of the road, holding a sign that says he has a “God given gift of voice” and that he is an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. During the video, he’s given a chance to wow the Read More

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It’s a new year!

Happy New Year! Since childhood, my family’s New Year’s Day dinner has included black-eyed peas and greens. Many of you probably know the history behind this tradition, so I won’t go into that. Today, I’m thinking about how my experiences from the past few years are shaping this tradition for 2011. I will still be preparing black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread. However, this year, I will also prepare a small serving of nshima. Nshima (pronounced “shee-ma”) is usually made from maize and is a staple dish in Zambia. It is similar to West African fufu and Kenyan ugali. I was Read More