Monday, January 6, 2014

Guest Post ~ Jessi Jones

Below is a guest post from Jessi Jones of Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Jessi began her sponsorship journey in 2010. He has been advocating for Compassion since their far-away family expanded in 2011 with the addition of correspondence kids, but officially joined the advocate network in March 2013. Currently Jessi has 3 sponsored kids and 9 correspondence kids, but is hoping to add many more as God allows. Jessi is married to Brandon and recently celebrated their 4th anniversary (January 2).

In a few short weeks, I will be flying to Tanzania with Compassion on a sponsor tour. I am beyond excited about the trip and am always happy to talk about where I’m going and what we’ll be doing with whoever asks- from family and friends to patrons at the library where I work. But I had not initially intended to go to Tanzania in March! Along this journey, I have received confirmation after confirmation from God that this is where He wants me to go, and I’d like to share some of that with you.

Back in the summer, I was feeling so restless. I felt like someone was literally tugging on my heart- I needed to travel. I needed to obey the Great Commission of the Bible, to “go” all over the world, sharing God’s love with His people, instead of just sitting at home talking about it! I never thought I would be traveling anywhere outside the country (much less by myself), though I have always been interested in missions and other cultures. I’d listen to visiting missionaries at church with 100% of my attention. I read books, fiction and non-fiction, about people who traveled around the world to help people, and I dreamed of a life like that- but I assumed that that life would never be for me. I’ve never been very adventurous, and my anxiety disorder had me convinced that the most involved in other cultures I’d ever be would be sponsoring children. Back in July, after a lot of prayer and reading and discussion, I decided to go. I spent an afternoon just browsing Compassion’s website, reading about the sponsor tours. I got so excited about all of the tours, particularly the one in Tanzania. My sponsor boy Said, who lives there, has been asking me to “welcome to Tanzania” since his very first letter, which I received two years ago. I’ve had an interest in Tanzania since I was in the third grade, when I discovered Jane Goodall and read every book the public library about her life and studies in Gombe. But I decided (note that I said “I decided”, not “I prayed about it and sought God’s will”) that I would go to Indonesia first. That’s where my first sponsor child, who calls me “momma”, lives. There was an advocate tour heading to East Indonesia in May 2014, according to the website, and the registration would be opening up in about a week. I waited, and waited, and waited….the registration opening date came and went. A few days later I got in touch with Compassion, and after a few phone calls I learned that they were unable to make arrangements for the East Indonesia trip. It would now just be the western areas where Compassion works. They mentioned that they were looking in to whether they could bring Tasya over for the child visit day, but I told them that she lives in an incredibly remote area at the very northeast region of the country, and I doubted that would be possible. I did some more praying and reading and registered for Tanzania instead. I will admit that at first, I was a little worried that I was just picking this trip because I was so dead set on going somewhere, anywhere.

Not long after I registered for the trip, I got a letter from Said that absolutely broke my heart. I had written to my kids asking about their siblings, hoping to get some specifics like names and ages. Said admitted in his letter that he and his sister “were now two”, because his other sister Huba passed away recently. At that moment I knew that Tanzania was where I was supposed to be. Said’s introductory letter said that his family has no idea where his dad is. His mom works so hard to raise him and his sisters. She has contracted and defeated malaria since I’ve known his family, and they always make sure to travel to Said’s grandmother’s farm after their own planting and harvesting is done, to help with hers. They are wonderful people whom I love very much. I am honored that they consider me a part of their family, and I definitely consider them part of mine.

There have been other confirmations along the way, too. I started advocating solely for kids in Tanzania, hoping to find some new sponsors since I was offering to take gifts to the kids when I go on my trip. One boy, Bonifas, was waiting almost a year for a sponsor, despite his adorable smile. After a few months of advocating for him, he became a part of my own far-away family. Meanwhile, I had been waiting almost two months on the list for a new correspondence child. Fearing my name had gotten lost in the list, I sent an email asking about it. I got an email shortly thereafter informing me that my newest correspondence child was a little boy named Elisha, almost the same age as Bonifas, who lived in....Tanzania! One day a patron donated a few boxes of books to the library where I work. Most of them showed some signs of wear, enough that we wouldn’t be able to add them to the library’s collection. They were headed for our book sale table. Among the boxes of books were Tanzania travel guides, Tanzania memoirs and biographies, a beautiful book of pictures of African wildlife, and books about conservation in Africa. I know they were meant for me! I bought them all and proudly carried them home to add to my bookshelf.

If God wants you to do something for Him, like travel halfway across the world to a foreign country, He will make it clear if you are on the right path! Making the commitment to go on this trip was a big leap of faith for me, but I am already seeing the rewards of obeying God’s will and following His commands! 

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to hear about this trip! Thank you, Jessi, for sharing with us today. Would you all keep Jessi in your prayers - as she prepares for this trip and for safety and well-being while she's gone?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...