All joking aside, we do wish you a very merry Christmas. We’ve had a busy, but fun, year at the Picker house. Caleb started kindergarten this fall, and Evelyn and Josiah are both going to preschool. Casey’s business, Lamplight Media is continuing to grow, which is a huge blessing to us. He enjoys being self-employed and all the benefits that go with that.
We would like to take this opportunity to share what God is doing in our lives and to ask you to prayerfully join our efforts.
As many of you know, over the last four years, God has begun a new work in our hearts and in our family. It began when we adopted Josiah from Ethiopia in 2009. Our hearts were forever changed by what we saw in Ethiopia, and we couldn’t shake the feeling that God had a plan for us that further involved this beautiful country. In 2010, we returned to adopt our precious Evy, and came home even more in love and more burdened. At that point, we knew that we weren’t ready for another adoption in the near future, but we wanted to continue to be involved in Ethiopia.
Through some God-ordained circumstances, we became involved with the ministry of Lifesong for Orphans. You can read more about our work with Lifesong here. We joined a team of several other families who are passionate about changing Ethiopia. In the last two years, God has used our team to raise over $300,000 as we continue to expand the work of the school. The student body has grown from 430 to 830 children. Our impact in the war against poverty is widening as we reach out to more and more families in this community. In this same period we have made four trips to Ethiopia to see what God is doing, and we are convinced that He is blessing and growing this ministry.
This past spring, Casey and I took the Perspectives course at a local church. This discipleship program grew and challenged us in new and exciting ways. We completed it with a new vision of God’s purpose for our lives and an emboldened desire to serve Him faithfully.
Because of this and because of the heart He has given us for Ethiopia, we are planning to spend six weeks in Ethiopia this summer as a family. We see this opportunity as an internship of sorts to help us decide if God is calling our family to serve overseas long-term. We honestly don’t know what the answer to that question will be, but after much prayer and discussion with friends, we have decided to take this step in obedience and trust God to reveal His plan as He will.
During our time in Ethiopia, we plan to assist the existing missionaries in any way possible, shadowing them and learning from their wisdom and expertise. We will spend time getting to know the students better and helping at the different schools in various ways. We will also help with preparations for the 2013-14 school year, possibly including registration. But, most of all, we hope that this time in Ethiopia with our children will give us the information we need to make an informed choice for our family. We want to see how being overseas will affect our family life and determine if we can still be effective parents to our children while serving overseas.
Our church leadership is supportive of our plan, and has agreed to help by funding a third of our expenses. We will be raising the rest of our funding. As you can imagine, this trip will be costly. We estimate that our overall expenses will run about $23,000, which includes our commitments at home, since Casey will be taking six weeks of unpaid leave from his work, and also our travel and living expenses while in Ethiopia.
We would like to ask you to consider supporting us in prayer and also being a part of our sending team by supporting us financially. As crucial as financial support is, your prayers and emotional support are vital as well. We know that each of us is called to participate in the Great Commission in different ways, and we hope that you will join us in this endeavor.
If you have questions for us, or would like to see a more detailed breakdown of our expenses, please feel free to contact us. We would love to talk with you about our plans. We plan to post updates to our blog so you can follow our journey.
We love you all and pray that this Christmas season is a blessing to you as we celebrate the gift of our Savior.
You can make a donation towards our trip HERE. Be sure to add a note that your donation is for the Pickers. Thank you!