This is how it all started… She’d just gotten back from a cruise with her special needs friends from church and had to tell me about her trip.
We met nearly two decades ago, Lori and I, on a mission trip to Russia where we ran camps for orphan kids. Russia, unfortunately, was a season in life that has long since passed, but after six trips together, we formed a lasting trust and friendship. Not everyone wants to spend their free time and money and travel to Russia in the winter to minister to orphan kids…so when you find like minded friends on a trip like that, you tend to stay friends.
She told me how, in the midst of helping her special needs friends enjoy a rare vacation opportunity in some tropical locale (I’m telling you, she has a special heart), she saw a poor boy on the side of the road, belly distended with starvation. Stop the bus! Stop the bus! She began yelling to the bus driver. I’m sorry, she choked through her tears, but I have to give this boy my food. She’d been preparing everyone’s sandwiches for lunch and as she offered up hers, so did the entire bus of her friends. That boy and his friends that suddenly began to materialize out of thin air had food for the first time in who knows how long.
She wept as she repeated the story to me. We have to do something, Stacey. We have to go… I don’t know where, but it’s just time…we have to do something. Maybe it’s there, maybe somewhere else, but I know I have to do something and I want you to go with me.
Little did she know I’d been praying for the past year for God to begin opening up some “missions” opportunities for me in other countries. She was right—it was time. Specifically, I’ve been wanting to go as a writer. I’ve been praying about opportunities to write the stories of what God is doing in other countries, with other missionaries, etc. and bring them back to believers in America. I shared with her my dream, but said I was ready to go if the doors opened, in whatever capacity God may have.
Lori’s one of those make things happen kind of people…and she serves a make it happen kind of God… so in a matter of days it was done—we are going to the Amazon, November 15-22!!! Another dear friend we had met and worked with in our Russia days, Steve Davis, is running a trip to the Amazon and needs our help…specifically, he wants Lori to photograph kids and me to interview them and write their bio’s as he is wanting to start a sponsorship program. He had no idea that I was now a writer, nor did he know I had been praying for an opportunity to combine writing and missions. That was the final sign, if you will, where we both knew this was where God was leading us.
So we are thrilled to be heading to the Amazon on a new adventure/calling/mission, with a new team and old, trusted friends, both. I know what amazing things happened when we were all in Russia together, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for this time and this place, both in the lives of the people we go to serve, and in our own. Details of the trip are on back, but I wanted to share the amazing confluence of how God has brought us all together to this time and place already. I already see God’s hand and provision in bringing us to this point, and that’s good, because we are going to need more of the same as we venture out.
We are SO, SO excited to go be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s the way we are wired and it’s one of the blessings of being single—we are able to get away in a way most people aren’t. BUT…we still cannot do it without you. We may be the ones going, but we can’t do it unless others partner with us and send us. It’s a team effort. So please, read about what we are doing, read about the need in the Amazon, and then pray about being a part of our trip by prayer and financial support.
A few more details:
I love it when the body of Christ works together as a body, not a competition! Our trip to Brazil is a coordination between several organizations. Steve Davis with Justice and Mercy International (www.justiceandmercy.org) is the lead. (He is also the Missions Director at Rolling Hills Community Church in Nashville, TN, so we will be in close partnership with their church as well.) JMI is a faith-based, non-profit organization that exists to change lives by confronting injustice through eight global initiatives: spiritual hopelessness, disease, education, human trafficking, orphans, poverty, the environment, and wars and threats of wars. They do that through partnerships and programs that connect people with tangible ways to change lives and bring Christ to the nations. One of those partnerships is with Gloria Santos in the Amazon, the founder of Ray of Hope (http://rayofhopeamazon.com/).
There are 80,000 untouched villages in the Amazon Basin. Ray of Hope has been supporting families, providing food, clothing, medical care, strategically building schools and improving literacy, conducting Bible camps, supporting local pastors, distributing Bibles…and the list goes on…whatever it takes to help and serve both the basic human needs and spiritual needs of the people in the Amazon Basin.
Along with those organizations, Stacey Tuttle will be representing Shepherd Project Ministries (www.shepherdproject.com) which aims to equip God’s people to dig deep into truth and reach wide into the world with relevant and transformational proclamations of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Our Main Trip Objectives:
- Incarnate the love of Christ to children and villagers on a group and individual basis.
- Partner with Ray of Hope in activities such as putting on Kids’ Clubs, providing food to young mothers and children, supporting jungle pastors, working with children with special needs, etc.
- Provide medical training for midwives
- Rebuild a school on higher ground so it will withstand the floods
- Build out a sponsorship program for Brazil. A part of our ongoing ministry will be to interview and photograph children so that Americans can sponsor and support this life-critical work.
Our Main Needs:
- Prayer, Prayer, Prayer!
- Finances: the trip costs about $2500 for travel, accommodations, visas, etc. per person.
Really, that’s it! It’s simple. You can be a part of what God is doing in the Amazon without having to face the sweltering heat and humidity, without fighting mosquitos or dining daily on piranha. You don’t have to clear your schedule or get someone to watch the dog while you’re gone… yet you can be a vital part of the trip. I wish that you all could go with us and have such an experience, but as you cannot, it is an amazing reality that God intends the body of Christ to work together in this way—some sending, some going. Some the hands and feet, others the brains and backbone. And in that partnership, we all share in the joy of the gospel. We all take part in the ministry, each one vital, each one an equal partner.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they would be “enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). I love that. God has been generous with us so that we might be generous with others. We are each blessed and in such a way as we have been blessed, we are to bless others—with our resources, our time, our talents, our love…whatever it may be. And as you give to us, so that we can give to them, it will all produce thanksgiving to God which is the great point of it all.
If you would like to support this trip as we head to the Amazon—you can send checks as follows, and note “Amazon” in the designation.
c/o Shepherd Project Ministries
91 S. Carlton St. Castle Rock, CO 80104
*or give online: http://www.shepherdproject.com/donate