I am a member of Journey Church, a non-denominational church in Raleigh. My family and I have grown to love the message along with the praise band. It’s great to be able to sing as loud as you want and no one can hear how horrible a singer you are!
Two to three times per year Journey Church sends teams to Honduras. This past June, I was lucky enough to go on one of these mission trips with my children Kylie, Clay, my nephew Caleb and 25 other youths and adult volunteers. To say that this trip was life changing would be an understatement. I feel as though I was blessed by them more than they could have possibly been blessed by me.
One of the first places we visited was a little town on a beautiful lake. There we met Iris, a mother of five who adopted her sister’s three little girls. Iris worked at a nearby coffee plantation to make ends meet. The family used to live in a shack but now they live in a proper house, built by volunteers from Journey over the past year. Even with four walls and indoor plumbing, she still cooks in an outside kitchen with a wood burning, clay stove called a cocina. They also wash their clothes the same way my grandmother did on a washboard 75 years ago. Theirs is made of concrete with built in ridges. Iris showed us how she washes clothes and I had the kids in the group all learn from her. It took us at least four hours to wash, rinse, and hang dry about two loads of laundry.
As we traveled across Honduras working and discipling in the many different towns, I felt a need to give back to this community even more. So many different options flew through my head. I prayed, how do I help? My prayer was answered when we were scheduled to work at an all-boys orphanage in a little town called Comayagua. We were told that the boys did not really get to celebrate their birthdays; they did not even receive a birthday card. Some boys do not even know their birthday. So the director of the orphanage and his daughter, Dr. Sara, evaluate their growth and give them a birthdate. That is when the idea came to me that maybe we (Pursuit Wealth Strategies) could sponsor these children’s birthdays once a month. And so, we have arranged to send monthly birthday cards signed by all of the team members and enough money to have a birthday cake and small party for them.
They are starting a movement through the churches to encourage families to be foster parents. This movement has no government support which means no funding. I learned that some of the children are not in the orphanage because they are not wanted or loved, but there because their parents cannot afford to care for them. At the orphanage, Sunday, along with church, is also family visitation day.
To take my children out of the North Raleigh bubble and let them see that most of the world does not live like them was priceless. They need to understand how blessed they are. I wanted to instill in them a responsibility to give back. As our good book tells us, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I encourage you to find your mission trip this year. It may not be a third world country, it can be right here in North Carolina. It will bring you so much joy, beyond what you can imagine.
All the best,
Raymond James is not affiliated with Journey Church. Any opinions are those of Pamela S. Rigsby, CFP® and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.