Tuesday, December 2, 2008

where we are at....

well a quick update..
  • our coin drive was a success!! we raised $527.27 and counting...we are still getting coin donations trickling in even after the drive ended. it is so cool to me that we brought in that much spare change. i consider it a great success!
  • our trip count is at 13 now. since our first meeting we have lost a total of 7 people. as of now there are 13 of us continuing on with the trip in June.
  • we are having a meeting reprieve for the month of December. although we are trying to get a group activity planned so we can have some group bonding outside of our usual meeting times. i think it will be a good way for us to get to know each other better.
  • at our last meeting in November we were all given our individual fundraiser totals...i think it was a harsh realization for everyone still going that we have a LONG, LONG way to go to raise the remaining funds needed to go on the trip. i know it was for me. i just hope we can all come together and get everything raised in time!
  • we have a pretty big fundraiser coming up in the next couple weeks. jessica price is going to put on a benefit concert for our group on December 19th at 7pm at TVC. all the money raised will go straight to our trip. we have had a great response from the church and hastings community so far. if you're not familiar with jessica she appeared on the most recent season of america's got talent. she made it all the way into the top 10. we are all so appreciative of her doing this in support of our trip. tickets are $10 and there is limited amount of seating available. let me know if you are interested in tickets.

well i hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season, i know i will be much more relaxed after exams next week. thank you for the continued support and prayers, it means so much!

audrey jane

Thursday, October 23, 2008

some more details....

So you may be wondering a little more about our youth mission trip...this trip is kinda a "joint-venture" so-to-speak, between TVC, the church i belong to, Fusion 412, TVC's Youth Group, Living Laura's Hope, which i will explain more about later, and World Vision (http://www.worldvision.org/).

TVC stands for Thornapple Valley Church (http://www.tvcweb.com/). It is a non-denominational Christian church located in Hastings, MI. TVC's vision is "to demonstrate authentic Christianity from the heart in an atmosphere of acceptance". Fusion 412 is the name for the Youth Group at TVC, headed up by Joel, who will be leading our youth mission trip to Zambia. World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. They are involved with work world-wide as their name indicates. Living Laura's Hope started from the foundation of Share Laura's Hope (http://www.sharelaurashope.com/). Share Laura's Hope was created in honor of Laura Dickinson. Laura, (the girl pictured to the right), was a 22 year old from Hastings, MI. Laura's life was taken from her in her dorm room at Eastern Michigan University, where she was attending school, back in December of 2006. Her parents, Bob and Deb, started Share Laura's Hope in honor of their daughter and her passion for wanting to support AIDS victims in Africa, most specifically the orphan children who are made vulnerable by the disease. Bob and Deb have partnered with World Vision and to date have raised $26,600 in honor of their daughter for the organization.

Bob and Deb Dickinson attend TVC as well. When the idea first got under way for the mission trip at TVC it was suggested by some staff that Share Laura's Hope be incorporated into the trip. By including Share Laura's Hope into the trip it was then decided to use World Vision as the organization we would go through for the trip because a relationship was already established between Share Laura's Hope and World Vision. As I said before, Share Laura's Hope was started in order to raise money for orphans in Africa. Living Laura's Hope was then created by Laura's parents as a result of the decision to move forward with the mission trip. The thought behind Living Laura's hope was that Bob and Deb Dickinson and the selected group of TVC members would be going to Africa to "Live Laura's Hope". We would actually be carrying out what Laura herself hoped to have done one day.

Bob and Deb decided they wanted to go on the trip. They want to do this for Laura. Everyone else going on the trip had to proceed with an application process. The trip was limited to TVC members only, as well as, limited to teenagers who were in grades 9-12. After the applications were reviewed, we ended up with a group of 10 teenagers, 6 girls and 4 boys. As well as 10 leaders. Four leaders have since decided not to continue on with the trip which leaves us with a remaining 6 leaders.

Our first meeting was back at the end of July and since have had monthly meetings and actually have our next meeting on Saturday. We get together to do some team building activities as well as work on fundraising ideas. I am so excited! I am so excited for everything. This whole trip has brought so much joy and excitement into my life. I really feel like I can't even begin to put into words how much passion i have for this trip. it is amazing!!! it excites me and everyday i can't wait to get things done that make it that much closer for us to be able to go on this trip.

As far as fundraising goes, we have to fund-raise all our own money. If you don't fund-raise your $5,000.00 you don't get to go, it's that simple. We are responsible for ourselves going. The church isn't covering for any of us to go. Which leads to some anxiety along the way hoping all the money we need to raise will be raised. That's where my prayers come in as well as my belief that God will provide for us to be able to carry through with the trip.

audrey jane

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


"Calling all Spare Change"

Well we have our "first" fundraiser getting underway this upcoming weekend, October 25/26. I have organized a "Spare Change Coin Drive" at TVC that will run through November 9th. We are asking people to bring in their spare change and donate it to help fund the trip. We have collection boxes at church to collect the donations over the next 2 weeks. I am hoping we get a good response! It kinda symbolizes that if eveyone just gives a little we will be that much closer to being able to make the trip possible. The point of the change drive is to show that every penny counts! If you have change you would like to donate, please let me know! Any little bit is appreciated. Thanks!

audrey jane

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One in five 15-to-49 year olds in Zambia is infected with HIV

Nearly a quarter of all the children in Zambia are orphans

Three out of four children in Zambia live below the poverty line

Seven out of ten AIDS orphans in rural areas of Zambia don’t attend school

More than half of all Zambian children
are chronically malnourished

....these are the facts provided by World Vision Humanitarian Organization. And we are here to try and make a difference; however small it may be. Please continue your support of the trip!
much love,
audrey jane

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mbala, Zambia...

You may be wondering where are we going exactly???

Well the map above is a picture of Africa, showing where exactly Zambia is located on the continent. And the map on the right, is a picture of Zambia and the red dot is Mbala. Mbala is the largest most northernly town in Zambia. It is 25 km away from the border with Tanzania. The second highest waterfall in Africa, Kalambo Falls, lies about 40 km (by road) northwest of Mbala. (We might be able to go there as part of the trip, i'm keeping my fingers crossed.)

thanks for the continued support!
audrey jane

Monday, September 29, 2008

successful weekend!

well we had a successful past weekend at church. so many people were very enthusiastic after hearing about our trip announcement. it means alot when people are there to support you. after the services we welcomed people to come and talk with us. we had an outpouring of people that came to see us at TVC Central (which is basically just a spot out in the lobby that information is available and various things are sold). we were there to talk with anyone who was interested in learning more about the trip and also to sell our africa 2009 t-shirts (a pic to come, if anyone is interested in purchasing one for $10, proceeds to go toward the trip). the kids did a great job, i am so proud of them and their dedication to the trip, they were very enthusiastic all weekend long. it is very inspiring to see people their age, in today's day and age, focusing their time and energy on something as important as giving back of themselves to the community.

*we will be promoting at the caledonia campus this upcoming weekend, to get our satellite campus involved with our trip as well.

much love,
audrey jane

Thursday, September 25, 2008


okay so i just found out yesterday that we are going to be promoting our trip at church this weekend at all 3 services. i'm really excited about it. this is really going to be the first "official" announcement about our trip to the church members. i'm really excited for the TVC family to get behind us. we really do need everyone's prayers as we make this journey together. there are alot of pieces that all have to come together in order to make this trip possible...so thank you for your continued support!

much love,
audrey jane

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

my first post!!

okay everyone so i am leaving this first post with much excitement behind it!! my dream to go to Africa is finally coming into realization. i am going to be heading to Mbala, Zambia in June of 2009 on a mission trip. i couldn't be more excited. i just went and applied for my passport the other day, let me remind you it is my first one ever, i've never been out of the country, and it made everything so much more real for me.

back to the beginning...where did all of this start?? well i've wanted to go to Africa for several years now. my interest was pretty much sparked back then by a very good friend of mine who went to South Africa. upon his return i heard nothing but "good" things from him about his experience there. let me clarify when i say "good" things i mean life changing experiences and lessons that he took away from his trip. i kept it in the back of my mind that i may want to go to there some day. as many of you may know i had the most wonderful opportunity to live out in Bellingham, Washington for about year back in 2004-2005. i absolutely loved it out there, it was such a positive growing experience for me. while i was there the Peace Corps came and did a presentation for my school. they were there explaining to people about their organization and what not. as part of their presentation they included a video and part of the video included stuff on Africa...this event pretty much sealed my intent on making it to Africa sometime in my life. something about going to Africa was really ringing true inside of me. so fast forward about 3 years later, i have finally finished school with my bachelor's degree in psychology, i have been working full-time for the past year as a receptionist at rockford construction company and have been trying to figure out what's next in my life, all the while hoping i may make it to Africa...when my opportunity finally presented itself!!!

details..details..details...so i have been attending Thornapple Valley Church, better known as TVC, down in hastings for the past year and a half. it has been the most wonderful experience. once i stopped going to church 7 years ago i never though i'd go again...all that changed when i was invited to go to TVC by a friend. i went once and have kept going back ever since. i never thought i'd gain anything from that first worship experience but i was wrong. i realize i have finally found a place where i can feel accepted, be at ease, and develop a better understanding of God. And of Jesus. i’m still learning. i have so much to learn. what a difference a different environment has had on my faith. i’ve learned that faith takes work and study. worship is a time for me to reflect on what it means to be a Christian. part of my growing experience came in the form of something the church calls "life groups". i was invited to join in on the 20-somethings life group, basically just a bunch of 20-somethings sitting around, getting to know each other all the while deepening their faith in God. one nite i got to talking to the youth leader of TVC who happened to be in my life group...i was telling him about how i wanted to go to Africa and he in turn told me his dream was to take a group of kids there on a mission trip...i thought about our talk the rest of the nite, emailed him the next morning and said let's do this...what do we need to do to get this started?? so i guess the rest is history and now, here i am, one of 19 people going to Zambia in less than 9 months (eeek!!). there are 8 group leaders and 10 high school students that will be attending the trip.

i want to use this blog to as a communication tool...to let you know where my progress is, as well as my groups progress, and also what my thoughts and feelings are as i make this exciting journey. i also want you to be able to share you thoughts and stories, words of encouragement, etc. with me over the next 9 months. so please check in with me often. i will post more soon...

much love!
audrey jane

p.s. here is an excerpt from the application that i submitted to apply for the trip...

I am at a place in my life where I can finally volunteer for a mission trip. And the destination, well, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to actually travel to Africa. I see the trip as a way to challenge myself—spiritually and educationally—and make a difference in the lives of others. I have spent a great deal of time working with children. At one time I wanted to teach special-needs children but have chosen to become a nurse instead. I have a bachelor’s degree in science with a major in psychology, which I believe will be extremely valuable in the health field.

I started volunteering at a young age. I’ve worked in church programs, in school, with an equine program for disabled children, and in various fundraising efforts. While in college, I became interested in Africa, its people, its animals, its struggles. In one class I studied the effects of apartheid and its historical basis. Friends have been to Africa, which has helped maintain my interest in what type of work I might be able to do to help the people there.

I like kids. I understand how important it is for children to have someone they trust who can help to guide them through the rough patches of life. Everyone needs a friend. A smile, a hug, a conversation, someone to listen. Someone who cares. Working with kids 24/7 on a trip like this would give me an opportunity to be that friend, that someone who cares. You don’t know what a child is going through when you first meet. But a dose of unconditional love just might make a lasting difference. Kindness can be spread.

This trip reminds me of the movie Pay It Forward. Do good. And that good is passed on. By giving of my time and talents to the church, the community, and to kids I’ve never met before, I believe I will in some small way be passing forward the good that I have received, which has so blessed my life. We are all called by God to be light-workers, spreading the good and love to those around us. The world is desperately in need of people to care about others, to care about the earth and everything in it. We take so much for granted living here; I know I am guilty of it daily. Food and water are readily available to us. We have clothes, shelter, and, most of all, a safe place to live and to raise our families. I thank God for all we’ve been given.