This is a guest post by one of the hikers that went on the Hike for Hope a week ago yesterday.
This past Sunday, (the 21st of July) twenty-six adventurous folks, from age five to seventy-five, set out on a two-mile “Hike for Hope”, sponsored by the Hope Bridges organization. We had a great time in Swope Park! Rachelle and Zeb Morlok, who later this year will be visiting the Thailand children’s homes supported by Hope Bridges, led the hike at a comfortable pace.
Hope Bridges works, not only to house and feed children in Thailand who are orphaned, abandoned, or trafficked, but also to help the communities where the children’s homes are located to develop their local economies. The hope and prayer is for the economy to grow and benefit the local communities, then fewer families will abandon their children or allow the children to be trafficked for material gain. This is a long-term, ongoing process requiring much prayer and sweat and tears, both within and without the community to obtain lasting benefits.
Back to the Hike for Hope report–everybody enjoyed the woods and drinking from their spiffy, new “Hope Bridges” water bottles; nobody had an accident or tripped on anything; and several of the kids and adults enjoyed a bit of impromptu rope climbing to boot. The event raised a little over $200, and when my husband and I left, we heard several making plans to attend the next “Hike for Hope” event in early October. We hope to see you there, too!
This is a post from Rachelle. Part of her experience in Africa. I am thankful that she has ears to hear God’s call to Asia!
In 2012 I had the chance to experience firsthand what it is like to live with little but not only that live a different culture and different language. I was mocked and made fun of because of my faith and loving Jesus.
This is a glimpse of my time in Africa.
I have now lived in Africa for 21/2 months. My heart breaks for all the darkest that is all around me. I was at the market this afternoon and just stood there in prayer. People were on their knees praying to a god that is not there. I saw children running in the street with no shoes on and boys coming up to me begging for money.
The village I live in is a dark place. There has never been any light in this
village until 21/2 months ago. I have gone through a lot.
This week was the hardest for me. It hit me this week that this is my home and
I am not just a guest anymore. I am a friend, sister, daughter and a mother.
They may not know of the Lord yet, but he has put me in
this village out in the middle of the desert for a reason.
I pray every day for these beautiful people that is not just on a map to me anymore; they are on the map of my heart.
My life as I knew it will never be the same. I have seen the unseen and the unwanted and I want them to see what I have seen.
I have the heart to go, and God has asked me to go. So Zeb and I will be leaving on our vision trip to Thailand in October 2013 and hopefully returning as full time missionaries in October 2014. We at this point ask for your prayer and support in what God is doing in our lives.
I grew up in the church. I went to church every Sunday morning. I also went to a lot of Sunday and Wednesday evening services. I was very active in the youth group. I always thought I was a pretty good kid but looking back I realized how different I was at church compared to how I acted at school. I walked the line all through high school; I was blessed with great friends who had a positive influence on me. I firmly believe if I had different friends I would have been on the wrong side of the line.
The best decision I made was putting my trust in God and choosing to live at the Christian campus house at MU my freshman year. I still believe my life and walk with God would look completely different if I had lived in the dorms my freshman year. God surrounded me with amazing people, like Roy Weace. All my friends helped me grow in my faith; life was pretty easy for me till my second semester of my sophomore year of college.
I got very sick with ulcerative colitis. It’s hard for me to talk about but I will say it was rough. I spent six years trying to gain control of my health, oh on top of everything I was always fatigue and had an enormous amount of weight loss all at once. I became depressed; I also experienced social anxiety and preferred to not leave the house. By 2006 I finally agreed to have surgery; the details of the surgery aren’t pretty so if you want to you can look it up on your own time. I had a surgery called the J-pouch at the mayo clinic. I weighed 138 lbs. the morning of my surgery and felt as though I could not go on anymore.
I weigh 270 lbs. now so I guess the surgery went a little too well. I can honestly say I would not be here today if it were not for my family, friends and my faith. Without my faith and mom always there to take care of me I would have given up. Sorry I’m not the greatest writer and I know I left a lot out but I hope this helps give you a little insight to how I became who I am today.
Growing up I always wanted to do mission work but when I got sick I kind of gave up on the idea of becoming a missionary. I figured God had other plans for me, and I couldn’t be happier his plan was Rachelle. But that’s another story.
It is my honor to introduce you to Rachelle and Zeb! They are seriously praying about being long term missionaries for Hope Bridges in Northern Thailand. I am excited to share the first part of their story. Here’s part of Rachelle’s story, Can’t wait to read the next part! I met Rachelle while shopping for a backpack and that;s where the conversation about missionary work started. I met Zeb a little later that same evening and wound up spending I think 2 hours talking with the two of them. I’m blessed to know and share life with them.
Rachelle – I was the little girl that grew up in the pew. I can remember it as if it were yesterday sitting next to my nana (grandma) in service and telling her that all I wanted to be able to do was to touch the floor while sitting in the pew. She smiled and said, sweetheart someday very soon you will be able to. That someday came to soon. My home was what I dreaded the most, because my father was an alcoholic and spent all our money away on alcohol. My mom wanted more for me brother and I so she went back to college. Because of this I had to grow up sooner than later.
I took the role as the mom for my little brother and made sure he was feed and had a bath. By this time I could now touch the floor while sitting in the pew and the question that I kept thinking about was John 3:16 and how I could have Jesus in my heart. So at the age of 7 I gave my life to Jesus. That summer from the age 7-12 I felt like I was no longer a little princess…I felt like free bait.
I was sexually abused and didn’t see the end of it. All I can remember was I wanted out and I was sick of people at my grade school calling me mean names. Relief came when I was in 7th grade, I had a wonderful Sunday school teacher that made me look inside myself and find the true me. I was able to finally take control of my own life. My 7th and 8th grade year was quite different. I along with 5 other kids from my sunday school class were told that we should have a goal to triple our number in our class. All 6 of us said yea right! And wow is the first thing that comes to my mind right now thinking back on it. By the middle of my 8th grade year we had an average of 40 kids from our grade coming to Wednesday night youth. My life was starting to look different and for the good.
Two months before my 8th grade year was done my mom sat my brother and I down for a talk. At this time my parents had been divorced for about a year and my mom wanted a fresh start so we were told that we were moving to Kansas City. At first I was crushed, I thought wait things are starting to look up for me why now? So with a month or so left of school we moved north and started a new life.
I made friends and tried to keep myself in the Word but it was hard because I didn’t have my support system. My two nanas, my youth pastor, Sunday school teacher and my friends. So for the next four years while on high school I found my God in sports, boys and alcohol. My senior year was the worst I was very disrespectful not just to my mother but other adults. I got kicked off the track team for skipping school and smoking pot.
Two weeks later I received a package from my home church I grew up in. It was a bible from my youth pastor and Sunday school teacher. I took that as a second chance and got involved with a local church and became the 3-4 year old teacher for 2 years. At this time I was 19 years old and I knew what I was meant to do, teach! So I went to school to become a teacher but not just any teaching job I wanted. I wanted to be a missionary.
So finally after 7 years for schooling, teaching and outfitting people for backpacking trips I made my way to Senegal, Africa. I got to see what it was really like to live with little and to be happy with what you had. My boss told me something that I will never forget. “I have always lived like it was the last 5 minutes of man kind and for the first time I have learned to live as if it were the first 5 minutes of man kind. I got back from my mission to Africa June 2012 and had plans to go back In April 2013, as many of you know God sure surprised me! I got married April 13, 2013 to the man of my dreams. I know real cheesy, right? Well to find out more about my life and Zeb’s life check back next week.
Since going public with the new name, Hope Bridges, I’ve been asked several questions, “So why the name change?” “What’s up?” “What’s going on with this ministry can we get an update?” There are several reasons for the name change. So here is a list…
- Hope for the Orphans of Burma was too long.
- It was hard to remember.
- The word Burma is limiting geographically.
- The word orphan is limiting as well.
Hope for the Orphans of Burma is a long name and it’s hard to remember. I don’t know how many people have asked over and over, “What’s the name of your organization again?” If it’s too long and can’t be remembered that can make growing a ministry a challenge.
The word Burma is limiting. We have been working in northern Thailand with the children of refugees. Imagine telling people the name, Hope for the Orphans of Burma and then say we work in northern Thailand. It’s not a big deal once it gets explained but a little confusing.
Another issue with the word Burma is if we ever wanted to form a Thai foundation/nonprofit we couldn’t use the word Burma in our name. Even if we wanted to form a foundation/nonprofit anywhere else in the world we would have the same issue of being defined by a geographic area.
The word orphans is limiting as well. Our work is with children’s homes and the majority of those kids have at least one parent and sometimes both parents. Most are not true orphans. Some of the kids live in children’s homes because their parents don’t have enough money to provide for them. They may have been exploited by their parents to pay a debt, or the parents have other issues such as drug or alcohol addictions. No matter why they live in these homes the children need help.
This name change has been in the works for several months. The board of directors has had several conversations about changing the name. We’ve prayed about it, we’ve talked with outsiders, I’ve had several conversations with my pastor. We had a 2 hour meeting to work through a name change and after processing that for a time we chose Hope Bridges.
Our mission is, “Building bridges over barriers of poverty, trafficking and exploitation to freedom and peace for the people of God.”
We still work in northern Thailand with children’s homes and we have a few more exciting plans in the works. Stay tuned!