I had intended to write a tidy, end-of-trip post from Thailand before heading back to the USA. Near the end of my trip, I got extraordinarily busy, and by the time I actually had the time to write, I was already sliding into the Sarlacc that is international travel with kids.
Having survived the voyage from Chiang Mai to Hanoi to Tokyo to Dallas (the Great Pit of Carkoon) to Columbus without losing my luggage, my lunch or any of my children, I weathered the usual jet lag and culture shock with pluck and aplomb.
I returned to find our new offices (more about this in a later post) almost ready for occupancy thanks to the hard work of Addison, Carol and a host of volunteers. So before I find myself inundated with meetings -- which begin in 3...2...1... -- I thought I'd write a quick update.
My trip this summer was amazing. Long, oft-arduous, but really spectacular. For the first time I think I felt the scope of what it is God is doing through Asia's Hope. It's more than just the 800 or so kids and 150-some staff for whom we provide full-time, comprehensive support. It's not only the two schools, 29 homes and countless programs we run. I really believe that God is using Asia's Hope to demonstrate to the Church and to the world at large what true excellence in orphan care can look like.
Our organization isn't perfect; it's a huge challenge to maintain such a high level of care consistenly across so many homes. But we are constantly striving to fulfill our promise of real families for orphaned children. And when it works, it's nearly unbelievable. As one of our visiting supporters told me, "We've been all over the world. We've seen lots of "orphanages." But this is amazing. I never imagined it could be this good."
So while I've returned with a lengthy list of needs and a lot of issues to address over time, I remain so pleased about what God has given us. And I'm excited about increasing our visibility within the aid and development community -- we have a story to tell and a model that others can emulate, adapt and maybe even improve.
The next few months will be packed. We're forging new funding relationships, connecting with new networks of thinkers and doers, strategizing new campaigns and launching new support models that we think will vastly expand our ability to serve not only our existing kids but future generations as well.
I'm thankful for a new space that will allow us to host a wide variety of events, and I can't wait to see who God will bring through our doors. I'm also looking forward to writing more articles about orphan care and international ministry.
Right now I'm slightly daunted but exhilarated. This promises to be a very good, very interesting time for Asia's Hope. Please contact me if you'd like to stop by and hear more, or if you'd like to set up a Skype or phone call.