I will be traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo July 8th to July 22nd. My husband's cousin will be joining me and we will be staying with my sister-in-law and her family. They have been living and working in the Congo for the past 3 years.
As I was praying about this trip, and how little I really have to offer compared to the extreme levels of poverty and hurt in the Congo, God led me to this passage in the Bible: Luke 9: 10-17. The disciples wanted to send all the hungry people away, but Jesus used one little boy's lunch to feed over 5,000 people! With this scripture in mind, I will be going to the Congo in trust and obedience to God. I will go with the little I have to give, and trust God to multiply it to provide for many.
My hope and prayer for this short-term mission is that it will lead to continued opportunities, and increased awareness and desire, for all of us to give generously of our time and resources to those in need.
Things we will be doing:
1. Taking formula, cloth diapers, and diaper covers to Kaziba Orphanage.
2. If funding permits, have a wall built around the orphanage to help protect the kids and provide them with a place to play. The estimated cost for this project is $4800. There are a variety of other projects that need attention if we are not able to accomplish this one.
3. And of course... Hold, feed, play with, and love the babies and children!
4. Also, when I first began planning this trip, my sister-in-law and her family were planning to return to the United States this summer. They will now be staying in the Congo an additional year. They are making a huge difference there, but it is often so hard and draining for them in every way. I am hoping that we can truly be an encouragement to them.
Things I am praising God for (and thanking many of you for)!
1. Joel's wonderful cousin, will be joining me on the trip. I don't have to travel alone!
2. Our flights are scheduled and paid for. We will be going July 8th (and arriving in Congo on July 11th). I will be back in San Diego on July 22nd.
3. Enough financial support has been received so far to cover the cost of my flight, with over $1000 left over to contribute to the orphanage.
4. My mom and Joel's mom will each be coming to take care of my kids for a portion of the time I am gone. With Joel, Grandma and Grammie here, my "babies" will get plenty of love in my absence.
5. In the months that I've been planning and preparing for this trip, much has already been accomplished at Kaziba Orphanage! My sister-in-law has been able to provide some training for the workers that has had a big impact. A donation was given to the orphanage that allowed them to hire more staff and provide better nutrition for the children.
Please be in prayer about the following things:
1. For wisdom in where to focus our time, energy, and resources. For wisdom in what project(s) to support with the funds we raise.
2. For health and safety while we are travelling and in Congo.
3. For peace and freedom from fear. So you can pray specifically, some of the fears I've been battling are: that my kids won't be okay without me, lack of physical safety while there, that I will not be effective or that what I do will not be enough.
4. That this trip will truly touch many lives both in the Congo and in the United States. That God will prepare many hearts to be touched by the love and hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Many of you have already provided financial support for this trip, I ask only that you please continue to pray!
For anyone who is interested in contributing material or financial support, here is the information you will need:
Items that are needed (we will be taking these with us to give to the orphanage): Other than the formula, none of these items need to be new!
- cloth diapers
- plastic diaper covers
- powdered infant formula
- small, safe toys that the babies can play with in their cribs. Things like mirrored toys that are meant to be tied to the crib edge, and very soft easy to hold rattles, would be appropriate.
Please send any monetary donations (tax deductible) to New Hope Church, Attn: Lynne Newland, 10330 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego CA 92129. Checks may be written to New Hope Church: please include a note saying the check is for Shauna Petracci's trip to Congo, but do not write any memos on the check itself.
I really encourage you to do some research regarding the Democratic Republic of Congo, and about orphans worldwide. Below, I will include just a few of the heartbreaking statistics that I have found.
If you have any questions (I'm sure I forgot some important details) or would like to hear more about this journey, please post a comment and let me know how I can contact you.
Some Statistics regarding Democratic Republic of Congo:
- 4 of every 10 babies born will die before age 1
- 6 of every 10 children born will die before age 5
- the sexual violence against women and female children is the worse in the DRC than anywhere in the world
A Worldwide Statistic:
- There are 147 million orphaned children in the world