Tonight marks an important milestone for about 20 people in Chapel Hill. No, it’s not the latest incarnation of the UNC vs. KU basketball rivalry that’s causing the excitement (although that’s important, too, in this here part of the country). Tonight’s big milestone is Mission 1:27’s pre-trip packing party that we always have the Sunday before we leave for Russia. This will be Mission 1:27’s fifth group trip to Russia (we leave on Saturday!), and thus, our fifth packing party. For us, the packing party is a fun-filled celebration that represents the end of one process and the beginning of another…
In some ways, our evening tonight represents the END of a long journey in preparing for our trip to Russia. We have spent countless hours both as individuals and as a group in preparation – through meetings, phone calls, shopping, praying, devotions and everything in between. We have experienced ups and downs as we dealt with the travel and scheduling challenges in Russia. We’ve had good news and bad news over the months – but we trust that God is in control of all the decisions and all the outcomes.
Tonight, we will gather at Christ Church with all of our supplies – ranging from name tags and stickers all the way to costumes for our Staff Tea and gifts for the children – and we will carefully and prayerfully pack the items into some extra suitcases. The process is fun for many reasons, including the challenging game of “Who Can Guess The Weight of THIS Bag?” as we try to get everything under the approved 50 lb limit from Delta.
Following the packing party, we will gather for Christ Church’s 5:30 pm Worship Service where we will be blessed and sent off by the congregation. This special moment is always so meaningful as friends, neighbors and even strangers pray for us in this final moment of preparation. We will end the night with a meal together as we gather with Mission 1:27 travelers – past, present and future – to enjoy one last square meal together before our journey takes us thousands of miles away…where we will break bread with our other family in Russia. And yes, if everything goes off as scheduled, we will probably watch the second half of the big game as well!
And yet, in many ways, tonight represents the BEGINNING of our journey to Russia. With all the supply bags packed, it seems that tonight always symbolizes the official start of our trip. The blog will heat up this week as travelers begin to offer their thoughts and perspective. Our communication with Russia will heat up as we finalize the trip details. And mentally, many of us will already be in Russia as we pray for the kids, staff and friends in Slobodskoy.
We would love your participation in our journey. For it’s not just the 20 folks traveling to Russia who are part of this effort – but the hundreds of family, friends and supporters like you who continue to play an important role in every aspect of the ministry. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, here is what you can do to continue to support Mission 1:27:
- Pray for this trip. We value your prayers for the travelers and their safety, health and energy on this trip. But we also ask that you continue to pray for the kids, staff and interpreters in Slobodskoy. We trust that God will make this a life-changing event for all those involved, Americans and Russians alike. Thank you for lifting us up in prayer.
- Subscribe to the blog – and get others to subscribe. You may already subscribe to our blog – and for that, we say, “Thanks!” You may also be reading this on Facebook, our website or even through a Twitter feed. If that’s the case, we encourage you to subscribe to the blog by clicking HERE and looking to the right where it says, GET UPDATES ON MISSION 1:27. It’s that easy! You will then be sent an email every time a new blog post arrives, giving you the most up-to-date information in real-time. With 20 people on this trip (and internet access at the orphanage), we hope to have at least 1-2 blog posts per day, so you won’t want to miss them.
- Write a letter to a child in Slobodskoy. We are bringing lots of letters, pictures and love with us from the US. But we can always use more. Over the next two weeks, please write a letter to a child in Russia. We can get the letters from you when we return…or, if you sponsor a child, you can click on this LINK and you can write directly to them via Children’s HopeChest’s website.
Thank you for ALL that you do for Mission 1:27 and our family in Slobodskoy. Look for more updates from us now that the countdown has officially begun. We’re excited about what God has in store for ALL of us in the coming weeks.