I went on my first international mission trip in 2007, to Mexico. It was the beginning of finding myself for sure. Before that, my only international experience was going to Canada with my family, which was cool, but my family is from Michigan, so to them it was really just another state that they went to sometimes growing up. I think they actually got engaged there. We didn’t need passports at the time that we went. It was fun, and I remember thinking the money was super cool.
So from that point on,(Mexico-2007), for the next 6 years I traveled to Mexico twice, Bolivia twice, Rwanda twice, Cameroon, Tanzania, and of course, my beloved, UGANDA. : )
I grew comfortable with the idea of traveling at least once or twice a year, and I felt like a global tree with roots in many locations, and branches developing many different types of fruit and leaves within me!
My adventures defined my life, and my time in the states was always busy, achieving goals, having fun, and making a difference while I could, until the next trip.
I managed to travel on very little money, and lived in some strange circumstances in order to save up for adventuring. I even went a whole year without paying for food! It ended up on the cover of the Charlotte Observer- yes a picture of me inside a dumpster… Not to mention I learned with the help of several travel mates to finally believe this:
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
I started seeking, asking and knocking, sometimes with others, and sometimes alone.
I learned how to sacrifice A LOT, and to fundraise from kind generous folks- just enough- to follow my dreams.
I met some of my best long term friends, the ones who really fill me up with the good stuff and keep me on the path, from my college years of adventuring.
Every day now when I drive home from work, planes fly over my car from the Charlotte Airport. and It kills me.
I miss my African family and friends, and I miss my child. my son. my love.
I miss getting a Starbucks(This used to be the only time I would ever drink Starbucks) before a flight knowing I would be missing caffeine for 3 weeks. (Now I drink free Starbucks everyday, but I would rather be on a flight…)
I miss watching nature or travel documentaries on the flight and then spending hours reading my bible and journaling in complete silence(Yes, sometimes planes get relatively silent on long flights) while Jacob slept or read beside me and the clouds floated by. I miss the anticipation, the rush, the experience of newness, even bad newness.
I miss living with nothing but a bookbag and bible, minimal clothes( all to be left behind) and the love of children.
I miss Ronald. (more on him later.. I cant right now.. I just cant. )
I miss my son.
I miss my friends George and Margret.
I long to see our childrens home in person!
But we first need to finish construction of the childrens home, before we fundraise for travel costs, and we need to finish the legal processes of the adoption process before we travel there as well. I miss Mexico, and have had a thought and feeling lately that I will end up in India at some point, but regardless, Uganda is on my mind day and night. And my son. my sweet, sweet, precious son. I have so much love to give him, and I am BURSTING!!! Why hoard love?!
(I believe this happiness- is love.)
For those of you who know the Christopher Candless, Alexander SuperTramp, Into the Wild Story- It was in that book that I saw myself. I quit so many jobs and living situations and obligations to be free, to be happy, to follow my dreams, and to truly use my gifts and just… live. and love. and be. But life was like Ocean waves going in and out and crashing and splashing -I always got knocked down and drug back out to sea, forced to do THE THINGS of life, the obligations, the HAVE TOs, and it was always pure torture- and still is. My family and Husband and friends manage so many of those “obligations” for me, and it’s truly a miracle because I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. and cant.
I usually felt like a fish out of water, a caged bird, an animal in a zoo, an actress, a gypsy locked in an office.( I still feel this way.) My free spirit and soul felt smothered by the things I was SUPPOSED TO DO in life, instead of what felt right to me.
So out of desperation, I would continue to free myself only to be caged again. Bouts of freedom has to be better than none. And bouts of responsibility has to better than none. right? maybe. That is my life now, but I am counting down the days until I can flee to Uganda to embrace my child. have you ever waited 2 and a half years for an embrace? If you have- you know exactly what I am saying. To simply look into his eyes. I wont know what to do when I see him. Probably startle him with my sobs.
I only allow myself to imagine seeing him again once every few days, because the thought is really too much for me emotionally.
The feeling you get when you have been on planes for 15 hours and you feel that if you don’t stretch your legs and walk and run freely and breathe new, fresh, real air, you will scream and combust, that is the feeling I have when I don’t travel.
PLEASE don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE NORTH CAROLINA. It is my home. It is a beautiful, lovely, magnificent home, filled with mountains and beaches and lovely folks. My family, my dogs, our food, my books, my bathtub, my HOUSE! the towns I love, the way the good people are, my friends, my church- those are home to me. But it appears God has created some multinational citizens in my husband and I. and we have a second home and a second family that we long for. North Carolina and our family here will always be our home. But part of our heart has turned African. and we will need to fulfill that calling at least once a year. ; )
If you want to help us spread our wings and fly- here are some ways you can do so- TODAY. Life is flying by- ITS ALREADY FEBRUARY. #DoGoBe2016
- subscribe to this website to get updates. you can do that on the homepage.
- donate to our adoption at: https://www.youcaring.com/jacob-stephanie-hanks-adoption-fund-505653
- buy an adoption tshirt :(limited time fundraiser!) https://www.bonfirefunds.com/hanks-family-adoption
- subscribe at gmchildrensministry.org to stay updated on everything we are doing.
- donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/gmchildrenshome to help us finish construction.
- buy a ministry tshirt: (limited time fundraiser!) https://www.bonfirefunds.com/gm-childrens-home-construction