And then it starts to feel real

I leave for Africa in 9 days. Single digits. I’m on a plane in just a little over a week. On a plane for a really, really long time. Really long time. (What does one do on a plane for eighteen hours?!)

And just today it started to feel real. Nine days is not very long and I began to really think about it and wonder and question the logistics.

I probably should have done that awhile ago, but I like to think life is more exciting when you have the added stress of NO TIME.

I got my second Hepatitix A & B booster shot yesterday. Let me tell you something – you haven’t lived until you’ve had a shot with three little faces peering intently at the nurse as she jams a needle into your arm. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fainter, right? I think I’m finally growing up because I didn’t even have to lay down this time AND I declined the sucker she offered because the kids were with me and I wanted to show them that shots are no big deal.

For the record, that was a risky little game I played. Had I hit the floor I could have scarred them for life. Sometimes you have to take chances, right?

“Whoa,” Landon whispered when Nurse Ratchet finally, mercifully, pulled the needle out of my arm and a stream of blood followed. “Dat is a wot of bwood.” Then he held my hand and kissed my cheek. “I wuv you, Mommy,” he whispered, genuine concern oozing from his crystal blue eyes.

You can’t have him, folks. He’s mine.

As we walked out, Sloan thanked Nurse Ratchet. “Thanks for giving my mom a shot so she won’t get sick and die and stuff,” he called. Die and stuff? What’s the “and stuff?” I decided not to ask…

I’m preparing for the trip in a lot of ways, but the one way I really need to prepare is scaring me. Physically I feel like I’m preparing fairly well. I’m taking vitamins and probiotics to hopefully get my immune and digestive systems toughened up. I’m working out semi-regularly so I can be somewhat in shape while we’re there. I’m inoculated against everything under the sun.

Seriously. I think I might glow in the dark at this point…

 I’m trying to get more sleep and spend quality time with the kids and I’ve got at least one date night planned out with my husband before I leave. I’m going to write the kids notes they can open every day and buy little Dollar Store trinkets to help them pass the time until I get home.

Those are the easy preparations.

It’s the inside that has me a bit on edge.

As I’ve spent time praying over this trip, I’ve asked that the Lord change me. Change my heart and change my perspective. But I’ve spent so much time preparing the exteriors that I don’t know if I’ve fully prepared my heart for what I may see and experience.

I don’t want to come home the same and that scares me.

It’s easy to prepare physically for a trip like this. But emotionally and spiritually, it’s a little more frightening. Part of me wants to put up a shield of protection and just go over there and write up an assessment of how Compassion International operates and how you can be a part of it.

Sharp shooter. To the point. Safe.


But I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be changed and challenged and pushed to a deeper knowledge of what it means to serve others. I don’t want to miss the chance to learn and further understand Justice, because I’m pretty sure my Western mind has a very skewed idea of that concept.

In nine days I will board a plane and I want to know I’m not alone in this journey. Join me, please? Would you pray for everyone on the team as we work to honestly and fully bring you stories of how you can (and how many of you probably already are) impact the life of a child in Jesus’ name?

This trip is more than an experience. It’s more than an opportunity. It has to be more than that, because it can’t be about me. How can we all collectively be moved to greater compassion for those in need? It’s a lesson I need to learn and I wondered if you’d walk the road alongside me.

Thank you for the kind words and emails that many of you have already sent. I can’t wait to take this journey together.

Happy Wednesday. 


  1. Trips like this should always change us and this one will be no different. God uses times like this to show us His world, how is has been so damaged by sin, and how we can better be his ministers of reconciliation. I am asking God to guide and protect you, to allow you to see HIM in the people of Africa, and to bring you home more molded to his image. Glow in the dark is good, especially where there is no electricity!

    • Thank you, Uncle Dusty. You are definately one of the people I most look up to for your willingness to go and serve and love and live life to the full! Glad to have a lot of those examples right here in my own family. 🙂

  2. Kelli,
    First off, when on a plane that long I found that movies I never would have been interested in suddenly become riveting.
    Secondly, when I got my shots for China the first time, I also had little ones at my side, staring at me. The first one was no biggie but the second one hurt so bad I wanted to kick something and say bad words. Instead, I smiled calmly so the kids wouldn’t be afraid. We are moms/superheroes. It’s what we do 😉
    Lastly, I will be praying for you and your family. I know this trip will change you. You may not even see the positive changes right away. I felt a lot of emotions on re-entry that were conflicting. God will help you reconcile what you experience in Africa to your life in Florida. He will also show you the long-term changes He wants you to make. Just listen.

    • Thanks, Pam. Love you guys, too. I can’t wait to hear all about Kevin and Lauren’s adventures this year!

  3. Hey! What an AWESOME opportunity. I love what Compassion stands for AND what they do. It’s amazing. I wish I could go with you, I would. Only problem, I would probably want to bring them all back with me, literally. God speed while you are out there girl. An experience like this is once in a lifetime, I hope you get every inch out of it.

    Can’t wait to see updates. Safe travels 🙂

    • Thank you, Crystal. It’s so nice to have the encouragement and support of so many lovely readers! 🙂

  4. Things are about to change. Somehow, you just can’t stop thm. I am excited to share your journey and i will be praying for each of you!

    • Thanks, Amy. I always love to see your smiling face pop up in my comments. Thanks for your constant encouragement.

  5. I will be praying, for sure! I know you will be changed and moved. It will not be easy. I am looking forward to reading your experiences.

    Our Mkapa goes to TZ305. Do you know which projects you’ll be visiting?

    • I will check and see. I know they sent us a list of the prjects but I will need to look it up. I’ll get in touch with you if we happen to be going to that particular one. 🙂 Thanks Michelle!

  6. I’ll never forget my trip to Haiti as a college student. It was eye-opening. My heart was deeply touched and I wrestled for a long time with all the lessons the Lord taught me. I’m excited for you to experience this and we will certainly pray for you and the team while you are gone! Exciting stuff lady!

    • Thanks, Tiff. You’ll be on your own exciting journey as I embark on mine with THREE kiddos! I can’t wait to hear the news that Miss Cecilia is here!!! 🙂

  7. Sloan is funny! Your rendition of Sloan is even funnier!

    • Oh heavens. He’s hilarious. He keeps grabbing my phone and making little videos that are a riot. I’m hoping he’ll make one that I can put up here at some point. He’s his Daddy’s boy, for sure. 😉

  8. Before I went to Guatemala a few years ago, a friend said she was praying that I’d be “gloriously ruined” by it. I loved that expression and was scared by it, too. I tried to find who said it originally. Found a quote by Kay Warren (Rick Warren’s wife):

    Accepting Christ’s invitation to deny self, take up a cross and follow him means being “dangerously surrendered, seriously disturbed and gloriously ruined,”

    Praying for you as you and the team follow Christ to Tanzania and bring back enough of the experience to “gloriously ruin” a few of us here, too.


  9. Kelli! I am praying that your world will be totally rocked! It is going to be hard but amazing! I absolutely cannot wait to follow along and as you process in the weeks and months after you get back.

    As to what you do on a plane for that long….well, that is time for a couple of movies and 2 doses of Ambien! 🙂 Drink a BUNCH of water and do get up and walk around regularly, even if it is not convenient to your seating assignment.

    Oh…and the best tip for sleeping is to lower your table and pile your backpack and pillows on it and lean forward.

    Til the rich ones give and the poor ones live…….

    • Movies. Guilt free movie watching, eh? I’m not sure I have the guts to take a sleeping aid on the plane, though. What if it doesn’t work and I just end up loopy on a plane with a bunch of bloggers?!



      • If you haven’t taken then before, then take one at home first! On the plane just wait til after the meal and when they turn the lights off! 🙂

        OR….just imagine how much fun the rest of us could have hearing the stories about you! 🙂

        • Ah yes. I’m sure there could be stories told. It’s a dangerous game, traveling with Internet junkies. 🙂

  10. Kelli,
    I will be praying for you and the family! Your going on a trip that I have dreamed of for a long time. We sponsored a boy throughout his little life, and now is grown into a young man studying medicine. It has been an incredible experience and of course when he became to old for the program we took on another child. I always dream about meeting them someday. I can only imagine the life changing things God has in store for you. Because your heart is softened and your eyes are awake our Father will surely give you undescribable moments for just you and Him. And a whole bunch to share with us, I am looking forward to your journals!

  11. I look forward to reading all about the trip! Your whole team will be in my prayers.

  12. Just came across your blog on the Compassion Bloggers site. I like this post, it made me smile. Looking forward to reading about your time in Tanzania.