Monday, October 01, 2007

Ready as we'll ever be

Well, we've packed and repacked, and we've double-checked our lists. We've got our passports and our cash, and we're just about as ready as we'll ever be.

I've taken this trip many times before, but this time will be really different for a couple of reasons. First of all, I'm not leading a team, per se. I have very few 'Tour Guide Barbie' obligations, which is nice. Second, I'm traveling with one of my kids, which adds a lot of complexity, but a lot of deep meaning.

So, as I prepare to step out of my life in Columbus and back into my life in Asia, I have lots of conflicting emotions. I'm thrilled to take Chien with me. I'm dreading taking him away from Pak, who has never spent more than 2 days away from his best friend and big brother.

For those of you just tuning in, let me take a minute and tell you what I'll be doing and why I'm taking Chien.

What I'll be doing...

Well, as always, I'll be taking lots of photos and videos, documenting our new kids and new projects. There are two new orphan homes in Cambodia and a widow's facility in Thailand that need extensive documentation. I'm also hoping to sit down with our staff and getting their stories. All of this will help us paint a more complete picture of the ministry for our sponsors and supporters, and will help everyone know specifically who and what to pray for.

I'll also be meeting with staff, bringing them your greetings and encouraging them with the love of their brothers and sisters in the U.S. and Canada. Dave Atkins (Executive Director) and John Campbell (U.S. Board president) will also join Chien and I for a portion of the trip. We'll be discussing future plans with our staff, evaluating potential purchases and avenues for both expansions and improvements.

Dave, John and I also have some really important meetings with government officials and local leaders. Some of these meetings will leave us encouraged, some will probably leave us frustrated. Hopefully none will leave us incarcerated (a little corruption-related humor -- get used to it...).

Why I'm taking Chien...

When I do lead teams on ministry trips, one of my chief purposes is to give people who have invested -- or are considering investing in the ministry -- first-hand experience with the kids we serve and the places we go.

No one has invested more in my involvement with this ministry than my family. They've paid financially and emotionally to give me the opportunity to start and sustain this thing. As I look forward to a long life of service to Asia's Hope, I recognize the need to get real and lasting buy-in from my family, especially my kids. This trip is a first of many steps in that direction.

Well, I want to post more, and perhaps I'll have time during one of our many layovers. I'll spend 23.5 of my next 48 hours in an airplane, and many more hours than that in airports across the world: Columbus, Chicago, Los Angeles, Taipei and Phnom Penh. But for now, I want to spend some time doing puzzles with my little girl, who will miss her daddy and big brother dearly.

Thank you, by the way, for checking in. Please read the blog, pass the link around to your friends, and leave us lots of comments -- it will help Chien (and me) feel connected to home.


Mike O'Donnell said...

You will be missed, and you are loved more than you know. God bless John and Chien as they travel in Your Name, and in Your purpose to bring hope to the hopeless. Guide them safely, surround them with Your favor even as a shield. Be their refuge and strength. Make their trip fruitful and fulfill each and every one of their desires for good. Fill them, empower them, use them, love them. Bless the McCollum family and protect them as well. Be their arms to hold each other while they are apart. Annoint them and go before them. Be omnipresent in their lives today. Continue to use Asia's Hope to build Your Kingdom. Bind all efforts of our adversary and frustrate the plans of evil. Be mighty to save, oh great God of Israel. Hold the McCollum's up to You, may they see Your face.

Godspeed, John and Chien.
We will be watching and praying.

mosiacmind said...

Amen to the above prayer. I will be eager to hear how the trip is going not only from your eyes John yet also Chien's. I want you to know that I also will be sending Kori some hopefully encouraging emails to remind her that alot of us also are praying for her and the other children.

Karen said...

hey, let our kids know how grateful i am that they prayed for me, and that i'm all healed up. :)

be safe. i'll be praying for you and chien.

Anonymous said...

Hello John, My name is Terri Lottes and Jessie is my daughter. She is in Cambodia and heading back to Thailand very soon. I just wanted to introduce myself.
Jess said she got to babysit Chien and enjoyed him very much...
Hope all is well and know that I am praying for all of you.
Sincerely, Terri Lottes