Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home and forever changed

I've sat down at least ten times over the last week to try and write a post, but I just ended up closing my computer each time. I have so much I want to share, but no idea how to do that. The two weeks I spent in Ethiopia and Uganda were weeks I will never forget. The sounds, smells, the culture, the images of children chasing after our van just to touch and be near us. I'll be honest though, I'm really struggling. I want nothing more than to get back on a plane and go back, but right now that is just not possible and I know that, but my heart doesn't. For the past week I've gone through the motions. I nannied, laid out by the pool, and went out with friends. I go about my day then I come home, cry myself to sleep and wake up and do it all over again. I am here physically, but emotionally I'm still in Ethiopia walking with mud up to my ankles with tiny hands of precious kids inside my own. I'm still sitting on a cold orphanage floor rocking a two month old baby girl with HIV kissing her little head and telling her how much Jesus loves her. I'm still watching my dad cry as he's told the little boy he is sponsoring has been praying for months that someone from America would sponsor him to go to school. I'll never forget the smile on Kaleb's face when he was told he'd be going to school this fall and how for the rest of the day he didn't move from my dad's side. The saying is true... I need Africa WAY more than Africa needs me.
I know this is not a very uplifting post, but this is my life right now. My heart is aching and I'm broken, but I'm so thankful for that. As much as I'm hurting right now I don't want to forget how I'm feeling at this moment. I'm thankful for the brokenness in my life and I'm praying that God will show me how to use it for His glory and the people my team and I were with two weeks ago.
Thank you to every person who is reading this. Whether you know it or not, you were on this journey with me. This trip wouldn't have been possible without your giving financially and prayers. I don't take any of it for granted. Thank you for loving me and most importantly loving the least of these. Please bare with me as I try to get out my feelings and stories from the past few weeks. Here is something to tide you over till my next post :)
(You'll need to pause the music on the side)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Africa Eve

The countdown on the dashboard of my Mac says I have 7 hours and 54 minutes to go! My bags are all packed after a few trips to Target and Walgreens. This picture was of my poor mother's living room as of 4 o'clock this afternoon. Thankfully it's all packed up and ready!
My mind is all over the place tonight. I've been dreaming and praying for this moment for so long. I'm excited and yet nervous all the same, but I figure that's a good place to be. I have no agenda and am trying not to have any expectations. I want to savor each moment. I want to find God in unforeseen places and people. I want to experience Jesus in a deeper way. I don’t want to be the same.

The director of Visiting Orphans passed this quote along to my team members and so I printed it and put it in the front of my journal. I pray that I will take the words below to heart and practice them over the next two weeks.

”Be flexible, for I have places to take you and things to show you that you will miss if you are rigid and unyielding. Keep an open mind and an open heart, and I will give you nuggets of wisdom and spiritual truth in the most unexpected ways in unforeseen places. I want to extricate you from the grip of religious spirits that require you to be stern, precise, and in control. Spontaneity will give you the freedom to move with the wind of My Spirit, says the Lord“.

Please pray for my team members and I as we set out tomorrow to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Here are some specifics:
  • Safe travel for the entire team (many legs of travel)
  • That we would stay healthy during the trip
  • That the children we come in contact with would feel loved and cared for
  • That Jesus is glorified in all that we say and do
  • That we can serve the Ethiopian and Ugandan people and orphans and love them like Jesus loves us all

Thank you for all your support and prayers. I can't wait to share the pictures and stories with you! Love you all so much!

soli deo gloria!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Yesterday I went and finally got all my shots so I can travel to Africa and I'll just say thank you God for insurance! I'm pretty sure I just stood there with my mouth open as the receptionist handed me the bill. So after three shots and prescriptions for typhoid and malaria pills I'm ready for Africa! If only the packing part was that easy and quick!

9 days people :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

50 DAYS!

50 days till I board the plane that's going to take me to Africa. Oh my goodness I'm SO excited!

Sorry I've been slacking on the blogging front lately. The school year is winding down and it feels like life is flying by at 90mph. Here is the run down on life and Africa stuff...

- 5 weeks left of school and living in Ashland! It feels like I just moved into my house. It's hard to believe the school year is almost over. I'm so excited for summer and my upcoming trip, but I'm going to be so sad to leave my little house and my roomies! Luckily, most of us are going to be living in Portland for the summer!

- A few months ago I decided to switch my major. I know kind of shocking if you know me even just a little bit. I had wanted to be a teacher for my entire life, but after getting into the program this year I felt my heart really was just not in it and being a teacher isn't something you can fake. You either have it or you don't and I don't. It only took me 21 years to figure out, but hey better late than never. Anyways, I've decided to pursue Social Work and I found a fabulous program at Portland State University. My degree will be in Child and Family Studies and I'll be able to graduate on time which is such a blessing. On top of all the homework and projects I have to get done over the next five weeks, I've been spending every free moment working on my application to PSU and the Child and Family Studies program. Speaking of which you prayer warriors can be praying I get into the program. PSU has the only Social Work program in Oregon and they only accept 30 people every term
. So, to say the least I'm a little nervous.

- My friend and teammate Megan started a blog and she's doing a really cool raffle to fundraise! If you donate to her trip you could win an ipod!! Check out her blog for more details!

- Next week my dad and I are going to try and get our shots for Africa. We were told to get Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Polio, and Malaria. YUCK!

- A few days ago I got an email saying that our airline tickets have been purchased! I was SO excited to see that email come through, but I have to be honest... I started freaking out. I worried myself sick thinking I wasn't going to have the money to cover the cost of the airline ticket which is due on the 10th. $3,400 is A LOT of money, but God keeps reminding me that He is SO much bigger. The very next day I got an email updating me on my fundraising. I have EXACTLY the amount for my ticket right now!!!! Not.even.kidding. "Be careful what you wish for when God knows the desires of your heart."

Before I wrap this up I just wanted to tell you all thank you so much for supporting me, whether that's financially, prayer, donations to the orphanages, or just simply being excited for me. This has been a dream of mine for SO long and I've found myself over the last month just in awe of how blessed I am. I have the best family and friends any person could ask for. Thank you for being apart of my life and this dream of mine.

I'm in Portland this weekend for a college retreat and Mother's day so I'm off to enjoy my family and the beautiful weather we are getting right now! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I just got the itinerary for our trip! It's starting to seem so real now! I'm really going to Africa!!!!
All of it is subject to change, but here is the schedule so far!


Saturday, June 26th: Leave the States for Africa out of the Dulles airport at 8:30 PM.

Sunday, June 27th: Arrive in Addis at 7 PM, collect bags and head to the Ethiopia Guest Home.

Monday, June 28th: Spend the day with the kids at the Mother Theresa HIV orphanage.

Tuesday, June 29th: The team will help with a summer school program for the children that live in the dump in the Korah region of Addis.

Wednesday June 30th: Korah Summer Program and Forsaken Children ministries.

Thursday, July 1st: AWA Transitional Home and Kingdom Vision orphanage.

Friday, July 2nd: Shopping & Rest. Work with the street kids. Leave for Entebbe at 6 PM.


Friday July, 2nd: Arrive in Entebbe by 8 PM. Pick up by Canaan’s Chidren’s Home

Saturday, July 3rd: Enjoy the children in the Amazima program all day. Help with bible lesson and feeding program. Travel to Pallisa after dinner and check into hotel.

Sunday, July 4th: Church at Pastor Samuel’s church in Pallisa for the 10:30 AM

service. Chris and Jesse will preach and the team will teach Sunday school. Enjoy an afternoon of sabbath rest.

Monday, July 5th: Work with the children at the Tumain (means Hope) Children’s orphanage in Pallisa.

Tuesday, July 6th: Visit two children’s clubs in the city of Pallisa.

Wednesday, July 7th: Head back to Jinja. 10 AM to 2 PM - Work with the babies and toddlers at the Welcome Home orphanage. Continue to Kampala, grab some dinner and check into hotel.

Thursday, July 8th: 10 AM to 2 PM: Work with the children at Return Uganda Ministries. Shop at the market in Kampala and head to the Entebbe airport to arrive by 6 PM.

Friday, July 9th: Back to the states

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meet my other travel companion!

This is Megan Brown. We met on the first day of school this year and ended up having every class together fall term. We became friends instantly and we joke all the time that we couldn't have made it through this year of the Elementary Ed program without each other, but the thing is I honestly couldn't have. It has been such a blessing to have Megan as a friend this year! After winter break we had this great idea to start a bible study in our education cohort, but it completely flopped so we decided we would just do it. We meet almost every Wednesday afternoon for coffee and to read our Bibles together, although sometimes we do a little more talking about the drama of the week in our cohort than reading, but not the point :) We discovered pretty quickly that we both had a longing to do missions work, so when the opportunity to travel with Visiting Orphans came up a few months ago I knew I had to talk to Megan. She was super excited about it, but said she needed to talk with her parents and spend some time praying about it. That didn't take long though, within a few days she called me and said "I'm in!"
The funny thing is before this trip Africa had never even registered in Megan's mind. She's always had a heart for India so she had been researching organizations to travel with this summer, well God had other plans and for an AMAZING reason! Megan's older sister and her husband recently started the adoption process to adopt from Ethiopia. They are now in the time frame to receive their referral of their precious baby girl or boy and It just so happens we are going to be in the same city as the orphanage where their baby will be. That means that while we are in Ethiopia Megan will hopefully be able to meet her niece or nephew! Seriously, does it get any cooler!?!
Anyways, just a cool little God story! I'm hoping Megan is going to start her own blog so when she does I'll give you the info on that! Thanks again for following my blog! I couldn't be more excited that I get to experience Africa with my dad and also one of my best friends!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meet my travel companion!

This man gets up at 4:30 every morning to be the first one at his office. He works hard. Harder than anyone I know.

This man told me not worry and go for it when I came to him a few months ago telling him I wanted to switch my major (another story for another time) he encourages me to take risks and follow my heart.

This man shows me a little glimpse of Christ's unconditional love. He pays every penny of my school, car, rent, cell phone bill etc. even though I don't deserve it. Even when I disappoint him and take it for granted. I am unworthy.

This man taught me to love Alabama football and took me to my first National Championship this year.

This man loves and treats my best friends like they are his own.

This man always checks the air in my tires and is constantly worrying as I drive back and forth to school even though I've done it too many times to count. I might seem annoyed, but I'm thankful to have a dad that cares.

This man regularly takes me and all my friends out to eat and always pays for everyone sitting at the table.

I prayed for months this man would be open to the idea of me spending two weeks in Africa. I was SO sure he was going to say no and come up with reasons why it wasn't a good idea, but he surprised me and said yes. Not only did he say yes, he asked if he could come with me.

This man is going to AFRICA with me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Heartbreaking statistics

Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa.

Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans.

Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone).

There are 143,000,000* orphans in the world today. The population of orphans theoretically makes up the 7th largest nation in the world.

Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home.

Every YEAR 14,050,000 children grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system.

Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT.

Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home.

Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

(Data provided by UNICEF)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dear family and friends,

It was just a little over a year and half ago when I stumbled across a blog on the Internet that little did I know would change my life. Katie Davis is a 21-year-old girl from Nashville, TN, but she is anything but normal. Upon graduating high school, she didn’t go after the normal college or career path; she chose to move to Uganda all by herself to serve the orphans at Amani Baby Cottage. After just a few months, she started a ministry called Amazima, which now feeds over 1000 starving kids weekly! And even more, she provides over 400 children with sponsorships, giving them love and knowledge of Christ- in addition to medical supplies, education, and much more. She even has now taken in 13 girls of her own. Yes, you read that right. She has 13 kids and the number is ever growing. She has a boyfriend, friends, and family that she misses dearly, but wakes up every morning with an abundance of joy in her heart because she is following the plan God has for her and serving the least of these all day, every day. Now I realize that God doesn’t call us all to this exact way of life, but He does call us to live a no-excuses, radical life that will cause us to die empty, having given everything we have for Him.
Over the last year I have been learning what this kind of life looks like and God has placed the desire in my heart to travel to Africa, I just didn’t know how and when I was going to get there. I had been looking for an organization to go through for some time and a few weeks ago an amazing trip fell into my lap. I have been given the opportunity to travel with the organization Visiting Orphans to Uganda and Ethiopia for two weeks this summer. I had planned to travel by myself, but when I talked to my parents, my dad decided he wanted to go also, which I’m VERY excited about! We will be leaving on June 26th and coming back July 9th. Our team’s primary goal is to simply love and care for the orphans. The first week in Uganda we will be working alongside Katie Davis and her ministry; feeding and loving hundreds of children as well as volunteering in two different orphanages teaching English, leading V.B.S, and doing maintenance work on the buildings. The Ethiopian portion of this trip will be spent working with Kid’s Care orphanage, Mother Teresa HIV orphanage, and AHope HIV orphanage. At the end of the week we will be visiting children living and working in the dump in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and putting on a ministry for street children.
This opportunity to travel to Africa has captured my mind and heart, and I would love if you would join me in my adventure. Please pray! Prayer is so powerful, and it would be such a blessing to have support from you in that way. Overseas ministry and relief work is something I am considering doing full time after college and this trip is a prime opportunity for me to get first hand experience. Please pray that God will be in control of everything- my attitude, my team, and our time with the kids that everything we do and say will be done to glorify Him.
As always, funding for these trips are crucial. If you feel comfortable, I would greatly appreciate any financial support. The total cost is $3,400 and donations are tax deductible. All funds needs to be raised as soon as possible since my dad and I are a little late joining the team. If you feel led to help me this summer there are two ways to donate. If my mail please make checks out to Visiting Orphans and mail your check to: Visiting Orphans., P.O. Box 1766 Brentwood, TN 37024 and make sure to put “Elizabeth Williams/Africa June” on the memo line of the check. If giving online, go to Once there click on the donate button in the far right hand corner. Then put the dollar amount you wish to give and then make sure to click on the June Ethiopia/Uganda trip and put my name in the space provided!

I thank you SO much! I really appreciate your consideration of supporting me in prayer and/or financially. Please feel free to call me with questions, visit Katie Davis’ blog, or the Visiting Orphans website to find out a little bit more about the organization and the things my team and I will be doing! I have also decided to start a blog to document my trip and hopefully keep everyone updated as I prepare for this life changing experience. I can’t promise how much I’ll write, but I’ll do my best! Thank you again so much!

Elizabeth Williams

My phone number: 503-475-4233
My Blog:
Katie Davis’ website and blog and
Visiting Orphans website: