-Five Midwestern college guys wanting to take 6 months off in the mountains before starting “real” jobs
-A man closer to retirement than to entering the work force beginning a whole other “career”
-A nationally touring recording rock band
-A radio station with a mission
-A six year old girl
-A homeschooling mom
When you look at these items on paper, they really do not make sense. In fact, they appear to be unconnected, other than perhaps the rock band/radio station. But when God writes the story, all of the details come together.
Those five college grads destination: Nepal. And not just because they wanted to climb the mountains. They did want to serve as well. Their intended project: orphanages. Their “accidental” opportunity: ministry to street children.
Changed by the experience, one of the young men went back to his church and started a fund raising campaign to build a place for the street kids to belong. He compelled the help of a church leader in the process. One year later, the young man (Mike), the leader and one of the other college grads, Jon, returned to Nepal to see this home for the homeless children take shape. Even more life changing results.
The other college grad (Jon) moved to Nepal to do the work there. The church leader (Doug) agreed to lead the operation stateside. And the young man (Mike) with the heart for the original fundraising has made return trip after trip and has continued to support what became Tiny Hands International.
Fast forward several years. The Lincoln-based band, VOTA, was looking to support a non-profit with their music. They had already been working with Taylor University on other student service projects. 4 out of 5 of those original Nepal travelers just happened to graduate from Taylor. A joint effort between Taylor, VOTA and the Nebraska ministry made sense. Love Found Me campaign began where VOTA is donating 100% of their current album profits to help support several border monitoring stations on behalf of Tiny Hands to rescue young women in Nepal.
Enter My Bridge Radio. This Nebraska-wide station is always looking to support ministries across Nebraska. Liking the focus of Love Found Me, they devoted one month of on-air programming to really promote the campaign. This assisted VOTA in reaching their goal in “record” time.
And the six year old heard on the radio all about this mission of rescuing girls in Nepal. “We have to help them and pray for them.” So, when it came time to pick her country for her school geography report, Nepal had not left her mind or her heart. She wants to learn even more about this place half a world away. (Although she is pretty sure that she does not want to visit – “they might take me!” Her fears might have some basis, thus the incredible need for the ministry of Tiny Hands International to take place in Nepal and also in India & Bangladesh.)
My connection to all of this is kind of funny. The young man, Mike, happens to be one of my brother’s really good friends from high school/college. (In fact my brother went to Nepal also during that time but did not stay for six months). The man who changed careers happens to have been the girls’ high school assistant basketball coach, Doug. I cannot claim a strong connection to VOTA besides being a big fan (although the lead singer is married to my high school classmate’s sister – ha!). And as for the radio station – that is what we listen to all of the time.
As you probably guessed, the six year old is my daughter. My favorite part personally is definitely watching her heart soften toward those who need prayer and support. Me – I just get to be the writer. The one who is the teller and who has been blessed just seeing how God unfolds His story in our lives.
P.S. I was privileged to write an official article, “VOTA: Recording for Change” in this month’s issue of the L Magazine. You can read the article online. The print version will be out in the next week or two. On my Odyssey Through Nebraska blog, you can read about an interesting “contest” that has come about through this Love Found Me campaign. Hint: international travel is involved!