My goal in life has always been to make small differences in people's lives. In 2013, I was given an opportunity to change a lot of lives in a way that was larger than any I would have imagined.
My friend Linda Cullen Weiley is the founder of Fifty Lanterns International. Fifty Lanterns International is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that partners with established humanitarian groups to provide communities in the developing world tools that provide safety and opportunity through renewable energy sources such as solar-power lights and arrays-they bring light where there is none. The solar lantern can rid a home of toxic and expensive kerosene and the risk of a deadly fire. With the extended day that the solar light gives a family, children may do their school work, daily activities can be completed after sunset. Fifty Lanterns has completed over 17 major distributions or solar installation projects since it was founded in late 2004 including homes, schools and hospitals. Each of these projects made a vital difference in the lives of widows, orphans, families, and disaster victims. Linda and other Fifty Lanterns representatives personally deliver the lights for each project.
I have been helping Linda promote and raise money to purchase lanterns. The most recent project will provide solar lights for a group of Ugandan grandmothers who take care of orphans with AIDS. In January 2013, Linda has asked me if I would go with her in March to deliver at least 250 lights to the grandmothers.
"You can't fly if you don't leap!" This was an opportunity I had to seriously discern. At the time I was working part-time jobs and money was very tight. I thought maybe the reason I had not found a full time job yet is the God has a purpose for me on this trip. I know there are risks involved in traveling to a developing country and I need to be smart in my decision. However the advice I give to others keeps going through my head "You can't fly if you don't leap!" It's time for me to leap!
The cost of the trip was approximately $2500 and through the generous donations of family and friends I was able to raise money to cover the cost of the trip.
Thank You for Making My Trip Possible
Mom & Dad
Jaclyn, Steve, Jonah & Sam Perez
Matt, Stacey, Karley, Matt Jr. Branscomb
David, Beth, Raymond, Charlie & Wyatt Branscomb
Tom & Lindamarie Branscomb
Chelsea & Jesse Pipe
Skip & Debbie Blackmore
Carol & Brice Perkins
Larry & Faith McCaghy
Peg & Mike McAloon
Rick & Claudia Lund
Kristy & Marty Chromy
Bob & Anita Doll
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