We just wrapped up an incredible season in Ethiopia of many teams coming to visit us, serve us, and spend time with us over the past five months.
And although each and every one of those teams was a blessing in different ways, I want to highlight one of those teams—our friends from St. Joseph Christian School in St. Joseph, Missouri. They have been sending teams for years, so I have built a really solid relationship with this community. This team was special, for me and for the entire Ethiopian staff at Carry 117, because they did so much for us during their time here. I am always really grateful for how selfless and giving they are.
Even more than that though, this team is special because of what they do when they aren’t here in Ethiopia. I’m so grateful for the way they intentionally stay involved and connected to the mission of Carry 117.
There was one thing that I’ll always remember from this team this summer. You see, St. Joseph Christian School has personally been one of my biggest fans before Carry 117 even existed. When Carry 117 was only just a dream and an idea, they were some of the people who encouraged me to take the next step to begin Carry 117. At the time, I had some sample products created to pitch the idea of Carry 117 to people. One of those sample products was an iPad case, and I had given it to one of the team members that was on this specific team from St. Joseph this past summer. Her name is Miss Grace, and I had given the iPad case to her husband as a gift. When they came to visit this summer, Miss Grace had brought the original iPad case we made as a company framed as a gift for me.
What a beautiful and special reminder of how far we’ve come from the time I had given this iPad case to Miss Grace’s husband. That was over four and a half years ago now, and as an organization, Carry 117 has grown in so many different ways since then. Leading this organization can be very discouraging at times, and exhausting. I needed this encouragement and picture of growth to inspire me to keep going.
I think one of the most beautiful and unique things about our partnership with our friends in Saint Joseph, Missouri, is that the partnership goes both ways. They come serve in Ethiopia, and I come visit them! They pray for us, we pray for them. They message us, we message them. It’s such a great picture of what a true, healthy partnership looks like. A lot of times teams come and I don’t hear from them again. What relationship we built while we were together fades quickly when that happens. Most people say they want to stay involved or come back, and I am so grateful when this group of people does.
Staying involved after a trip doesn’t necessarily mean buying bulk/wholesale product. It can look like a bunch of different things:
- Sending messages of encouragement.
- Writing blogs for us (Thanks Cindy!).
- Being an advocate.
- Hosting a House Party
All of it is equally as helpful and meaningful to us.
Joe, Ali, Miss Grace, Cindy, Joey, and the many others… thank you for your partnership and the time you spent serving alongside us this summer!
We can’t wait for your next team to visit.