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JE Stories – Honor Flight Veterans

 

Here at JE, we passionately believe that we can change the world for Christ one traveler at a time! Each travel experience is incredibly unique, as is each traveler, and we share these unique travel stories through our JE Stories initiative. As you read these stories, be encouraged reading how God is using each story for His greater glory!

For this month’s JE Story, one of our DC Guide Julie Adkins recounts how a random encounter ended up being the highlight of a recent Washington DC trip.

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“It was an idyllic fall day in Washington, DC – great weather, no crowds or traffic, and we didn’t have to rush. Just perfect. Our group was finishing up visits to various Smithsonian Museums before we walked over to the World War II Memorial. No one was there but our group (that never happens!). I sat the group down, explained the different aspects of the Memorial to them, and told them about an organization called Honor Flight. Honor Flight brings Veterans from all over America who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Washington, DC for a few days to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their wars. Through Honor Flight, all Veterans travel for free. As I was explaining the Honor Flight program, I heard sirens (not unusual in DC), looked up and saw a motorcycle policeman escorting 3 coach buses. This was an Honor Flight group of Veterans arriving at the memorial! Perfect timing.

I sent the students off to explore for a few minutes then had them line up to welcome these Veterans as they came into the Memorial. (At this point, it’s still pretty much just us at the memorial). As these Veterans were wheeled in or walked on their own, their eyes lit up as this line of 8th-grade students clapped for them, hugged them, shook their hands and thanked them for their service. There were tears on the faces of both the young and the old. It was very touching. Many of the Veterans said to the students “We went to war so you wouldn’t have to.” That really got to some of the students. It was great to see the conversations flow freely as the students met these real-life heroes who fought in these wars. This is something you can’t teach in a classroom and it is something those students will never forget.”

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Want to share your own travel story with us? Tag #jestories on your Instagram photos!

JE Honored With Volunteer Service Award

 

Joshua Expeditions was recently honored with the National Mall and Memorial Parks 2017 Volunteer Service Award at the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetary in Arlington, VA. JE was chosen as one of 14 organizations from around the country for contributing over 500 service hours to the National Parks Service throughout the year. “It was a privilege to represent Joshua Expeditions when receiving the Volunteer Service Award from the National Parks Service,” Joshua Expeditions DC Coordinator Jillian Tincher said (pictured above). “It was great to hear how our groups positively impacted the National Mall by helping to create a beautiful place for veterans to visit.”

 

Thank you to all of our Washington D.C. travelers who help contribute to this honor!

 

JE Stories – Crystal & Francella

 

Here at JE, we passionately believe that we can change the world for Christ one traveler at a time! Each travel experience is incredibly unique, as is each traveler, and we share these unique travel stories through our JE Stories initiative. As you read these stories, be encouraged reading how God is using each story for His greater glory!

For this month’s JE Story, read about how one trip to Costa Rica left Crystal with a lasting impact.

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“I have gone to Costa Rica 3 years in a row, and I absolutely love the country and the relationships that I have formed there. One relationship, in particular, stands out from others and it is one that I made with a girl named Francella.

This friendship started on my very first trip to Costa Rica 3 years ago. My team was building a house for a family in need and I met a local 8-year-old girl named Francella. We were only at the worksite building the house for 3 days, but during those 3 days, Francella was latched onto me the whole time. She painted with us, moved stuff for us, and played with us. When it came time for my team and me to leave on day 3, Francella and I took a picture and then I left. It was so sad to leave her!

When I went back the next year, my team and I, unfortunately, didn’t get to work in that same neighborhood as before but we did go back to visit for one day. I got to visit Francella for about 10 minutes and gave her a printed picture of the photo of us that we had taken the year before. It was such a fast visit and yet we still remembered each other and reconnected in that short amount of time. We took a picture of the two of us holding the printed photo I had given her, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.

This past year, my team and I got to build another house in Costa Rica but this time it was actually back in Francella’s neighborhood! I was so excited because now we could spend 3 days with each other instead of 10 minutes! So during those 3 days, Francella and I spent every moment together! I brought her gifts and we tried to take in every second of being with each other. Before I left, I gave her another printed picture of the photo of us holding the picture I had given her the year before! She then grabbed my arm, took me to her house and showed me that she still had the picture I had given her the year before. No rips in it or anything! She cherished the photo and that made me feel so special.

I’m hoping that every year I go back, I can keep giving her pictures of the two of us from years past! It’s crazy how strong this bond has become between myself and this little girl from Costa Rica. We don’t even speak the same language and only see each other 3 days out of the year, yet we are so close and remember each other so well! I can’t wait to go back, reconnect with her, and give her another picture next year!” – Crystal C.

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Want to share your own travel story with us? Tag #jestories on your Instagram photos!

Calls To Action – Costa Rica

 

 

On a recent mission trip, JE Guide Joanna Farnham lead a group of high school seniors to Costa Rica with the intention to serve local neighborhood kids. Through this initial service, God provided incredible opportunities to grow partnerships in Costa Rica and show His faithfulness. 

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This past March, I had the pleasure of leading a trip for a wonderful group of students from South Carolina. For this group of seniors, the week was filled with a mixture of ministry and adventure activities, all while enjoying the many beautiful sites Costa Rica has to offer! While we had a blast zip lining through the jungle and snorkeling off the shores of a private island, the highlight of the week for me (and the majority of the students) was our ministry time in La Fortuna.

 

While doing outreach in the park at the beginning of the week, I was praying for opportunities to build more ministry relationships in La Fortuna and for additional ways to invest in the people there. As we were inviting neighborhood kids to come play with the team, God compelled me to go meet the principal and a few of the teachers at the local bilingual school next to the park. I first met Shirley, one of the 3rd-grade teachers, and I was able to share with her the work that Joshua Expeditions does in Costa Rica and around the world. Shirley got so excited about the work we are doing and immediately took me to the office to meet the principal. After our introduction, he said they would love to have us come to their school and help the students as they try to learn English. In their school, students learn to read and write English but rarely have the opportunity to speak with native English speakers. Without verbal practice, they lack the confidence to speak in English and as a result, don’t retain the information they are learning.

 

On Tuesday, our team was scheduled to go explore the waterfall in La Fortuna and spend the afternoon loving on the kids at the nearby orphanage. After sharing my conversation with the principal with the Group Leader, he asked if we would be able to come back and spend time working at the school prior to our time at the orphanage. I spoke with the school, and we were able to rearrange our day to visit the school after the waterfall hike. I loved seeing how excited the team was to sacrifice “fun time” to do additional ministry! The next day we were able to go back and help teach in the 3rd and 4th-grade classrooms. We practiced introductions in English (‘Hello’, ‘How are you?’, ‘My name is…’, etc.) and helped with the lessons they are currently studying. After the formal lessons, we took the students outside to practice English while interacting and playing games. Even the principal came out to join in on the fun!

 

As we debriefed our trip at the end of the week, many of the students shared how our impromptu time at the school was their favorite part of the trip and how it greatly impacted them. God gave them a huge heart for loving those students, playing with them, making them feel valued, giving them confidence as they learn a new language, and praying over them.

 

Through this opportunity, God reminded me how He is so faithful to provide when we are open and willing to the ways He wants to use us. God wants to use all of us in big ways to further His kingdom—it just takes us simply trusting in Him and being willing to listen when He calls us to action. In this case, that meant following His prompting to introduce myself to the teachers and principal of the school adjacent to where we were already doing ministry. I am so excited to see where this new partnership leads as Joshua Expeditions continues to take teams to serve in La Fortuna!

 

Interested in joining JE on mission? Check out our Mission trips here!

Interested in becoming a JE Guide? Fill out an application here!

*Photos courtesy of Joanna Farnham (Instagram: @joannafarnham)

Teacher Appreciation Week 2017 – Thank You Teachers!

 

Thank you to all the teachers who participated in our Teacher Appreciation Giveaway! We have been reading some wonderful stories. You all are wonderful human beings, and we’re so happy for those of you who shared your stories with us to help us better understand how to appreciate you and to be encouraged to show our appreciation for all those who play a special role in our lives.

As a small token of appreciation, a $25 Visa gift card will be sent to each of the randomly-selected participants.

1) Kathy B.

2) Dina H.

3) Tracie S.

4) Peter Z.

5) Wendy C.

6) Cindy M.

7) Kelley H.

8) Kristi W.

9) Mika E.

10) Karina S.

(Make sure to check your email so we can send you your prize!)

 

Here are a few of the stories submitted:

“I became a teacher for one simple reason: to serve the Kingdom. I felt God calling me to teaching, but specifically to teaching in a Christian school. I know I don’t make as much as a public school teacher, but I get to share the love of Christ on a daily basis.

 

“I became a teacher because I had an amazing teacher who made me feel like I could encourage and care like she did. Today, I have been teaching for twenty years and I still think of her. So thankful for her influence. Teaching is not a job, it is my heart!

 

“It is my desire for all children and teens to feel valued, honored, and heard. In teaching, I am able to connect deeply with kids, while participating in their growth and development as students, Christ-seekers, and citizens of the community.

 

“I love working with students, investing in their lives. I consider it a privilege to be able to teach them not only academic subjects but spiritual truths from God’s Word that will give them hope for the future.”

 

“I love working with kids, encouraging them, helping them to use their gifts and talents and to reach their full potential. I am blessed to be able to help my students grow academically and spiritually.”

 

“I have always loved reading and learning and there’s no better way to share that passion than with kids who are eager to soak up everything around them.”

 

“37 years ago it was for the summers off and 7:30-3:00 work hours, but just days in, I discovered the joy, honesty, and purity of kids. 37 years later, it’s still the best job on the planet!  #lovemyjob #blessedbeyondmeasure”

 

“I wanted to touch lives in the way my life was changed by a few teachers I had. I wanted to make a difference.”

 

“I became a teacher 25 years ago to be an advocate for all students.  I became a teacher to show students possibilities, opportunities and that they could do anything with patience, practice, and perseverance.  I became a teacher because I love children and I love seeing that “I got it” moment after they have worked really hard to master a skill.  I became a teacher to help students achieve, believe and succeed.  Being a teacher is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

 

“I became a teacher because as a child I loved school so much! All of my teachers trusted me from an early age to run their errands. I played teacher when I was little, even 5 years old. Then when I was in grade school, I would invite all the neighborhood kids over for a story in my backyard. My mom would bake cookies, and make lemonade for my “students” when I was about 8 years old. Then when I went to college, I started out majoring in fashion design, but I was so good at helping others, and teaching them what to do, that my instructors told me that I should really go into education!”

 

I was studying to be a pastor, and I attended seminary, but my first pastor experience as an interim preacher didn’t feel like what I wanted to do. I was helping my wife, who is a teacher, who was teaching in a Christian school, set up her classroom a couple of days before school started. The superintendent liked me so much, that he asked me to teach social studies and a Bible class for a teacher that left suddenly, without warning. I took over the class, and now I have been a teacher for over 20 years!! I am a special education teacher and I love teaching!”

 

“I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. I teach high school and I like watching them learn new things and putting that knowledge to good. It is even a greater feeling when students, who don’t take my classes, come to me for help and guidance. It is a fantastic feeling when you are a positive influence on a student. I love them all and claim them all as my own.”

 

“I became a teacher because I want to make a difference. I believe every child can learn something every day. It isn’t the same thing as their neighbors, but they are learning something. I want to help students succeed.”

Go and get grab your copy now!