It has been 11 weeks since the confession of my heart’s tug to serve in Haiti was met with welcome arms, much encouragement, and reports of answered prayers from the myLIFEspeaks team. Since then, details have continued to slowly unravel as time absolutely flies by. It’s an exciting time in my life but I have to admit that I am overwhelmed and feel like I’m in over my head. There are so many details that need to come together before my moving date and I am trusting God to provide and weave all the necessary pieces of the puzzle together.

Although the thought of moving to Haiti is becoming commonplace to me in my head, apparently it’s not something people do every day! Could you believe that people are asking a lot of questions? 😉
There are many questions that I don’t have answers to and I’m excited to see how God answers those questions, as they’re floating around in my head as well! But as for the others, I’d love to fill you in!

When am I leaving?
Most likely September 1st.
My last day at work is August 15th and the next time a myLIFEspeaks team is flying down is Sept 1st. It’s preferable for me to go with a group so that others traveling can help transport supplies in their suitcases.

How long will I stay?
The plan for now is one year. I don’t know what God will do in that time or what opportunities will arise, but for the first year, since I will not be paid, I will be considered an intern. After that, there may be the potential for a permanent position… either stateside, or in Haiti. Or a mixture. We will see…

Will I come back to visit?
Yes! I have to leave the country every 90 days so I will be back home at the end of November/beginning of December, around the beginning of March, June, and then again in September 2013. Each time I come back, I will stay roughly a week. Take a warm shower. See my dog. Get a pedicure. (Kidding.)
(Okay… maybe not.)
My 10 year class reunion is in 2013, so I hope that we can plan it for sometime when I’ll be back in June. 🙂
(Eek, I’m an officer, I’m supposed to be helping to plan this thing!)

What will I be doing?
My easy answer is that I’ll continue to be an occupational therapist. But because myLIFEspeaks is a team… a ministry… it would be a mistake to say that I’ll have one job and leave it at that. We’re all working together collectively to make the vision of myLIFEspeaks a reality. We’re all working together to give children, especially orphans, a better quality of life. To provide a loving home environment where they can feel safe and loved. We’re working together to feed children and babies in the community so that they don’t have to go hungry. We’re working together to educate the community to enable them to provide proper nutrition and developmental strategies to promote the healthiest life for themselves and their children for a brighter future. We’re building relationships within the community… we’re being the hands and feet of Jesus.
It is true, however, that I will get to immerse myself in my greatest passions in life… occupational therapy for orphans with special needs. Our orphanage will be taking in children with disabilities (including our first child, Malachi!), and we believe that they should have access to quality therapy services. Therefore, I will be assessing and treating the children as an occupational therapist, and educating others involved with the myLIFEspeaks ministry on strategies to use with the children. It is also a goal of myLIFEspeaks for therapy services to reach out in to the community. I’m so excited to see where this leads…

Will Wrigley get to come with me?
Wrigley IS allowed to fly to Haiti. The problem is that he would never be allowed to come back to the United States. This breaks my heart, as you all know that he is my faithful companion… but it is better that he stay at home so that he can stay safe and healthy and wait for his momma to return! (Honestly, I think more people have asked about Wrigley than me! haha! He is quite famous.) I have a wonderful, amazing friend who has volunteered to take care of him for me while I am gone. Thank the Lord. I know I won’t have to worry about him a bit and that he’ll be in great hands!

What will I live on if I’m not making money?
It is very common for full-time missionaries to rely on the support of their church, family, and friends while serving overseas. Therefore, while I am saving all the money that I can while I am still here and working (I already have no free time and just took a second job… I’m feeling a tad crazy!), I will still heavily rely on the donations of others. I also have a few fundraisers in mind that I hope to carry out before I run out of time.

How much will it cost?
The budget for me to live, work, and fly in and out of Haiti for one year is $12,000, or roughly $1,000/month. Considering what we typically spend in one year, it’s really not that much. I will have a great home, food, transportation within the country, and transportation back home every three months. This budget also includes personal bills I will continue to have while out of the country. Facing $12,000 alone is nerve-wracking, but I’ve seen God come through before in a big way and I’m sure that He will this time as well!

How can you help?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked! 😉 There are SO many ways you can help!!

  • Spread the word. Feel free to share my blog. It’s amazing what networking will do. Someone somewhere knows someone with something that will help fulfill this vision… you never know. Share and let God do the rest.
  • Help with fundraising. I really want to have a benefit / dinner/dance, but don’t have connections with a venue that would sponsor such an event. I also would love to sponsor a 5K, but don’t have the connections to make that happen without spending a fortune either. I’m confident that someone somewhere knows someone with something that will help… 😉 If you have any other ideas or would like to take it upon yourself to have a fundraiser, I encourage you to please serve God in this way! Yard sales, car washes, bake sales… be creative!
  • Donate! Anything towards the $12,000 budget will help. You can write a check and send it to:
    Elizabeth Ingram
    c/o myLIFEspeaks                                           
    PO Box 683042
    Franklin, TN 37068
    *Make sure you put my name in the memo!*
  • Help me gather therapy supplies!We are starting this therapy clinic from scratch! I have tons of friends from OT school and know other healthcare professionals from previous jobs… together, I’m confident that we can make this a rockin’ clinic that all the Haitian kids will want to flock to! Here are some things we need… if you know where to find any of these things or would like to buy/donate, please let me know!
    (myLIFEspeaks is a non-profit organization, which means that you can write off any donations on your taxes! See HERE.)
    Exercise balls (variety of sizes)
    Floor mats
    Ball pump

    Wedges
    (variety of sizes)
    Swings & hardware
    (platform, lycra, high back/full body, etc.)
    Gait Trainer/walker
                  Bolster(s)
    Scooter Board
                                Goniometers
    Tape measures

    Ace wraps

    Sports tape
                                        Splinting materials
    Hot/Cold packs
                              Weighted balls
    Bean bags
                                           Books/Toys
    Manipulatives/Fine Motor
    (puzzles, peg boards, lacing boards, etc.)
    Art/Craft supplies
    (utensils, paper, scissors, glue, etc.)
  • Come join us in Haiti! Seriously! Teams fly down at least once per month. You can come see for yourself what’s going on in Haiti. Fair warning though… prepare to be forever changed. 🙂 Check out more information about taking a short-term mission to the beautiful island of Haiti HERE.

There are so many desperate little lives awaiting a transformation. I am praying that something I have written tonight has touched your heart or sparked an idea in your mind… grab on to it. It’s God’s prodding for you to take hold of the opportunity to make a difference.
Until next time… thank you so much for reading and for joining me on this exciting journey!!
I love you all!
~Elizabeth

Malachi... his LIFE forever changed!!

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