Helping kids live out their faith…not just as kids,
but as they grow. I know that’s a goal for most of us in children’s
ministry. Today, I wanted to share with you the story of two
sisters, Abbie and Katie, who grew up in children’s ministry. Who
knew at the time that these two young girls would grow up to take
on Mount Kilimanjaro as a result of their desire to
help others? You never know what God has planned for your kids, and
I hope Abbie and Katie’s story serves as a reminder of how what you
do makes a difference.
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David: Thanks for sharing
your story, Abbie! Let’s start at the beginning when you and your
sister were in children’s ministry. Do you mind telling how that
experience helped shaped you?
Abbie: I think my experiences
as a Kids Kamper and through the children’s ministry at Elmbrook
Church (Brookfield, Wisconsin) definitely shaped who I am today.
Not only did I have amazing role models to look up to as a kid, but
the messages presented really put my heart in the right place. One
of my favorite events growing up was Elmbrook Church’s Missions
Seeing all the missionaries and the pictures
from where they were serving and hearing their stories really
ignited the fire that has become a burning passion for missions in
my life. When I graduated into the middle school and high school
programs, I was fortunate enough to travel to Mexico and the
Dominican Republic with youth groups, which created some of my very
favorite memories in life.
David: Now that you are
older, you and your sister are planning a trip to climb Kilimanjaro
for charity. Where did you come up with the idea to climb for a
Abbie: Katie and I have
always been very adventurous. We have both participated in multiple
charitable trips around the world, and we love to work with kids.
It’s been my dream to go to Africa to volunteer since before the
sixth grade, but the idea came to “climb for a cause” just a few
years ago. Katie volunteered at Open Arms Home
for Children in South Africa in 2009 which was when I was
really inspired to go back with her someday. On her trip she
learned about other people who had climbed Kilimanjaro for charity,
and she came home and shared her excitement with me-and then the
two of us promised each other we would do it one day.
David: So between those days
in children’s ministry and missionary festivals, as well as your
trips around the world, God’s led you in this direction.
Abbie: Our experiences are
what helped shape and inspire us to travel halfway across the world
to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. It takes a special
sisterhood to want to spend 16 days together, not to mention seven
days of sleeping in a two-person tent, but we’re excited to endure
David: Tell us more about the
climb and the charity.
Abbie: Our trip consists of
two main parts: climbing and volunteering. For the first week of
our trip we will be in Tanzania, Africa, climbing Mount
Kilimanjaro-which is actually the tallest free-standing mountain in
the world. We have chosen the seven-day Machame route for our
fundraising climb. It is the second-most popular of the six
possible routes and is known for being one of the most scenic treks
up the mountain.
The second half of our trip will be spent
volunteering at the orphanage we’ve partnered with, Make A
Difference (MAD), which is in a town called Moshi. MAD was
established to help children rise out of poverty and become leaders
within their countries. MAD’s mission is to support quality
educational opportunities for vulnerable children and youth in
This year MAD was able to send seven graduates
out on their own to pursue their dreams. Something unique about MAD
is that they send their kids to the best schools in their region
(which teach in both Swahili and English so that kids can continue
their education in secondary school) and helps them find quality
jobs upon graduation. Learning that Tanzania’s economy was among
the bottom 10 percent of the world made us realize how fortunate we
are and inspired us to use our blessings to bless others. By
donating to Make A Difference, you are helping to end poverty
David: Amazing! What would
you tell children who want to make a difference in their world?
Abbie: I would tell children
who want to make a difference to dream big! With the power of
prayer, perseverance, and determination their dreams can become a
reality just like ours did! But I would also emphasize that you
don’t have to go out of the country or climb a mountain to make a
difference. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness can mean the
world to someone. So I would warn a child not to get too caught up
in their bigger projects to miss the opportunities they have to
make a difference every day.
David: Where can people go
for more information or to help the cause?
Abbie: We’ve had an
overwhelming response these past few months and want to say thank
you from the bottom of our hearts for everyone’s support! We knew
from the beginning that we set an ambitious goal and we thought
that it would be difficult to achieve it, but after months of
sharing our story we are excited to announce that we have surpassed
our goal and are proud to say that our fundraising is not going to
stop there! Our fundraising page will be accepting donations until
the day we leave. (You can find out more about MAD on their website, help
support MAD on our fundraising website, or you can follow
Abbie and Katie on Facebook!)
One of Abbie and Katie’s goals in this
endeavor is to inspire others to make a difference. “It’s cool to
see the ripple effected we’ve had on organizations and
individuals,” says Abbie. Help your kids make some waves of their
own! Here are some great tips to
help your kids become mission-minded.