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1 Amazing Way 2 Girls are Making a Difference

FixedHelping 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 Festival.

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 cause?

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 it together.

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 developing countries.

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 through education.

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!)

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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.

Posted at 12:40

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