This week, I've finally begun to send out support letters! We're also starting to brainstorm fundraisers, and we've got a couple different ideas. I won't share anything until it's official, but let me just say that the timing in this is incredible and definitely a God thing! I'll post more details once events become concrete. But for now, here's a copy of my support letter. (Side note: if you'd like a hard copy and don't receive one by next Monday, let me know and I'll send one!)
I am writing this because I want you to know about my exciting plans for the future. As you may know, I graduated from high school in May and after prayerful consideration, I have decided not to enroll in college. Instead, I am taking a “gap year” to explore my interests in international missions and children with special needs. In January of 2017, I will start a Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Vinnitsa, Ukraine.
DTS is the orientation to Youth with a Mission (YWAM), a nondenominational Christian organization founded in 1960. The first few months of the DTS is the Lecture Phase. This includes daily worship, guest speakers from around the world, and spending time in local orphanages loving on kids.
After the Lecture Phase comes the Outreach Phase: two months of mission work at another YWAM base, usually in another country. The location for the Outreach Phase will be determined at a later date.
Vinnitsa is southwest of the capital city of Kiev and is roughly the size of Birmingham, Alabama. And it is cold! I will be there during the coldest part of the year, which will be quite an adjustment for this Southern Girl.
My family and I are aware of the geopolitical instability of Ukraine and continue to monitor the situation closely. According to DTS leader (and fellow Tennessean) Daniel Yarbrough, Vinnitsa is not in danger or influenced by the fighting with Russia at this time. However, they have taken the precaution of creating an escape plan to Moldova (an hour’s drive) in the unlikely event that it’s needed.
This fall, I am actively fundraising for this next chapter of my life. I need between $6,500—$7,000, approximately. I am working at Chick Fil-A, babysitting for friends, and will be contributing my own money. There will also be different fundraisers later this fall, with more information closer to time. But I am also asking you to prayerfully consider helping me.
There are two ways to donate:
1. Quick and easy. You can click here and pay directly online. You can pay with your credit card or PayPal account and I will receive the money immediately. (NOTE: your donation will not be tax-deductible when you give this way).
2. If you prefer to give a tax-deductible gift, make a check out to Belmont Church and mail to:
Emily Riggs P.O. Box 3073 Brentwood, TN 37024
For tax purposes, it is very important that you do not put my name on your check, not even in the memo section. The only name on the check should be “Belmont Church.”
In addition, I am seeking a small prayer team that can support me throughout this mission and the entire gap year by subscribing to my blog, staying updated, and committing to prayerful intercession on my behalf.
If you can support me financially and/or by joining my prayer team, please comment below.
I appreciate you for being such an important part of my life, for taking the time to read this letter, and for considering this opportunity.