Hello (Insert Your Name Here)!
I hope this letter finds you enjoying a beautiful spring day in (insert your city name here). Things here at the Hilt home are typical for May…Daughters 1 and 2 have worked hard and just finished out another great school year in 5th and 3rd grade (respectively) and Daughters 3 and 4 are keeping Jody busy all day long at home. Meanwhile things are going well for me at Virginia Tech where we continue to try to keep up a frantic pace of designing and constructing new facilities as funding allows. We are leaving for a long-awaited vacation trip to the beach at the end of the month, so that pretty well sums up everyone’s focus these days!
The purpose of this letter, however, is to let you in on a little something that we’ve got in store for later this summer. You may recall that (a) our youngest of 4 daughters is adopted from Ethiopia and (b) Jody went twice to Ethiopia last year to serve the orphans, elderly, and poor in this great land. Well, this year I have been nominated as our family’s delegate to go to Africa and serve, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I will be part of a 20+ person team on the Man Up + Dig Deep + Dude Perfect Trip.
The trip I’m going on leaves July 31 and returns August 14. We are actually going to spend a week in Ethiopia and a week in Uganda, so I’ll have the opportunity to get to know a second African culture first hand. This trip is being organized by Visiting Orphans, so our primary focus will be to serve the fatherless. We will also have the opportunity to encourage and support the locals who work in the villages and orphanages of Ethiopia and Uganda daily. There are over 160 million orphans in the world today, 5 million in Ethiopia and almost 3 million in Uganda. The need is undeniably massive, which only makes each person’s involvement that much more critical.
Another component of this trip will be our visit to a village in southern Ethiopia where a new water system is being installed by Dig Deep for those who do not have access to clean, healthy water. The facts, statistics and reality of unclean, unsafe drinking water are staggering. It is truly a global crisis that impacts over a billion people daily. Lack of water keeps people poor, limits education, burdens women, and kills 2.2 million people annually. I can’t think of a better way to spend myself than to work to bring water to those who need it.
I know there are people reading this who have the same heart for the poor, the fatherless, the widow, the prisoner (we will be visiting a children’s prison in Uganda) and the outcast as I do but are not ready or able to go. Honestly, a massive influx of white-faced Americans isn’t necessarily the solution to many of these problems anyway. However, those same people with a heart like mine do have other resources to tackle this problem. I feel ready to go, but don’t have all the resources to make that happen.
First, you know we need prayer. I really feel like I don’t even need to ask for it because I have no doubt that my adopted brothers and sisters in the family of God will cover this mission in prayer as the Spirit of God moves. I have witnessed the body of Christ rising up in support of Jody on her trips and it is a beautiful thing. But, I do need to humbly ask for money. I need to raise funds to make this trip a reality, both to cover my own costs, and after that to be able to make a direct financial investment in the small and fragile economies of the places I’ll visit through our local purchases and donations. In giving toward the cost of this trip, you can have an immediate impact on people you’ve never met, but who have real, difficult needs. Your dollars CAN and WILL make a difference, that is my personal promise to all who financially support me on this trip.
Ok, so now for the nuts and bolts. With oil prices on the rise, the cost of the trip is going to be around $4000. Truthfully, I’m not worried about raising that money, because I know this trip is where God wants me, so I believe the trip cost will be raised quickly. My real plea is for us to move past that first hurdle quickly because any excess we raise will go directly to helping those I encounter on this trip…the fatherless, the well project, the poor. Please consider if you might contribute an amount, anything – large or small – toward this trip. Our small team of 30 needs a second, larger team of supporters to get this work done.
Will you be a part of the big team?
If you’d like to contribute online with a credit card, please go to this link: https://www.visitingorphans.org/donations/donate.aspx
Under “Gift Designation” select this trip: “July 31 – Aug 14, 2011 Ethiopia/Uganda – Man Up – Dig Deep – Dude Perfect Trip“.
Where it asks “Would you like to designate this donation to a specific team member?” select Yes and enter my name, “Patrick Hilt“. Awesome, thanks!
If you’d prefer to send a check instead, they can be made out to Visiting Orphans and mailed to:
P.O. Box 668
Nolensville, TN 37135
Please indicate on the check that it is for me (Patrick Hilt, still). All payments/donations made to Visiting Orphans are tax deductible.
Alternatively, if you are local to Blacksburg, VA and/or go to Blacksburg Christian Fellowship, contributions can be directed there as well. Checks can be made out to “BCF” and are tax-deductible as well. You can stick it in a giving envelope with my name on it and drop it in one of the offerings boxes, mail it to BCF (address below) or I’ll even offer my courier services free of charge…just send me an email (email@example.com).
One last thing…if you are looking for ideas about how to contribute, check out this year’s new-and-improved triathlon fundraiser: Tri Hard for Orphans and Water. Last year over $5,100 was raised in the Triathlon-a-thon for Korah to help the people there work toward a new beginning with new land to get them out of the city’s trash dump. P90X (i.e. winter training) is complete and the triathlon workouts have begun! Another way to help is by purchasing some of the fine jewelery available at The Mama Sheep Shop. All profits between now and August go toward this trip!
If you have made it this far, I sincerely congratulate you for your interest and reading persistence. Check back here for updates about the fundraising and hopefully, if the innerwebz cooperate, updates from Uganda and Ethiopia this August!