Let the good news roll.

We needed to write this post...to say it's long overdue is an understatement.

In the past three weeks we've practically traveled all over the country sharing the vision of Second Mile Ministries but we haven't told you one single thing about it!

We really pulled out all the stops in order to visit people we love and connect with others who have shown some excitement about our new venture. Combined, we (Jenn and Amy) spent time in 7 states, boarded 8 airplanes, and spent a total of 27 hours on a bus. All for the love of Haiti! (and our sweet friends at each of these destinations of course).

Prior to this trip we were stationed in Tucson, AZ and had spent most of our time tackling the logistical side of starting an organization. We teamed up to accomplish time consuming tasks like researching other ministries, creating a business plan, drafting project proposals, and estimating budgets. We created a web hosting account, chose a website design theme, experimented newsletter templates, and spent hours writing content for the website. We even attended a seminar on mission-focused house parties. Most importantly, we submitted to the State of Arizona the application to become a non-profit entity. I'm overjoyed to announce that our Articles of Incorporation were approved and have since been published. What does all this mean you ask? Well, basically, Second Mile Ministries officially exists! We are now legally recognized as a not-for-profit organization by the State of Arizona and are eligible to apply for tax exempt (501c3 status) with the IRS. This designation also meant that we had all the documents we would need in order to open a bank account and begin depositing Second Mile funds into this location. This was a huge step for our fundraising efforts and we couldn't wait to check-off this milestone. I arrived in Arizona on Monday and Jenn landed in Tucson on Tuesday of this week. First thing Wednesday morning we were sitting across from a bank clerk engaged in a beautiful exchange of paperwork, identification, and cold-hard cash. We were able to deposit all of the money that you've donated to date and transfer all contributions that were made via paypal into this account. We are thrilled to now be able to accept checks made out to Second Mile Ministries. We took a picture outside the bank to prove it, but...it's not the prettiest of shots so we'll spare you.

We can also breath a big sigh of relief, and shout out a big Thank You, now that our website is up and running. We learned quickly that web design was not our strong suite. I tried to pretend otherwise when I tore into an 880 page copy of Word Press for Dummies. Jenn tried to manage by watching You Tube tutorials but ultimately we didn't get very far before a talented friend stepped in to save the day.

Yikes, how much good news is too much for just one blog post?!

I'm going to assume that you can handle a few more positive stories, and keep writing.

Jenn and I split up at the start of our trip. While she headed to Texas, the first stop on my itinerary was my hometown Morgan Hill, California. When visiting this small town I am always encouraged by the people at Westhills Community, the church I grew up attending, and all of the family friends that live there. My first night in the area I got a call from my cousin Becky. I had just spent the day with she and her husband in San Francisco and she was calling to ask if by any chance I was available the following morning to speak to a class of 7th graders. Her 12 year old daughter attends a Christian school in Scotts Valley and had announced to her teacher that her cousin from Haiti was coming to visit. The teacher, who coincidently would be finishing up a unit on Poverty and Missions, asked if I might be free to come speak to the class the following day. My friend could overhear the conversation as my cousin retold this story over the phone. She quickly offered up a spare vehicle which was enough to seal the deal. What a privilege it was to speak to such formidable minds. They're at the age where what they hear and experience has a powerful impact on the foundation of their lives. I have proof to back up that statement! I'm convinced that my first mission trip at age 11 is what started this crazy journey. At a young age I learned that I was living in a pretty big world with some pretty big problems, but that the same God I prayed to was ministering to people in utter poverty and providing for their needs. What's more, I got to experience that love and be a part of it. I was hooked!

I admire this 7th grade teacher for teaching her students about the world, for showing them how they can give of themselves, and for giving them examples of great missionaries who have responded to God's call. This class will be taking a mission trip to Mexico at the end of the year. I hope it is for them what it was for me.

Life changing.

While in Scotts Valley I also had the privilege of stopping in to see my Grandmother, Kathryn Syres, age 96. She didn't know I was coming and when I swung by her home and called 'Hello' from the bottom of the stairs all I could hear was pure delight in her voice. Those of you who've ever done anything risky know what it's like to have a family member's approval on something that might not make sense to most. It's priceless. Lucky us, G-ma approves 100%.

I sense that this post is long enough for now but we have so much more to share. Stayed tuned for more on how God provided for Second Mile Ministries during the rest of our trip. More on Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, etc in Part 2 or.....3.