Honeymoon on a Mission
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Jaymie and Chris Grammer’s wedding looked like a page from a magazine. The September afternoon sunlight filtered through the windows as they took their vows and then danced with friends and family. They toasted to their future and hugged their guests - and then went home to pack duffels with medical supplies, soccer balls and school supplies. Their honeymoon destination? A mission trip to Kenya with Orphan Outreach.
“I had actually been trying to go to Kenya for a few years,” shares Jaymie. “My boss, Jim Clawson (a veterinarian who is a strong advocate of the work being done in Kenya through Orphan Outreach), introduced me to the idea; however, I never had funds to go. It just all fell into place for us with the timing, and I believe God was making me wait until this year to go, until I had Chris. When we found out a mission trip was taking place only days after our wedding day, we knew we would make it our honeymoon.”
Adventure is not new to Jaymie and Chris. They met in 2012 on an online dating website, and after one date knew they were to be together. “Our friends and family were extremely supportive of both our marriage and of the honeymoon plans,” Jaymie continues. “In lieu of wedding gifts, we asked our friends and family to help get us to Kenya. That is all that we wanted - the chance to do God's work and make a difference.” Early on, their fundraising efforts were slow. In fact, at one point, the couple announced they were giving up on their Kenyan dream. “It was then we received our miracle. A few large donations came in, and then all our friends and family pitched in to take care of every small detail.”
Jaymie and Chris knew this would be a unique first experience as husband and wife. He reflects, “While most couples unwind after the stress of a wedding with a beach and an abundance of free alcohol, we were ready for ridiculously long plane rides, a limited (and foreign) diet, jet lag, mosquitoes, and the experience of a lifetime. We had to get a full regimen of vaccines - typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, and malaria.”
He continues, “And at the end of those plane rides was Bungoma, Kenya. There we visited the ACK Madeleine school for at risk/orphaned children. We participated in a medical and dental clinic for the kids, as well as interviewing many of the kids for future sponsors.”
For both Jaymie and Chris, the first encounter with the children was overwhelming. She shares, “We walked around the bend of the road to the most genuine smiles and the most beautiful voices singing that you've ever heard. Walking among the laughter and outstretched hands wanting nothing more than to just make a physical connection with you...it was indescribable. I have never felt such pure joy and love from a group of people, nothing compares.”
Jaymie also joined other team members in the Race for Life, a 4.5 mile run that raised money for rainwater cisterns at the school. Donors from the US enabled the villagers from Bungoma to run the race - a historic moment for the rural village near the Ugandan border. “I ran a race - in Kenya - with Kenyans. I would do it over and over again.”
The couple met two very special people while they served in Bungoma. Jamie smiles as she thinks about her friend. “The very first child I made a connection with was a little girl named Faith. From the moment I arrived, she was right by my side holding my hand. Faith is the happiest, most giggly little girl I have ever met. Though she hardly said a word the entire time, there was no denying her beautiful spirit. I would just watch her dance and laugh and play and be HAPPY, regardless of the fact that her sweater was torn, her shoes worn down, and that she had malaria! She's my special girl, and although she was already sponsored, I still consider her MY girl.”
For Chris, the connection took place later in the week as he helped with interviews of the Madeleine School staff and students. “A boy named Joshua really caught my heart. Joshua was born with clubfoot in both feet, and because of this had trouble walking. He was sometimes late to school because he had to walk, and in order to wear shoes he would slip his feet into some old tennis shoes, stepping on the heels, and then bind the laces around his ankles so they wouldn’t fall off. Even though he has a disability, he is the best soccer player at the school, and it doesn’t make him smile any less. He is so smart, he can even read and write in English. I just knew he was the child we had to sponsor. And as soon as we got home we put a plan into motion to help get Joshua some medical care for his feet. He has an appointment soon to see what can be done to possibly correct the clubfoot!”
The trip has changed the couple’s lives, and they now pray to return to the land and children that captivated their hearts. Jamie encourages others to do the same. “Even if its not for a honeymoon or some special occasion, people should do this - everyone should take a mission trip. This was the most amazing experience of our lives. You really cant make someone understand how life altering mission work is. The most magical moment was watching my husband empty the contents of Joshua's tattered, ripped backpack and putting them into his army pack from when he was in service, then GIVING that pack with so many memories to Joshua. A mission trip just DOES something to you. It opens your eyes and your heart to feelings and love you never even thought possible. We met so many beautiful people who were so selfless and happy, despite how little they have. They welcomed us with open arms. No judgements, no preconceived notions of white people, just love.”
And her encouragement doesn’t stop there. “I encourage everyone to consider sponsoring a child. When you're so far away from it all its hard to imagine your donation making a real difference, but it does. We saw firsthand what sponsoring does. It gives hope to a child, letting them know someone out there cares about them. It puts food in their bellies, especially when the school meal is the only meal some of those kids get. It pays the teachers who work sun up to sun down, giving their all to help build a future for these kids. Sponsorship truly is your way to be someone's miracle.”
UPDATE: Jaymie and Chris' commitment to helping Joshua continues. He was evaluated at a hospital in Nairobi, and it was determined he is indeed eligible for orthopedic surgery. Calling on the support of family and friends, the couple has raised the funds for the first part of his procedure. They are elated, and so is he.
Jaymie and Chris now call Joshua their special "son" through sponsorship. Meet his friends and find your sponsor child today.