Friday, January 30, 2015

It's official!! Things are happening!

Great things are happening!!  I now have my official dates!  It's becoming so very real!  I will leave March 17, 2015 to drive down to Mexico.  I'll take several days to drive down to Mexico, stopping in the Memphis, TN area to meet up with and see my sister and niece one last time.  It's about a 24 hour drive total, so I'll drive that over 3 days with some stops along the way.  I hope to arrive in Piedras Negras on March 20th.  Then my official start of service date in Mexico is March 21st!  That's just 49 days away, and I know it will fly by.

Additionally the site for online giving of financial support is now functioning.  However it's at a different web address than I previously had.  It's at this site now: Donate here (or ).  Once there, click on the "Use for the Individual Volunteer Program" drop down menu at the top, and then select "LaFrance, Laurel".  This can be used for one-time or recurring donations.  Thank you for considering to support me financially in this journey!!

God has blessed me so much through generous donors, and I'm already at just over 88% of my fundraising (whether through actual donations and/or pledges)!  I have three more churches lined up to speak to in February, and I am continuing to leave things in God's hands.  But I truly believe that, if it is His will, He will help me reach 100% of my funding through pledges and donations by my leave date.  It's amazing how God is calling others and using them to help support me on this journey; I am so very grateful and humbled!

I got completely moved out of my apartment this past week.  Now I'm working on sorting some things to figure out what will be stored while I'm gone, what I'm taking with me to Mexico, and if there are more things I can donate.  I feel like I donated, sold, and threw away nearly as much as I kept, which is both refreshing and a little overwhelming at times too.  But it's good to share with others and to be free of some things I can live without!

Finally, I found out there will be another college-aged man from Ohio serving at the orphanage from about February 15th through April 15th this year.  And I know we have a high school girl from my church who plans to go down for about 5 weeks this summer as well.  I'm so excited that the orphanage is getting some additional help and people to love on all the kiddos there!

Be blessed!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Latest

I haven't heard any further updates from the orphanage this week, so I pray that all is going well.  I'm sure there is an adjustment period for having nine new children there, so I am hopeful that everyone is adapting as best they can.  I know that there is a need for more adult help, so I'm still wishing to get there soon-- hopefully mid-March!  It's exciting (and, yes, there's a bit of nerves and fear mixed in there too) to think this could all come to fruition and be my reality so soon!

I just finished serving on a Chrysalis team this weekend (a spiritual retreat for young women between 15 and 25).  It was amazing and rejuvenating!  But now that means it's time for me to prepare to move in with friends this coming weekend, in attempt to save some money for expenses as I prepare to go to Mexico.  And today I was back to substitute teaching (which has been going great and keeps me plenty busy!).

Additionally, I'm excited to have speaking engagements lined up every Sunday in February at numerous churches.  I am so blessed to have been warmly welcomed by these churches!  The first weekend is my home church's missions Sunday.  On February 8th, I'll be speaking at Shining Light Community Church in Sugar Grove, Ohio.  On the 15th, I'll be with Plain City United Methodist Church.  And on the 22nd, I've been invited to speak with the congregation at Milford Center United Methodist Church.  If you know of a group (especially a small group, share group, or Sunday school class) that would be willing to let me speak to them, I'd love to do so!

I'm currently at about 40% of my fundraising thanks to donations and pledges!  Praise God for providing so much in less than a month of fundraising!  I am humbled and grateful to people who are willing to answer the call to pledge and offer financial support.  Unfortunately, my online giving site is still not yet functioning; it's pending the finalization of a couple of budgetary items with my sending agency office in New York.  So we keep hoping it will be activated soon.  I'll update when it is working for online giving. 

That's all for today.  Be blessed!

P.S.  Have I mentioned that I can't wait to get to see these kiddos again???...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Good things are happening

I'll try to keep this brief with just a few updates this week...

This past Sunday I was invited to speak at all three services at Marysville First United Methodist Church, and I was pleased with how things went.  I am grateful to Pastor Aaron Brown for allowing me to share how I have been called (going along with our reading from Jonah chapter 1) and inviting our congregation to partner with me prayerfully and/or financially.  I am so blessed that, as of today, through donations and pledges over the next two years, I have received almost 25% of the amount I need to fundraise!  God does provide!

My online giving site (through is taking a little longer than expected to get completed and uploaded.  The website functions, but I have yet to be added to the drop down menu under "Select a Missionary".  Hopefully that will happen early next week.  I am excited that, even without online giving being available yet, people are still generously donating via checks and pledges to support my missions work.  I trust that when I have been added to the website, it will make it more convenient for others to give as they feel led.

I am also fortunate that my home town's newspaper The Marysville Journal Tribune ran an article* about me today (in Melanie Behrens' Off the Hook Column, on page 5).  I am happy to share my story, and am thankful for people to read it and share in my journey.  I know that I have chosen to follow the path less traveled, but I am still glad to tell others about it (and eventually share another corner of the world with them from Mexico).  Thank you to my friends who connected me with Melanie, and especially to Melanie for interviewing me, writing the article, and printing it!

Tonight I am finalizing a PowerPoint to use as I prepare to speak at another church in London, Ohio this Sunday.  I am grateful for the opportunity to reach out to more people and share my new calling.

The polar vortex plummeting temperatures in Ohio to below zero, with a windchill closer to -25º or colder tonight makes me long to be in Mexico sooner than later.   Piedras Negras' high of 43º and 33º low seem warm in comparison.  While the three days of cancelled school this week (ode to cold and snow) have also cancelled my substitute teaching jobs and pay for those days, I have been able to use the time to work on missions stuff and fundraising, as well as getting ready to move out of my apartment in the next couple of weeks.  I'm not heading to Mexico quite yet, but am moving in with two generous friends until it's time for me to go abroad.  So step by step, I keep on trekking getting closer to moving to Mexico.

Be blessed!

*Especially for family and friends outside of Ohio, here's a copy of said article:

Friday, January 2, 2015

My fundraising postcards are finished prior to the expected pick-up date, but just in time!  God's perfect timing allowed them to be done this morning, in time for me to pick them up, take them to church, and insert them into bulletins before I speak briefly at this Sunday's services and officially start my fundraising!  Again, God's goodness continues to amaze me, as it took the printing place less time to perforate and cut the postcards than originally estimated.  Due to the shorter time required, they came in at $50 under the quote I'd been previously given too.  I'm pleased, not only with the timing, but with how they turned out.

Now I'm looking forward to stepping out in faith this weekend and asking people to partner with me in prayer and financially.  I'd appreciate your prayers as I prepare my brief message to share on Sunday (more like as I await the words of the Spirit to flow through my mouth to others' ears).  Obviously, I'd also love prayers for the Lord to continue to provide donors for my fundraising, so that I can get to Mexico and serve in His perfect timing.  I trust that God knows people's hearts and will work in them and call them to give, if and when He knows is best.  I believe that this isn't just my missions ministry, but God giving others the opportunity to share their blessings (financially, prayerfully, or however else He reveals), as He leads them to do so.

Finally, I have been informed that there are nine (yes, 9!!!) new children from two new families at the orphanage in the last week or so.  This is pushing the orphanage to capacity with the amount of adult workers they currently have there.  So please also join with me that God will provide for these children to stay in this loving, Christian-run orphanage, where I truly believe they will best be taken care of.  I pray that he provide for their emotional well-being, their necessities like food and clothing, and that they know Jesus' love in their hearts.  I pray that God continue to sustain the workers already serving, and that He allow me to join them as soon as it's best for us all.

Be blessed!