I have gotten some good advice from those who have experience, though, so I'll show you what I'm doing to get ready for our big adventure in India.
1. PRAY. Get your friends to pray. Ask your family to pray. You know your church is praying. PRAY!!!
2. Memorize Scripture. Some of the girls who are going and I have memorized Psalm 91 so it will be right there in our hearts and minds when we need it.
3. Leave a note for the kids for every day you're away. I also bought chocolate candy so every night when they read our notes, they can have a little something sweet to go with it. I'm leaving a notebook with them so they can write to us while we're away. I can already anticipate how each one will fill his pages.
4. Shop for clothes that are culturally appropriate. No one had to twist my arm on this one.
5. Meet with friends who have experience and good advice and encouragement and love and practical gifts and who are amazing and whom you want to be like when you grow up.
Here was Jani's most hilarious advice: "Just think like this Jen, 'Where he leads me I will follow. What he feeds me, I will swallow." This went along with her instructions about Tums, Immodium AD and the like. How cute is Jani Ortlund? Seriously. How cute?
Bonus Tip: Collect your supplies little-by-little over a long period of time.
Here's what we have collected so far:
We're taking soap and soap cases to some of the kids there. This is my share. Have you appreciated your soap lately? How about your warm water?
I'm taking barrettes and ponytail holders for the girls! Buying girl stuff is totally selfish.
Face wipes, trail mix ...
Some of the women in our church embroidered pillowcases for the children. There are 42 children in the younger kids' home, and each one will receive a pillowcase with his or her name on it, a special verse just for them, a note, and a photo of the person who embroidered the pillowcase. This one was done by my friend Jenny.
Brenda-I'm-Totally-Amazing Bates came up with this idea and oversaw the whole project. She even taught us to embroider! We also embroidered a few extra cases with a verse and no name because we are praying for more rescues. Four more children were rescued while we were working on these pillow cases!
So there you go. There's the tip of the iceberg. The next part is: Work all of this in around raising your kids and running your home and volunteering at school and overseeing homework and everything else you need to do. (It's totally worth it.)