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Alright peeps, seriously the countdown is getting near. We are so excited about everything we have going on to raise money for Camp that I thought I’d let you know about it. We have a few things going on! First off, we started a facebook fan page – more of a group, but just a way to keep everyone updated on the fundraising & other happenings. It’s called Countdown to Camp and here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Countdown-to-Camp Please go and become a fan & check often for updates!

From the new fan page, you can purchase one of our awesome “i heart camp” t-shirts! I know I already showed you the pictures, but now you can go to our new online store and purchase one! I have a button at the top of my blog that says “go to our store” and you click there & can see pictures and purchase a shirt. Link to the store here (http://camptees.storenvy.com/) A few things….
  • you can pay via paypal & if you don’t have an account it’s easy to set up!
  • If you are out of town, you will pay $5 per order to have it shipped
  • if you are in Midland, you can chose the “pick up” option
  • Also, if you are in Midland and want to stop by and purchase one, it would be best to do so this coming Wednesday or Thursday while we are setting up for the garage sale!
  • My new inventory will be here a week from today!
  • I will be shipping all out of town orders off every Wednesday {after my little t-shirt fairy’s help me on Tuesday….}
All of the money that we raise with the t-shirt sales will go in our adoption fund & help with our adoption costs!
Another we are doing is having a Community Garage Sale! Here are the details for that…
  • The sale is Friday April 15th & Saturday April 16 both days from 8-12 (or whenever we get done!)
  • We are going to be setting up both Wednesday & Thursday before (the 13/14th) from 9-12am and then 5-9pm.
  • We are also having a bake sale during the garage sale!
  • SO – if you want to help, you can drop things off to sell, help set up, help during the sale, or bake something!
  • My cell is 432-853-4623 if you have any questions!
I think that is all for now! We were SO OVERWHELMINGLY BLESSED that we sold all of the first order of Camp shirts we ordered! If you have purchased one, please at some point take a picture of you wearing it & send it to me! I want to make a book for Camp before he comes home:)and as always, when you wear the shirt – please PRAY for CAMP!!!

Thank you thank you thank you for being a part of the bigger story & for letting God use your gifts to help us in this big adventure. We are so humbled and excited for Camp to have such amazing people in his life! We love you all!

A few images of the people I spent my week with!
Our sponsor child, Rene, and me at his home in El Sunza.
Our team in El Sunza – stonegate women & el sunza women!
My roomie for the week, Genesis, and our house mom, Suyapa!
Me & Suyapa! What a joy it was to stay with her family for the week.

I am so excited to finally start telling you about El Salvador. It has been over two weeks since I’ve been home and it’s taken me that long to proccess in my mind & also get all my photos together! I took over 1,600 images, and narrowed it down to 750 that I liked. So…I will put some here, but you can see them bigger & better at my photography blog here (http://wynneelderphotographyblog.com/) and then I’ll put a lot up on my personal Facebook page here (http://www.facebook.com/wynne.elder). I am planning to do a series on my photography blog telling the stories of the people I met. They are too good to just show you the image, you have to hear the story!

Let me just tell you it was a pretty amazing trip. The people there have changed my life – I will never be the same. Traveling to a different culture & getting to see the same God at work among them was amazing. As you know, I love to write. I’m not a writer, but writing is a great way for me to put my life into words and help me process. So the trip back from El Salvador, I had my computer on the plane & after my iPhone died and I couldn’t listen to tunes while I wrote I got my laptop out and decide to write that way. What came next was 4 pages of writing in 9pt font. I thought I’d share some of that here and then over the next few weeks share more with the images on my WEP blog of the stories I heard. Thank you for listening and being a part of the story!
As you know, my main “role” on this trip was to take photos & video. I think mentally & emotionally that’s all I thought I would do. But it was so much more. God allowed me to see so many parts of this trip & our mission through taking photos & video. But I was a part of the mission too. The first night, honestly I was in culture shock. I hadn’t ever been on a trip like this, staying with a family. And the way they take “showers” scared me, I was almost in tears the first night. But after taking a “splash” the first night, I realized that I’m still clean. It’s still the same. It was so amazing to get to see and experience life in another country.
On the plane….this is what I wrote. First thoughts from El Salvador. Most of it is written like a prayer to God.

I think the biggest thing I am taking away is that love is the universal language

i couldn’t’t communicate by myself this week at all but i still am walking away feeling like i know these people so well and love them so much.

getting to stay with suyapa and willberto and annayi was amazing – it made the trip, getting to really be submersed into their culture and get to know them as a family. we had some really hilarious times at meals and at night watching “novellas” (Spanish soap operas….)

 

getting to see ken & vikki {the missionaries} in action was a great experience. they truly have willing willing spirits and hearts to serve you lord. they are a great example to me. god, if we are willing you WILL use us. i really am praying about what you have for Stephen & I. if we are “go-ers” or “send-ers”- I’m thankful for this season of life that we get to go into the world to make you known. it might not have been what we planned or wanted (you know we would love to have a family right now) but you work all things together for our good and i see a lot of good that came from just this one week in el salvador. i will never be the same. getting to see these people who have so little compared to our rich lives in the states – yet they are so rich. they are so rich in your love. it doesn’t matter what they have or don’t have because all they / all WE need is you. you are the great physician, you are the great provider and protector and giver of life.

 

thankful for the people of el sunza, el salvador. i just know that when we go to africa and i get to see in person the people that have already touched my hearts so much- i will be overcome with emotion. i didn’t know anything about el sunza before, and to already have such a bond and a love for the people after one short week is amazing. god, that is so you just knitting our hearts together as only you can do. you give us a bond because we are brothers and sisters in christ. i LOVE how they use “hermana(o)” so much. brother and sister in christ. the way that the salvadorians greet each other, with a kiss on the cheek & hug and “hola hermana” is beautiful. why don’t we greet each other like that? and the way they say “dios le vin dega” – god be with you. why don’t we part by saying that? some other things i love about their culture: they are so family oriented. every single meal was eaten with everyone at the table. no phones, no tv, just sweet time together. all the families live so close together, most of the time the grandparents live in the same complex. family is everything to them, they cherish their time together. I think something they have that we don’t, is they don’t have all the distractions from “the world” like we do. It seems like there, at least for me, it was so much easier to HEAR God to communicate with Him, to see Him at work. There weren’t as many distractions!

 

getting to document such a trip has quickly become a dream of mine. ever since i took the class at church. which lord i still think is pretty humorous that the only reason i got in was because bruce lowe (the missions pastor at our church!) dropped out. you opened my eyes that class to the ways that photography could be a ministry. you showed me that simply taking someone’s photo is a ministry and there were so many things i could do with it. that’s what i love about it – the business came about, which I am so grateful for the flexibility and opportunity to meet some amazing people. lord, I pray that you are going to continue to open doors like this trip for me. it sounds like you might be – and lord is that’s what you will – make a way. i am willing. i have said quite a few times in 2011 that if the opportunity arouse for me to use photography stricktly for humanitarian/ministry than i would leave the business behind. {that is really scary to think! what God will do!} i already can see so many opportunities this summer: honduras maybe, op camp, and who knows what else. lord the fear i have is how will we survive and make money if all i do is work for free? you know and if that’s what i’m supposed to do than i have to have faith that you will make a way. i don’t know if that is in fact what you want – and i learned my lesson with Camp, I can beg you all i want to make my dreams your dreams for me – but it won’t change anything. you are the author and perfecter of my faith and my life and where you lead me i will go. i want to have, like ken & vikki, a willing heart and spirit to say “yes, lord send me, i’ll go”. so lord – once again, i give my business over to you. do with it what you may and please speak clearly to me about what you want me to do with the gifts and abilities that you have given me.

the life lesson that you keep teaching me, or trying to teach me over and over is simply this: my life is not my own, it’s not about me. it’s all about you. my time on this earth is short but precious. there is so much you can do through my life if i just am willing. what is it you want to do? i don’t want to be satisfied or still with what “i’m doing” now, because everything is a step to something else. you can and will use me and i want you to. whatever that looks like. please keep reminding me lord that my life is not my own and do with it what you want. i want to have mountain moving faith, i don’t want to have fears, i want to trust and believe that you are who you say you are and you will do what you say what you do. i want to know the promises you have given me in your word. i want to hide them in my heart. i want to shine you to the world. to everyone in my little corner of the world. i have influence because of how you’ve made me. it’s nothing about me but all about you. this term – “fore runner” keeps coming up and lord i still don’t exactly know what that means in my life but i want to embrace it. i want to run ahead and do things for you that will make a diffrerence in your kingdom and will encourage others to do the same. may it be nothing about me but all about you lord. what do you want for me/us this summer and this next year – how can we serve you more in midland texas and worldwide. speak to us, but let us also “just do it”. i want to be missional – to live a mission focused lifestyle. i want stephen & i to take the perspectives class – so lord i pray that you would make that possible with our schedules and businesses. provide the time and energy to do it. just talking about the class with shea, julia, ken (who have all taken it) makes me so excited. they were saying at the end of the class you say if you are a “send-er” or a “go-er” and i really just can’t imagine myself being a send-er. i am a go-er by nature. people energize me. meeting new people, building new relationships, that is when i am happiest. that is when i’m in my element. having a common ground with someone and getting to share in that – is the best. right now, i’m listening to my favorite lacrea song, send me, and it’s been my fave since we heard him at RTD 2009. i don’t know why, but maybe it’s because i’m a go-er. lord, do a work! lord, who knows what you are up to! i’m just happy to be a part of it.

 

these the wonderful people I will never ever forget: ken & vikki, suyapa & will, nuria, moses & juanita, carlos, rafael, sandra, carla & hoell, santos, morena,

these people have their priorities right – god first, family second, self third. the could care less about material things, and only need what they need to get by. they speak to each other with blessings all day long, they greet each other warmly, they call each other their brother and sister in christ. they way the live their lives and the things that are important to them are what should be! i’m sure they have the business as usual just like we do, but their lives look so diffrent. they are so simple yet so rewarding, so impactful and so special. i have been honored to get to meet and know the beautiful people of el sunza. i pray your blessings on their small village – that it will be advanced for your kingdom, that you will continue to move there and the people will only fall more and more in love with you.

 

my life will never be the same. thank you lord for the week i had in el sunza.

I hope to tell the stories of the people I just mentioned & show you images from the work we did this week. Stay tuned!

 

  • Amanda - This is amazing!!! I am so happy you went and had such an uplifting experience. You can do so much with your talent.ReplyCancel

To say that we have the most amazing and supportive friends and family members on the planet would be the understatement of the year. This whole adoption process has been a very humbling one. Never before have we had to ask for such help. But more than that, God is teaching me so much through this. The story of Camp isn’t about us, it’s about God and His mighty plan. It’s about everyone being called to be a part of “taking care of orphans” as it says in James 1:27. Everyone has their gifts and it’s been so fun to see everyone really get involved and be a part. That’s amazing to me – that everyone can be a part of this amazing story.
Two-ish months ago some girl friends & I went to a women’s night of worship at our church. Before we headed up there, we had pizza at my friend Sommer’s house and so the brainstorming began. I was completely blown away by the fact that they had all been talking about ways they could help us! We decided that night for sure that we were going to have a community garage sale. People could donate, help work, help set up, help get the word out – and all the proceeds would go to our adoption costs. Amazing, right? That night at worship God really spoke to me and later at church that Sunday the verse from James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” He was starting to whisper in my ear…Wynne, I know this has been hard but I am going to bless you. Consider it joy! These trials you are going through are putting you closer to me. WOW! Thank you Lord. We do feel amazingly blessed and honored to be walking down the road the building our family through adoption – even though it’s not always easy, or maybe not what we had “planned” all along. It’s what God has for us and during this wait time we are going to use it to grow closer to him! Ok sorry…back to business.
Here are the details about the garage sale:
  • Friday & Saturday April 15th and 16th
  • Elder’s house (if you are in Midland & want to help and don’t know my address- email me & I’ll give it to you – wynne{dot}elder {at} gmail {dot} com )
  • We don’t have the exact times yet, but I’ll keep you posted
  • If you want to drop things off – we are having a drop off THIS Sunday from 1-3pm once again at our casa.
  • If you want to help – I’ll give more details later, but the week before we will be tagging, setting up probably a little bit all week & we’d love for you to come by!
I have another really cool God story to go with all of this. The money part of adoption is a lot – and we are so very thankful to people who have already provided for us. We know and believe that God will provide the money and honestly, I have been expecting Him to just mail us a check. Well, to put it on some one’s heart to mail us a check. a big one. I just knew it, I felt it, I believed it and know that God is who he says he is and he will provide. I would literally go to the mailbox so very often just expecting something to be there. Because of the garage sale & the T-shirts (ahhhh info below!) we really wanted to start a separate account to put all the money. To be accountable to the money people give us and to know where we stand with our fundraising. So – I had a check from a friend (thank you!!) and went to the bank to open the account. My banker friend, Kenny, helped me this day and well he’s from Africa. Kenya to be exact and every time he’s helped us I’ve wanted to talk to him about Africa but haven’t. This time, since he helped me set up my account I had to. WOW! God is cool – first off, he’s a believer and also he has all these connections to people there, people in Midland that are/were missionaries there, a good friend of his was adopted as a baby from Ethiopia and now lives in Midland and has a family of his own. He’s trying to set us all up to go to lunch. Isn’t God cool? {He also told me that every time I come in I have something on me that’s “Africa” and it’s true! I like to say it’s my “African style” and it made me really want to do a series of blog posts about awesome clothes/jewelry you can buy from Africa that will support women there – so more on that later!} He told me that I had to have at least $300 in the account at all times or we’d have to pay a monthly fee. Ok…I didn’t have that in there yet. So I went straight home and guess what? God put it on the hearts of some unbelievable friends of ours to send us a check. a big one. One that would help us cover that $300 no problem. We believed, we knew He would provide and He did. We are so thankful for people answering His call to help in whatever way they can. This is the BODY of Christ and we all have our gifts & blessings. What a JOY it is to bless others with what God has given us. We are eternally grateful.
OK, OK – onto the SHIRTS!!!!!!!!
So I had this great idea this year that I wanted to make t-shirts to help raise money, awareness, support of our sweet Camp and his story. I was doodling one day and really wanted to do a “vintage summer camp” theme with the shirts. I called up my friend Joel @ HOle in the Roof in Waco (website here) and he helped me make my dream a reality! So these are for our sweet Camp – I really wanted to get them before our PHOTO SESSION with my good friend Jenn at Bend the Light. We did & had so much fun taking photos in them:)Check out the blog post here!
Meet my “I love Camp” models – Shannon & Curtis:)
They were so sweet to model the shirts for us so you can see!
  • They are American Apparel – Sustainable Edition, they are a vintage creme shirt with orange and navy writing.
  • They are the same sizes for men & women – They do shrink a little bit.
  • I have Small, Medium, Large, and a few XL
  • {FYI – Shannon & I both have on Mediums, Curtis has a Large, and Stephen an XL}
  • They are $25 each and if you are out of town and need me to ship it to you, it’s $30.
  • If you are going to see me somewhere out of town in the next few weeks & want me to bring it to you that works too!
  • You can make a check to Wynne Elder or cash is great.
If you come to drop off for garage sale this Sunday I will have them – otherwise, email/text me and I’ll see if I have your size. I will probably have to do a re-order, so if you want one soon – let me know:)Until you pay me I can’t hold it. I’ll have them at my house & try to keep a few in my car as well. 100% of proceeds will go into our adoption fund!
Images below, but you can also check them out on my photography blog here:

  • Mikelle - GREAT STUFF! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!ReplyCancel

  • leemeandthegirls - Hey! LOVE YOUR SHIRTS! I just finished selling some for a friend who is going to Ghana this summer to work in an orphanage. I had the best luck when I set up a paypal button my blog. That way my peeps could order directly from there. Best of luck for you and your hubby– can’t wait to hear more about Camp! :) God Bless- McCallReplyCancel

  • shine4Him - Just read your sweet “adoption story” and I am so excited for you guys… (I heard about you all through Sarah Hartung!) ..what an amazing opportunity that the Lord has called you too! I will most definitely keep your family in my prayers. The Lord has given me a passion for the preciousness of life and adoption has always been close to my heart. I am interested in buying a t-shirt and will probably need a size small. How would you like me to get the money to you? :)ReplyCancel

  • shine4Him - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

  • shine4Him - Never mind! I found the button. :)ReplyCancel

  • Alex - Oh my gosh Wynne this makes me so so so so happy! I want to buy a shirt! I’ll be home over Easter, maybe I can get one from you then? Ahhhh, so excited for you!ReplyCancel

  • Down Home Simplicity - Wynne!!! I cant believe that ive been missing all these posts! Ive not really been on the computer much at all since the baby was born, other than what i can get on my phone. Greg and I are so excited for yall and would love a shirt! Now that its been easier for me to get back on this computer ill be catching up on all your baby news! Im excited to hear about it! Happy for yall Wynne! What an amazing blessing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Missy @ It's Almost Naptime - Yea!!!! Praying your garage sale makes a ton of moola!! Make sure you put up signs, and if it is hot, sell bottled water! If someone can stand and grill you could sell hot dogs too. Ca ching.

    When we first started this, you know, I wished we just had $30K in a bank account. But now I am GLAD that we did not because we would have witnessed so. many. miracles. God knows that we need encouragement in this crazy process, and when a check comes that is to the dollar the amount that you need, on the exact day before it is due, he is just sending little love notes saying he’s on your team. And if he is for us, WHO can be against? NOBODY!!!

    Rock on sistah.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Ann (Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box - Hey wynne, I found a blog I think you might really enjoy! http://www.poppielane.com/ They adopted from Africa too! :-)ReplyCancel

I am just totally blown away by our friends and family. Blown away by the body of Christ – active! I’ve said from the beginning with adoption, I don’t feel like everyone is called to adopt but I do feel like everyone is called to help take care of orphans & to be a part of the story.
James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

I have seen our friends truly do that. I truly believe that God gives everyone their own gifts, talents and abilities and even just preparing for our home study I saw everyone use their gift! Whether it was helping me organize/decorate my new office space, make something for us to eat for breakfast, help me move furniture, fixing my shutter outside, call/text/facebook/email me to tell me you were thinking of us and praying for us – it all meant SO SO much to us! If you know me well, you know that it’s really really hard for me to let people help me. I would like to think it’s not a pride thing, but I don’t know what else it is? I think I just don’t want people to spend their time and energy and money on helping me – but the truth is, I love doing all of things for people and I know I’m not the only one. My good friend, Ben, gave me great perspective on this one time – he said to me, Wynne – how do you feel when you help someone? I told him I feel blessed, I feel good, I like it. He said ok, well then when people help you what do you think they feel? Oh….. I agree. I think that when you are helping someone, it’s often YOU that ends up more blessed. So I’m trying to hold onto that and know that my friends and family get deep joy to help and bless us because I know it blesses them too! So thank you thank you!
I happen to snap a few fun photos of my little worker bees the day before the home study! Moving furniture around:)Thank you Allison, Alison, Lauren (my new neighbor!) & Graybo!!
Grayson is obviously so excited to help. I think he’ll have more fun at my house when Camp is there! They are going to be best buds – I know already!
That brings us to the day of our HOME STUDY!!! Thanks to my dear friend & life coach & studio manager, Alison, we had yummy coffee cake and so I had a little breakfast spread. You know I love to host and so I think the hard thing was trying to get our case worker to know this was pretty normal!

After talking to some other Gladney moms, I really wasn’t too nervous about this day. God gave me peace and I did get a little butterflies right when she pulled up – but it really wasn’t anything to scary! Our case worker, Andrea, was really nice! She’s a young Oklahoma blond and when we weren’t talking home study – we were talking family trips, dogs and college football. It was pretty natural and I am so so blessed and thankful we had her do our home study. She happen to be in Midland (her area is normally Oklahoma & Arkansas & way west Texas) and so she scheduled our home study. We could have been waiting longer, so thank you Lord. Everyone keeps asking how it went & each time I would talk about it I would remember various questions or things about the day.
We sat in our family/tv room on the couches from 9-3 with the exception of our chick fil a lunch in the kitchen:)We got to tell her our whole adoption story (which really made me want to video it soon so we don’t forget all the little details!) and how we met/got married. It was actually really fun to get to think about to all the major events in our lives and to see how God has worked. When you say it/write it you really get to think about it & it just made me even more appreciative of what He’s done. The questions she asked us would be good for any potential parents to answer (I’ve even joked with Alison that I’m going to write them down & interview her and Brandon soon-ha). It was really neat to hear Stephen answer and for us to vocalize what our goals were as parents, what we want most for our child, what our expectations are for the process, and generally how we want to raise him. All good things that I think every potential parent should talk through with their spouse. I was really thankful for her guidance on how to handle various issues that could come up with raising an adopted child and overall felt encouraged and supported. We did both have individual interviews and again, just another opportunity to think about your past, your family, yourself and talk through some things you wouldn’t ever really vocalize. I felt like it was a therapy session, ha, which I loved! We did take a tour of our home but I tell you I really shouldn’t have cleaned the baseboards. It was a successful day but at the end of it, let me tell you I was just exhausted. I never thought I’d say that I was tired of talking (much less about myself!) but I was.
As soon as she left, we watched her leave and saw our new awesome neighbors outside in their driveway – so before we went out to say hi I decided to blow out the candles (Stephen gets mad, but if I’m home I open every blind/turn on every lamp/light every candle- I can’t help it, I’m turning into my mom). Anyway, I was blowing out these big pillar candles and my hair was down & got into the flame and I caught my hair on fire! Can you imagine if I would have done that while she was there? Lauren & Michael got a kick out of it. Again, just so thankful to have such amazing neighbors. Thank you both for helping us SO MUCH this week!!!
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. We love you!

(L to R: me, Delie, Caroline, April Hilda, Julia, Genesis, Shea)

I can’t believe that tomorrow morning at 6 am, I will be on a plane with these ladies to El Salvador. Getting to go abroad to take photos and tell peoples stories has quickly become a dream of mine. Ever since I took the class at our church this time last year (Digital photography for ministry) I realized what a ministry photography could be. I never really thought of it like that before – but that class opened my eyes and my heart and I’ve been trying to give back my gifts and talents to bless others. I have been literally begging God to let me go to another country to take photos. I did a post about it here: http://elderadventures.blogspot.com/2011/02/just-do-it.html but I am so grateful this opportunity is here!! I just wanted to let yall know where I’ll be the next week & also ask you to pray for me and the other women. We are going to teach these ladies how to dig into God’s Word and do daily devotionals. We will also be cooking & delivering meals with the women, going to the Foundation to play with the kids and teach them some english and much more. I have a mission – specific stories to tell. I pray that I will be able to effectively tell these stories & ask that you pray with me that God would give me confidence to be me & do what He’s made me to do.

Last night we had our final team meeting & made aporns for our new friends. Genesis & I are rooming together at Suyapa’s house (see her cute apron we made her!). Shea & Julia are our team leaders – so be lifting them up in prayer too! Can’t wait to show you images when I return. Expectant that God is going to MOVE!