Sunday, January 5

Himalayan Mission Trip

Five years ago

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the foundations of past generations.
    You will be called the Rebuilder of Broken Walls
    and the Restorer of Streets Where People Live.
Isaiah 58:12 

This is a moderately sized post, so here’s the short version:  In early February, I’m going on a mission trip to India.  I will be designing a dining hall/kitchen for a poor &/or orphaned children’s home.  Pray for me!

Those of you who have spent time around me have probably heard “EMI” come up sooner or later.  EMI and I have a little history.  At a Missions conference in 2003, between all the booths for teachers, church planters and nurses, I found it: Engineering Ministries International, the place where Architects can be Missionaries.

That summer I helped design buildings for an orphanage in Honduras, starting in that country and ending in EMI’s office in Colorado Springs.  EMI inspired me to continue on as an architect. 

EMI partners with third world Christian ministries who are in need of new facilities (hospitals, churches, schools, wastewater facilities, etc).  Design helps these ministries to continue to grow and serve.  Good design makes the buildings functional and safe, and improves the ministry’s standing in the community and their work.  But good design is expensive, so EMI gathers teams of design professionals to donate their time and expertise to these projects.
Drawings from during my last EMI trip

A few years after Honduras, Ben and I moved to Colorado Springs.  Since I didn’t have a job, I decided to go on my second EMI trip!  This time, it was to East Asia and we worked on a leadership development camp (where they tell people about Jesus).

Now, it’s been more than five years since my last trip.  You all know that my efforts have gone toward other things during that time, but now I’m ready to do it again.  To give as part of the international church.  To design in a foreign context.  To be a part of a cause that I fully stand behind: teaching and caring for the poor and fatherless.

On this trip, we will work on a couple of buildings for the very special Shanti Niketan children’s home in Himachal Pradesh.  Orphans and impoverished children from around the country go into this boarding school, and pastors and doctors come out (well, not exclusively)But these children are shown God’s love, and taught the things they need to go back into the world.  You can read more about them on the website for the Canadian group that sponsors them: Child of Mine.

Last year, EMI drew up a master plan for this school to guide their future growth.  They are rapidly outgrowing their 100 year old buildings.  I will be developing the drawings for a boy’s dormitory, and doing basic concept drawings for a dining hall/kitchen/staff quarter’s facility.

So many of you have been part of my life through encouragement and prayer, and I’m asking you to continue.  This trip is likely to be a challenge: professionally, physically, relationally and spiritually.  But I feel prepared, knowing that God has given me an astounding support group – across several states and even countries!   

Also, if you are interested in partnering with me to cover the travel costs, that information is at the bottom of this post.

I was challenged more than one way on my last trip
Professionally, pray that I will ask the right questions to the right people at the right time, and that the answers will guide me toward buildings that will really meet the occupant’s needs.             

Right now, I’m trying to learn what I can by reading old reports, sending emails, researching local construction, and looking up climate and cultural data.  Please pray for God’s guidance in how I prepare.

When I’m in the country, it will be time for more data-gathering and creating a basic presentation for the ministry.  Then, we’ll finish up the project, remotely, after the trip.  

Physically, pray that nothing will get in the way of the work that God has for us!  

I’m taking reasonable precautions (like immunizations for all your favorite Oregon Trail diseases), but so much is not in our control.  Who knows what I might encounter in the foothills of the Himalayas!

Relationally, pray that our very small team and the nationals who run the ministry can communicate effectively.

As per usual, our team has never met before.  The team leader is a structural engineer who lives in country and speaks Hindi (hurrah!).  There will also be a volunteer civil engineer and me, the volunteer architect.  It’s possible an intern or two might join us.

Also, I’d love to know the people who lead this ministry, and I need to know what will help them.  Pray for this kind of communication across cultural and language barriers.

Spiritually, pray that I will rely on God’s promises.  In my daily tasks, I’m seeing more and more lately that “unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1.  

Another past trip photo, since I can't show future ones
Also, pray for my communication as I talk about this trip.  It’s a chance to see and describe how people are being moved to do God’s work, and how the love they show and the message of redemption they share changes lives.  


The travel expenses for this trip will be $2,200 to $2,400.  I would appreciate any financial support on this endeavor.  To donate, please go to the EMI donation page.

There are instructions for sending a check or a link to giving online.  Choose “project trip volunteers” as the category, 8231 as the project number and “Lisa Morrell” in the “Other” category.


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