May 20, 2012

Mission Trip to Africa



A few months ago, God laid on my heart to go to Africa with a team from my church. I signed up and with that I was committed to going to Sierra Leone from July 21 - August 2 to serve in an orphanage! Along with my commitment to serve with my hands and heart for two weeks, I'm also required to raise $3,000, so with that the fundraising begins. I want to ask for something small, so would you consider a $5 donation for the children of Sierra Leone?

Photo credit

It's hard to explain, but the minute I spotted the flyer at Summit Church, I knew I was going. It has been both the best and roughest year of my life, and Africa seemed somehow to be a good fit for both sides of that equation. I feel beyond blessed to have the job that I do right now. Since I am able to take off as much time as I need, I really wanted to show my appreciation and pay it forward by committing two weeks to service, along with my own financial contributions. I was also very close to serving in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps five years ago, and this feels like a smaller version of that experience, that I still regret not doing.

So what will we be doing in Sierra Leone? Our team of 20+ will be providing some much-needed relief for the African women who usually run the orphanage. Our presence will give them two weeks off, and will we be supervising and helping the kids with their daily tasks of gathering water and food, and going to school. I am beyond excited about seeing a new continent and experiencing a new culture. I am nervous about vaccinations, lions, being as helpful as possible to my team and the children we are serving, and about getting sick because I have hypoglycemia and a couple other medical conditions that will make living without running water and my usual diet pretty rough. So far, we've had three team meetings, put down money on our flights, and I'm going to the doctor this week for all those scary shots. 

So, here's what I'm hoping you can help with. Prayers and support for our team. And (no pressure at all), if you want - a $5 donation (think of it as one cup of coffee!). To donate, simply send money via PayPal to this email address: jsmissiontoafrica@gmail.com (it's a special low-fee account). If you are a company who would like to donate and receive free advertising, please send an email to the same address. Thanks so much in advance for your help! This opportunity to raise money and serve means the world to me, and so does your support.

ps. Summit is not taking online giving for mission trips right now, but if you prefer to pay them directly, or mail a check (versus PayPal), please email for instructions!

Update 7/11: I am very grateful for the tough conversations that happened in the comments section. Fundraising has brought a totally different perspective to this journey than just donating my own money would have. I am bringing a piece of every person that donated with me to Africa, and that fellowship means a lot to me. It has also been a lesson on faith, and trusting God to provide, rather than taking care of it myself. I also hope I have spread some awareness about the hardship in Sierra Leone, and hopefully plant a seed for many of you to get active in your own communities or even abroad. And my attitude of service is greatly different going to Africa, knowing that I am not only serving the kiddos, but also serving all of you who donated, I will strive to do my best for you and your contributions. Thank you to everyone who contributed, but also to everyone who commented with tough questions and helped me further define why I want to go to Africa, and why fundraising in this way was such an important part of the journey! Best, J.

165 comments:

  1. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I think this is amazing and I'm green with envy, having eyed similar opportunities several times over the years! I'm so excited for you and the experiences  you will have and be able to share. Be prepared for some incredible experiences of love! I'll be in touch about a donation - this is fantastic!

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  2. I find it ironic that you will spend $3,000 to go to te otherside of the world to help women there for 2 weeks. Do you realize that the the average income of a working person in Sierra Leone per year is about $160 to $200 and over half of the population is living on $1.25 per day? A poor family of 4 can probably survive for about 2 years with that money you are asking to raise from your readers. I am not even mentioning the growing hunger problem, thousands of children and seniors suffering in  of all the places in the world, Florida. Sorry if my comment bother you, just trying to put thing in perspective.

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  3. I have several friends that have gone and done similar work.  It is rewarding beyond imagination. I feel honored to help you out and buy you a cup (or two) of coffee.   

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  4. jseverydayfashionMay 20, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I think you make some excellent points, and a monetary donation to a family in Africa is certainly another way that you can help people in need. Our team is bringing over thousands of pairs of shoes for the children, for example. My church and CONTI have identified people to help as the biggest need though. If we don't come and physically give these women time off, they won't have it. I trust my church to be good stewards of this money - not all of it covers travel, a lot is for the donations we bring. Please don't feel any pressure to donate though! I certainly don't expect this to be a cause that everyone believes in.

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  5. jessieskitchenchroniclesMay 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Hi J! I am so excited for you. I have been on a similar trip to Thailand, and I just think there is so much value in stepping out of our comfort zones. Beyond that I know the value of your presence there will be a relief to the women who run the orphanage, as well as the children will love you!! Whenever I think back on my trip it is the orphanage moments that tug at my heart and make it break because the kids were so hungry for love and attention, and asked repeatedly that we wouldn't forget them. I will be praying for you! Exciting too when you just know that you're supposed to go - God must have some great things in store for you and your team. 

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  6. hannah.ostranderMay 20, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Such an amazing platform you have to reach so many readers with this message and possibly the Gospel! I will pray for you and your trip!

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  7. Great idea!

    Zepequeña.

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  8. J,
    I did a similar trip last summer through Outreach360 to the Dominican Republic. It's completely mind boggling to see a different culture and people who are so much less fortunate.  I'm leaving to go back on June 2 for two weeks!  I wish you the best of luck on your trip.  Don't forget to post pictures when you get back home! 
    Lots of Love,
    Nora

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  9. Dear Jeanette, I cannot believe the hypocracy coming from you! You have the nerve to ask your readers to donate money to send you to Africa, btw you should have thought about that BEFORE you signed up for a $3.000 trip! I'm pretty sure every decent person believes in a good cause like that, it is YOU who shouldn't expect people to believe in paying for your trips, instead why don't you set aside a few of your "monthly clothes budgets" and pay for your own trip to Africa? If YOU truly believe in that cause and want to help the orphans stop buying the clothes and shoes you don't really need and sent the money to those people, huh?

    How rude and completely unacceptable to ask that of us, and to disguise is as a "cup of coffe" donation. Like the person before me said, are you aware of the average income in Sierra Leone?? Seriously, please don't treat your readers like retards and at least be decent enough to donate out of YOUR OWN pocket.... Jesus Christ..... so disappointing I'm never coming back here ever again:(  and don't worry being the kind of person you are I wouldn't be surprised if you deleted this comment altogether.......................

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    1. I'm really sad you feel this way. I'm not sure if you are familiar with fundraising for mission trips, but everyone on my team is expected to raise money in the exact same way - asking our friends and family for donations. As for my own contributions, there is the non-refundable deposit I already mentioned, about $500 for vaccinations and a couple thousand dollars I will be losing in income while I am away from work for two weeks. I'm really sorry if you feel offended, I certainly do not expect everyone to donate, just anyone who is passionate about missions and/or Africa.

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  10. chill ana....

    donate if you want. otherwise dont.  

    read the blog if you want..otherwise dont.

    and ana...sell your computer that you are using to treat people bad and donate the money (that went towards your computer) and other things that make you happy that you dont need to enjoy life, toward something of a better cause. 

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  11. I've flagged this comment as inappropriate.  I respect your opinion but please don't ever use the word "retards" as it is extremely offensive.  

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  12. Hey J - I think it is amazing that you're listening to the call on your heart to go serve in Sierra Leone. I served in a village in Kenya last summer - in fact, I'm going back in September with my husband. It was a seriously life-changing experience. I'd be happy to donate. I know fundraising can be stressful, but if you're meant to go, He will provide! And I'll definitely be praying for your team. I hope you post updates from your trip. I'd love to hear how it goes. God bless.

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  13. jseverydayfashionMay 20, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I'm really sorry you feel this way. I'm not sure if you are familiar with fundraising for mission trips, but this is the method of paying for the trip that all of my team members are expected to use - asking our friends and family for donations. 

    As for my own contributions, I'm not asking you to do anything I haven't already done myself - and financially I'm contributing a far, far greater number than I am asking you to donate.

    I'm honestly having a hard time understanding why this post has offended you so much. From my perspective, I feel incredibly blessed to have a platform - and I honestly wouldn't feel right NOT using it to do some kind of fundraising at some point. I don't expect you to believe in the cause that I chose - but can you least respect it? There is not a single cause I could have chosen that someone would not agree with. Just because I didn't choose the exact cause you are passionate about doesn't make me a "hypocrite" or a bad person though..  

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  14. Ana, I don't understand why you're so offended.  I'm personally not donating, but I don't think it's inappropriate to let readers know about the opportunity to help.  J gives us a lot of free advice, so in a way, we're friends!  When you fundraise for these trips, you ask your friends and family for donations.

    The post asked nicely but did not expect any readers to donate unless they wanted to.  The "cup of coffee" is a common way to think about donating a small amount of money.  Sometimes people think of it as skipping one morning's coffee and donating the money saved to a good cause.

    J, good luck with your fundraising and have an amazing time on the trip!

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  15. Smithjs, what you're saying is totally true, but just donating money doesn't solve the problem.  People have to go directly to the places in need to develop the infrastructure necessary to hopefully eventually solve the poverty and hunger problem.  Also, having people go to places like Sierra Leone is a good way to create ambassadors in the US that will spread the word and direct more money and resources to these areas.

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  16. Amazing opportunity for you and I can't wait to hear all about it when you get back!  I did a similar trip when I was 13 and went to Russia on a missions trip.  LOTS of babysitting and housecleaning to raise the money but it was definitely well worth it!!  

    I'll definitely buy a couple cups of coffee for you! ;-)

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  17. I am inspired by your service & the way you respond to other's criticism with grace and sincerity. 

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  18. J, I think this is a great idea and I know both you and the communities you visit will be blessed.

    I think you got some push back on this because of the cavalier blog post title and the opening paragraph. People who are not familiar with the fundraising process for mission trips would probably read your post as you begging for money to cover a trip you already committed to attending, I can see how they would be rubbed the wrong way by that.

    It might have been better to title the post with something about meeting needs in Sierra Leone (instead of making the title about you and what people can do for you). The post itself could describe the purpose of the trip first, then explain the fundraising process, and mention that blog readers are welcome to contribute if they'd like. It's your blog and you can write anything you want, of course. I just wanted to share a way that you might be able to get more people on board next time. Again, I know this will be an amazing experience--enjoy!

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  19. jseverydayfashionMay 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Thanks for your feedback Angela! I put a lot of time and thought into this post, and my idea to mention the donations right up front was because I didn't want to bury the lead. I like your suggestions even better though!! 

    I think I definitely took for granted that not everyone is familiar with mission trip fundraising. I grew up around it and it's no biggie to me, so it foolishly never occurred to me that it might be new and/or off-putting to someone. Thanks again!

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  20. jseverydayfashionMay 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Piper, I really appreciate you contributing to the discussion from the perspective of someone who is not donating. Thank you for adding your thoughts!

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  21. I think it is fabulous that you are going to Africa.  Missions overseas is a beautiful experience that changes you. Also, I feel that God takes you thousands of miles away to share something  with you that you could not experience at home in your familiar environment. I journaled a lot on my trips overseas and I treasure the lessons I learned from the very people I served.  I pray favor, blessings, and complete provision for your trip.  I have enjoyed your blog very much by the way and have shared it with my friends here in Central Fl. You are one amazing gal! 

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  22. There's a lot of stuff written on why mission trips are not helpful for "Africa." (I hate quoting because Africa isn't one big country but its the quickest way to get the point accross.)

    Frankly speaking, I won't be donating because I feel that money is better served going to the charities already in place in these areas to help people. Rather than sending Americans in.

    But to each to their own - I'm not supporting it nor do I support missions but its entirely up to you how you seek donations.

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  23. jseverydayfashionMay 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Chelle - I 100% respect your opinion on this! I'm not asking money for my personal gain, I'm asking for the overall mission - so if it's not something you believe in, I definitely wouldn't want you to donate. :-)

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  24. J, this sounds like an amazing opportunity and will be such a gift for the children and for the women running the orphanage. I can imagine the incredible strain they are probably under daily to provide for the children in their care, and I'm sure they will appreciate your team's help immensely. I'm also happy to donate. I can understand how those not familiar with mission trips/fundraising could misconstrue/misunderstand this post, but fundraising in itself is meant to spread awareness and bring even more people on board to help - it's not meant to pawn off responsibility. And as another poster rightly noted below, just donating money doesn't always solve problems, unfortunately - often times it's important that those providing aid are physically there to ensure that help is distributed as intended, and even more importantly to insure that services are put in place to help break the cycle of hunger and poverty. I'll be looking forward to hearing about your experience! 

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  25. Fellow hypoglycemicMay 21, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    It's not completely relevant to the post but I was wondering if you
    could share how you manage your hypoglycemia. I've been struggling with
    it for a while now and tried multiple diets and supplements but nothing
    really worked for me. Thank you in advance and have a great trip to
    Africa!

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  26. Inspired by your service! I just sent you $25. :) 

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  27. J this is wonderful! I am so happy for you :) I admire any one who is able to go and help out these devastated countries in Africa. There is so much pain and anguish over there. I can't even imagine... and those children. Seriously breaks my heart.

    I upset that you got such harsh criticism from some individuals. There is a lot of cost involved in taking a trip like this (airfare, shots, travel expenses, time off of work etc)! While it is good to donate money that goes directly to a cause/orphanage I think these trips are just as worthy. People in these poor countries need to be shown actual love too. Money can provide many materials but it cannot take place of the human touch-- that hug and eyes of kindness. Jesus' love can be shown in many ways! I am excited to follow your journey. Your story will be powerful and encourage others to give their time and money as well. If anything-- it will remind us that others are suffering and will give us better perspective. Sincerely, Angela

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  28. Me too, Amanda! 

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  29. With all due respect, I don't think you understood what some tried to tell you J. That girl made it a point that she IS supporting the cause as any "decent person would", she just finds it inappropriate and insulting that you would ask for donations since clearly if you tried a bit harder you could pay for the trip by yourself. You need to put things in a perspective J., some people cannot affort the clothes you buy, my own 'monthly budget' is $10, so I too find it incredibly insulting that you would ask your blog readers to buy you a 'cup of coffee' to travel to africa, when clearly you live a very luxurious life, compared to other people. I like your blog, but the amount of clothes and shoes you have is something I'll probably never ever have in my own wardrobe. I own exactly 4 pairs of shoes.. for all seasons.

    And finaly, I would much rather send those orphans the money directly than pay for your trip to Africa. So again, put things in a perspective, you probably insulted a *lot* of people, they just don't bother commenting.

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  30.         
    I really enjoy reading your
    blog, you always look great and I love the way you put your outfits together!

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  31.  think this is a fantastic oppotrunity for you to visit and submerge yourself in a new culture and give relief for these hard-working women who will be so grateful to see you! i read your blog on a daily basis and just from being a follower for the past year+ i can tell how genuine you are and how you are such a good person. i know i dont know you, per say, but you really come across as a great gal. i hope you have an amazing trip and take from it a lot! 
    Miyan
    www.miyan-overseas.blogspot.com

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  32. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    First I just want to clear up a fact - the money is going directly to the children. Some is covering my trip, but we are also bringing items with us as I mentioned in the post. 

    I also want to argue that you are way, way off about my financial situation. But at the end of the day, you are viewing things from your own personal lense and I have to respect that. To some, I am filthy rich! To some, I am dirt poor! You could accuse me of both, and both would equally be true, depending on who you are. (I have had your clothing budget before though, so I don't feel like our lives are all that far apart.)

    At the end of the day, it is perplexing that this post is insulting b/c it is not aimed at you!! If i knew your situation and continued to personally email you or appeal to you to buy me coffee, that would be breaking an unspoken code as friends. It would be rude. But it's not aimed at you. I would never ask you to donate half of your clothing budget to anything. I would just want to give you all the help and advice I can for making that budget stretch as much as possible! :-) 

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  33. Good luck! It's a wonderful idea. Like someone said, sending a group of Americans over for two weeks will not solve the huge problems Sierra Leone is facing, but it will - at the very least - be an eye opening experience for all participants who will then be ambassadors and be able to raise awareness. Honestly, there are a lot a lot of people who wouldn't even know where Sierra Leone is, much less about the trouble.
    I guess some of the criticism is due to people not knowing what a mission trip entails (maybe they see it as an adventure trip for rich Americans) and that you yourself have also had to contribute to your trip financially (as opposed to just asking people for money so you can go).
    I am not donating (we sponsor kids) but I think it's a wonderful idea and it's also wonderful that you're using your blog to raise awareness!

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  34. Amanda. I wanted to encourage you in your preparation to go to SL. I spent 4 months there living among the people and working for Mercy Ships. It was part of a four year missions trip to both Africa and South East Asia. I too have several medical issues that could've proven to be an issue but the Lord really watched over me and blessed me through that time. I did have some times of illness but that was more do to airborne illness than the medical issues I have with food and so forth. I know how much it can cost to just fly there and then to take the boat/helicopter you need to get to the island from the airport. So I think the 3000 isn't bad. I am encouraged to hear you will be bringing much needed relief to the workers and supplies for the children. I will speak to my husband and will pray how we can contribute. Since I have a toddler and I am currently due to have my second in July I am happy that you are the feet that the Lord is using for those of us who need to remain here. Bless you.

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  35. I personally think your Mission Trip is genuinely a good, *practical* cause TO............ (as professional caregivers say)............ "Care For The Caregivers," J.!!    Although I've never run an orphanage in a war-ravaged Third World Country like Sierra Leone, I'm a USAF Nurse Corps Veteran;  and I also have 35 years of varied R.N. nursing experience in #3 states, including 25 Summers of additionally being part of a Team of Sports Camp Nurses, caring for kids from Elementary School through High School, (in a wide variety of great sports!!).  

    Probably unlike the African women who usually run the Sierra Leone Orphanage, though, I was blessed to "accrue" Paid Vacation Time Off throughout my career;  and to have part-time nurses "fill-in" whenever those of us who were............ t.o.t.a.l.l.y.  e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d. ............ took (turns having) Vacation Time Off.    Any of your dear Readers, J., who are currently in the Healthcare, Childcare, or Teaching Fields~~(and maybe just "burned out"!!)~~understand, I'm sure, that unremitting stress, year-after-year, of being (professionally/civilly/criminally) "responsible FOR" people's very lives/well-being............ as the women who run the Orphanage are, in similar fashion, daily responsible for the *LIVES* of all of those poor, parent-less kids there.    (*sigh*............ I just  K.N.O.W.  I'd want to adopt them all!!)  

    So, the women who run the Orphanage deserve some much-needed relief provided by OTHER (caring, dedicated, responsible-at-all-times) INDIVIDUALS............ or *their own health* will really, REALLY start to suffer............ (and don't even ask me how I personally have experienced this either, haha!!)............ so, J., they'll look at you;  and the other members of your team of 20+............ kind of like "The Cavalry"............ coming to "rescue" them from their heavy,  *H.E.A.V.Y.*  24/7 workloads!!   

    If I myself hadn't had "time off," I know that I wouldn't have been ABLE to............ take good care of as many poor, suffering, sick/injured people............ for as long as I did............ i.e., without that very *precious* Vacation Time Off for myself, you know. 


    'Just love-LOVE-*L.*O.*V.*E.*  your wonderfully-creative Fashion Blog, J.;  and I like it even *more* now, because~~(despite some very legitimate, significant challenges in your own personal life within this past year)~~you've been able to, amazingly, STILL have............ a  g.o.o.d.,  *caring heart*.   

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  36. Wow, I stopped reading comments after I saw the word "retard" written in one...ANYWAY, I am donating $5 to you J bc I support you and your commitment to help these women and children in Africa. Five bucks may or may not be a lot depending on who you ask, but if I can spend xx amount on my hair and nails, then I can cetainly give $5 towards your mission trip! LUV YA J!

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  37. misscrystalmakeupMay 21, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    I think it's great what you are doing! Hope you have a great experience!
    xo

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  38. I am so excited to read about your trip! 9 years ago I sat and listened to a missionary speak about Mozambique and, just like you described, I KNEW I would be going on that trip. I also had to raise support from family and friends, as well as a large amount myself. My friends and family were excited and happy to support me financially because it gave them an opportunity to be a part of helping, touching and reaching individuals, even if they weren't able to go themselves and would never meet them. This can be one of the hardest parts of your trip, but I was so blessed by this aspect of the process. To see other's willingness and selflessness to support me and allow me to be a part of something I couldn't have down without them.Hang in there, you're suppose to go, so all the pieces will fall into place. Bottom line is, there are needs EVERYWHERE in our world and I am so glad that you will be able to make a difference in these women and children's lives. I will never forget the happy faces of the children that I was able to meet (I taught lessons for children in the camp) It's going to be an amazing experience. It will change your life, as well as the other's that you are there for. Oh... and the lions? The first night sleeping in our tents, I woke up to the "growling" of lions all around me. No joke, I was terrified. As I lay there, I realized it was just a bunch of people snoring! ha! So funny and I never spotted one lion while I was there. :) I look forward to seeing pictures and hearing all about your trip!!

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  39. I am very happy for you and this wonderful opportunity! My husband and I have had the joy of going on 2 humanitarian trips to Dominican Republic and are hoping to go on a third this Christmas, hopefully to Haiti. There is always a place for the donation of money....but nothing can replace the practical, on-the-ground assistance you will be helping to provide. I know it is standard practise to fundraise prior to a trip like this. I too am amazed by your level-headed and patient responses to those with criticism in regards to this. I could learn a thing or two from you! Haha :) Have an amazing time! The kids will tattoo themselves onto your heart <3  

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  40. I see both sides, but don’t understand the offense.  My personal exposure is that mission trip fundraising is limited to high schoolers and college kids (adults pay for their mission trips) and I always give even though I think these trips benefit the ones going more than the ones helped, but there is nothing wrong with that.  It’s good for people to get their hands dirty (i.e., actually work with people) rather than just writing a check to throw money at the problem.  People do need people – not just for the actual help, but for the caring nature.  It does a world of good to think someone cares.  It is an eye opening experience to view the other side of the world and to see how great the needs of our world are. 
     
    On the other side, given people’s comment about the income level there, I cannot help but wonder: Wouldn’t a single $3,000 amount be more than enough to actually train and hire 20 workers there in the country to provide a much needed break for the orphanage women vs. spending thousands upon thousands to send 20 people over there?  That would benefit not only the orphanage workers by giving them a break, but also the 20 other temporary workers who would benefit from employment, albeit temporary. Then the extra money raised would bring EVEN more supplies rather than being used for travel expenses.  More good, limited resources. That’s the logical side of me wondering and there truly might be circumstances that make this impossible (not enough workers available for temporary work, for instance) or not practical, but I was just wondering.  I am not criticizing this at all. I think it is a wonderful opportunity for you and I will donate when I sit down to do the bills.  Frankly, I was completely unaware of the income levels there, but when someone mentioned it, it just made me wonder as I do think we have to be able to do the most good (for those in need) with limited resources.
     
    As far as comments on your clothing budget, I guess I think those are uncalled for as I see that as more of a “business” expense for you as this is your line of work.  You have way more clothes and shoes than I do, but I don’t need to draw clients (and therefore income) in with my fashion. (Thank God.  I’d go broke in a day.) 
     
    To the “person” who used the word “retard”, you lost all credibility.   I cannot imagine you have a caring bone in your body to use such an insulting term.

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  41. I understand your need to reach out to those who are without.  But I do think you are a superficial hypocrite to have a blog on clothes. Would it not have been more beneficial to stop your monthly spending on silly clothes and instead put that money were your mouth is? You ask people to send their money to help you, yet I fully expect that there will be yet another list of items that you plan to purchase next month for yourself to pose in.  I am also expecting to see photos of you posing in your coordinating clothes while in Africa.  The thought it there, but the sincerity is lacking.

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  42. Hi J, I just want to clarify that that I a) don't feel that this is for your personal gain but I feel there are better ways to improve conditions in these countries than just sending over mission groups and b) I'm not against the cause - improving these conditions is something I believe in. I just don't believe that mission trips are the way to do it and do more harm than good.

    To each their own but I didn't want anyone to imply that I'm suggesting you're doing this for your own motives or that I don't think helping these people is not a good cause.

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  43. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but it doesn't always need to be shared. I think J is doing this with nothing but good intentions so if you don't agree or don't want to donate, just move on. We are all free to help in the ways we feel are best.
    J, thank you for your daily advice. I think it helps so many feel good through their clothing and saves you money by shopping wisely and being creative with your outfits. Please don't let these comments ruin your day. :)

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  44. J, not many younger people attend church anymore, and even fewer are willing to donate time in service, locally or distant. I truly admire you for your dedication and grace under pressure from  various readers. You are an example of a loving spirit.

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  45. Hi J!! Love your blog and love that you are doing this!! So, 2 cups of coffee for you :)

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  46. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Andi, thank you for sharing your thoughts! I went to the initial meeting a little skeptical myself, and wondering how much help I could really be. When they explained what we would be doing and that manpower was what they really needed, I trusted them. Summit has been my home church for two years, so that was easy for me to do. I totally respect the need for questioning since you are not a part of that organization, and in fact I'm glad you are questioning it versus just blindly giving your money to any organization out there. Thanks again for your thoughts! :-)

    Thank you also for understanding the unique aspects of my job. It's a weird, weird job. Clothing is important in so many jobs, and clothing is also a necessity that any financial planner will tell you to budget for. My purchases are literally a direct investment into my company though, so it's a totally different relationship. 

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  47. J, like many other commenters I applaud your decision! Don’t
    let the negative comments deter you or your goal. May God bless you during this journey! 

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  48. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    You're right - it's completely inappropriate for me to be interested in both clothing and mission trips. I should pick one and stick with it, otherwise I am a hypocrite. I'm sorry, but that totally doesn't make any sense. There is nothing wrong with being a person with multiple interests.

     As for my budget, you have to realize that I have a totally different relationship with clothes than you do. Anything I buy is a direct investment into my company. (I see a direct return.) I would have to not buy clothes for 15 months to pay for the trip. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not buying clothes for 15 months, and in fact, I have done that at several points in my life! I would have plenty of clothes and not even suffer. The difference is - to stop for 15 months, I would be stopping my business, the way that I am running it now (I acknowledge that I could turn it into a "15 months no clothes experiment" but that is not the topic of this blog). I would be literally quitting my full-time job to pay for the trip. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. 

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  49.  I'm happy that you're happy that you have completed rationalized your thinking - in terms of buying new clothes for you, is somehow a business.  I thought that  the premise behind your blog was to have people 'rethink' their wardrobe. Give them inspiration, to possibly think outside the box.  After reading your blog for a while now I have come to realize that it's more about self-promotion: let's see how good I look today, mentality.  In today's economy, I think a better approach would be to redesign things in your wardrobe, see what you can find at thrift stores etc.  But, no, you are going to continue buying new clothes, continue posting pictures of you posing in them, and then have the audacity to  ask followers to pay for a trip, and still have time to preach that the Lord placed this in your heart.  The Lord that I know, was against materialistic pleasures and spoke and acted from the heart. I continue with my belief that great, if going to Africa makes you feel that you are helping - go for it.  But please do us all a favor and pay for it yourself, if it means that much to you - or is it a case that new clothes are more important and self-promotion over rides everything else?

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  50. Clearly you are in the minority if you think people do not want to donate to J, read the remaining reader comments. As far as rude, you should reread your comment and then decide who is being rude. As far as using "retards" to try to make a point, shame on you, that is not a word you throw around.

    Some people choose to make donations and some people choose to give their time to a worthy cause. Just because the money can be used differently does not mean that it is not being used well. I have been lucky enough to do three mission programs so far in my life and have learned so much through them. My experiences helped me to make the decision to join Americorps for a year. I'm not sure I would have been strong enough to make that decision without having gone on the mission programs.

     J, I think what you are doing is wonderful I wish you the best.

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  51. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Running a successful business for me means making women feel great about themselves. I don't wear half the stuff I post, and this blog is not even about my personal style. I do these outfits for you guys. (see my "About" for more info on that) I honestly see J's as a way to spread God's love, because he wants us to feel good about ourselves. I don't advocate overspending, vanity or superficiality. I understand how this or any website on fashion can appear at first glance to be all about "clothes! clothes! clothes!", and it is something I struggle with every single day. I literally started my website because I don't agree with the fashion industry and I wanted to be the non-superficial and non-consumer-driven change I wanted to see. I  thoughtfully consider my purpose and my message every single day. I'm not perfect though and to some, they will always see clothes as superficial and therefore think I am superficial, which is fine. But to others, to the hundreds of women whose lives I've changed, helped them land a job, to feel good on a date, that is why I do this. Because it's not just clothes, it's about life and taking clothes off the table so you can focus on what is real in life - your family, your job, and just being you.

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  52. If she didn't have a job she probably wouldn't have the opportunity to reach out and help others. Buying clothing is part of her job. If you think it's so superficial why are you reading the blog in the first place?

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  53. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I love this story!! I have a weird, weird fear of lions, I gotta be honest. My team assures me there aren't any but hello - the name of the region has the word lion ("Leone") in it! :-) Hopefully I will only be hearing the snores of my team.

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  54. J- I never EVER comment on blogs...I'm happy to observe from afar :) but the negative comments you are recieving on this post has me fired up! I'm so sorry that you are being made to feel bad for asking for help to do such a positive thing. Like it isn't hard enough to ask people for help, then they exaserbate the very fear that keeps so many from doing great things like this. I'm currently a prayer partner for my friend who will be traveling to Guatemala in two weeks for her churches mission trip. I am happy to donate a cup of coffee to this cause. You have saved me at least a weeks worth of coffees on clothes since I started reading  all your great deals! I love your blog! Hang in there!
    "you are here to be light, got is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you a light bearer you dont think I'm going to hide you under a bushel do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop SHINE. Keep open house, be generous with your life by opeing up to others you'll prompt pepole to open up with GOD. Our generous father in heaven." Mathew 5:14-16

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  55. J- I never EVER comment on blogs...I'm happy to observe from afar :) but the negative comments you are recieving on this post has me fired up! I'm so sorry that you are being made to feel bad for asking for help to do such a positive thing. Like it isn't hard enough to ask people for help, then they exaserbate the very fear that keeps so many from doing great things like this. I'm currently a prayer partner for my friend who will be traveling to Guatemala in two weeks for her churches mission trip. I am happy to donate a cup of coffee to this cause. You have saved me at least a weeks worth of coffees on clothes since I started reading  all your great deals! I love your blog! Hang in there!
    "you are here to be light, got is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you a light bearer you dont think I'm going to hide you under a bushel do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop SHINE. Keep open house, be generous with your life by opeing up to others you'll prompt pepole to open up with GOD. Our generous father in heaven." Mathew 5:14-16

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  56. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Thank you for this verse, you are a blessing today! Thank you! :-)

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  57. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Thank you Miyan, this was really sweet! :-)

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  58.  I find it hard to clarify that buying clothes is part of her job! I stumbled upon the blog by accident. I followed it for a while, hoping that it would have some weight to it (challenge people who are hurting in this economy to feel good about themselves, with the wardrobe they have). Clearly, it was the wrong blog for me. It's just a self-promotional blog, using an unrealistic budget for most people.  I do find it hard to believe that J is asking for donations to fund this trip.  Didn't she just go to Europe, and then later a cruise?  I believe in helping others, I question how much help these trips really offer though.  For those who do want to empower those in less fortunate positions, I would suggest you go to www.kiva.org  A site that EMPOWERS people, by 'loaning' your donations to start businesses, and then paying the lender (you) back.  Awesome program.

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  59.  How can you possibily say that you wanted your blog to be about 'non-consumer-driven' change, when you start every month with how much money you are going to spend, and what you are going to buy?? I'm not sure how spreading God's love comes into posting pictures of yourself.  I would assume then, that the clothes you do buy in this industry that you supposedly don't approve of, and then choose not to wear are donated? You blog is about your life J.  Your trips, your choice in clothes, your meetings etc.  If you blog is about helping others, and nothing about you, then surely it would make sense not to post photos of yourself every day?  Just on a side note, how can you say that you don't agree with the fashion industry, when you posts photos taken by the fashion industry and then try to mimic them??

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  60.  Di Groys-Why does a woman who blogs about clothes now going on a mission trip to Africa need to be insulted?  By your account, you could argue that anyone going on a mission trip is a "superficial hypocrite".  Many people going on mission trips spend money on silly things, but does that mean they are not good people & not sincere about the mission?  No!  If you read about this before making negative comments, you would realize that J is spending her own money to go on the trip.  The money she is raising is being used by her church to buy supplies for the mission.  I would also like to add that J spends significantly less on her clothes than most "fashion" bloggers do.  I read many blogs where one outfit/accessories is easily $3000.  If her spending bothers you so much, don't read her blog.  I, on the other hand, will continue to read it each day!   Great source of ideas on how to use current clothes & where to look for inexpensive items when on a budget!  Also look forward to reading about the mission trip.  Will pray for your mission team! 

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  61. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    1. I post my budget for a few reasons. First, because I want to be transparent. Second, because I want to set a good example for anyone who is struggling with out of control spending. I set a budget and stick to it, which is what I recommend for others, and explain what and why I think those items are good investments. So it's not about fueling spending at all, it's about setting a good example of smart spending.

    2. It's not the clothes or the "fashion industry" that I don't approve of. It's fashion journalism. Totally different things. 

    3. I think the best way we can teach is by sharing our own experiences, so that is why I post pictures of myself, even though it makes me uncomfortable. I also share other people's stories on my makeover show, and am planning a new website that will be solely about other's (realistic) fashion. If you read my "About." my entire goal is a fashion magazine about other women, and J's is just the first step. 

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  62. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Thank you Kelli! And I have to LOL about all of us spending money on silly things! Totally, totally true. We are all guilty of that, but doesn't mean we should feel bad asking people to raise money for a good cause!

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  63. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM

     Whether or not the money could be used in other ways for these places, I love the idea that we can go over and be a physical help. That we can educate and expose ourselves to the realities others are facing. There is a perspective that is gained, relationships that are developed, and incredible opportunities that are experienced. It's one thing to be on a holiday and see those in poverty - it's an entirely different thing to be there and feel like you are able to help. If for nothing else than to give these communities hope and let them know they are thought of, cared for, and that people donated/shared their hard earned money {sometimes not an excess of it} for their improvement. That has to feel pretty amazing for them, and as the one going over to serve and help - how can you put a price on that? 

    As per the clothing budget comments....first of all I think they are silly. The problem lies in that lots of people don't understand or appreciate the world of blogging - and so don't value your blog as a business tool. But that's precisely what it is. Now I'm not doubting you wouldn't buy these clothes anyways - it's clearly a high interest for you....another reason you have chosen to make a business out of it. But the thing is, I have actually been impressed with your monthly clothing budgets and the items you buy - I don't have the same clothing budget as you {I also have a husband and two kids to clothe and feed lol} but certainly don't begrudge you for yours. And don't think in any way you are excessive and it's clear you look for affordable pieces and that you, in fact, budget for the items. It's great for me to see that you really can have a great wardrobe without having to spend a fortune. Plus I love the daily wardrobe inspiration photos - I think it can really open the eyes of people stuck in a rut...sometimes it can be about using what you have {which you do}, or buying a new piece {which you also do}, or buying a new little collection {which you also do}.

    There will always be haters. Honestly I don't know why these people who think you are a materialistic, self promoting, hypocrite would be reading your blog in the first place. So, just do what you love to do, help where and when you can help...and don't make apologies for who you are and who you are trying to be.

    :)

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  64. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I might see the confusion now - do you think I'm asking for money for myself? These funds are not for my trip, or for me. I am asking you to donate money to Summit Church!! If I wanted to go on a safari in Africa, I would save my money and go. If I asked you guys to pay for that, I would be out of my mind and totally makes sense to call me a "hypocrite." I'm fundraising for a church and the people of Sierra Leone though. If you do not like Summit, Africa, etc. then please don't donate.  That is what we are talking about here. Please stop making this about me.

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  65. 2 Corinthians 12:10 and James 1:27
    Have a great trip!

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  66. hi j! i'm really impressed with your blog and your ability to take criticism with such grace!! i have a dream to go to africa someday, so i can only imagine how excited you are for this adventure. stepping out of our comfort zones brings more growth than one expects. you mentioned you regret not doing the peace corps or americorps--i just wanted to remind you that there is no maximum age limit for service in those programs :) i'm currently a peace corps volunteer in ukraine and this is a calling i'm glad i followed! i enjoy reading your blog, though you make me miss my closet an awful amount! (yes, i sure you're think a peace corps volunteer who has internet at home?! but i comprise with my lack of running water, so blog following is a guilty pleasure :) ) i will gladly 'buy you a cup of coffee' once i can figure out how paypal works. i hope your trip is everything you hope it will be and more! blessings sent your way!! 

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  67. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Blessings to you Angela, serving in the PeaceCorps in Ukraine! That is amazing, I am honored to have you as a reader. :-)

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  68. J, good for you for donating your time to do this! Best wishes to you always. And btw, how you decide to raise funds is your business, if people want to donate they can, if not then don't. It's that simple. No need for hateful comments.

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  69. I think what you are doing is great...My sister lives in Africa and I have visited a couple of times now.  Everytime I'm just amazed at the enjoyment the children get from meeting someone from the US.  They are enamored with us.  I think what you are doing is wonderful...You will, more than anything, brighten a child's life and that is priceless.

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  70. How is this (J's asking for donations) any different than someone asking for donations for a 5k race or an event for cancer research, autism, education reform, etc? It's not. It's a cause that J feels strongly for and is willing to donate her time and money to be a part of. Would there be such an outcry of negativity if J was asking for donation for the 3-day Susan G Komen Event (which each participate must raise $2300) or running the Boston Marathon for charity? This post shows just how real she is that she doesn't just care about fashion & blogging (which I never thought she did!). I admire you, J, for what you are doing. I can't wait to see photos and hear all about your trip!

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  71. Di, you seem to be unfairly berating J for things you either don't understand, or things that you're assuming without any sort of verification. She makes a living off this blog and her fashion consulting business ... it is her full-time job ...  which means that clothes are a very necessary expense.  Since you've been a reader for a while, you no doubt know that, and have seen that she does redesign things in her wardrobe.  Extensively.  And despite this necessary expense, she sticks to a tight budget that is realistic for many women, and puts together outfits that mimic astronomically expensive clothes for a fraction of the price.  For many of us that read here, that is a huge help. The fact that you claim to be a long-time reader of this fashion blog but then tear her apart for engaging in the very activities necessary to maintain a fashion blog (such as taking pictures) seems to indicate that you are just trying to pick a fight. Working in the fashion industry and helping others are not mutually exclusive. Buying inexpensive clothes and helping other women look nice for less does not make her materialistic.  She isn't asking people to fund her trip ... she's asking for additional donations on top of what she's already paid, which will be funneled into donations that will be taken to Sierra Leone. Normally I wouldn't jump in in the middle of a thread like this, but I'm astounded by the judgmental tone of some of these comments.  

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  72. awww...poor J - taking all this negativity.  I feel so bad for you!  But there are also many messages of support.  You probably never imagined the range of feedback you would get.  I certainly did not!  When I saw the number of comments, and went to take a look, the only thought i had initially was "wow! I am so glad J's followers are supporting her (and not necessarily monetary donations. Maybe just nice messages.).  I think it is very giving and selfless of you to do this trip, and naturally, this is the way to raise money.  This is the way for endless charities, churches, etc. to fund trips, raise $, etc (Team in Training, Patrick Dempsey bike tour for cancer, etc.).  I have donated to friends and family many times to support their causes. That is how it is done!  I admire you for this trip, as well as what you have accomplished in life so far - and you are so young!  To be running your own business, taking that risk, and making it successful is huge!  I love fashion, and please don't you ever feel the need to feel like what you are doing with your love of fashion is superficial! I am probably twice your age, and absolutely love fashion.  I look forward to reading your posts every single day, and i do get inspiration from them for my own outfits.  You are an inspiration in so many ways, J, and don't let anyone cause you to feel like you are doing anything wrong in posting your fundraising efforts on your blog, or for doing what you do as your profession!  I only wish I could have had your confidence to make my love of fashion my profession!

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  73. I view your blog every day and I have been so inspired by all of your posts. I admire you for going on this trip and sharing it with your readers. There are many prayers headed your way on this life changing journey. Two cups of coffee for you!

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  74. J - I swear I come by it honestly. :)  I didn’t read any of the links which I’m sure would’ve educated me more and I confess, I misunderstood and thought the $3000 was for individual travel expenses.  But truly, I was just thinking out loud. (I’ve got to stop doing that on blogs!) My limited exposure is that poverty is based, or at least bolstered, by lack of employment (and natural resources & education & infrastructure) so that was why my mind immediately went to potential employment for people in the area.
     
    You know, every occupation, including stay at home homemakers, have expenses that are pertinent and beneficial to their line of work that would seem frivolous to someone else in another line of work.  I know.  I went from a big career to being a stay at home mom. I used to roll my eyes at the things people spent their money on that I now proudly own!   Serves me right for ever being judgmental instead of trying to walk in another’s shoes. You’ll never be able to convince someone who is determined to see you as frivolous, so hold your head up and move on from naysayers. 
     
    Hailey, not sure if this was at me, but I absolutely agree.  I think these sorts of trips are invaluable for the people going, but when you are doing so in the name of aiding others, I think it is a perfectly legitimate concern to make sure the focus is on the others being helped and not just the experience of the helpers (which is also important, but not the focus. The same is true with charities who should always show you how much of your donation goes to the cause and how much goes to overhead).  Doing the most good with limited resources.  We are ALL called to do that.  That probably is the case here and it will be wonderful for those going and those getting the help. I honestly was wondering out loud and, unfortunately, doing so on a misunderstanding of the figures and no real information on the trip.  My bad.

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  75. It's pretty simple, if you want to donate - do so. If you don't - then don't.
    As for her clothing budget, it's her job. If she didn't keep up with styles people would stop coming to her blog and she would lose advertising, etc. Clothing to her is like office supplies would be to an office job.

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  76.  I totally read your blog as you asking for us to finance your trip for you.  My bad. The negative remarks came from assuming (admittedly, wrongly) that you were hoping for funds to help your trip while still purchasing new clothes on a monthly basis.  I wonder if some of the other replies come from the same place?  Maybe it would be worthwhile to just re-write some of the post, clarifying what you are asking for.  There's no need to take the heat, if it's not warranted!

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  77. J, I stumbled across your blog months ago and I look forward to your posts daily! I LOVE fashion and proving that a classy, modest look doesn't have to cost a fortune and there is absolutely no reason to go in to debt over it! My church is actively involved in Uganda Africa. We work with serving his children ministries and even created our own ministry, livinghislovetogether.com, we started a school and my husband and I sponsor a child there. I say all this to support the idea that ministry is not saying " you can't have anything" but more about " I want others to have something too". Possessions are just that. We own them for a moment, and then they are gone. God describes our lives and all that that entails as but a vapor . Like your breath on a cold day. It's there, but not for long. It is what we do with our time and how we chose to glorify God that lasts. If you think J is vain, you should stay off fashion blogs. They all post pictures, they all talk about their clothes. The major difference is that most of them have professional photo shoots and their outfits cost 3000. Here, you can at least find reasonable prices and ideas to REUSE what you already have. If you didn't understand where the money was going, why didn't you follow the links ? Ask her kindly to clarify? Chose not to write a hateful comment and just move on? ( not directed at any one person just stating some options)

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  78. J, I love what you are doing!  I'll keep up with these ridiculous comments and donate a cup of coffee from myself as well as every negative nancy that posted here...so keep the negativity rolling cause its only going to mean that you are donating a cup to the cause :)

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  79. Hi J!

    First of all, I have to say that it breaks my heart to see the hurtful comments and negativity posted on your wall in response to this post.  I find what you are doing to be inspiring, and I also know it was most likely not an easy decision to reach out to your readers and ask them to donate to your mission trip.  Raising money for missions is not an easy thing.  But when God places something on our hearts, we have to follow through, no matter how difficult or challenging it might be. And I find in my life, that it is the times when I really step out and am the boldest in my faith that the challenges and negativity around me can seem to be the strongest.  

    My little brother served with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) for 8 years.  When he was about to head off to college, God put it on his heart go a different direction, and he did. He moved to Australia and gave 8 years of his life to a missions organization. And during his 8 years with YWAM, he had to raise money to support his cost of living and various mission trips around the world.  And as his big sister, I know how difficult it was for him to ask for that money and not be able to fund it all by himself.  And sometimes he was met with a similar negative response like you are receiving, but most of the time it was a pretty incredible showing of people's love, grace, and generosity.  And as in most cases, the good out weighed the bad. I have always wanted to do a mission, but have not been able to due to work and every day life things, so I will continue to support people like my brother, and people like you who do have the opportunity to go and make a difference.  And if God ever decides that I am to do a mission, I would jump on the opportunity in a heartbeat-just like you.

    We are so blessed to live in the US, and I know that you know that. But just because we have material things and clothing, doesn't make us bad people or hypocrites. Your trip to Africa isn't going to change the world, but you ARE going to make a difference.  And while many people are claiming that the $3000 could be better spent directly in the community you are visiting, I wholeheartedly believe that the $3000 you are raising for your mission trip is worth FAR more than that.  And I believe that because you are going to provide these women with the opportunity to see love and FEEL love.  And not only love from you and your team, but you have the incredible opportunity to teach them about Jesus and how much God loves them.  And no amount of money can ever measure up to the importance of that.  

    I think what you are doing is really wonderful, J.  And I am sorry that other people are having a difficult time seeing that.  And perhaps instead of spending their time belittling you for trying to something good in this world, they should follow your lead.  Because I think their words are hurtful and toxic and represent the exact opposite of what you are all about.  

    I am happy to make a donation to you and I will also keep you in my prayers.  

    Very inspired you J.  

    xx,

    Abby

    http://abbyisalldolledup.wordpress.com

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  80. J, you are going to make me cry!  I am aching to go to Africa!!  We are adopting from Ethiopia and I've never been to Africa.   It's this whole world that I have never seen or experienced. It's making me ache to be there today. THEN I read that you are going.  Hold all those precious babies, pick their toys up when they throw them on the floor, pray over them, and speak the truth of the bible over them daily!  I pray that someone will do that for my child before I'm able to bring them home!!

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  81. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    You just made me tear up in the middle of Panera!! I am so excited for you and your adoption! This puts an entirely new perspective on the trip, I will be thinking of your baby when I am there. And I will most definitely provide as much love and blessing and help as I possibly can. 

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  82. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Andi, I loved your comment and didn't think it was negative at all! I think Hailey may have been referring to some of the comments below. I appreciate both of your thoughtful responses so much!

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  83. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I totally agree. I'm not feeling bad for myself (and you guys shouldn't either!). Let's focus on the positive (more than $500 raised so far!). I definitely had NO idea that this would be a controversial topic, and I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. I had a friend read the post before it went up, and neither of us ever thought it would be. I think I was really foolish to not consider everyone being as familiar with mission trips, and I could've worded my post better, so that is something to learn for next time. I'm so glad you love the blog though -that's why we are really here so thank you for that! :-) 

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  84. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Thank you so much Abby!! :-)

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  85. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Thank you so much Angela!!

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  86. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Thanks Heather. :-)

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  87. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Absolutely happy to answer this, and hopefully I'm able to help. I was diagnosed a young age b/c my mom has it and recognized it in me very early. One of the most frustrating things is that it is kind of impossible to get it perfectly right. Sometimes a food you think is safe will set you off, and you just have to roll with the punches a little bit. 

    The diet I have found that works for me (I'm not a doctor, so please consult one if you are trying something new): I always have a heavy breakfast. (Your body has been fasting for hours, so I'm usually a mess when I first wake up.) I eat 4 times at day, at minimum and snack all day long to keep my blood sugar as level as possible. I eat all brown rice, whole wheat products. I never eat dessert (other than peanut butter or yogurt, which satisfies the craving but is packed with protein), and even most fruit is too sugary so I stay away from that. I lean pretty heavy towards protein in my meals, more veggies, and less carbs. It's not as boring as it sounds though. I eat things like chicken fajitas on a whole wheat wraps, tilapia and brown rice, yummy but healthy stuff. Hope this helps! :-)

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  88. Congrats on this wonderful opportunity you have!!  It is sure to be a life changing adventure.  I will be more than happy to donate to the cause.

    As for the critics, you handle them with grace as always.  I don't understand people telling you what 'your' blog should be about.  If you aren't finding this one useful, go somewhere else.  If you interest is in thrift store shopping there are plenty of people who tackle that subject quite well!  I don't think it's fair to cast judgement on your clothing budget and what you choose to spend your money on - it's really no one's business but your own.  I spend $$ on clothes every month but I also donate money to the American Heart Association throughout the year in honor of my niece who had open heart surgery at 4 days old and will continue to need surgeries during her entire life.  It's all about striking a balance with what works for each persons budget and lifestyle.  I'm in a high profile job and need to look presentable at client meetings and networking events - your blog has been a godsend in helping me piece together outfits from things I already own and finding affordable pieces to add to or complete looks!

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  89. Wow! What an incredible opportunity! I'm so glad that you'll get to encourage the local women by giving them a break--something that just sending money wouldn't solve! So with that said, I'm disappointed by all the negative comments, although I think they mostly come from ignorance--Jesus called us to be the hands and feet, not his wallet!

    I'm praying you gain a greater heart for the world through this trip, as well as connection to local believers---it's an amazing thing to see believers from another culture loving God in their way---what a wonderful picture of heaven! (Rev. 7:9)

    I am a full-time missionary stateside and live on support all the time...it is an incredible way to live...and yes, I work very hard! So, if you're not sure what you think about J raising support, read this article: http://thetravelingteam.org/articles/support-raising

    Also, I just sent you a few cups of coffee! Blessings.

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  90. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 21, 2012 at 5:53 PM

     Andi,

    J is right, my comment was not directed at you. It was so much to confront your post, but just sort of add my two bits....in response to some of the negativity posted below. Sorry for the confusion lol

    ps. J - love the new perspective of the adoptive parent....what a fantastic opportunity to see these kids and love them before they *hopefully* have families of their own. Awesome

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  91. Wow, you sure showed those people with valid point of views.

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  92. Considering how Susan G Komen was recently in the middle of a massive PR crisis, I would say yes.

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  93. I'm sorry but its very presumptuous to assume these ladies do not see and feel love from their own group but need this mission trip to show them. Or that they don't have a religion of their own but need a Christian (not that I'm assuming that J's going there to preach but this commenter brought it up.)

    This comments and others are why I have issues with mission trips. Its all very "white folks coming to save the day." Where is the $3,000 going to? J has no experience, so she'll need to be trained. Wouldn't the time and money spent on training be better spent on someone local, who will be there longer than 2 weeks?

    And I'm sorry, but there are many Americans who relocate to these countries on their own dime.

    And I also take offense at the suggestion that the people who are responding with less than "you're awesome!" comments aren't doing anything. This isn't a place to get into an "I'm awesome" contest, but I've spent my career working for nonprofits, hoping to make a difference. So my comments come from someone's who understands what these places need.

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  94. I went to Kenya last year after hearing God tell me to "go to Africa."  Get ready to have your world rocked!  What a blessing!

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  95. jseverydayfashionMay 21, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I totally respect your views on mission trips and your choice not to donate, I just wanted to add a couple things you guys may not know about my background. I was in charge of the childcare at a food pantry in Boston for 2 years. I also have about 5 years of experience organizing VBS camps with my mom - and VBS is one of the things we are doing for the kids. I'm not saying I'm the most qualified by far, but I think I'm a good candidate and have an open heart to being as helpful as possible! :-) We've also spent some time learning the language, culture, etc. so definitely some training going on. 

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  96. Can't take the caffeine from coffee.  How about tea for two instead?  ;o)    Good luck with your mission!

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  97. I think a lot of people missed the point regarding fundraising for mission trips. One of the major reasons people are asked to fund raise is to simply get the word out about the organization for the mission is helping. 

    One of the goals of fundraising is that when someone hears that you are accepting donations to travel to Africa to help women in Sierra Leone is that you'll look up their mission, educate yourself about the matter, and make an educated decision as to whether or not you'll donate. In essence, you'll learn about a mission that needs help and either donate to it, think about another organization that you'd rather donate to (and hopefully then actually donate), or simply move on. Fund raising is a way to spread information and awareness about issues that are important to some people. 

    So the goal of J letting her readers know about a mission she's going on and giving them to information necessary for them to make an educated decision as to whether or not they feel compelled to donate isn't done so that we can send more white women to Africa to save the day it's simply her educating others about something she's passionate about. If you need more information about her mission, ask. Don't berate her with negative comments because she's supporting a cause in a way that you're not comfortable with. 

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  98. That's wonderful, Kara! An old friend of mine adopted a 4 year old from Ethiopia a few years ago. There were lots of hard times in the beginning with bonding and being scared mommy and daddy wouldn't always be there.  Heartbreaking what the little ones go through.  She's a beautiful, thriving, sweet-as-pie school girl now!  Yes, J, hug on them for all of us.

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  99. Hey girl! LOVE this! So excited for you and I will definitely keep you in my prayers! What an amazing opportunity!

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  100. You can reach your dream by starting a blog and asking your readers to donate you $5.  Retard is harsch, but "naiveaccurately describes a lot of you ladies here.

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  101. That's good J and those experiences would be useful for volunteering on an ongoing basis in your local area. But I guess my point is that no one has really demostrated why this money is better going to sending people over for two weeks rather than investing directly into the programs already in place over there.

    In the end, it just makes me understand why mission trips are called "poverty vacations."

    Have fun though.

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  102. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Thank you for sharing your point of view, and I respect you and where you are coming from. I think it is something to be celebrated that we all grew up in different environments and have different passions and causes that we feel strongly about. "Mission trips are important" is my point of view. I respect yours - clearly you have some information or experience with mission trips that I do not, and that's cool with me. But I grew up around them, some of the spiritual leaders I respect the most go on them, and the organization I trust the most is asking me to go. All I'm asking is for you to respect that. I'm not asking YOU personally to donate. I'm putting it out there if someone does want to. I do not understand how that is offensive to people. Even if I was raising money for gay marriage, and you didn't believe in gay marriage, I don't understand why you would try to talk me out of it and tell me I'm doing the wrong thing. (Just simply don't donate.) These are my beliefs. This is what I grew up with, and who I am. If anything, I think it takes a person of character to use their platform for what they believe in - even if the whole world doesn't agree with them. Instead of telling me my cause is wrong - why aren't we asking leaders, bloggers, etc. why they aren't standing up for any cause at all? I personally think we should just leave people alone and they will do what they do (aka I really don't mind if someone is or isn't standing up for a cause), but if we are really going to stir the pot, why waste time berating me for the cause I chose, and maybe bug some people with much bigger platforms than mine to support the causes you believe in? Or, write an email to COTN and tell them that you think mission trips to Africa are a waste of money? I have thoughtfully considered this trip. And prayed about it. And listened and respectfully answered every naysayer on this post. I think it would say a lot about me if I listened to these things, let it fill me with fear, and crumbled like a house of cards. I feel strongly about this cause (see reasons above) and I'm going. I am naturally skeptical, and as I listed in this post I worry that I will be helpful to the people of Sierra Leone. I plan to be 100% honest when I get back about the trip, and let everyone know if I think charitable money is better spent elsewhere, but for now I have no reason to think it's not a great cause based on my personal beliefs and experiences.

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  103. In all fairness and transparency to the readers and their possible donations, could you let us know how much of your own money is being put towards the mission trip J? Reading through your response to the comments, you've mentioned that you've put up quite a lot of your own money to fund this trip and I think the number is an important way to gauge if you're "putting your money where your mouth is" so to speak.

    I don't necessarily agree with mission trips, especially this one where you are going over to provide time off to the people running the orphanages. I would be much more open to financially supporting Doctors without Borders and other such organizations. I think the money raised can be much better spent funding programs already in place in Sierra Leone. A $3000 donation to the orphanage itself would be a God send and would help the orphans and women running the operation so much more than two weeks off--it would mean fuller bellies, being better clothed, having more tools and supplies to teach these orphans, etc.

    Many mission trips also have a component of spreading "God's word"--i.e. conversion of "heathens" to Christianity, historically speaking, which still persists to this day. I don't like that your blog is a vehicle for your religious view points, but I also realize that it is your blog and you will do as you please. I understand why some are offended by this post, because I am bit offended too.

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  104. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    I think this puts me in an extremely precarious situation, to ask me about my financial contribution. If I don't share, I will be attacked for hiding something or being a liar, and if I do share, then I will be attacked for 1. spending too much money, 2. not enough money, (or both). I'm sure someone will also thinking I'm whining about how much I'm spending.  

    I think you also have misunderstood where the funds are going - the $3000 IS going to the orphange. We are bringing over thousands of dollars worth of supplies on this trip. The money is for the children, NOT ME. And the trip, and my post, have absolutely nothing to do with religion or preachig. It is a humanitarian mission to provide supplies and manpower.
    Overall, I don't understand why people keep turning this post into something about me or my finances. It's not about me. It's about raising support that is going to Summit Church, for the children of Sierra Leone. I am more than happy to share with you the details of my contribution, but I feel it is inappropriate to ask these details in public. (It's well into 4 digits, I will tell you that). Please email me and I will provide you with the details if you want them, jseverydayfashion at gmail. Overall, I don't understand why so many seem to be focused on money, money, money when they respond. This mission trip, and the most valuable part of any charity in my opinion, is in giving yourself - your time, your effort, your talent and your compassion. I know I personally care more about your prayers and your moral support than I do your $5.

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  105. But you stated in a previous reply to a comment that the $3000 is covering your traveling expenses as well--so it is in fact, going to you, for the experience of traveling to Sierra Leone and fueling your sense of altruism. The problem I have is that any donations will be covering any of your expenses to get to Sierra Leone. It'd be a different story if 100% of donations were going to the kids, like clothing and shoes and school supplies. I'd have no problem donating to a cause like that, but I won't fund anyone's plane ticket to get there, when that money is better spent directly on the orphanage instead of someone's experience of volunteerism.

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  106. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    In my opinion this is completely, completely flipped around. If I were simply raising money, and not giving my time, I would see that as being a lazy American who is throwing money at the problem and who doesn't really care enough to actually go out and DO something. As I already said, the most valuable part of any charity is giving yourself - your time, your effort and your talent. But your'e right - it's completely selfish of me to want to give my time AND my money. Shame on me.

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  107. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Your donations DO go directly to Sierra Leone. This has nothing to do with me, and fundraising for a charity has anything to do with my personal finances. Is Elton John offensive if he has a fundraiser? Because you view him as having money? Or is he actually doing good, in that he is using his platform to volunteer, and get others involved in a cause by donating a cup of coffee? If I were asking you to fund some safari to Africa, I would be absolutely out of my mind!! Of course I would pay for that myself!!! But I ask for you to directly support an orphanage in Sierra Leone with donations, and you are telling me I'm rich and should pay for it myself? Huh? 

    and ps. I would never ask you to donate half of your clothing budget to anything. I would just want to give you all the help and advice I could for making that budget stretch as far as possible.

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  108. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Haha I prefer tea, too, Annemarie! Thank you!

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  109. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Really great points to add, thank you MAC! I really like this way of thinking about it. I have a feeling the people of Sierra Leone are going to leave an impression that will make me an ambassador for life. 

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  110. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Thank you Meredith! :-)

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  111. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Thanks Sandy!! :-)

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  112. jseverydayfashionMay 22, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Thank you for the words of encouragement, I appreciate it!!

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  113. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 23, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Okay maybe it wasn't the best example, but the principle is still there.....sheesh

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  114. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 23, 2012 at 1:58 AM

     It actually annoys me to hear people say you can't and won't make a difference.....I understand the point of *in the long run* - you can't possibly go on a mission trip - one or even several - and expect to fix problems in these areas that have taken decades - centuries to develop.

    But I don't even know that that's the point. It's like the starfish story - http://www.starrbrite.com/starfish.html

    You may not change the world...or a village...or a family....but you can change on person's world simply by being there to help, care, love, and give hope. And THAT changes families, which changes villages, that eventually can change the world.

    I don't have a problem with the $3,000 covering your travelling expenses too - I mean, the organization does have to take care of the group going....you all need to eat and be cared for so you can provide the best assistance possible. I think it's great you donated some of your own funds - maybe people would be less *annoyed* if you said *I am personally donated xxxx amount and am hoping for support to raise the remaining $2,000* as an example....but that's just semantics - it's not the issue. Besides, at this rate - with you donating $1,000+ {as per your comment....don't feel like you need to give exact amounts, saying you are contributing personally should be sufficient} AND raising an additional $3,000 everyone benefits more. Your organization is just making it easier by giving a lump sum for each person to raise....including travel expenses in to avoid unnecessary confusion.

    It's amazing to me how many bloggers are vocal about their religious beliefs - while this is the first time I've noticed you mention God or church, I see nothing wrong with it. It is who you are - those of us who are fans will embrace that part of you too, even if we don't have the same beliefs. And those who are fans who don't care will just skip over those parts.

    Bottom line - I'm sure Mother Theresa had naysayers when she said she was going to Calcutta....but she did it anyways and not only did she have a global impact, but I'm certain she changed the world for those she was in contact with. I believe in donating funds when/where we can, but ultimately I 100% support the idea and benefit of DOING good, being the *hands and feet* as someone posted....As I sit here watching the news there is a story about a group who raised funds to donate a playground to Puerto Vallarta for the kids there....awesome - and it wouldn't bother me in the least if some of those funds were spent to send a few people over to assemble the structure. It's all part of the *donation* in my opinion.

    Your help will be a blessing to all you come in contact with {from there and those on your team}, and yes, the awesome thing about service is you will also benefit in ways you could never anticipate. That doesn't make your intentions selfish or dishonourable - completely the opposite. Service is precisely how we should want to learn life lessons.

    I think you are fantastic! And thank goodness you have the self confidence and self respect to stand up for yourself.

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  115. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 23, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    p.s. I also love the idea of giving these workers a break...what a blessing for them!

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  116. Just proves my point: It's about the cause she is raising money for, if you don't believe in it, don't donate, go on your merry way. But if you do, and can afford to, then donate some money. If you can't, (and that's completely understandable given the current economy) then send thoughts and prayers her way. That's all she's asking for. She's not asking for politics, she's asking for compassion and excitement in a life experience.
    Many of us followers constantly ask her to give more personal info about her life because we feel like she’s our friend based on her blog we follow on a daily basis and we want to know more about her. And the moment she does, she gets nonstop criticism.

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  117. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM

     I don't really understand - why is having a bit of naivete is a negative thing. Every time I embark on a new experience - a new job, a new friendhip, a new holiday, a new or different volunteer experience, etc. there is an element of naivete. And each time I have gone through it I come out with new life lessons, new appreciation, new commitments, goals, and even sometimes new heartaches {ie losing those I care about for example}. Naivete really is a natural part of life and something everyone - including you - has. We can't possibly know everything about every scenario, even after experiencing it....and we certainly can't live our lives based on what others think we should or shouldn't do. There is a lot to be learned when we feel a certain pull towards something, and find it in ourselves to commit both in our scheduling and financially to make it happen. And being willing to stare our naivete and inexperience in the eyes and let it teach us.

    Thank goodness the world has people who are willing and passionate enough to do just that. And shame on anyone for trying to put down a dream, or any intent or attempt to help ease the burdens of another. Whether it be someone down the street, or halfway across the world....whether it's simply smiling at a stranger on the street or spending thousands of dollars to make your presence known and felt. The reality is, people everywhere need help. We do what we can with what we have {and lots don't even do that}, and yay to those who see an opportunity such as this and work to make it happen. It's not for everyone and lots would prefer to donate $$$ instead of being there {sometimes circumtances wouldn't allow for it}...and many even still would prefer not to donate at all, for many reasons.

    But if J sees this opportunity and feels in herself that it's somewhere she needs to be....life lessons she needs to learn....and help she wants and needs to offer...by God or her heart or whatever anyone wants to believer {J believes it's God} then who are you to say she's wrong? Who are you to say how she should live her life? Or imply that her naivete is something to be avoided, hidden, and not embraced? Would it be better if she turned a blind eye and ingnored the needs of others and cared ONLY of fashion and clothes?

    If it's not a cause you support, don't donate. If you feel like everyone and every organization wants/needs donations and you realize you can't do it all, don't donate. If you support her desire and the cause but can't spare the additional money, don't donate.

    But for crying out loud, leave her alone.

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  118. Hailey @ Cute Like MeMay 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

     J,

    Some people just look for reasons to criticize - it is not something you did.

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  119. Not really - the comment came accross to me like the author was saying the naysayers had issues with mission trips. Some may (I certainly do) but its not exclusive to mission trips. Some non-profits, include Susan and churchs, will recieve backlash due to how they handle funds. That is my main issue with this - the funds to help these people would be of better use to other nonprofits.

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  120. I thought the point of your comment was people taking issue with it being a mission trip. I take issue with how the funds are/will be handled and how the money spent on getting J there would be of better use going to the church directly.

    You listed a major nonprofit that misuses their funds in the attempt to protray the negative backlash to be related to this being a church thing. Its not - the people who are talking about her clothes spending would still have an issue, the people who feel that money would be better spent else where would have an issue.

    This is not a church issue.

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  121. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    I have to say, I really think anyone's time would be better spent raising money and advocating for the organizations they do support, rather than lashing out against someone supporting an organization that they don't. It's not a good use of time, or helping any of the organizations that deserve our time and energy. 

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  122. I did not tell you that your cause is wrong, I think I have expressed myself quite clearly, but read the post again if you need to. I told you that spending 3K per person on such trip is a grossly inefficient way to further your cause. My comments would apply if you were taking the trip to promote gay marriage or any other cause. This inefficiency btw is a fact and not an opinion. No matter what you are told by whomever person or institution you trust does not change the truth. It is simply a waste of money if the goal is to help those women in any substantial way. You will be spending this money for your personal development and well, maybe it is worth it. You are obviously a good person, as well as smart, so be honest with yourself when considering whether this trip is a waste of money if the goal is to help those women. Bon voyage.
    p.s. Of course, I will not contribute, that is not the point. I feel compelled to share my thoughts. When you are a public figure and post your opinions and ask for donations in this way, it is expected to receive comments and opinions both cheering you on or not.

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  123. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    I think what Meg is saying is would my personal spending come under fire if I were raising money for cancer? Or not devoting my time, but just raising money? There seems to be the perception that this money is somehow going to me, personally, or that I'm going on vacation, but I'm raising money to go directly for the children of Sierra Leone who don't have mommies and daddies. An example I used below - is Elton John a bad guy for holding a fundraiser, just because we view him as rich? Absolutely not, he is using his platform to get people involved and donate to a cause he cares about. That is all I'm trying to do here. Arguing whether the cause is a good one is completely unproductive (we can use that time to raise funds for another cause we support), and turning it into an attack on my person finances makes absolutely no sense, because this fundraiser isn't about me. 

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  124. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    My beliefs are that this is a fantastic way to spend 3K, so yes you are telling me that my beliefs are wrong. I have no issue with you having different beliefs than I do whatsoever. I do, however, think anyone's time would be better spent raising money and advocating for the organizations they do support, rather than lashing out against someone supporting an organization that they don't. It's not a good use of time, or helping any of the organizations that deserve our time and energy.

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  125. J, you have no idea how I spend my time or what support I give to nonprofits. I have given my personal, professional prespective as someone who works in the nonprofit field. Considering I'm responding to a commenter who's A) not actually bringing anything to the point I stated, and B) has disregarded what other people have wrote and tried to make it seem like people are upset about the church and people saying you can't make a difference (when people have stated the money can make a better impact else where), I'm not sure why I'm being scolded for "lashing" out. 

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  126. I understood Meg's comment, hence why I stated it depends on the nonprofit. Would you get the same response if it was for Komen? Yes, but that nonprofit publicly does not handle funds well.

    As for the Elton John point, I think that works against you - he public states how much he gives when he's at fundraisers. Further, his fundraisers are not to benefit him directly. At this point I'm completely confused on where this money is going or what to since you didn't make it clear. First it was to help with your travel, then it goes to the church, now its going to the children? And I'm not the only confused one, considering other have asked. (And I didn't even ask - just pointed out that the money and time being spent to send your team would be better spent on local people who can serve longer than two weeks.)

    And once again, I'm rolling your eyes at your comment that I nor anyone else who stating less than positive things don't help our communities. Couldn't it be argued that instead of reading your blog people should be more productive in helping out others?

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  127. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    My point is that we are wasting precious time discussing this!! You support your causes, I will support mine. It's that simple. It's a total waste of time to write all of these comments here, when we could be giving our time to charity!!

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  128. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    1. For me to write a blog post and say I donated thousands of dollars, can you spare $5 is making it about me. I'm not comfortable with that. I am already telling you in the post that I am giving 2 weeks of my time. THAT is my contribution that really matters. Elton John example = perfect. 

    2. I'm happy to clarify this for you. I am raising $3000. It goes directly to Summit Church, and they decide how to spend it. It is covering a bunch of things - items for the kids, manpower to care for the kids. It's all directly benefitting the kids.

    3. Happy to share with you why my blog exists/why it is productive to read it (although, if you aren't able to verbalize this yourself, I don't understand why you are reading it). Because if we don't get dressed, we will be naked. I'm giving women tips, recipes, etc. to help taking dressed off the table - so that you can save time and focus on the real stuff in life - your family, your job, and yes even community service. 

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  129. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    It's mind-boogling to me that you would look at it as "someone's experience of volunteerism" instead of the person that really matters in this equation - "an orphan's experience of feeling loved, cared for, and literally touched that someone cared enough to travel that far to love them." 

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  130. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I thought about this some more - and what if going to Africa is my training? Think of all the good I can do in the world, and in my own country. by having that invaluable experience. I have never thought about it that way, because I'm not focused on my experience, I'm focused on the kids and what they will experience. But it's a pretty profound thought if you think about it. Imagine all the light one person can spread in the world by going through one life-changing experience. 

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  131. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Catherine, thank you for your thoughts! I think you nailed a lot of why I don't trust some organizations with my time or money. There is just so much we don't or can't know about them. I trust Summit because I've been going there for years and they have an open-book policy, they will show you their books if you just ask. I also like that I will literally get to see where the money is going. I'm giving you my word that it will be used for good, or else I will personally return your money myself. Versus an organization that is paying overhead, and who knows what else, with the money we blindly give them.

    As for your question on birth control, I don't think I would feel comfortable being a part of a mission like that, honestly because I don't know where I stand on the issue, so I would rather avoid it altogether. Humanitarian work such as shoes for little ones, and manpower like helping gather food are straightforward needs, so that is definitely more my comfort zone. No judgement if someone else wants to adopt that as their own cause though! 

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  132. Good for you! Seriously! But don't get annoyed when people are confused - if people are confused and the same points are coming up over and over, either be prepared to answer them again or add a note to your post.

    Spending time on a blog is wasting precious time that can be used else where. J, I enjoy your blog, I really do but scolding me (and others) for spending time commenting on a post that you spent time creating? If you want us all to go spend time else where doing good, why have comments?

    It seems hyprocitical, but whatever, have fun.

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  133. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Commenting is not a waste of time if you feel so lead, I do welcome everyone's opinions. But commenting 20+ times in one day and arguing the same point over and over again... yes. Too much.

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  134. Who do you "holier than thou" people think you are??? Good for you J...until the whole world hears.

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  135. No one is commenting here 20+ a day saying the same point over and over. From what I've seen, there's more varity to the naysayers comments than the positive ones and there's a certain comment who's White Knighting.

    Have fun J, really. But what happens to the kids and the women who are helping them when your two weeks is up? What is the long term impact of you going there? Its not so the kids know people care about them - they have that with the women who work there.

    I also hope that will start writing about causes in your local community that you support through volunteering.

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  136. Catherine, I do not have access to J's church annual giving reports. So neither of us can even guess how effective the actual program.

    However, toms does have a giving report - so if anyone is interested or questioning, they have easy access. Its up to them to select if they should give or not.

    That said, I do not consider TOMS to be a local nonprofit. The orphange that J is going to? A local nonprofit that can use the money that would be spent to get J there on training a member of their community that can provide support longer than two weeks. The money that will go to feed J? Could feed a kid.

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  137. jseverydayfashionMay 23, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Actually, you do have access to them. Email Summit, they will be happy to provide you with a copy of their books. summit@summitconnect.org

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  138. The main purpose of a mission trip is to spread the word of God so how effective their good works they do in addition is irrelevant. I am astounded at the negativity here. Praying for you J. And to those of you who don't have anything nice to say keep it to yourself. Shame on you. Ask yourself if you would walk up to J and say it to her face. If not, don't write it.

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  139. Chelle, 
    The giving reports you mentioned and the UN reports on efficacy that I was referencing are not necessarily the same (there is possibly some overlap, which is why I say "not necessarily" instead of just plain not the same). 
    I appreciate where you're coming from about giving directly to the non profit/orphanage, however I think J's (& her fellow mission-goers) utility on this trip is two-fold (J please correct me if I'm wrong on this): first, yes to provide goods (like the shoes she mentioned) and second to provide a two-week respite for those who normally work. While we in the US have PTO associated with full time jobs (albeit not as uniformly available as other nations), I'd guess that the people in Sierra Leone are deeply looking forward to their vacation time with their families. 

    Finally - and I will preface this by saying that I am not religious/I do not attend church - but, I did some clicking around on J's church's website. If you (or anyone else that reads this) feel that donating "a cup of coffee" to the mission trip is inappropriate, her church has a DIRECT donation option to sponsor a child (again, J if I've mistaken anything just correct me) http://summitconnect.org/pages/get-involved


    And J, thanks for answering my other question frankly- I appreciate it. 

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  140. http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=9976 Useful information. 

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  141. Wow.  

    It seemed so simply to me when I read your post regarding the mission trip to Sierra Leone.  People that wanted to lend support would send money, others who did not want to or could not would not send money.

    For those people who feel so strongly that this is the wrong way to help in Sierra Leone,   I respectfully encourage you to take the passion that you applied to your multiple posts here and run with it.  Find your path to making a difference.  Repeating in many posts and varied ways the same ideas, here on a fashion blog, does not seem to be the most constructive way to do so.

    To J, God bless you and may He give you safe travels.

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  142. Chelle, you don't particularly strike me as someone who has spent their career hoping to make a difference if this is how you are acting in response to J's post.  If that were the case I can't imagine you would have this much time to spend filling a blog so many of us enjoy with such negativity. But I don't know you, and it is not my place to judge, so I won't because I believe in respecting other people's opinions and beliefs. The bottom line is, you don't have to donate to J, or believe in or support what she is doing. BUT HER INTENTION IS GOOD AND PURE and how could you not be accepting of that? You don't have to agree with "white folk" missions trips and you can judge them all you want, but have you ever been on a mission like this?  Do you know anyone who has?  Do you know someone who has been on the receiving end of one of these missions?  Because unless you do, I don't think you really have a true scope of what you are judging.  So instead of wasting your time and energy on disagreeing with what J is doing, maybe you should better spend your time supporting whatever cause it is you choose. That is the great thing about our country, the freedom to choose and the freedom to have our own opinions.  And like I said, I respect that you have your opinion, but when it gets to this point, your multitude of comments are just inappropriate, aggressive, and hurtful and there is no need in the world for behavior like that.  

    And in saying I was presumptive in my comment about love above, maybe you are right. I do not know the situation of these particular women that J will be working with, nor do I pretend to. And I hope and pray they have families and friends that love them.  But regardless, they spend their days loving on all of the little children in the orphanage and working so hard (they don't get the weekends off like we do), so the gift of having a break from their grueling schedules, and feeling love from total strangers, isn't that an act of kindness that we would all welcome and appreciate?   A lot of people don't know the extent of what is going on in Sierra Leone, and even if you don't agree with what J is going, she is at the very least spreading awareness. My husband and I are a big couple with Big Brothers Big Sisters to a pair of refugee brothers and are very involved with the our large refuge community in Salt Lake and work hard to spread awareness about what is happening in Africa and in other countries like Thailand. My brother also works for a non-profit called Not for Sale which spreads awareness and fights human trafficking across the globe.  So if any of you out there reading would like to know more about what is happening in Sierra Leone, try reading A Long Way Gone: Memiors of a Boy Soldier by Ishmal Beah and Not for Sale by David Batstone.  While one mission trip isn't going to change the world, continued awareness and education and more and more people following suit just might someday allow us to have an impact!!  

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  143. Kara,

    One of my close friends and her husband just adopted a baby from Ethiopia and it has been the most incredible experience.  I will pray for you and your hubby as you embark on this journey!!!  

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  144. This is quite a small thing to add but who said it was a "white folk" mission trip just because J is white. It seems like that is where so much confusion and negativity is coming from, assumptions. I'm guessing the majority of you, myself included, have no idea who is going on the trip and whether they're white, black, tan, or purple. Black people go on mission trips to Africa just like white people and white people go on mission trips to poor parts of the world that are predominantly black and black people go on mission trips to poor parts of the world that are predominantly white.

    As for the people who have the opinion that going isn't helpful or the money spent could be used better sent. You're obviously entitled to your opinion and I am fully aware that what I say will probably have zero impact on that I figures I'd share anyway since it's late and I'm unable to sleep. It is good for people to go to these areas as well rather than solely send money because...it would be a lot of money and the people may not know how to properly manage it. Usually when churches go to these locations there is a full-time presence in the area by missionaries from the church or a partnering organization and people go on missions to help provide some labor. One person mentioned to just use more people and provide more work or the people there. These children are orphans for a reason. There aren't always more people to provide the work for because the life expectancy in a region like this is significantly shorter secondary to disease, murder, and other life-ending events. Also the men aren't always present in the childrens lives and te women providing constant support to A LOT of children may be exhausted and probably welcome a break with open arms. These women more than likely don't get to leave work at the end of the day and all there problems at the office. Their home is the office. They don't get weekends off. Weekends probably don't even exist. Their week could as easily "start" on Thursday as ours does on Monday. For them, the week never ends. Shame on the person who said J can't show these children love for two weeks. I have been on a mission trip working with children who weren't even orphans and just playing with these children, combing their hair, painting their nails, and hugging them made a huge impact (we also provided free medical, dental, and eye care for the naysayers). And yes, it was for a short amount of time and I came back to my home; however, I have followed the organization who I went through and there is a constant presence by the full-time missionaries and many more short-term missionaries have followed. Without the people actually going to these areas there would be no ground laid, no presence, no awareness, and too much work for the people involved. Mission trips, while not ALWAYS, provide a lot of assistance to the full-time work staff who otherwise would not get any rest or reprieve. Also, missionaries can provide a lot of education to the locals about better ways to run their organizations to receive full benefits of their resources.

    This comment is not meant to chastise or criticize anyone, in anyway. Everyone has differing opinions on everything (and thank goodness because what a boring world if we all shared the same opinion). I was just hoping to provide my beliefs on the importance of missions, including my personal belief to spread the Gospel of Christ and our need for Him in our lives, as someone who has been on a mission trip and seen the direct benefits for the people served.

    FYI, I have choosen Anonymous not to conceal my identity (not that it matters or you care, there are millions of people of the Internet) but because it's easiest when "selecting profile" and it's late so easiest sounds the most appealing. But my name is Brittany. :)

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  145. Eek, longer comment than originally expected. Apologies.

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  146. J, I too am a reader that never comments on blogs, but the comments of this particular post have inspired me to do so. It saddens me that people can't simply state an opinion but must use insults and offensive language to try and make their point.

    I previously worked very closely with two gentlemen that personally supported a Sierra Leone orphanage both with their time (4+ trips per year) and finances. (I also supported financially) From the descriptions of their trips, photos, etc. I know that this trip you are about to take will be life-altering....but in no way a vacation or even a physically enjoyable trip. The living, sleeping, eating conditions, etc. are anything but comfortable. So anyone thinking you are going to have some type of vacation should tune back in for your posts after your trip. :)

    The horrors that the people of Sierra Leone have experienced are literally unbelievable, and I hope that your post does cause people to get interested and look into where you are going, what has happened there, and the realities that the people face there every day.

    While beliefs are one thing - and actually something I don't even care to discuss - the need in this world is immense.  There are obviously numerous ways to spend your time and money, and yes, there are more efficient ways to use $3,000. But you have been called to this specific way, and we all have the freedom to choose whether or not to offer support.

    I know you will be blessed by this trip and I pray that all those you meet will be as well the love you share.

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  147. I am going on a mission trip to Africa too!! I am going to an orphanage in Bondo, Kenya, and am leaving July 31 and coming back August 16. I need some outfit inspiration however, so if you posted some pictures of what you are going to wear that would be greatly appreciated!!

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  148. jseverydayfashionJuly 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Adea, best of luck on your trip! We have a strict dress code - long skirts, close-toe shoes, shirts with lots of coverage and no jewelry. So I will be rocking maxis, Crocs and loose t-shirts the whole time. I'm definitely thinking of this as a time of no fashion. It's refreshing! :-) 

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  149. Chelle: You really have nothing better to do with your time, don't you...

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  150. This "Chelle" person must've been bored and had nothing better to do with their time.  Maybe with the time they wasted arguing every comment on here, this person could've done something in their community instead... 


    My church does bi-annual trips to Sierra Leone for 3 weeks, and my pastor goes to every one.  They stay in their facilities, eat their food, and do everything the Sierra Leone way, NOT the "American" way.  The erected a church single-handedly and baptized 200 people in 2 days for those that wanted it.  They revived malnourished children on the brink of death.  Yes, they brought doctors and dentists, too (that were part of our church congregation, too).  They didn't force anything on any of the Sierra Leone people, they were there to help.  And they accept with open arms and hearts.

    You don't need "training".  Just a servant heart and willing to do whatever is needed.  Is it because it's Africa that people are all up in arms about us forcing them to "assimilate into the Western Way"? "White Guilt"? "White Savior Syndrome"? No, it's not.  People in many other countries do mission trips too.  To single out America is unfair.  Yes, we MAY do them more often than other countries as we have the tools and support to do so.

    You read this blog voluntarily.  It's the opinions expressed by the blogger, she has the right to write them... and you have the right to choose to read her blog or not.  She also didn't force anyone to donate $5.

    Arguing for the sake of arguing is childish and exhausting, and y'all have better things to do with your lives than trolling comments and stalking blog posts.

    I hope your trip goes well, J.

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  151. I will sooo be praying for you!! May God bless you and your team a lot, J!! :)

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  152. J, I've been caught sleeping, I'm sorry ;-  Had no clue this was going on!  Am praying for your mission trip and have also put it on my blog.  Read back through this (because honestly I couldn't see why you were getting negative comments) - who IS this Chelle person?!  Does she have a profile?!  Does anyone know who she is?!  Those are just questions for my own curiousness.  As for J, she knows all the Scriptures already about how, when we start to really do God's work ... 

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  153. I think you are out of your league. I've lived with these kids in India and parts of Africa for a lot more then two weeks. I've followed your blog for 18 months + and you are a changed person. I doubt you can do much to help as I think you are an incredibly selfish, self indulged individual. You should stay away from the kids in Africa and stick to what your good at being an ex Florida housewife!!!!!

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  154. Hi J - I am brand new to your blog and I have fallen in love.  I am working professional trapped in a college students wardrobe and you have provided me with so much inspiration and motivation to start dressing differently so I feel more confident.  I wish you the best of luck on your trip!  Your passion and dedication to this cause is inspiring.    

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  155. jseverydayfashionJuly 20, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Thank you Ashley! I appreciate your note. Welcome to the blog! :-)

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  156. I never post on blogs but reading this discussion has made me want to contribute.  First of all, I'm glad to see that there is a healthy discussion around mission trips, fundraising and aid to developing communities.  It is important to gain different perspectives on these issues because they clearly are not black and white. 

    I would encourage anyone interested in this topic to read Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo, although I may not completely agree with all of her arguments I believe she makes some valid points- while we often think giving aid as clearly helping others it often perpetuates poverty by not allowing communities to develop and rely on aid instead.

    J, I hope your trip to Africa allows you to learn and widen your perspective of the deep-seeded inequality in the global economy.  I lived in Burkina Faso for 4 months volunteering, I do not think my contribution changed anyone's life but my own.  I made meaningful connections with people and it helped re-evaluate how I live my life.

    As a fashion blogger I hope you are able to see the deep impact North American clothing has on the lives of people in western Africa.  One of the main sources of income is cotton and unfortunately cotton farmers are living in complete poverty because of unfair trade.  A way you could truly make a difference while blogging is including fair trade cotton products in your posts.  It's amazing how much of a difference we could all make if we became conscientious consumers, and you are in a position to encourage others to do just that!

    Safe travels.

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  157. jseverydayfashionJuly 21, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Thank you for contributing this! Fair trade cotton is definitely something I would like to learn more about.

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  158. Hi J, I am a relatively new reader of yours and I think it is so refreshing to see you share your personal beliefs and mission on your blog.

    I  felt called to Haiti for a short term mission trip after the earthquake a few years ago and I count it as one of the most important experiences of my life.

    Your heart to serve and love those little ones is a testament to your faith and trust in God and I will be praying for you and your team while you are there. Best of luck to you :)

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  159. Can't wait to get an update on your trip. I can't believe the negative comments. Thanks for sharing your journey and passion. Praying for you and your team. 

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  160. This is an old thread but I think this poster is a bit misguided. Nicholas Kristoff is a journalist. He spends most of his time traveling around the world speaking to and listening to and learning from others. He champions many wonderful causes, but his own way of helping people who are suffering is to share their stories. And he's wonderful at it. He often brings his own children with him-at significant personal costs-so they too can learn and listen. It sounds like the money asked for here is a combination of travel expenses-put towards the cause of learning and sharing and donations of items that can benefit others lives in very "efficient" ways. It sounds like you are a Nick Kristoff fan...so before you use his name to berate J's cause, think about how similar their missions actually are. I hope now that she has returned she will speak just as loud as Mr. Kristoff about the situations others are suffering through. He would be extremely proud of that.

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  161. It completely blows my mind how many negative comments there are.  You are doing an incredible thing, I too am blessed with an opportunity to serve on a mission trip through my church in Feb (a medical trip serving in clinics in Lesotho Africa). Good luck on your trip, prayers are with you!

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  162. Thank you Ari! If you have online giving for your trip, please email me, I'd like to contribute! :-)

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