Why am I going?

I’ve already shared that I believe God has called me to Uganda, but I also wanted to share a bit more about why I believe that. I also thought there was no better time than now to share my thoughts about leading a short term mission trip. These are entirely my opinions that I’ve acquired from books on the subject, people I respect, and scripture I’ve read.

This may shock you, but I am not going on this trip to change the lives of the people of Uganda. I do not by any means believe that my few days interacting with someone there and providing a few donations will drastically improve a person’s life. It can be very easy to look down on someone living in a third world country with pity. Yes, living conditions are extremely bad and are worse than anything you can imagine, but in many ways the people I have met in Uganda are so much richer than I am. So, I am not leading a trip for them. I want to lead mission trips for the people on my team. It is so exciting to me to see someone experience their first mission trip. I love watching people find a passion they never knew they had and have their heart break for a place they knew little about. I want to lead people through that heartbreak, so that they can come home and DO SOMETHING. I was once told, “Compassion without action is simply pity.” I want to guide people through a door to finding God’s calling. Adoption, child sponsorship, long term mission work, raising awareness, raising funds…just something. What good is a mission trip, if you return the same as when you left?

Yet, it’s not all about us either. So how can I be a part of short term mission work that is truly effective and does not end up causing more harm than good? I highly recommend reading “Helping Without Hurting” to learn more on this topic. This would quickly turn into a much longer blog post than you would want to read if I let it. One way I have tried to ensure that I do more good than harm is to travel with an organization called Visiting Orphans. Something that I love about Visiting Orphans, among many things, is that they establish relationships with the ministries we work with and are continuously monitoring those relationships. My team will not just visit a ministry for a few days only to leave never to return. There are teams constantly serving with these ministries and individuals supporting them. We will not go in with a savior mentality or hand out gifts like we are Santa. We are there to support and serve the leaders of the ministries we work with.

It’s such a fine line to walk when going on short term mission trips. It does feel good to hand out gifts and have kids immediately fall in love with you, but that can quickly become an idol. It has to be about God’s glory. I once was on a trip where I had an allergic reaction that caused me to break out in hives. My calling for that trip, was to sit in a room alone and pray for the rest of my team. God’s calling is not always glamorous.

I am such a teeny, tiny part of the big picture. I am no better because my calling sends me to Uganda. You see we are all called to care for the orphan and widow. Time and time again in scripture God lays out His heart for orphans and widows. And time and time again He calls His people to be His hands and feet. James 1:27 states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” There are things that are not necessarily laid out in black and white in scripture, but this is. It is perfectly clear that we are all called to care for the orphan and widow. It is just a matter of finding your place to do it.

Ask God to give you His heart, to break your heart. I absolutely believe He will answer that prayer. God will give you a passion for something.  And then, “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive,” (Howard Thurman). Leading others to discover their passion, fighting against the injustices I have seen, and fighting for the orphan are what have kept me awake at night and consumed my thoughts. That is what makes me come alive, and until God changes my heart, that is what I will do.


Bump Update…Weeks 15-21

Baby bump update! Sweet Nora is a growing girl. Here is a glimpse of what’s been happening the last few weeks…minus week 18 because in case you didn’t know it gets dark crazy early in Indiana, which is not conducive to our weekly belly shots!
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It’s so hard to believe we are over halfway there. I’ve started to see a few kicks from the outside. She’s most active from about 10 am to 12. So, don’t come in my office during that time or you may find me being completely unproductive and just staring at my belly!

And here we are at 21 weeks. Zach and I love singing and talking to Nora. She is so incredibly loved by so many people already. We are so excited to meet this sweet girl, but I am enjoying this precious time while it lasts because I know it will be over far too quickly.

May I just say, I am so incredibly thankful for my husband. I have no doubt he will be an amazing daddy. I love hearing him talk to my belly. He has taken care of me so well over, going above and beyond to selflessly put my needs first. He challenges me in my faith and inspires me. I cannot imagine being on this journey with anyone but him.

*Don’t forget, Uganda trip is just over a month away! I would love your prayers for me and my team. And of course if you feel lead to donate to our trip there is a lovely button to the right to do that, you can purchase an Ugandan paper necklace, or there is a Premier Jewelry fundraiser happening right now! Between baby, the trip, and holidays these next two months are going to be busy!


A hodgepodge of thoughts

So remember when I said I was back to blogging? Well, apparently I lied because I’ve been doing a terrible job! Here is a random assortment of updates.


I am now 20 weeks pregnant. Halfway there! I cannot believe the first half of pregnancy has come and gone already. And in case you missed it, it’s a girl! You can watch our gender reveal video in the previous post. We went for our ultrasound Tuesday morning. It was so great to see our sweet baby again! Our last ultrasound was at 7 weeks which hardly looked like a baby at that point. They measured baby girl’s brain, kidneys, heart, etc. Everything looked perfect. We then had the ultrasound tech put the gender reveal photo in an envelope to give to our best friends.

We both were pretty sure it was a boy. Wrong! Our friends came over that night with gifts for us to open that would reveal the gender. They were perfect, and it was so much fun!



Zach and I are so excited to meet Nora Evaline Skaggs! We chose the name Nora because we both absolutely loved it. Evaline (pronounced Ev-uh-leen) is a name created from both of my grandmothers’ names, Evelyn and Nadine. I love that Nora will always have a little bit of two women who I love dearly.
I can now feel Nora wiggling around. Her movements are not strong or consistent at this point, but I love feeling her move. I am feeling great and trying to savor each and every moment of pregnancy.


I have had two yard sales. The first got rained out after just a couple of hours. We rescheduled for another Saturday. Woke up that Saturday and….it was raining. We postponed it again to the next day on Sunday. To say I was frustrated and discouraged would be an understatement. We ended up doing pretty well (thank you to all of you who donated items!). There were some great opportunities for me to share about my passion with our shoppers which is one of my favorite parts about fundraising. I just love hearing all of the reactions from people, the good and bad. People were able to see some of the pictures from my last trip. I absolutely love sharing stories about the sweet faces in the photos.




I’ve got to tell you though. I have had a pretty stinky attitude. Fundraising, working, volunteering at church, and being pregnant is hard. Preparing to go to Africa while pregnant is hard and scary. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of wallowing in pity on more than one occasion lately. When fundraising isn’t going so well, and I am terrified at times to go on this trip, it’s easy to get discouraged and say, “That’s it! I’m not going!”

But here’s the thing, I believe God called me to do this. And where in scripture does He ever say the road would be easy or would not be scary? I am pretty sure I have never read that. Yet, while I know this, it is still easy to forget and decide to give up instead. I have to believe that if He has called me to co-lead a trip to Uganda, then He has perfectly equipped me with everything I need to do so. I have to remind myself that He will never leave me, that nothing is impossible with Him. (Please note: anyone who wants to keep reminding me of this is totally allowed.)

What excites me about all of this is that this feels like one of the biggest, scariest things He’s ever called me to. Which means this is one of the biggest opportunities I have ever had for growth. That’s exciting! I am learning a lot about giving up control and trusting in God. Pregnancy, mission trips, and motherhood are not things that control freaks always cope well with. I like to handle things myself, and I like having a plan. I feel like one by one God is prying my fingers back to open my hands to all that He has for me. He is so faithful even when I am so faithless.


All of our funds are due November 27th. I would love to tell you that I am 100% funded, but that’s not the case. In fact, I am still about $1,500 away right now. If you feel lead to support me, I can never express how much you bless me. Please do not ever feel like a donation is too small. When you are fundraising and preparing for a mission trip, just getting a word of encouragement from someone is huge.

If you are interested in supporting my trip there are a couple of fun ways to do that right now. You can simply make a donation via PayPal using the link on the top right.

I still have a few Ugandan paper necklaces for sell. They are $20 each and gorgeous!

Until November 17th I have a Premier Jewelry Catalog fundraiser going on. You can go to http://nancyskaggs.mypremierdesigns.com/ and enter the password “nancy” to view the catalog. Then call or email my fabulous mother-in-law at 330-720-0929 or nlskaggs@gmail.com to order. Perfect for Christmas shopping!

Overall, life is beautifully hard right now. I feel challenged in every area. But the things that challenge me are such amazing blessings. I know that it is said all the time, but I could never have imagined this life for myself. It is so much better.