Kimi Ottaviano: Missionary Care Testimony from a Team Leader

My name is Kimi Ottaviano and I’m forty-five years old. I live in Northbrook, IL with my three daughters ages 12, 15, and 18. We were blessed with the opportunity to travel to Rwanda and Uganda with Go Be Love in December & January of 2016-17 for two weeks. We had been on several domestic missions trips and one international, but Africa was on our hearts for a long time. The way Go Be Love organizes their trips by supporting local missions and nonprofits was compelling and something we were deeply moved to check out. While preparing to go, we were asked if we wanted to help fill Christmas wish lists for the local missionaries that we would be traveling towards.

We received lists from two couples, and instead of filling the bags ourselves, we provided an opportunity for our neighbors to get involved. We created a signup genius page with the items on the list and we placed a large box in front of our house labeled “Africa”. Within 24 hours, the list was 90% complete, and by the time the items needed to be at our home, 100% were accounted for. It was amazing and a wonderful way for the community to get involved. It was also a great way to open the eyes of others to see the great need to bless missionaries in the hard and often forgotten work that they do for The Kingdom.

While it was the last stop on our 2-country journey, each team member carted an extra fifty pound suitcase throughout the whole trip. Upon arriving at the celebration dinner where we would present these gifts, we realized how worth it this extra load was. This was a region with red clay and beautiful people who knew how to smile better than anyone I had known – and in any circumstance. One with warm temperatures, mosquito nets, daily rooster calls and early morning chanting in the distance. You could sense immediate comfort and a dropping of their guard in the spirit of all attendees. There was an immediate connection with the couples that our family had been organizing items for. We knew them because we knew what they wanted. To fill those desires, which were not necessarily needs, was a reward in itself. It was an honor to be able to share a meal with and provide a safe place for the local missionaries who had been spending themselves for years in a place we had only been for a week.

I am passionate about missionary care because I have a dear friend serving a nineteen year prison sentence due in a large part to lack of support while serving among the poor in Haiti. He was there for twelve years creating and sustaining a school for street kids. Each year, another team member left the field, leaving him by himself for the last two years. Having no support and heading the school while supporting other needs in the community on his own became too overwhelming for him to handle and he made poor choices. Had he been given support along the way, we would not have lost someone who could have made a very large impact for the Kingdom for these nineteen years instead of spending them behind bars. I’m sure his story is not isolated. This is an urgent, often unrealized need, as those in the field are naturally selfless and often do not cry out for the support they need.

Love on a Missionary

Check out all the different ways you can bless a missionary around the world.

Love on a Missionary

Check out all the different ways you can bless a missionary around the world.

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