all but two of the men, women and children in this picture have HIV or AIDS. the american woman in the center (marcia) visited benin this summer and sent me pictures of some of the people and ministries i will be working with… this is one of them. i have about 75 pictures from marcia’s trip on my computer at work; they help remind me of where i am and where i am going and why i am going. to date i have raised over $7,000 of my $15,800 upfront costs (that’s over 40%)… wow. i’ve only raised 15% of my monthly expenses, though, so i’m focusing my attention on talking to people about pledging monthly support. while raising support is a new skill for me and can be daunting at times, i also know this is a real opportunity for my friends, family and others to be part of some really meaningful work… and for me to feel connected to those back home even when i’m very far away. it’s amazing when i think about it.