French, her daughter Janie and three other mother-daughter duos living in Buckhead will go on a 10-day mission trip to the African country starting May 15. The journey was organized by Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead, where French serves as its director of global missions.
“I’m trying to grow the mission ministry of this church,” she said of the church’s first such mother-daughter mission trip. “One of the things I’m looking at is impact connections, so when people go on a trip it makes that relationship even deeper. We had a women’s mission trip go out last November [to Nicaragua], and that was what I call the first impact group to go on a mission. It was very successful. We are looking at sending a men’s group to Nicaragua. This [May] group is a scouting group to see how it works.
“On most mission trips you meet the people you’re on the trip with for the first time. The introduction conversation is usually all you get.”
The Frenches will be joining mother-daughter pairs Caye and Frances Oglesby, Courtney and Gayle Jenks and Jana and Ella Simmons. All the daughters are completing their freshman year in college during the first two weeks of this month.
The church sends more than 100 members on global mission trips each year to countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, Kenya and Georgia.
While in Kenya the group will travel to a slum in Nairobi and sponsor a feeding for 200 children there, distribute 100 portable home water filters — each filter provides clean water for 22 to 25 people — and work at a preschool, where they will paint a mural. This mission will partner with a nonprofit, Start With One — Kenya, which has ties to Atlanta.
“I will tell you. This is not a trip that I looked for. It’s one that came to me,” Caye Oglesby said. “It’s such an honor [to go]. Anne French’s daughter Janie is … a good friend of Frances. Knowing that she’s in charge and knowing how wonderful she is and how big a heart she has, that makes a trip so exciting and so worthwhile.
“The fact that I would be spending the trip with my daughter and spending so much quality time with her would be great. I also get a chance to explore and make a difference. All of that made it very, very exciting and worthwhile.”
French said the church has donated 2,000 portable water filters to Start With One in three years. She and Oglesby said giving back is one message they want their daughters to hear during the trip.
“I hope to instill a sense of service in these girls,” French said. “Some of them have been on mission trips before but this will expose them to service. I hope to create an extra layer of the bond of the mother-daughter relationship they may not have had before, through this experience.
“One of Peachtree Road’s missions in Kenya is clean water. So this effort is continuing through this mission trip.”
Said Oglesby, “[I] just [want] the opportunity to serve, [to] go see and witness an incredible part of this beautiful planet we enjoy. To have this time with my daughter and this growing experience will be more than I can imagine.”