Van for the Dunn Family

Here is what I find super easy: Talking to anyone who will listen about a certain family that is doing some amazing work in the name of Jesus. When you hear their story, the Dunn’s will be your heroes just as they are mine.

Jim and MaryJane Dunn have been married for 25 years.  They have three biological children, and seven years ago felt God leading them to adopt a sibling group of five from Brazil. Yep, FIVE! Most of you reading this probably have never adopted. Some of you may have an adopted child. Most of you at least know someone who has adopted. But, no matter what our exposure to adoption is, I think we can all sigh a collective oh.em.gee. when it comes to adopting FIVE children from another country.

But wait. It gets crazier (in a “these people do WHATEVER God tells them” kinda way.). A little over three years ago they heard God leading again. This time, He was sending them off to Terra Boa, Brazil to live on a mountain in the middle of the jungle. There, they have been able to provide free youth camps to hundreds of orphans as well as serve and share Jesus with the very off-the-grid people of the mountain. They built and repaired the camp with their own hands on the side of a steep mountain. And all this with no machinery and nowhere near the conveniences that could be used in the States. They did it and have faithfully pulled off dozens of youth camps for kids from surrounding orphanages at no cost to the kids or orphanages. There, the kids get biblical teaching, awesome worship, food, team building activities, and some good old-fashioned love. These kids who feel hopeless, abandoned and unloved get their world rocked by Jesus Christ through the Dunn family. These people know how to do work.

Now, just in case you're the typical American Christian and your brain has immediately glamorized their situation and you find yourself thinking, “They’re so lucky. Traveling the world. Living in jungles. Hugging sweet orphan kids.” But now is the time I would like to burst your sparkly little bubble. Because Jim and Mary Jane would be the first to tell you that even though knowing that they are right in the middle of God’s will for their lives is the best thing/feeling in the world- it’s far from glamourous.

Their life is not all loving on precious babies and nature hikes. First of all, they live so far out in the middle of nowhere that they have sporadic electricity, parasite infested water, too many poisonous snakes and spiders to kill, too many bugs for any human to live with, with very little/no wifi and zero cell service to stay in contact with the outside world as we know it. They have to save all their wifi-requiring stuff, and once a week when they go to church, they use the wifi there to communicate. Which pretty much means that they have 90% more time than all of us, right? (Honestly. Log your Twitter, FB, Instagram, Pinterest, and texting time one day. Then let’s weep together over our lives being sucked away from us via iPhones.). But you’re wrong. Because here’s another fun fact: they have no hot water. So dirty dishes and laundry for NINE? No biggie. Just gotta BOIL FLIPPIN’ WATER to take care of it. That’s what they do everyday.

Those have to be the two most hated chores by everyone ever in all of eternity. Even those of us with little MACHINES that can do it for us. Adding a whole other step that includes waiting on water to boil? Just forget it.

Then there’s the issue of creatures. Such as venomous snakes and spiders all around. Bats flying around in their house. Waking up all of the time with insect bites all over them. The critter issue is ongoing. And it’s the jungle. So critters are in the XL realm.

Also, they really don’t have any childcare, so weekly date nights? Not happening. Yearly date nights? Nope. One of them always has to be home with kids. To which you may respond, “Well, they could do like family dates”. But you would be wrong. Because the Dunn’s do not have a vehicle large enough to transport their entire family down the mountain.

And that, my friends, is the real reason we’re having this talk.

In the three years that they’ve been on the mission field, the Dunn’s have very rarely been able to leave their house all together as a family. It only happens when a mission team is there to help them and the family can jump in some of the team’s vans. They don’t even all get to go to church together. They don’t all go out to eat together. To movies. To Target. {I don’t even think there is a Target and that is heartbreaking.} You get my point. There is ALWAYS a handful of Dunn’s stuck at home in the middle of the jungle.
It just can’t be right that there are Christians (including myself) with multiple cars AND access to public transportation AND family and friends we can call to hitch a ride from while we have brothers and sisters literally surrendering all comfort and luxury for the furthering of God’s kingdom without any vehicle that can carry their whole family to  church, right? I mean, why haven't we already gotten these cats a car?

Well, that would be because THEY NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT IT OR ASK FOR MONEY OR WHINE. Like, seriously, these people are the real deal lovers/servants/followers of God. They have just refused to channel any of their time and energy towards making their lives easier. Literally, after dragging the above info out of Jim, he apologized multiple times for “complaining”. It is so very humbling to be around the man. I complain because none of the 11, 381 movies and tv shows on Netflix tickle my fancy. He downplays killer spiders and a tiny car that can’t get his whole family out of the jungle even in the case of an emergency.

So, my fellow Netflix lovers! Let’s use our collective twinge of guilt and, more importantly, the love we have for God and His purposes and His work and His people to make something happen here. We can’t really send them a van. But we can raise the $32,000 it would take to purchase one in Brazil. We really want them to be able to hit the road together by the end of 2014, which is oh-so-doable. I’m convinced that God let the cat out of the bag about this need right now on purpose. It’s time, after all the Dunn’s have dunn that something gets dunn for them. Ya know? God wants to bless and encourage this amazing family with the gift of familial co-riding. And He wants to use us to do it.

Learn more about them on their blog at

and then let’s GET IT DUNN!! Share, pray, and give!
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Jonathan Long 
Monroe, GA
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