Jason & Erica's Story
Jason and Erica launched TRS in 2007. Since then, they have adopted 5 of their 6 children from Sierra Leone. Together, their family now serves TRS, travels and speaks on behalf of the orphaned - raising awareness, and pursuing God's heart... the gift of family.
Meet the family!
Erica (Founder), Jason (Founder),
Jordan, Jayda, Nash, Maddox, Capri, Willa.
"My husband and I get asked all the time, “What’s your story?” “How did The Raining Season begin?” “How on earth did you end up in Sierra Leone?” The answer is not exactly simple and honestly I’m not sure it can really be explained in a few short paragraphs to fit on a website “history” page. I can give you a short version, however.
It all began with a photo: a photo of a little girl on a website dedicated to finding adoptive families for orphaned children. It wasn’t a typical adoption, not the kind where you send in an application, a referral fee, and wait on a photo of your “soon to be child.” It was exactly the opposite. Her photo beckoned my heart and called me “mommy” from the moment I laid eyes on it. I knew she was mine, but I had no idea where she was.
So began our quest to find her. Countless phone calls and internet research led me to an orphanage in Sierra Leone. We began the adoption process “independently” and three years later…. we were still waiting. During this gut -wrenching wait, I had my best friend by my side. Kelly was an unwavering source of strength, a prayer partner, and dreamed right along with me about all the things that could come from our adoption down the road.
We knew that God had more planned than just adoption, and we were determined to make sure we allowed him to use our lives however He saw fit. You see Kelly and I were heading to Nashville, along with our families, to pursue our love for music. We had always said that once our platform was established we would go “deeper” with the call to save the orphan. Of course, as many of us assume, God can’t use us as we are. We have to wait till everything is “just right” in our lives… and of course… we were wrong.
After more than three years of waiting, my husband and I finally got the call. We had made it through court! We celebrated, thanked God for our breakthrough. Three days later, the embassy called saying all of our paperwork was fraudulent. We had been scammed. They told us to grieve and find a new country to adopt from. At this point, there was no way I was about to walk away from this beautiful little girl a world away.
We pulled up our boot straps and entered the fight of our lives. mulitple trips to Sierra Leone, 13 trips to court, and on Decemeber 12th, 2004... we finally brought our daughter home.
Two years went by. Everyday I watched my daughter blossom and grow and was haunted by the images of the thousands of children we left behind. We tried hard to move on with our lives. Eventually we couldn’t play the charade any longer. We knew God was calling us to do more. It was time to step it up. In 2008 our family started The Raining Season: a nonprofit organization whose focus would primarily be protecting the family unit, in order to help control the number of children abandoned. We took our first mission team during Christmas of 2008.
That trip uncovered the ugly face of child exploitation. We visited an orphanage home where the conditions were deplorable, where the children were abused and neglected, many starving.
We came home broken and begging God to show us what to do next. My husband and I knew God was calling us to something more… something extreme. Kelly and I had countless conversations on how extending our reach in Sierra Leone could ultimately affect our music career and possibly keep us from achieving our “dream”. But we all knew the best place to be was in the center of God’s will. We knew it was He who allowed us a glimpse into the eyes of the afflicted, and He showed us for a reason. It was time we shouldered their pain and gave up our lives for them…as He had done for us.
In 2009 we opened The Covering, an orphan care center focused on restoring the broken and the orphaned... this began another chapter in the fight for justice.
You may wonder why I call this a “fight.” Orphan care is not trendy. It’s not a necklace you wear around your neck, or a t-shirt you wear to the grocery store. Rescuing the exploited, orphaned child is messy work. The journey is dark and winding. We knew we were up against so much. However, God has been faithful.
6 years later, here we are. We have a center in the capital city of Freetown. We provide 24/7 care to 100+ children and employ over 70 Sierra Leonian families. We have played a part in uniting children with forever families, giving them an even greater chance at full restoration. We share our children with sponsors all across the US… sponsors who adore the kiddos as much as we do and are equally committed to restoring them through Christ and redeeming their lives.
While the work is hard, it is beautiful. We have fought battles, watched children meet their heavenly father due to the injustice in our world, all the while watching God move his mighty hand… Building his kingdom one child at a time. You see, they are no longer orphaned. They are the next generation of leaders, world changers. Imagine what we could see in 20 more years. Will all 350,000 orphaned children in Sierra Leone be rescued? I sure hope so! We will give our lives trying, and we hope you’ll join us."
TRS Founders (StateSide)