Sunday, October 21, 2012

And the winners are...

I am sure you have all been anxiously waiting.  So drum roll please...

The winner of the 3 single strand bracelets is Emma.

The winner of the coil bracelet is Heather.

The winner of the really long necklace is Jeannette.

To claim your prize, send your address to me either at or on Facebook and I will get them out in the mail to you!

Thanks for playing along!

Happy Sunday!  I am off to my church hayride!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy birthday!

It is sort of a birthday...

My blog is 100 posts old!  That is a big number and deserving of a celebration!

And what great party doesn't have fun giveaways?????

But first, a walk down memory lane.  My favorite 10 experiences from Uganda.

  • Crossing the Rwandan border back into Uganda.  It was in the middle of the night.  It was really cold.  I was so grateful for my rest in Rwanda, but so happy to be going home.  There were no city lights, nothing to get in the way of gazing at the stars.  I think that night I saw every start God ever made.  It was breath taking.
  • The first time any of the boys said I loved you.  That day my fate was sealed.  
  • Seeing 8 of the most amazing kids I have ever known get to see their home for the first time.  They ran around like maniacs like we were living in a mansion.  They were so happy.  I was so worried because it wasn't very big and I thought they weren't going to like it.  But it was home and they loved it.
  • Waking up and having coffee and talking to friends for so long each morning, we were always late with the rest of our day.
  • Wandering the streets at night with good friends looking for new boys to tell about the programs.  One night in particular we found a boy named Alex.  He followed us instantly and decided to show us where all of the boys slept.  He ran so quickly to check all of the hiding places, we were all laughing so much that night.  The best was seeing some of those boys at programs the next day.
  • Seeing David back in the slum after he had been arrested and had been missing for a long time.  I thought I was going to never see him again.  Also, finally being able to get Nelson out of prison.  He was missing for the longest time before we could find him and then it took forever to get him out.  
  • Sitting at the beach, drinking soda and talking to friends while the kids played in the water knowing I had everything I ever wanted.  And then laughing all the way home in the taxi because the boys were being outrageous as usual.
  • Getting in a boda accident not once, but twice and wondering how I made it out alive in either case and knowing God's angels were with me.
  • Joseph going from hating me and refusing to speak to me to holding my hand and always talking to me.
  • The boys surprising me with the cutest little kitten.  I don't know how they found him or didn't wake me up that night but in the morning when they did wake me up, seeing it at my door totally shocked me.  He was the cutest kitten I had ever seen.  So cute, someone stole him from us.  :-(  

Now on to the fun giveaway!  

There will be 3 prizes, so potentially 3 winners.  What will you win?

One of 3 pieces of jewelry made by some incredible women in Uganda! (Sorry for the terrible photos!)

How do you win?  Get entries!  Each thing you do will get you one entry.  (Sorry, you got to work a little!)
  1. Go to our Facebook page and like us.
  2. Share our Facebook page with your friends on your Facebook page.
  3. Share our website on Facebook.
  4. Share this post on Facebook.
  5. Share our Etsy page on Facebook.
The contest is open until the end of Next Wednesday(10/17).  I will draw the winner and post it here next Thursday!  Make sure you leave me a comment here and let me know you are entering!

Best of luck!

And thanks for taking this journey with me!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The rest of the story

My last post wasn't out of nowhere.  There was reason to it.  This is the rest of the story....

Recently, I went to someone for help.  I thought that she was really nice, she seemed very supportive and interested in what is going on in Uganda, so I reached out to her.  The last time we talked, she told me if there was anything that she could do to help I just needed to let her know.  So I decided to send an email.  I explained in my email where I was at, where I was struggling and asked if she could help.

Well as you can imagine, I didn't get a very positive response.  Actually, I got a very hurtful and negative response.  It would have been better for her to tell me she didn't want to help but instead she made me feel terrible and like a failure.

Why did she feel like I was a failure and undeserving of help?

Because I choose to start a non-profit instead of being associated with a religious organization like a church or a mission agency.

I was pretty disgusted too.

But I let it go and decided to meet with her anyway(After she tore me apart in her email, she said we should meet and talk about some options.).  I prayed that her heart would change.  I prayed that God's will would be done.  I prayed that I would let go of my anger and hurt.

Well 2 out of 3 isn't bad...

It was one of the worst meetings of my life.  Again I was told I wasn't good enough.  I was interrupted, belittled, told ridiculous things.  But God's will was done and for that I am grateful.

Now, comes the amazing part of the story...

I know without a doubt that God is in control of this whole process.  I am very positive that He is leading my steps.  I know he lead me to start the non profit.  I know He gave me the name.  I know He is in control.  I don't know why I am not back in Uganda yet, but I know He has a reason for it.  I hate waiting, I hate missing the boys, I hate missing seeing them growing and changing.  But I wait because I know His plans are far superior to mine and I can take rest in knowing I will be back in Uganda the day I am supposed to be.

During this meeting from you know where, I stood up for myself and God's plan for me.  I told her I was very certain God lead me to start a non profit and not go with a mission agency.  She continued to tell me that wasn't good enough.

Excuse me???

Yeah, she said God's plan wasn't good enough.

Well eventually I shut down and stopped talking just so I could get out of there.  When I did, I went home, prayed that God would just confirm what I am suppose to be doing.  That if she was right, He would show me that I should go with a church instead.

You know what happened next?

God used the mailman again!  (I bet the mailman doesn't even know that he continues to deliver God's letters of confirmation to me.  How he would be surprised!)

I went to get the mail, maybe just 2 hours after this lady told me it wasn't enough, I wasn't enough...

I received the letter from the IRS rewarding LOT 2545 full tax exempt status.  We are finally a registered 501c3.


(My next post is number 100!  I can hardly believe that I have shared on here 100 times.  It is amazing.  Sometimes I go back and read old posts of when I first got to Uganda...Anyway, I have something special planed for number 100.  Stay tuned!)

Friday, October 5, 2012

How I am feeling

I have been thinking a lot about something lately and really feel like it is time to share.  Especially today...

Growing up, I never remember a time that I didn't believe in Jesus.  I remember going to church with my mom and dad.  I remember throwing temper tantrums because they wouldn't take me to church with them.  That is all before I turned 5.  Later, I would go to church with my grandma.  I loved going to church.  I loved Jesus and believed in him and His sacrifice for me.

Then I grew up.  I still loved Jesus.  I still believed that He died to save me.  I still believed that God was in control of my life and destiny but I stopped liking church.  I stopped liking church because of the people I met that claimed to be Christians.  I started to feel like they held these impossible standards to live up to all the while lying, cheating, stealing, or whatever.  I started to feel like I didn't want any part of that group.  I didn't want to be part of a group that made people feel so bad about themselves because they weren't "good" enough.

So I stopped going to church.  

I didn't go to church for a long time.  I felt that my relationship with God was between me and Him, not between me and a bunch of people that I thought were hypocrites.  I was probably in my teens when I stopped going to church and didn't go back to church until I was in my twenties.    I still prayed, I still believed, I still loved Him.

I didn't go back to church until a friend invited me to hers.  I felt at home there.  I didn't feel judged or like I wasn't good enough.  They reminded us and showed us that we are all sinners, we all make bad choices, we all make mistakes, but there is hope for us.  I finally felt like I had found a church where it was ok to not be perfect and if we said we were perfect, obviously it was a lie.  I felt like the church reached out to everyone. It wasn't an exclusive group that you had to earn membership to.  It restored my faith in the church and other Christians.

It was at that church that my faith grew and I really gave my life over to God.  I learned that if we really loved God we had to love His people.  I learned that God is love.  Plain and simple.  God is love.  And in order to be living for Him, you have to love His people.

***Side note-I know this isn't easy.  I still fail at it every day.  But it is what He calls us to do.

Anyway, that isn't the point of this post.

My point is that I think Christianity is failing because of us that claim to be Christians.  I think so many people are put off by the church because of those of us, myself included, that say we love Jesus and then treat people badly.  Because we get on our high horses (a bit like I am doing now) and point out others' failures and faults, all the while not looking at our own.  Please don't think I am excluding myself from this group, because I know I am part of the problem.  But my point is we can do better.  We should do better.

When people see me, the first thing I want them to see is Jesus.  I want to be so in love with Him and His ways, that people don't see me, they see Him.  Some days I think I am kind of successful, but some days I know I fail.  And I need to do better.  

Why am I saying all of this?

Because I am almost back to the point of my childhood where I have lost faith in the church and other people claiming to be Christians.  

Now, thankfully I am older and wiser than me as a teenager.  I know there are amazing people out there, living their lives for their Savior and giving it all for Him everyday.  I know that we are all sinners and are only saved by grace.  I know that I am the biggest sinner of all and need to look at my own eye first.  I know God loves me the same as he loves the drug dealer, prostitute, murderer, thief, (continue to fill in the blank with whatever you want.  It won't change.) I also know that part of loving God is having a community of believers to share life with(Hence, why church is important).  Most importantly, I know not to give up so easily this time.

But what if I hadn't grown in my faith?  What if I was new to the church?  What if I wasn't sure if I believed in Jesus?  Do you think I would stick around?

Remember that, next time you are being mean or spewing hate and especially using His name to do so.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


So what has been going on lately?

Glad you asked...

Well things are changing with the boys almost daily.  Things in Uganda seem to change all the time.  We think one thing is going to happen and then it doesn't.  For instance?


I am so sad to report that the uncle was in Dan's village all day looking for a school for him and none of the schools would take him.  Their excuse?  It is the end of the year.  It is super frustrating and ridiculous.  We are paying for school, so it isn't like the school isn't going to benefit from him being there also.  But mainly it is super annoying because that means that he is going to be just hanging out or doing odd jobs until the beginning of next year when a school said they would finally take him.    Four more months of him doing nothing.  Just another reminder that education is not a right in Uganda.  It is a privilege and one that is being withheld from so many.

Continuing on with the bad news...

Willy never came home after holiday.  If you remember the post I wrote about him, you will remember that I said he would rather live in the village than with us.  I was hoping for it too.  Just not like this.  Willy always stays until that last second before school starts to come back.  I don't really know why, but he does.  So this time, when he was late coming back, we didn't worry.  The uncle tried calling the dad but never got through.  When the day for school to start came and went, we still didn't worry.  It is a really bad habit in Uganda for a lot of kids to not go to school on the first day.  The uncle kept trying to call, but never got through.  Maybe 2 weeks after school started, the uncle finally reached someone(his aunt.  The dad still ignores his calls.).  Turns out, his dad got really angry and ran his wife off.

***Side note-We were considering that Willy should just be resettled and we would pay school fees while he stayed in the village with his dad.  We were worried to do that because his dad is very sick and it is inevitable that he is going to die.  It could be soon but there is no way to know.  His health gets really bad and then he bounces back.  If his dad died, we were worried about how the step mom would treat Willy.  She has her biological children with Willy's dad but the rest of Willy's siblings(same biological mom and dad) have run away.  So we wanted him to come home and we talk to him and his dad separately about it first.

Back to Willy's dad...

Since he ran his wife off, there is no one to take care of him, the house, or the business.  So guess who has to do it???  YEP!  Willy.  That means no school, no education, and who knows what will happen in the future.  I am really hoping that Willy and his father are able to repair their relationship and Willy is happy staying in the village.  I really hope that his dad will be kinder to him and value him more.  Since his dad wants him, there is nothing we can do.  We can't prove abuse and I am not sure that his dad beats him.  I think his dad is just really harsh and mean.  I think that probably he is verbally abusive.  But for now, all we can do is pray for Willy and his father and trust that the Lord will keep him safe.  The good thing is if things become too unbearable for Willy, he knows where we live and knows he has a place with us always.

In other news, the other boys are doing well and working hard this school term.  Dunkan has his sights set on first place in his class.  He continues to amaze me day after day.  Ronald has started his training for boxing.  It seems to have him in great spirits.  That last few times I have spoken to him, he has been really happy.  He says he is loving his training.  It keeps him busy, which is what he really needs.  We have finally began to look for garages for three of the boys to start training at.  Jacob, Kansiime, and Davis will start training as soon as the uncle can find 3 separate garages for them to train at.  They have all grown up so much recently and started to act more responsible and mature, so we decided that it was finally time.   We have also found a woman that is a qualified counselor.  We have yet to meet her but she was referred to us.  The day the uncle had scheduled to meet, she had a family emergency.

Things are well and moving on as you can see.  I am still back in the US and so desperately want to be back in Uganda.  I miss the kids more and more each day.  Every time we talk the first thing they ask is when are you coming back. I never have an answer but I keep telling them soon.  I would ask that you prayerfully consider helping make that a reality.

There are 5 things you can do to help:

  1. Pray
  2. Sponsor a boy or give a one time gift to help with the costs of running the home.  (No amount is too small to make a difference.)
  3. Sponsor me (Any amount per month or one time gift would be greatly appreciated.  I have been so focused on fundraising for the home and the boys, I only have about 1/10 of what I need to live in Uganda. Again no amount is too small to make a difference.)
  4. Buy jewelry or sell jewelry for us.
  5. Invite me to speak at your church or small group to raise support or speak on our behalf to your friends, family, church, co-workers, strangers, anyone you can think of about what we are doing and encourage them to get involved.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help, support, and prayers.  They keep me going and are changing the boys as I type.

Monday, October 1, 2012


It seems like I have been in the US forever now and Uganda is still so far away!  It is humbling to talk to the kids and hear the changes that are happening and know that I am not part of it.  Most of the kids are finally at a point where everyday they are changing.  They are growing up and I can hear it in our phone conversations.  I am so happy, overjoyed really, that they are finally getting it.  It is also a tad bittersweet.  Selfishly, I wish I was there to witness it.  I know when I do finally get back, they will be different kids.  The uncle, Steven, told me the other day that he was going to send some photos to me because I had taken so long without seeing the boys and I wouldn't believe how grown they were starting to look.  I believe it.  I saw a photo of John not too long ago when he went back to his village for the first time.  He was definitely starting to look like a young man, not the little boy I left in March.

I feel like I am in a really weird place. Not just because I am in one location and desperately wanting to be in another.  But mostly because I am in a really weird place spiritually.  I am in a place where I am trusting and believing God for a miracle and at the same time angry at Him because I am missing so much.  Every day that passes, I feel like I have missed something else of the boys' lives.  Because they came into my life at an older age, there are things that I will never know about them.  And I feel like I am missing even more of their lives.

Some days, it is really hard not to be angry.

Some days it is really hard not to be an emotional wreck.

Some days, I feel like it is best to give up because it hurts too much to keep going and it isn't making a difference anyway.

But each day, I manage to keep it together for one more day.  To tell myself that we will have the rest of our lives together.  Deep down, I know it is worth it.  I know they are worth it.  I know HE is worth it.

Despite me and my almost daily temper tantrums, I know He still loves me more than anything.  I know He loves the boys more than I can even begin to.  I know He wants what is best for us.  I know His plan is far better than mine.  I know He is working even though I don't see it.  And most of all, I know through it all,  He is in control and He is the one taking care of those boys.  I am just the lucky one that gets to tag along.