Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Traditions

Uganda is a Christian country.  While there is a large Muslim population, the majority of people identify as being Christian.  There are a lot of different denominations, but most would say they are born-again Christians.  Most people find themselves in church on Sundays, but unfortunately the gospel that is preached in most local churches is incredibly false and misleading. There are pastors that perform fake miracles and swindle people out of millions of shillings promising them that God will give them double what they give the church.  Meanwhile, people that already have nothing are giving everything  and remaining with barely enough to eat and the pastors are driving convoys of Range Rovers and vacationing all over the world.

We live right next door to a church.  We are awoken, quite frequently, by their loud prayers and singing, and kept awake at night by their pleas and shouts to God.  But one of the biggest problems I see, and not just in Uganda but the church in general, is church stops at noon on Sundays and doesn't resume until 8am on Sunday mornings.  On more than one occasion, those very people in the church have insulted the boys as soon as they walked out of the door.  The one time I visited the church, at the urging of the neighbor boy, I left before service was over because I couldn’t manage another minute of it.  As I was walking out they asked for my tithe and told me I shouldn’t leave before giving them my money.  And that isn’t the first time that has happened.

Anyway, I could write volumes on what is wrong with the majority of churches here, but the point was to give a bit of background.  Giving back and service to others is not a part of most churches’ gospel here.  But I am trying to teach the boys that service to others is important.  It is a critical part of faith.  Showing Jesus first is the only way that some are ever able to believe that He is real.  Everyone has something to give, and it doesn’t have to be things, even time is important.  So we have a Christmas morning tradition of getting bread and juice and taking it to the slums to serve the boys on the streets.  This was our third year doing it.  The boys at home get so excited.  I love their hearts.

But this year, I think we started a new Christmas tradition.  It was a bit of a miracle.  Some boys from the street asked if they could spend Christmas with us.  I said of course.  I thought it would be about 10.   Then about 30.  I think around 50 ended up showing up.  I was sure that we would run out of food.  But I said a quick prayer and thought if Jesus could multiply the fish, He’s got this under control.  Sure enough, there was more than enough food.  Everyone ate until they were ready to explode and there was even some left over.  The boys that didn’t go to the slums in the morning stayed behind and cooked and cleaned the house.  They served their friends first and ate last.  We had a wonderful time.  We talked about Jesus and how amazing it was that He came to save us.  We ended the day at the beach, and everyone had a great time.  My heart was so full and happy that day.  Not only did the boys hear about Jesus that day, but they saw Him too.  Just as it should be.

The most heartbreaking part of the day was dropping the boys back off in the slum knowing that they would be sleeping outside.  Many of them shared their hearts with me that day.  Some want to be resettled with their families, one wants help with his music, some want school.  Can you keep them all in your prayers and that in the new year, their hearts’ desires will become a reality?  And if by chance you want to help us make their dreams come true, email Amanda at

Wishing you all a happy and blessed new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Thank you for teaching people that I love so much that they don’t matter, that their lives in fact are less valuable than that of an attempted murderer and woman-beater.  

Thank you for showing them that justice is never on their side, because of the sins of their fathers.  

Thank you for robbing them of their last bit of hope, the last sliver of good that they could see in the world.

Thank you for showing how easily everything can be bought and sold.  

Thank you for reminding them that they aren’t wanted, and therefore anything can be done to them because who cares about unwanted things?  Do people get upset when trash is burned?  Of course not.  

Thank you for fitting into and personifying every stereotype of your culture.  Maybe they really aren’t stereotypes, but visible cultural characteristics?

I wonder what your children think of you.  I wonder how you look into their eyes, and encourage them to dream and believe that the world is good, when you make the opposite to be true.  I wonder how you can be a father, and look the other way.

Thank you for teaching me that all children are “ours” unless they are on the street, then they are no ones.  

Thank you for teaching me that the worst thing to be in this world is a child on the street.  It is worse than being a murderer, a liar, corrupt, etc.  They steal to eat.  What about you?  They drink and smoke to forget the horrible things done to them.  What about you?

But for all of the lessons that you tried to teach me in those few minutes, seconds actually, I know something completely different to be true.  Maybe you will never learn the lessons that I want, but that doesn’t mean that I will give up teaching.

Because they do matter.  More than you can imagine.  They are my world.  And they are Someone Else’s universe.

Justice will be theirs.  The last will be the first one day.

We have a hope that can never be taken away and I am teaching them about the One that is hope.  Even though you are shouting, He whispers gently and they hear.

I know this is only temporary.  What is good and right cannot be bought and sold.  And even if it was for this moment, I know Good will always win in the end.  

They are wanted.  And even though others are trying to show them differently, I think my love speaks louder than your hate.  Love heals everything.  Love wins.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Even if they are characteristics, there is a generation coming that is tired of the old and wants new.  They believe in love and goodness and treating everyone fairly.  They believe in justice.  And my heart breaks for the children that aren't being raised in such an environment.  Those that are have their work cut out for them.  

But again, Love always wins.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Its probably been a little over a month since he came home.  It wasn’t supposed to be permanent, but he just showed up one day running from something.  He knew he would find safety at the house.  That we would protect him.  Just the week before, he was so sick with malaria.  He could hardly walk.  We took him to the hospital, got him treatment, and he went to stay with a friend until he recovered.  Being so sick and vulnerable, I think that was the day that my heart broke for him, and he stole it.

He’s getting older, but there is something still childlike inside of him.  Maybe a piece of innocence left.  Maybe it is just because he so desperately wants to be loved, to have a mom, that in front of me he becomes a child, not a young man ready to start life on his own.  

He stayed at the house for a few days and said he wanted to go home.  We were so happy.  It is a great day when a boy decides to go back to his village.  We believe in family and that children should have families.  When it becomes possible for them to go back, we rejoice.  So we made the plans and said our goodbyes.  My heart was torn that day, like it is so many days.  Happy to know he was returning to where he belonged, but sad for the ache that would be left behind by missing him.  Just in those few days, I loved that kid more than anything.  He completely stole my heart.  

I had a busy day that day and just figured that he was happy and at home, his family over the moon excited to have him back.  I guessed if I felt so much sadness over missing him and it had only been a week, surely after 6 years they would feel equally as much joy over having him home.  I got home that evening to find him back at the house.  He was curled up in bed.  Heartbroken.  

I could tell you the excuses as to why he couldn’t stay.  Why they didn’t want him.  But do they really matter?  Are any of them justified?  In one week, this boy added so much joy to my life, I couldn’t imagine sending him away or telling him I didn’t want him.  

My heart broke for him that day.  We just sat together.  There weren’t words to make anything better, or heal the wounds that were cut deeper that day.  So we just sat.  Eventually he fell asleep.  Hopefully knowing that he was wanted by me.

These boys’ wounds are deep.  They have a million visible scars that each tell a story of the harsh life they live.  But they have a million more, that no one can see.  I hope that you will join with us in prayer for the ones that no one can see.  That they would heal.  That they would know they are deeply loved and cherished.  That they are worth more than this world has told them they are.  That they would know they are wanted.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Prayer requests for women

Prayer requests for the women:

Rose Kirungi:  

  • Her son, Daniel, just sat for his Senior 6 exams.  They are the last exam to pass high school.  Pray that he passed them well.  He was also having some stomach issues and wasn’t feeling so great so pray for his health.
  • Her mom is still sick.  She spends most of her time caring for her mom.  This makes it difficult to work, as her mom can’t be left alone.  Pray for healing for her mom.
  • Pray for God to continue to provide all of her family’s needs:  rent, food, school fees, etc.
  • She is also dreaming to buy a plot of land and build a small house for her family so they can move out of the slums.  Pray that she would be able to do so.
  • Rose also asks for prayers for their group so that they can continue to work together and make jewelry and for the market for the jewelry to expand.


  • Joy is still sick and having lots of health issues since an accident about a year ago.  Pray for her health and healing, and that God would continue to provide for all of her family’s needs.
  • Joy is wanting to start a small business to better care for her family.  She is asking for prayers to find the capital to start and for a successful business.
  • She also asks for prayers for the women as they are making the jewelry and for the market to expand.


  • Jolly asks for prayers for her family and her life.  That they would be in a good life, with all of their needs met and to be able to continue to send her children to school so their lives will improve.
  • She asks for prayers for her children to be successful in their studies and continue to have a desire to learn and go to school.
  • Her grandmother is not feeling well and she asks for prayers for her health and healing.


  • Beatrice asks for prayers for her family, for safety, health, provision, and overall well being.
  • She also asks for prayers for God to continue to provide school fees for her 3 children so they can continue with their education.
  • Her mom is not feeling well and she asks for prayers for health and healing for her mom.  Her mom has been sick for a while and the doctors are having a difficult time treating her.  She goes to the national hospital where the lines are long, but care is free.  Also pray for the doctors that treat her.
  • Beatrice has problems with her eyes and her vision.  They are bothering her more recently.  She asks for prayers for them.
  • She would love for her business to expand.  Please pray for a more successful business for her.
  • She is wanting to complete building her home.  She asks for prayers in completing it.


  • Jennifer asks for prayers in completing the building for her house.  She wants to be able to move her family out of the slum.
  • Next year her second born child should be joining a course to gain a skill that will lead to employment.  She asks for prayers as she joins and provision to pay the course fees.
  • She lost the job that she had, as they no longer needed her, so she is asking for prayers as she seeks new employment.
  • She asks for her youngest daughter to perform well in school and continue to have the desire for studying and for her to focus.
  • Her daughters, Mary and Jennifer, are still having health issues and she asks for prayers for their health and healing.

PS.  If you want a simple way to help the women, consider hosting a jewelry party or joining the monthly jewelry club.  Follow the links for more info or send us an email at with any questions.  In addition, if you know a store that would love to carry our jewelry line, please let us know!  We are looking for a few retailers to carry the jewelry, either wholesale or consignment.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

One year later

It has been one year since I heard your laugh, or call me mom.  

Only one year, but it feels like an eternity and just yesterday at the same time.

We’ve managed to carry on with life, but still I see people dressed like you and I start to call out to you.  Then I remember.  I see someone that walks like you, and I get excited.  Only to remember.  Sometimes, I swear I hear you, and I look around, but it was only my mind playing tricks on me.  I hear songs that you used to love to dance to, and all of the memories come rushing back.  

For a while, I shut them all out because it was too difficult to remember.  Too painful.  But these days I am learning to let them in.  To feel the sadness and loss.  To know that it was all real and I was lucky to call you mine, even if it was for a short time.

In the year since you have been gone, things haven’t changed much.  I keep hoping for a world that is different.  Better.  One where others wouldn’t have to suffer like you.  But I am still waiting.  Hoping.  

Your brothers are ok, but they miss you too.  Sometimes I find them sitting and watching, quietly, a music video for a song that was written for a friend that was gone too soon.  We all still think about you. Miss you.  Wonder why you had to go.

I know you are in good company there, and probably having the time of your life.  I can’t wait to hear all about it when I see you again.  In the meantime,  we are still fighting the good fight and hoping for a world that is good and just.  Until we meet again, know you are stilled missed deeply and loved.

Friday, September 25, 2015


I need you to imagine this.  Please.  It is important that you feel it.  Really feel it.  Don’t turn away anymore.  I know it is the easy thing to do.  But this time, just imagine it was you…or a child you love.

You’re 8 years old.  All you want is to go to school.  You see your friends in their uniforms and they look so smart.  You see them carrying their bags, and you long to hold their books in your hands.  You would do anything to be able to go to school.  You overheard some older guys talking about the city and how it is so magnificent.  It is what dreams are made of.  There are jobs.  There are people with so much money.  Everything you want, you can find in the city.  You don’t know that they are lying.  You don’t know that none of it is true.  You are only 8 years old.  All you know is that your mom died several years ago and your new step mom refuses to let your dad send you to school.  Instead, you are beaten and over-worked.   You are told you are worthless and they are glad your mom died and they wish you would die too.  You are told you will never amount to anything and you are stupid.  You think nothing can be as bad as that.  You imagine you will find money in the city and finally, those books and uniform will be yours.  You will learn to read and write, and the world will be yours.

But it wasn’t.

And still isn’t.

And may never be.

The city is magnificent, but not for an 8 year old boy.  There aren’t people handing out money.  Instead there are people waiting to steal everything from you, even your innocence.  There is nowhere to sleep, except the drainage ditches or storefronts.  But then you risk the police catching you, or someone else, so actually you don’t really sleep much because you have to move around a lot.  It is so cold at night and the shirt and shorts you came in are getting torn and don’t provide for any warmth.  You have a sack that you have found, so sometimes you curl up inside of that but really you feel so cold.  All the time. 

You constantly feel hungry.  Your two choices are taking drugs to dull your hunger or go through the trash pile and hope to find leftovers that someone threw away.  You know that isn’t safe as you have seen your friends die from accidently drinking poison, but the hunger is constantly there.   There is a third option, but you have never stolen anything in your life.  The thought of it makes you feel terrible.

But what choice do you have? 

So you go through the rubbish, next to the stray dogs, and people insult you and tell you how worthless you are.  The dogs bite you because you are stealing their food.  You don’t feel human anymore, so you take drugs to dull your pain.  You start to steal because everything good that was inside of you has slowly been erased with every single name and bad word hurled your way.  You just don’t care anymore.

Before you know it, years have gone by.  You never got the chance to study.  You no longer believe you can.  You no longer believe that you are good for anything. 

You no longer have any hope.

Sounds miserable doesn’t it?  That is life for so many children that I love so incredibly much.  

They need you to care.  Care enough to do something.  Today, 20 boys were arrested and taken.  To where?  We don’t know.  How will we get them back?  We don’t know.  Why?  Because the street is their home.  They need you to care enough to act.  They need you to realize that they are important enough to deserve your action.  

I need you to imagine that it was a child you loved. 

I need you to imagine it was your life. 

Now I need you to act. 

You have the choice.  You have the opportunity to do something.  To change someone’s life.  To allow someone to simply live again.

They need you. 

Email Amanda at for more info on how to get involved.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Found...if only temporarily

My lost sheep came home this week.  I know that Heaven was rejoicing.  He was so lost, and then he was home.  It only lasted 2 days, but I have hope that he will come back again.  The first day he came home, he talked more than he ever had.  Before, whenever I asked him a question, he would start to answer and then stop mid-sentence before really saying anything and say “let’s leave that conversation” or “be easy”.  But Thursday, he talked.  A lot.  I think that he just needed someone to hear him that day.  

To be known. 

To be heard. 

This life has taken these boys’ voices.  It has silenced them and told them they don’t matter.   They just internalize everything and keep it on their hearts.  Soon, the lies they tell themselves are louder than the lies the world has told them.  They don’t know anymore that God made them perfectly.  They don’t know that they are destined for great things.  They don’t know how loved they really are.  They don’t know that they are worth more than all of the gold in the world.

This world has stolen so much from them.  They have had to make choices no one should make, let alone a child.  When they should have been in school, or playing soccer and other games with friends, they were on the streets deciding if they wanted to stay kind, innocent, and pure, or if they wanted to survive.  Is it any wonder that they hate the world?  It robbed them of so much:  of their goodness, of their soul.  It took my lost sheep and so many others, so far away, believing that they aren’t good or lovable.  No matter how many times I say it, it is never believed, because this life has told them differently too many times.  They are beat, shot at, abused, insulted, and taken advantage of.  


For what?  

Telling him I love him, that God loves him, every second of everyday would still not be enough times to erase how many times this world has shown him that his life doesn’t matter.  So I said goodbye again last night, appreciating the 2 days I had with him, praying that God would continue to keep him safe, and hating those that broke him almost beyond repair.

I know there is nothing I can do, but I still have hope.  And I am clinging desperately to it.  I know God hears my prayers every night for him and that’s why I can still see him and tell him I love him.  I know God will hear my prayers to shout louder and drown out the lies he hears.  I know truth and love will finally win.  Because it always does.   It is just taking a little longer this time…

I hope you will join me in my prayers, so my lost sheep will be found for good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Etsy Sale

We are launching a new line of jewelry next month.  To make room for the new things, we are having a 50% off sale on our current Etsy stock!  Use the code 50FIFTY at checkout from now until the end of August.  Your purchase still empowers a woman with a fair wage and helps us to feed our boys.  Make sure you share the promo code with your friends also!

Just a few of the things left on Etsy:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Meet Mukasa

Meet Mukasa Fahad. Mukasa joined us at the beginning of this year. He knew one of our boys, John, when they were on the street. The first day that John was on the street, Mukasa saw him and helped him know where to go and where was a safe place to sleep. They didn't see each other again until the beginning of this year. They ran in to each other and Mukasa remembered him. Mukasa loves school and was trying to work to pay his own school fees, but couldn't manage. He lost his father and his mother's family doesn't want him. His stepmom tried carrying for him, but struggled with her biological children. Mukasa is super helpful and easy going. He is honest, hard-working, and focused. We realized the potential in him, and decided to put him in secondary school. He loves art, especially drawing. He is in his first year and will join the boarding section next term.

Prayer requests for Mukasa:
For him to continue to stay focused on his future and perform well in school
For his relationship with his family to improve and them to welcome him
For us to find sponsors for him so we can continue to provide school fees for him
For his love of art to continue to grow and develop

Friday, August 7, 2015

Meet Yusuf

Meet Bogere Yusuf. Yusuf joined us at the beginning of last term. We have known him for many years. He was living at a home that barely gave the boys anything but a place to sleep. He was helping at our friend's programs in the slums, and was a really great leader. He would run the programs even when our friend was late and the boys really listened and respected him. Yusuf joined primary 5 last term in the boarding section. He is serious about school and is trying really hard to catch up. His teacher loves him and says he is well-behaved. Yusuf loves to play soccer and is looking forward to the school holiday, so he can go back to his soccer team. He says the only thing he doesn't like about being at school is he doesn't get the chance to play any soccer. Yusuf is really quiet until you get to know him. He is soft-spoken and laid back. He is really helpful.
Prayer requests for Yusef:
For him to catch up and perform well in school
For his talent in soccer to grow and for it to provide greater opportunities for him, especially when he reaches secondary level at school where he could get scholarships for playing
For us to find sponsors for him, so we can continue providing school fees for him
For his relationship with his mom to continue to improve

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Things going on

I have now been back in Uganda almost a month.  I am so happy to be home with the boys.  It has been a good month, and so exciting to see how the boys are growing and changing so much.  It has been a busy month also, catching up on things from when I was gone and reconnecting with people.

We are so thankful for those of you that were praying with us for my time in the US to be fruitful.  We found several new sponsors for the boys, and now many are fully sponsored.  We are still praying for a church to join us and we hope you will keep with us in that prayer and for the rest of the boys to find sponsors also.  My hand is also doing much better also, so thank you for those prayers.  I don't cringe in pain anymore when someone shakes my hand.  I know soon it will be completely healed.  It was also so encouraging to meet so many new people and have them join our story.  We appreciate each one of you!
One of the first things that we did, was to visit Mbazira in his village.  We were able to resettle him with his father several months ago.  Mbazira loves to raise animals and farm, so he wanted to start raising pigs.  When we visited him, we were able to get him started with 2 piglets, a house and food for them.  He has big plans for his pig project.  He eventually wants to be able to buy a motorcycle with the money he saves from selling the offspring, and expand to caring for other animals.  He wants to help his family fix their house and build his own on his family's land.  We were so happy to see Mbazira doing well in his village and reunited with his family.  That is the ideal outcome for each boy, and we are so happy that it was possible for Mbazira!
I have jumped right back in with helping at our friend's programs for boys still on the street.  Even while I was gone, Sylvester and Richard, attended the programs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Sylvester is the cook and helps run the programs.  It is so cute to hear the boys call him uncle.  He wants to be a social worker when he is older and wanted to volunteer somewhere to gain some experience.  He has found something that his heart loves and he wakes up super early so he can get there and have the food ready for lunch for the 70 or so kids that come to the programs.

Richard helps with first aid and general things around the program.  He loves those boys so much, and they know it.  Everything he has he pours out to them, day after day.  It is so amazing to see these boys come full circle.  They get the difference the programs made in their lives, and as a result want to help the boys there.  They are making me so incredibly proud.  If you doubt what you are doing is making a difference in these boys' lives, just look to these two.  They are already changing things here and it wouldn't be possible without your love, prayers, and support!  Please keep our friend, Kevin, and his programs in your prayers.  He doesn't have any support for the programs and uses his own earnings to feed the kids.  Programs have been sporadic lately because there hasn't been enough money.  Please pray he is able to find consistent support for his programs.
Other good news:
  • Small David has returned home. (He left while I was gone.) He is learning to drive and hopes to have a job driving a school bus when he receives his driving permit in a few weeks.  He will be moving out soon, into his own apartment.
  • Davis moved out of the house about 2 weeks ago after saving enough money from his job to rent his own apartment.  He is working fixing computers still and is able to take care of himself now.
  • Moses didn't make it in boarding school, too many restrictions and rules for him to manage.  BUT, he is now living with a friend learning to make sandals during the day and studying at night for the primary leaving exam.  He likes going to school now, as it is only a few hours a day and not so restrictive.
  • We have started working with a new group of women that make jewelry.  They are all internally displaced people and live near stone quarries.  The women are all survivors from the war in the north and fled to the city.  Many of their husbands were killed in the war, and now they are trying to provide for their children on their own.  The only opportunity they have is selling fruits in the city or working in the stone quarry.  Both pay pennies a day.  Making the beads provides a small income to help them.  We are launching their line next month, and right now you can shop our Etsy shop at 50% off everything using the code 50FIFTY at checkout!
  • We have a new puppy, Thor.  He was wandering the street in front of our house a few Sundays ago.  He was crying and chasing everyone.  He almost was run over by a motorcycle, then a boy picked him up and kicked him.  The boys ran to his aid and took him home.  His best friend at home is Mukasa and he cries whenever Mukasa leaves him, but everyone loves him.
Prayer requests:
  • For all of the needs of the home to continue to be met, especially for the boys that don't have sponsors to get
  • For the new women's group.  For stores to be willing to sell their jewelry, people to have jewelry parties, and for the jewelry line to be successful.
  • For the boys to continue to heal and change.  For them to know they are loved and that God has great plans for each one of them.  For them to be able to let go of their pasts, and instead look to their futures.
  • We have tried and tried to find an art teacher, but each one has disappointed us.  Please pray that we would find one that is serious and willing to teach the boys.
  • For our friend's programs.  That they would become fully funded.  For the boys still on the streets.  The rainy season is starting and it usually rains at night.  For them sleeping outside, it makes for many sleepless and freezing nights.  Pray for their safety and health and for those that want to return to their villages, for a way to go back.
Easy ways to get involved:
  • Shop our Etsy store using code 50FIFTY for 50% off your order.
  • Set Welzoo as your internet home page and choose LOT2545 as the charity to benefit.
  • Buy coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters and choose LOT2545 as the charity to benefit.
  • Share our website, Facebook, or Instagram with your friends and tell them about what we are doing.
  • Use Paypal to give a one time gift or recurring gift or mail a check payable to LOT2545 to LOT2545, 190 Clover Lane, Medford, OR 97501
  • Shop Amazon Smile and choose LOT2545 as the charity to benefit.