Thursday, July 30, 2009

Uganda Team Home/Election News from Moldova

Hello friends! Lots of good news to report today... Our Uganda Team finally returned home yesterday (some technically TODAY) after a day of long layovers and weather delays! Our Nashvillians didn't get home until 2am this morning, but everyone is home and to their respective homes safely.

Also, you may remember us asking for prayer for Moldova in their election process. The Communist Party won the most seats in the Parliamentary elections in April, surrounded by reports of voter manipulation and fraud, but did not have 61 votes needed to elect the President so Parliament was dissolved and new elections were held yesterday. But our friends at the Baptist Union, our partner on the ground in Moldova, tell us that the Communist party only obtained 48 seats this time and the opposition parties, the democratic parties, gained 53! The opposition parties are forming a coalition and while negotiations will not be easy, our friends in Moldova are thanking God for this victory and thanking each of you for your prayers.

Valeriu Ghiletchi, formerly the President of the Baptist Union of Moldova, was elected to Parliament in April. We are waiting to hear if he will take a seat in the new Parliament since he was elected last week as the President of the European Baptist Federation! Congratulations to Val!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

We awoke to a beautiful Ugandan morning! Today is our last day here, and it will be filled with shopping and time to reflect on all that has happened since we arrived in Uganda. I'm excited to come home and share all the stories of these sweet little children, but I could just as easily stay here!!

I can't believe how quickly the time has flown! It seems like we just got here (though our bodies tell us something different!). Though we will leave the continent later today, we have each left a part of us here, and will be taking a part of Africa back with our hearts and our memories of the things we did and the children we loved on.

I can't wait to share the pictures and the stories behind them with all of you!!

Blessings and love!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Bad Place

An important life lesson is that when you are visiting somewhere you're not familiar with and the folks there have a place called "The Bad Place" should believe them. If not, you end up riding on the outside of a Ugandan kayak.

A bit of context: while we were on the river today, we had an ongoing discussion with our guide about the rapids on the river and the propensity of those rapids for sending folks on a lovely trip into the historic and pleasant Nile River (sounds a lot like a Wheel of Fortune prize when you put it that way, doesn't it...). We chatted about rapids with creative and fun names like Big Brother and Sibling Rivalry. But, we kept coming back to the ever present question of how we wanted to handle 'The Bad Place'.

By the time we approached this last rapid of the day, we'd determined that we would take the safer path and avoid this place which fun apparently forgot. So, we dropped (the boat) in the water (after walking the raft around a rapid that could best be described as a fireworks show in the water - Class 6 for those of you rafting enthusiasts keeping score at home). Our guide briefly gave us a how to on finding the calmer path down the river, and reminded us of the safety training we'd taken earlier in the day.

We pushed off of the shore and began paddling out into the rapids. Everything was going very smoothly and we cleared the first section as planned. Then we began the all important task of paddling very hard to get past the bad place and complete the run on the calmer section.
Pause for important life lesson #2: just when everything makes sense, that's when you should probably watch out - and that's a good thing.

God has shown me, and I think all of us, a lot of things on this trip. I think all of us have been outside our comfort zone in one way or another over the course of the past few days. Whether it's been changing schedules, altering priorities, finding the right plane, or just (and most importantly) finding a way to connect with these children (and adults) we've come to minister to, it's been a great growth and learning opportunity for all of us.

It's very easy to get locked in to our "normal" day to day lives as Christians and feel like we're ready for any challenges to that routine and that we're equipped to make it through those things we're comfortable with. Where we run into trouble is when we're forced to branch out into something we didn't expect or we didn't think we were ready for. I think that God gives us these opportunities so that we learn (or relearn) to put our faith in Him and not in our own abilities.

We didn't make it to the calmer route. The 30 seconds to 2 minutes that followed (time gets very relative when one is given an unexpected dunk in the river) are a bit of a blur, but I'm pretty sure of the following (and we'll be able to confirm with video evidence tomorrow):
1) We didn't paddle hard enough to make it to the calmer route
2) There's a giant washing machine hidden in the Nile that apparently thought we were dirty socks
3) Nile water does NOT taste especially good
4) It's a lot easier to ride inside a boat than outside a boat on the Nile (we had safety guides in Kayaks that came to fish us out after we tumbled through the rapid), but being outside the boat can still be comforting

Honestly, it's easy to kid about it somewhat now, but at the time it was one of the scarier moments of my life (and, I think, that of my 7 boatmates as they had similar experiences) for a few of those seconds...which brings us to important life lesson/reminder #3 (which Madelene has so aptly mentioned just now): Every second we have is precious and everything we do should be focused on serving God (and sometimes I think learning or being reminded of life/spiritual lessons from a swim in the Nile is doing just that). We aren't guaranteed any more time on this Earth, which makes things like Sweet Sleep's ministry that much more important.

Jinja, The Nile and "The Bad Place"

Yesterday we said goodbye to the children at Caring Heart and Africa Greater Life orphanages outside of Kampala, leaving us with one last full day in Uganda before returning home. So today the team decided to travel north to explore the area around Jinja. The drive thru the Ugandan countryside was beautiful and lush, and dotted with fields of tea and sugar cane. Once in Jinja, the team split in to two groups, with one opting to explore the town of Jinja, take a cruise on Lake Victoria, at the source of the Nile River, and visit the rainforest, while the more adventurous chose to go whitewater rafting on the Nile River. I was in the latter group.

At 10am, we set out with our rafting guides in two boats, which were part of a larger day long expedition of six rafts total, on our Nile River Adventure. The section we were rafting consists primarily of class three and four rapids with 3 class five along the route. It was by far the most advanced whitewater any of us had ever done, and for some it was their first time, but our guide spent time with us in the calm water at the start of our trip going over the skills we would need to tackle the rapids ahead.

We made it to our first class five rapid before Kendra became the first Sweet Sleep rafter to go flying out of the boat, but she climbed back in soaked but smiling. Shortly thereafter we lost Stuart (rookie), John, Mike, and Madelene in the midst of one of the class three rapids, but they climbed back in the boat eager for more of what the river had to offer. Up until the last rapid of the day, Whitney and I were the only ones not to take a dip from a rogue rapid. All this time, no one from the other Sweet Sleep boat lost a single rafter.

The entire group of six rafts stopped for lunch at a small island in the middle of the Nile, where we were served an American lunch buffet style, complete with coffee, tea, water and juice to quench our thirst. Lunch was followed by several long stretches of calm water where we could get out and swim in the Nile River. Never in my life did I think that I would get a chance to do that!

One set of rapids after lunch had a waterfall with a 10 foot drop that everyone on the six boats in the expedition attempted to ride, but only the second Sweet Sleep boat with Meghan, Kelsey, Leslie and Valerie managed to ride successfully without a boat flip or a lost passenger - and to see the looks on their collective faces afterwards was a mix of pure excitement and disbelief. It was right after this that our guide reminded us that "The Bad Place" was up ahead and we needed to prepare...

photos from yesterday....

here we all are -- the entire team! (small african children can be photographers too)

so my friend, tanus, who i have been chilling with all week, found me at church sunday with his new bible in tow. i was showing him how to look up verses when i opened it to the front and found this note. i think i sobbed for about 20 minutes straight. "God loves me and I love God. buyinza tanus, primary six. wakiso children's school of hope. my friend is hannah. another friend is God who created me."
oh. my. goodness.

birthday party!!

self portrait. eyes closed. tanus is the one in orange.

have you ever seen anything like it?? p.s. all these kids are coming home with us, just fyi.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Five Loaves and Two Fish

What a beautiful Sunday here in Uganda. Well, today was the team's last day with both orphanages. So although we had a lot of fun with them, we were very sad to leave them behind.

We started out our day by going to Africa Greater Life and having church with them and although it was a three and a half hour long service, it was very enjoyable watching the kids singing, dancing, reading their new Bibles, and praising God. They are definitely quite the little worshippers. We blessed them with heart pillows for their new beds and in return, they blessed us with African Safari hats.

Next we went to Caring Heart where we had a HUGE party. It was non-stop dancing and singing. The team threw a birthday party for all the kids and then also the teachers and the widows that attend their church. We were prepared for 450 kids, but we had at least 500-600 people. The team is still amazed by the miracle that happened because every single person got a gift. It's like in John 6 where Jesus fed the 5,000 with only five loaves and two fish. God definitely did that same miracle today and it was astonishing. All of their faces lit up with joy and happiness and I am very glad I was able to be a part of that. God Bless Uganda and everyone reading our blogs.

-Cortnie Treadway

Torn between two worlds.

July 26, 2009. 9:43pm Kampala time.
It is hard to imagine that our time with the kids is already over.
While the days have been long and chaotic, and many of us come home exhausted, time seems to fly surrounded by these children - they are so easy to love.
Today has been a day of halves for me: this was the first day I really stopped to think about the life I left in America a week ago, and my heart strings stretched across the ocean. And yet, as I said goodbye to "my" kids this morning, I felt the strong pull of the heart strings that have latched onto Uganda. And I've realized my heart will forever be pulled between these worlds.
My morning was filled with sweet moments. I spent three and a half hours with my two beautiful 7 year-olds, Jelis and Patricia. We sang, danced, took pictures, and opened God's book (as they call it here). Our second day here, Patricia became sick from contracting Malaria, and I could tell she felt like an untouchable. What a blessing it was this morning as she realized that my love and God's love for her could not be separated by a sickness. Later in the day, I had an opportunity to talk to Faith. She is 18. She speaks wonderful english, is a fabulous singer and loves to dance. We talked about her desire to visit New York and what it is like to fly in an airplane.
We piled into the bus, and I (unsuccessfully) tried to hold back the tears as we said goodbye. I can hardly comprehend what the condition of my heart will be when I return to America.
But I leave confident that we have been the hands and feet of Christ to these orphans, even if only in a small way. And that is thanks to many of you reading these blogs. So thank you for sending us, but know that we aren't the same people you sent.
We are mzungus. We are dancers. We are winners ;-)
And we will probably force most of you to look at the thousands of pictures we've taken in these few days. We can't wait to come home, but probably for each of us in some small or large way, we are home here. And we are not ready to leave. But as life moves on, so will we, confident that God is guiding our paths and thankful that His plan for our paths brought us here.

Writing from between two worlds,
-Melissa Rau

some hope for the road

i'm not exactly sure how to put into words all that i am feeling today. this was the day we had to say goodbye to our kids at both orphanages. this week has been an experience i will never forget. we started our day at africa greater life, where we went to church with the kids there. it was very hard to keep my eyes open. in case you didn't know, african church services are very long with lots of singing. it was an amazing passion filled service, but by the end of a week of work and playing with children, a 3 hour service would be hard for anyone to stay awake. the higlight of the service me sitting in between Fred and Resty while they showed me the bibles they got the day before. they asked me to write notes to them, which i ended up telling them how special they were and how much God and i loved them. they both looked up and me with huge smiles and eyes lit up. Fred then wrote, "the person who gave me this bible is called Lauren and God loves me" in the front cover. it was such a sweet moment. we then got to spend a half an hour with the kids to talk, play, and say our goodbyes. i ended up hanging out with Resty, who wanted to show me her bed one more time. her and the girls in her room had decorated their beds and were so proud of them. each took turns showing me their beds and all the presents they received that week. i then got a few moments with her where Resty told me she had 4 sisters and 1 brother, but her brother died. she then wouldn't talk anymore about it and we just sat and held hands for the rest of our time. we said goodbye and got on the bus and headed to caring heart.
at caring heart we got to throw a huge birthday party for the kids. their faces were so bright, some of them couldn't stop smiling. it's amazing how a simple celebration that we can take for granted can mean so much to a child who never gets to have one. it brought me to tears to see the kids wearing their burger king crowns knowing that today they are extra special because we are celebrating the fact that they were born, that God created them, and he loves them just as they are.
i then got to spend the rest of my time with my girl Sonya. she's 5 and just beautiful. her eyes smile way before she does, and when she does smile she can light up the room. she would never leave my side anytime we were at caring heart. the language was, unfortunately, a slight barrier but it was enough to just hang out and play together. before i left she asked me for my address so she could write me. we siad goodbye and headed home.
it's never easy to say goodbye to kids you've gotten to spend an entire week with in such an intense atmosphere, but i feel hopeful. these kids do not have much but they have people here in their own villages who care for them and love them very much. in a way, it's a little more comforting to leave knowing that we are leaving them in good hands. heck, the entire village showed up and celebrated the children receiving beds at caring heart. i'm still sorting throught everything tonight, but that's how i feel right now. hopeful. these kids are bright and beautiful and the hold so much hope and love inside them already. i trust that God is taking care of them and will keep providing for them.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Webale, Topistar.

I have looked so forward to my turn to blog- and yet, I dive into this at an almost complete loss for words. If I was abundant in words, I'm positive that they would still not do the experience justice.

I was told my life was about to be changed by this journey and I couldn't grasp in what ways it might until the stories started piling up and my heart was broken-- in the best possible way.

Instead of giving you the rundown of the day- as I'm sure you have read the others and have an idea of what has gone on- I am going to take you a little further into the experience of one child I have had the great priviledge to love. I think just a glimpse with me into what goes on, has gone on, and continues to go on in the lives of these children will be enough from me and mean more than any words I may have.

Topistar (pronounced more like Dopista) is a beautiful, intelligent, 12 year old girl that lives at Africa Greater Life Orphanage.

The day that we brought beds to Africa Greater Life, I met Topistar. She was patiently waiting for me as I was walking out of the girls' dorm. When I rounded the corner, she tapped me on the shoulder to say in broken english (pretty much my favorite sound ever)... "Tonight... I get... to sleep. Thank you very much for helping us. God Bless you..." and off she went. Obviously struck by the statement, I made a mental picture of her face and went back to work.

The following day we returned to Africa Greater Life and walked with the children to their individual beds to talk with them. As I was walking down the hill toward the girls' dorm to speak with them, Topistar ran to me and grabbed my hand to show me her bed. I didn't realize until I was with her talking that she was the same girl from the previous day. Needless to say, we are new friends. :)

Today during the birthday party, Topistar ran to sit beside me and was attached to my hip for the day. When she received her bible as one of her birthday gifts, she ran back to me and wanted to read to me from it. As we read, we talked about how much God loved her and how He knew her before she was born... as soon as her birth was mentioned, Topistar's demeanor changed.

Soon enough, it was obvious that the topic bothering her was her birth and shortly thereafter a woman walked up to me and repeated "Wabale, Wabale, Wabale, Wabale..." (Lugandan for Thank You")

Topistar began to tell me that the woman was her grandmother and that her mother had died some time ago. She has been living at Africa Greater Life for years. As we spoke, I asked her if she could write her name for me. As she wrote, I asked her to tell me about her life.

The following is word for word my letter from Topistar. Hopefully it will give some insight into why my heart is broken, and yet full...

my name is Namusisi Topistar.
i am 12 years old.
my brother is called david.
my mother is died when was sick.
my father is died when bad person killed.
my mother when died i am ever so young. (**here I asked her if she felt sad which she wrote in response:**)
i feel bad person see me write on paper.
my father is work in police
my father is have young child the bad man came and kill father's child and father is fight with bad man
the bad man was kill my father
me and my brother david hide my father is left there.
me and david pastor is help us.

think you to help bring beds.

think you. God bless you.

I love you.

Bye Bye

I don't know that there are sufficient words to follow this up with. We discussed what she can do when she feels sad and how tightly God holds her in those times- and yet our eyes glistened and my heart broke. Topistar's story is so far from over, and I have no doubt that she is one of the committed hearts that the Lord searches all the earth for. "...He wants to make them strong."(II Chron. 16:9)

Luckily, when I leave and return to the states, although my heart will break to leave my new friends, I will have comfort in a great big God who will still be with them.

We are leaving them, but He will not... because this is so much bigger than me, and He is so much bigger than this.


Birthday in Africa

Today was another amazing day in the great country of Uganda. The day started off with us preparing bags for the birthday party we were doing for the children. When we got to Africa Greater Life we were greeted with smiles and hugs.We piled into the worship hall to do worship and throw the children a birthday party. We asked them if they knew what a birthday was but the room was silent.We explained that a birthday was a day of celebration and a day to remember how much God loves you. We sang happy birthday and passed out the birthday gifts that consisted of a mirror, pens, bible, beanie baby, toothbrush and toothpaste and a crown . It was an amazing experience to see the children look at their reflection for the first time as many of the children had never seen their reflection before.
After the celebration we had the opportunity to sit with the children with their new goodies.It was really nice to be able to spend quality one on one time with the kids. One of my favorite moments was when I played with puppets with the children. The majority of the children had never seen a puppet before. They were so fascinated by them. It was awesome to see them laugh and smile. Another of my favorite moments was sitting with the older girls in the grass and listening to their stories. We shared stories and I showed them my pictures. The next thing I know the girls say that they needed to run to their rooms to get something. They brought out their photo albums and they each gave me a picture of themselves. It was a moving expierience because it was so selfless.
This trip has been absolutely amazing. I have felt so close to God these days. These children have changed my life. They have reminded me how to enjoy the small things in life, to be strong and to be grateful for everything I have. I have made some special connections with the kids at this orphanage I was blessed to be able to remind the children that they are loved by God and not forgotten.I am truly blessed to have been given a chance to come here. I want to leave you from a quote from an Indian poet " I slept and dreamed life was happiness. I awoke and saw life is service. I served and found that in service happiness is found."

A birthday for the kids

Today was a day full of changed plans and it was amazing. The morning started out with 22 team members lined up in various assembly lines to put together birthday gift bags. Whether we ran out of a particular supply, were making several hundred more gift bags than originally anticipated, or were even having to account for space in the van for ourselves and the added supplies, I watched our team change plans on a dime and make it work. We first went to Caring Heart Orphanage where each day this week we encountered hundreds more children than we had been told would be there. What we saw today were only about a hundred kids; the others had gone out into the village to work as it was the weekend. We had planned a birthday celebration for hundreds but no one was home! While our incredible leaders came up with a new game plan I was able to tour the campus. I found the clinic where Nurse Rosa eagerly gave me a tour. In the back room two children, about nine years of age, were being treated for Malaria. They had IV drips and Rosa told me about their symptoms and how much they had cried yesterday. Today, however, they were smiling and much better. The best part though was seeing them tucked so safely into brand new sheets, with the thick blanket pulled up to their chins. Even in their sickness they were so very happy for their new bedding. As we prepared to depart, to go to Africa Greater Life, Pastor Paul prayed over us with the children who were present. Then he asked the children to pray over us. Several of us were moved to tears as the soft voices of these children, arms raised, murmured their blessings for us in their own language.

When we arrived at Africa Greater Life we were greeted with smiling faces, all of whom have become familiar and known to the team. It was amazing to watch the children gravitate to the team members to whom they had become most comfortable, as a child goes to their parent. Hand in hand we filed into the chapel and worship began. After listening to the children sing stirring songs I had the blessing of presenting the worship message. I spoke about creation and about how God created them wonderfully and in His image. That led us to the birthday celebration, for which we explained what a birthday is and that it is the day God created them. Many of the children did not know when their birthday is, only their birth year, but they all delighted in celebrating their creation! First the children received Bibles, being called one by one by name. To many of these children, this Bible is literally their sole possession. I was filled with awe and joy as I watched the children disperse with their new treasure, flip through the pages, and smell the fresh ink. And using a pen they received in their gift bag, each child wrote his or her name in the front cover of the Book.

Also in their gift bags were hand mirrors. I saw excitement and wonder as these children gazed at themselves. There are no mirrors for these children or photographs of them. They don't get to stare into their own eyes and memorize their sweet smiles.

After the celebration we had the opportunity to sit with the children with their new goodies. I spent some time with a few young boys talking about their new Bibles and reading scripture to them. I was able to take my worship notes and show them where in the Bible I found the message and I gave that note to them to use as a bookmark. One boy I spent some time with was nine year old Ezera. I was amused that first he wanted me to write my phone number in the front of his Bible. I drew him a smiley face and wrote a note instead. And he really wanted my sunglasses but rather, I gave him my peanut butter crackers and an empty Ziploc bag. Finally he told me that he wants me to sponsor him. I asked him what that means and he told me he wants to come to my home and he asked me about my boy. It struck me how tangibly these children understand that there is a different norm than that which they know. At least this boy understands that sometimes someone could come and take them home. All I could do was explain how happy I was that I got to spend this week with him and how glad I am that he can know Jesus' love every time he sleeps in his new bed and reads his new Bible. I will pray for Ezera that someone who can give him a home will find him one day.

catch a falling star and put it in your pocket.

victory over the porta squatty!


My Favorite Day

Sometimes things don't go exactly as planned because God has something better he wants from you... This is what I learned today. The day started off as planning for a birthday party for the children at Caring Heart Orphanage. This is the orphanage that we have had 600 plus kids come each time there, and we were trying to make sure we had birthday bags and gifts for each of them. So we got up and began making bags with mirrors, beanie babies, pens, toothbrushes,toothpaste and candy. Once we arrived at the orphanage we were told they wanted us to come back tomorrow when the whole village would be there. We did have some
pretty sweet moments before we left though, one being throwing beach balls around in a class room with a bunch of the kids. I'm pretty sure that was their first beach ball experience and they loved it!! I met little Grace during this because she was so small she couldn't touch the ball as it was being passed over her head, but she knew how to solve that.... I felt a little hand pulling at my shirt and the little cutie wanting to be picked up. After that Pastor Paul wanted to pray over us so all of the children went outside. Another girl who I have spent a lot of time with (who is an older child there) found me and stood beside me to pray. This may have been one of the best moments I have had here, Grace in my arms and Marion beside me, both with hands lifted high as they prayed. Marion began praying in her own language and then started in English. The words this child was saying to God took my breath away. She praised God with words I have never heard an adult use,much less a child, and she prayed for us in ways that brought tears to my eyes. It was beautiful.
So after the change of plans we headed to African Greater Life to celebrate their birthdays with them. Some of the friends I had met named Sophia and Patience greeted me and led me into their worship center to sit with them. I noticed Sophia had on one of the necklaces made of paper and so I asked her if she made it and she ran out of the room and quickly returned with paper and begin tearing it into strips and teaching me how to make the necklaces. She then placed the necklace she was wearing around my neck and told me she wanted me to have it.
We then passed out the Bibles we had brought to them. The children were so excited. Smelling, touching, and holding the Bibles close. Faith, a beautiful child, told me that it was her first Bible and she loved it. It was so amazing to see the reactions the children had as they held their new Bible. Next the birthday party began. The children each went through our tunnel of arms we made for them and received their gifts, which they loved. The rest of the day we had time to sit down and just hang out with the kids, which was my favorite thing so far. Just being able to talk to them one on one and hear some of their stories. We colored, we read, and just got to enjoy our time with them.
So today, even though it turned out differently then planned was a beautiful day. We all left with so much joy and all so excited about the time we had experienced. God is so good.


Friday, July 24, 2009


conked out.

thanks for looking!

A Great Day at Africa Greater Life

As an iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
This verse has a whole new meaning to me than ever before after my journey through this week.

I would like to explain by sharing a couple of stories that happened just today.

We spent the day today building 108 beds at the Greater Life Orphanage. I was assigned to play with the kids while some of the team built the beds, which was great! As I was attempting to teach the kids how to play kickball, I had a little boy walk up to me and press a piece of play dough very firmly to my arm. He pulled the piece of play dough from my arm and shook his head in disgust. He then placed the play dough on his arm very firmly and looked at me and shrugged his shoulder. I then realized that when he put the play dough on his skin and took it off it had pieces of black on it (it was dirt, because he was so dirty) and he thought if he pressed hard enough on my arm, he would get white on it.

As I walked around the campus today at the orphanage I had another little boy come up to me at least ten different times. He would smell my skin and then would rub his lips along my arm and kiss me. He did this various times through out the day.

I had another fellow, who was about two years old, that found me as soon as I stepped off the bus. He held my hand all day. He went every where I did, but would not smile. I tried everything! We left to have lunch and when we came back I walked into the worship area and caught his eye, I clapped my hands at him and motioned for him to come to me. He smiled so big!!!

As I started this entry with the verse, I will end by saying....
I thought I was coming to make a difference in a child's life this week...
but what has happened is... these kids have changed my life! I am the one who will go home with a whole different perspective of life and my own family I am so blessed with!

Stacey Spain

Uganda - Day 5: Africa Greater Life Orphanage

Well we had another crazy wonderful day of building beds. We spent our entire day with the beautiful children at African Greater Life Orphanage, and it was so touching to be greeted with "Good morning, Mike," by some of the dear friends that I had previously met. They were so appreciative and took much pride in their wonderful new beds. What an incredible opportunity to share with the sweet little children as they crawled into their new beds for the very first time.

I have made some special connections with the kids at this orphanage, and it made this journey so incredibly meaningful and fulfilling to sit and talk with boys like Joseph and Israel to tell them the very reason we came to bring them their beds, "Because we want them to know that they are loved by God and not forgotten." It is hard to describe in words the floors and mattresses these kids were previously sleeping on, but the difference these Sweet Sleep beds make is unbelievable. We have been so utterly blessed by the gratitude of the children, the teachers, and the entire community we have been working in.

My heart continues to be broken by the things that break the heart of God, and he is growing an immense sense of purpose in all of us on this trip. I am continually asking God where this journey is leading and it is hard to process everything that has impacted us. We are all so truly blessed at the chance we have been given to love these children, and be loved by them in return.

Mike Warneke

Thursday, July 23, 2009

moore pick shures.

in no particular order...more fun times in photo form.

"mad house" sums this scene up pretty good.

home made gifts from the teachers and orphanage workers.

this is a self portrait -- you can see my hand. it's crazy how many orphan's hands you can hold when you only have 2 of your own. i think i counted 9 at one point....

there may or may not have been up to 160 kids sleeping in this room every night with exactly only the mattresses/beds you see pictured. crazy.

who knew finger nail polish would be such a hit -- even among the boys?!?