Thursday, July 15, 2010

Orphan Sunday

On November 7, 2010, we will join with organizations, churches and individuals across our country and around the world to celebrate God's love for the orphaned and abandoned children in our world. "Orphan Sunday" is a visible reminder and challenge to us to explore and respond to God's heart for these children and how we can make a difference in their lives. To find out how you can be a part of this momentous day, please visit the "Orphan Sunday" website for more information!

Sweet Sleep will continue to provide resources that promote our mission to provide beds to these children. In partnership with "Orphan Sunday", we are encouraging churches and individuals to join us in various projects leading up to the big event including: Build-A-Bed, Insomnia and Nickels for Nets. We encourage you to join us on this important day!

Friday, July 09, 2010


For those of you still processing your time in Uganda, I wanted to post a poem that was written by a local 16-year-old girl named Ellie after her return from Malawi last year. I pray that it will speak to you today.

For those of you wondering if it would really make that much of a difference for you to go on a mission journey, I pray you will find the answer hidden between these lines.

by Ellie Estes 2009

A dirty poor country
A place to find God

Mud houses
Happy homes

Rotten teeth
Beautiful smiles

Hungry empty bellies
Full round cheeks

Language barriers
Active communication

Different, weird food
Real taste of culture

AIDS orphans
My brothers and sisters

No roads, cars or lights
Amazing sunsets

One little picture
Memories for a lifetime

Salome - just a fat baby
The face that still makes me laugh

A reach for a mzungu's hand
A touch of a white girl's heart

Three simple words
Lasting effects

A teenager with no American luxuries
A boy who finds a way to dance like nobody's business

A diminishing economy
Lots of room to grow

A simple game of duck, duck, goose
A whole day's worth of laughs

Barren land
Bright, starry sky

A faceless orphan named Innocent
My sweet baby I run to see

A depressing story
An inspiration for one person to make a difference

A home shattered by despair
A heart healed by a tight hug

Kids running after a bus
My babies never wanting to say goodbye

One simple "Okay, I'll go."
Incredible change.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jen's Pen July

This past weekend I celebrated Independence Day by driving around Nashville watching fireworks. They were beautiful – coming from all parts of town! While celebrating our independence, my heart was heavy yet happy for the children in northern Uganda I’ve grown to love and care about so much these past 8 months. They have their own kind of independence to celebrate – they’re finally free from the 22-year war that ravaged their region – which is a great, happy thing! Unfortunately, they’re now left with fear, sadness and loss. This is where I’m torn – joyful about their freedom from oppression – but deeply burdened by their paralyzing fear.

While I was in Gulu last month, I learned some remarkable things. The beds you’ve been providing, 977 to date, are actually helping to release these children from their fear!
According to our partners, ARC (American Refugee Committee), many of the children are fearful of being resettled back into their safe villages as the government closes their IDP camps. However, when they hear they are going to get healthy, comfortable beds, life-saving mosquito nets and a Bible in their language, they can hardly believe it. Their sense of fear begins to dissipate and their hearts are so full of joy. The 149 children that received beds during my trip last month and the 201 children who received beds yesterday left their villages at dawn to walk to our distribution site.

They waited, patiently and joyfully, almost 8 hours for their beds and Bibles. I asked why they would come so early to sit for so long. The answer was that they had never imagined they could have a bed, a net or a Bible of their own and so they were excited to come for them and didn’t want to take the chance of missing out. I was moved. It was a beautiful thing to see how truly life-changing the work we are doing together truly is.

I also had the opportunity to meet a group of boys at one of our partner organizations – World Vision’s “Uganda Children of War Programme”. These boys were former child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s LRA army.

It’s such an amazing partnership – after these kids were rescued they were taken in by World Vision where they are experiencing love and rehabilitation. They are being taught Biblical truths and life skills as well as coping skills and once they’re ready to return home to their families, World Vision takes them home, helps ensure the family is ready to receive them, and presents them with their very own Sweet Sleep bed and Bible. The young men I spoke to were so deeply quiet and withdrawn. It almost made me burst into tears to see them light up when they began sudden busy chatter about the way their new beds feel or what it was like to not be swarmed by mosquitoes at night, or, to have a Bible of their own to encourage them.

Right now, hundreds of children are waiting to be resettled with the help of our partners at World Vision, the American Refugee Committee and the Ugandan Probation Office – the government agency helping all the children resettle as the IDP camps continue closing. 700 children are resettling next month and I hope to be there at a special ceremony they’re planning to present these children with their new Sweet Sleep beds, nets and Bibles. While these beds typically cost $88, Sweet Sleep is currently able to provide these beds for just $55! But we need you to help us reach our goal this month! We need you, our friends, to help us resettle these 700 kids – providing them with the healthy, comfortable bed they never thought they’d be able to own – and restoring peace to their hearts and lives.
To make your donation, simply visit and make your gift of $55 per resettlement kit – (mat, mattress, linens, mosquito net and a Bible in their native language of Luo). Tell your friends! Spread the word – help us help these children finally sleep sweetly.

Thank you for all you do to help us continue toward our goal of providing “a bed for every head.”



P.S. Another great way to support our work is to become a bedhead! Your recurring gifts allow us to continually provide beds on your behalf to orphans around the world. Learn more here or begin your bedhead membership now by making a recurring gift of $30 or more by going to