Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Photo of the Day

Reading the Word.
A simple gift of $10 can provide a Bible such as this to an orphan in Africa in his/her language!
Help spread the gospel by giving this gift!

Don't forget that we will be sending a team to Gulu and Kampala, Uganda on July 15th!
$8=a lifesaving mosquito net
$10=a bible in their language
$50=a bed and bedding for an orphan resettlement kit in Northern Uganda
$125=a healthy, comfortable new Sweet Sleep bed for a child in Africa

Every bit helps! Make an impact on an orphans life with one of these gifts!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photo of the Day

A $50 donation can supply an orphan in Uganda, such as this little fella, a bed, mat, bedding, mosquito net, and bible.

The price of a dinner out with the family=An orphan's life could be changed by the gift of sleep!

to give the gift of sweet sleep to an orphan :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Photo of the Day

Read the previous post to see how you can be a part of changing this image by the simple gift of a bed!

1,000 beds. 1,000 orphans.

$50,000 by July 15th is the amount it will take to supply 1,000 beds for 1,000 orphans.

Team Sweet Sleep will be going to Northern Uganda to fulfill this mission. The team will leave July 15th for a two week mission of supplying beds to the orphans of Uganda!

We need YOUR help!

In order to for this calling to be fulfilled, financial giving is needed. The original expectation for the trip was 500 beds; but a recent and desperate call came stating that thousands of beds were needed! The team has committed to supplying 1,000 beds for the upcoming trip.

A simple donation of $50 supplies a bed, bedding, mat, bible and life saving mosquito net for one orphan!

$50 (per orphan) x 1,000 orphans= $50,000

Time is short. Please take a few minutes and go to and make your gift! Please put "Beds for Gulu" in the comment box so the money is allocated for this project. You can also send a check, with "Beds for Gulu" in the memo section to:
Sweet Sleep P.O. Box 40486 Nashville, TN 37204

Money is but an object, but when it comes to the lives of these orphans it is crucial. These orphans deserve a clean bed, a good night's sleep, and a healthy future!

Will you help fulfill this mission and calling of 1,000 beds for 1,000 orphans?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Photo of the Day

...a beautiful image of worship,
with the presence of the Lord being the center of it all;
may he be lifted high.
All hands up for Orphans!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Children Need You

Dear Friends,

Sweet Sleep has shared much with you about our life-changing, life-redeeming, life-giving work in northern Uganda. Today, I am sharing with you an urgent request for our work there.

As you now understand, the children in northern Uganda are innocent victims of a senseless war that has lasted over 20 years. Though the area is currently experiencing peace, the slaughter of innocent men and women by rebel forces has left over 750,000 children orphaned and abandoned in the region and living in refugee camps. Thanks to you, Sweet Sleep has began the resettling of these orphans back to their native villages. Part of this resettlement is ensuring that when the children return home, they have a place to sleep, protection from the deadly malaria disease in the form of a mosquito net, and a Bible in their language. Tonight, there is a child who knows of God’s love and is sleeping sweetly because of what you have provided. Thank you.

When Sweet Sleep originally began its work through partnerships in the region, there was a fear that the children would be hesitant to leave the camps because they had never known any other home. These camps are incredibly dangerous places for children to live due to those who prey upon them nightly. It was our partner’s hope that the beds and mosquito nets would be a strong incentive to them to return to their tribal family and newly constructed huts which were being built for them. Our partners, ARC, World Vision and the Gulu Child Probation Office, hoped to reintegrate 700 children in 2010. As it turns out, our partners experienced shocking results because of the provision of a bed, net and Bible; the children were lining up to leave the camps. Rather than resettling 700 children last year, Sweet Sleep reintegrated about 2,500 children!

The situation in Northern Uganda is urgent and so the need continues grow, which is why Sweet Sleep is sending another team over on July 15th. We expected to provide roughly 500 beds, however we’ve received an urgent plea last week for several thousand, so we’re committing to provide 1,000 beds on this next journey. We have promised to provide a bed for every one of these children because we believe that no task is too big for what God has called us to. However, we need to raise more funds than originally allocated for this trip. Sweet Sleep needs to raise $50,000 by July 15th in order to provide a bed to every single child.

Because of the urgency of this request, we are asking for your help. Please consider continuing your investment in the children of this region as Sweet Sleep transforms their home land from an area which knew of only killing, to a region that is being transformed by God’s love. $50 provides a bed, mat, bedding, Bible, and mosquito net for each child. Will you help give a bed to one child?

Time is short. Please take a few minutes to go on-line and make your gift. Please put “Beds for Gulu” in the comment box, so the money is allocated for this project. You can also send a check, with “Beds for Gulu” in the memo section to Sweet Sleep P.O. Box 40486 Nashville, TN 37204.

Finally, take a few more minutes to watch this short video Sweet Sleep has just released for our student-based initiative to bring awareness and support for this cause through churches and schools. The video helps tell the story visually in way that I could never do.

Thanks, friends. Your gift matters to one child. And, it matters to me. I am grateful.


Photo of the Day

A picture says a thousand words.
Joy and laughter amongst the Moldovan orphans after receiving new beds.
Slumber Party!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photo of the Day

Quite a wonderful sight to see sweet orphans with their new beds in hand :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Photo of the Day

Mosquito net? Check
Bible? Check
A good night's sleep? Check

Orphans in Uganda no longer have to worry if Malaria will keep them from attending school, playing with friends, or life.

Check out Sweet Sleep's website and see how you can be a part of supplying life saving mosquito nets and beds to the orphans of Uganda!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photo of the Day

What a sweet face. Think of what a difference a new bed can make in an orphan's life. A good night's sleep can make the world of difference!

Change a life today by donating a bed at

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sweet Moldova.

One week ago, last Friday was our last and tearful day to spend in Moldova with the kids. We had a great day with them at the Monastery and then the Zoo. Friday afternoon we had a mass birthday party and each child received a bag full of gifts from donations made by church members back home. They were, needless to say, delighted!

Many of the children left Friday afternoon to go home to be with their families. We're not sure how many are going home with their mom and/or dad or with relatives. As the week went by, we discovered that many of the children were at the orphanage for different reasons, some are truly orphaned, others have families that are too poor to keep them, several are abandoned due to parents finding work out of the country and some are there because of their disability.

I can't tell you how much respect I have gained for the Moldovan staff and teachers at the orphanage. The children truly love them and show that with big hugs when the teachers finally started coming to help us after their school chores were over. Talking with them through our interpreters, its obvious that they are dedicated professionals and are there because they love children.

We will leave Moldova tomorrow, Monday, with many emotions and memories for the children but we will also have many thoughts and emotions about other people we have met in this journey.

The interpreters were tremendous!! They not only helped us with the language but they became part of our team, building the beds, playing and hugging the children and sharing their culture and spiritual views (they are all Christians). Lucia did a marvelous job of choosing these workers!

Andrei Nicolai, the assistant pastor soon to be a full time pastor at another church, is a true inspiration to all of us. He showed up everyday and worked with us as a team member. Slowly during the week we found out more about him. He is totally a volunteer at his church and will be at his full time church too. His wife is a nurse and supports the family so he can do God's work. We also found out he could play the guitar and on the last day Dean gave him the guitar that had been donated by a friend back home. It was a very emotional scene when Andrei realized (he doesn't speak English) that Dean was giving it to him and he broke out with the biggest smile and gave Dean a huge, off the ground, hug! Andrei's wife is expecting (a boy) and she will be going on maternity leave when the baby is born. She will be paid a portion of her salary while on maternity leave (50 dollars a month). I asked Andrei how they will live on that, and he said by faith! Wow, what more can I say about Andrei and Elena? They are a special couple and God has great plans for them!

Sarah Little, the American Peace Corp worker and Southern Baptist girl from Mississippi, instantly became a team member and a close friend to all of us. She is what any of us would want our daughter or granddaughter in my case, to be like. She is courageous, independent and very smart. She is learning the language by living with a Moldovan family in a small town and is helping people start their own home based jewelry business. She has a MBA from Mississippi State University and is someone all Americans can be proud of for representing the USA!!

Then there's all the rest of the team members, Dean, Kelsey, Katie, Tessa, Josh and Brianna. Sometimes we more mature Christians and Americans worry about the future of our country; with more people like these we don't have to be concerned. Their parents have obviously done a super job of raising these youth for God's work. They know their bible and they are totally cooperative as team members and show tremendous servant hearts. I could say a lot more, but the best thing is to read their blogs and you see their hearts.

Lucia Hmelic, our Sweet Sleep person on the ground in Moldova is outstanding. She is such a great Christian and a professional at what she does. She quietly goes about her business and everything goes smoothly because of that and her great working relationship with Dean. They are both true leaders!

This is going long and I'm afraid people won't read it, but it needs to be said so folks (like me) back home can understand the great ministry going on here. More later.



The Things We Do For Orphans!

Kids attending Collidescope VBS at Cross Point Church get the Sweet Sleep logo painted on their faces to remember the children they're helping in Haiti!

Well, friends, this has been quite a week!

Kids around the country have started attending VBS programs and many of these programs are featuring Sweet Sleep's Build-A-Bed Project as their missions focus - helping us provide more and more beds for the world's orphaned and abandoned children!

We're always amazed at what churches come up with to encourage their kids and students to raise funds for beds. This week folks - we've been blown away.

Kids at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee have been raising funds for beds for orphans in Haiti this week as part of their Collidescope kids event! About a hundred kids have gathered for the week to learn about Jesus. Their Children's Pastor, one of the best in the world I might add!, Suzette Sanderfer, and her team came up with some great ideas! Kids painted their fingernails "sweet sleep blue", had the Sweet Sleep logo painted on their faces, watched videos, prayed for orphans - it's been a great week.

But what happened yesterday takes the cicada cake. Cross Point's Director of Ministries, Ryan Bult, challenged the kids to bring in 15 lbs of change for beds for orphans in Haiti. If they brought in 15 lbs, he'd put a live cicada in his mouth. (If you don't live in a cicada swarmed area of the country, you might not understand - just google the little buggers - they've been attacking Nashville for weeks!) Then Ryan said - 20 lbs of change and he'd bite it. Gross. :) Get ready, friends.... Those kids brought in 35 lbs of change for Sweet Sleep and Ryan put it in his mouth, bit that thing, and ate it!!!!! Unreal.
For those of you who can stomach it.... Here is the video.

Before he ate the cicada on video, the kids were chanting at the top of their lungs "Sweet Sleep! Sweet Sleep!" and at last count the kids had raised nearly a thousand dollars for beds, bedding, life-saving mosquito nets and Bibles for orphans in Haiti.


Around the country, churches like Cross Point and ministers like Suzette and Ryan are doing crazy things to encourage kids to help orphans sleep sweetly. I can't wait to share more of these stories with you throughout the summer - like the woman in Las Vegas who recently challenged her kids to raise $1500 and it would be matched - and she'd shave her head. They've already exceeded their goal - so when I get the before and after pictures, I'll share them here.

Thanks Ryan, Suzette and your team at Cross Point for making this a week those kids will not soon forget. Orphaned children in Haiti will soon be sleeping sweetly because of you and your sweet kiddos.

Ahhhhh... The things we do for orphans... :)

PS - If your church is gearing up for VBS - it's not too late to sign up to make Sweet Sleep's Build-A-Bed Project part of your event! You don't have to eat a live cicada, but you can if you want to! Just e-mail for information or visit for more information and free resources to get kids fired up about helping orphans sleep sweetly. :)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

..the grace of a Father

Well, another week has come to an end, but not just your average week. We met almost 100 of the most precious children this week in Straseni, Moldova. To think we met so many kids created in God's image is a humbling honor. It's hard to place words in this moment, because there is so much grace involved, I can't fathom. God has created these children to love Him, innocent and free of any guilt or shame, or any hardship here on earth. How deep and wide the Father's love for them, how vast beyond all measure, and that Jesus sent His one and only Son as an atoning sacrifice for us all...Praise the Lord for children such as these! Praise the Lord for mercy! Praise the Lord to be apart of their journeys!

I was reminded so often this week of this:

Jesus loves the little children

All the children of the world

Red, yellow, black and white

They are precious in His sight

Jesus loves the little children

Of the world-

Friday, June 03, 2011

Sad but wonderful day in Moldova

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8- "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to umroot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time tokeep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speek, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

(Josh and Brianna's post)

Today was a very challenging day for everyone. In case you do not know, today was our last day at the orphanage. God's work that we came to do is now finished. Some of our hearts will be connected to the children and the team. For right now, we believe that our job here is completed, but that does not mean that God will not call us back to Moldova. It was VERY hard to say good-bye to the children, since we had became very close to these wonderful cildren. Our hearts were bonded because they saw the love and joy of God and from the gifts God sent us to give in his glory. So on monday, we will leave to come home, But our hearts will never leave this wonderful place. And will always remember what we did, but most of all, remember the children. When we leave, we will continue to pray for the hearts of the children, and everyone we came to know through our stay here.

We want to thank Lucia for everything she did, she organized everything we did, and she put a lot of time and effort into making this trip the most meaningful trip ever. We want to thank C.J. and Connie for opening their home to us and driving us all over Chisinau and Straseni, Moldova. And giving us words of encouragement. We would also like to thank Lilia, the cook, for all of the wonderful meals that were provided. The translators, Anastasia, Tanya, Iliusha, and Alexei for helping us understand what the children's needs were. We want to thank the team: Tony, Katie, Tessa, and Kelsey. We especially want to thank Dean for giving up his time and being patient with us.

Andre was a man who we all became to know and love. He is a pastor at a local church in Straseni. He is a man of great faith. Pray for his wife, Elena, as she is pregnant with their first child, a boy. His wife is a nurse. In Moldova, the maternity leave is three years.

We would like to thank our families for allowing us to go and helping in various ways. Also our church and especially our pastor for prayers and support. The person that gave the anynomous gift to finish what we could not raise, you really did help us out, and those who gave financially and supplies that we needed; we really could not have done it without you. Finally, we want to thank Lauren Bing and Sweet Sleep for talking to us and allowing us the opportunity to go.

(Luba's story)- Josh telling

Where can I start. We bonded from the moment I stepped off the bus. For the first couple of day all we did was play sports together. On day three, the bond became closer. I told her that we were there because we love her and that God loves her. Today was a very special day for Luba and I. Before we left today, I was telling her that I was going to miss her and that I would never forget her. I told her that we would see each other in heaven. I asked her then if she was a Christian. She said, "No I am not." so I asked, "Do you want to become a Christian?" She said, "yes." so I had her pray a prayer to become a Christian. I believe this was the reason I was to Come to Moldova.

Thank you for your prayers and support.
Posted by: Joshua McMullan and Brianna Williams

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Fresh out of the ark

Can a twenty-year-old American adopt a sixteen-year-old from Moldova?  This question started as a joke, but as I ask each member of our team, I'm realizing that my heart is becoming more and more wrapped up in the answer. 

This week, God has turned a spark of concern into some sufficient flames of compassion and heartache.  I've never been particularly attracted to Eastern Europe, and going to Moldova was never in my plans.  But I'm surprised how at peace I have felt in this place and how going home is not an appealing idea (sorry everyone!).  Also--and I hope the team waits until after we get home to read this--I've never been what I would call a "kid person."  I do not ache to babysit my friends' children or to serve in the nursery at church or to have children as soon as I get married.  It's not that I don't like kids, but I don't know what to say to them or how to play with them or how to get them to like me.  But this week, God has opened their hearts to me just as much as he has broken mine for them--particularly an angel named Elena.

At the beginning of the week, Elena was quiet.  She would hide behind the other girls who felt immediately comfortable jumping on us and stealing our cameras and kissing us all over.  When I would look over at her and smile, she would smile, look down, bashfully look at me again to see if I was still looking, and then smile bigger.  After a few episodes of this, she felt comfortable coming up to me and letting me hug her.  Every second of attention and inch of love I showed to her was life-changing and would illuminate her face with the purest light.  One day when we painted the girls' nails, I learned the Romanian word for "beautiful," and I told her I thought she was beautiful.  Her surprise overtook her bashfulness and she looked straight in my eyes.  "Me?" She said in Romanian.  "Da!" I said, and she hugged me with all the love that has ever existed in the world.  The joy in her eyes did not fade for the rest of the day.

Elena looks like she is twelve, but I learned today that she is sixteen.  Because the orphanage we are working in is an auxiliary house for children with mental handicaps or disabilities, her stunted growth clearly marks some physical deficiency.  She's so bright, though.  She quickly caught on that I couldn't understand Romanian, and now when someone comes up to me and speaks Romanian (these kids forget very easily), she directs them to a translator.  When she's around me (which is often), I don't have to do any of the work.  I just shrug and smile, and she'll catch my eye and smile bashfully.  She also learned how to say thank you in English, and she's quickly learning how to count to ten.  In the pecking order of the orphanage, though, she's weak.  When another little girl who grew attached to me was jealous, she tried to lock Elena in a kitchen; if I hadn't been around, I'm sure she would have succeeded.  This incident scared me about leaving tomorrow, when Elena won't have me around to protect her from those who bully and persecute her.

I wanted to share about Elena, not only to increase the love and prayers sent to her from abroad, but also to demonstrate God's ability to change the heart of a stubborn, kid-phobic brat like me.  I never would've guessed that I would grow this attached to a Moldovan orphan, but now I can't imagine how I am going to leave Elena tomorrow.  Even though I know she is God's to protect, I don't want to say good-bye.  The only comfort I have at this point is best represented by an image we saw on our way back to our house yesterday.  The sun was shining, and it started to rain.  When we drove by the incinerating dump next to the orphanage, there was a flawless rainbow crowning the horizon.  It was a needed reminder of the reality we face:  a spoiled, despicable world and God's perfect promises reigning beautifully above it.  God is in control, he protects those he loves (including precious Elena), and as I am learning here, he whispers his love for every inch of the world into unexpected hearts.

Please pray that we may trust in these promises as we say good-bye to the children tomorrow.  I know that if I don't see my beautiful Elena again on earth, she will one day run into my open arms, with our language barriers melted away and eternal smiles and hugs as we share the presence of the Lord who brought us together.

"I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.  Praise the Lord!"  Psalm 104

Posted by: Tessa Tompkins 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

...a note from Sarah

Each day working with the kids seems to get better and better and today was no different. It seems as though we always come to these trips with the idea that we are going to help the kids and that we are going to share Christ with them, but this is not all that happens. Usually we end up getting more out of the experience than the kids do. Today, with my mediocre Romanian I was talking to Grigore (Gregory), a 15 year old boy, about his bracelets that the girls handed out that represented Jesus's love for each of the children. Then Grigore began telling me about his relationship with Jesus and how when he first began going to church he went with a missionary from Germany but now he just goes by himself. How awesome is it that he loves Jesus so much that he goes to church each week regardless of the difficulties?

Each day has been filled with blessings and I regret we only have two more days with these wonderful kids! Thank you all for all of your prayers!

The old...

...the New.

Josh and Brianna's team (on break I think ;)

Moving the beds...

Time for gum...

How about some ice cream!

June 1st - Happy Kids Day!

Moldova Day 3

Hello from Chisinau!

Today in Straseni we completed another 20 beds, worked our way up to the second floor (boys wing), and helped tons of kids celebrate their national Kids Day! But then you could add in: frisbee, arts and crafts, futbol, American football, badminton, dancing, Rover come on Over, and Ice Cream, so maybe we had a little fun....

And then I can go even further, tons of one on ones with the kids, kids in packs listening to stories of God's love for them, bracelets represented their uniqueness to Jesus, and prayers around their new beds. As the Lord commanded to take care of the widows and orphans, sometimes we don't know what this looks like, but sometimes we do. I can see the answers to your prayers evidenced this week, as seen in the smile of little ones, even the happy "I'm too cool to be grinning" older children, but most of all, in the hugs, high fives, laughs, and jubilation of the kids.

Two more days to go, two days filled with a huge birthday bash, field trip, futbol (you always have to mention futbol), laughs, hugs, hellos, waves, smiles......and we could go on....but we'll let you wait til tomorrow to hear more....

Thanks for all the encouragement.