Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why I'm a bedhead...

It’s easy to get caught in the routine of life. Wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to bed (maybe watch a little TV here and there). I was dabbling around on Facebook one day and ran across the Sweet Sleep Facebook page. Almost immediately, I was reminded of a mission trip I went on to Chisinau, Moldova in 2007. I remembered names, faces, and the emotions that ran high those two short weeks that I was there.

I started reading the Blog and two short hours later, I was in tears over the stories of orphans who were sleeping on infested mats, being swarmed by mosquitoes carrying diseases, I was lost in frustration and sadness. Even worse, I was picturing those amazing children I met a few years ago in that Moldovan orphanage suffering from the same situation. I didn’t know what to do! I prayed hoping God would immediately solve the problem and bring comfort to these kids, but we all know, that’s not how He works. He works through us.

I became a bedhead because I know this team of amazing people are not only providing comfort, but also sharing the gift of Jesus Christ to these kids. As long as I am able, I will be a bedhead, and hopefully one day, I’ll have the privilege and joy to travel back to Moldova, or maybe somewhere new, to share in this ministry. I continue to pray for this team and the orphans that they serve. Praise the Lord for the people at Sweet Sleep!

Click here to become a bedhead.

Travis lives in Nashville, Tennessee and works in promotions at Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing in Franklin, Tennessee. Travis is pictured above on his trip to Moldova in 2007 with kids and translators from the orphanage where he served, Internat #2 in Chisinau. To visit the facebook page that inspired Travis to become a bedhead, visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

be a bedhead with me!

My involvement with Sweet Sleep began a few years back when I was looking for a faith-based organization that would provide mosquito nets to children in Africa. And the more I learned about Sweet Sleep's work with orphaned children, the more I wanted to get involved financially. I became a bedhead because I can't think of anything greater to do with my life than to positively impact the lives of others, in Jesus' name.

As an elementary teacher, I work daily with children, some of whom have much, and some of whom have little. My heart is filled with compassion for children when I think of Jesus' command to care for the poor: the orphans and the widows. And I can't imagine not doing my part to carry out Jesus' command. In my eyes, this command isn't optional. It's imperative.

Sweet Sleep is an organization whose sole mission revolves around Jesus' command to care for the poor and to spread the Good News! And I want to help! I feel honored to be involved in spreading the Good News, while fulfilling tangible needs of children around the world. To whom much is given, much is required.... And its a blessing to do my part!

Join me in becoming a bedhead! It's just $30 a month and you can sign up at You'll even get a soft, cozy "I Helped An Orphan Sleep Sweetly" t-shirt for signing up! So join me in helping provide these beds, life-saving mosquito
nets, and Bibles to orphans through Sweet Sleep!

Kristen Jackson teaches elementary school in the Pulaski County Special School District. She is married to Jeremy Jackson, a firefighter with the Little Rock Fire Department. Kristen and Jeremy live in Little Rock, Arkansas and have one 7-month-old son, Logan.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Look for the Sake of Orphans!

Judy Clanin getting a nice new hairdo by Paulette Catt!

Ohhh the things we do for orphans :)

Amy Draves getting pied in the face by Taylor Morris.

In Amy Draves's 15 years as a Kids Pastor, she's never repeated a mission project.

Until now.

Kids at Wesley Free Methodist Church in Anderson, Indiana attending their Go Fish "Kickin' It Old School" VBS participated in Sweet Sleep's Build-A-Bed Project for the second time this summer. in 2010, these kids collected their largest missions offering to date - $1,000! The kids related so well to kids not having beds, pillows, blankets and Bibles - and they were so willing to help!

After the huge success of Build-A-Bed at their 2010 VBS, Amy decided to support Sweet Sleep with their offerings again - but this year, they wanted to challenge the kids to do even more! If kids earned enough money to purchase 5 complete beds for orphans in Haiti, at $167 each, Amy would get a pie in the face. If they raised enough to provide 7 beds, Judy Clanin, one of their amazing volunteers, would get her hair cut. One volunteer even challenged the adult volunteers to give and matched their gifts one night! On the final day of VBS, funds were tallied and $1,500 was collected for best for orphans! That was enough to provide 9 beds for orphans in Haiti! So you guessed it! Pies were thrown and hair was cut. The pictures above tell the story of leaders so dedicated to helping orphans sleep sweetly, and engaging their kids in meeting the needs of orphans, that they'll lose their locks and get meringue in their eyes!

Thanks Amy and Judy for inspiring kids at Wesley Free Methodist to help orphans sleep sweetly! We're thankful for you and so are the orphans now sleeping sweetly because of you and your sweet kiddos!

You can sign your church up to participate in Build-A-Bed by e-mailing For information about the program, visit

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

May You Find Rest: A devotional word from Sweet Sleep's Emily Colledge

These days are full. And I can so quickly get out of rhythm. When I’m feeling tired, stressed, weary, or just out-of-sync I hear the voice of my sweet mama in my head, “Get some rest, child.” Or maybe it’s the voice of my Heavenly Father. I know when the Lord is trying to teach me something because it shows up in all sorts of places. Has this happened to you? For me lately, this idea of rest and what that means keeps showing up everywhere. I’ve been reflecting on what it truly means to rest. And the places we find rest. And then I was thinking about the lives of the children impacted by Sweet Sleep. And the rest that comes—for body and soul—through Jesus Christ. I came across Isaiah 30:15 where it says, “…In repentance and REST is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,…” as the Lord was speaking to His children. And of course there’s Matthew 11:28-29. And then, a dear friend sent me a blog post by Rachel Olsen called ‘Laying Me Down to Sleep.’ I want to share it with you today. May you find rest, dear child.

“God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning— the first day.” Genesis 1:5 (NIV)

What time did your day begin today?

Did it begin as the sun poked through the widow urging you to wake? Or, did the alarm buzz at 5:30 AM? Or maybe at 6:45? Perhaps you slept until 8:00?

What if I told you your day began last night as the sun set — would you disagree?

In the modern, westernized world we think of our days as sun rise to sun rise. In other words, we rise, we work, and then we end the day in rest. We rest to recover from our work … with whatever time is left over after the work is done.

However, in the ancient Jewish tradition the day runs from sundown to sundown. That’s quite a different concept. In other words, we rest, then we rise and do our work. Rest becomes the source and fuel for the work rather than merely recovery from it.

Where did the Hebrews get this seemingly backwards notion of the day beginning in the evening? From the God who never sleeps, in the Bible. Notice in today’s key verse — in fact, in multiple verses throughout the Genesis creation account — there was evening, and then morning and that was counted as a day.

A secular rhythm of life makes work primary. We work first, then go from work to vacation. In contrast, a sacred rhythm makes rest primary, moving us from God-ordained rest into our vocation. The sacred rhythm is rest, rise, work rather than rise, work, rest. Let that difference sink in and sway the seat of your soul.

Internalizing this difference is the basis for connecting with God through rest. Pastor and author Eugene Peterson describes this ancient rest-first rhythm:

“This Hebrew evening/morning sequence conditions us to the rhythms of grace. We go to sleep, and God begins his work. As we sleep he develops his covenant. We wake and are called to participate in God’s creative action. We respond in faith, in work. But always grace is previous. Grace is primary. We wake into a world we didn’t make, into a salvation we didn’t earn.

Evening: God begins, without our help, his creative day. Morning: God calls us to enjoy and share and develop the work he initiated. Creation and covenant are sheer grace and there to greet us every morning.”

I don’t know why God’s Word marks out time in this way in Genesis, but I am discovering I think and live differently when I adopt this view of my days. I see each night’s rest as something important, something to prepare for — and something important that prepares me. I’ve long known that rest prepares me physically to rise and work again, and now I’m finding it prepares me spiritually to rise walk in grace and faith.

As I lie down, close my eyes, pray, and slip from consciousness, I do so with the understanding that it is God who holds everything together during my temporary absence from the world. And it’s Him who will continue to hold everything together when I rise and work in the coming daylight. At no point — day or night — am I independent of Him. He even has the power to direct my dreams should He desire.

So I’ve developed a theology of sleep that punctuates my days. It helps me see my nights and my rest as set apart and holy. It helps me to see God as I lay myself down to sleep. In fact, it helps me see that it is He who lays me down for the gracious gift of rest.

What about you? How do you think about rest? How do you treat it? How might God be calling you to look at it differently?

Dear Lord, thank You for rest. Thank You that I can rest while You continue to hold everything together. Help me rest well and worship You through rest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

(Excerpt taken from:

Emily Colledge currently serves as Assistant to the President at Sweet Sleep. You can learn more about Emily at in the About Us/Staff section of the site.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Photo of the Day

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.
--Mother Teresa

If we truly lived by this truth, imagine the changes that could happen in these sweet children's lives?
Jesus commands us to love and serve one another, so let's join together and do just that!
Be a part of a Sweet Sleep journey and GO

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sweet Sleep Pajama Party!

Our friends at First Baptist Church-Whitehouse had an Awanas Sweet Sleep Pajama Party!

These little ones were diligently watching a Sweet Sleep video to learn about orphans and the mission of Sweet Sleep!

Sweet Sleep Pillow Case Sack Races!

They decorated and stuffed small pillows to help them remember to pray for the orphans around the world who don't have a safe, warm, place to rest their head.

Ready for some sleep after a night filled with learning about orphans and Sweet Sleep!

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:24 

We thank you FBC Whitehouse for joining with us and sharing with these children how so many other children lack the luxury of a nice bed to go home to at night.  There's something so special when the Lord uses children to become advocates for other children in need :)
Continue sharing the stories of orphans and the mission: a bed for every head.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Photo of the Day

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
John 14:18
Be a part of the first Sweet Sleep journey to Cape Town, South Africa and go to these children.  They need love and compassion, and the truth of Jesus.
{November 4-14}--Join Us!
Don't forget--Informational meeting at the Sweet Sleep office August 15th @ 6:30 p.m.
Hope to see you there :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sweet Sleep Heads to Cape Town

Each month of the year, people around the world contact Sweet Sleep asking, hoping, praying for us to provide beds, nets and Bibles to the orphans in their care. I could spend all day sharing with you about the sleeping needs and struggles of orphaned and abandoned children around the world.

Today, I want to introduce you to Cape Town, South Africa and its children.

Behind the beauty of Cape Town lies great hurt

South Africa has the highest percentage of child and baby rape in the world. South Africa also has the highest concentration of HIV/AIDS in the world. In countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria, it is a common belief that a person with HIV be cured of AIDS by having sex with a virgin. In many cases, these children are raped by a father or a caregiver.

I've been amazed and humbled to see the impact made by Sweet Sleep's presence around the world. With that first-hand knowledge, we've been studying the situation in South Africa for the last 10 months and have been prayerfully trying to discern and determine what direction God might be directing Sweet Sleep in helping change and save the lives of South Africa's orphans.

Within South Africa are many tribes which believe in caring for their own tribe's children...the whole "it takes a village" idea. Once those mommas and poppas aren't there to care for their children, they are left to a willing person: an aunt, a cousin...even a complete stranger. It's been reported South Africa has a 50% unemployment rate. When there are no jobs and a community self soothes in drug and alcohol abuse, it's the children who suffer the most.

Through new partnerships with Living Hope and Open Door, Sweet Sleep will begin it's work here in the fall of 2011, in a township of Cape Town, South Africa known as "Ocean View". These partnerships are important because the provision of a bed from Sweet Sleep will encourage new, and strained caregivers to participate in programs which will lead to better parenting and awareness and prevention of child abuse, thus resulting in the decline of child abuse and child rape in this township.

In just a matter of weeks, Open Door will begin a new 8-week parenting class for caregivers whom are identified by social workers as candidates for this program. The requirements will be tough: every caregiver in the home will be required to attend class---each week. They'll be connected to a social worker and a local church. They'll be expected to "pay it forward" upon completion. Each week caregivers will learn about budgeting, effective discipline, dietary needs of children, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and child abuse. Ocean View is known for it's high drug abuse problems. As Open Door says, "All sexual abuse goes to drug abuse." The classes will also offer Bible studies to male caregivers in the home and provide opportunities to educate children about all of the above, as well.

Graduates of the program will then receive a certificate from our partners and a bed from Sweet Sleep.

We are more than excited about this new endeavor; we are prayerful that as a result of the work of the above organizations, and your support through Sweet Sleep, the lives of South Africa's most vulnerable will be spared and saved. Join with us.

Our first team will be November 4-14, 2011. I invite you to be a part of the information meeting on Monday, August 15th, 6:30 pm at Sweet Sleep's office. Please contact us at 615-730-7671 if you are not able to attend or would like additional information.


Photo of the Day

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
--Mother Teresa
Sometimes the only thing that these children need is to feel loved.  We have to be the hands and feet of the Lord, ensuring these sweet orphans know they are truly loved and are special.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sweet Sleep is 8 years old today!

 Sweet Sleep is celebrating 8 years of providing beds for orphaned and abandoned children in Moldova, Uganda, Haiti, and now South Africa! 

Every Sweet Sleep journey ends in a birthday party to celebrate these children and remind them, that in God's eyes, they are special and are His precious children.

In honor of today, and how special it is to us, enjoy these photos from some of the birthday parties celebrated throughout these incredible and blessed 8 years of serving orphans!

We thank the Lord for his faithfulness and you for the prayers and gifts that have made these past 8 years so wonderful.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 
Proverbs 3:24

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Photo of the Day

These hands raised want to know Jesus.  Thanks to your support through gifts and prayer, our teams were able to introduce Jesus to these people; continue your support to help make sure all nations will hear the good news of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!  

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Photo(s) of the Day

 From the children's ward at a hospital we visited in Gulu, Uganda:

Before--No nets, but still treating the children for Malaria...or treating them for other illnesses and then contracting Malaria due to no mosquito nets.

We provided 55 nets to the children's ward, children's surgery unit and children's ICU.

 Thanks for making this possible!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Photo of the Day

Just last week in Gulu--After receiving her new Sweet Sleep bed and resettlement kit.
Finally, a good night's sleep without the worry of Malaria!

Thanks to all who have helped and continue to help make this image possible for orphaned and abandoned children around the world!

Forever Blessed, Forever Changed

Well another week is in the books with the beautiful children of Uganda. I consider it such a blessing to have been a part of this Sweet Sleep team and our partnership with the New Kabaale Busenga Orphanage. We were able to have a special last day with the children while enjoying the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays. We had the privilege of speaking God's blessing over their lives, as we reminded these beautiful children that they are beautifully and wonderfully made. It was such an honor to share with these sweet children one last time that God has a special plan and purpose for their lives.

With part of our team arriving late due to travel difficulties, myself included, and a special afternoon spent at Blessed Hope, I felt like I finally had a chance to really connect with some of the kids today. There was James, who was so excited for his Bible so he could read from the book of James, and little Kevin who was always happy to be by my side. It has also been a blessing getting to know the staff at this wonderful school. The teachers seem to truly care for these children and they have been just as grateful for our presence as the children have been.

It continues to amaze me all that they are teaching these students with such limited resources. It has been a blessing getting to know the likes of Ivan, Joel and Benson as they are so excited about the subjects that they teach, and the gift of a simple paper map of the world or a children's book on animals can brighten their day, because they know it will bless their students.

One of the greatest joys for me today and during this entire journey has been the extra blessing of sharing this experience with my father. Although this is my third journey with Sweet Sleep to Uganda, it is my father's first, and I wouldn't trade this time together for anything in the world. To see these children latch on to my dad, to pray over his life, and to simply find comfort in his touch has been a great boost to my spirit and to our relationship. It also makes me look forward to the day when I can share these types of experiences with Gideon and Abel.

I want to share a few stories before I end this post so please bear with me. One of them took place on Wednesday night at Blessed Hope Champions Academy. This is the orphanage where our team served last year, and I was excited for the opportunity to return, and to see the children once again. I was disappointed to learn that my dear friend Dallen was no longer at Blessed Hope, but my spirits were lifted by my friend Jonathan instead. Out of all of the wonderful kids that I had made connections with last year, Jonathan was one that specifically wrote many letters to my son Gideon during our stay, and his first words to me were, "How is Gideon." Without a prompt he not only remembered Uncle Mike, but my child as well. He gave me a note as we left the orphanage grounds on Wednesday night and it was once again addressed to Gideon, saying that he will continue praying for him everyday.

We often say that we will pray from someone in passing, but rarely do we see it through with much consistency in our busy lives in America. What peace, hope and humility it gives me to know that an orphaned child on the other side of the world is bathing the life of my son Gideon in his prayers daily. We are certainly called to be a blessing on these trips, but the blessing has been all mine. Just as these trips do not end when we board our plane for home, it was confirmation that the impression that we make on these kids lives will live on for far to come as well.

Another aspect of these trips that I want to highlight as things come to a close is the often overlooked blessing of serving alongside some incredible men and women of faith. The team that God has assembled on this trip has been a truly remarkable one. Each member of our team has brought their unique talents, abilities, and even past hurts to be able to minister to these children, staff members, and one another in such a beautiful way. It is Christian community at its finest, and I can honestly say that I have been blessed by every member of our team this year in very unique ways. Thank you all for answering God's calling on your life and loving the "greatest of these" during this remarkable journey.

Forever blessed and forever changed,
Michael Warneke