Thursday, March 29, 2012

I believe in Sweet Sleep. And I'm a bedhead.

We love our Bedheads! Here is a rerun of a story from Bedhead Ashley Hamm. You can be Bedhead too by making a gift of $30 a month or more at You'll even get a cozy Sweet Sleep tee for signing up.
Ashley Hamm and her husband, Clay. 
Today, there are many organizations that are doing great things -- with countless opportunities to serve, volunteer, give, and participate in life-changing movements. The endless availability of these foundations that offer and implement much-needed change around the world is amazing, but choosing the right place for your contributions is a difficult decision.

My heart was broken when I first heard the story of Sweet Sleep several years ago. Sweet Sleep, started by a sweet family friend, takes care of our future leaders, teachers, parents, innovators, and world-changers by providing a soft place for orphans around the world to lay their heads at night -- to rest their minds and bodies.

A few months ago, while complaining about the discomfort of my 8-inch-thick, pillow-top mattress, I began looking into the price of a much-coveted and absurdly expensive memory foam mattress. I hear they are amazing. However, around the same time, my sister (and friend) was on a mission trip with Sweet Sleep to Gulu, Uganda. Doing the math, I realized that the price of the mattress that would allow me to jump on my bed without spilling a glass of water, could provide over 30 orphaned children in Africa a bed, a mosquito net, bedding, and a mattress. Enter humility.

I didn't need a fancy mattress to help me sleep better after all. Peace of mind has worked just as well. I am a bedhead because it helps me fall asleep knowing that I am contributing to the comfort of someone on the other side of the world, who is also trying to sleep sweetly. I am a bedhead because I know that when life is hard, a sweet sleep is a great escape; a sweet sleep means a fresh start -- a rested mind, heart, and soul. I am a bedhead because I believe in this organization, its mission, its purpose and its integrity. I believe in Jen Gash and her hard work. I believe Sweet Sleep is fighting to ensure that thousands of abandoned and orphaned children have the opportunity to wake each morning with strength. And I believe in the future of these children.

Sweet Sleep is doing amazing things. Just $30 a month can make a great impact. That’s a dollar a day saving thousands of lives; preventing hundreds of illnesses; and allowing millions of sweet dreams. If you are able, join me in becoming a bedhead and helping orphaned and abandoned children around the world sleep sweelty. Just go to and make your gift of $30 a month or more.
You'll even get a cozy Sweet Sleep tee for signing up.

Ashley Hamm is an entrepreneur who lives on Okaloosa Island in the panhandle of Florida with her husband Clay, who currently serves in the U.S. Air Force. Ashley recently graduated with an International Business degree and now hopes to share her passion about global issues through her writing and lifestyle.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Holiness and Morality are Different

It is this time of year that I naturally begin to think more about the death and resurrection of Christ. Don't hear me wrong. I think about this often regardless of Easter being near, but there is something about this celebration that is completely sobering. It makes me think about how much we have been given through Christ. It also makes me think about what my response should be to Him. The answer is that I am to be holy. 1 Peter 1:16 says, "Be holy, because I am holy." Seems pretty clear, right? 
 Holiness is being set a part for God. It positions believers to be and act in ways that bring glory to God. As we attempt to live the life of holiness that we are called to as believers, we are often challenged to think about what pollutes our lives. Influences like television, movies, music, etc. quickly come to mind. We tend to think about ways that we can perfect our morality. We end up cleaning up the outside of our lives and meeting standards that are oftentimes set by ourselves and/or others.
Many times, we do not end up anymore holy than when we began. Instead we face more risk. We risk exposing our lives to the influences that continue to “pollute” us and at the same time we risk becoming the “polluter.”

Garbage in, garbage out is still true. We may seem like we have no garbage coming in, but it is. Even if we deny it or choose to not acknowledge it at all, it still comes out. It’s one reason why seemingly godly people do ungodly things.

Believers can be the polluters.

You see the reality is that holiness and morality are different. Scripture calls us to be like Christ. When we have His Spirit in us particular fruit from our lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Holiness results in believers loving people well. Holiness involves humility in its truest sense. Holiness is not polluted.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

It’s not enough to do good things and count it as pure and faultless religion. When you choose to pursue holiness in your life, spiritual growth will happen. It will create in you the desires to do and care for all people in ways that you cannot imagine. You will love in ways that you cannot do on your own.

Think about it. Where is the tension in your life between morality and holiness?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Announcing TN Acteens in Uganda Summer 2103

Awesome weekend at the TN WMU Missions Gathering in Gatlinburg!
We had a great time with Acteens in worship and our founder, Jen Gash led 4 inspiring workshops.
Our special announcement is that we are partnering with TN Acteens to take trips to Gulu & Kampala, Uganda on May 31-June 10, 2013. Both trips will include ministering to children through provision of new beds, Bibles and mosquito nets as well as through sharing the gospel to both of these communities.

You don't have to be an Acteen to participate in this trip. Any girl or boy age 13 and up can participate in this trip.We will keep you posted here and on Facebook other ways that everyone can support this trip.

See pictures from the weekend at
More questions?  Click here for FAQs: Gulu or Kampala

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sweet Sleep will be with TN Acteens in Gatlinburg this weekend

Sweet Sleep will be at the Tennessee WMU's Mission Conference this weekend, March 23-25, 2012, at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in Gatlinburg TN. This conference is designed for woman and girls in grades 7-12. It will be an exciting weekend focused on missions education and awareness as well as worship celebrations, breakout sessions and ministry displays.  Sweet Sleep has an exciting announcement for the Tennessee Acteens! Our Founder, Jen Gash will be leading in 4 sessions over the weekend.

Don't Forget
Special Uganda Informational Meeting 
on Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 pm 
at the Sweet Sleep office in Brentwood, 
116 Wilson Circle Pike, Suite 100 
(in the same building with Mazatlan's near the Brentwood P.O.)

This summer we are once again offering a special Back2Back experience in Uganda. We will send one team the first week of June and another team the second week. But for those who have extra time in the summer we offer the opportunity to make an 18-day journey that bridges both weeks. For only about $500 more you can double your ministry experience with our Back2Back trip.

Uganda Experience – June
3 options – 2 different trips or a 1 extended trip

Gulu – June 1–11 – Open
Cost: $1200 - $1700 plus airfare
Team will be providing hundreds of beds kits to (probably) HIV+ children in northern Uganda. They will also be ministering to and sharing Bible stories to thousands of children, caretakers, and members of surrounding villages.  Download Gulu FAQs

Kampala – June 6–18 – Open
Cost: $1200 - $1700 plus airfare
Team will be providing beds to children in an orphanage in Kampala. They will also be doing arts & crafts, leading Bible studies, and doing recreational activities with the children in the orphanage for the duration of the week.  Download Kampala FAQs

Uganda Back 2 Back Experience – June 1–18 – Open
Cost: Open $1700 - $2200 plus airfare
Team members will be participating in both the Gulu week and the Kampala week. This is a great opportunity for students, teachers and others with extra time in the summer. Because airfare is a big part of the cost, for only about $500 more this trip almost doubles the ministry opportunity.

Application Due April 1 for all three trip options. Download applications here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Religion, Pure and Faultless

One of the great blessings to volunteering within the Sweet Sleep ministry is that I have the opportunity to build new relationships and from those new, outside influences I grow in my faith; being shaped however it is that God intends to shape me.  Recently a new friend helped me read a familiar line of scripture in a new light. 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. 
                             James 1:27

This scripture makes a lot of sense in the context of Sweet Sleep, in whose mission orphans -- and by extension -- widows are served.  But what about the rest of the verse; the part of the verse that spoke to my new friend and called him to become my teammate in Gulu last month?

What does it mean to keep oneself from being polluted by the world?  I did not realize I had been struggling with this, silently, for several months. 

As my involvement with Sweet Sleep has increased, my family has had to adjust to a new normal at home.  They had never had to share me with the outside world.  Over time I have realized a new sensation: 

What do you do when selflessness becomes uncomfortable?  Do you stand firm in the faith that God is using you, actively, in a season?  Or do you allow yourself to be polluted by the world and believe you do not have time or ability to serve Him as He has called you?

What happens when your act of service begins to not make sense to others, or to your life.  Do you adjust so that you can pursue Christ as God has called -- and indeed expects, or do you allow yourself to be polluted by the world and believe in the cynicism and  displaced trust that our society breeds?

What happens when you give until it hurts and what does that even mean?  God expects much from those to whom much has been given.  Do you give with faith that God will provide, even in tight times or do you allow yourself to be polluted by the world and believe that you should hold onto your resources; save them for a rainy day?
The answer is simple:  Religion, pure and faultless is not comfortable.  Pursuing Christ with selfless abandon should feel like drinking from a fire hydrant.  It should overwhelm us and take our breath away and make us cry.  How can we possibly assume we can tolerate His greatness without a measure of pain?  When we love and ache for something so deeply, boundaries and limits of what we would sacrifice tend to become irrelevant.  And when we approach those limits, and tip our toes across those boundaries, and live a life unpolluted by the world, we realize we still have not done enough.  We could never do enough to repay the limits to which our Father has gone for us.

Madelene Metcalf
Trips Coordinator

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why I'm a bedhead...

We love our Bedheads! Here is a rerun of a story from Bedhead Alyson Walker. Alyson has also participated in our Uganda mission trips. You can be Bedhead now or join us on an upcoming Uganda trip this summer. Our Uganda mission trip info meeting is Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 pm at the Sweet Sleep office in Brentwood, 116 Wilson Circle Pike, Suite 100 (in the same building with Mazatlan's near the Brentwood P.O.). Contact for more info.

Why I'm a bedhead...

A few years ago, I became familiar with Sweet Sleep at a conference. I never had thought about how children were sleeping. It just broke my heart to think children, especially orphaned and abandoned children, were sleeping in such terrible conditions.
As a preschool minister at my church, I suggested that we give our VBS offering to Sweet Sleep last year - participating in their Build-A-Bed program. Our kids loved it!
Later, our staff was challenged to read "Radical" by David Platt. After reading it, I saw that Sweet Sleep was going to Gulu, Uganda and I felt that I should step out and go. I am so thankful that I was able to join the work of Sweet Sleep. I saw first hand the children that got new Sweet Sleep beds. Seeing how excited they were for a bed was an amazing experience. I even had the privilege of going to a home and setting up their new beds and nets. The children said they could not wait for bed time to come. I don't know many children who are excited about bed time here at home.
After returning from Uganda I wanted to do more. Becoming a bedhead is a simple way to help each month. Every penny counts and helps children sleep sweetly.
Alyson Walker is currently serving as Minister to Families with Preschoolers at South Tulsa Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has led Sweet Sleep's Build-A-Bed and Nickels for Nets Projects in her church, is serving as a Sweet Sleep Regional Rep for her state and is looking forward to going to Cape Town South Africa with Sweet Sleep this November.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sweet Sleep is on the go

Here at Sweet Sleep we always seem to be on the go. We want to continue to celebrate the team's return from Moldova, click here to see photos on FaceBook

But before you know it we are off again to Uganda this June. 

This summer we are once again offering a special Back2Back experience in Uganda. We will send one team the first week of June and another team the second week. But for those who have extra time in the summer we offer the opportunity to make an 18-day journey that bridges both weeks. For only about $500 more you can double your ministry experience with our Back2Back trip.

If you are interested in any of the Uganda trips this June, we are having a 
Special Uganda Informational Meeting 
on Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 pm 
at the Sweet Sleep office in Brentwood, 
116 Wilson Circle Pike, Suite 100 
(in the same building with Mazatlan's near the Brentwood P.O.)

Uganda Experience – June
3 options – 2 different trips or a 1 extended trip

Gulu – June 1–11 – Open
Cost: $1200 - $1700 plus airfare
Team will be providing hundreds of beds kits to (probably) HIV+ children in northern Uganda. They will also be ministering to and sharing Bible stories to thousands of children, caretakers, and members of surrounding villages.

Kampala – June 6–18 – Open
Cost: $1200 - $1700 plus airfare
Team will be providing beds to children in an orphanage in Kampala. They will also be doing arts & crafts, leading Bible studies, and doing recreational activities with the children in the orphanage for the duration of the week.

Uganda Back 2 Back Experience – June 1–18 – Open
Cost: Open $1700 - $2200 plus airfare
Team members will be participating in both the Gulu week and the Kampala week. This is a great opportunity for students, teachers and others with extra time in the summer. Because airfare is a big part of the cost, for only about $500 more this trip almost doubles the ministry opportunity.

Application Due April 1 for all three trip options

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Gift that is Greater than Riches

This past week will be one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I knew the trip would be hard as I have always held a special place in my heart for children but couldn’t imagine the affect it would have on me.
The last night in Transnistria Tony, our team leader, asked us what was the single most memorable moment was from the week. Well when it came my time; I copped out and said “tons, to many to just say one.” Well I must admit that even though this was mostly true it was probably more due to the fact that I thought I would break down in an embarrassing, blubbering cry if I had to talk much longer.
Well now that I have had time to stop and ponder, I must say my most memorable moment was when a group of the older boys that had been helping us (these guys latched on to me all week) were going through my phone and looking at all my pictures. They were asking tons of questions about my family, hunting and America.
At the beginning I was proud of showing off my two year old son but then as they were scrolling through my 400 something pictures, I quickly felt guilty. I realized that they may see my house or the size of my T.V or just in general how much I have compared to how little they have. By no means am I considered rich in the States; I live in an averaged sized brick home in an east Texas suburb, but to them I might as well have been a millionaire. In that single instant my eyes were opened to how materialistic we Americans are.
I wanted to do something. I mean I had brought several hundred dollars for travel money and my first thought was to give it all to them, but that was not what we were there for. We were there to share the love of Christ through our bed building and the time we spent with them. I really struggled with guilt after this because of how many worldly possessions I have and how little these kids have, and I had grown to really care for these kids and wanted to give them riches beyond their dreams.
It’s funny how if you look in the Bible, God will always show you an answer, whether you are looking for it or not. Towards the end of the week I had woke up early before everyone else and had decided to go down to the hotel lobby and work on my devotion for the week and came across what the true meaning of riches is.
Proverbs 3:13-15
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding. For her benefit is more profitable than silver, and her gain is better than gold. She is more precious than rubies, and none of the things you desire can compare with her.”
Colossians 2:2-3
“My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
On the last day we were able to hand out bibles to these children. The look on their faces helped me to realize that we were able to give them something that was better than gold and more precious than rubies; the word of God

A Mother's Love...

It's so hard to find words to express our experience here in Transnistria. Yesterday was our final day in the orphanage; beds were built; crafts were completed; Bible stories were all told; snacks were consumed. It was the orphans turn to share a little of themselves with us. Our team was treated to a concert performed by the children. Easily one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. We entered their auditorium and were immediately escorted to the front row where they had saved seats for us, the guests of honor. The performers were assembled off-stage to our right decked out in traditional costumes. Their smiling faces and fidgeting feet betrayed the excitement they were feeling, anxious to perform. The auditorium was suddenly filled with music accompanied by the audience clapping to the beat. As child after child took their place on stage to sing or dance I couldn't help but be amazed by the amazing talent the children possessed. As I sat, watching and listening, smiling and clapping I began to imagine what my reaction to them would be if they were my very own children. How my heart would swell with joy and pride as I watched my child on stage. Then it hit me. These kids mama's would never get to see how beautiful they turned out to be, how talented they were. As I watched a beautiful young lady, about the age of my own daughter) sing, tears sprung to my eyes. I tried to control them so that she wouldn't catch me crying--I didn't want her to think I was anything but thrilled by her performance. I wanted her to see reflected in my face what she might see in the face of her own mother if she were able to see her. So, I have a new prayer request for orphans everywhere; when you pray for God to meet their needs, don't forget the intangibles--like seeing someone who thinks you hung the moon sitting on the front row applauding your every move. Pray that they won't miss out on those experiences as well having comfy beds and Jesus in their hearts.
Arlene McDonald

Friday, March 16, 2012

God is the Father to the fatherless

Wow. It is always intimidating to start a blog, knowing that so many are thirsty for words regarding our mission work. We've been preparing for months-God has been preparing our hearts for even longer. But now the moment is here, and all I can say is, "Wow!"

This trip has so far been the most challenging and most rewarding journey I have ever been blessed to be a part of. But God is always faithful, and His plan and love always shines through, even when the Light is dim in a place like Transnistria.

Obviously, bed building is one of our main priorities, so every morning we have commenced with breaking out the sheets and screws and breaking into a sweat. Some of the older boys at the orphanage (around age 13-16 or so) had been given permission to come help us everyday, and let me tell you, help they certainly did! Many of our boys back home could use a lesson from these guys in the art of chivalry, as not a one would hesitate to take something heavy from your arms or let you walk through a door before they did. It is amazing to me that these kids, despite their lack of food, education, etc, made sure that our female, American arms were relieved. Ha, what gentlemen!

What struck me the most, though, about these boys is their utter desire for an older male figure to look up to. Our team has been blessed with two amazing, Texan, hard-working men (Wes and Rob!), who the boys immediately latched onto. They follow Wes and Rob everywhere, paying close attention to instruction about using drills and how to assemble beds, and laugh and smile and ask so many questions when shown pictures of families back home. The boys so desired the attention of Wes and Rob, and love they certainly received. This is one thing that has struck me the most-I have such a wonderful dad, and these kids literally only have 6 men in their lives, all teachers. And while this is unfortunate for the girls, it is an utter tragedy for the boys. So, to see the beautiful smiles, joy, happiness, and love that Wes and Rob gave to these boys, though temporary, there is no doubt that a life-long impact has been made.

And above all, while these children may not have earthly fathers, God is the Father to the fatherless, and loves these kids more than words could every say.

There is so much more I wish I could write, however I fear that there is not enough room in the world to store up words to describe what has occurred in the past several days. However, it is the images of the smiles, hugs, and beds that are literally worth a thousand words.

Please continue to pray hard core for us. It already has made a huge difference, and will continue to do so. God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.

With all my love, in HIS mighty name,
Katie Huey

See more photos on at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moldova team struggles but God is faithful

Currently a team is serving, quietly and faithfully, in Moldova.  Seeking ways to pray for the team, Sweet Sleep staff reached out for an update from the team leader.  Following is an excerpt from the email sent by Tony Black.  Please continue to partner with this team in prayer as His faithful servants work tirelessly to bring hope, love, and the Word of God to the children in Transnistria.

We're doing fine. We haven't been able to blog much, primarily due to daily changes in the program. We have been faced with daily adjustments to our schedule which has required us to regroup and re-plan almost from scratch. We don't arrive back at the hotel until 9:00 pm or after and then have to prepare for the next day. Many of us are getting to bed well after midnight.   We came to Moldova with the the belief we would have two and a half hours each day to do the VBS. This is one hour- to one and a half hours less than usual.

When we arrived we were told that time was reduced to one and a half hours by the director of the orphanage. After our first day of VBS the director reduced our time to a mere one hour as they had issues with how excited the children got about the program.  This was a devastating blow to our team and it took much prayer and discussion and tears to work through how the program could  change that significantly and still have impact.

God, as always, is faithful. We gave ground to the director in this battle so that God could ultimately achieve the victory.  Yesterday was a long, difficult day  but it was very rewarding as smiles and hugs from the children proved God was still working here. The director and assistant director were very complimentary of the day and actually getting to see children sleeping in their new beds during their nap time yesterday was precious.

We've had sickness run through the team. At least 5 of the team members have terrible coughs and fever.

The Internet has also not been reliable.

We will hopefully have more stories ready later today. There are some amazing ones.

Thank you for your concern and continue to pray for strength and health for the team.

--Tony Black, Team Leader

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Faith – Devotion from our Board Chair

We have added a few more photos from the Moldova trip to the FaceBook page, click here to see them.

Many hands work behind the scenes to make these trips possible. David Ward, Sweet Sleep Board Chair, helps guide the Sweet Sleep team to reach our mission of providing a clean, comfortable, healthy place to sleep for orphans across the world and change their lives in the process. David shared his heart with us last week in staff meeting. We want to share that with you.

FAITH: Observations on faith and mission

    •    I have been involved with Sweet Sleep for over two years now and I have come to realize that we can’t accomplish any of our goals. They are two big, too bold and too hard to get our arms around. The only hope we have is to step back each day and allow GOD to show us a path that he wants us to follow. The successes we have achieved and the miracles that have occurred in the lives of these children have been a result of moving in faith and staying close to his will. Many of the unexpected turns in the road to us may look like coincidence but are a part of a plan that is slowly revealed to us. I don’t think that GOD thought it a coincidence that we ran into Health Alert or Open Door. I think that the more faith we have the greater the revelations that occur because of our obedience.
    •    I think that one of the most difficult things to do when working for a mission like Sweet Sleep is handling the daily details of our individual roles with as much joy, enthusiasm and faith as we do when we hold an orphan in their own country.
    •    While the importance of both are the same the daily grind of doing the necessary to reach the important is more difficult
    •    So I want to challenge you to keep to the picture of just one of these orphan children who has touched you fixed in your mind each day.
    •    Over the last two years I have watched Sweet Sleep grow and change. We have made our share of mistakes because of our humanness, but we have pushed forward and achieved great successes.
    •    I believe that faith is a walk manifested most clearly by action. So many say that they believe but don’t follow through. So faith is a commitment to keep walking.
    •    In the New Testament, when talking about faith Jesus seemed to deal with two kinds of people. One set were those who exemplified too little faith and Jesus called them about out that like he did those who were in the boat with him during the storm. They seemed to cry out with fear not faith. Yet he calmed to waters and quieted the wind. The other set were those people, who not always named, showed such visible and undeniable faith they knew Jesus would answer their prayer, such as the one who knew if they just touched his garment they would be healed. I wonder which camp our faith falls in.
    •    There are two verses in the New Testament that I would share with you today
    •    For we live by faith, not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5:7
    •    Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
Matthew 21:20-22
    •    I also think that it is belief that GOD’s power is transformational and that if we are focused on his will in this ministry we can overcome our shortcomings to overachieve for these children.
    •    I have told Jen on a number of occasions that I am not interested in just being a figure head for Sweet Sleep, I want to leave Chairman’s role in Oct knowing that we have meet our strategic plan; that we have exceeded our funding goals and that the organization is running like an efficient business so we can reach the number of children in GOD’s plan for Sweet Sleep. Knowing, for example, that we are the only organization in Uganda providing beds to orphans is an overwhelming piece of information that shows how we have been singled out by GOD for service. What an opportunity, what a responsibility… it takes faith.
    •    As we prepared for our mission journey to South Africa last November several times I heard the prayer that the names of the children are already known and that GOD is preparing the way for us. Did you ever think that somewhere in the world there is a child who already knows one of you and that if you are faithful both of you will be blessed because of your faithfulness?
    •    My prayer for each of you is that you will look at your responsibilities at Sweet Sleep as an important part of this master plan GOD has for Sweet Sleep and your life and that you will make this a transformational ministry.
    •     I want to leave you with a quote from Patrick Overton “When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”

 David Ward, Sweet Sleep Board Chair

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Support the Team in Moldova, Be a Bedhead

The Moldova team is well under way distributing beds to orphans. Click here to see photos on FaceBook and keep up with their progress. We are able to provide a clean, comfortable and healthy place for these children to sleep because of the support of our donors and especially our monthly Beadhead donors. Below are rerunning a story from Bedhead, Kristen Jackson. Pray for the team currently in Moldova but more importantly, support these orphans and Be a Bedhead.

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.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

...Don't be polluted by this world.

We have arrived for what is my third trip in this wonderful, but little known and lesser understood country of 3.5 million. For those who have never been here, it makes little sense for someone from East Texas to make his way to this place during what is Spring Break for many, unless you understand the context under which I and 12 others come. We don't come because this is a vacation mecca just waiting to be discovered, we don't come here because of the allure of great shopping and amazing amusement areas. We come here because God asked each of us to follow through with the word the apostle James gave the early church in James 1:27. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." I know as you read that scripture, you think..."Okay...okay so you're building beds for orphans...that was an easy scripture to quote that fits your circumstance..."
The truth is, that's not really the part of the scripture that's most applicable to what we're doing here. The last part of James 1:27 (which is rarely quoted) says..."and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Why is this more applicable than the other portion of the verse?...for this reason...just as a body of water needs an inlet to allow water to fill the reservoir, it must have an outlet to sustain life. Without the outlet, the water becomes stagnant and the precious life-giving liquid becomes a cess pool of polluted sludge. The seeming, counter-productive out-flow of water is actually the very thing that ensures a constant influx of new, refreshing nourishment.

In the very same way, this group of 12 that I am serving with this week, have made the decision to let the time, talents, and other resources they might have flow from themselves to those less fortunate in the orphanage in Tranistria, Moldova. It would have been so very easy for all of us to use those resources for ourselves and in essence be polluted by the world as we have been so many times before: To become complacent;
predictable; stagnant.

May this choice to follow the instruction of James have eternal significance this week for those children we have been allowed to share life with. We pray that the love that God has so graciously given to us will flow out to those who so desperately need it.

May God Bless you! Continue to pray for us as we serve this week and may Jesus be exalted in this place.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Message from Lucia in Moldova

Tomorrow a team leaves for Moldova to distribute beds in the Transnistrian region. Here is a message from our Program Manager, Lucia Hmleic about that trip.

Starting the 11 of March we’ll have a team of people doing a great project in Hlinoe, a small community in the south west of the Transnistrian region. It is always a challenge to go in that region: to pass the Russian military army (Peace Corps) posts; to never know if the customs officer will allow you to pass or will say “It’s better for you if you did not entered our country”; to know that there are certain things that you’re not supposed to talk about while you’re there, to wait and see if the registration with the passport office will go well…  It is a tensed time. One thing we know for sure is that there are a bunch of orphaned children that need a cozy bed, for a good night sleep.  So we’re taking our chances and let God be our guide and defender.

Despite the political situation in the region the people are very friendly. The director of the orphanage has a great heart for the kids this is why he opened the doors for us to bring the beds and alongside them the Message of God’s Love.  

We plan to provide 100 beds this time, and have a very interesting creative VBS program for a number of 230 children. Every day we’ll do a part of the beds, the children will be helping us. Have a time of sharing the story of God’s love for them and explain that the bed is the expression of that love. Help them understand that God is the one that loves them so much despite of all that’s going on in their lives. 

Yes we know that God has the orphaned children of Transinstria in His mind and would like them to know that too. He wants them to have a sweet night sleep to and know that He loves and cares.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. So much of what Sweet Sleep does empowers women. Most of the caretakers in every country we serve are women. Especially in Africa these women are almost always widows and are as such, as vulnerable and unable to take care of themselves as the children. But by caring for the orphans, they are cared for themselves. In addition in Uganda, Sweet Sleep by purchases magazine bead necklaces from these widows, and as a result we are providing employment, security, and independence.

The caretakers in Moldovan orphanages are no different. They are teachers, nurturers and are the first line of responsibility for these children in that country as well. We want to show them how valued they are. Tomorrow we send a team to distribute beds in Moldova. Since it is so close to International Women's Day we are celebrating these women by bringing them a rose or other flower and some chocolates or other small treats as a token of how much we appreciate their presence in these children's lives.

Please begin praying for the trip next week and celebrate a woman in your life today.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Blonde Haired, Blue Eyed Ugandan orphans

One of the greatest testimonies I often make about Sweet Sleep is how relevant of a ministry it is to our children.  After all, it is a ministry FOR children.  I have seen this relevance in my home over the past four years that I have been involved with Sweet Sleep.  My  children are 4, 7, and 9 years old.  They have grown up, their entire lives practically, watching me serve with and through Sweet Sleep.

The profound impact of Sweet Sleep has not only been realized by the children of Uganda, Haiti, Moldova, and South Africa, but also by my young family, who has grown since early childhood watching my involvement.  The mission of Sweet Sleep – to show God’s love to the world’s orphaned and abandoned children by providing a bed, bible, and mosquito net – is so relevant to our children.  They understand that a bed is a safe place; this is where they rest, where they dream, where they pray.  The covers hide them from their fears and wrap them up just like God giving them a big hug.

It has been beautiful to watch my children grow in their understanding of what it means to act in service and obedience. They understand sacrifice and that God calls us to take care of the orphaned.  They know they are being obedient when they are brave while I am away.  They show their love to the orphans by drawing pictures and writing notes that I take with me.  Over the years that love and those prayers have evolved – and the once “blonde haired, blue eyed” African children’s faces are now shaded dark as their understanding of children a world away grows.

As I tell them stories and show them pictures, they have grown to know these children are just like they are and, more importantly, that God created them and loves them in just the same way that he created and loves each of us.  They know the only difference is that we were born here and that they were born there, and into those circumstances.  They know that God did not put us where we are for our comfort.  He has done so, and has given us a great responsibility – and that is to take care of and love His children in their time of need. 

Because of Sweet Sleep and my involvement in the ministry, orphan care is a part of my family’s vocabulary.  In the evening, my children pray for their dinner, and the orphans.  At bedtime, they pray for their friends and their pets, and for the orphans.  I am grateful and encouraged as I watch my children grow into their roles of service in the Kingdom and I faithfully wait for the day they deliver their written note to an orphan themselves, in person.

Madelene Metcalf
Trips Coordinator

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Vote for Our Giving of Life Grant!

Giving of LifeFor the second year in a row, Sweet Sleep has applied for the Giving of Life grant. We could be one of 14 ministry category winners to receive a minimum grant of $10,000. With enough votes we could be one of three finalists to win an even bigger grant at the end of the year!

Click here to vote for Sweet Sleep now!

Voting ends on May 22, and grant recipients for the first season will be announced June 4.

Giving of LifeGiving of Life was founded by three visionaries with a heart for transformation—Dan Maclellan and Russell Courtney of The SoulCare Project, and Kerry Bural, principal and founder of The Resonate Group. They started the unique web-based initiative in 2011 to revolutionize the way grassroots ministries grow and give life to the world—primarily by designing a hassle-free method for giving financial and promotional boosts to 501c3 organizations. Non-profits like Sweet Sleep apply for grants but we need your help to receive the reward.

Please vote for us and then share with your friends about this important opportunity to get the message of Sweet Sleep changing lives of orphans to an even larger audience. Thanks!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mission Possible Kids, Seymour, Indiana

Sharing Love February inspired many people to do something for orphaned and abandoned children around the world. We are so grateful for the continued encouragement not to mention funding we are getting in response to the stories that have been shared. Today we hear from a group of "special agents" in Seymour Indiana who have been on a mission to help Sweet Sleep build beds.

I am the director of our local chapter of Mission Possible Kids. In this cool, ‘hands- on’ mission club, elementary aged kids are “special agents doing God’s work”. We “go on missions” each month, and in January we partnered with Sweet Sleep.

Through your photos I was able to relay to our agents the devastating conditions in which our friends sleep on the other side of the world. It left nobody in our room longing for one of those old beds! I was able to share with the children your passion and mission of providing a new, fresh bed for every head, and your chosen mission scripture of Proverbs 3:24. That night our agents worked hard and hand-made 50 heart shaped fleece pillows for your organization to distribute with every new bed you provide!

But we also wanted to be able to provide you with more than just sweet pillows. We wanted to be able to send as well a nice monetary contribution to enable you to keep doing what you do in providing complete bed sets to the orphans. So we embarked in another mission we called, “Sweet Sleep- Part Two”. Through the Saturdays in February we set up a fundraising station in the foyer of our church serving hotdogs, Gatorade, and snacks to the basketball league traffic that was passing through (see attached photos). We had prepared and set out for display a full poster board of Sweet Sleep pictures and continuously played a dvd stating our mission and including your videoclip, “We Must Go.” With God’s blessing and the hard work from the agents we were able to meet our goal of raising $1000.00!!!!

So you may be wondering, “Why Sweet Sleep”? Of all the great organizations we partner with, why the extra energy and effort in accomplishing the mission in two parts with Sweet Sleep?

Perhaps ...the other side of the world is not that far away.

You see, one of our agents was born in Ukraine. Only 6 years ago, her little bed was like one we see in your photos. If I shut my eyes I can still smell the very room where she slept, and see the all the little beds lined up side by side in multiples. Anyone who has smelled this smell and seen this sight is forever propelled to do whatever it is they can to provide love and hope for these forgotten.

The agent I speak of is my little girl.

Thank you, Sweet Sleep, for being committed in your mission. We are very happy to be able to support your worthwhile work!

Martha Brown
Director, Mission Possible Kids Seymour, Indiana

Are you looking for a missions project for your group?
If your church group or organization would like more information on how you can raise funds and build beds for orphans through our Build-a-Bed, Nickels for Nets or other programs, contact Sarah at

We only need a few more nets!
We are so close to our goal of 568 nets for newly registered HIV+ orphans who are came out of hiding in Uganda. We still need you to buy nets for only $8 a net. Please give at Mark "Gulu net" in the comments box.