Thursday, April 25, 2013

What We Have Been Doing in Uganda

Part 1 of 3

Uganda is a country that has been torn apart. People groups, North & South regions, and the LRA have all been factors into how Uganda is today. How the Government is run, how the people groups interact together, and just how the people survive. To create a better life, children will strap themselves to the bottom of Greyhound buses to ride to Kampala to become street beggars. Some don't even make it to Kampala. But those that do, a life of cyclical poverty begins. All they know is how to live on the streets, to become hard, but to never forget their family back home and send them the money they are able to collect. They become street children. They do have a family back home, but they may not be able to go back home or even know how. Their family may not have been able to provide for the child so they said that they had to go to Kampala so that they could provide for themselves.

This is what Josephine - Sweet Sleep's National Director for Uganda - saw when she was able to go on a 5 day journey with an indigenous partner organization. Josephine was able to see how the organization takes street children and street families that have been displaced in cities and bring them back to their families to restore the community. And we would like to take you on that journey. Beginning May 12th, we will go on a 6 day journey through Josephine's Journal. We will see the desperation and need for going to larger cities to provide a better life and then the hope and restoration of these children and families by going back to their communities. On May 12th, we will have an Introduction Post to this journey so that we can explain a bit more about how Sweet Sleep can help, and also a quick explanation of the region that Josephine journeyed in - Karamoja. Then May 13th through May 17th, we will release a daily post from Josephine of what she saw on her 5 day journey, along with prayer requests from that day.

We are so thankful that God has given Sweet Sleep an opportunity to grow into other regions in Uganda. Please be praying for our continued ministry in Uganda, for the leadership and guidance of Sweet Sleep staff in Uganda, and that God reveals His good, pleasing, and perfect will in ours and your impact on orphans.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What We Have Been Doing In Moldova

That title feels all wrong. Let's try again.
"What We Have God Has Been Doing In Moldova"  Much Better! In reading the reports from Ion Groza, our Sweet Sleep In-Country Staff Member in Moldova, it is very evident that God is up to BIG things in Moldova.

In case you have not been keeping up with Moldovan news, they are underway on the deinstitutionalization (DI, for short) of orphanages so that Moldova can join the EU. DI is a very long word meaning they are closing the orphanages. This created a couple of questions, such as  

  1.  Where will the orphans go when the orphanages close? 
  2. Where will the beds go when the orphanages close?

Ion has started to take the steps necessary to answer these two questions "that the church of tomorrow can grow through this ministry". In regards to Question #2, he is talking to local authorities to see if they will cooperate with this ministry of making sure that the child continues to have their bed, instead of the bed becoming government property. Ion was also able to meet with the Vice Minister of Ministry of Education, Mr. Igor Grosu, in late January about having the beds follow the children when the orphanages are shut down. Mr. Grosu has accepted the vision, and also given Ion the ability to participate in the meetings dealing with the policies involved with child integration into families!

With the help of the Baptist Union, Ion have created a three step process to answer Question #1: 
  1. Inform church leaders and churches about the need of orphans being taken in for a vacation, foster care, or even adoption. 
  2. Connect Christian families and children so that they can develop a "harmonious relationship". 
  3. Integrate the children into their new families. 

So in answering Question #1, Ion is answering with another question: Why not end the cycle and create forever families? In January, Ion and Bishop Miron presented this ministry to 45 ministers in Moldova. In February, they presented to over 300 ministers! At every meeting questionnaires were distributed so that families could begin the process of receiving more information about being a part of the orphans ministry. Many families have already said that they would like to engage in this ministry and some have even said that they know they would like to adopt! 

"We hope and pray that many believers will open their hearts to these children and will receive them in their homes in order to have an impact in the lives of these children by bringing them to Christ and giving them hope and a future." -February Report, Ion Groza

Please Pray

1. Some Christian families who have already adopted children need new beds for their children.
2. Praise that child integration has already been readily accepted by believers in Moldova!
3. Pray for the organization of the meeting for all the families who would like to engage in orphan ministry.
4. Pray that local authorities and government officials agree to collaborate and continue to support orphan ministry.
5. Pray that the legal process is smooth so that the families and children are able to find their forever families.