I am not even sure where to begin. The trip to Uganda last week and the grand opening of Tender Hearts Baby Home was overwhelming to say the least. First, I want to thank all the mission team members from Nightlight’s team and Grace Life Fellowship for working so hard to get the final touches complete before the event. Everyone worked so hard. Over 200 people attended the event. A few attendees were from the US, but many were from the local community. Those in attendance included probation officers, police officers, friends and family of the Ngandas, church members, grandparents of children adopted through Tender Hearts into the US, and families who had been reunited with their children. All in all, it was a great day and a great celebration! We all sat back in amazement observing what God has done since 2009, when I made that first trip to Uganda and met Ken and Cathy for the first time. We want to give God all the glory and honor. He is able!
The Entrance Gate to the Baby’s Home
Twenty-three team members from two teams
In Uganda, when you are excited about something, you dance!
Ken and Cathy honored all of the Tender Hearts staff.
A few of the children performed for us.
Ken and Cathy gave speeches and thanked everyone who had helped bring the Baby Home to this point.
One story that really touched my heart was of a father whose son had gone missing for 10 months. He had left his son in the care of relatives while he traveled. When he returned, the relatives told him they had abandoned the boy because they thought he would not be returning. He searched for him for 10 months. He went to radio stations and ran advertisements to no avail. That young boy is named Alex. He is 6 years old. Alex was found by local police and sent to Tender Hearts. He was old enough to tell his caretakers some things about his family. The social workers were able to locate his grandfather who called his father. Alex’s father spoke at the grand opening and said, “Can you believe that these people cared for my son for 10 months, and they did not ask me to pay anything?”
Alex and his Dad
Their story is one of many reunifications that have happened in Uganda through Tender Hearts. In 5 years, they have had 90 children come through their doors. Of those 90 children, 18 have been adopted into loving homes in the United States. Tender Hearts is currently carrying for 28 children. Thank you Ken and Cathy for your heart for children and for answering God’s call to care for orphans.
The Nightlight team has been in Uganda for 3 days, and I am just now getting around to updating the blog. We have had 3 very busy days and last night, we had a black out in the evening. There are so many wonderful stories to share of God’s grace and love and, I’m certain there will be many more throughout the week.
We began work at the baby’s home on Monday by painting murals on the walls and turning the garage into an office. Everyone has worked very hard and the results are quite impressive. We have all grown more attached daily to the children at Tender Hearts. The children warmed up to us much faster this time as well. We are constantly humbled by their sweet faces and the love they show us which is so innocent and tender. Today, we gave the nannies the afternoon off and cared for the children under Cathy’s direction. We learned that the nannies are amazing women who accomplish much every day. By the time they returned, we were exhausted and the baby’s home was in disarray.
Our team is truly wonderful. Everyone has worked very hard and has shown the love of Christ to everyone we have met. We have had devotion each night and been unable to avoid tears each time. We are so blessed by the presence of the Lord each day.
Tomorrow we are going to survey the land where the future baby’s home will be built. We will also be visiting Vivian’s grave and will hold a mini memorial service. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our team. We have been blessed by God’s favor and provision. We only lost two bags of luggage, and we should receive them tomorrow. Please pray for continued health for our team members and for our continued safety.
Ken and Cathy – Directors of the Tender Hearts Baby Home
It is difficult to find words to express the experience of Nightlight’s first Uganda Mission Trip. We took a team of 22 people and each person had a story about how God lead them to be on the trip and confirmed his direction many times. There were many stories regarding fundraising miracles, details working out, and even team members being healed of illnesses. While we were in Uganda, our hearts were touched in so many ways, and there were many tears shed. We had loads of donations, such as, medical supplies, diapers, clothes, toys, teddy bears, blankets, and so much more. Kenneth and Cathy, directors of Tender Heart’s Baby’s Home, said that they were overwhelmed that 22 strangers would take time out of their lives to bless them. Kenneth said at times he just stopped and looked around at all of us working. He said it was very humbling to see that the dream God had given him was coming true and that so many people were helping. Continue reading →
Today was a big day. It is amazing what you can accomplish with a team of 20 to 30 people. We worked at the babies home building the gazebo and painting for many hours. Our team is tired but doing great. We will be back working tomorrow bright and early. We also plan to visit the Comforter Center tomorrow. I am uploading some photos but it will likely take all night. Therefore, I hope that this post comes up with the photos eventually. My apologies if it doesn’t.
Thanks to everyone who donated toward our team members’ expenses and also toward the babies home. We have raised enough money for all team members to travel and to complete all of the projects we had in mind for the babies home. We have also received multiple donations, such as, baby formula, medical supplies, vacation bible school materials, and so much more!
It is hard to believe the time is finally here. Our team of 22 people will be leaving Saturday October 23rd and returning November 1st. Please keep the team in your prayers. We plan to take many photos and update the blog as much as possible. To quote one of our team members, “I can’t wait to see what God is going to do. We have already received so many blessings, and we haven’t even left yet.”
As many of you know, we are planning to take a team of missionaries to Uganda October 22nd through November 1st. We currently have about 17 missionaries committed to the trip. In addition to raising their own funds to pay for their trip, we also need to raise funds to complete projects while we are in Uganda. Below is a list of projects that Kenneth (Tender Hearts Baby’s Home Director) has suggested the team could do while in Uganda. Naturally, we can not expect to do every project in 10 days. However, what we are able to do, will likely depend on the amount of support raised. If you or your church would like to contribute to any of these projects, please click the donate button below. Please feel free to pass this e-mail on to anyone you know who may be interested in helping.
Children’s play area; Swings, One slide, climber, Merry go around & see-saw $ 1400 USD
Nightlight Christian Adoptions has put together a video with photos from our last mission trip to Uganda. It tells a great story about the people of Uganda and is very compelling. Please feel free to use this video in your church and community events to raise support for Tender Hearts Babies Home.
As you know for the past few months, Nightlight has been in the planning stages of preparing a team to go to Uganda this coming October. Unfortunately, a few of our team members have had unexpected conflict and are now unable to travel. Because of these events we are extending one more opportunity for you to join if you feel led to do so. If God is calling you to Kampala and you have not yet responded please do. We are praying that hearts and minds will be opened and that God will accomplish His work through us over the next months and years to come.
The dates of our trip are October 22-31st. The cost is approximately $2500. If you are interested in going on this trip please email Lisa ASAP. Plans are progressing very quickly as the time for our departure grows near!
This is the second and concluding portion of my interview with Joshua Louk. The first part can be read here. Joshua and Laurel’s personal ministry blog is http://thegospelinaction.com.
You have a particular interest in ministry to orphans. What motivates that?
The Lord used a CNN documentary called “Easy Prey” to plant a burden in my heart for Romania’s abandoned children. Seeing the hopelessness in the eyes of the street children, I longed for them to know the hope and love of Christ. As I and my wife searched the Scriptures, God used His Word, prayer, and a survey trip to Romania to confirm and to amplify our desire to take the gospel to these children. Some specific passages the Lord used include Proverbs 31:8-9, which says,”Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”; James 1:27 which says,”Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and keep oneself unstained from the world”; and James 2:16 which says, “and [if] one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” God also used a study of Matthew in our hearts. The value that Jesus places on children and their nurture and training is astounding. Continue reading →
Tomorrow, January 17, Carolina Hope’s Director of International Programs, Lisa Prather, and Director of Ministry Outreach, Dan Cruver, will be traveling to Ethiopia along with a professional camera man (on loan from another ministry, which has generously made him available to us). The purpose of the trip is to conduct research for Carolina Hope’s Ethiopia adoption program, minister to the orphans, and to document the people, culture, and needs in order to create a promotional video.
Below is the (slightly edited) text of an email from our Ethiopia adoption coordinator (himself an Ethiopian) who will be Lisa and Dan’s guide during their trip:
I am excited to see you here in Addis Ababa. I am also very happy that you like to visit other places to get a better understanding of the people, culture, and scenery of Ethiopia. I have chosen the Southern part of the country for you to visit. It is known for its huge population, diversified culture, and natural resources. There are high number of orphaned and abandoned children in the area.
On the 18 of January you shall meet some of officials at the Ministry of Women, Ministry of Justice and Addis Ababa City Administration Civil and Social affairs office. Continue reading →