I spent most of my work day managing sales projects. This is great news for our fundraising efforts with our nonprofit. I have shed tears, blood and sweat over raising funds. If anyone would have told me seven years ago when I was a fancy lady in Scottsdale that I would work hard raising money and seeking donations from people I would have crawled under the bed. It isn’t something I like to deal with when I am being approached to support a cause, so asking others to put my cause above all the millions of good causes out there isn’t something that settles in my heart without much consternation.
When I first went to a church class in Katy a lady next to me became my instant friend, and the next thing I know she’s selling me makeup, calling all the time and emailing too often. I like the makeup I use. I don’t want anyone convincing me I should change. I really don’t want to be the makeup lady.
When I taught fitness I was passionate about it. I wanted to inspire everyone to take better care of their health and learn to exercise safely and do it with good discipline. I believed in what I was doing and I knew it had great benefits for everyone. It wasn’t hard for me to promote healthy living because I believed in it so much. I have even more passion about helping orphaned children in Uganda, but now I have to figure out how to raise the money to do it.
This cause we serve with our nonprofit is something I believe is good and right for me to work at with all my passion. At no point do I ever expect people or groups who have their own cause to join with mine. One pastor I respected said, “i’m not sheep stealing. Stay with your church.” Likewise, I’m not running a popularity contest. I simply welcome those who feel moved towards helping the needs of children to be able to make an impact on their lives. I welcome all the help I can get. And I make sure the children get the help that is given.
I know what happens to children like ours if they didn’t have a structured home with love, routine, responsibility, protection and guidance. They would disappear in the bush of Africa, vulnerable and alone. No one likes to say it out loud but the witchdoctors in Africa still require their patrons to find a child to offer as sacrifice, usually to insure the riches they enjoy don’t disappear all at once. Our own children admit having fears of
“the night dancers” otherwise known as these types of rituals and ceremonies. We know what happens to girls who are isolated and in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have volunteered in Uganda for a safe house that rescues girls from prostitution on the streets. Some of those girls are between the ages of 8-10. That’s the worst case scenario. More commonly, a young girl finds herself pregnant and alone to raise a child when she can’t even take care of herself. That’s the most common story I am told while visiting people in Uganda. For me, it was time to do the uncommon thing and do something rather than just talk about it.
When my eyes were opened and I understood how people struggled to live I heard God whisper, “yes you can help there. Jump in I am with you.” Girls start their periods in class and they are unprepared, sometimes unsure of what has happened, and with shame and embarrassment never return to class. Make sanitary supplies available to girls and they will stay in school. That’s simple. Boys who don’t grow up with a man to show them how to be a man, husband, or father are likely to fail toward selfishness when it is their turn to be responsible. The answer is to teach the boys, provide a role model for them and challenge them to overcome selfish desires. Raise the boys to become excellent leaders as modeled by Jesus in the bible. Teach them all that God empowers us to do what is right when everyone around us is doing wrong.
The struggle I wrangle the most in steering the ship is TRUTH….AMAZIMA. (ah-mah-zee-mah) What is true culturally is not always true biblically. Each of us has to decide at some point, what is my source of truth? What am I going to stand on that helps me go in the right direction, even if it means going against what everyone else is doing? I believe the bible it truth, it is God’s mind revealed to man. It is all true and I personally submit my ways to its teaching because above all human reason or feeling I trust God.
In cultural tradition, men in Uganda leave the women to take care of the children and the home. She is responsible to educate and feed the children with the work of her hands. He goes off to work, but he is not obligated to use the money he earns to help their needs. He pays rent or buys land. He usually socializes with other men sharing meals with meat and drinking alcohol. That’s typical. Of course not all men are this way. The ones who chose God’s truth in the teaching of the bible chooses to be a leader in the family that shares, loves and teaches. But they are going against their culture.
We have twelve boys in our care in Uganda. I am often asked what are our plans for them in the future? We are going to teach them how to be loving husbands, good leaders, to trust God’s word over the culture, and to be more selfless like Jesus than full of self like Judas. Swimming upstream is possible because the power of an Almighty God is behind it.
All that is to say I don’t see what I do as fundraising. God will provide the funds because these are his children and he is the one who controls this ministry. I am a worker. I believe in what I do. I understand I have a unique position to be able to connect those who want to help with those who need the help. With this position comes the great responsibility to protect the funds, watch those dollars turn to shillings, and prove the impact of the resources as they reache the children. I make a promise to get the funds to the children, and I struggle upstream to make sure it actually does. I need the protection of God to do this work, so I cannot, will not go outside his boundaries of righteousness. That’s the loneliness in my work. In a place where making a bribe is the way to get it done there I stand refusing to do it, and I am blamed for making all transactions difficult, slow and laborious. So. I won’t do it. I won’t step on the rights of someone to get my way as was done to Eddie when he had to spend the night in jail though he did nothing wrong. I had opportunity to do that to someone else in revenge, and I refused. I am not confused here. I am not God. I submit to God who has a plan for all who do wrong. My job is to move forward with my task of orphan care and do what is right, and I invite anyone anywhere with the hearts call to make a lasting difference in the lives of the children in our home to join me. The hooligans are trash on the road that God will clear. I’m moving on down the road.