Stepping out of the Boat….Part II
The last couple of months have been a lot of work to try and get as many of the kids in Ogoloi sponsored as we possibly could before our upcoming trip back to the village in December. Our hope was that we would be able to return to the village with the vast majority of the kids sponsored.
This would mean that we could concentrate our efforts moving forward on the long term commitment we have to Ogoloi (through Children’s Hope Chest) to put together the 5 year development plan for the care point. This long term objective will help create sustainable opportunities for lasting change in the lives of the kids in this region as well as the lives of the local villagers.
For anyone following our posts in the last couple of months, you will know that this has been an “interesting” endeavor to say the least. There have been amazing stories of how God has been working in people’s hearts to be loving “the least of these”, leading so many around us to commit to sponsor a child and many people deciding to sponsor more than one child. Some have also been faithful to pass on info to friends and family members. What a blessing.
|Caeden raising money for
his new friend in Ogoloi
Even Caeden, our five year old was able to save enough through lemonade sales on the hottest week of the year to sponsor his own new friend that he is dying to meet. If you haven’t yet, please read this pretty darn cool story at “Proud (but increasingly poor) Dad”. Caeden will likely be joining me next year in Uganda.
And then there have also been a lot of interesting tales on the other side of the coin. The usual objections. The budget’s too tight. We prayed about it and we don’t think God wants us to be stretching our budget too far. We are saving for a vacation. We already tithe. We would but we feel God wants us to focus on sharing the gospel instead… you know, that kind of stuff….
But God has been incredibly faithful. In just a short few weeks we have been amazed to see more than 95 of the 120 kids sponsored already. And more people around us still keep stepping up each week to pick up more sponsorships. We had 3 more at the end of last week. We aren’t “there” yet – not by a long shot….but it seems that if God continues to provide a flow of people willing to step up at the rate that he has been, that we will have most all of the kids accounted for by the end of the year. This is truly amazing.
To learn more about sponsoring a child please read the following and consider joining us in this work to care for widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27)
Heart for Bukadea
But in the midst of all this “busy-ness” working to get the sponsorships for Ogoloi in place, the burden in my heart for Bukadea (the carepoint of almost 300 kids about an hour or two away from Ogoloi) has never subsided.
I have met with several people about the potential of their churches taking on Bukadea. I have worked to explain that it was a perfect opportunity for a local church to step up to the plate on because the buildings are already there, and all we would need was a medium (or even small) church to collectively agree to sponsor just 1 child per family and we could easily find a way to fund this otherwise thriving example of the church in action – His body living out the gospel by loving God – by loving people.
And there has been great hope. A couple of meetings with leaders in local churches in the area went very well. We received open ears, interested and sincere questions, and willingness to consider the idea. And for that I have been grateful.
When you know…you know
But about 2 weeks ago, I was discussing some logistics with the folks at Children’s Hope Chest headquarters in Colorado. I had been curious about what it would look like as we moved from the sponsorship phase to a focus on the development projects for the care point.
What had crossed my mind was that it seemed that if we were faithful to continue trying, then it was likely that we would be able to find more sponsorships than there are currently documented orphans and vulnerable kids in Ogoloi. I asked Laura (VP of Advancement) if there were any other carepoints in the Soroti region that we should consider visiting in December that perhaps we could direct willing sponsors towards. Perhaps another small care point like Ogoloi…perhaps 50 or so kids, where we could help find sponsors for a few of the them.
As we were discussing the possibility of this idea, and brainstorming about potential other locations to visit in December, (for a reason I can’t recall) Bukadea was brought up as an example of a care point that clearly needed more sponsors. Bukadea?
But as soon as the mention of Bukadea was made I had an overwhelming feeling that nearly made me pull the car over (I was doing 70mph on the interstate on the way to Ames). Now I know…all the baptists and cessationists in the room are squirming in their seats, and believe me, I am the last person to talk about the “voice of God” informing me of things, like who to marry, or which job to take, or which pair of jeans to buy.
But as I was driving I was hit with an overwhelming sense of responsibility and a moment of logic defying clarity. We should step up, and work to find sponsors for Bukadea.
Stepping out of the boat
Now again….when we went to Uganda this last trip in June, we knew what we were looking for. Something rural, something small, something manageable. Ogoloi. There was no way we would plan to take on the task of finding sponsors for more than a hundred kids.
So the idea of taking on Bukadea, on top of Ogoloi, sincerely never crossed my mind. We own a medium sized real estate firm, my business partner and I have medium sized circles of friends, so it seemed right that a medium sized step of faith was fitting. Right?
And although I won’t go into the details too much, I suspect that although I pretend to not understand what God is up to, I suppose I actually do have a good idea.
Whether feeding multitudes with a few loaves of bread, or having his followers step out of their fishing boats onto lakes – Jesus had a tendency to place his followers in a position to take on challenges larger than themselves, so that it was only by His power that they could possibly have success.
This was true of God throughout the ages, having his outnumbered and outmatched Israeli army march in circles around fortified cities, young boys fight giants with slingshots, and even fathers marching their sons up mountains to sacrifice them (Abraham and Isaac – and of course Jesus). God has always wanted man to recognize that He (God) could do mighty works, through men….when men were willing to step out of their boats.
A Sibling for Ogoloi
So, after discussing the logistics and a plan (if you can call it that) with CHC, we have decided to move ahead with taking on the commitment to “adopt” the Bukadea carepoint in addition to Ogoloi. I like to think of it as adopting a sister for Ogoloi.
In many ways this is the perfect situation. The care points are close enough together that we can take teams each year to both locations simultaneously. Bukadea has much less of a need for ongoing development planning and fund raising (although there will be some). And Bukadea is already blessed with fantastic local leadership from the local Ugandan church and the widows of Teso.
As I write this, Children’s Hope Chest is in the process of working to re-document and profile the kids at Bukadea, and we hope that within a month or two we will be in a position to be able to begin finding willing sponsors for these incredible kids immediately thereafter.
We will likely be working to change up a lot of details to link Ogoloi and Bukadea’s sponsoring communities so that we can truly consider Ogoloi and Bukadea to be “sister Care Points”. For example we will likely rename the facebook page and Blog to be “Orphans of Teso” etc.
And we will need to take some further steps in the next several weeks to reach out to those around us to ask for help in accomplishing this task. We can’t do this alone. This is admittedly an enormous task. And we are going to need a lot of help.
But we are willing. And we serve an extremely big God.
He owns all the cattle on all the hills (as Ugandans measure wealth :)) and has direct access to the wealthiest group of people that claim his son’s name ever to walk the face of the earth. In fact, he has access to everyone who doesn’t claim His son’s name too! Its all His. He owns the universe.
So if He wants it done it will be done. All we can do is the work he has set before us….whether that it is as silly as marching around a fortified city blowing a trumpet, stepping out of a boat in the middle of a lake, or committing to find sponsorships for more kids than there are people that I know.
Here I am – Send me
“God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called”
We aren’t qualified to do this
– But neither was Moses. And neither were the disciples for that matter. They were a bunch of fisherman, and tax collectors, and tent makers.
We aren’t practically able or likely to be able to pull this off
– But neither was Abram or Sarai at 100 years of age. And neither was the centurion who set off to find the Messiah to heal his dying servant. Walking on water seldom works – at least not when He isn’t involved.
And I am learning that much of the Christian life is like this. The disciples didn’t know what to think when He asked them to drop their nets and follow Him. But they knew that he was worth following. They didn’t know where He would take them. But they knew that they should go. And they did.
And in the same way, I believe that God is calling each and every one of us to step out of the boat that is the great lie of the safety of the American Evangelical church-going, bible-study-attending complacency. I believe that in many different capacities, and in all different forms, God is calling us to lay down our nets and follow Him. I believe that He is calling us to radical self abandoning cross-carrying obedience – the kind that we are told in our churches is unnecessary in this day and age for us to adopt…whether explicitly or just by way of example.
I think that so often we think that the call to action must be for someone else. We think that God needs to act through people with more means, groups with bigger budgets, folks with more time, the clergy….you know …someone else.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said: “Here am I. Send me!”
— Isaiah 6:8
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
While we work to get the details in place for the Bukadea carepoint, please consider helping us in any of the following ways. Its so critical that everyone understands that we need help in accomplishing this, and that this sentence is meant for YOU…not the next person to read this. No, really – You! If you can help in any of these ways we greatly appreciate it.
- Consider sponsoring a Child in Ogoloi for $34 a month (Learn more here)
- If you would be willing to sponsor a child in Bukadea please let myself or Jen know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will update you as soon as we have profiles for these kids.
- Join the Facebook Page so that we can share updates with you. (Please do this whether you are sponsoring a child or not). Share the Facebook Page…
- Share this Blog (or our other posts) with your friends on Facebook or by email. I know this sounds trivial, but it is important to spread the word out past our immediate network. We already have sponsors around the world as a result of this. Simply click the “Share” button at the top left hand corner of the blog.
- Consider chatting with your church leaders about the possibility of your local church adopting a care point. I am happy to fill you or your leaders in on the details or pass on info about who to speak with.
- If you are in a position to or know of someone who is in a position to help with the larger fund raising efforts for the development plans for Ogoloi and Bukadea please contact me for more info.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
– Matthew 25:40