I’ll go…. Send me!!!

We are heading back to Uganda again in just a few days and we are excited about the team of people God has brought together to be His hands and feet!  This is the largest team we’ve ever taken and it will be so nice for each child to have a little bit more personal attention!  We can’t wait to see everyone use their gifts and love these kids all in their own way!  Be sure to be watching the blog and our facebook page for (hopefully) daily updates and photos!  See below for a sneak peek of our team and what the trip will look like!

You may be wondering what a typical trip looks like?


Nate with one of his girls he sponsors whom he now thinks of as one of his daughters!

Each trip is 2 weeks long.  It takes 2 days to get there, 2 days to get back and we get to spend 3 days at each of our 3 CarePoints. We also have an “unwind” day the last day at a game park seeing hundreds of elephants, giraffe, hippos and even a few lion once in awhile!  The point of our trips is to build relationships with all of the kids and the guardians at the CarePoint  and to see the progress that is being made in the community.  Everyone who goes along is encouraged to use whatever gifts they have to invest in the community.  If you love business you can take part in business meetings helping them come up with microfinance ideas and community development plans.  If you are in the medical field you can put those skills to work however you want.  If you love farming you can talk farming to the locals. If you love music- bring your instrument and lead group songs or just sit under and tree and sing/play and children will gather around.   If you love playing you can play all day long- sing, dance, play soccer, play fun Day 3 in OgoloiAfrican games, paint nails, hold babies, hold hands, etc. We spend a lot of time visiting the children’s homes and working to understand their life and their needs to see how we can be the greatest advocates for them to help them succeed in their villages!  From 9 AM to 5 PM we give 150% of our energy loving on these kids!  At night we go back to a house or a hotel to eat and discuss the day with our team.


There’s always the question of “Is going worth it?”

DSC05265We get asked the question a lot “Wouldn’t it be better for us just to send the money that we’re going to spend on airfare & hotel to the kids?” The answer is yes, and no. It IS worth it to go. And yes, there are times when it is better to send funds. But there are two things that money can not give a child (near or far) – and those things aren’t things at all – tangible hugs & time. The majority of the children we serve have been abandoned or have lost their parents due to the AIDS pandemic or other illnesses.  Having adults come to just love & play with & listen to them means the WORLD! We go as ambassadors of Christ, sharing His love & being His hands to wrap around the kids who desperately need to know they are valued & cared for. Jesus Himself came in the flesh, to the people – to all people – as a missionary of love. We are following in His footsteps, taking the Gospel message of love into all the world.  Throughout the year, we serve & love locally, and once a year we ‘go to the uttermost parts of the earth’! THAT is a cost I’m willing to pay! How about you?

Here is our amazing team that is joining us this summer!

laura marshall

Laura Marshall

Laura, her husband and their two kiddos live in Georgia and she has a huge heart to help “the least of these” however she can.  Through her journey in figuring out how her family can be involved in orphan care she discovered Children’s HopeChest.  She traveled to Uganda last summer to find a CarePoint that her family could be involved with.  After her trip she decided to join us in Ongongoja!  Laura has worked hard to find sponsors for the kids in Ongongoja the last few months and we can’t wait for her to meet them and to come back and tell her friends and family all about them!  We are so thankful to have Laura as a part of the Orphans of Teso family.  To learn more about Laura check out her blog about her trip to Africa last year http://www.journeydown.com/

kim (2)Kim Rushing

Kim is the owner of our very favorite restaurant, Noodle Zoo, in Ankeny Iowa.  As soon as she heard about the kids in Uganda she started sponsoring one and has offered to help in anyway she can.  She has such a huge heart and everyone who visits her restaurant feels like they are at home and loved!  Kim is full of energy and joy and we know that the kids will absolutely LOVE her!!

staceyStacey Rathjen

Stacey Rathjen works with us at Century 21SRE and has been a huge part of Orphans of Teso since the very beginning. She has been sponsoring a sweet girl Rebecca for a few years and Rebecca CAN NOT wait to meet her!  Stacey has been to Africa twice but this will be her first time to Uganda!

haydenHayden Crabtree

Hayden is an actress and lives in Nashville Tennessee. She has been sponsoring Patricia in Ogoloi for longer than we even knew Ogoloi existed!!  Patricia had a very life threatening liver disease when the program first started and now is healthy and living life with so much hope and joy because of Hayden’s commitment to her.  We are so excited to meet Hayden (in the Amsterdam airport on our way to Uganda) and get to know her and I know it will be a dream come true for Patricia to meet her as well!

loriLori Somers

This will be Lori’s third trip to Africa!! She has been to Tanzania on a medical mission trip and to Ghana where her daughter and son-in-law (Jake and Janel Sullivan) are working to change lives through their organization called Kingdom Cares International!  But this will be her first trip to Uganda!! Lori is an amazing grandma to her 6 grandkids (3 adopted from Africa) so we have no doubt she will adore all the kiddos in Uganda and love them as her own!!  Lori sponsors two kiddos in Bukedea and she can not wait to meet them!! It will be a dream come true for them to meet their sponsor!

IMG_2285Jess Hanson

Jess traveled with us on our very first trip to Uganda and has returned multiple times since.  She even spent 3 months there last winter spending time at each HopeChest CarePoint teaching them basic hygiene and loving on the kids.  The children at Every CarePoint ask regularly when Jesca will be returning to visit them!  They will be elated when they hear she is coming back to visit!!

jess Duran

Jess Duran

This will be Jess’s 4th trip back to Uganda to spend time with the kiddos who stole her heart!!  She fell in love with these kids her first trip and works hard all year so she can return to visit and love on them each year!! The kids are ALWAYS excited to see Jess and spend time with her (and so are we:)

2014-11-09 21.36.20Ashton deBruin

Ashton (7) has been hearing about the kids in Uganda for many years now and can not wait to meet the kids he has been sponsoring, play soccer, sing songs, dance and experience all there is to experience at the CarePoints.  His older brother Caeden has gone twice now and he has told Ashton all about these amazing kiddos and is so excited it is finally his turn to meet them!! He is currently offering his baking skills to anyone who is interested in any sort of baked good in return for a donation towards his trip!!  He has also been redeeming cans/bottles from Dad’s work and Noodle Zoo for the last few months to help pay for his trip expenses.

dylan jenDylan and Jen deBruin

We of course can not wait to get back to our home away from home.  These kiddos and their families have become an extended family to us and we love every minute we can spend with them!!

micoleMicole Van Walbeek

Micole is an amazing mom and fellow real estate agent in the Des Moines area.  She has had a couple great years in real estate and felt a tug on her heart to do something bigger than herself and pay foreword the blessings she has received in her life so she decided to sponsor a child and go to Uganda with us!   We are super excited to have Micole traveling with us to share her abundance of love with all of the kids!!

tyra j

Tyra Swenson

This will be Tyra’s third trip to Uganda with us!  She has left a legacy of love with these kids and every single trip she is not there they are asking us to please tell Tyra to come back and visit!! The multiple children her family sponsors will especially be happy to see her again. They have been praying for two years for her return!  The bond built with your sponsored child is certainly life changing for both sponsor and child!

jamie_editedJamie Wingert

Jamie is a friend of Tyra’s and heard about the kids in Uganda and immediately wanted to travel with us to meet them!  Jamie has been married for 14 years and has a 14 year old son and an 11 year old daughter.  She has had a long time love for children and families and supporting their success. She is the leader of the youth group at her church.  Her youth group has been very active in social justice education and global awareness and she has always had a desire to learn more and do more so she can be a better advocate. Her youth want to conquer and change the world and she wants to help them do that. Her prayer is that this trip is only the very beginning of a much bigger journey of changing the world with her family and youth group!

summerSummer Garin

Summer heard about Orphans of Teso through her friend Destiny who traveled with us two years ago.  She began sponsoring a little girl, Sharon, last year and can’t wait to meet her! Summer lives in Cedar Rapids and is a nurse.  She is single and has no kids of her own so she is excited to meet the kids in our CarePoint and we certainly love them as her own by the time she returns.

indyIndy Gilson

Indy just got married at the end of April and her amazing new husband Joel is letting her go to Uganda to fulfill a life long dream!!  Indy started sponsoring a little guy in Ongongoja as soon as the children were profiled and can not wait to meet him and all the kids in our program.  She has a huge heart for children and will be such a great addition to our team.

joelJoel Gilson

Joel is Indy’s husband and after Indy decided to go Joel did as well!! Joel and Indy didn’t go on a honeymoon after they got married so they are making this trip to Uganda their “honeymoon!” What a great way to start their marriage!!  Joel just started sponsoring his own boy in Ongongoja and is super excited to meet him and play soccer with him!! We are so thankful to have Joel on the team- finally another guy!!

Dawn and Ali Teig

Dawn and Ali were planning to go to Zambia to work in an orphanage this summer but that trip didn’t end up working out and right about that time they heard about our trip we had planned and asked if they could join us!  Ali is going to be a senior in high school this next year and plans to do some sort of project for school next year involving our villages!! We are excited to see what her and the HopeChest staff come with for her to work on and get her community involved with!  We are really excited God put our paths together and that it worked for them to join us! They also just started sponsoring a girl in Ongongoja that we are excited for them to meet!

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