Uganda, June 2-11

There have been lots of questions about what exactly I will be doing in Uganda. So here are the details as of now…

I will be traveling June 2-11 to Jinja, Uganda. The trip is being organized by the organization Visiting Orphans.
The vision of Visiting Orphans is:
*To enlist Church volunteers to visit orphanages so they may meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs of orphans.
*To develop relationships, provide comfort and to share the Gospel with orphans.
*To provide financial aid for child sponsorship, medical assistance and construction to improve the living conditions of orphans.
*To mobilize Christian churches to help orphans experience the blessing of family.

I will be traveling with a team of about 30 people. The team will be lead by the wonderful Kari Gibson and Michael Smalley.
Here is our team website.
While in Uganda, we will be working with:
The trip will cost approximately $3,000-$3,200 depending on the cost of flights. This does not include extra fees such as required vaccinations.
You can support me and my team in several ways:
*You can make a direct donation to my Paypal account.
*You can purchase one of my awesome t-shirts. There is a link to the right.
*You can purchase some yummy coffee.
*You can donate any unwanted items to a yard sale I will have in the spring.
*You can be my billboard. Tell your friends, family, enemies, whoever about our work in Uganda. Advertise on Facebook or Twitter.
*You can make a tax deductible donation through Visiting Orphans. Just be sure to select the June 2-11, Uganda trip. Select “yes” when asked, “Would you like to designate this donation to a specific team member?” Type “Amanda Smith” in the box provided.
Most importantly, remember to PRAY for my team over the coming months. I am so excited to see how God is going to use us!

God’s Heart

The numbers
  • The number of children in the world that have lost their mother or father, are parent-less, or have been abandoned, now exceeds 147 million. This absolutely staggering number is almost equivalent to one-half of the total population of the United States.

  • Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.

  • An estimated 17.5 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS; more than 14 million of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Diarrhea is the second most common cause of death in young children, after pneumonia. It kills more than 1.5 million children under 5 years of age every year, representing 17 per cent of all deaths in children under 5.
  • Diarrhea is caused by germs that are swallowed, especially germs from feces. This happens most often where there is unsafe disposal of feces, poor hygiene practices, or lack of clean drinking water.
  • Each year, over 1.4 million children die from diseases that are preventable with readily available vaccines.
  • In the US there are approximately 500,000 children in foster care. Approximately 130,000 of those children in foster care are waiting and available for adoption.
  • In the past hour 1,625 children were forced to live on the streets by the death or abuse of an adult.
  • In the past hour 1,667 children under the age of five died from malnutrition and vaccine preventable diseases.
  • In the past hour 115 children became prostitutes.
  • In the past hour 66 children under 15 were infected with HIV.
  • In the past hour 257 children were orphaned because of HIV/AIDS

The faces

This is Andrew. A team with Visiting Orphans met him a couple of days ago. Andrew was living under the care of Renee Bach and her ministry, Serving His Children. Renee is serving the least these in Jinja, Uganda. When the team met Andrew he was four years old. Andrew was extremely malnourished. On this past Friday, Andrew went to be with Jesus. His last words? “I want my mommy.”
Christie Cotney is serving the least of these in the Bugabo Village in Uganda. She met this man last week. He is the father to three children. Someone came into his home, stole all he owned, and beat him. They then hung him by his arm.
This is his arm now. He and his children were found living in a church.
This is Isaac Sembajwe. I sponsor him through Christie’s child sponsorship program. He is nine years old. He lives with his father, 4 brothers, and 1 sister. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up. His favorite animal is a cow. His favorite color is yellow.
This is the Korah Dump in Ethiopia. These people live amongst the filth. They dig through the garbage in order to survive.
These are all real people, real children, who want LOVE.

There is one thing about God’s nature that is inescapable. God LOVES.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8

There are two things that we are called to do as His followers. LOVE Him and LOVE others.

“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” -Matthew 22:36-40

Another truth that is clear from God’s word is that He LOVES the orphan, the widow, and the alien.

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” –Deuteronomy 27:19

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” -John 14:18

He calls us to LOVE and care for the orphan, widow, and alien.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” -James 1:27

Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.” –Isaiah 1:17

“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” -Zechariah 7:10

I don’t know about you, but I want more of God’s heart. I want Him to break my heart for what breaks His. I want to see through His eyes. I want to LOVE because He LOVES.

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise…

…To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” -Revelation 5:12-13

Statistics taken from: www.unaids.org; abbafund.wordpress.com; www.unicef.org; www.hfgf.org