I was blessed enough to go to Pader northern Uganda and spend a little over a month there with the children of Pader Orphans Caring Project, an organization founded by a former child soldier. About 2 weeks before I left I was asked if I could sponsor an income-generating project, (bead making), for the kids. I wasn't able to (it was about $1,000 USD to start) but I put the request in my blog and within 2 days someone donated the full amount!
The beads we are selling at FNL are the fruit of that project! The kids make the beads, and thereby learn a trade and all of the proceeds from them go DIRECTLY to the kids themselves, for school fees, medical, clothes, food for the orphanage, etc. The project will be self-sustaining after we sell these and our last few are up for grabs at FNL! The beads are all made from recycled paper, it's cut into strips, dyed, rolled, and lacquered, hung to harden and then strung, all by little Ugandan fingers after school!
From here the orphanage is working on a sponsorship program and as they work that out, First Christian Church, (backing the bead project with me), and I will be supporting a different mission for a while, while everything on that end is taken care of as far as them getting their NGO standing, etc.
I'll be keeping in contact with the kiddos of course, though, and I know God will continue to bless this project and POCP!
That's a basic overview... the north is pretty war torn and the trip was therefore a little... shall we say dicey, since I went alone. God had some things to teach me there, however so it was very important that I go. :) I am back home now to stay, (I'll go back short term, and I'll keep you posted on that trip next year we are trying to get together!), and this is right where I was created to be. God is so good and the mercy, Grace and intimacy I gained with Him and the humanity I faced in the time I spent in N. Uganda was the most priceless gift in the world.