Giving Tuesday – Gifts that Give Back

Today is Giving Tuesday (and of course, there’s a hashtag for that: #givingTuesday), and we are all about giving here! For those who are new to us, Ten Eighteen gives 100% – yes ONE HUNDRED PERCENT – of the donations away to our programs in Uganda. No administrative fees. No overhead. All giving.

And we’ve been doing some awesome things lately!

ONE HARBOR CHURCH in Beaufort and Morehead City, NC, did a giving campaign recently, and raised enough money to buy and send 335 Luganda Bibles to Kampala! Those, along with another 115 Bibles gifted by friends of Pastor Sam Namatiiti, are now in a cargo container, on a ship, headed for Mombasa, Kenya. Once they arrive and clear customs, they will travel over-land across Kenya to Kampala, where Pastor Sam will joyfully take possession of them and hand them out to retired pastors in rural villages. This new translation (akin to our English NIV, in modern language) has been VERY well received by Bugandans. Pastor Godfrey Wanamitsa at Arise Africa International joyfully told me, “This is SO easy to read!” (And then asked if Pastor Sam could translate it into Lugisu!)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE CHURCH also made a donation for Bibles, and I was able to take a dozen to Uganda with me in October and deliver them to Pastor Sam. (They weigh a LOT, as we wanted them to be big enough, with a big enough font, to be read in poor light, by people with poor eyesight.)


Luganda Bible Uganda

Since my return from my almost-month in Uganda, we have been hard at work on our sister project, the Ndoto Collection. This for-profit online store is stocked with great clothing (like these pajama pants), jewelry and other items (aprons, ornaments, bags), made by impoverished women in Uganda, that make excellent gifts for yourself or someone else. And the BEST PART: Ndoto is giving 30-50% of the profits to Ten Eighteen! So you’re giving gifts that give back, both to our co-ops and partners in the form of a sustainable income, and to our programs here at Ten Eighteen. Talk about a win-win!

rowan ladies sewing Uganda





Short Term Missions Opportunities 2014

 We have several short-term missions trips opportunities this year:



In August 2013, we did a youth camp for about 40 kids in Mastic Point (you can see pics on the website and blog). We had basketball, soccer, outdoor games and VBS. We’re hoping to do TWO youth camps this year, one in late June in Nicholls Town, and one in either late July or early August in Mastic Point. It’s a one-week trip and includes some fun stuff, too. Last year’s cost was about $950 for the week (the airfare is the main fluctuating factor). We will take kids 14 and up, but it’s a great trip for families, too – Last year it was 3 families and me. 🙂  For the Mastic Point trip, the max we can accommodate is 10. I’m still waiting on some info for accommodation in Nicholls Town. (NOTE: You do need a passport to travel to the Bahamas.)



I don’t usually take groups to Uganda (we did a basketball camp in 2011 that was great, though!), but I’ve had several people express interest this year. If we get at least 6, I’ll take a group in September. It would be a minimum of 11 days (it’s 4 days of travel), and we’ll work with women and children in the slums of Kampala, and go to the Arise Africa Babies Home in Bukaleba. We can also spend time with hospice in Jinja and/or Tororo is that’s of interest. And we’ll go on a 1 night (2 game drives) safari at Lake Mburo. The cost will be around $3000 a person – I’ll get more precise if we do end up with enough people. Minimum age is 16 without a parent, 14 with.

(NOTE: You will need typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations to travel to Uganda, and will take malaria meds while there, which isn’t included in the cost quoted above. You’ll also need a visa, which is $50, and a passport if you don’t have one, also not included in the cost above.)



We are trying to start a very short term, monthly program in Andros to work with the elderly. The elderly in Andros is a hugely underserved population and in desperate need. We were hoping to start in january, but the accommodation fell through (twice) and we’re still working on a plan B. Participants would fly to Andros, spend 3 days working with 3 groups of 15 elderly per day, then leave the following day. The cost (depending on airfare) would be around $750-800. We only need 2-4 people per month.

If you’re interested in a trip, use the comments or the Contact section at our website  – and feel free to pass this on to anyone you know who might be.

If you’re interesting in hosting a fundraiser, let me know! We are in fairly desperate need for 2014, after our largest donor was unable to contribute for 2014 due to the economy.

the whole camp balls up

Talking About Hospice

"Dry gangrene" causes body part to dry up and break off. Most of the top of this grandmother's foot is gone. Unlike "wet" gangrene, it doesn't get in the blood, but without amputation it will spread

“Dry gangrene” causes body part to dry up and break off. Most of the top of this grandmother’s foot is gone. Unlike “wet” gangrene, it doesn’t get in the blood, but without amputation it will spread

One of my favorite groups of people in the world are the staff at Hospice Jinja and Hospice Tororo. Hospice anywhere is a tough gig — my mom always says anybody can do it, but I beg to disagree. Dealing with the dying, comforting them, encouraging their families… It’s very challenging. But the people who do it are truly some amazing folks.

Tonight I’m the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser for Sovereign Wings of Hope in Houston, Texas. I came last year, too, and gave a short presentation on why I go to Uganda. I’m really honored that they asked me back as the keynote this year! (And I am apparently also getting the Pioneer Award!) If there is one thing I can – and love to – talk about, for hours on end, it’s Uganda and her people.

This is an excerpt from my speech tonight, and it’s a point I try to make whenever I talk to people about Ten Eighteen Uganda, and now Andros. It goes along with my motto that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. I hope you’ll let it sink in, and then let the Lord lead you in making a one-time or monthly donation.

start where you are

I want to tell you what your money will do in Uganda, so you realize that you really can help.

  • Right now, a grande latte at Starbucks is about $5.  In shillings at today’s exchange rate, that’s about 12,650 shillings. For 12,650 shillings, you can feed a family for two weeks.
  • Papa John’s has had a special going this week, “your choice” for $11. That’s 27,830 shillings. In Namuwongo, which is the slums of Kampala, you can rent a home for 30,000 shillings a month.
  • The new Hobbit extended edition DVD in BluRay is $29.95. That’s 75,900 shillings. The nurses at Hospice Jinja are paid 60,000 shillings a month. (And, by the way, the staff at Hospice Tororo, which just celebrated its one year anniversary, is still all volunteer.)
  • If you take your family, let’s say four people, to see the new kids movie Free Birds (which suggests you eat pizza instead of turkey for Thanksgiving!), it’ll cost you $30.50 for the tickets. You’ll spend at least $20 on concessions (and you won’t get much for that!). That’s 127,765 shillings, which would pay for about 30 boda trips for the nurses of Hospice Tororo to visit patients.

I am not saying that any of these things are wrong! I chose the expenses I did because they are things my family, even on a fairly tight budget, does on a regular basis. You may think that $5 a week, or $30 a month, or whatever amount you could spare isn’t enough to make any difference. All I’m trying to show you is that, in Uganda, it can be the difference – LITERALLY – between life and death. A bottle of clean water is 32 cents! 32 cents!

James 2:15-16 says:  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodis that?

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ story of the Final Judgement in Matthew 25:

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

A friend of mine told me a long time ago that his reading of this passage gave him to believe that what we are going to answer for when we stand before God at the end of our lives is WHAT DID WE DO WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES HE GAVE US?

Sometimes, those are big opportunities, like adopting a child, or saving someone from a fire. Sometimes they’re small ones, like heeding His voice when he asks you to talk to the cashier at the gas station or to pay the difference for the guy in front of you who doesn’t quite have enough for his groceries.

It’s easier to see those opportunities when they come, although it’s not always easy to do what we should.

What I hope you’ll see here tonight is an opportunity. There is an unattributed quote that I use a lot myself: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

africa hope

Andros Youth Camp – Reflections

andros island resort

We spent the last afternoon at this beautiful beach, at the Andros Island Resort in Nicholls Town. The beer was cold, the ocean was crystal clear and cool, the weather was perfect, and the food was delicious. It was the perfect way to unwind after a week of much activity, much pouring out, much laughter and sweat and love. We talked, we walked, we sat, and, most importantly, we rested.

So what are the take-aways from the trip? Well, I’m not one to write eloquent spiritual essays, as much as I’d love to. I live my life very much like the Jews were supposed to in the Bible, seeing everything, secular and sacred, as spiritual. I go where He sends me, obey to the best of my ability, try to always listen for His voice, and be ready to do “the next thing” (TNT, in my house).  So while others on our team may have wonderfully deep spiritual insights, I’ll have to pass those along to you here, and write what God’s put in my heart.

First, it was definitely a God thing to go. He put together a great team, gave my daughter great insight while she was putting the program together, and kept all of us in the palm of His hand. There was never any inkling of a feeling that we were doing anything other than what He sent us there to do. You can’t ask for more than that!

Second, it was definitely the beginning of our work in Andros, not a stand-alone event. I think we will do at least one, and possibly two, camps next year. (Yes, for those of you who know me, I did just say that!) We will definitely be starting the elderly day care in January, 2014 (or soon after). If you are interested in volunteering for any upcoming Andros adventure, contact me and I’ll put you on the mailing list for future trip information. Somewhere down the road are eggs, hospice, a guest house, and then some business things… In some order!

Third, God gave me, personally, a great gift with the make-up of the team. I was expecting — and was willing — to have a team of 9 or 10 teenagers. To have families (5 teens and 5 adults, in fact), was truly a blessing for me, and was really a sign of the great care and love God has for each of us, and how well He knows us.

Finally, Andros has incredible needs. Food. Jobs. Transportation. Decent health care. Decent schools. Hospice. Organized youth sports. Church based youth groups. Infrastructure. Home repair. Plumbing. It really boggles the mind. And we can’t do everything. No one can. But we can do something, and we’ve now made a start.

My son leaves Wednesday for an extended stay in Uganda. I join him on September 12. The needs there are even greater, but our support base and programs are in place. Leaving again so soon is a strain on my husband (and pets), but he’s got a few business things that should keep him going while I’m gone. I’d really appreciate your prayers (and financial support if you can) as we try to obey and follow Him, wherever He leads.


Andros – the Research Day

You have probably guessed by now that we didn’t have internet in Andros. Well, technically we did… It didn’t work at all for 4 days, then worked sporadically and slowly after that. I was never able to open my WordPress blogs, though, even when it was working. So now, instead of one hugely long post, I’m going to split it into parts. We’ll have my research day, when I spoke to the doctor at the Nicholls Town clinic and the director of social services. Then I’ll do the team’s arrival, church, and our “tourist” day. I may break the camp up into more than one post – I’ll see how that goes as I write and add pictures. And finally, the last afternoon of decompressing, traveling home, and thoughts. I hope you’ll join me for all the posts (I’ll schedule one a day, so it’s not too overwhelming!). It was a GREAT trip!



I spent the morning in Nassau, waiting to see if the attorney was going to be able to fit me in her schedule. She wasn’t able to, but I did have a good conversation with her assistant, and have a much clearer picture of what we need to get Ten Eighteen registered in the Bahamas. I need to get on that stuff (financial letter of reference, personal letter of reference and criminal background checks for each of the board, plus a summary of Ten Eighteen’s activities to date, and a proposal of what we’ll do in the Bahamas) before I leave for Uganda on September 12 (which is really close!).


I had conch fritters at the hotel, looking out at the beach, then headed to the charter part of the airport. I got there at about 1:15, and finally got on a charter at 4:00! I was the first of the afternoon to want to go to Andros, and I had to wait until 4 other people came with the same destination. Once we were going, of course, it was only a fifteen minute flight. We flew around a rain storm, which was just amazing to see, but I was on the wrong side of the plane to take pictures.

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Pastor Barr picked me up and stopped by his house, where Mother Barr gave me a delicious dinner of pork chop and rice. We went to the market and then Mrs. Beneby’s from there, and she was so happy to see me. (That’s always nice!) I had a quiet evening – I enjoyed my couple of quiet, alone days, knowing the team would be coming and the camp starting and there would be no such thing as quiet!

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Friday was lovely in the am, but rained most of the day. I spoke at length with Dr. Sharma, of the Nicholls Town Clinic, about hospice and the elderly. He sent me to see Gabrielle Romer, the director of Social Services for North Andros. All of us agreed that the elderly are in desperate need of help and socialization, and Gabrielle and I came up with a basic plan for an elderly day care, which I’m hoping to implement at the beginning of 2014 (with help from US volunteers, so more about that at a later date – but if you’re interested in volunteering for a 5 day trip to work with the elderly, let me know!). She’s out of the office through September, and I don’t get back from Uganda til early October, so that worked out great. The rest of the day was spent reading, listening to the rain, and enjoying the last day before all the action started.



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As you drive around, and certainly once you begin talking to people, you realize the huge need in Andros. I have a lot of things on the back burner, but, as always, am trying to do “the next thing,” meaning the thing that God wants done next. For Ten Eighteen, that’s going to be trying to implement the elderly program. The hospice is still out there, but because of the centralized medical system (which is pretty dysfunctional), it’s going to take a long process of dealing with officials and ministries to get that going. I’m really excited about this next phase, and have already had some people express interest. The good news is that this program, as I’ve envisioned it, won’t cost very much to Ten Eighteen, and the cost to the volunteers will be fairly minimal as well (air fare, food, and lodging, and we’re working on a cheaper lodging solution). I’d love your prayers as I work on logistics!

See tomorrow’s post for the events of the weekend, including the saga of the missed flight, and swimming in Uncle Charlie’s blue hole, plus searching for pirate treasure.

Greetings from the Bahamas!

I’m here! Well, I’m here as in “in country.” I’m in Nassau until after lunch today, hopefully to meet with the attorney or her assistants this morning and get the final info on what we need to do to get our nonprofit registered here. I find that, in places like Uganda and the Bahamas, face-to-face is the only way (literally!) to get anything done! So I’m calling them again promptly at 9am, and hoping to catch a cab for Chancellors Chambers soon afterwards. Meanwhile, the sunrise here this morning was stunning:


I have had some really amazing divine appointments on the trip so far. First, the man that sat next to me from Atlanta to Nassau lives in Freeport, and gave me not only a great place to go on Wednesdays in Freeport for a fish fry (very good information indeed since we’ll be there in November!), but also the name of a wealthy man here in Nassau who is very generous, especially to local health-related causes. If I can get a meeting with him, he may be the solution to the hospice funding. That’s huge!

Then, I met the guys from the Hampton University basketball team, who are here for a tournament. They are just super guys to a man, and they all signed a tee shirt for me to give away at the camp. I think it will mean a lot to the kids that a college basketball team took the time to encourage them. (A couple of the guys – who shall remain nameless – said they’d rather do the camp than the tournament!)  I’ll be cheering for Hampton from now on – I may even have to get a tee shirt for game days!


Then, when I was down here in the lobby using the internet (theoretically I have it in the room, but in actuality, not so much), I met two men who are here for a Christian converence. One lives in Wrightsville Beach and seemed very interested in Ten Eighteen. He asked me to slide a card under his door (he was headed back to the conference’s evening session and I didn’t have my purse). The other man is involved with the ministry putting on the conference. He wrote down the website address and also seemed interested. So you never know how those connections will bear fruit, but it was great to chat with them, and they are praying for the camp.

And THEN… Yep, there’s more! … While I was at the restaurant where the team was signing the shirt, a guy came over to the team who, it turns out, coached the high school coach of three of the guys. Byron Dinkins, who the man had coached in Germany, went on to play in the NBA with the Rockets. Anyway, this man is very involved with some non-profits in the sports world, including one that’s in 60 countries (and 20 of them in places like Iraq!). He was also very interested in Ten Eighteen and took my card. He thinks he can hook me up with some of his contacts.

That was all between 2:30 and 8:00 yesterday…. Whew!  The moral of the story? Go where God sends you. Listen. when he prompts you to speak to someone, do it (I initiated the conversations with the basketball team and with the guys here for the conference). You may feel stupid (or crazy). But you just don’t know what will come of it! The Holy Spirit doesn’t waste anything. These contacts may or may not come out like we’re all thinking they will in the natural. But those contacts were all for reason, and I’m just excited to see how it all turns out.

So I’m off to Andros after lunch. I may or may not have internet (I’d say it’s 50/50 at best.) If you don’t hear from me for awhile, that’s why. I hope you will, though – I hope we have internet and I can post updates and pictures from the camp all throughout the week.

We covet your prayers. God has sent me here – sent this team to this place for this time. Please pray that we will make the most of every single opportunity He sends our way, not matter how strange it may seem at the time. My prayer for this team, especially, is that they will begin to see that following the Holy Spirit is “a wild goose chase” (to quote Mark Batterson and his wonderful book by the same name), and that they will begin to be open to true Kingdom life.

Bye for now!

god is so amazing

Youth camp is a month from today!!

I just realized today is July 12. Our Andros Youth Camp in Mastic Point starts on August 12! I can’t believe how fast time is flying.

Here’s where we are so far:

Ryan and I met for lunch this week to get the final daily schedule figured out, as well as hone in on our theme of “Are You Enough?”

I ordered 15 pounds of holi powder, which is what they use in the color run. I’m so excited to do this on the last day!

holi powder










The camp tees for the kids have been ordered, and I ended up with a price of $6.10/ea which includes set-up, screenprinting, and shipping! That was a godsend!

Staff tees have also been ordered. Those were a bit more because I got a higher quality, but they still came it at under $10/ea.

We have confirmed 50 kids for the camp!

We have a team meeting on Sunday, July 21st, and by then the program will be set and we’ll hand out assignments. After that, we’ll have a “packing party,” and then… We’re off!

If you’d like to donate for balls, tees, prizes, craft supplies and other necessary items for the camp, please go to our Go Fund Me page. It’s tax deductible, and 100% (minus the small fee from Go Fund Me) goes towards our work.