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

 

 

 

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Short Term Missions Opportunities 2014

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

ANDROS YOUTH CAMPS:

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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.)

SLUMS AND BABIES HOME, UGANDA

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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.)

MONTHLY ANDROSELDERLY DAY CARE

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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

I’m back from Uganda – Early!

I ended up having to return from Uganda early due to some pressing business issues (not Ten Eighteen). That was really a bummer… I hated missing the visit to Jinja, Bukaleba, and the party yesterday at Ray of Hope. Fortunately my son is still there, so he’s carried out Ten Eighteen’s commitments and done a great job.

While I was there, I had a great time and great visits with many of our ladies. The weather was great — not nearly as hot as the February visit, thank goodness! — and we had many great conversations in the community. Here are some of the highlights, followed by photos of the party at Ray of Hope.

*  LAULA. We helped Laula’s mother last visit with a micro-business grant for selling chapati and cooked goods. She did pretty well until she had Laula, who was born with a club foot. Since then, she’s traveled around the vicinity, looking for a hospital that would perform the surgery. One in Mukono said they would do it free, but the wait was at least until January. With this type of surgery, the earlier you do the procedure, the better the outcome, so she was hoping for something sooner. Entebbe Hospital could do it quickly, but the cost was 100,000 shillings, out of her reach. We were able to leave the fee for the procedure, plus money for transport and food for the family during the three weeks they’d be in hospital, and are eagerly anticipating the good news of a successful surgery.

I had to adjust the exposure so Laula's foot was visible in the dim light.

I had to adjust the exposure so Laula’s foot was visible in the dim light.

* OLIVER. Last visit, we gave a grant to a hard-working woman named Oliver. She has a business selling scrap, and was doing okay — well enough to have a small stall — but she wasn’t making enough for a decent home. She was renting a place that was quite literally over the sewer ditch, and it was terribly hot and dark on top of the smell and health hazards. With a grant, she expanded her stock and has now been able to purchase land and a house not very far from her business. She is so, so happy! And the house is two large rooms, with a barred glass door and plastered walls. Amazing!

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* ROSE. Rose is new to Ray of Hope, but what a lovely spirit she has! It is now rainy season in Kampala, and the Sunday I got there saw torrential rains. Rose and her family had been living in the lower side of Namuwongo, where the buildings all flood with rain water, sewage, and other terrible filth. We saw Rose on Monday; on Sunday she’d moved to a new home because the waters had gotten so high inside her former one, and it was making them all sick (not to mention that their belongings were flooded). That had taken the capital she had for her maize-roasting business, plus she’d borrowed more. (In the slums, you have to pay at least three months rent in advance, which can be 120,000 or more — a ton of money for these families!) After our visit, I left the money for capital for her with Ray of Hope, and we ended up delivering it to her the following day. She was ecstatic!

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We didn’t have the funds this trip to do more grants, but we visited new and old friends and saw how well they are doing. Sometimes, it’s just about relationship, and that’s more than enough!

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My son did the Jinja trip, and spent the night at the babies home in Bukaleba. He has always loved it there, and has such a heart for the kids. These two are among our sponsored children. Marvin, on the left, is more than twice as old as Matthew, but was severely malnourished as a baby and has struggled with developmental delays and illnesses. He’s doing really well now, though, for which we are so thankful! Matthew was found in a trash can on the day of his birth, covered with trash to make him invisible. He weighed about 5lb. We were in Jinja that day, and another newborn, Jacob, was also found, abandoned in the market. He’s doing well, but he’s a very solemn little guy!

Zeke with Marvin and Matthew

Yesterday was the Ray of Hope/Project Friendship party. Pictures are starting to trickle in, so I’ll share the few I have so far. My son said the party went really well, and several of the young men that we sponsor who chat with me on Facebook have already let me know how much fun it was. I HATED to miss it!!

Aisha ROH party Emily Agnes ROH party Caroline Doreen ROH party little ones ROH party Edmond Francis ROH party Christine ROH party Keren ROH party Zeke at ROH party Edmond birthday ROH party

I’ll have some more pictures of the party, at least when my son gets home. A photographer friend was there and took tons of photos. I can’t wait to see them!

So that’s the trip! If you would like to contribute to Ten Eighteen by becoming a sponsor or making a one-time gift, please go to our GoFundMe site. We would love to have you partner with us!

What’s happening in Kampala these days

My son has been in Uganda for about three weeks now. On Saturdays, he and a friend have been going down to Ray of Hope in Namuwongo and hanging out with the kids there. They’ve been having a great time, and I’ve had several Facebook messages from kids who have spent time with him. I leave on Thursday and will arrive Friday night (UG time, afternoon US time). I hope to be able to post – there has been internet most of the time he’s been there, which is amazing! If not, I’ll catch you up when I get back.

Edmond! Love this guy!

zeke basketball 4 Zeke basketball ROH 3 zeke basketball ROH 2 zeke basketball ROH Haven boys game

ROH gate 3 ROH gate Haven and Edmond

View from the balcony out over the slums

View from the balcony out over the slums

View from the balcony at Ray of Hope

View from the balcony at Ray of Hope

Zeke at ROH 2

Two weeks and counting!

I leave for Andros in 12 days, but the team gets there August 10, two weeks from tomorrow. I’m so excited! Our meeting went really well, and I think the team is really motivated to really show the love of Jesus to the kids every single day of the camp. I know we haven’t done anything in Andros before, so I don’t have any idea how it will go, but going through pictures from my last Uganda trip (Feb 2013) with a friend really brought the excitement to the forefront for me. We are starting what I believe will be a long-term relationship with these kids and on this island, and I’m really excited to see where God is going to take it. (If you want to help with this camp and with our trip to Uganda, please visit GoFundMe here!)

I know Andros and Uganda are very different in a lot of ways, so I’m trying very hard not to build up preconceived ideas about how it will go and how the kids will respond/react. The kids in Uganda (as well as all the ladies!) absolutely LOVE Project Friendship. It’s a touchstone for both sides. Will the kids in Uganda feel that? Will they understand the significance behind those colorful bands of thread? I don’t know, but I hope so. I hope they will get the love behind the project.

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I hope that the message, Are You Enough?, resonates with them. I hope that it plants seeds for the future, on this island that is so in need of hope. Our theme at the basketball camp in 2011 was Life is Fair, during which we compared God’s sense of fair to man’s. Hint: NOT THE SAME! Our goal is to listen to the Holy Spirit in order to meet the kids at their place of need, to plant seeds that will help them hear the Lord as they grow and mature. It’s all we can do – the rest is up to Him!

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Here are some photos from the basketball camp – please pray with me that the joy we see on these faces will be the same joy we will see in Andros in a little over two weeks!

IMG_6847 IMG_7248 zeke with dexter the whole camp balls up me with a gang Amanda and Precious IMG_6018 IMG_5963 IMG_6393 IMG_6619 IMG_7080

Making lots of progress!

Now that the Youth Camp is firmly in the hands of my program director, I turned my sites to the Uganda trip. I began to panic a little bit, because Zeke leaves on August 21, and that is really not that far away! I’ve made an appointment with the travel nurse for both of us to get our typhoid updated (every 2 years…yay) and get our malaria prescriptions. That’s going to cost a pretty penny for Zeke’s long trip, but it can’t be helped. We’ve seen many people with malaria… No, thank you. (And don’t say, “They can treat it right away!” because I don’t even want 1 day of it!)

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I’ve made a tentative schedule, pending approval from our Ugandan partners, and arranged the transportation with Emmanuel Gabula, transport specialist extraordinaire. Here’s the tentative:

Zeke will go to Ray of Hope to work with the Haven boys on 3 Saturdays. This is going to be great, as the first Saturday will be the first one they’re out of school for the term, and the other two will be during the break, when they don’t have much to do.

Haven boys getting ready to dance for us

Haven boys getting ready to dance for us

I’m going on a quick day trip to Jinja on the day after I arrive for a friend’s wedding. No work that day (I may not even remember it, thanks to jet lag!).

Rinty and me, February, 2013

Rinty and me, February, 2013

September 16, 17, 19, and 20, I’ll be at Ray of Hope, going into the Namuwongo community, visiting our ladies, seeing the kids, and making the usual rounds. Hopefully it won’t be as hot as it was in February! Or raining. Rain plus slums isn’t a pretty picture.

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September 22 we’re going to head to Jinja. We’ll hopefully spend a night in Bukaleba at the Arise Africa babies home, and we’ll visit with hospice. I don’t have the time to go out in the field with them this trip, but we’ll spend half a day at the morning meeting and in the office. I was hoping to get to Tororo, but I don’t think we can this time – the trip is just too short.

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Friday, September 27, I’ll be back at Ray of Hope for a planning meeting. We try to look at the budget, evaluate the programs and see if we need to tweak anything, brainstorm some new craft ideas for the ladies (I actually have a great idea this time, so I’m excited to share it!).

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Saturday, September 28 is the Project Friendship party, always the highlight of the trip. Nesco will be catering it, of course, and we might use holi powder (what they use in the color run) with the kids. We’re going to do it in Andros next month, so I’ll see how that goes before deciding for sure. But it’ll be a party, at any rate, with friendship bracelets and tee shirts and food and dancing and speeches. I’m just super, super excited about it — it’s so great to see all our ROH friends (all 125 or so of them!) in one place before we leave.

Thank God for the tent!

Thank God for the tent!

 

 

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delicious lunch!

delicious lunch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1 we leave! See how fast that is?? So barring any needed changes by Ray of Hope, Arise Africa or Hospice Jinja, that’s the itinerary. I know it’ll be here before I know it — the Andros trip is so soon!! Please pray for us, for safe travels but most especially that we would accomplish everything that God has set for us to do!

OHHHH – and HOPEFULLY (praying, fingers and toes crossed), the Luganda Bibles will be ready before Zeke goes, and he can take a box, and then I can take 2 more!

Luganda-Bible

What does “short term missions” mean to Ten Eighteen?

Basketball camp staff 2011

I guess because summer is upon us and a lot of people are going on short term missions trips, there have been a lot of articles and blogs around the web on what short terms missions are for. I wrote this article about a blog post that I strongly disagree with, and posted this link on the Ten Eighteen Facebook page to one I strong agree with. Ten Eighteen is about to take it’s second group for a short term missions trip, so I thought I’d give an explanation of our mission and vision for those who might not have heard me talk about it.

me with a gang

Ten Eighteen is not an organization that specializes in short term missions trips.  We did one team trip in August of 2011 to do a basketball camp in Nsambya for 44 kids from Ray of Hope. To date, that’s our only team trip.

Why? From our founding, Ten Eighteen has been about relationships. We never intended to have a “one and done” type of a ministry. We have returned to Uganda 6 times since the original visit (or, more accurately 8, since my daughter went twice by herself). On each trip, we stick with our mission, which is to continue to build relationships with the people we have met and work with there. We do not promote an atmosphere of hand-outs, which is very easily done when you are going on a one-time, short term trip. It feels good to give kids stuff, to see them smile… But in most cases, that does more harm than good. It fosters an entitlement/welfare mentality, rather than one where self-reliance is the goal.

Agnes, May 2012

Agnes, May 2012

So why not big teams? I have been able to go 7 times. I have been able to get to know the ladies of Nawezakana, the kids of Ray of Hope and Nesco, the children at the babies home, the staff of hospice. We email, we Facebook, we even Tweet. My daughter has received a dozen or more wonderful, loving, heartfelt messages of congratulations on her upcoming marriage from her Ugandan friends. Taking teams takes time. Group mentalities are what they are – when you are with a group of people you know, you naturally talk to those people. You move as a big blob through the environment, making it difficult for people to break in and talk to you.  That doesn’t help our goal of relationship.

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Well then, why do teams at all? First and foremost, because on both occasions, God has been very clear about doing it. The basketball camp was God’s idea, and the camp went great. We had a dozen Ugandan volunteers along with our six, and the kids had a blast. This youth camp is the same. When we were in Andros over Easter, God gave me a very clear vision of this camp. One way to know an idea is from God is if it’s something that isn’t at all in your wheelhouse. These camps aren’t. I’m an introvert that doesn’t love large groups. I find being responsible for groups stressful. I enjoy one-on-one interaction. But I am ridiculously excited about this team and this camp, and that’s how I know it’s a God thing.

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Shouldn’t you do one every year, if they go so well? The typical “church” answer would be, “Of course!” We tend to try to institutionalize anything that is successful once. We were asked when we were doing another basketball camp, and my answer was (and remains), “When God tells me to do it.” He hasn’t yet. The same will be true of this youth camp in Andros in August. No matter how well it goes, unless God tells me to, I will not start planning “Youth Camp 2014” as soon as we get home. There are times and seasons for everything. Success doesn’t mean you must duplicate. Obedience is what God’s after. Those are the principles on which we operate.

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So what’s in it for me? Well… maybe nothing except a new stamp in your passport. You might get sick. You might be hot and miserable. You might find a bunch of kids annoying. You might hate the food. You might hate being with a group of people for a week. You might not cope well with a lack of power, water, or internet. If you’re going because there’s something in it for you, PLEASE reconsider spending your money (or other people’s donations). If God calls you to a missions trip, it’s for the people you’ll be serving. Your lack of ability to cope, eat, sleep, or be content and happy will be more than made up for by God’s… If you let it. Take one week (or however long your trip is), put yourself aside, and serve others to the best of your ability. Hug, laugh, talk, and show His love. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you’re grumpy. Give to whoever He called you to what He has given to you – uncompromising, unequivocal, unconditional love.

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My family and I go to Uganda, and now Andros, as an ongoing calling. We don’t consider what we do “short term missions” even though we’re there between 2-4 weeks at a time. We are visiting friends. We are showing God’s love in the ways that He opens up for us. Maybe thinking about your short term trip in this same way will help you keep your focus on what’s ultimately important: HIM.

JW at babies home copy