Bibles for Uganda

We have an opportunity to ships some of the new Luganda Bible to Uganda for no shipping costs! If you’d like to help, please click the DONATE NOW, or contact me at jennings at 10Eighteen.org (put it all together!). The cost per Bible is $7.01, and Pastor Sam Namatiiti, will be distributing them to retired pastors in the villages. Because these books are large, in order for the print to be big and the cost to stay down (the publishing cost rises with the number of pages), 15 books weigh about 30 lbs. That makes it difficult to ship or for someone to take as baggage if they have a lot of other stuff. This is a great opportunity, then, to get a significant number to the Buganda people.

Hey, $7 is less than a movie ticket, right? 🙂

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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

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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2013 is shaping up to be big!

Project Friendship!

Project Friendship!

Time is really flying! How is it May already?? And I haven’t posted here in two weeks… Sorry about that! (You can go to the Facebook page and Like it so that you get more frequent updates.) So here’s what’s going on:

  • I found out today that I actually DO have an attorney working on the nonprofit in the Bahamas, I just didn’t know it! Yes, “island time” has a lot in common with “beach time.” It turns out, they’ve been calling the relavent government ministries to gather information. So that’s pretty exciting! I will almost certainly be going down to Nassau and Andros before my daughter’s wedding on June 22. I’m just waiting to get a bit further in the process. But I have sent a letter of authorization for the chambers (law firm) to act on my behalf, so I feel like we are finally up and running there. This will help a lot with the hospice.
  • We have gotten our tickets for Uganda. Zeke will be there August 21-October 2. I will be heading over September 12 and returning with him. Because he will be working on Ten Eighteen’s behalf in Namuwongo, particularly with the Haven boys, I can make another short trip, but not work quite so hard, and still get everything done.
  • The Andros trip in August is well into planning. We have a tee shirt design (I will unveil that soon!) which is AWESOME, and a schedule. Once Ryan graduates from college this weekend, she will be putting together the VBS curriculum, and making the schedule for the camp days. And it looks like we’ll have at least 5 local volunteers from National Church of God to help us out.
  • New Life Camp is partnering with us to make the Project Friendship bracelets for both the youth camp in Andros and the party in Uganda. We will need 500-600, so this is GREAT news, and will help us forge a valuable relationship that hopefully will be ongoing.

Keep checking back (or Like the FB page!) for more updates!