God placed Uganda and its precious people on my heart and I began praying. I prayed for direction, I prayed for wisdom and I prayed for a chance to make a difference. Little did I know where that simple prayer would lead. God began to bring people across my path who had a connection to this beautiful country.
I met people at work, church, through family and school and connected to so many networks that had a presence in Uganda. I have a bleeding heart and yearn to help anyone in need, but I wanted clarity. I know I can’t save the world, but wanted to do my part, and I needed something to narrow my focus.
And then almost two years later, I met Kelsey through divine appointment. I was intrigued by ROWAN and what it stood for and I wanted to know more. So we met and shared what God had laid on our hearts. She told me about the birth of ROWAN, and Pastor Paul and Mawanga and the great work God was doing in and through His people halfway across the world. I knew I wanted to do something, but it wasn’t immediately apparent what my role might be.
So I took the first step and decided to become a sponsor — and that was one of the best decisions of my life.
I like to know where my money is going, how it is supporting and setting people up for success. I knew ROWAN would take 100% of my monthly contribution and pour it into the life of a widow or orphan in order to bring hope and supply needs.
ROWAN strives to model sustainability and empowers individuals to break the cycle of poverty by providing education and the opportunity to learn valuable skills to equip them for life.
ROWAN invests into lives and pours out the love of Jesus into these people by speaking their worth and helping them to achieve their dreams.
In some small way, I got to be a part of this incredible journey.
Asa’s smile caught my attention the moment I saw her photo and I knew God wanted me to make a difference for her.
It started out with me sending a monthly donation to allow her to attend school and have the supplies she needs to complete her studies. I prayed for her, she sent me a letter, I wrote back and longed to actually see her face to face. But I never dreamed I would be able to go to Uganda and meet her.
Not only did God allow me that opportunity, but I was able to hold her hands, hear her voice and see that stunning smile. She welcomed me into her home, introduced me to her family and we worshiped together at church the Sunday I was in Mawanga.
Nothing could have prepared me for the mixed emotions I felt when I finally saw her.
Joy at being able to spend time with her, sorrow for the tragedies she has experienced in her young life and hope for her bright future. She was so happy despite the hardships she faces on a daily basis.
If you are in the family of sponsors, you know what its like to receive that colorful piece of card stock covered in stickers and overflowing with excitement. I watched those kids spend so much time and painstaking detail while they wrote out those letters and then copied them onto the cards we eventually received.
I saw Asanasi pen the letter that I just discovered in my mailbox earlier this week.
She kept looking at me shyly with that incredible smile and then went back to her writing.
So I am here to tell you that if you are participating in this endeavor, you are making a difference. I witnessed it and can vouch for the many widows and orphans who shared their stories of hopelessness turned into glorious hope.
Be encouraged, and know that your sweet little one, intelligent young adult or tenacious leader has access to a better life because of your sacrifice. But know that this relationship is not one sided, and you can learn from the one whom you sponsor.
Asa taught me to never give up on my dreams, to always persevere, to work diligently at any task set before me and to be joyful in hope.
So, what about you? Is this something you would like to be involved in more directly?