Quiet and quick, the hush of expectancy blanketed the dilapidated room with fragile silence.
I prayed. Gazing among the faces around me in the remand home or child prison of “M1” in Uganda, I noticed their contagious eagerness–it sparked courage within my heart.
Beautiful words of loving care for them tumbled from my lips like they were always meant to be spoken. I knew the Lord was with me, helping me, filling me up with His words, His compassion, His healing hope for these precious children (John 14:10).
It was not an accident that He laid these particular ones on my heart to advocate and fundraise on their behalf even before stepping foot in Uganda the year before.
Now, I returned with hands full. Cards filled my hands and the backpack on my shoulder was bursting with more. There was a story to share. I told them of the thousands of cards made specifically for them.
Through the echo of a translator, it went something like this:
“I wanted to come back to Uganda, but I didn’t know when I would be able to. It was on my heart to do something to bless you. I contacted friends at church, on the internet, and my family to make cards for you. I wanted 1,400, but ended up with almost 4,000. You are very special and God has awesome plans for your life. Know that He loves you.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This is a truth that cradles wounded hearts, that renews crushed spirits, that mends shards of a shattered life. These children have had it very hard in life. So hard, the pressures have done much to shatter what seems almost beyond repair.
Most do not know a tangible meaning of what love is yet quietly this hope of Jesus comes with unrivaled strength. His love is saving power.
It offers new life to the broken, drained, and weary. The heartbeat of Christ brims with pure compassion that binds up the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Luke 4:18-19).
How undeniably beautiful this truth gleams and rises brilliantly from ashes!
Each and every one of you who participated in the Valentine Card Challenge last year made this possible in the lives of these children!! Thank you a thousand times over for your participation.
The deep joy, the radiant smiles that rippled over these children was something incredible to behold! Youngest to oldest, boys and girls alike were literally beaming. It is a moment endowed with such loveliness. My only regret is that each of you could not have stood there with me to soak in the joy too.
Uganda is never far from my thoughts. A new year has dawned and with it new possibilities.
I was delighted to receive an email a few weeks ago from Annalysa C. asking if the Valentine Card Challenge would be repeated again this year. She thoroughly enjoyed hosting a party last year with friends and family to make cards–like many of you–and wanted to do it again.
I am thrilled to say that after sending out a few emails to firm up things the answer is a resounding yes!
Let us embrace these imprisoned children that the ministry Sixty Feet tirelessly serves striving to go about “Bringing Hope and Restoration to the Imprisoned Children of Africa in Jesus’ Name.” Do not hesitate. Reach out and embrace with both arms, heart fully engaged in the effort to love. Let go and love.
Open your heart. As Martin Luther said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.” Leak the light of Christ. His marvelous light pierces deep.
Be part of spreading this light, this love, this hope! In Christ alone is salvation, is the balm to this diseased, warped, poverty-stricken, sin-sick world, and is the redemption of mankind.
May the mighty, wondrous name of Jesus be made famous along with His majestic love. Oh, Lord, let your glorious light break forth as the noonday (Psalm 37:6).
How to Spread the Love of Christ to These Children in Three Simple Steps
1. Make simple cards, preferably in a variety of colors. Please include the John 3:16 verse written out and God loves you OR Jesus Loves You (in their language of Luganda: Jesu Okwagala) and sign your name.[**Please note: Although they will be made around or on Valentine’s Day, they are anytime cards, not actual Valentine’s holiday cards. Teams going on mission trips with Sixty Feet will take cards during the summer and they will be distributed at the appropriate times. Please do not write Happy Valentine’s Day. Besides which, guys at the prison weren’t going for the ones with pink or glitter.]
2. Pray over the card(s) & mail them to me at this address with “Valentine Card Challenge” written on your box or envelope:
P.O. Box 3227
Greenville, NC 27836[I will be sending ONE box of all the cards to Sixty Feet in order to keep it as easy as possible for them.]
3. Email me the number of cards you make and send since it is fun to keep track: [email protected]. There will not be a specific “goal” to meet this year. Let’s just see what the Lord does!! All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what God asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.
4. Optional: Give financially. It pains me to even write this list because of how much I take for granted the necessities and comforts of everyday life as well as my freedom and loving family. Staring such lack in the face is not an easy thing to do. If God pricks your heart as He has done mine over the years, please give as He leads.
The extent He moves you to compassion just might astound you! The possibilities and various ways to help these kids are many.
Since basic needs like mattresses or blankets are not always available, a blanket could be a great comfort so kids don’t have to sleep directly on the cold concrete of the prison floors at night.
Sometimes there are food shortages too. Eggs and milk are always welcome to help the kids thrive–especially the younger ones who can be as young as infants or toddlers that desperately need the nutrition to grow and be healthy.
Clean water is an essential.
To keep the spread of disease and sickness down that tend to be so common in Africa in the form of malaria, AIDS, pneumonia, chicken pox, yellow fever, typhoid, etc., emergency medical care is on the top of the list.
Recently, I started something called #FiveDollarsforSixtyFeet where you give $5 and share about this way of giving to the kids in UG with 5 of your friends. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be part of Facebook to participate.
It can easily be done through email, blogging, or another form of social media like Instagram, etc.
Thank you in advance for participating in the Valentine Card Challenge 2016! Your desire to help these kids is invaluable and I am thankful for the gift of each of you.