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.
You could be a part of supporting them on a regular basis through child sponsorship or help them to be released from prisons and to go back to their families through resettlement.
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.
These are only a few ways that could greatly impact their lives fulfilling immediate needs as Jesus firmly commands in Matthew 25:34-40 and as 1 John 3:17-18 strongly exhorts.
To help fulfill their eternal needs, you can purchase Bibles for them. And of course giving of your time or efforts through fundraising or actually going is always something to consider.
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.
Excited to see what the Lord will do with this challenge! Although I mentioned there will not be a goal to meet this year, it would be nice to have at least 300 cards according to Sixty Feet.
300 cards total from all of us? That’s not many… I hope I’m misreading that, because between me and some friends I hope to make half that number!
Please go for it! If you and your friends would like to make that many, do. I’m leaving the total number of cards in the Lord’s hands. If we end up with a little more than 300, I am sure that would be all right! The number of kids in the prisons fluctuates a lot and I guess Sixty Feet was thinking it would be good to have the cards in a little more manageable quantities. That number is a guideline. If we end up with tons past that, we agreed to save the rest for next year. 🙂
Okay, thanks for clarifying! 🙂
Awesome! I would love to do this!
I saw this plan/challenge last year, but didn’t do it.
I am going to tell my mom, and see what she thinks about it.
So, we can make as many cards we want?
Hopefully I can make some. 🙂
@Explorer4lyfe:disqus Wonderful! Sure, all cards are welcome. Sixty Feet would like for the cap to be 300, but if we end up with more than that, I will save them for next year. Thank you for taking an interest! Glad you might be able to participate this year since it didn’t work out for you last time! 🙂
Yes, will do!
Hopefully I can make a deal with my mom.
Thanks for doing this for the kids.
It such an awesome idea.
No rush, I understand. There is not a deadline. Last year the challenge went through the end of Feb. and we can go until then again this time if need be. 🙂
By the time is Feb. 14, I’ll be done with the stuff I need to do.
I will do it on Feb.14 if that’s the case. 🙂
Thanks for considering me.
I want to help your cause. 🙂
Oh, my heart is exploding with joy at the opportunity to do this again!!! I’m totally in… I can’t wait to finish school and start working on them!
It’s such a blessing to see these pictures you posted from your trip to deliver last years cards. Many people (including myself) were praying that those cards would effect people and show them Jesus’ love. Praise God that it did!!!
@brooklynmm:disqus This blessed my heart. Thank you, thank you for your faithfulness and the faithfulness of others to pray for the cards to effect people and show them Jesus’ love!! I am thrilled you enjoyed hearing the story and seeing the pictures. Wish I could have shared that with you all sooner–in fact I intended to once I got back, but life happened and here we are in the new year doing the cards again. I thought it was a perfect time to tie it all together. It made me smile to read your comment about the excitement and joy you have for doing these again. I’m sure your love and compassion for the kids and the desire to share Jesus’ love with them will show with every detail. :))
I’m quite new so I don’t know what it was like last year but I’m exited to do it now!
Welcome to the Reb!
By the way, cool profile picture!
thanks! Yeah I’m interested in marine biology so go figureXD
Welcome! Yes, that is perfectly fine that you don’t know the details of last year since it is pretty much exactly the same this time with a few minor changes as well as the addition of the story of how the cards impacted the kids when I brought them to Uganda. Please feel free to join in! :))
What do you mean by “Please include the John 3:16 verse written out and God loves you”? Are we supposed to write John 3:16 and God loves you in English or Luganda?
Not sure if I’ll do this, but it’d be cool if I could.
God bless you, Moriah S.! =D
You can write John 3:16 in English. The NKJV –which I used in the post–would be great. Written this way, anyone who speaks/writes in English can read it to them if the kids cannot for themselves. Writing “Jesus Loves You” in Luganda as “Jesu Okwagala” as well as in English would be nice, though. Thank you for your interest!! 🙂
Super excited to hear you are doing this again, Moriah!!! This is such a special ministry that makes such a direct impact on kids and shows them Christ’s amazing love. Thank you for all you do!
Thank you for sharing in the excitement with me, @a_haylie:disqus. I’m glad you enjoy doing this too!! 😀 I am privileged to be a part of it, truly.
I wanted to give an update, Moriah.
My mom let me do it this year!!
I will be doing these cards on Feb.14
I can’t wait to get started. 🙂
This is an awesome ministry you do; keep doing it! 🙂
Happy for you, Ash! I know it will be a lot of fun for you as well as an extremely rich blessing for the kids. Thank you for your encouraging words. My heart overflows with thanksgiving to the Lord that He opened my eyes to the needs of these kids when I was sixteen and the burden He gave me to help them has not been lifted since then!!
16 cards so far! A mom made cards with her young kids. So sweet and such a blessing!! 🙂
This is so neat, thanks for doing it ! I’ll probably make some as a craft for babysitting.
Is there a deadline for sending them in?
There is not a deadline so it is flexible! I was thinking the end of February. 🙂
My mom and brothers are helping me make the cards!
I’m so glad they posted this on here! What a beautiful way to use a holiday that is so commercialized in America…I love it 🙂 Thank you!
I am so glad we are doing this again!!! Is this going to become an annual thing??? Please let it be!!!
YEAH!!!!!! this is such an awesome ministry. I love to see your passion for these kids and Jesus. He will use you to do great things! THANK YOU!!!!
This is so awesome!!! I’ve never heard of them before. This would be a grate youth group project.
Moriah, I’m so glad to hear you are doing the Valentine’s Card Challenge again this year. I was just wondering about that yesterday and then saw your post today. I’d like to highlight it on my website, Bloom! (www.bloomthemagazine.com), like I did last year. Do I have permission to use your photos? Should I give you credit? Let me know. Thanks so much for doing this. God is working and I’m so glad we can be a little part of that!
I would be honored for you to feature this on Bloom! Thank you!! Yes, you can use the photos. I did not personally take them–they were shared with our team–but it would be okay to say they are courtesy of Moriah Simonowich since they belong to all of us in the group. 🙂 It is wonderful to have so many enthusiastic people willing to make the cards possible!
Thanks, Moriah! Do you have a deadline in mind?
I was thinking the end of February. 🙂
Such a wonderful idea! Definitely going to participate, and I’m going to share it on my blog (trueandpure.wordpress.com) as well!
Thank you so much! What a blessing. 🙂
I love your profile pic! Agent Carter’s the best.
It is always so encouraging to know there are other teenagers with a heart for God’s kingdom. I will definitely participate. 🙂 Keep up the good work, Moriah.
Moriah, this was gorgeous! And it makes me so glad that you’re doing this again this year!! Count me in! 🙂
The new card total is 32!! I feel sure there will be many more to follow. 😀
Hi. I would very much like to participate in this! Ugandan children have a special place in my heart and I think this is a wonderful way of reaching out!! I do have a couple questions though. Do you want the cards in their own individual envelopes? Also can I just google how to write John 3:16 and God loves you in their language, or do you have a resource for that?
Thank you for your interest, Alissa! I sent a reply to your email about whether or not to use individual envelopes–one large one will do if you have several cards. 🙂 Writing John 3:16 out in English would be great! It is easier for a ministry intern, etc., to read it to the kids if they have not yet learned to read either in English or their own language yet. Several children do know some English–especially the older ones. I could carry on somewhat of a conversation. They taught me that “Jesu Okwagala” means Jesus Loves You in Luganda. Therefore, I would recommend writing the verse in English, but Jesus Loves You both ways. HTH!!
The total is now 39 cards!! It is exciting to receive them in the mail and watch the pile mounting. 😀
Hey, I was thinking about hosting a party with 3-10 girls either the 13th or 20th to make cards for your project. How soon would you like to receive them? Also, do you still need cards? If you’ve already received a lot, maybe I should find another project? Thanks!
That would be wonderful, @malloryobier:disqus! Please feel free to have a party. The dates are perfect. No rush! There isn’t a strict deadline, so I’m playing it by ear. 😀
Thanks! That’s good to know:) Does size matter?
No problem! Hope y’all have a blast! Thank you. 😀 Nope, size doesn’t really matter. It helps to have medium sized cards in order to fit them in Ziplocks to carry over to Uganda. <3
Hi, I just have one more question. (I think:)
I would like to do a Ugandan theme for the party, and I was wondering if you knew of any Ugandan traditions, games, or food to try? Thanks!
We ate a lot of mangos, bananas, & pineapples in the mornings. Tea is huge too! My favorite way was boiling teabags in milk with ginger root–then you sweeten it with cane sugar. So delicious! Avocados were another food as well as beans & posho. Chappaties is another popular Ugandan food that is kind of like a soft tortilla, but thicker. Don’t know if you could find a recipe for that or not, but that was yummy with beans in it or whatever you like. Not sure about the games or traditions, but hope the food suggestions help. :))
Thanks, that does help! 🙂
Because of a week-long family vacation, my plans for the party have been slowed a bit. If I rush invitations I may still be able to have it on the 20th, but it would be cutting it close. The 27th might work better. Do you think I could send you the cards on Monday the 29th, or should I push for the earlier date so that they can be sent to you sooner?
Just let me know what would work best for you! Thanks!
Hey Mallory! Sorry, I was sick last week so I didn’t get this until late Saturday night. Sure! That would be absolutely fine to send them on the 29th. There’s not a rush. I’ve tried to let the challenge be flexible and play the ending of it by ear so the 29th is fine!! Hope you have a lovely week! Thank you again for your interest and I hope you have a blast at the party. That would be awesome if you could email me pictures–I would love to see how it turned out if you would like to. . :))
You know, I didn’t even think of pictures?! Great idea:)
The party is on for this Saturday! (I’m so excited:) I’ll let you know how it goes!
50 cards now!!!
New total is around 80! So wonderful. 😀
Is there a deadline? Do I still have time?
There is still plenty of time!! Please do. 🙂 The challenge can continue until the end of this month. Thank you for your interest, Gabrielle!
Cool beans!! I’ll be sending a few as soon as I can!! YAY!! 🙂
Hey, haven’t I talked to you before? On Trent’s blog maybe?? Maybe not!! I’ve seen you around for sure though!! HELLO!! 🙂
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will be glad you did.
158 cards now!! 😀
Hey Moriah, I’m sending more than one within the next few days. Should I have envelopes to go with them all, or just put a bunch in one big envelope? Any last minute thoughts before I send?
A bunch in one big envelope would be fantastic!! Thanks, girl. 🙂 Before you send it, it would be special to pray for the kids that will receive the cards you have made! I try to imagine what their faces will look like when they hold them in their hands…priceless! I remember the smiles that the cards brought to many a face during both trips. Truly the Lord’s marvelous light dispels darkness with the Truth of His Word & compassion poured out by the cards. Thanks for participating! 😀
Cool beans!! Oh, you’re welcome!! I’m so thrilled to help!! You have no idea!!!!!! 🙂
Okay, definitely!! I may even pray with some of my family members! I’ll be sending about 20 cards!!
Do I not need to email you the amount of cards, since I did mention it in the above comment?
@moriah_s:disqus Do I not need to email you the amount of cards, since I did mention it in the above comment? BTW, I’ll have to send it tomorrow. Is there a press for it to get to you before the last day this month?
No worries! Send it whenever you get a chance. No, that’s okay–since you mentioned it in a comment, that’s fine. 🙂
I hope I get to do this, or something like it next year also!!!!!
337 cards is the new total!! :))
That’s so awesome! 😀
That’s Amazing! I’ll be praying for this in the future and the present.