So let me explain the background for my opening. :) I love the spiritual illustrations that can be had from a simple seed. Honestly, I am amazed at how a seed, even those that are about the size of a pin-head, can be planted and grow into something so much bigger - many times the size of the original. This just baffles my mind and makes me reverently thank my Creator for His "amazingness."
And so many times He also "plants" an idea or a thought or an action that grows, and grows and grows.
When by God's prompting I started The Suubi Project in May while home on furlough in the states, I really had no idea where it would go or how it would grow. ("Suubi" means "hope" in Luganda.)
I wanted to help the island secondary school - Lingira Living Hope, and find something to do in my downtime. I have made cards for a number of years and a few years ago began using my photos for the cards.
So The Suubi Project was launched - to raise money for school building projects, to raise awareness of the school and the ministry on the island, to give me "something" to do, and to share my Ugandan photos with folks at home.
By the time I returned in mid-August to Uganda, the "project" had generated $1100 for the school projects! Family, friends, fellow missionaries, supporters, and friends and co-workers of family, bought the cards. I even had a recent request from here in Uganda! :)
What God did with The Suubi Project "seed" amazed me!
Even as I write there is a team of workers at the school. They are building the new girls' "pit latrine," (outhouse).
The boys' dorm, which was not finished when I left the island in April, now has windows, doors and started being used by the boys last term. Now the new pit latrine is underway and there are plans for a new girls' dorm.
The boys' dorm at Lingira Living Hope
So, what is the future of The Suubi Project, now that I am back in Uganda? Well, my mom graciously agreed to continue making the cards. I will continue to receive orders by e-mail and thanks to technology, can easily pass them on to my mom. : )
Since the school's building projects seem to be going along well, I am thinking of changing the project's focus a bit.
The girls' pit latrine being "built." Unfortunately, two monitor lizards already found the bottom of this deep pit.
Earlier this year, Shepherd's Heart International Ministry (SHIM), which I work with, and specifically our Child Development Program, of which I am the "coordinator," teamed up with the school (LLHSS) to begin a new program, with the aim of benefiting more island students. The "cost-sharing" program pays 40% of students' fees, if they or their parents/guardians can pay the other 60% within the first month of the term.
In the past, the school has struggled to "collect" all of the fees in a timely manner and students are sent home again and again, to bring back more tuition. But they also miss valuable class time and their grades can suffer.
The cost-sharing program has been a huge success, with about 90% of the students benefiting from it. However, it was a program begun in faith. When we started it, we did not have a designated funding source, and still do not. We rely on the generosity of sponsors and other givers to SHIM.
So in the future, until God says differently, money raised by The Suubi Project will go to support the cost-sharing program, which is benefiting a number of island and mainland students.
As I have said before, education here in Uganda is a privilege, not a right. Young men and women literally cry and beg to be able to go to school as they know that is a key to a better future. (BTW, check out the article I wrote for my hometown newspaper, The Clatskanie Chief - "Publishing Hope".)
If you haven't seen it already, check out "The Suubi Project" page on this blog (see top, below banner). There you will find photos of the school, students, and the Ugandan photo cards, that are available for purchase. :) Also, The Suubi "Hope" Project is on Facebook, so be sure to stop by, "like" it and say hi, too. And if you would like to promote the "project" on your blog or site, grab the button at the top right of the page. I would be so grateful. :)
Like I said at the beginning of this post, our God is amazing! He can take small, seemingly insignificant things, like a seed, and grow them beyond what we could have ever imagined. Thank you to all who have given to The Suubi Project.
If you would be interested in giving to SHIM, the school or the cost-sharing project specifically, financial gifts can be sent to Global Outreach International, P.O. Box 1, Tupelo, MS, 38802. Please note what the money is designated for. Any contribution, no matter the size, does make a difference. :) Just remember the seed...
"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:20
Image credit: Microsoft Office clipart