IT’S HAPPENING. Project Orphans is breaking ground in Uganda and we are beyond excited for all that is to come. 9 months ago we had no idea what would have been birthed. It started with just a dream, a tug on our hearts, and the willingness and faith to step out and take a risk.
We asked ourselves many questions. Would this work? Who would support us? There are already tons of people helping orphans, why us? How will we raise funds to BUILD HOMES? How would we afford to get lawyers and accountants, and fund all the paper work for a non-profit? We didn’t have all the answers, but God did. He put the right people with the right heart in the right places at the right time. Those people know who they are, and we are forever grateful for their support whether it was financial, prayers, or words of wisdom and guidance.
It’s evident that His love and His Grace was weaved throughout our every move. We often made plans, and plans OFTEN changed. We came to realize it wasn’t about our plans, but His. And His is always better!
Brittany and I went to Jamaica this past March. We were excited about meeting with our ministry partners there, and seeking out land and possibilities for our Orphan home there. There were many ups, as well as many downs. Many times we got discouraged. If any of you know Jamaica, it’s not like many other ‘3rd world countries,’ everything comes at a high price and there is red tape like no other, the dollar is moving drastically and the list could go on and on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s my country and I LOVE the place and always will. There’s every reason not to go there. But we know there’s something for Project Orphans to do there. What that looks like, we have no idea. When that will happen? Not sure. It could be this year, next year, or the year after. And we are fine with it.
What did we learn from this trip? As Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Yes, as simple as that, don’t be anxious, don’t be eager, don’t worry, don’t fret. When we worry we lose sight of who we belong to; we make molehills become mountains. So we wait. We wait because we know He will come through as He always does. Because we know He is in it.
And no we are not just sitting and waiting, we are actively waiting. Because if any of you know Brittany Stokes…she does not sit and wait to do anything. Always on the go, she’s at the next step before you even get there. We are praying, brainstorming, making connections, and working towards a door we know will open.
This past April, I made the first connection (after much research) with our Ministry Partners in Uganda. (This connection was made through a friend, who frequents Uganda, and has a huge heart for the people there.) I spoke with Sherry first, shared what we did, who we are, our vision and mission. She then shared her heart with me and how God led her and her husband to Uganda. I explained that we work alongside other ministries that are in place, to help them expand by building homes in order to care for more orphans.
‘We raise up the houses. You raise up the leaders.’
She hopped on our website checked us out while we were talking, looked at my picture, looked at Brittany’s, and Tiffany’s. She not only exclaimed about how cute we all were, but brought so much genuine excitement about what we were doing. She mentioned how they had been renting, and how God brought someone to them that donated all the funds needed for them to build their first home, for the 17 children they currently have.
She started recommending other organizations in Uganda we could work with, not ever once asking or hinting that we work with her. She said when you come to Uganda, you have a place to stay with us; we will take care of you! It was one of those conversations you have and you feel like you already know the person! It was a conversation that left me with a good feeling.
So I shared with Tiffany and Brittany, and not wanting to be anxious about anything we waited a bit and then made plans to all talk with her again. We grilled her with questions, many questions. We wanted to make sure of a lot of things before we made any decision to even hint that we were interested in working alongside her ministry. We talked back and forth a bit through email, Facebook and Skype. We sat on it, prayed and prayed a little more, but it was one of those things we just kind of knew was meant to happen and had a peace about.
Towards the 3rd week of May we decided to send her an email, explaining our interest in working alongside her, we sent her our terms and what we wanted this to all look like. We waited and waited and didn’t hear anything back for a couple days. We thought, this would be an exciting email to receive wouldn’t it? So I sent her a quick message to ask her if she saw it. (Patience isn’t one of my strong points.) So she messaged right back and said yes she did, but she had been super busy with her son’s wedding, and sent it over to a couple of her board members to review.
We got onto Skype right then with her and discussed everything. She was very excited and so were we. So we said to her. How soon can we start? And she said, “Well you would have to have the funds first.” And went on to explain the building process to us again, and percentages of what is needed for the foundation, then walls then roof etc. So we said, “That’s not a problem, we have the money.” The look on her face, PRICELESS. “What do you mean you have the money?” Brittany and I laughed and then she teared up a bit and screamed. ‘You have the money!!,” we said “ Yes, we have ALL the money.” Haha it was great. All this time we were talking, she didn’t realize we had the money. That made it that much better! It was PURE JOY.
So FAST FORWARD a bit. WE ARE GOING TO UGANDA. We are building a home for orphans alongside these great people and we couldn’t be happier. And it’s all by His GRACE.
We had an idea of what we wanted the home to look like, so along with my sister, an architect, willing to give us some free hours (this was a plus) and the Contractor in Uganda, this is what will start coming to life this July!
This home will sit close beside their Larger Children’s Home that houses their current 17 children, along with house moms. This home will provide a family atmosphere and will be the first of many ‘Cluster Homes’ which will house 8 children and 1 mom.
By us partnering with this ministry, they will be able to focus on raising funds to build a guest house (for mission’s teams,) among other farming projects which will generate income in order to sustain the homes and the children living there. While they are focusing on sustaining the homes, we will be able to open the doors for them to take in more children in need of a home.
It’s amazing to see how God has worked through Project Uganda in such a short time, and we know he will do the same for Project Jamaica all in His special timing. Continue to pray with us, follow us and stay updated. We cannot do this alone! Your support has what helped to get us this far and we are forever grateful.
(Project Orphans Founder)