Monday, August 23, 2010
Ekissa means mercy
I was absolutely blown away last Friday night when I attended a benefit dinner for a non-profit organization called "ekissa" pronounced etch-uh-sa. It was founded by a woman named Sarah Ledford. I am amazed at what they are doing for the people of Uganda, but even more than that, I am amazed at how God can take real people like you and me and give them a heart to reach the lost for Christ. The people that ekissa serve aren't just lost. They're dying. Here are some real statistics taken directly from ekissa's website.
■Every day children die from lack of food, unsanitary drinking water or treatable diseases. 11,000,000 children under the age of 5 will die this year.
■Hunger kills more than Malaria and TB combined.
■This translates to a child dying every 3.5 seconds; 1000 children every hour.
These statistics are harsh but very real. The reality is these situations are all extremely solvable. There are enough resources in the world to wipe out world hunger and treat preventable diseases.
There are many reasons that I am so moved by this particular organization, but the biggest reason is that Sarah is not only an amazing woman of God, but she's my friend. She and my mom worked together over 5 years ago. My mom introduced us and I was immediately taken in by this spunky, passionate woman. I love seeing her heart displayed in such a tangible way through the ministry of ekissa.
As many of you know I've had a passion and desire to help the people of Africa for a long time. My friends from SFA can probably recount the day I, as a freshman, came stumbling into Kerr Hall telling them how I wanted to go to Africa to reach people for Christ. I had just been to a workshop by a speech pathologist who had recently graduated and taken a trip to Africa. I don't even remember what country now. But what I do remember was the passion and desire to go to Africa that filled me up and set me on fire. I've prayed for the nations of Africa many, many times over the past 10 years. I even wanted to go to Africa with Campus Crusade for Christ. I was ready to sign up and live there for a whole year on what they call STINT, but when I researched my options, it turned out that Africa wasn't an option that year. I was heart-broken, but decided that it must not be God's timing for me - yet.
My heart still longs to go there. I would love to do short-term missions to Uganda. One day I will. Right now I need to wait for my little Xander-man to get a little bigger so that I can leave him for the amount of time necessary to make that trip.
Though it will be some time before I can physically go to Africa, David and I have talked about sponsoring a child through African Renewal Ministries. My desire is to sponsor a child close to Xander's age and have them grow up together. I would love to be part of God's plan in a child's life that has been shaped simply because of where he was born and the circumstances of his environment. My hope is that Xander will be able to learn more about cultures other than his own and that he will see just how blessed he is to be able to go to school, have clean clothes, and eat three meals a day. I also want him to learn about compassion, love, and generosity. Next year we will have the opportunity to sponsor a child in the village that Sarah and the ministry of ekissa is directly working, a village call Bweya.
Here is more information taken directly from ekissa.com.
ekissa translates “mercy” in Luganda, the native language in Uganda. ekissa is a not-for-profit corporation, born out of a compelling and urgent need of community outreach.
Bweya is overflowing with starving orphans. Even the children who have parents, many are malnourished and suffer multiple medical afflictions- deadly malaria, nutrient stealing worms and parasites, flesh eating jiggers, a rising reoccurrence of polio, and they experience days without food. The physical, educational, medical, nutritional and, most importantly, spiritual needs are overwhelming and God sized.
ekissa is applying a proven model for alleviating the vast needs of Bweya village. Its holistic approach is initially facilitated through partnering with Gaba Community Church in Kampala, through planting a church in Bweya. It is in planting the church that together, we aspire to begin addressing the needs of the orphans in Bweya as well as the medical, educational, nutritional, physical and spiritual needs of the local people. International models of transformative kingdom building always occurs through the indigenous people.
The vision of ekissa is to create long-term self-sustainability, rather than dependency, on the North American Church. The only way to accomplish the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28) and alleviate many of the daily and often life-threatening challenges in one of the poorest countries of the world is to bring disciples. Disciples will bring the love of Jesus and His Word which will rise up new believers and result in systemic change.
As witnessed in America, ekissa has seen firsthand through mission trips on the ground that the local indigenous church is the cornerstone of any successful, striving, sustainable community.
ekissa has a Board of Directors comprised of both domestic and international Ugandan members responsible for fashioning the ministry such that methods are deemed effective and systemic for the local indigenous Ugandan concepts. We are looking for U.S individuals, churches and other organizations, to come join in our mission and partner with the indigenous church, Gaba Community Church (www.gabachurch.org). We seek to extend the love of Christ in very tangible ways to the community of Bweya. We welcome the opportunity to share with anyone wishing to join in the opportunities for effective partnership.
In light of the inequalities of this world, we gain a greater awareness that we are blessed to be a blessing.
Such awareness sears within our heart the committed determination to advocate for orphans and widows.
Together, ekissa stands ready to facilitate the logistics, for you to join this effort.
I'm ready, Lord! Send me!