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Friday, April 16, 2010

Lesson #1 from Uganda ... Meet My Sisters !!

I have been home less than 48 hours and I still can't believe I was just in Uganda ... I am going to take the next few days to record the things I saw and how God helped me to process it so I could see His deeper purpose for our family's life ...

Meeting the women who make our magazine bead necklaces is one of the all time highs of my life ... Katie and I drove to meet the women in this mud/stick hut church.   They meet every Tues/Thurs. to discuss prayer requests, bring their necklaces, and discuss the next step in their journey ... The week before Katie had told the women that I was coming and when each woman walked in they came to hug me and thank me (they called me THE VISITOR) ... I was immediately humbled and thanked them for their hard work ...

After all the women arrived we sat down and Katie had each woman share her story and how her life had been transformed by being a part of the bead making program ... It was at this point that I completely felt the power of the Holy Spirit engulf my heart ... Each woman shared how difficult her life was before and how feeding their children was next to impossible  ... When they shared of how they would dig in trash for food, dig in trash for things to sell so they could buy food, or how they had no hope in their future then Auntie Katie and THE VISITOR came along to change their life ... This picture became very real to me sitting there in the circle with them... It was seriously more than I could handle ... I turned to Katie at one point and said "I may no make it w/out a complete breakdown." BROKENNESS AND JOY !!!  I so wanted to hold my composure because I think my crying would have really interrupted the moment ... I wanted them to feel comfortable and confident in sharing ... We had one of the women translating for everyone and I so wanted to be able to understand them w/out the translator ... I wanted to meet them on a personal level ... I wanted them to know that I was their sister !!!!  One day in heaven we will all speak the same language ...

One thing I will never forget as long as I live is how each woman prayed for ME ... They asked God to keep me safe, to bless my family, and for God to find favor on our mission ... I could look around the room knowing that each of these women live in a one room dirt hut w/ no running water, no electricity, no kitchen and so many more NOs, yet the JOY and HOPE they now have is beyond anything I can describe ... They were proud of what they were accomplishing now by providing for their families ... They were joyful in the hope they can provide for their children ... It was an honor to meet them ... They inspired me as a child of the KING ...

It was a priceless day ... and as we were leaving 1/2 of the women jumped in Katie's van to go to the bank to make a deposit in their NEW accounts !!!  Katie and Tamara are teaching the women about saving ... When I say that Katie is helping these women on so many levels that is an understatement ... She isn't just buying necklaces and leaving ... She has invested into each family and is there to support them on so many levels ...  It is amazing to be a part of this relationship ... These are moms just like me wanting to show their children Jesus, hope, and provide for them ...

I just left w/ the amazing urge to sell necklaces to everyone in America ... I wanted to be able to show you a window into their life ... I want you to feel connected to these amazing sisters in Christ !!!











Katie has truly created a sisterhood for these women ... She has helped them to establish a community of support and love ... Suzanne and I are so thankful that God put us in Katie's life  ... 

One way you could really help us is to find retailers to buy the necklaces from us ... We want to increase our buying capability, so we can help the women save more so in turn we can graduate them from the program and start helping even more women ... 

The women are so excited to start making bracelets, chokers, and solid color necklaces for 147 and we can't wait to show them to you ... Please join Suzanne and I as we love on our sisters in Uganda !!


PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR MY NEXT TRIP IN THE NEXT MONTH TO BRING JOSEPH AND DAISY HOME !!!! MISSING MY BABIES SOMETHING TERRIBLE 

25 kind words.:

Small Stones said...

My heart is so full! I nearly started crying! Thank you so, so much for sharing this experience with all of us! Praying for your family, for Daisy and Joseph and for your safe trip to bring them home. Praying for the wonderful sisters in Uganda! Praying for Katie as she helps and guides these women, and teaches them of the Love of CHRIST!

Thank you for all you are doing!

Breclyn

Kim K. said...

What an inspirational story. I think I know what my sister and mother need for Mother's day. Continued blessings to those sweet ladies and Katie.

Kim said...

I can only imagine! What an incredible experience Gwen! Thank you for sharing and inspiring us!
I will put some feelers out in Hong Kong. How cool would that be if we could find a retailer here?
Love & Blessings,
Kim

God's Grace said...

Gwen I am so blessed to have peeked at your blog tonight! I had no idea you went to Uganda :) with all that is going on here I've had little time for blogs. But praise God for all that He has done and is doing! Praying for you sweet sister. Katie is an awesome women for Jesus but your are too! You do so much for His cause! Praying for you tonight, and your precious ones who will soon come home! Terry

mjohnson said...

Thank you sooo much for this post. It means more, well you know exactly what it means to see the pictures & to hear the stories of the lives changed by our purchases. So grateful for your safe and Godvision-filled journey. Praying for those babies & your next trip.

ASH said...

Amazing, beautiful...what a legacy! One life at a time...

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one..." --Mother Teresa

Thank you for sharing the journey with us!

Renee Click said...

Wow!!!!!!!!! I just finished reading and I feel so good to know that you wittnessed first hand how these women feel and how much they are being helped! It feels great to have sold so many necklaces and helped these precious Moms! I pray I get to go meet them! You, Suzanne & Katie and moving mountains! You all are awesome! Love you all,
Renee

Jewels of My Heart said...

Thank you for sharing..... thank you for walking in God's beautiful and perfect will...... what amazing things He accomplishes through us when we just say, "Yes, Lord...."
Praying and God's speed....

Erika Kolecki said...

Wow, what an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. I can't wait to order my necklace, I'm going to do it this weekend. Is therea brick and morter store that I can go to in Nashville or do you get more profit if I order it from the website?

How about The Trendy Truck in Hendersonville? Dana Williams from Diamond Rio's wife is the owner and they help the schools with projects, maybe they would be a good place to check into? Kind of an upscale trendy gift shop. We have a lot of adoptive families in Sumner County, I bet they would sell.

Roger Bachman said...

Oh sister in Christ, thanks so much. I keep asking God, what else can I do?? What does He want me to do?? I am telling people about those necklaces. Thanks for sharing.

Roger

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Crying with joy! So excited to hear more. Praying your trip will be soon. Your babes need their mommy & mommy & family need them too. AMAZING!!!

Kim said...

You are sooo AMAZING..
I can't imagine how it was to be there..
I would love it.
Hugs..
Can't wait to see Joseph and Daisy home with the family..

We Are Family said...

Amazing, I could hear your heart in this post!

ashley said...

I am so glad that you were so blessed on this trip! Thank you for sharing! I am going with Visiting Orphans to Uganda and Ethiopia this summer and cannot wait to meet Katie! My mom asked me a couple years ago to start praying for this girl in Africa:) Its so amazing all that you are all doing for our sisters in Uganda! I will be praying for you as you get ready to go back and bring home your children!

Leigh Ann said...

Incredible! What a great trip...can't wait to get my hands on Joseph and Daisy! Love Ya

Deb said...

Just tried reading this update aloud to Tim....and couldn't get through it without crying. I've always worn my necklace proudly and have often explained where it came from. I will wear it now with a different heart....and want to do more! Lots of love and prayers continue in your behalf.

The Fab 4 said...

This post is amazing. These are moms and their children look just like any other gathering of women and children we see here but without the giant play structure in the background or trays of uneaten happy meals. Oh my. I think this is going to be a re-post for me. Thanks so much for sharing.

**Heidi** said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to share this story. It is wonderfully inspiring! Praying for you, your family, Katie and all the women/children touched by you all.

Carla said...

Beautiful post! I can't imagine having to leave them. They are precious images of Jesus. Can you email me please and tell me what agency you used? I would liek to learn more about Ugandan adoptions. Thank you and many blessings,
Carla
sweetpea31897@msn.com

Jill Funkhouser said...

What an Many blessings!awesome experience and so humbling. I could just feel exactly what was on your heart and will be lifting these women and your family up in prayer.

lisa Kindred said...

Gwen,

Thank you for sharing in depth about your sisters and their bead journey. Must be an unbelievable feeling to know you got to experience this first-hand.
I am excited to find you some places here in Blm/Normal to sell the beads and will pass this plea on. We find that a blessing and a small thing compared to what you ,Suzanne and Katie are doing!!

Am sure you are still getting rested and back to a routine. Hope your family is doing great!! Oh , I am sure you are missing your littlest angels. They will be home soon!!

Love you, LIsa

The Ferrill's said...

Truly amazing, Gwen! Thank you SO much for sharing your life with all of us...you inspire us to seek HIM more. I look at these pictures of the women and think "HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE". It makes me think of that verse about how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news...
You, Katie, Suzanne, and everyone of those in these pictures have some truly beautiful toesies!
May God continue to richly bless you all as you follow His will...and I will continue to pray for you until J & D are HOME!!!!!!!!
Sending hugs,
Laine

Gillian said...

Gwen, I'm picturing this daisy flower with its sweet face pointing up to the sun--just basking in the bright warmth--oh how GOOD our Father is--Oh how beautiful His daughters and sons!!
Blessings now as you are a mama on two continents!!
Love, Gillian

Nancy said...

Dearest Gwen:
Last year my daughter Barb gave me one of your beautiful necklaces for my birthday.
Today, she brought your Blog to my attention. I would like to commend you on your big, couragest undertaking you have taken on. Your children you are waiting for will have a beautiful life and family when they get here.
Keep up the good work and in your case, I believe that there is a "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow for you and your family.
Nancy

Aly said...

Sorry I wasn't able to read all the above posts, so I'm not sure if someone else has already mentioned this company to you. "Ten Thousand Villages" collects merchandise from around the world to sell in their many stores. Have you heard of them?
Here is their website: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/home.php

They have a commitment to fair trade and may be a great retailer for the necklaces. I thought of them when I bought my first necklace from 147 million. Sorry to just now suggest them.

Blessings to you.