It seemed like a normal morning when I woke up in my home in Honduras. A mission team had just arrived the night before, and I was getting ready for a day of walking tours and work projects. My mind, still foggy with sleepiness, wasn’t thinking about anything in particular when I walked out of my room to grab a quick breakfast. But as I stepped into the kitchen, a sudden sensation came over me that stopped me in my tracks and immediately snapped me awake.
“Pray for the kids I’m going to give you.”
It wasn’t words I heard, but somehow I knew what I was supposed to pray for. Other people have had similar experiences, when God told them to stop everything and pray for something or someone, but I had never felt anything so immediate, so intense. I don’t know how to describe the sense of urgency I felt in that moment, but the gravity of it kept me rooted to the floor where I was standing. Everything around me seemed to dim as this sole task took over.
Standing motionless in the kitchen, I began to pray fervently for the kids God was going to put in my path someday. Somehow I knew he wasn’t talking about my biological kids. These were children who would come to me in a time of need. Were they already out there somewhere? Have they even been born yet? Were they hurting or in danger right now? Questions raced through my brain, but I just kept praying.
And just as suddenly as it came on, the urgent feeling went away. I continued to stand in my kitchen, filled with excitement but wondering what all of this meant for my life. That day was over three years ago, and I still remember standing there as if it were yesterday. The experience raised a lot of questions for me, but one thing I now knew for certain:
I was going to be a foster parent someday.
It was in this chapel, the church I lived behind for four years in Honduras, that God told me I would be working with my sister in Africa someday.
It was such an unexpected image in my head of the two of us in a place I had never been. It was so odd that I ended up brushing it off until my sister told me she had been feeling the same thing-our paths were slowly bringing us together, meeting at a point neither of us could see yet.
Now of course we see the path clearly. In hopefully just a few months, I will be joining my sister in Uganda to work with the organization she co-directs with her friend Hannah (who founded the ministry with her late husband), Petros Zoe Initiative. In two years they have started a vocational school, mentoring programs, sports teams, a teenage pregnancy center, among other incredible things. And soon I will be helping to launch something brand new-a foster care program.
Uganda is a very young country, and there are many kids who are in need of a healthy and happy home. But the problem is much, much deeper than just that. There are so many factors that lead to kids winding up in orphanages, or on the street. Limited access to education, the desperate need to earn an income in a country of high unemployment, and the appeal of turning to crime or prostitution for a “quick fix” to problems are just a few issues that desperately need to be addressed in order for families to remain strong. And that is why our foster care system will be just one of the many ways that Petros Zoe is working to bring healing to communities. The people and resources are already there. We are just opening up the opportunities, and watching as kids and youth (and future foster parents!) begin to reach the full potential God has planned for them.
Our goal is to train a group of capable foster care parents, who will be surrounded by a community of people ready to provide support in any way needed. And while the concept of foster care does exist in Uganda, it is still a pretty new and underutilized concept in most areas. I have never been a part of developing something from the ground up, and it excites me as much as it terrifies me.
Since Petros Zoe is such a new organization, there aren’t a lot of extra funds to go around, which is why I am going to Uganda as a self-funded missionary. I already have an incredible support team who have decided to be a part of the amazing things happening in Uganda (thank you guys!!), but I am not quite at my financial goal! If just 8 people committed to supporting me with a $50 monthly gift, I would be fully funded and ready to get this foster care system off the ground.
Has this idea of a foster care program made you as excited as it has made me? I would be honored to have you as part of my team, to celebrate successes with you and to share and receive prayer requests.
If you would like to partner with me with a one-time or monthly gift, just go to my fundraising page here!
I will be using this blog to keep you updated on everything happening, so be sure to sign up for email updates if you would like to keep up with the news. Thank you so much for being in my life and for helping me in this next chapter in my life!