July 2013 Photos

A very concentrated post from my very first international journey just 7 months ago!




I actually enjoyed the food on Ethiopian Airlines – and it came often!


My favorite airport.


My first Watoto village. An incredible and intentional ministry.


Kids of ALL ages just adored playing with the parachute! We played a variety of games. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard so much giggling!



We even took breaks just to chat. Not pictured: children randomly coming to join in and cuddle.


A portion of our unplanned foot washing ceremony. Probably the ministry time that meant the most to our team and the mums. They were floored that we would want to wash their feet.


Such sweet, affectionate people. I was in my element for sure.


The BEST bus drivers – George and Stephen! Good men with kind servant hearts.


The “school cafeteria” at the Laminadera Children’s Village.


Posho and Beans – my personal favorite.


“My kids”! This is the family (mum and two youngest siblings not pictured) that three of my teammates and I had Sunday lunch with and I visited them at school every day after that. They showed me their classrooms, favorite Scriptures, and we would share stories. They would even share their lunch with me!


Oh Baby Watoto. You’ve got my heart.


There are no adequate words to describe the experience of snuggling, calming, feeding, bathing, changing, loving on these babies. Certainly one of the most emotional experiences I’ve had. I am so thankful for Watoto – many of these babies had been left for dead, or worse, but they have been rescued and restored. They are on their way to a permanent family to be raised to become leaders of Uganda!


A portion of the Laminadera Worship Center dedication service. To this day, my favorite service! Such BEAUTIFUL people.


That’s the Worship Center on the right. Finally, plenty of space with shade!


I just realized that you can’t see the children dancing in this photo…but they were! They love it!


One of the best giraffe photos, captured by a teammate. Incredible to see live, in their HOME habitat!


We also saw elephants, hippos, many antelope, lions, birds, and more. A very special treat.


A whole LOT of incredible people 🙂

I’m hoping to have a full album up on Facebook soon.

Lots of Love,



My Story

As I carry about my daily tasks, activities, and relationships, my spirit is anticipating something bigger than myself.

True religion that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God is this: to visit, help, and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need… ” James 1:27.

This verse sums up the desire of my heart; my “holy discontent,” if you will. I imagine that whether you subscribe to the Christian faith or not, you probably recognize the significance of caring for widows and orphans. They are vital pieces in the puzzle that makes up our big, hurting world. I have long been sensitive to my calling to love and serve children in orphanages and the foster care system, both professionally and personally. Living out that calling will look a little different than I had anticipated! I cannot predict where my passion will carry me, but for right now, my whole passion is focused on serving the Watoto Childcare Ministry in Gulu, Uganda. As you probably know, this is a short-term mission trip taking place July 10-21, 2013 with 34 other volunteers from Hope Community Church.

The Watoto Childcare Ministry is the embodiment of James 1:27.



The very moment I learned about this organization, I fell in love. They are living, breathing, DOING what my soul longs to! I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to be a part of this ministry. But how? I mean, I had always seemed to think that my calling was in the United States; to not forget that I, too, live in a very broken country with lots of hurting people and abandoned children. I deeply value international work and missions, but wan’t sure I’d be a direct part of it. Not for fear or unwillingness, but simply because what I understood as my calling looked different. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes.

What happened, exactly?

After the  experiencing the Watoto Children’s  Choir for a second time on January 20th, 2013, I made a deeper heart commitment to Watoto and what they are doing. I joked about moving to Africa. But I knew my spirit was stirring for a reason. Moving, there or anywhere else, very well could be in my future. I am not closed to it at all. I talked briefly with July trip leaders, David Williams and Amanda Vogel that day. The moment David said the trip cost was $3,000, I was not afraid. Which really, is incredible and only faith, because it IS a lot of money. To raise? You mean, to trust other people to help? Eh. God will do it. God is BIGGER! You can find 3000 in change in God’s couch, I imagine. A giant, cozy couch. Ha! Afterward, I went on about my day, week, three weeks went by and the trip was still on my heart. So, I started my research. (I.e., I sent David a long email with 176 questions.) I pulled up the application. I started it. I left it open on my computer and worked at it, not sure whether I’d submit for sure, or not. I looked into the cost and process of a passport (that’s no pocket change…) Pulled up that application, filled it, saved it. Worked extra to save the trip deposit. Heard back from David, his selling line, “if you’ve ever backpacked in the jungle, this trip will be a breeze!” Having never even done anything close to backpacking in the jungle, I thought, “WELL, I’M IN!” So, I submitted the application and then the deposit. Text David. Receive call later that afternoon…”So, you’re the first one on the waiting list.” Okay. Not shaken. I’m got so pumped applying, but this is bigger than me and I cannot control it. “Don’t worry. I hope you’ll come to the meeting on Sunday anyway.” Well, YES, because I know I’m a part of this somehow! So, after serving with my awesome Green Guide team, I went upstairs to the meeting and went to greet David. He pulled me aside and whispered, “Guess what. You’re in!” EEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I lit up, squealed, jumped, probably danced…I was, and AM, so very excited!

Our team of 35 from Hope Community Church will be serving the Watoto Ministry by way of building housing – physical labor is a vital logistic in helping and caring for the widows and orphans!If you know me, you probably guessed that I am not a builder (why isn’t my step-dad going with me, again?!), but I will not be moved. I can work hard, especially when all of my being is passionate about the work. You may also know that I’ve never traveled out of the Country. Still, not shaken. I am NO fan of shots, but I will happily do what I have to do to be a part of this trip and ministry!


Really, everything about this trip is outside of my comfort zone. (If you really know me, you know that is another reason I am so drawn to it!) It will be my first time outside of the US, my first time on a labor-intensive trip, my first time raising this amount of support, and first time traveling this far and in these conditions. But you know what? I am THRILLED. I simply cannot convey how excited I am to you in text. God is so much bigger than any of my insecurities and shortcomings. I know that He will use me to do great things, but even more so, will do great things in me through this!

This is a big trip and this trip is a big deal for me! Please consider partnering with me – there are SO many ways you can be involved!

  • Prayers – pray for me, pray with me – stop me anytime to pray with me!
  • Fundraising – Ideas, support, events. Maybe you’d like to be in charge of an event, or you’d like to be in charge of raising any amount for me – it’s easier when you’re asking for someone else, right? :) I’ll take ideas any time! We have a few in the works.
  • Encouragement. High-five me when you see me! Let me talk your ear off about my passion for this ministry, trip, and serving people. Send me verses of encouragement. Tell me about how you’ve seen God work on trips you or others have been on.
  • Financial contributions. Every single penny adds up and every donation is tax deductible. Save change in a jar, give up a “little” daily habit for a month or so and set the money aside (Coffee, soda, etc.), head up a fundraiser. To donate directly:

Two options!

  1. Online Giving (currently debit cards only)
    Super easy! Visit http://gethope.net/global-hope/give

    Give Directly (to someone’s trip):

    • Select “Raleigh” as location and “Mission Trip Support” as the fund. Enter your amount and check “One Time Donation”
    • Check the “In memory/honor of” box
    • In the “First Name” field enter the traveler’s full name (i.e., Siara Mims)
    • In the “Last Name” field enter trip location and travel date (i.e., Uganda, July 2013)
  2. Cash or Check
  • Any cash or check donations must be given directly to me (cannot be dropped off or mailed directly to Hope as it may not get to my fund account).
  • Checks can either be made out to “Siara Mims” or “Hope Community Church” On the memo line, please write, “Siara Mims, Uganda, July Trip
  • Cash should be put in an envelope with “Siara Mims, Uganda, July Trip” written on the front. If you would like your donation to be tax deductible, please write your name, address, and email on the envelope as well.
  • If you would like your check deposited before the 17th (of week of) each month between now and May, please make the check out to me. I will deposit it and save the cash in an envelope with your information for a tax receipt.

I am at $300 out of $700 due March 17th! I need $400 within three weeks; that’s just 3 gifts of 50, 8 gifts of $25, and 5 gifts of $10! What can you do to be a part of this? 

Thank you to all of the friends and family who are loving me on this journey via emotional, spiritual, and financial support. I am SO blessed. Lots of love and ONLY because of Him,