Map of Uganda

Map of Uganda

Just five and a half weeks until we land in Kampala! In our ten days in Uganda, we will travel to Gulu, spend time building, hosting a field day and then a carnival day for the kids, and pampering the mums! I can’t decide which part I’m most excited about. I am so ready to soak up every moment.

Less than $200 until I reach my goal! Click the photo to donate online 🙂

Thank you for all of the support. Lots of Love!
-Siara

Exciting News!

On Sunday afternoon, our team had their monthly Uganda meeting. This one, though, was FULL of great changes and a fantastic guest! Our special guest was Pastor Doug Stride, who recently moved with his family back to the States after serving with Watoto for over 7 years! He shared a very small portion of his story while helping us understand and prepare for the Ugandan culture. His passion for the ministry is contagious. Pastor Doug now serves at Hope Community Church as the Executive Pastor for Expansion and Outreach! We are blessed to have him and his family. What a treat to have a person with first-hand knowledge of the ministry we are serving all the way in Uganda! 

I found his Watoto farewell video here.

You may remember that the purpose of my team’s trip to Uganda was to build staff housing for the Watoto Childcare Ministry. I mentioned in a prior blog post that I am not a builder, BUT I am ready to serve and recognize the importance of housing for this intentional ministry that cares for the hurting women and children of Uganda. Not only will we spend our time building, but now, we get to love on the mums and children of the Watoto villages!!! Previously, we would have little time to visit. Now, we have DAYS dedicated to hanging out with these beautiful people. If you know me, you can only imagine how I danced and applauded the news! We will have a Field Day and a separate Carnival with Crafts Day for the children; additionally, the women on our team will have the wonderful opportunity to love and pamper the Watoto Mums who care for these children! (Women -many of whom have lost work, husbands, children, family- are given a home with up to 8 children who have similar stories of loss and pain. Women and children who have lost their families are given families and those children are raised as future leaders of Uganda.)

The April Uganda team just got back from a trip where the men spent time building and the women ministered to and pampered the Mums. It was such a hit with the villages that they’ve made our trip a hybrid of that! How WONDERFUL! I’ve borrowed pictures from the Global Hope blog to give you an idea of what we’ll be doing. 

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The beautiful team of 17 from Hope Community Church in Uganda April 2-12, 2013

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Part of the team working hard building for Watoto! 

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The other part ministering to the women of the Watoto village.

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And also spending much needed time pampering these Mums with manicures & pedicures! Most ministry groups come for the children and don’t spend much time with the mums. Our team of godly ladies spent quality time listening, sharing God’s Word, and simply loving on the women. They were able to truly relax and that was exciting for the team to see.

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Of course, they did spend time loving on the children, too! This is Kimberly Baker, loving on a Watoto Baby! 

Following this team’s journey, hearing their stories, seeing their pictures…every moment makes my future journey so REAL! My passion and excitement for this trip continues to grow. THANK YOU, “April Team,” for doing a fantastic job and loving on the “July Team” as we prepare to go! 

FUNDRAISING UPDATE!: 
I am at $1,545 of $3,000! I am so blessed and excited to have crossed the 50% line!! THANK YOU, SUPPORTERS! My deadline to have a minimum of $2,200 is Mon. May 20th. Without this amount, I cannot purchase my ticket in time to go. Thank you for helping me reach my goals! Donate online here. Or, send checks made payable to Hope Community Church with “Siara Mims, Uganda, July” on the memo line here: 
Siara Mims
2054-422 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC 27518-6614

I will be hosting another fundraising party in May in addition to a hosting a yard sale! You can help by donating items, time, or shopping! 

Thank you, from the bottom of my soul, for every single penny, encouraging word, and help along the way. I am honored to have you join my journey! 

Lots of Love, 
Siara

 

Details

A few reminders! 
~The quickest and easiest way for you to give is online! Steps are below. 
~I can accept check, cash, or change anytime, just be sure to include your name and address for tax-deduction purposes (or let me know if you don’t want a tax receipt)!
 ~Any money raised beyond my goal of $3,000/trip need will go toward Global Hope ministries. If you’d like to help with the cost of passport or immunizations, please do! Just know that those donations will be separate and cannot qualify for a tax-deduction, sorry. (But it is MUCH appreciated, trust me.) 

~Some friends and I are hosting a Thirty-One + Wine Tasting party in April! More information to come! 

Online Giving (currently debit cards only)
Super easy! Visit http://gethope.net/global-hope/give which takes you to https://app.mygivingsolutions.com/landing.aspx?cid=49

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)

Thank you. More than I could ever put into words, thank you. Thank you for being proud of me, for encouraging me, for the tight hugs, for the concern, for the sacrificial donations, for attending my shindigs, for not hiding my social media posts, for reading my blog, for sharing your business profits, for opening your homes, for sharing ideas, for being excited with me, for sharing my blog, for not discouraging me, for sending me mail, for LOVING ME! I am so blessed, privileged, and thankful to be surrounded by you all in so many different ways. You leave me sobbing joyfully! I cannot wait to see what these next few months hold; my trip to Gulu and beyond – and YOU are an important part of it! 

Lots of Love, always, 
Siara

My Story

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

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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.

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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!

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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, 

Siara

I think that God has a beautiful plan for every hurting person, to get them out of their hurt, into wholeness, back to a place where they have a sense of dignity, value, worth. You can’t just give a hungry man a loaf of bread and think you’ve solved his problems. I think we have to treat people holistically.

-Gary Skinner, Watoto Founder

The Beginning of Something Greater

Welcome to my blog! If you know me, you’re probably here to learn more about my trip to Africa! If you happened upon me, please read on to learn about it! 

I am traveling with a team from Hope Community Church (Raleigh, NC) totaling 35 volunteers, July 10th – 21st, 2013. We will be primarily in Gulu, Uganda, building in the Laminadera Children’s Village of the Watoto Childcare Ministry. The trip cost is $3,000; not including passport, immunizations, and spending money. 

Here’s the thing – that number doesn’t scare me. It’s big, much bigger than anything I’ve had to accumulate at once thus far. But not bigger than the God that I serve! And I am blessed to have a community of support via you! 

So, how can you get involved? It’s so easy and EVERYTHING matters. 

  • 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 $200 (or 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. 

My current goal is $700 by Sunday, March 17th. That equals – ten people giving $50, six people giving $25, and five people giving $10! Which one can you be? Any amount is sincerely appreciated! 

Thank you for reading! I am so excited to see how you join my support team! Please contact me with any and all questions! I will have a video with my story up soon! 

Only because of Him, 

Siara