Monday, December 07, 2009


Check out our dates and plan our arrival into your town! :)

December 22-Jan 1st—Charlottesville, Richmond (family/friends)
Jan 3-4th—Harrisonburg, VA (Horizon Christian; Alethia)
Jan 5th—Oakbrook 7pm—Reston, VA
Jan 7-10th—***Austin, TX, Conference with Heidi Baker
Jan 12-14th—Houston, TX
Jan 16-17th—L.A. (oasis church?)
Jan 18-24th—San Francisco, CA (no engagements yet)
Jan 27-31st—Park City, Utah—Sundance
Feb 1-2nd—Santa Fe, NM
Feb 3-7th—San Antonio, TX (Watermark?)
Feb 8-14th—Houston, TX (Christ the King)
Feb 15-16th—Jacksonville, FL
Feb 17-18th—Charlotte, NC
Feb 19th—22nd--VA
Feb 22nd—Fly out for Uganda

We can't wait to see you guys!
Sarita & Tyson

Monday, November 30, 2009

Check out our Thanksgiving Newsletter with beautiful photos and stories for all the lastest updates from the ground in Gulu, Uganda!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Vanessa pulls her orange skirt over her feet. Her shirt is covered with red hearts. She traces the ground as she cries. Her step father used to call men over to rape her. Used to pimp her and laugh as she cried behind the curtain.

Too small. Legs, too small for her age. She is only seven.

The tears gather in the middle of her pupils and spill down her face like drops of rain collecting on a window. Where is that smile, Where is that smile I love to see. Where has it gone? Started with the small boys and then later, the bigger boys. Used to sleep on a mat in the kitchen knees, to chest in protection but there is no protection for her. Her mother doesn't see her. Her mother beats her when she says it hurts.

I sit and I can't cry, can't cry for fear she will see mama lose all reserve. But as I'm crawling into bed I think of her crumpled frame, knees drawn in, tracing the dirt on the red floor, too vulnerable, too innocent to know what “sleep with me,” means, too young to know the word rape. The only verse as I pray for her that keeps crowding in my head is “the old has gone, the new has come,” and I tell Vanessa she has a new life here with us and I will never let anyone touch her again. I want to keep that promise, I want to keep that promise. I want to...

Later, I see Vanessa in a green dress smiling, laughing as she skips jumprope and tells me she wants to be a lawyer someday. I ask her why...and she says.... "for justice."

And I think...
me too.

You can sponsor a girl like Vanessa receive healing in our home at:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Cross-Country Road Trip!!!

Dearest Family, Friends & Supporters,

I'm actually writing this letter from our Toyota double-cabin truck we were just able to purchase thanks to some very generous donors. We are very grateful and are super excited to have some wheels! :)

We're also really excited that at the end of December Tyson and I will be traveling back to the USA to spend some time with our families for Christmas and to do a pretty adventurous road-trip from Jan-March across the States to see many of you! We'll be living out of my little Honda civic so if you have free couches available we'd love to come crash with you.

Our hope is to start out in Virginia (N. Va, Richmond, & Charlottesville) and go south by the Eastern sea-board through S. Carolina, Georgia, Florida and then head West to Texas (Houston, San Antonio & Austin) towards Utah and hopefully if time allows out to California (SF, LA)

We'll be flying back to Uganda with a team the first week of March. Next year will be busy in Uganda so this may be our only time to come home and see our supporters and friends.

So, if you have a church or group you would like us to speak with about Zion Project, a really cool event, photo exhibit, or bead party you want to host, or you just want to hear about our experiences seeing God move in Uganda/you just really love us, please email back and we'd be happy to try and stop in your town. :) Let's try and plan now before the busy holiday season is upon us!

We miss you guys and look forward to any opportunity to spend time with you, bless you, and be blessed by you.

With love,
Sarita & Tyson

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dreaming with God

“ comfort all who mourn
and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3

This is our mission. This is why we began. To bring healing to broken hearts, love to those who were not loved, and comfort to those who had been devastated by war.

As this past year comes to an end, and we look to the future, as our girls graduate to start new lives with fresh hope, we find ourselves in a season of changes once again. It seems when you are following God's voice, nothing is ever stable. He never lets you get quite comfortable before asking you to be brave.

These past few weeks, I've been sitting with our girls who were once child soldiers, who were once girls whose eyes I searched for some sign of life. They are not those same girls anymore. As we do assessments and evaluations with them from their time with us so we can learn what has truly impacted them the most---I find that we actually did it. What started out as a dream, became a reality and we succeeded. With God's help, lives were changed and these same girls who had no sense of purpose now say,

“I was the type who had given up on myself, but now I see hope and a future for myself. I feel I am a new person, something is driving me, I have hope now.” -Janet-

It is almost hard for me to believe sometimes that it actually happened. After all the struggles, and pain, the reward is the smile I now see light up Janet's eyes.

These girls I have loved and lived with, who have become like daughters, and who will now be friends---they will graduate at the end of October and I feel the change coming, and the sadness I will feel at letting them go. But it's time. With small loans we are giving, and follow up, they are now ready to stand on their own.

It means change for us too. I thought that God would have me do this forever, but we've learned a lot this year, and I believe God is asking us to have faith again for a new dream.

Things have changed in northern Uganda. People are returning home to their villages and child mothers are not as easily accessible to give help to. We still have such passion for these vulnerable girls, but believe we might better be able to assist them in day teachings in the village or within a healing center rather than a residential program.

We've learned too that in order to last here we need focus. We cannot be everything to everyone, but our hope is to be one thing really well.

I believe God is bringing us back to the core of why He brought us here—to affect change in hearts.

And while we did that through a residential program for these girls this time, I think God has a different method for us now. Based on our interviews with the girls, the thing that impacted them the most was the counseling and love we gave them, and the teachings on healing and forgiveness.

My hope is to always be transparent with you all who have supported us these past few years. We are praying about a new dream God has given us about a Healing Center where formerly abducted girls, child mothers, pastors, and those who are broken hearted can come during the day to receive these teachings, and for week long retreats which can change their life forever. In order to do this we need land, a vehicle, and to raise funds for building. We knew that we could not rent forever, but it takes a step of faith to make the leap towards investing in building. We ask for your prayers as well as we seek God for direction during this time of re-evaluation. We want to use this time as girls are moving out to figure our next steps instead of trying to take another group in right now. But I must say it is difficult for me to let these girls go. Even though they all know where I live and have my cell and will probably come over for tea from time to time, it's not easy when I've loved them and mentored them for the last year.

We are keeping our “home” model of transformation for the children whose hearts are soft and who can live together without much conflict as we train them up in Jesus. So while one phase ends, another one opens. Our Congolese home will continue to minister to the daughters of commercial sex workers in Gulu town and place them in school, as we continue to do outreach with their mothers whom we love and want to help escape lives of prostitution.

We will still be ministering to war-affected girls, but just in a different context. And will partner with other organizations to help them with their other needs that we are unable to fill instead of spreading ourselves thin to try and meet all their needs.

We are realizing we cannot be “need-meeters” but need to be called by the Father to do what He asks. There are no counseling centers or retreat healing centers in Gulu. The closest place is in Jinja which is about 8 hours of traveling away. The people returning to villages are still traumatized by war, with suicide rates rising. One of our girls' father's (Irene) just killed himself last week. The need for counseling is imperative.

I believe this is a season of transition for many people and we covet your prayers as we figure out ours. I want to thank you for the ways you have supported us and continue to do so--always encouraging us to follow the Spirit.

It is what gives me the freedom to dream.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Matter of the Heart

More and more I am convinced that the only way to effect change in Uganda is to focus on the heart. To focus on healing. And to focus on raising up a generation that has the Kingdom of God first in their life. No matter how much education, no matter how many skills trainings, no matter how much teaching on business, the poverty that pervades the culture is more than not having. It is the poverty of spirit, the lack intimacy with God. The pain of unforgiveness. The ugliness of greed. This first week back in Gulu has been full of happiness, but also sadness, spiritual warfare, and challenges.

In our Congolese home I have seen little girls as young as 6 and as old as 12 with their hands raised towards heaven, tears rolling down their cheeks because of the power of God. Little girls who just a month ago were suffering rape, or being forced into the sex trade by those older than them because they were told “It's never too early to learn.” Little girls who have burns on them from being left in a house that caught fire while they were trying to prepare dinner for younger siblings, while their mother was at the disco because its the only job she can find to feed her kids.

Now they don't worry about starvation. Now they pray and they know there is a God who exists who loved them enough to rescue them from that life. I am touched by their innocence. I am touched by their praise. And when I look in their faces I am touched by the fact that most of them are not yet tainted by the desperation of this country that has corrupted the hearts of men.

But I'm also sad. Sad because the women we had living here, all but 2 of the former prostitutes whose lives we were working to restore have left because of the lies spoken to them by pastors and members of the church. These are men and women who should be celebrating because these women were no longer on the street spreading HIV and leaving their children as orphans. Instead it is the church who has sought to destroy our home because of greed and jealousy. They want these projects for themselves because they began to realize that the West, with its money, had started to care about these women. And they realized that they could profit from our compassion. We are as much to blame. We throw money at Africans and projects without considering the long-term impact. We don't go through the proper channels---through individuals who have been on the ground and understand the detriment of handing over money and how it paints those of us who live here as though we have bottomless pockets of cash.

I went into one of the Congolese communities of sex trade workers this week to talk to them to try and reverse the damage that had been done to our reputation. I was met with singing and shouting, hugs, and laughter. I was met with familiar faces I have come to love and those who eyed me with suspicion. I tried to be strong but when I saw Sarah, one of our girls who returned recently to this community, I just cried as I held her face in my hands and told her I missed her. I told her I loved her still. Even though in her anger the day she left, she beat up another girl and threatened Mama Miriam because the words spoken to her had broken her trust in us. I could see the tears in her eyes as she held her son, who is now sick because she took him from the protection of medical care. As much as it hurt to know what she was capable of, it is true that I love her still. When I asked God to open up my heart to love these girls I never knew it would break my heart. That it would break my heart to love them and forgive them over and over because it is the heart the Father has for us. And I can feel how much it breaks Him too. But still He loves. And still, we must love, though we are in pieces along the way.

We are in a season of transition as we seek the Father for what He would have us do next. Our Acholi girls are graduating our program soon and have the faith, confidence, and skills to start a new life. As we do exit interviews with them I am grounded more in the belief that it is the healing and counseling which has changed them the most. They all say, the greatest thing they received was the teaching on forgiveness and love. And as I look into the future and try to see from heaven what God sees for Gulu, I see a center for healing, a place that focuses on teaching, and transformation of the heart. I dream of it. And it is a spark as I walk onward in the darkness.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I can't really describe what it feels like to be crush-hugged by a screaming group of women and children. Or what it feels like to walk into a home, my home in Gulu and see it so alive when just a year ago it was empty, without the sounds of little feet, or women laughing as they cook in the kitchen. I can't describe how a life happens, or how it changes and matures into something so beautiful, or what if feels like to look into the eyes of these girls now and see HOPE and LOVE and JOY and to know that God, God, is so alive. I can't tell you how it feels to hold our newborn Daniel and to know that without this home, without God's love coming into his mother's heart, he might not be here...and now I can't imagine the world without his little bald-spotted head.

I cry as I write this because so many times I wanted to run away, when it was so hard. I wanted to give up when I was all alone, I wanted to give in and so many times I cried, "God I can't do it. It's too much for me. The dream is too big." But God's dreams always are. Last night I looked around at my staff, my girls, their children, and my new children--a group of 10 young Congolese girls whose mothers gave them to us to take care of because they don't want them to become prostitutes---I looked at them as they sang beautiful songs about being "children of Zion" and I was overcome with how far God has brought us.

This is an offering of thanksgiving because yesterday we celebrated 5 of our girls who graduated from Good Samaritan Vocational Training School with certificates and skills to help sustain them. They wore their black gowns so proudly, they had their hair done so nice, and I arrived just in time to give them some new shoes to wear for their big day....and I was so PROUD of them--that they made it and that they now walk like women who don't have to be ashamed because they were raped, or because they were left, or because they are "war-affected." Now they walk like women with purpose.

It is not easy. This road, has not been easy and I want to thank you for walking it with me, for praying alongside with me, and sending gifts to the girls, and reaching across the miles to touch their lives. Becuase you do touch them.

There are more prayers to be prayed and we will pray them with you.

But for now...let's give thanks that our God loves us this much and lets us be used to love others.

I am already missing you and all the conveniences of modern life....but it is not enough to take away my joy at seeing God redeem these girls' lives and the lives of their babies.

I'm very grateful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving back to Uganda today! New world phone number: (650) 488-5159

Please pray for safe travels, our luggage, and that I arrive in time
to see my girls graduate from vocational school on Saturday!

Miss you all, but more exciting news to come soon....

Monday, September 07, 2009


Thursday, August 20, 2009

"They can destroy my womanhood, but not my spirit."

Spoken by a Congolese woman raped multiple times, just like the girls in our house in Uganda. Let's do something to stop this. To prove to them that God is real and does care and we are an extension of Him. Let's care for them:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Zion Project to aid in Awareness Campaign about Girl Child Soldiers in collaboration with the film & to star in the documentary!
Janine's Story

My father married two wives besides my mom so life became difficult. We were left to stay with our grandfather who was not bothering so much about us. I went away and followed my mother to her new love but my mom's husband, a drunkard, would beat my mother every day and throw us out of the house and hated me so much. He even sold all the household items for buying drinks. I left school in 1999. I never lived a free life. The government soldiers would come out of the bush and rape young girls. It happened to my sister. My uncle tried to stop them and they beat him to death.

Laurent Kabila (the president) and Bemba, the rebel, were fighting so the government started recruiting children into the army by force. That day the army troops came to our school and forced us to carry guns and start training to fight the rebels. I was 18 years old. Many children were killed because the training was short time and the rebel armies were well trained men who killed most of the children recruited with no experience. We escaped from gov't recruits. We came to surrender under care of the rebels because they were not killing those who come to them. But the gov't troops were killing people because the president gave orders that the area should be cleared of people, anybody found is to be shot.

In 2001 in the rebels camp I met a ugandan soldier who had come to support the rebels fighting against the gov't. My fear was if I remained in Congo I would be raped and killed like all the others, so I thought I would get security if I came to Uganda.

We got together and came to Uganda and went to the parents of the man but at that time it was under attack of the Karamajong, so we spend our nights in the bush. In 2003 the man started beating me every day. He cut my lip with a razor blade trying to spoil my face. He would bite me. I have scars all over my body. He said he would spoil my shape. He said he was going to kill me and he brought home a large stick, but a fellow soldier warned me and helped me escape. I ran away and got married to another army officer who had many wives. I feared they would kill me. Then later the man chased me away.
I started going to nightclubs, drinking, smoking, practicing witchcraft and selling myself to win the favor of the man. I would steal money from men and neighbors. I was in a group of girls and I would steal their money and beat them up. When they refused to give money sometimes men would beat me.

One time a man took me to his house but said he did not have any money to pay me, but I was almost killed. From that day I wanted to leave this life.

My painful experience was that Kabira's army would come to families and force the fathers to have sex with their daughters and ask them how it tasted. Then they came to my mother and grandmother and 6 of them raped her and then after she collapsed and died.

My home in Congo is in the rebel's hands. They are restricted from moving. I cannot go back.

On 17th of March 2009 I met Jesus who convicted me and I came to confess with my mouth that He is my savior. We met mama miriam at a funeral in the barracks where 4 children were burned to death. I found that life can be short. I received christ and came to stay in this house the next day. Glory to God, I am now saved. I left that life and I never want to go back. Now I don't have to worry every day about where to get food or how I might suffer at the hands of men. I feel like a baby seeing the world for the first time.

Congolese girls to be evicted from our Home in Gulu

Dearest loyal friends and supporters,

I write this knowing that ONLY God can solve the situation we are in. So I ask you to PRAY because this is the only thing I know how to do right now and because I believe God hears us and WILL MOVE.

I spoke to the landlord finally after trying for several days and he was unwilling to change his mind about evicting my Congolese girls and will not give us more time. I do not fully understand his reasons, but we are out at the end of August, which is not a lot of time to find a house in Gulu. I know this is spiritual warfare because the girls are doing so well and have even started doing outreach to other prostitutes in Gulu, but I believe God wants to use this for promotion.

I've apologized to the landlord and done everything that is humanly possible so now it is only God who can find us a new home.

1) INTERCEDE with us and my girls in Uganda who are praying even now, that God would provide the PERFECT HOME for these girls who have been displaced so many times in their lives and just as they are getting settled, chaos erupts again. I know God can give us ABOVE & BEYOND what we can hope for, so pray for that :)

2) PRAY for the PERFECT PRICE---we can only afford a certain amount per month so pray that God would be generous towards us. If you would like to make a donation towards finding new housing please go to:

It normally costs us around $1,500 a month per house to keep the girls there and provide for their needs and those of their children (which includes food, medical, counseling, mentoring, job skills, school fees & a loving community)

3) I know some of you are IN Uganda right now or have contacts there and you might be able to refer my house mom's to a house that is available, so if you know of a place please contact Christine--0772543902 or Miriam--0782289888

4) PRAY for the girls and their children, that they would not worry, but be full of PEACE knowing that their Father in Heaven cares for them and that they will be able to transition smoothly, that it would be even better than their expectations!

Thank you for all your kinds words of love to me, your continual support, and your prayers.
You are a wonderful family to have :)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dearest prayer partners,

Please stop and pray with us right now. I just received notice from Gulu that our landlord is evicting all our girls at the end of next month. We had no warning, and no understanding of why this is. It could be because they are Congolese, it could be that someone offered to pay him more money for the house, but either way please pray that

1) God would change his heart towards mercy
2) That if is heart is hard, that God would MIRACULOUSLY find us a home for these 10 girls and babies and children who will have no home at the end of this month.

I also received word that our other landlord for our Acholi home is trying to raise our rent double what it is right now starting in I may be looking at finding 2 new houses.

Uganda is notorious for having corrupt landlords and this is a spiritual battle. My wedding is in 37 days and all of a sudden this happens...I know it is just the enemy trying to discourage the work that God is doing in these girls' hearts and minds. These girls who were once prostitutes, have already changed so much and they have a new life and now they are faced with having to be on the street again.

In Gulu it is very difficult to find housing, especially with such short notice, please pray that God would open another door for these girls. I go back in September, but it will be too late to deal with this problem. Please PRAY that God would give us the funds to eventually build our own home, so we won't have to deal with these issues anymore.

Thank you for your prayers and standing with us. The true power is in us coming together to seek God's face.

with love,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

A good father is hard to come by in Uganda. But every once in a while you meet one who is imparting love to his children just like father God who loves us unconditionally. If you have a great Dad like mine, make a donation to Zion Project in his honor so that these little sons and daughters of young mothers can receive the Father's love and care in our home. It's a gift he'll always remember and it's much better than those socks you got him last year ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cabin Confession

I love that with God when we step towards him, however unceremonious and slight, he always meets us halfway. I am struck by His grace in that.

I went to speak at a really sweet church in Harrisonburg, VA called Horizon Christian Fellowship that has been praying for me and the ministry. I got that feeling that I had just been with family, which was great for me because I hate to speak in front of large groups (and yes, I did make them sit in a circle so we could be more intimate) A few days before that I had been praying that God would give me some time away with Him because lately with traveling, and planning a wedding, I hadn't gotten the time I needed and I was becoming grumpy. The church mentioned they had a “lodge” in the “mountains” and if I wanted to come up and stay they would put me up. At that time I was super busy and super stressed about the fact that I have to speak to a congregation on Sunday and hadn't gotten a word from God yet. I hesitated for a second, thinking of my busy schedule and then I realized....wait, this is ACTUALLY what I prayed for but it's up to me to step out and take it. So I did. One long, winding, “where the heck are these people sending me, was I supposed to turn at that barn?” car drive later I arrived at my new favorite retreat spot.

Here I am sitting in the most adorable cabin you've ever pictured in your mind or seen on the front cover of Little House on the Prairie. Cute deck, great woodstove, a rocking chair. Ok there's no indoor toilet, but that doesn't stop me because I'm from Uganda remember? Ronny shows me how to use the propane lights while I have visions of accidentally blowing up my new home, and leaves me with a huge white suburban by telling me that “If it doesn't start in the morning just pop it into neutral; that should work” while I mentally try and remember where neutral is on a gear shift. But I begin to feel this growing excitement that I'm having an adventure with Jesus. Which I desperately need. And I think that is the key word. Desperate. When do we become desperate enough for Jesus that we just have to make a change. Or get lost in the woods in a cabin in the least populated county in VA after passing a sign that literally said, “Welcome to the Boondocks.”

I don't know if you're like me, but I usually spend the first hour of a retreat just trying to settle myself into “being spiritual” and end up usually thinking about that thing I forgot to tell my mom before I lost cell reception and had no way to contact the outside world. As I'm trying to start reading my Bible several wasps start circling me. Now, I'm not a bee person. I don't necessarily go into a hysteric frenzy like my little sister, but I would say I have a strong dislike for them. I keep thinking that my mom would say it's because I'm wearing perfume which I can't remember if I am at this juncture or even if wasps are attracted by heavenly smells (ok just give that to me), but this is really absurd. I'm trying to be with Jesus here. C'mon. After about another hour I look underneath my chair to see a huge wasp nest with 3 wasps carefully circling it. Are you kidding me?

So I proceed to rebuke them “in the name of Jesus” which seemed to work on one which flew away, but not on the other. But I refuse to be defeated by two wasps when I'm trying to have my day with Jesus. I won't bore you with the elaborate details of my hatched plan where I had to psych myself up for about 10 minutes before finally spraying them and praying they wouldn't sting me because I don't even have a walkie talkie to alert someone of my impending death. But they're dead.

I do end up having a great time just relaxing and feeling God's pleasure that I've finally come back home to Him, but I keep feeling unsettled because I really want “a word' for this church on Sunday. I just don't want to talk about Zion Project the whole time. I want the Holy Spirit to touch people, and heal people's hearts, and move them to make a huge risk in just following Jesus wherever He wants to take them. That's what I want, but I can't seem to find the words.

The funny thing I find about retreats is that a few hours in you realize how hard is to just be alone without any means of entertainment and if you're like me you realize you forgot the Across the Universe DVD you were going to watch in case you just couldn't pray anymore and feel a sense of rising panic, then guilt, because you really came here to pray, but still wanted a back-up plan.

And pray I do. Then I listen to some Dutch Sheets, “Overthrowing the spirit of Jezebel” which is fantastic and very much needed in Uganda and I realize how easy it is to come up under the spirit of the place you are in. Whether that's going home to your parent's house, or ministering in Uganda these things have an affect on us. Which makes me more grateful for believers and churches who pray for me and the girls in Uganda. It also makes me realize how much more we need it.

Because when we get overwhelmed, or burned out, or tired, or busy we have to combat these things by communing with God. And even though I get a little bit scared in a cabin in the woods alone at night with a picture of 3 racoons on the wall who look like they're staring at me, and a huge (gigantic, rivaling the spiders of Uganda) creature crawls out of the stone fireplace and I have to choose between 1) Am I brave enough to smush it
2)Should I lie awake all night wondering about where it might be...

I'm so glad to be here because I know God is happy I'm here and I feel more like the person I know He wants me to be.

Every time it's worth it. The adventure with Him is worth it. No matter how long we've been gone or how far away we might feel He's still there waiting like the tire swing on the old tree, or the rusty swingset in the backyard. Waiting for us to remember He's there. And even though I still have no idea what I'm going to say on Sunday, I realize it's probably all part of His plan.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dear Beloved Ones,

I am sorry I have been so delinquent in sending out prayer requests the last month. I wish I could blame it on Uganda internet, but I can't this time :) Being in the USA has actually made it harder to get time to communicate, if you can believe that! I miss communicating with you all, but it has been so nice to be back here and see my family. I'm very blessed.

GOD has been up to a lot in my life personally. A few praises:


Yes, it's true. Some of you have been praying for a long time, but God brought the perfect man for me into my life and I am so grateful. He is a huge support to me and to the ministry. We are planning an August wedding and will return together to Uganda in September to continue the work. He has already and will continue to serve alongside me in the field, especially helping with our ZP farm (so thank God for him!) otherwise I would probably be lost! :)

Other Things to Thank God For:
  • Irene gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the end of last month. We are so grateful her and the baby are doing so well
  • Girls continue to thrive in their sewing and hair-dressing classes and are at the top of their class!
  • We just received a GRANT I applied for earlier this year and it will be a huge source of support for us!
We are in a season of transition. This month we will lose or dear friend, board member, and prayer coordinator Michele Keen as she moves onto the great vision God has called her to. Please pray for blessing on her as she transitions and for us as we look for a new board member and prayer coordinator (and well graphic designer, the girl does everything! :) If you might be that person email me at or call me: 650-452-8295

We are DESPERATELY in need of a US coordinator to help Sarita with the state-side operations. So that goes at the top of the list:

  • God to provide us with the right person to be a US coordinator volunteer/missionary/possible staff position(raise your own funds like YoungLife thing) to assist ZP with our State-side operations

  • God’s continued vision and direction for the project

  • A new board member for Zion Project

  • A new prayer coordinator for ZP by the end of this month!

  • A technical volunteer to help with our website

  • God’s grace on Sarita in carrying the vision as she speaks to churches and groups about ZP

  • God to put HIS words in Sarita's mouth as she speaks (as she hates public speaking and needs His SPIRIT!)

  • For God to touch people's hearts to give to this work

  • God’s grace on Sarita and her new fiance Tyson as they plan their wedding and adjust to the upcoming changes when they move to Uganda in Sept.

  • Continual growth for the girls in Uganda in both their faith and in their skill building

  • God to provide them with self-sustaining activities and jobs

  • God to provide ZP with the right pastors, staff, and partners on the ground in Uganda—people who love him with all their hearts and in humility

  • For God to continue to fill our hearts with love for the people of Uganda

  • For God to break through the strongholds of the orphan spirit, poverty spirit, and the jezebel spirit in Uganda that plague the land with corruption and greed

  • For God to continue to give us revelation of His love and a spirit of sonship so we can give what we have received

As always, I cannot do this without you. Please email me if while praying for us you have something laid on your spirit. I welcome it! Please also keep me in your prayers--that I would get some sweet time with the Father to hear his it has been a very busy, and exhausting season for me since being back.

with so much love,

ps--This is a crazy month of speaking and traveling for me, so until further notice, we will hold off on conference calls until God brings us a new prayer coordinator. Thank you for your dedication!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back in the States!
Zion Project Speaking Engagements:

Wed, June 10th Horizon Christian Fellowship, Harrisonburg, VA 6:30pm
Good Shepherd School

Sunday, June 14th, Oakbrook Church, Reston, VA 10:30am

If you miss me this time, I'll be back in VA/DC area in August if you want to try to get your church to plan something for then!

And remember we have the photo exhibit if you are interested in hosting it for a house event, art gallery, or church.

New phone #--650-452-8295

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Honor Your Mom by Helping a Mother in Uganda

If you have a great Mom like mine, show her how much you love her this Mother's Day (May 10th!) by making a donation to Zion Project in her honor.

She can feel special knowing her life has touched a young mother in Uganda who struggles every day to raise her child, just like our own mother's did. Our moms are our hero's. Let her know how much her life has affected you by giving so that a mother in Uganda can have her child fed, receive education, and healing so she can have a future.

And to all you mother's out there--Thank you for all the sacrifices you made so that we could become who we are!

with love,

Monday, April 20, 2009


Do you love photography? Do you have a venue to host our exhibit?
OR maybe you love event planning :)

We are working on our second photo exhibit. This time we will feature the work of photographer J Moses Ceaser, who ran two photography workshops for our girls as part of our photo empowerment project. This exhibit will include photos taken by formerly abducted girls still living in IDP camps, and Congolese refugees that turned to prostitution for survival. You can help their photographs to be seen by the world. Find out what life is like through their eyes.

If interested contact

Sunday, April 19, 2009

(our new land!)

(Barbara, one of our Congolese girls who God has radically transformed!)
(me holding a very frightened baby :)

Personal update:

I'm going to be really honest with you. If you haven't already figured it out already :) Being a missionary here in northern Uganda is not easy. You wake up to goats crying in the morning, a rooster you secretly long to murder, and your stomach hasn't been “quite right” for about 11 months now. You deal with the disappointments of being betrayed by people you thought you could trust and the politics of church and culture that can be incredibly frustrating. You inhale dust in the dry season and walk through sewage in the wet season. Your entertainment consists of the local crazy man chasing you for money. And a "good meal" doesn't necessarily taste good but doesn't make you sick either. You have the pressure of being in charge of an organization that has to be flexible with the un-organization of Africa. And somehow you're trying to keep a group of girl teenagers with babies growing close to Jesus, becoming self-sustaining, and happy at the same time. Amidst all of this chaos, you try to keep some semblance of personal space with kids looking through your window and wanting "aunty." Personal space disappeared the moment I boarded the plane.

You endure it though because you love the people and you long to see God transform people's lives. You endure it because you are called to it. And finally you endure it because a big part of you loves this place and sees God here in this raw life. When my Congolese girls are laughing while singing "Doe a deer, a female deer" because they just watched The Sound of Music ("Maria" as they call it)...I feel joy I can't explain.

But you get tired. I read a statistic recently that freaked me out: over 90% of missionaries in their twenty's burn out on the field and don't go back. The last thing I want to become is...cynical. But it creeps in with every disappointment. Which is why its so critical to get out, get a break, get a cheeseburger (with normal meat) and get some alone time with God, and some people who love you so you can detox and probably de-wormify yourself. Ever since I came back from Jinja, I've been longing for more time with God and more time for rest. So....

I'll be coming back to the States in TWO WEEKS! for a few months.

For me its about pursuing more of the Father heart of God, more closeness with Him so that I actually feel like I have something to give again. It's also (pretty selfishly) about spending time with family and friends and getting loved up on. We all need that. And last, but definitely not least, its about seeing and thanking the people who've made this all possible and ensuring that we continue to see more lives changed.
(You can read more in our April newsletter) Sometimes in the middle of it, when it gets hard, I forget all that's happened, and all that God has done. But if I look at is pretty amazing. So this is my little tribute to the last 9 months of miracles and to all that you given to see it happen.

1. So you can see what I've been doing with my time and for some of you, your dollars :)
2. So you can see that God is who He says He is. Yeah, we think its a pretty good list:
  • Met with camp leaders and conducted 3 tiers of interviews to identify the most vulnerable group of child mothers to enter into the program

  • Opened a Rehabilitation home in October 2008 and offered 3 meals a day, counseling, and medical services to 9 child mothers and 12 children, both formerly abducted and vulnerable

  • All of our girls received Jesus and were set free from oppression

  • Saw one girl healed from a blood disease and another healed from nightmares
  • Saw a baby healed from malaria

  • Offered pre-natal care to 2 girls and birthing care to one of these girls

  • Started a weekly child mother support group in Awer IDP camp in Amuru district of between 20-30 young mothers, both formerly abducted and vulnerable

  • Conducted sensitization projects in IDP camps towards child mothers through the use of drama and handing out of agricultural supplies to promote peace & reconciliation

  • Conducted a live-in 3 month long counseling course which all our girls graduated from

  • Weekly group counseling and conflict resolution

  • Paid for 2 girls to go through an intensive 1 week counseling training in Jinja

  • Taught baking/catering training for 3 months (no not me thank God :)

  • Immunized children; took care of all of medical care

  • Abstinence training/HIV AIDS testing & prevention
  • Parenting training

  • Bible studies (bought Bibles for all girls)

  • Found 2 girls 3 month long internships at Acholi Inn where they graduated and of whom both are now currently employed

  • Paid school fees for two girls for secondary school

  • Provided school supplies, uniforms, clothing, shoes, baby items, for all girls

  • Partnered with Good Samaritan Vocational School to put 6 girls through a 6 month vocational training course in which they are currently studying

  • Provided childcare for 12 children while mothers are at work/in school

  • Bought bikes for all the girls to reach school/work

  • Planned, organized, helped fund, and implemented a 3 day Pastor's Training in Gulu Town called “Thy Kingdom Come”

  • Partnered with local churches and leaders to aid vulnerable young women and their children

  • Conducted 2 photography workshops in Awer IDP camp where girls were given cameras to photograph their own lives. Photos were then developed and sold in the US to raise funds for the project. Girls were given copies of their photos.

  • Prayed and managed to get one of our girls her two children back from an ex-husband who took them away

  • Registered as a local NGO (not as easy as it sounds :)

  • Was given 200 acres of land for farming and to resettle girls who have no homes and are currently in the process of planting that land

  • Ministered to a group of Congolese refugee prostitutes where 20 received Jesus and were delivered from demonic oppression

  • Opened up a rehabilitation home for Congolese prostitutes who want to change their lives and now provide: counseling, bible study/worship, English classes, medical, & bead making training

  • Helped with ministering during a counseling training on forgiveness, healing, and the Father Heart of God where our Congolese girls attended and were deeply touched & healed
And somewhere in there...I slept :) God has done a lot in 9 months.

So if you feel that this is a ministry you want to get involved with, have an event/group for me to speak at, or maybe if you just want to sit down and talk with me, I'd love to.

This is my upcoming schedule for the US:
Dates of Travel/Speaking:

May 5-20th—San Francisco, CA

May 21st-June—Virginia/DC (Charlottesville, DC, Harrisonburg)

May 27th—Potomac School, VA

June 13th—Ladies Tea—Warrenton, VA
June 14th—Oakbrook Church, Northern VA
June 17th—San Francisco, CA
July 7-14th—Texas (Houston, San Antonio)

August—CA & “open”

( ps—If you can provide transportation costs, I'd be happy to come somewhere else to see you (preferably if you live in Hawaii or an exotic island :)

It's been a great past year. Thanks for loving me, supporting me, and these girls.
Greetings from all of them.
Signing off from Gulu.
Love, Sarita

Friday, March 20, 2009

So I had an amazing day in Gulu today, which averaging out with most days here, is a pretty big deal. Usually you get about 2 out of the 10 things that you wanted to get done in a day and most often not with the result you intended. So I have to share God's amazingness while its fresh and before tomorrow takes away some of my enthusiasm :)

Amazing feat by God Number 1:

Stella, one of our girls here who is incredible, has two kids that were still with her ex-husband and he had refused for the last 2 years for her to even see them. I told Stella that we needed to pray for justice and that God would help us get her kids back (yeah, I was stepping out in faith, gulp) So Stella went to child welfare who was largely unhelpful and made her sign a document saying she would go back to live with her "husband" for the good of the children, even though he has since remarried and the stepmom is the one who has been abusing the children. (Can you believe these people?) I went back with her and the meeting was crushing--they said that the agreement was final and she had no choice even though she didn't want to go back to live with him. So we prayed.

Today Stella and I went to go meet with her ex to see if we could persuade him to change his mind. It was as though God changed his heart overnight. He was drunk at the time, but he started telling me how he wants me to pray for him that he could be come a mulokoli (a born-again christian) and that he has decided Stella can have the children. I must have sat there open-mouthed I was so shocked. I said we could pray right there, but he declined (but his name is Richard and we need to pray for him) We signed an agreement saying he would release the children on Monday to stella and we agreed we would help pay their school fees. We are helping Stella with a transition plan. She has a job and has opened a savings account to save money so we can help her find an apartment in a few months.
As we were leaving, Stella was so happy she told me, "I prayed so hard. God has answered my prayers. Last night I had a dream that he would give me my children and today it has happened." It was so amazing. The impossible became possible. And it was truly only God.

Amazing feat Number 2:

So for the last few months I have been trying to get 5 of my girls into a vocational school for skills training but the school has been delayed time and time again and I was struggling to find other options for them. I told the girls to keep praying and I would try to get to the bottom of things. I met with the administrator of the school and was able to register all 5 of the girls and school starts Monday and lasts thru September. When they leave they will be given start-up materials to help them with a business. The girls are so excited! I realized that when I stopped striving and started just bringing all my worries to God in prayer, He has moved so much faster and with so much more goodness than I ever expected--its just a testimony to walking in my new "sonship" in God.

Amazing feat Number 3:

Becoming an NGO here is a ton of work. At the end you would just rather pay off a bunch of people than have to go through the long process (in the end you do have to pay off some people) but my friend Walter and I have been chipping away at it for the last few months. Today he texted me and told me he took the last of the letters from the local government officials to the office and that we received our certificate! I'm sort of holding my breath thinking its too good to be true, but its so amazing that God has done it so fast these last few days.

Amazing feat Number 4:

I visited our Congolese girls today who are really thriving. They are doing so well that they have started a Swahili service at their church and are now the ones leading the worship team. It's truly incredible how much they have changed in such a short time. One of our girls, Bebe, who has been a prostitute for years, had an amazing testimony. She was given a ring by a woman several years back but there is so much weird witchcraft here that the ring had been dedicated to demons. A few nights ago Bebe had a dream that a man was trying to attack her and have sex with her again, but she said no, she was for Jesus now. When she woke up, the ring was off of her finger and she realized that a lot of the spiritual oppression she had been under was due to the ring, so she took it to Miriam and they burned it. Since then, Miriam says Bebe has changed so much--she is such a leader in the house and is encouraging her other friends to leave prostitution and come to our house to start a new life. It's pretty amazing.

I just had to share these stories with you and thank you for all your prayers. Your prayers work and they matter so much. God is moving here in Gulu and you are a HUGE part of that. Please continue to intercede with us and for us. If you would like to become a more regular intercessor and do prayer calls with my prayer coordinator, please email "Michele Keen" at

We want to see our intercessors group expand.

So happy to be serving alongside of you all,
with love,

Friday, March 06, 2009

I have felt a change coming for a long time now. I knew I could not keep up the frenzied pace I was running at, nor did I want to. I would read the words of Jesus that said “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” but every night I was falling into bed exhausted and emotionally drained. I have cried more tears of disappointment in the last 8 months than I have in years. This is not what it was supposed to be like. This is not what I was promised. I had come here to Uganda to love people and start a ministry to these girls who need healing, but every day was breaking me apart bit by bit.

Times like this it is easy to blame God for our unhappiness, our disappointments, our dreams that now fulfilled, are taking the life from us. The dissatisfaction kept growing in me. I know there is more. I know I don't want to live my life “working for God” but feeling far from him.

We can only give what we have received. And I was empty.

I write this as a fellow traveler on a journey. I write this because my life is changed now and I cannot imagine going back to the way I was living.

I know from the outside people look at all the things I've done and think that it must be amazing being me. But very few people know the pain I have been going through.
Somewhere along the way I got lost. And I have to ask your forgiveness for that.

For the last 5 days I have been in Jinja, Uganda at Mto Moyoni retreat center, a place that has been a refuge for me for the last 3 years. Here, along the Nile river, there is peace. But most of us still don't understand that peace is a state of our heart, not a place.

We as people try our whole lives to prove ourselves. We use our ministries, our positions, our possessions, how well we can perform at something, the people in our lives, the places we run to, and the power we are always trying to exert over others to control what we feel is our rapidly unraveling life. And all the while, the nagging feeling that if we stop, if we are just to be, and let God love us, that everything might fall apart. We believe that if we work, just a little bit harder, at our jobs, at making people love us, that we can make “it” happen.

We try to love people as Jesus loved, but we don't stop to do what Jesus did: Which was ONLY what the Father said. Whether we are in America or Gulu, Uganda everybody we meet is extremely “busy.” The pastors here are some of the busiest people I have ever met.
But do any of us know God? Are any of us at peace? Are any of us listening?

When I came to Uganda, I knew that God loved me. I had come to bring that love to others. But I quickly fell into the trap of trying to “do” more so that God and the people back home would be happy with me. I was operating under what everyone else here was caught under—what I now know is an “orphan spirit.” It is an ingrained mindset within most of us where we struggle and strive to make things happen for the approval of others and we manipulate and use people around us so we can accomplish our “passion,” or our “calling,” or our “mission.” And we do it all in the name of doing something “good,” or something “for God.” We believe we have to fight for everything we get and we are easily angered when those around us don't give us what we feel we deserve. Because our societies are so performance based it is extremely easy to fall into this way of behaving.

I read two books in two days called, Experiencing the Father's Embrace and From Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship, both by Jack Frost. Both were about moving from this “orphan” mindset to knowing that we are sons (and daughters) loved by God and resting in that to the point that we no longer have to strive and seek to control our lives and other people. We can rest. But more importantly, we can spend time being in God's presence, talking to Him, listening to Him, and that actually is the best thing in the world we can do.

In ministry it has become so easy to stop spending time with God, for the sake of all the things we feel are “doing” for Him. We put the Great Commission before the Great Commandment and quickly begin to lose our center. The more we do, the more we feel we have to get done. Meanwhile, we neglect our Father who just wants to spend time with us. And it becomes more difficult for us to truly love the people around us.

God speaking this message to my heart, has changed my life. And I know it will change the future for Zion Project too. I am still about healing these girls' hearts, but I can't take on trying to solve every single problem and need that comes to me. And while this work/this ministry is important to me, it cannot be the most important thing. All the pressure I was putting on myself to try and make it better or to grow it bigger so we could “help” more girls is gone now. So if you are tired, or you find you want to run to another place, or another job, or another person because you think it will make you happier—ask yourself if what you really need is a touch of God's love. He is there with open arms waiting for you.

Note: There is no need to be alarmed :) I'm still responsible for the lives of these girls I have taken in and am loving them, but will be seeking God in the next few weeks/months about the future of Zion Project and what God wants it to be. That may continue to look a little different than we thought at first. But the most important thing is seeking more healing so that we might bring more true healing to others. We cannot give what we ourselves do not have. And I know God wants to bring emotional healing to these girls.
I am very excited about the future.

Note: I am working on visa issues so may have to travel out of the country for a few days. You many not be able to reach me by email or phone, so I apologize for the delay and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We are currently seeking State-Side volunteers to fill open positions in the areas of communications, administration, fundraising, volunteer development, photo project development, and many other areas. So if you are gifted or talented in any of these ways please email We know this may not sound as exciting as going to Uganda, but we cannot do our work here on the ground without volunteers in the States being our backbone. :)

There was a lot of singing. Singing in a language I do not understand, but could decipher through the laughter and uplifted hands. Someone translated a line for me: "Tell Pharaoh we are not going back to Egypt."

This is the beginning of a new life.
A life safe from groping hands.
Safe from the threat of disease.

After the girl's got the eviction notice we didn't have much time to act. But God always knows what we need before we know we need it. We found a house in just two days (which needs some work--seems to always be the case with any house I find :) I negotiated with the landlord and a day later out of the 46 women and children who could have been on the street, homeless--11 are living in a home with 12 children. It isn't perfect. There are still some, some who choose to still rent small rooms and continue with the only life they've known for the past 8 years. I understand.

Sometimes it takes a lot for us to change.
But we have time. I believe in time, they will come home too.

Already Miriam, our house mom, is running a tight ship :) She is doing devotions and worship, is teaching them English classes, and bead-making. We know that if we want to keep them from going back to prostitution we need to find income generation projects. I wish I was gifted with a business mind. It isn't easy. This was more than I ever expected. Happened faster than I had time to prepare. Didn't have time to think, only act at the thought of the chance we had in front of us: To change a life. They have children.

I look at those children and think one less child to grow up under the shadow of a broken mother.

I was amazed at how God worked it out. Amazed more so by all of you. You, who after hearing, send donations and phone calls and emails. You, who amidst your own lives, and own problems, still find a way to care. It is you who made this possible. I can't say thank you enough.

Maybe it will never be a perfect situation. I find I am now running two homes when I barely had started learning how to run one :)

But to see them smiling. To know it is one less. One less....lost. It gives me strength.

I am however, very honestly, exhausted. I will be gone for 5 days at a retreat in Jinja. Not superwoman after all :)

Thank you for holding my hands.

with love,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

EMERGENCY: Congolese girls evicted from their homes

Dearest ZP supporters, right now 46 Congolese refugee girls along with their babies and children have been evicted from their homes in Uganda and are on the street.

I have been working with them for a month, loving them and sharing with them about how much Jesus loves them. They have decided to leave their lives of prostitution which they were only involved in for survival. Read more below.

I found a home to put them in so they can start a new life, but we need $1,600 by tomorrow just to pay the rent for 6 months. Maybe you watch the news and wonder what you can do: You can directly affect someone else's life in Africa right now. Please give to Zion Project: and indicate "Congolese" or send a check to P.O. Box 321 Quinque, VA 22965.

with hope,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Caught in the crossfire of bullets they only wanted to survive it. To outrun the cycle of war, rape, and the blaze of huts as they were destroyed. They promised them safety. A future. Maybe even a marriage. A truck out of hell, out of the heart of darkness. But it would cost them something. Just a body. Just a soul. Just a life.

When the Ugandan People's Defense Force (UPDF) rolled out of Congo in a billow of dust and sand it took the beautiful, fair-skinned Congolese women with it. Traded one hell for another. Dropped them off in Gulu, spirits broken and penniless. Some pregnant. Some unwell. And unable to speak the language. Soldiers sworn to protect a country, taking what they can and discarding the remains at the border.

What choice did they have really? Refugees in a nation that didn't want them. Branded for lack of speech.
They live in a place called Kisubi, a section of Gulu where the compound is full of slapstick rooms and the air smells of urine.
Where everyone knows who they are and why they live there. There are 4 other communities just like it in Gulu alone.

Sell their body to the highest bidder and hope they can convince him to wear a condom. Out of the twenty of them with painted faces and styled hair, I can see the disease in some of them. The disease that hollows out their eyes and makes them thin. Where a woman of 26 can look like she's 40. While their children play with plastic bags.

But they are a family.
Live together or die alone.
They share food and when one grows too sick to move they take up a collection to get her to the hospital. They take care of each other.
THey never wanted this life but when I ask them if they ever think of going home they say,
"There is nothing to go back to."
Families dead. Homes burned down.
And all they want are English classes.
They want to learn a language that will make them less
They want to leave this life.
Just a single chance to start over.

Here, in the day in day out encyclopedia of need and takers who bleed you dry, compassion is hard to come by.
But I sit there crying. Because in the middle of it all, they are singing worship songs in Swahili.
And it's something I understand.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I still dream dreams too big for me. Offering English classes. Offering a home.

Because they taught me to see again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Operation Lightning Thunder which was launched by the Ugandan government to bring in the LRA has created a backlash of rapes, murders, and kidnappings. Read more. And respond.

Please continue to pray for the safety of girls and children still in the bush. And pray that we have a chance to minister to those who come out.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sometimes we wonder why we do what we do.

Things get tough. Doing it on your own with little to affirm you. Life is not perfect in a family of 18 where fights can start over who left the bicycle out or who drank the last of the water. Sometimes it seems the problems outweigh the solutions, the failures outnumber the successes and the thought of losing even one of these lives you've poured the last 6 months into...seems crushing.

Times like this you need a talisman. You need a reason. A reason to stay and keep fighting against the tidal wave of kids who are killing me with medical bills and girls who still need to grow. People keep telling me I should do orphans because they're easier. Kids are not as hard as teenage girls. Yeah, we got drama.

And then I picked up my camera. I had left it while I went on a short break and the girls hijacked it and went nuts as you can imagine. I was told they took a "few" pictures. Try 174.
So as I was flipping through the endless montage of heads cut off and out of focus shots of babies walking and babies eating, and girls cooking and girls eating....I stumbled across a few videos they made (unknowingly because they weren't quite sure how to operate my very sophisticated machinery)
The girls were dancing and the children were bopping up and down in their own discombobulated dance trying to copy their mothers. They were laughing. And hugging. And cracking jokes by putting pillows underneath their shirts like they were pregnant (this last one slightly less humorous for me :)

But all the struck me. This is why I do it. That laugh. That laugh that is no longer a stricken face, a stifled sob. Life giving them a reason to dance and not dig through garbage. It's a single acknowledgement that my existence here has some value. And that somehow, while I may not always see it, while I may not always get to reap the benefits of it---lives are being changed. It is these relationships that keep me here. They keep me here after walking away from big NGO's with lots more money to spend on internet that works and buildings I wish I could use to put my girls into school. With child care.

It is the fact that every night we sit around and talk like a family. Complete with inside jokes. And while some days it feels like a lot of work. There are the days when it feels like home.

And it is enough.