Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas From Our Family In Uganda!

2011-11-24_14_21_48.mp4 Watch on Posterous


We just want to say thank you for ALL the ways you have supported us in 2011! We praise God for the hundreds of lives touched with His love. 

You are such a special part of our family in Uganda.

And the girls were pretty happy about their presents! New dress, and new shoes! For us in America, very little. But to them, it meant the whole world.

And our Imani women each got new Swahili Bibles! Which as you can see they were stoked about!

Thank you for making it all possible.

If you'd like to make an end-of year tax-deductible donation to us,we would so appreciate it! We are trying to reach our goal of $20,000 for a van to take the kids to a better private school. So far we've raised $4,000.  

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
We'll see you in 2012! 


Your family in Uganda~ Zion Project

Thursday, November 17, 2011



After months of hard work, it's finally here! Our new winter line, including our exclusive Karamoja Line, with one of a kind jewelry. Shop ethically this holiday season and give a gift that made a difference to a sex-trafficked woman in northern Uganda. Go ahead, share the love!



Friday, October 14, 2011

What Love Looks Like


So the rain pours sweet and cold. Washes away the dusty road grime. Cleans us. Fresh.

Like His love.

I'm driving home after a long, sweaty day. I hold the tears back. 7 hours at the hospital. No food. No water. Only to find out another one. Another one has HIV.

And she's pregnant.

Alone in this world. And I think of Mama Heidi's words, "What does love look like?" So we stay and wait in the long lines. We hold hands through the ugly words. We pray. And we help her get medicine to keep this monster at bay. 7 hours and I feel barely able to move as I climb into the truck one more time to take Bijou home.

Bijou is a woman we met on outreach while praying for the sick. Another refugee in the slum. Just a girl no one cares for. Just a girl no one wants. Just a girl who might sell herself for a piece of bread.

But we want her. She’s four days past her due date. She’s having pain, but nothing comes.
Not another o

ne. Father, not another.

I won’t let another baby die.
I have no time.

But I know I will pick her up tomorrow to take her to the hospital because she needs our love.

We’re driving home,

when I hear the voices, "Mama Sarita," Although they say my name more like "Sharita." I know they are calling me.

My women. My sheep.

They run up to the truck breathless. I hand out hugs and offer them a ride home. We go a little further. "Mama Sharita!" And we wave and add a few more to our brood. One of our kids from the Nursery School smiles and waves, "Sharita!"

And then I get it.

Father is showing me He knows my name. He knows these children of mine. He knows their needs. And he knows the heart-breaking with every piece of my love given away. So He gives me some of His. Love. The smiles and hugs from my children.

I remember the prophecies: Aids. Babies. Healed. I hold onto those whispers like gold.

Sometime soon a new life will enter this world. And she will live.

Because He loves. Because He loves through people like you and me. We cannot stop. We cannot give up. We cannot look away though it hurts. We stay. Because He loves. We can too. Don't turn your eyes from this:

A woman alone and pregnant. A little lost sheep. Just one. But the one you can be the answer for. One we will be the answer for. We don’t have the money, but Bijou needs a job.

So I know that we will, even before I think about the cost.

I get home exhausted. I open the email and see the donation from a friend and the words that remind me why I do this every day. The Father gives me a hug.

So we give it all away. Because He has enough.

And tomorrow we'll do it again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



We sidestep trash and puddle-filled stench. We move through the narrow corridor of buildings in the slum. And there in the midst of it all, we find glory.

In the small, dark room we huddle.  We've come to love. To stay. In solidarity.

When Niclete starts to sing, tremorous and brave, the women start weeping. The holy spirit breathes close and still. I think it is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I don't understand all the words. But I know she is singing to Jesus. A hum of a prayer. 

Worship in the face of loss. A heart surrendered. 

I learn something here every day. How love for God does not depend on circumstance.  How a loss can evolve into light. 
How thankfulness is the sweetest sacrifice. 

She lays it all down as she sings.

We read scripture and Valerie bends to pray and I look at the doorway bathed in glow. 

And I know He is here.

We fill her empty hands that should have known the soft skin of an infant, with the only comfort we know. A leather bound Bible. In Swahili. It took us a year to get them, our Father has been right on time. 

I see our women pressing hard-earned shillings into her palm. An offering.

And when I walk outside, I see Zabibu.

The one who survived.

And she is smiling. 


Healthy and whole. Zabibu smiles

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



When the baby stops breathing I feel the stone harden heavy in my chest.

I am not there, but on the phone I expel quick words and urgent instructions.

I feel the fear clutch.


Not again.


A thousand unanswered questions.

A hundred expectant dreams.

Not yet fulfilled.


But I dream still.


I say the words, “speak life,” as a prayer. I throw my faith on the line and ask God to answer. My heart begs Him. Not this time.

I hope.

And hope is the scariest word of all.

When the word comes back, it is empty. The air leaves flat with a sob. 

Sometimes we can only be Mary. Look straight into His eyes and bury the wonderings into His scarred chest. Heart sore, but leaning. I don’t hide how I feel from Him.


If you had been here….


The baby does not live. Body too twisted.

I close my eyes and see him in heaven with perfect legs.

The baby does not live. Here.

But Zabibu does.


The five year old sister, too sick to move. The mother too poor to take her to the doctor. Too proud maybe to ask for help.

We rush her to the hospital. Doors open and heaven sees us amongst the mass of people waiting to be saved.

The women huddle together, gather courage, and hold hands through the ache. Like tiny birds they offer each other shelter.

And I think, this is what love looks like.

Like shelter.


Zabibu grows healthy.

Her Muslim father sees the way the women take turns to offer an embrace, food, comfort. 

Like Jesus.


A community who does not run from pain.


A miracle in the mess.

Somewhere all of us under the shadow of His wing.

Somewhere the stone becomes a seed


and we dream






Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Video from the Zion Project Rescue Home

All of these 16 little girls have endured unimaginable things and have been rescued into an after-care home.

All have been in danger and have experienced child prostitution, rape, child labor, and many other unspeakable things. 

All now live in safety and love.

You can help us rescue more. Sponsor A Girl for only $35 a month! That provides her with everything she needs and lots of love! Read more. 

This month our grant for this home is finished. It costs $2,000 a month to run our beautiful refuge. If only 20 people give $100 each we can reach our goal for September! Please consider giving today!

You_are_my_redeemer.MP4 Watch on Posterous

Monday, August 22, 2011

When you need to say thank you

Many of you know the struggles we've faced the last few months and so many of you have stood with us in prayer.
Today I felt like the hand of God reached down from Heaven and answered many tear-soaked prayers.

So I just want to say thank you. To God. And to you: 

I breathe a prayer of thanks.

Thank you for the new home,

and a yard spacious enough for little legs to run around in. 

For the miracle of new beginnings. 

Thank you for their sweet voices singing.

And for Anna, who just returned from Congo
after months away--back into our arms.

Thank you for the faith of children, innocent and strong. 

Thank you for the hands who hold us when we need holding.  

And for the students who will serve with us

and for the people who we know are coming. Though we don't know their faces
we know our Father will send them soon.

Thank you for the fact that You hear us, God.

You always hear us. 

And answer prayer.  

You are just waiting for the opportunity to show Your love.

"You can ask for anything in My name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father." John 14:13

So whatever you are hoping for, waiting for, believing God for...don't give up. 

Your answer is coming too. 

Friday, August 19, 2011



There is the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” but I think it's more fitting to say, “Be careful what you pray for.”

I'm sitting in my little prayer room which is sparse except for a yoga mat, a map of Uganda, a camping chair, a concrete floor strewn with tissues. But this is my space. My space to meet with God.

A few weeks ago I prayed a prayer, “Lord I want to be humble. I want to be closer to you.”

What has followed has been, so far, one of my more difficult experiences here in Africa. Crisis after crisis which I feel I am still in the midst of.

And brokenness.

Yesterday, I came home weary-boned and heart hurting. Devoid of strength. Of the strength to carry it all. All the eyes. All the faces. All those who lean on me for the love that they need. 

And all the problems which seem like they have no solutions. And these shoulders, the only ones to bear it.

So I had a good cry. And asked Him the questions.

Because things are hard.

We need a new home for our children within two weeks. We need staff to fill the many holes. But we need people who want to do ministry, not just want a job. And I need help which feels long in coming.

I need to not feel so alone.

And I need a miracle for my girl, Pauline, who is one of my child mom's from our first home, who has become such a beautiful, mature daughter of the Father.

I hold onto her story like a life-line. Because she is the reason I am here.
Because relationship really works.

Because love really transforms a life.

She has found an amazing man to marry, but her father won't allow it. And a church who won't marry without his permission.

All the broken systems of this world.

When all we want is for love to break forth.


And then there is my health. Which has been difficult for me, because I'm not a kind of person who can easily “rest.” But basically my immune system is shot. Too many antibiotics and not enough of the right foods or good bacteria and I've developed Candida in my digestive system which makes you exhausted among other things.

So I laid face down in front of God and said, “I can't. I'm just a broken vessel.

I need you to do it. Because I can't carry all these things anymore.”

And maybe that's all the Father wants from us sometimes.


A tiny white flag.

A chance to wash our feet.

And child-like trust.

I think of my kids and their faith and how it is growing. How they prayed that Charlotte's dad would be released from prison, and he was.

And they got so excited to know how God answers the prayers of children.

Am I not His child too? Am I not His girl? His daughter?

Won't He answer mine?

Won't He take care of His kids?


But oh how much harder, when it is something which matters so much to us.

How much harder to stop forcing, and trying, and finally give Him the room to move.
To give up control.
How humbling.

I see so much of Peter in me.

No, Lord, you won't wash my feet.

I am finally seeing how much He wants to. How much I need for Him too.

The brokenness does not break the one who trusts.

It becomes an opportunity to release.

“Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24

The sunflower bends under the rain and hangs her head. And the seeds scatter.

Sometimes we don't understand these things.

We look at the blind man and we say, “What sin is in his life or in his parents that this happened to him?”

But Jesus sees an opportunity.

A healing. A miracle.

This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” John 9:3

So where I am. My weakness, is a chance to touch glory.

In my own dying, a sliver for God to be revealed.

And somewhere in all this, a prayer is getting answered.

Because I can't. Not really.
But here He is, in this room, breathing close, telling me He can.

His arms wide enough for me to rest in. His shoulders strong enough

for the weight of these heavy dreams.

These miracles, on the cusp of being seen.

But there, nonetheless.












Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Bethany!

Happy_birthday_bethany.MP4 Watch on Posterous

All our beautiful 16 girls in our Rescue Home singing "Happy Birthday" to one of our former volunteers, Bethany. 

We love you Bethany and we miss you! Look how your girls are singing in English!

Aren't they so precious?!!!! It's amazing to see how far they have come over the past two years.

with love from all of us,

Zion Family 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011



I see you.

God says, as my heart breaks.

I know.

He says, as I turn into the covers to cry.

If you ask Him for compassion, if you ask Him, to help you love. He will blow your heart wide open.

Love, such a beautiful thing. But it hurts too.

Last week, my children told me their Auntie's called them stupid.

Told me many things which tore me in two.

All I want is to protect them. To have them grow up in a home full of love. To have them bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth.

But all around me, the brokenness of many hearts.

Many hearts who have not known love, and don't know how to give it away.

Last week, I had to let go of two people. And that is always hard.

Harder still, is the feeling that I want to hide. Hide from the world, and from seeing eyes, that we are not perfect.

That we have flaws too. And inadequacies. And sin.

Hide, because it breaks me that these things could be going on in my home. My home, that is supposed to be a refuge for these little girls who have already known too much pain, and too much of man's sin in their lives already.

I cringe at being vulnerable. At being honest. But God is there, always wanting my heart. Always wanting the truth. And to live my life before others, even in our messiness. To be real.

And to be real, I was hurt and angry. Angry at the injustice of it all. Angry that this culture has not yet learned to value children the way Heaven does.

Not yet learned to see that they can be Kingdom carriers too and how the whips of words can crush that.

I can't bear to see my girls shrivel away, when we've worked so hard to see them blossom.

And then I was sad. Sad, because I see how much this land needs healing. The Father's touch. To experience love, so they can give it away.

Sad because it is so hard to find those who will love these little ones as I do.

Lord, grace. I pray.

Grace on their little hearts.

I lean hard into Him.

So we have family discussions around the table. Everyone gets her chance to share and we hug and say sorry. We get haircuts and have our first taste of pizza. We stay late and watch movies, and we talk, and we pray. We give kisses as we tuck tiny hands under mosquito nets.

I fight the temptation towards discontentment. And choose to rejoice. It isn't easy.

But somewhere in the midst of it, I stop to breathe a

thank you.

A thank you for toothless grins, and resilience. A thank you for peaceful goodbyes.

A thank you for the fresh joy I can already see in our kids as they climb out from under a shadow.

A thank you for bad behaviors melting away under the banner of love.

A thank you for redemption.

There is always a reason. And He makes even the ugly things beautiful.

“Put my heart, into their heart,” God says.

So we do. Every day we try to do. And to teach. And to give it all away.

On Monday, our new counselor shares testimonies of growth.

Yesterday, we read Here Comes Heaven, together and talk about kids being carriers of the Kingdom. We dream of things we will do, and people we will help, and how we can give love we've received away.

Some of our new girls get saved.
Some of our girls pray.

And I can hear that they are now intercessors.

And I smile to see them becoming.

Things are still messy. We're short staff, and there never seems enough time, and our kids always seem to lose their underwear, or their shoes, or their brand new pencils.

But I have an image of them laughing. And dancing. And twirling. Before heaven.


And nothing, can take that away.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Not To Start an NGO in Uganda

Many times when people come to visit Zion Project in Uganda, they often ask me, how did you manage to get this thing started?

Well, the short answer is, Non-Profits for Dummies and lots of late nights and frappuccino's.

But nothing, nothing prepared me for the challenge of doing the whole process all over again in Uganda.

Recently I was inspired and prompted to outbreaks of laughter, by the words of Becky Straw on Why you shouldn't start a non-profit. So I decided to write my own version, specific to Uganda.

For all of you who are absolutely committed to helping people, you may want to consider other methods before you traverse down the perilous path of trying to register your non-profit in Uganda. Like a CBO for example. (Community Based Organization) or a Socially Conscious Business. And most definitely read books like The Trouble with Africa, and When Helping Hurts, so you don't just contribute more to the problem you are trying to solve. Dependency is not the same thing as dignity.

And if you come to my town and start handing out money, I might have to cause you physical harm.

But like me, if you are fabulously determined (ie- stupid) and have lots of time to kill, then here are a few things you should know:

Prepare to not know what you are doing and not have any clear instructions

I was pretty much looking for some kind of simple, manageable A, B, C, list. Like, step 1. Build a Board of Directors, etc. Or maybe an example. Yeah, that doesn't exist. Pretty much every Ugandan will tell you a different way of starting your NGO. My recommendation: listen to none of them and hire a lawyer. Believe me, its worth it. And it will save you many hours in the internet cafe trying to get your Ugandan friend to write a logical constitution. It will also save your computer's life. As you will want to throw it out the window when the power goes out and you lose all your information. On a document you had no idea how to write any way.

Prepare to lose a lot of sleep and gain 10 pounds

If you like to wake up after 7am, do your hair, eat a well balanced meal, and then do yoga. This is probably not for you. Most days you will fall asleep with your clothes still on, sweaty, stressed, hair afrizz in the middle of typing an important document which strangely enough is required to be in a certain specific format, (we are in Uganda after all--let's be professional) after stuffing your face with pizza. And forget exercise. The only running you will do, will be after someone whose title begins with "LC or RDC." Or funny enough. CAO (pronounced "cow.") I am not making this stuff up.

Prepare to watch your life slip away in front of you

Yeah, you know those documents you spent hours writing? Yeah, you have to get those signed. By people who like to take long lunches and never seem to be in their office. By people you actually had an appointment with, but for some inexplicable reason have not turned up due to excuses like "the rain." By lots of people who have absolutely no involvement in the work you will be doing whatsoever. But we do have due process here, people. Get a butt pad, bring a book, and cozy up on a bench because you'll be doing lots of waiting. I like to daydream. Because that's where I'm a pirate.

Prepare to be asked for things you didn't know existed

Lots of names will be thrown at you. Work Plan. MOU. Constitution. By laws. Certificate of Incorporation. Organizational chart. Did you have your name saved with the Companies name database? Really, we have one of those? And of course, your criminal background check which is about as easy to get as unicorn tears. And getting a bank account? Whew! That's fun. Is this the only place in the world where you need a Bank Resolution to give people your money?

Prepare to want to throw yourself off the Golden Gate Bridge

You will do all these things. And you will feel really good about it. Until you step into an office and they ask you for some "official" stamp which you don't have. Or someone will slyly ask for some "facilitation" or "appreciation," which is code word for-- money, fool. Or maybe you don't have enough copies for everyone. Or, my favorite--"you must first make a copy of this form and bring it back because we don't have any." If you like efficiency. My friend, please brace yourself, or you will become suicidal.

Prepare to cry a lot and then have people tell you its going to be alright but then do nothing to help you

Oh you're gonna cry like a baby. Especially when you realize that while it took 6-9 months to get your NGO approved, at year 1 you have to go and renew it, which is like doing the process all over again. Not the sweet, one tear roll cry. But the ugly, snotty kind. People in Uganda have an unusual habit of saying, "Sorry," like when you trip on a rock when you're walking and almost bite it. It's endearing most of the time. But when you're knee deep in paperwork "sorry," just won't cut it. And while your friends might love you, they are going to be conveniently unavaible when it comes to putting in the time to see this thing through. Just think, "All by myself...." soundtrack.

Prepare to have people try and crush your dreams

So you made it! The paper work is filed. You have this great idea and this Mother Teresa glow. Nothing can stop you. Except for those academic types working on their PHD's who wonderfully package cut-downs disguised as compliments that people love to give. "Oh you're doing that? Isn't that great...Well, you know you really should do this..." Know it all's. Steer clear. And I know it might sound like I'm being one of those right now with this list. But trust me, I'm just trying to prepare you for the worst. But I still believe in miracles.

Prepare to attend long and boring meetings which have no point

This is a real drawback of becoming an NGO. There are all sorts of district meetings you are supposed to attend which never start on time, and go on and on, without any decisions or resolution. It's basically one big gripe fest. And there are no donuts. Seriously people, where are the donuts?

Prepare to be harassed (And by that I mean lots of random people showing up asking you for money)

Oh yes. It's not good enough that you left the comforts of your country to genuinely try to help people. Nope. What you really need to do is give money to all the "quasi-officials" who bribe you every day so that you can actually do the job of assisting their country men. It's "Restore the Hope of Youth," day, It's sensitize your neighbor on safe sex practices to fight against AIDS radio announcement day. Don't you want to give your hard-raised money which has already been budgeted for something else?

Once you do make a friend in this system, someone who is good and true. Know they are probably part of a different political party (even though you have no clue about political parties) and you'll be punished for it. Yeah, politics. No good. I am not political, by the way.

Prepare to be accused of being a spy

This is one of my favorites. Didn't you know that all Americans are deep under cover James Bond agents who carry guns and try to topple down governments? Yeah, I wasn't aware either. I mean, I know I look like a spy, but I think if I were--I'd do a better job of hiding it. Someone's been watching a little too much late night TV.

Prepare to have incredibly outdated systems like “macros” to deal with

I love Uganda. But I would have to say technology might not be their strong point. It's a stretch, I know. But when you ask me to file for taxes in a country in which I'm not even paid. And then ask me to do it "online," in a country where the power goes out like every other day and the internet cables from Kenya get "knocked," and go out and then on top of that ask me to figure out how to "enable macros," on my Mac so I can then "upload," my files onto your incredibly slow and inefficent website so you can take more of my money. I'm going to have to say it's not on the top of my priority list. Especially because most people will die here without ever receiving their "retirement" fund. Not a big seller.

Prepare to be humiliated

I threw my pride away and sense of "injustice," a long time ago. Oh, I've begged. I've graveled. I've gone to pointless meetings and humored plenty of "big men" to keep this thing alive. Don't judge me. You don't know. So I showed a little cleavage. So what? Just wait and see.

Then finally prepare to have it all be taken away from you

Ah, the absolute gut-wrenching truth of the fact that we are playing their game. And we have no control at all. So chin up, buttercup. Start doing meditation exercises and join an Ashram or a gym (you fatty--ps--good luck finding that!) where you learn to actually breathe and let go. And maybe start trying to shimmie up to God because you might just need a Plan B.

And after all of this, if you are really a glutton for punishment.

(And God likes you.)

A not so understandable list of instructions.
If you get stuck, I'll try and help you out--

There are actually good reasons to get your NGO, like getting a work permit.

ps-In the end, it all works out! :) 5 years and still going.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's funny that I used to think Gulu was my dream. Was really living life on the edge. Used to think it was pretty adventurous that I learned how to drive a Toyoto truck on a road full of long-horned cattle and never killed a pedestrian.

Today I saw a mzungu girl (“whitie”) driving her little mzungu girl friend on a scooter.

On a scooter. Like she was in San Francisco or L.A.

Probably another young kid here doing research for 2 weeks. Another kid who has called my phone for an interview.

I stopped giving interviews. About 10 or so back, when they never bothered to send any of their “research” to actually help change things.

Takers. Take, but don't give. Go get tan in the African sun at the pool and talk loud.

Neveryoumind the blood that's been let in these streets.
The hard fought battles for this place.

Neveryoumind the stories I pluck from dusty hearts to string around my neck like a trophy, like the beads I wear in my dreaded hair. Neveryoumind someone lived it and maybe they don't want to tell you what it was like to be abducted. And maybe its rude to ask.

It's a different kind of rape.

I wonder if we would ever think to do the same in America. To ask September 11 survivors what it was like. To tell them its for our research project. Our degree. Ours. Mine. I. Me.

But it's “post-war,” “post-conflict,” A silver tongued word.
It's exploitation.

My home is a zoo. A tourist attraction. And the pain here is just another person's picture for their personal slideshow.

But they don't get it.

Because to give here, is to give your life away. Your heart, your being, your soul.

To live here is to weep with the women when they lose a brother in Congo because of lack of proper medical care.

And as I passed around the corner a little Ugandan child yelled, “Mono, you give me my money.”

It grates.

Entitlement. It digs teeth into my bones.

How Aid and ignorance has ruined this place. This place I loved.

I watch this happen in the juxtaposition of our volunteers who come to build. To spend hours letting hair be braided, and teaching ABC's, and giving ballet lessons. And our women who come each morning to pray.

Heaven is waiting. Waiting for hearts. Hearts that are desperate.

Relationships. Relationships that stay.

How can revival come to a home which is not hungry?

How can it remain.

There are no quick fixes.

There is only the journey. The journey back to our hearts.

Out on the farm, the pineapples suck water from the soil. Grow sweet under a heavy sun. Grow stronger in the African heat. Grow through hail and drought.

There is no fruit yet. Only roots and tended rows.

But the ones with too much rain, and too much shade, they died. The withered away.

I think dreams are like that. Hidden from sight. Months of incubation.

The flower still waiting to be birthed in morning's light.

The struggle with the angel.

The struggle which ended a fight.

The wrestler who saw the face of God.

And it healed him. The blessing in the joint of that deep pain.

These plants are a promise. And a testimony. All the sweat wrung out in these fields bear witness to the blossom.
Bear witness to those who bore the brunt to birth them.

Heaven can still dream new dreams. These plants tell me to remember.

Remember that it only starts with a seed.

This vision. It can happen.

Further out on the horizon in wide open spaces. The next frontier.

Where the hunger is.

Where the stones have yet to be turned.

Where the places which are won have yet to be named.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From the very first time I came to Uganda and God spoke to me about beginning Zion Project, He told me that what we would bring would be different, because what we would bring would be healing of the heart so that people could feel His presence and know His love deeply.

After 3 years of living in Uganda, I have seen the brokenness and despair, the lack of hope, and the lack of faith and intimacy with God that comes from a wounded heart. A wounded heart which can only wound others. A heart which is marked with scars and disbelief, a heart which does not experience the love of God. A heart which busies itself with many things because it does not yet know it is good enough to be God’s child.

I believe God has used the last 3 years to prepare me for the work we are about to enter into. And I believe that the enemy has fought hard against this vision and has tried to dilute it and busy me with many things, many “good” things, so it would not be completed. I believe what God is asking us to walk into is not a deviation from our vision or what He has called us to, but rather a fulfillment of what He dreamed for us.

For many months now I have felt God speaking to me that He wanted me to focus on inner healing, on helping people encounter God, on building the healing center which would be a meeting place for Him. That it is what He created me for and that every day I do not do it, every day I am strung out by the many demands and responsibilities of managing our current programs, I am slowly dying on the inside. And I am not doing what He created me to do. Thus, I feel not only the weight of carrying responsibilities which I do not have the grace to carry, but also the lack of peace from knowing that I am not moving towards what God has spoken.

These few weeks of coming back to Uganda, God has done a shift in my heart. A shift which cannot be explained or denied. But only the truth of knowing that it is time for a change. A time to transition into destiny.

The dream I have for healing center (The Sanctuary) is God’s dream, and I know it as much as I know my own skin.

And I know to continue in the manner I have, would only be sin. Because I am currently not able to focus on the things God has asked me to because of the many demands upon me.

The hardest part about living here is that it is so easy to lose focus, so easy to respond to the needs instead of hearing the Father’s voice.

So easy to just do and try to be a rescuer of all, instead of allowing God to be the Rescuer.

I have many times fallen victim to that and have carried the heaviness of responsibilities to the point that my heart has broken a thousand times under it.

For so long I have filled 20 different roles, and emptied myself out, and tried to be strong enough to carry it all because I thought I was supposed to and I never wanted to let anyone down. Least of all God, or myself. Or the women and children I love. Or you.

God in His perfect grace and love for me has finally allowed me to come to my complete end. Because He knows how stubborn I am and that I wouldn’t give up any other way.

I believe in my heart that all the roads I took to get to this place, were not wrong roads, but rather that the season that God used to get me here, is now ending.

The mission of Zion Project is changing, in the sense that while my heart is to reach out to the broken (the prostitutes, the child mothers, those damaged by rape and by war) we will not be doing it the way we have been. The main thing I hear God saying is that I need to be freed up to look for land, build, and move into the counseling ministry He has called me into.

One thing Tyson and I have been realizing is that we are called to be apostolic in the sense that we are called to build and to plant and to establish and to do this we need to be freed up from day to day management of running things. I also want the freedom to follow my husband in the dreams God has given him and in our own desire to start a family in the next few years and we need to put things in place now to ensure that we will not continue to be completely overwhelmed.

To that end, in the coming months, we will be transitioning our Imani women out onto their own where they will not be completely dependent upon us for their survival, but upon God to sustain their needs.

Which means that after a year of them being with us, we will no longer be paying their salaries, but will connect them to local markets to sell the things they have learned to make (like school uniforms for schools.) The reasons for this are many: rising costs of materials in the market, lack of access to a US market, lack of people to run the program, but the main reason being that God used us for a season in their life to help them escape prostitution—but
Zion Project is not called to be a business.

There are plenty of other organizations here that are called to that. We want them to be sustainable so that if we are ever called to do something else---they will not be dependent upon us or a Western market. And we need to be freed up to do the part of reaching the Body that God has called us to do.

We just want to do the one thing God has asked us to do well.

Instead of being fragmented by many demands and running many “programs,” which are not that effective.

Already, I have seen God begin to expose the fear issues in our women's heart and begin to ask them the question, “Will you trust me? For all you need?”

I find God is also using this time to ask me a different question and expose the fear in my own heart. “Do you trust me with your daughters?” Do I trust God enough to let go, to allow Him to be their everything, instead of me trying to meet all their needs.

I see it as a growth step for all of us. As a chance to exercise our faith.

While we may yet dream of loving people in a sustainable community of raised up sons and daughters, where there is a healing center, a farm, the Rescue home, a school, a church, and a community of healed people who are loving God and discipling others---we know that The Sanctuary is Phase I of that process.

We will not look further until we complete the thing God has asked us to do. And that my role is not to fill all those roles, but to have the time to find the people God has called to partner with us, to join our hands in this work. We will be looking for people to help fill those roles--like managing the Rescue Home for children--so if you feel called, please contact us.

While my heart will always be moved by young girls who have been abused,

I believe God is calling us to a mission which is defined not by a people group, but by our calling—to heal the brokenhearted. To prepare the Bride for Christ.

Please pray for us as we transition into what God has called us to.

If you have questions you can email me at

Monday, April 25, 2011

USA, here I come!

Check out my speaking schedule for the USA. Can't wait to see you all!  Let me know if you wanna catch up over some Starbucks. Yum! :)
Love, Sarita 


May 10- Land in San Francisco, CA (stay until 22nd of May)

May 17- Imani Jewelry Party, East Bay, (Near Pleasanton)

May 18-Tyson's birthday

May 19- Imani Jewelry Party- San Francisco, CA

May 23- Land in Virginia

May 25- Imani Jewelry Party, DC/Northern VA, 7pm

May 26- Meet supporters/churches in NOVA

May 27- Charlottesville

June 1- Horizon Church, Harrisonburg, VA, 7pm

June 3- My birthday

June 5- Harvest Renewal Church, Richmond, VA 10am

June 8- Fly to London

June 9- London

June 10-Belgium

June 26- Fly back to Uganda

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Love Is a Battlefield

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They Featured the following post:

I know how God’s heart breaks now.
I know the fault lines and the wrinkled scars, I know where the flesh is still tender.
I know the jagged points, and the parts that wear a weary smile. And the parts that are blackened with pain like the charred remains of a grass-thatched home.
And I know the angry parts too.
The ones that are bruised crimson and blue with injustice. I know how He takes them all into His heart and holds them there. I know how He cried when I cried when we lost the babies, or had to give back our children, or were persecuted for wanting to help.
How it hurts Him when those we try to love are indifferent.
And I know He holds the joy there too. The future joy, the rains yet to come, the time when heaven will touch earth again and give birth to the dreams we carried through muddy fields and drought.
The scars. I feel them all. I trace the ridges on His heart like a lover’s bullet wound, or the corner of my husband’s dimpled mouth. Beautiful to me. We huddle close through the pain.
He is near to me there, whispering grace in the stillness. He tells Bible stories to bolster my faith.
Be strong, my love, be strong.
His greatest gift wasn’t the cross.
It was the way He took it all—all the abandoned children, all the hardened hearts, all the back handed slaps, and the babies who died too early. All our coldness and our pride and the ways we yearned to do it all ourselves.
He took it all and He still gave—His love, His body, a battlefield of sacrifice.
If it didn’t cost, everything, then it wouldn’t have been love.
The love that greets the widows every morning with a smile, and holds the children close even while they cry, and fixes the husband’s dinner before he gets home. The love that refuses to give up even when they run away, or offer coldness, or are ungrateful of the price that’s paid.
The love that says, I will stay and I will stand though persecuted and criticized for this one radical belief: that this war will not be fought with swords, but with love.
And a measure of faith.
He promised. He promised me. This year, a recovery of what’s been lost. And I will not let the pregnant dreams, or the veiled threats, the rising costs, or the broken women still learning to live as daughters, break my backboned hope. David with his 400 men, taking back what’s been stolen.
They can take. But they cannot beat the love out of me. And we do not shrink back.
We gather the cool, hard stones in the early darkness.
This is my home now too. Gulu, a city of let blood.
We’ve made a pact together like sisters clapsing hands in the woods.
I will die loving the people of this place.
I dream a picture of what will be.
I see their toothy grins handing me crayola drawings. “Mommy, you first see.”
My little emissaries of light.
Yes, I see my loves. I see.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

As silver....


I don't mind the storms in Africa. The thunder thick clouds, the wind-whip and the rumble. 

A split spark of lightening in the blue-bruised sky.

The ferocious thrashing of rain in sheets. The way it washes the dirt clean.

The way the rainy season makes the world reborn. 

And the calm green after. 

But I mind the storms of life. The waiting for miracles. The splintering questions.

Why, Lord?

“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined, rather I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”

Isaiah 48:10

I spend Friday with Jesus asking Him the questions. Crawling up into His arms, a weary child, a woman in need of comfort. Not knowing why, after prayers, a mother is forced to go to Sudan to sell herself for money and leaves a girl behind, not knowing why the attacks come, or why the miracles feel sparse and my faith dry. Not knowing what to do with a 13 year old girl who shows up at our doorstep afraid to be given away in marriage. Except to keep her. But the numbers seem endless. 

And the guilt of blaming myself is always crushing. It never seems enough.

And He comes. He always comes.

I lean slow into Him and learn. 

I am learning the way absence makes the hunger, insatiable. How the seeking for Him becomes strong. How I learn to need Him more than anything. And can never get enough.

And something else is born here. A strength of spirit. 

My husband comments on it. How what used to devastate me, no longer does. 

That the emotions are calmed into patience. 

How the torrents and the tirades have ceased. How the anger has dissolved into trust. How the disappointments are left at Jesus' feet. How the laughter can still come in the middle of crisis, in-between tears. How the grief seems not so heavy with Him carrying it.

How I am learning to choose joy. 

To ignore the loud grumble.

Somewhere, a part of me is growing up. I marvel at a maturity I didn't know was there. 

When did I become an adult?

As silver...


These tests, somewhere making the soul bright, burning in clarity.And God makes the heart soft again. Makes the muddy world green. 

Injustices melt away at the sound of His voice. Emotions become peace in His presence.

And Heaven is pregnant with the swell of shed tears, ready to burst forth 

a new season.

You will find me praying, make me ready for it, Jesus, 

make me ready. 







Monday, March 28, 2011

The Desperate Get Filled

I have to be honest and say its been one of the rougher seasons for me and I am so looking forward to our break in May. It's been a rough ride (literally) :) driving up and down bumpy roads back and forth to Kampala trying to be gracious in the face of persecution, trying to re-file my NGO.

I have been very heart-heavy lately--just fighting exhaustion from all the stress, the traveling, and unending to do lists, and all the holes in the ministry that still need to be filled. We pray for revival, but it seems slow. We pray for laborers for the harvest, but they are few. And in the mornings, I wake up and ask God the question, "Where are you?"

I miss Jesus. And having a friend to talk to. And ice cream. And days when I didn't feel the responsibility of so much upon me.

And I turn to Matthew 5-- "Blessed are those who know their need for God."

Oh how I know my need for Him. Without Him, there is no joy. Without Him, there is no peace. And maybe its ok that I'm here--because I'm desperate and the desperate, get filled.

Every day I am poor, in need of Him. And sometimes I ask Him why we are here. What are we doing here? Because often there is so much to do, I can feel like a failure.

So I go to the Kid's home to feel better. And I get a squeal-filled, hug fest, hanging on Mommy, pulling Mommy's hair out, love tank full-debacle. And I love every minute of it.
I glance over at Anita, one of our newest girls, who just a few weeks ago, I couldn't get a smile out of. I see her now laughing and hanging onto me and getting along with the other girls, and it makes my heart soar.

This is why I'm here. Often the change is slow, and sometimes imperceptible, but every once in a while I get a glimpse of it.

And little hearts getting healed up. And I know why I fight so hard for this thing. And why I will continue to fight for it.

Thanks for fighting with me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dry Season

This is the season of waiting.

The dust makes tornadoes in the road and the wind whips.

The clouds gather heavy with expectation and they pause. A pause that sounds deafening as the moment before a birth cry.

And a question. When will the rains come?

Splinter thick, hope embeds her mark on the soul. We have a promise.

It will come. Like dreams remembered in sleep barely waking, we etch images of land and rivers, homes and bonfires, and children lit up by the wavering sun. A place of healing. A sanctuary of whispered prayers the heart finds the daring to pray.

A home. A retreat. A resting place for God.

We go back to scribbled words in journals, inked in candelight and morning light and we hold them open to heaven as if to say, “See, you said.”

Yesterday the children practicing listening to God. Their shaky, markered words become clear on the page, “I am a daughter.”

And the red blob is heaven.

And who is that hovering?

It's “malaika,” an angel. And the “holy spirit, ” is coming close.

And everywhere, in their pictures, the rains are falling.