Praying for a Heart

Praying

Enjoy this guest post from Carolina Gwartney. ūüôā

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Sharon was born on January 1, 1997 in Uganda, and I was born the next day, January 2, 1997 in Singapore (my parents were missionaries there).  About a year later, my family moved back to America where I lived until I was eleven-years-old. In 2008, my family moved to Good Shepherd’s Fold Children’s and Babies’ Home in Uganda.   My eyes have been opened to a whole new world.

There are many medically fragile¬†kids at GSF whom I have watched fight for their lives.¬† I have watched¬†God help countless kids win their earthly battles.¬† And I have come to¬†know that the six kids (and many other people in the village whom we¬†know) who lost their earthly battles are living victoriously now in¬†heaven.¬† I‚Äôve stood in disbelief as I learn that a friend in the¬†village has had untreated epilepsy for about fourteen years.¬† I have¬†listened with feelings of sadness and defeat to stories of a teenage¬†mother whose husband just died, and she can‚Äôt care for her children.¬†It feels overwhelming at times, but in six years I‚Äôve learned a lot.¬†Yes, my eyes have been opened to much suffering, but more importantly,¬†I‚Äôve been reminded over and over that in the end, God is victorious.¬†I‚Äôve learned the power of one person following God‚Äôs lead and choosing¬†to focus on just one person or one cause.¬†God put on my heart that Sharon was one of the ‚Äėones‚Äô I should¬†intercede for.

Sharon_3When she was about a year old, she got sick ‚Äď very¬†sick.¬† She had strep throat and because her family is very poor, they¬†didn‚Äôt take her to the hospital until it was too late.¬† Sharon had¬†developed heart problems. While I was learning about the suffering in¬†the world, Sharon was experiencing it first hand.¬† When she was¬†sixteen, her heart got worse, and she was taken to the government¬†hospital because her family had no choice.¬† They left the hospital¬†with bad news and a big debt.¬† With the condition of her heart, Sharon¬†would have to go to India for heart surgery.¬† Since her family could¬†never afford that, Sharon has had to make the three-hour journey every¬†month to get medicine to help.¬† She enjoys making mats and sells them¬†to pay for her journey.¬† However, she has a hard time selling them and¬†must sell six every month in order to pay for her transport and¬†medicine.

In August, Sharon‚Äôs baby sister was put on GSF‚Äôs feeding¬†program to keep malnourished families together and in December, my mom¬†heard her sing at the program‚Äôs Christmas party.¬† After finding out¬†that she had heart problems, she asked for a report on her.¬† When I¬†heard Sharon‚Äôs story and that her birthday was the day before mine, I¬†knew I had to fight for this one.¬†On Thursday I finally got to meet Sharon.¬† Even though I had¬†previously only seen her picture, the first thing I noticed is that¬†she has lost a lot of weight.¬† The government hospital has also told¬†her that she can no longer go to school because her ‚Äėheart is tooweak‚Äô. Sharon‚Äôs situation has become urgent and we need to get her to¬†India for surgery as soon as possible.¬†Would you please consider joining me in helping Sharon get to India?¬†Here are some ways you can help.

Sharon_2

‚Äʬ† ¬† ¬† ¬†Give ‚Äď While not everyone can give, you can also help raise money.¬†You could hold a bake sale, or offer to shovel snow out of people‚Äôs¬†driveways and donate the money you raise to Sharon‚Äôs heart project.¬†You could also mention it to your church or school and ask them if¬†they would be willing to share (or let you share) Sharon‚Äôs story with
the youth group, Sunday school classes, individual school classes or¬†the whole church or school group and ask people to give.¬† The goal is¬†to raise $10,000 to pay her debt at the government hospital and send¬†her to India for surgery.¬† We have raised about $1,500 so far.¬† To¬†give, click this link, click on ‚ÄėGwartney family‚Äô, and make sure to¬†put in the comments (or note to seller), ‚ÄėSharon‚Äôs heart project‚Äô.¬†100% of your donation will go to Sharon‚Äôs fund.¬† If any extra is¬†collected, it will be used for medical projects for other people in¬†our community.¬† If anything should happen to Sharon before her heart¬†surgery, any remaining funds will also be used for other medical¬†projects in our community.

‚Äʬ† ¬† ¬† ¬†Share ‚Äď You can share this story or the original post from my blog¬†on any social media sites you have or your own blog.¬† You can also be watching for updates on my blog, caralinag.blogspot.com.

‚Äʬ† ¬† ¬† ¬†Pray ‚Äď You can pray that we will be able to raise the money quickly¬†‚Äď Sharon‚Äôs need for surgery is getting urgent!¬† Please also pray for¬†her heart to stay stable until she can get the surgery.

Carolina emailed me yesterday letting me know that someone is working on designing a t-shirt as a fundraiser and working on securing a matching grant. I’ll post an update on that as soon as we have the links. ūüėČ

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Valentine Card Challenge

make one cards, for one child, change one life

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Crista Moriah at Uniquely Fashioned for His Glory. Some of you may already know about her challenge from her blog or her post on The Rebelution. As a commenter on The Rebelution said, this challenge is a brilliant way to turn one’s focus away from self and channel it into service this Valentines day. But, instead of continuing to talk about it myself, I’ll let you read what Crista has to say.

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Jesus broke my heart into so many tiny pieces when I learned of the imprisoned children of Uganda.¬† I¬†read over my dad’s shoulder¬†the story of how a ministry¬†Sixty Feet¬†was born to serve these¬†orphans and bring them restoration and hope in Jesus’ name.¬† My life has never been the same since.

He captured me with a love that mirrored His.  It was fearless, bold, dreamed big, and knew no boundaries.  It was willing to do anything to be a voice, to defend these kids, taking the stance of an advocate.

You might say I fell in love with a country, a people even while they stretched oceans apart from me.  Jesus was my Matchmaker, pairing me up with who I needed.  Only He could arrange something so perfect.

A few weeks ago, He leaned in close.  Whispering a whimsical, beautiful idea gently to my heart: Cards.  Bright, hope filled messages that would serve to spread His love to the world.  To orphans.

On my first trip to Uganda, cards brightened the day of many lives in the prisons.¬† I knew how much they would mean to these orphans.¬† It made me realize just how tender, how compassionate is the heart of our God.¬† The Father to the fatherless, Helper of the orphan reaching down with a simple way to tell them “I love you.” My heart thrills at the thought.

That’s what brought about this¬†Valentine Card Challenge: 1,400 Cards by¬†Feb. 14th.

 There are approximately 200 children in each prison and 7 prisons exist in Uganda.  That means in order for every child to receive a card, we need 1,400.

Please be the balm of healing to these broken hearts. ¬†Share God’s love letting it spill out of your hearts and onto the pages of just one card, for one child, to change one life.¬†We are called to do this.¬†God calls anyone who considers the helpless¬†blessed.

This is my Valentine Card Challenge to you.

Will you take it, for one?

Here’s what to do:

1. Make a simple card(s) with the John¬†3:16¬†verse written out, and “God¬†loves you” or in Lugandan you could put “Jesu Okwagala”; sign your name. Please have your brothers & sisters make one, your friends, parents, family, people at your church.¬† Anyone can help participate to meet our goal.

2.Write “Valentine Card Challenge” on the back of the envelope. (If you have a lot of cards, just send it in a large envelope or box.¬†)

Address & send to the ministry SixtyFeet:

Sixty Feet Inc.
2451 Cumberland Parkway
Suite 3526
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

3. In order to keep a tally, please comment on¬†this post¬†or under “Contact Me” telling how many cards you sent in.

Also, please feel free to share this on your own blog, through email, Pinterest, whatever you like.

That’s it!¬† Three simple steps that can change the world with God’s love.¬† All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what He asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.

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So, what do you think? Will you send a card (or two … or three … or more)? Let me know if you do!