Close to my Heart

I’m sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately. The school year is coming to a close, and it’s been crazy trying to captivate these young minds with only 4 weeks until summer! I promise I will be back in full swing too!

I wanted to share a little bit of my heart with you today. As many know III and I traveled to Uganda this summer with Sozo Children to love on the many children of this country. We were blessed to be a small part in what Sozo is doing in Uganda. They truly are God’s hands and feet…living out the gospel with all that they are. They are making a better life for the children there. 

Sozo is not an orphanage. It’s a family. The house moms and dads LOVE each and every one of those ebony faces as it were their own flesh and blood. Sozo and it’s partners in Uganda are following God’s lead. And with his help they are giving hundreds of children a hope and a future. They are wanting to expand their ministry. They want to give more children the family they long for. But they need our help.

  Here is a little of their story. It all started with two 20something year old guys who knew something had to be done. 

 

 

The Village Project from Sozo Children on Vimeo.

Please share! 

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Hi there! Are you new to A Step in the Journey? If so, WELCOME!I’m Laura Beth, and I am so glad you are checking out the journey. If you like what you see did you know you can subscribe to receive updates via RSS feed. Another great way to interact it through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also submit your email below to receive updates! I’m looking forward to getting to know you!Enter your email address to receive updates:

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Noonday Collection Giveaway *CLOSED*

I LOVE Uganda. (Surprised???)

After our trip to Kampala this summer I fell in love with the people and their fire for God. I now have such a heart for Uganda.

I have a friend who is passionate about the people in Africa too,  especially the women trying to support their families both in Ugnada and all all over the world. And Megan is doing something about it. She is a Noonday Collection Ambassador.  This means she is helping raise money for women’s industries in Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Rwanda, Peru, Guatemala, Madagascar, and Ecuador by selling BEAUTIFUL jewelry and other accessories made by the very women she is helping.

Here is a little EYE CANDY

Noonday Collection Giveaway {astepinthejourney.com}

And do I have good news for you….you can be a part of these women’s amazing journey! Megan has offered to give one of YOU either the

Giveaway ChoicesYOUR CHOICE!!! Let me tell you a little bit about these two pieces and the stories behind them.

The violet horn bracelet is made by African Style, a group that Noonday Collection helped launch in Uganda.  There are so many African Style stories that I wish I could share!  One of them is about Olivia, who came to work with African Style after a life of being exploited.  Her mother died when she was 3, leaving her with her sexually abusive father.  She finally ran away and found a job as a house girl where she worked extremely long hours, was not given any food, and was never paid for her work.  She had to beg for food to feed her daughter Rachel; and there were times she thought she would have to give her up.  But since coming to African Style, Olivia has enough money to rent her own room and feed herself and Rachel. She dreams of the day when Rachel will be in school.  When Noonday’s founder Jessica asked Olivia, “Who in your life has loved you and cared for you?” she said, “No one. This is the first time for me to ever share my story.”  Because of African Style and Noonday Collection, Olivia now has family, someone to hear her, and to tell her “You have worth. God has not forgotten you.”

Another one of my favorite African Style stories is about a wedding.  So many little girls dream about the wedding they will one day have.  But for those living in poverty, a wedding remains a dream.  The legal fees for a marriage certificate alone are far too much for most of the world’s poor to afford.  This was the case for Bukenya and Coral, who were completely committed to each other, but had never been able to afford to get officially married.  Through the encouragement of Daniel and Jalia, the lead artisans of African Style, Bukenya and Coral began to pray and save for their wedding.  A year later, through consistent income thanks to Noonday purchases, God answered their prayers.  On December 15, 2012, a dream they thought was impossible came true and Bukenya and Coral were officially married!

. . . . .

The bouquet necklace is made by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged artisans.  Anusaya is one of those artisans.  She first joined the group to provide for her 4 children after her husband died 7 years ago.  Since joining the group, she has learned many valuable skills and she says the people there have become like family.  Because of her job, Anusaya’s children are able to get an education.

. . . . .

To ENTER:

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Entry #1: Follow A Step in the Journey through RSS feed or subscribe through email, leave a comment.

Entry #2: Visit Megan’s Noonday Collection Website and leave a comment letting us know your favorite piece.

Entry #3:  Share the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (leave the link)

This giveaway will close Wednesday, January 16th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be announced Thursday morning!

GOOD LUCK!

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DIY Instagram Ornament

I’ve been looking for ways to capture so many of the memories from our trip to Uganda this summer. It was such a once in a lifetime experience. There were so many footprints left on our hearts. Above, that is sweet George. He attended a school we worked at in the slums of Kampala. He’s deaf, but his sweet smile sings God’s praises. We recently found out that he might be able to hear out of one of his ears with a hearing aid. Praise Jesus. Meeting him is a moment I’ll never forget.

This ornament was quick and easy, my two favorite descriptors of a craft project!

I created my “instagram” pics by saving and inserting them into a Word document. I resized each one to be 2.5″ x 2.5″, a half inch smaller than the side of my cube. I have found a great website however that will print your actual instagram pics in all kids of keepsake ways. It called Printstagram. Quite fitting…

After cutting them out with my trusty paper cutter, I used Mod Podge to adhere each picture to the sides of the cube. Make sure and add a layer on top to to seal it all together! I think Mod Podge might be the best craft invention ever…well along with the Cameo!

I used some Christmas washi tape to dress the sides up a little and took it all the way across the design on the bottom to cover it up…and just like any Christmas gift, this ornament was, topped with a glittery bow!

It’s perfect on my handmade ornament tree. This one might be my new favorite!

The quote on the opposite side is from David Platt.

It couldn’t ring more true. If you are looking for an organization to donate to this holiday season, I strongly recommend

SOZO CHILDREN.

The faces behind the difference Sozo is making in Uganda are true servants of God. They have heard HIS call and are reaching out to spread the gospel and change lives. I was blessed to be a part of it first hand. Click the link above to find out more and/or to donate!

Linking up to some fabulous parties.

Uganda: Part Five | The Nile

It’s been almost three months since my life was forever changed in Uganda. You can read about how God worked in and through us here, here, here, and here! I still have more to share about our time with the kids, but I just received some of these pictures from our adventure day & I just had to share!

Sozo encouraged us to take a day to explore God’s creation while we were in Africa. His handiwork is amazing there. Beautiful. Although a safari is norm for adventuring in Africa; lions, and tigers, and elephants…oh my; the traditional African animals didn’t decide to set up camp nearby. What was nearby however was the Nile river.

It’s hard to believe I spent about 6 hours of my life rafting down the Nile. A chance of a lifetime.
THE NILE RIVER.
Can you believe it? Like Moses’ Nile River.

There were 8 rapids we had to traverse from where we put in to where we took out. Most of them were a class 5. The one clas 6 they made us get out and walk around. It was THAT BIG! We had a lot of down time on the deep, wide river. The area was so lush and filled with wildlife. Along our trek we saw two different bald eagles.

There was one rapid where I thought we weren’t going to make it. Our guide Palo called it “The Bad Place.” And it definitely lived up to it’s name! We hit the whirlpool at the wrong spot and out we all flew. I must have been underwater for 20 minutes 2 minutes 20 seconds. The Bad Place spit me out about 100 yards down the river & fear struck when I couldn’t find III. Luckily the rescue kayak was was on it & pulled him (along with the rest of our group) to the shore. The day was full of experiences I’ll never forget.

The Nile is a resource for so many in Africa. The river itself is almost 4,200 miles long and passes through 10 countries. While rafting we passed several locals washing their clothes in the river. They were probably asking themselves what these crazy Americans were doing.

I wish I knew the answer :o)
. . . . .

A very special moment happened on the Nile River while we were in Uganda. Although III and I weren’t able to experience it in person, I think it is worth sharing and remembering.

This is Alex.

He is local to Uganda and came on board with Sozo a few months ago. Oh, and he is awesome! He has such a servant’s heart. Alex is the official driver. Driving is no small feat in Uganda…and he drives the van like a pro. Alex is learning English & loves listening to the Passion CD while driving the van. I’m not sure about his background, but what I do know is his heart is BIG & he has a smile that moves my soul. One morning a few of the Sozo team headed to the Nile to be baptized again in the river. Alex drove them. Alex watched and listened. Alex saw how Jesus moves people’s hearts. And his heart was moved….he had become a part Sozo and joined in their mission. He has seen how Jesus can use his followers to love others and he wanted to take part. In his words he wanted to “take off his old clothes and put on the white clothes of Jesus.” Doesn’t it give you chills. Jesus is at work in Uganda. Jesus is at work all over the world.

Alex committed his life to Christ and was baptized in the Nile. The story brought me to tears. And there is more. After his baptism Alex walked over to a teenage boy who had been watching by the river and he started witnessing. He gave the boy his cross necklace & shared the love of Jesus.

The Nile is a special place.

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Chicken Parmesan Sandwich with Morning Star

I haven’t been crafting a whole lot lately…I do have one big project in the works that I am looking forward to sharing with you, but for now the project are pretty sparing. Recipes however, I have a few in the go to bag, because while I may not be crafting…we have to eat, right?

This is my go to dinner after a long day at work. You know the days…
the ones where you’ve been up since before the sun & didn’t get home until is was down again.

Who has had a Morning Star before?
I love these patties & all their varieties

I simply add a little pizza sauce & mozzarella.

I feel like I should go on and on about what else to do.
I could say to toast the buns, and to warm up the cheese so that it begins to melt, it goes well with mac and cheese or tater tots…
But to be honest there isn’t much to know. Well except it’s delicious & reminds me of my favorite lunch at camp as a kid. If only there were apple turnovers for dessert.
Hmmmm…..there could be!

Serving up at a few lovely parties.

Enjoy :o)

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**I was not perked by Morning Star in any way…just love their patties! However, if they wanted to comp me a few I’d love to share more!