Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breaking Ground

Today is a monumental day for the SOUP- we broke ground on our land in Uganda to build the orphanage and school. According to our friend in Iganga, the beginning of this week was set aside for clearing and pegging the ground, and today is the day they began digging the trenches to lay the foundation.

Before we know it, these beautiful orphans will have a new and clean place to live and go to school. Our God is so good!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

27 million. That’s how many slaves exist in the world today. Not the usual kind you think of from 150 years ago, but a different kind: mothers, children, girls, & boys from every nation, ethnicity, & walk of life, held captive by sex, labor camps, drugs, & emotional bonds. This global issue of human trafficking is a hidden one, and being underground makes it difficult to track. Thankfully, in the past few years, this issue has become more prominent in the media, with movies such as Taken & documentaries such as Call & Response.

Today is about spreading awareness of this issue. As large as the problem is, some people do not even realize that it exists. I did not even know that it existed until a year and a half ago-I heard about it from a band dedicated to raising awareness for this problem by writing songs that exposed the problems & aftermath of human trafficking. So, what can be done?

  • EDUCATE yourself
  • PRAY
    • For the victims
    • For the ministries, non-profits, & NGO’s that are rescuing and providing aftercare for them
    • For the governments in these countries, that their eyes would be opened and cooperation would take place to continue to stop and deter these evils.
  • GET INVOLVED in your area
    • The I-Heart Project- provides local opportunities to get involved with issues that interest you.
    • IJM- The International Justice Mission has internships, fellowships, & job openings for those looking into a career in bringing justice to human trafficking victims. They also have chapters on many college campuses across the country.

27 million. That doesn’t have to be such a big number after all.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Directions & Ideas

The other night, The African SOUP had a meeting with an incredible new friend. Susan Hillis, lover of Jesus Christ and of orphans around the world, met with 2 of our SOUP staffers to discuss speaking at the SOUP’s upcoming dinner on March 18 in Atlanta. This meeting soon evolved from speaking topics to pieces of wisdom from a woman who has been working for with orphans and in the public health arena for years.

As we shared our plans for the orphanage with her, she told us the truth that she has seen over and over: children are better off being raised in family-like situations. Many studies have shown that children raised in institutions grow up with very different brain activity levels than children raised in families. Thankfully, we told her that as we looked over our blueprints & plans for the SOUP recently, we had decided on creating as close to a family-like environment as possible for the kids with the resources that we have. For us, that means mini-apartments housing a matron and at most 10 children, in addition to common play and eating areas, and the school nearby. This choice to establish foster-like families and nurture the children in the best way possible was confirmed by everything that Susan was sharing with us that night.

She also encouraged us to begin communicating with other organizations that have the same mission and values as we do. Networking with people who have done it before, who know what works and what doesn’t, can only help us and bring more creative ideas to the table. A group called Heartwork has a vision of starting 1000 orphan homes in 1000 days through 1000 different groups. We would love to be a part of this project, as it lines up perfectly with our heart for orphans around the world. Also, there are others even in Uganda, like the Watoto village & Invisible Children, who are doing amazing things to help heal the children in this war-torn country. There are so many other projects, non-profits, ministries, etc, who are doing it right, and we want to talk to them. We want to be a part of this world-wide mission: that orphans will be taken care of, have a home, & be raised as the next generation of leaders in their country.

SO, coming out of the meeting, we realized several things:

  • We have a lot to learn from Susan Hillis and others like her. There is so much wisdom that comes from those who have gone before us, and we need to start gaining some of that knowledge.
  • We are in this for the long haul. There is no way the SOUP is going away after a few years. These orphans and that country need long term consistency, and we are creating & praying about plans for the next couple of decades.
  • The African SOUP will forever be for the least of these. We’ve caught a glimpse of the Father’s heart towards these children, and there’s no way we can go back.

P.S.- If you are a part of a group/non-profit/ministry that helps orphans or simply have a suggestion of one we should check out, please email us at