A New Thing

I’m sitting here at my computer, wondering where to begin. How do you start explaining a project that is at once profoundly personal, overwhelming, and invigorating? How do I tell you this story without telling you my daughter’s, because that story is hers to tell or hers to keep. Not mine to share. What I can tell you? The two are intricately tied together, and in uncovering hers, it led to this:

Reeds of Hope – Lokumu

A project born from her story, with the power to change many stories. An opportunity to help women trapped in the vicious, perpetuating cycle of extreme poverty. It’s a cycle that steals life, children, hope, and dignity. Here’s the thing with that kind of poverty. Charity doesn’t touch it. It might meet some immediate needs for a time, it might temporarily relieve hunger pains, but it doesn’t break the cycle. Charity is dependent on the giver. It doesn’t empower the recipient. And it doesn’t restore dignity.

Education, on the other hand? Developing potential. Providing opportunities and targeted resources. Empowering women to envision and dream and plan for and work toward a better future for themselves and their children? This has the power to break chains, to change narratives.

Lokumu – a Lingala word that means dignity. And now a program with actual feet on the ground. This is the project I’ve been working on. The project I’ve been excited to share. I look at it, and I see my daughter. I see me. I see her birth mother. I see her first country, and her new country. I see a whole bunch of puzzle pieces coming together. And I see this great big God doing what He’s in the business of doing – using what is impossibly broken, and hard, and confusing to grow something good.

So what is it, exactly?

Lokumu is a comprehensive program based in Kinshasa, DR Congo, created for women interested in running their own business, but without the education or the means to do so. Through high-impact business training, Christ-centered mentorship, targeted financial aid with accountability, and wrap-around support for children, Lokumu is designed to turn women with little to no education into confident entrepreneurs with sustainable businesses.

There’s so much more I want to say, you guys! Like how thankful I am for the women at Reeds of Hope. How excited I am about the Lokumu model, which you can check out on the website, including a breakdown of expenses (found on our support page). Lord willing, I have big dreams for this program – like trauma counseling for the women, money saving circles, and watching as our most promising Lokumu graduates become course instructors and mentors …

But first, before we can dive into any of it, we need to purchase a business kit, which will be sent to our partner in Kinshasa. This one-time purchase will allow Celeste to begin teaching Business Essentials, a 16-session, 40-hour course through Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs. This is the entrance point into our program, the first step for these women. If you’re interested in making a donation, please visit the Lokumu page to learn more, then click on the button at the end that says “Kickstart the Project”. Our goal is $500, which covers the cost of the kit. All donations are tax-deductible. Every U.S. staff member at Reeds of Hope is a volunteer, so donations go directly to DRC to run the program and support the women. We hope to have sponsorships set up soon!

Feel free to “Like” or “Follow” the Lokumu – Reeds of Hope Facebook Page to follow along as we walk this new and exciting journey! I would cherish your support!

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
– Isaiah 43:19

These are the Days….

003These are the days I will reflect on when I’m old.

These are the days I will wish I had back.

This time when it was just us, our small little family, waiting for another a half a world away.

My four-year old bundle of sweet chaos, with sticky fingers that touch everything.

A dirt-lover who scoops it up by the fistful, rubs it all over his bare belly, and declares, “I’m the sandman, Mommy!”

An adventurer with an imagination as tall as the sky, pointing at the cute old couple walking down the sidewalk and exclaiming very, very loudly, “Look! It’s two T-Rexes! Run before they eat us!”

My four-eyed monster with crooked, smudged glasses that slide down his nose so it is perpetually scrunched.

My shameless exhibitionist, who not only pees in our backyard, but our neighbor’s too. Seriously. Boys.

A young Picasso, who hasn’t quite figured out that marking up our walls with Sharpie and crayon does not make Mommy happy.

A fearless daredevil, who jumps from heights he should not jump from and is never ever without scrapped knees or bruised shins.

My little man, who wants to know when we get to put the heart on our Adoption Map so we can bring home his brother and sister. (He thinks he’s getting both.)

The giggles and the after-dinner wrestling matches in our living room. The ones I think are far too rough, but Daddy knows his boy’s love language best.

He is the Hulk who will smash you.

The puppy who will nuzzle you.

The Veliciraptor who will hunt you.

The tornado who can destroy an entire room in 2 seconds flat.

“Will you cuddle with me, Mommy?” he asks before bedtime.

I wish I could say my answer was always yes.

Because someday, he will stop asking.

And I will want to go back to these days.

When he was four and crazy and wild and innocent and so unbelievably, unintentionally funny.

I will want to crawl into his bed and listen as he talks us both to sleep.

Let’s Talk: What days do you wish you could go back to?

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