For those who have no idea what I've been up to… I'll start from the beginning! I went on a mission trip to Uganda, Africa this past July. I went into it with a completely open mind and heart, but spent a great deal of time wondering what my contribution to our mission would be once I was there. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nurse, not a bible scholar or evangelist and I had no past experience to offer. Well, what do you know, one of the first missionaries we stayed with just happened to be in search of a graphic designer to bring to life an important project she has been working on.
Lisa and Keith Coggin have been missionaries in Uganda for 10 years. They established Sanctuary of Grace Christian Academy in 2007. Here is just a small part of their story…
"In July of 2006 northern Uganda experienced the end of a 23-year insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). For the first time in a lifetime for some of these people, they were able to try and regain a semblance of normalcy. Most of the population that resided in the northern regions of Uganda (namely the Acholi people) missed the opportunity for education; lost at least one family member (most lost many more); lived a life of prison in the IDP camps where they had to be provided for in the basic necessities—food. The World Food Program provided for the 1.3 million people living in these camps. Many experienced trauma beyond explanation, through witnessing the brutality and mutilation of their friends and family and even being forced to participate.
What worldview would develop from this kind of lifestyle?
Almost immediately after the end of this insurgency, outside assistance was pouring into the region to help the people begin recovery. But we, Keith and Lisa, heard the call to reach out to the next generation of people – the children. The children and youth of this generation of adults would be subject to the same worldview and given the state of living at that time until now (2012), there was little help available for giving them a chance at a better future and new way of thinking. Our call is to expose and teach God’s word through an education system that is accelerated and focused on building a Biblical worldview. Our prayer has been to lead this generation to the Lord and disciple them through an education system that is designed for that purpose. We call it Roots to Fruits. But that is not all. There must be a system and a structure in place that will serve as the vehicle for this education and be reproducible for generations to come."
HOW I'M INVOLVED
Lisa has been developing her Roots to Fruits curriculum since 2005 and after seven years of hard work, she was ready to bring her endless piles of notes, writings and research to life in a format that could be published and used. That's when I arrived. We only had a few days to discuss the project when I was here in July, so I left with the promise to come back and get it going. And here I am! I've been here for only one week so far and we've made great progress, but have miles to go. This will be a long, on-going project, but I'm so blessed to be a part of it.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Aside from the developed daily lessons, Lisa plans to use storybooks as a core part of the curriculum. It is through reading and literacy that the children will learn english, which will be their instructional language throughout their schooling. The books will also serve as a window into the world that they would not otherwise be exposed to in the standard Ugandan curriculum or otherwise.
We have created an Amazon Wishlist with all of the books Sanctuary of Grace is needing for the new curriculum program. You can click here to view the list and select a book (or books!) to purchase and have shipped to the provided U.S. address. Keith and Lisa will be on furlough in the states during January, so books will be shipped to them to bring back to Uganda upon their return. After this, books will be shipped to me in NC to have sent over with a team in late February.
The wishlist works just like a baby or wedding registry, showing what books and how many of each are needed (2 for most), and showing when a book is purchased. Used books are welcome! Whether you purchase them used from Amazon (or elsewhere!) or have a copy of your own to donate, I just ask you email and let me know about anything provided outside of Amazon so I can adjust the quantities on the wishlist accordingly.
Thank you so much for considering to help this cause. It's not just something you hear on late night infomercials, it really is true that even just $10 can make a world of difference to the upcoming generations of an entire country.
Please feel free to contact me or comment below with any questions.
Stay tuned for more updates on this and the rest of my adventures in Africa!
xo ~ nicole