Passion Partners is committed to the communities where projects are strategically designed to contribute
to the development of its people.
… to provide leadership and funding to existing ministries, as well as emerging ministries, around the world with the goal to walk along them in a collaborative effort, allowing them to be more effective in their call and in fulfilling their passion.
I want to share something with you today that gives a unique glimpse into Passion Partner’s relationship with our ministry partners overseas. It’s a letter written by our Founder and Executive Director, Candice Ashburn, to our partner in Uganda, Fred Kaddu, and the girls of the Wakiso Restoration Home.
To give a brief bit of background…we are nearing the completion of a new Restoration Home in Uganda that will house the current 16 girls, as well at 22 new ones. I can’t tell you how precious Fred and these girls are to us, and how honored we are to be building them a new home. For several months, we had been planning a visit to Uganda, (we would’ve actually arrived back home today) primarily to see the girls, love on them, encourage them, and see the new house with our own eyes. Unfortunately, a sudden Ebola outbreak hit Uganda just days before we were to arrive and we weren’t able to go. To put it simply, we were bummed. Very, very bummed. And our hearts were heaviest for the girls, who were so looking forward to us all being together.
Upon our return home, Candice wrote them the following message. And I thought it was too good not to share with you who are getting to know these girls, as well…
Dear sisters of the Restoration Home,
I am writing after returning to the States to affirm that you are all very much in our thoughts & prayers. We were so very sad when we were led to return home without visiting Uganda.
We had been planning for months to join you and set our eyes on the Home. We have most certainly been keeping up with the construction progress through pictures, which Fred has been sending us. It looks absolutely beautiful! Which is no less than what each one of you deserves!
Though we were unable to hug you in person and visit with you all, we greatly anticipate a time to return. I can’t wait to see the Home with my own eyes and see each of you enjoying the good gift from God, Himself, as a real Refuge & Provider.
He loves you each so. I hope that the Home is a tangible reminder of that love. It is not me nor Allie nor Raeanne, not Her Passion ministries, nor even Central Wakiso Baptist Church that you should revere and thank, but God Himself. He is the One who saves us and redeems us and restores our lives.
I am honored to serve with Pastor Fred to minister the Hope of the Gospel to each of you.
Please stay in touch. We are praying toward a time to see you. Until then, we hope you will enjoy yourselves at Fang Fang to celebrate what God is doing in your lives! We are celebrating and loving you from Nashville!
Love & Prayers & Blessings from Above,
I pray this morning for the Lord’s provision and justice for ALL HIS CHILDREN after working in the slums the past few days. O how I find myself in a space of silence and attentiveness to anything and everything surrounding me while I am there. I see so many beautiful faces in such desperate need and yet precious smiles lighting up along the way!
On the first day we had the opportunity to go deep into the slums and visit families with the intent to show them the love of Jesus in a tangible way be it through meeting their most basic needs: provision of sugar, beans, flours, peas, butter…etc. We sit together, share life and ask to pray for them, usually a widow, a sister, grandmother or a single mom…caring for multiple kids in the size of a small bathroom made with mud walls and tin roofs to secure their home.
After visiting two families we went to a secondary school to participate in the Jitambue (“self-worth” in Swahili) Project and hear the impact it is having on their lives. It was so sweet hearing how these young girls have been eternally impacted by the Swahiba Youth team showing up, leading and educating them on positive reproductive health and the Hope of Jesus.
We closed the day with one of the most humbling and beautiful experiences I have ever taken part in—washing the feet of orphan children, and then putting a brand new pair of sneakers on their feet. I cannot explain the absolute joy in their eyes as I washed and dried each foot and shared the love of Jesus and told each child how Jesus washed the feet of His children because HE loved them so very much. The smiles and laughter on their faces I will treasure all the days of my life.
The next morning I awakened early with great anticipation of witnessing the Jitambue Conference in Kibera, live and in action. As our team drove up to the church, I saw over 500 teenage girls laughing, singing and dancing. My spirit was overwhelmed with great joy as I heard the conversations and receptive ears regarding positive reproductive health education and the Truth of the Lord–that He has great plans for their future and will never leave them nor forsake them.
The conference started early in the morning and lasted into late afternoon. There are over 10 schools from the Kibera slums involved in the J-Project (conferences & weekly club meetings), but our vision is to reach every girl within every school in Kibera! Over 30 Swahiba staff & volunteers serving all day long…faithfully, diligently and selflessly. O how their passion, fervor and service for Jesus continues to amaze and convict me.
The program continued to flow throughout the entire day . . . from music, group dancing, to a slew of guest speakers that include a trained counselor sharing education on positive reproductive health with a biblical perspective, a representative from the United Nations encouraging perseverance and strength to press on amidst the trials for their education, and Candice sharing the abundant love God, the Father has for each and every one of them. Then, two precious girls shared their testimony of how the J-Project has provided support, education, mentorship and the love of JESUS over the course of their secondary schooling. WOW! We closed out the day by passing out sanitary napkins to each girl—an item taken for granted in our western society which allows them to continue to participate in school in the short and long-term. Their smiles and gratitude upon receiving these is, O, so humbling to me . . . to receive a sanitary napkin as a gift? What different value we as Americans put on things . . .
I think though, what pierced my heart the most, was looking over to the gate entrance at the close of the day and seeing the hundreds upon hundreds of girls exiting this safe place . . . only to enter back into the slums. As I watched, a precious little girl came up to me and said,
“I just wish today would never end, that it would last forever!”
My heart immediately hurt for her . . . for all the girls . . . but then the Lord reminded me that each of these girls are His & He created each with a plan and purpose for His glory. And I said to her,
“I know sister, but the GOOD NEWS is that JESUS is always with you and in you, and the Swahiba staff go home with you. They are going to be there tomorrow and the next, encouraging you and loving on you as Jesus loves on you!”
Praise the Lord for He is good, and His love endures today.
In Christ Name,
I’m writing you tonight from Nairobi, Kenya – hoping to take advantage of some solid internet access and update you on just a bit of what’s been going on with us the past several days.
Our trip started out with 2 days of ministering alongside Swahiba Youth Networks, our partners in Nairobi in the Kibera slums. On our first day, we visited some of the girls’ familes that are involved in the Jitambue Project. Most homes in Kibera are about the size of our bathrooms, with a dirt floor, a roof made of pieces of scrap metal, and everything the family owns packed inside—which is scarce. Our team of eight m’zungus (white people, in Swahili) wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, but we wound through the maze of small houses led by the Swahiba team. We met the families, brought them common, yet scarce items, such as sugar and rice, listened to their stories, and prayed with them.
I’ve gone into Kibera several times over the past year. The first time, I was wrecked. It’s so much to take in. Each time after that, my feelings have shifted from being heartbroken for their situation to being angry and finding myself just a bit numb to it all. Kibera looked the same as it did ten months ago when I saw it for the first time. And for all the non-profits and ministries that go to great lengths to bring relief and change to the slums, it will probably look the same years from now. The need is overwhelming, and to be honest, on this day it just felt a little bit hopeless.
So, these were the thoughts running through my head as we walked through a front door curtain and sat down in the first home…pretty pessimistic, I know. But we visited a bit, gave the food to the young woman that was the head of this household, and prayed with her. Prayed for provision. Prayed for joy. Prayed for salvation. And in that moment that our partner, Peter, asked God to save this young woman and to turn her heart to HIM, my heart turned hopeful. We couldn’t possibly meet the majority of her physical needs, and just pausing in that thought has me feeling helpless . . . and feeling hopeless pretty fast. But Hope is found in knowing her deepest need: to know the Source from which every other single need is ultimately filled–Jesus.
He is “Living Water.”
He is “Bread of Life.”
He is a “Shelter” . . . and a “Refuge” . . .
and most importantly He is “Eternal Life”
beyond this fallen, broken place we were sitting.
Even our noblest and purest efforts to meet others needs won’t mean much in the end, if we leave them without the Gospel. This is what we love about Peter and Swahiba, and why Passion Partners labors with them. They get it. Whatever other needs they are seeking to meet for the people of Kibera, they begin and end with Jesus, every time. They’re in it everyday and their commitment to Kibera is so beautiful and so authentic – we are continually grateful to do life and ministry with them.
Alright, this was just day one, much more to come. Soon, we’ll recap the Jitambue Conference – a daylong conference that ministered to 520 girls from the Kibera slums. Amazing day . . . we’ll share more soon. Until then, goodnight from Kenya!
FROM THE FIELD . . .