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NOTE: The M.A.M.A. Shop still has many beautiful gifts for sale, and items ordered by the end of Monday, December 19 will arrive in time for Christmas. All proceeds from the sale of these gifts will go to the Lulu mamas who made the items, who in turn are donating 90% to outreach efforts…see the video below for the January outreach project!

My youngest daughter is looking forward to Christmas this year, perhaps more than any other. She’s not expecting any special gifts (in fact, she’s having a hard time thinking of what she wants). Instead, she’s excited because this year she has a little money of her own, and she can’t wait to give her brother and sister the gifts she’s purchased for them. The thrill of being able to give gifts that she bought herself far outweighs the excitement of being given a gift.

When I tell people what our Lulu Mamas are up to, how they are working to make beautiful items for the M.A.M.A. Shop and how they’ve chosen to keep only ten percent of the profits and give the rest towards aid and outreach in the slums of Uganda, I sometimes get a look of shock. Why would someone who has so little choose to give so much? Shouldn’t these women, who so recently had nothing at all, keep everything they make? I understand that reaction, but I wish I could put into words what it means for our Lulu family in Africa to be doing what they’re doing.

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The thing is, they know what it’s like to be broken. They know what it’s like to be in need, to hunger not just for food and shelter but for something even greater: to long to hear the words “you matter.”  They know the desperate need to understand that God loves them, that He sees them, and that their lives are worth reaching out for. Worth seeking out.

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They’ve found that, through the Lulu Tree. They’ve met Jesus, and they’ve met His people who are reaching out a helping hand…people like you, who support our family in Africa as they rise out of poverty and into the strength that only God can give.

And that’s why they delight in giving. Because the thrill of passing on this love they’ve found is so much greater than anything they’ve dreamed of. Because the need is pressing in all around them and they know what it is to be destitute, and they also know what it means to be gifted. To be gifted with not just a meal or a pair of shoes or a Bible, but with real Hope. To be chosen and to know that you are loved by a perfect Father, who delights in giving good things to His children. They give because once you know that kind of love, you can’t help but want to pass it on to everyone who needs it.

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I can imagine the joy they feel each month, as they plan a new outreach. They see a need and they plan together to meet it; they organize and fortify and then they go out into some of the darkest places on earth. They go out as lights, shining God’s love as they seek out those in need, offering help and the message that yes…you are seen. You are loved. You matter. They know the joy of giving and it’s a gift worth more than anything the world has to offer.

And that’s the way the love of God spreads…from one open palm to another.

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Last month, as the United States celebrated Thanksgiving, the Lulu family in Uganda traveled to Jinja for the first outreach project funded by M.A.M.A. Shop earnings. Together, they were able to purchase 250 pairs of sturdy shoes!

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In Africa, a pair of shoes makes a world of difference. Not only are the slums a hazardous place to walk due to sharp rocks and rubbish, but there are parasites that enter through bare feet and cause terrible damage. Shoes offer protection in many important ways. In addition to the shoes, our Lulu team was able to provide free clothing for those in need.

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The shoes were important to every child who received them. But more important was the message that came with them! The Lulu team didn’t just hand out shoes and wish people well. They showed what the love of Christ looks like as they knelt and washed each pair of feet, the way Jesus himself washed the feet of his disciples. They listened tenderly to each person they encountered. They cared for soles and souls as they laughed, prayed, and cried with the people of Jinja.

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The outreach was a blessing to all involved, and a testimony to the way the love of Jesus changes lives and opens hearts and doors. Many feet were cared for, many shoes were received, many bags of clothes were given away. But most importantly, many came to know the Lord and to know that they are loved greatly, worth seeking out. And that’s a gift that never grows old.

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Upcoming Events:

In January, the Lulu team is planning an outreach for teen mothers. They have been busy sewing backpacks for the outreach, and are filling them with supplies for the teens to help keep them in school. They have heard of a great need that they are hoping to be able to cover. Please see the video below for more information, and pray about donating to this important project! Also, all proceeds from the M.A.M.A. Shop go to fund these outreach activities, so every time you purchase one of the beautiful handmade items from the shop you are helping the Lulu team in Uganda as they reach out to the community. To help fund this project, please click here and specify “Hygiene Kits” in the message box. You can also support their efforts by shopping in the M.A.M.A. Shop.

 

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