The Lulu Tree has been working in Africa for over two and a half years now, and in that time we have seen God do amazing things! As we grow and come to understand the complex needs of those we serve, the Lord has been leading us to sharpen and define our vision to better serve His children. We are excited to follow God’s lead! Founder Emily Wierenga shares more about the vision below.
The goal of preventing orphans happens through three main approaches, addressing the problems that cause children to lose their families through different means.
Here is a brief overview of the structure of the program, which is designed to help build and maintain stability within villages with the foundation being the local church:
R.E.A.C.H.: The Lulu Tree partners with pastors in villages across Africa to build up the five pillars of their communities:
Retail (or small business), Education, Agriculture, Church, and Health (REACH).
Lulu Tree staff meet with these pastors on a monthly basis, helping them establish realistic goals and equipping them with the necessary resources to achieve those goals. The pastors then return to their villages to meet monthly with leaders representing the other four pillars of the community, instilling a vision for productivity, strong families, and a God-honoring lifestyle, teaching them to problem solve, and providing prayerful encouragement and accountability.
These four leaders then meet with the men and women enrolled in the Lulu church program — villagers who are striving to make ends meet in the areas of Retail, Education, Agriculture, and Health. Our goal is to help them not only to achieve their dreams but to support their pastor through weekly church attendance and tithing.
It is our desire to see the church and community lifted up out of poverty enabling them to ultimately reach out to other villages.
To support the REACH branch, you can partner with a church, a village, or provide for a one-time need (such as funds to purchase tools, medical supplies, or school needs).
RECEIVE: This approach offers shelter and family to existing orphans and widows and pregnant mothers.
The Bethel Home in Sierra Leone will soon house a family home, where children are lovingly cared for along with Jja Jjas (widowed grandmothers). Mommy Christiana and Pastor Sonnel will live in the home as well, as caretakers of the family. Together, this forms a family unit that provides loving stability rather than a traditional orphanage setting where many children are cared for by one director. The home will also house a birthing center, where mothers can come to safely deliver their babies and find support and resources as new mothers.
In Uganda, the Elijah House at the Lulu Farm will offer the same support for children and grandmothers, while the Moses Basket birthing home will be a safe haven where women can give birth with the support of doctors and midwives.
Partners can support the RECEIVE branch by “adopting” and orphan or widow with monthly financial assistance, or by providing a one-time donation towards the needs of the facility.
RESCUE: The Rescue branch offers emergency assistance to those in crisis, in order to prevent children from being orphaned and families from being broken up. Rescue donations provide one-time supplies for outreaches in the area of education, nutrition, medicine, clean water, refugee relief and more. Outreaches are planned and implemented by our Lulu family in Africa, who know best which local situations are in need. Pastors, members of the Lulu program, and African staff lead others in sharing the Gospel while serving those in need. Partnering with the RESCUE branch provides life-saving gifts such as Mama Kits, Sustainable Hygiene Kits, food and more.
Christ holds this all together — Christ is our cornerstone. He is the One who gives us vision, who provides the resources, and who gathers His Church Body together to equip them and let them know God is with them. He has not forgotten them. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about the expanded vision. We covet your prayers as we follow God’s lead!
Amina has been with us from the start, and is one of our most faithful and trusted Mamas. She is continuing to train in farming (as of this month we own 10 acres of land in Uganda and Amina will be transitioning from our urban garden to the location of our Lulu farm to learn how to grow in the country), and her children are all doing wonderfully! Yasin has been accepted into a music program, Rebecca is attending a Christian boarding school for girls next month, and Sharif is excelling at his studies in the Christian school in the slum of Katwe. Amina has also been busy weaving baskets for our Lulu Shop, and she is currently spending 21 days fasting with our Lulu Uganda vision team. Amina is one of a few mamas working closely with Esther to maintain the Lulu vision and to help us spread it across the country.
In gratitude to each of you who order from the MAMA Shop, following each order you place, we will be sending a promotional code which will give you 10% off of your next purchase. We can’t thank you enough for helping our mamas change the lives of those in their community.
- Pray that the expanded Lulu vision will bring stability and sustainability throughout Sierra Leone and Uganda.
- Pray for provision for the Lulu Farm in Uganda, and the Elijah House.
- Pray for the upcoming outreach the Lulu team in Uganda will be undertaking this month, as they reach out to provide backpacks, school supplies, and sustainable hygiene kits to teen mothers (see the video here).
- Pray for Pastor Sonnel and his team in Sierra Leone as they prepare to launch R.E.A.C.H. in the first village.