HOW IT ALL BEGAN
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9
Seven years ago, this month, I took my first plane ride to Uganda.
Seven years ago, I arrived in a lush green country with a red dirt floor, welcomed by the smell of jasmine and the clink of dishes being washed in plastic buckets and a parade of chickens strutting by.
Seven years ago this pastor’s daughter learned the true meaning of the gospel — a barefooted gospel — through the extended hands of broken men and women living in the midst of poverty.
Seven years ago, my world came crashing down around me, and God has been rebuilding it ever since, with bricks of repentance, love, and humility.
Now, here I am, in a position of constant bended knee, seeking God’s face for every step, for every dollar sent in, because who are we to do this? Yet He is. And so, we do.
WHAT WE DO
God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:27
It’s incredibly humbling for us as a board to steward thousands of dollars on behalf of our donors (you!), the pastors our Lord Jesus Christ has led us to partner with, and the precious souls they serve.
The Lulu Tree Board is all volunteers as you know, mothers and grandmothers using the margins of our time to serve, to pray, to fast, and we can’t think of another way we’d rather spend our lives. But we couldn’t do it without you, friends, many of whom have stood with us, bowed with us, wept with us, championed us over these seven years. So? Thank you. With all our hearts.
And as we stand on the cusp of yet another year, in the midst of uncertain times, we remain more certain of this — the thing that matters most is that Christ is preached, and souls are saved. (Phil. 1:18)
WHERE YOUR $$ GOES
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality… 2 Corinthians 8:14
And this is what we’re seeking to do at The Lulu Tree. As described here on our Vision Page, our focus is two-fold: Salvation and Sustainability.
In the past we have offered our financial partners the opportunity to designate their gift toward a specific project or program, but we’ve realized that — for accounting and flexibility purposes — we need to correct that. Our commitment to you is that we prayerfully steward any funds we receive according to the current needs of our African Lulu family. Please know that your generous donations go towards meeting the greatest need. Please know also that every need is considered (by us, and our national directors) through these two filters: Salvation and Sustainability. Please click HERE to learn more.
CHARTING 2020 DONATIONS
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:21
In 2020 we were able, by the grace of God, to donate 98% of your gifts directly to Africa (with only 2% going to USA admin costs, the majority of which were wire and bank fees). We also praise God that we now bear a Gold Seal of Transparency through Guidestar.
See the following pie-graphs for where your funds were specifically spent:
Oh friends, thank you for standing with us! May we rejoice! In spite of a global pandemic, our heavenly Father has been so faithful.
At the beginning of this year, the Spirit told us not to travel. We didn’t know about the pandemic, but He did. Nonetheless, through Zoom, and through establishing prayer partners (each of us being paired, monthly, with a director in Africa), we can now say our unity as a team is greater than ever. And all four of the above countries are on their way to being fully sustainable, with Sierra Leone being the first to transition to self-sustainability as of this past November. (Keep in mind, we will continue to help each country as needed, and to stay in fellowship, as God’s family. But the goal has always been sustainability).
Only the Lord knows what 2021 holds. God is leading us to prayerfully expand into Kenya, Guinea, Rwanda and India — but only He knows when and how. We follow the Spirit, one step at a time.
Friends, may we enter bravely into the coming days, knowing His scepter is extended to us as His children (Esther 5:2), and He is fulfilling the plans He purposed long ago (Ephesians 1:11), for our good and for His glory (Romans 8:28).
PS. Please note, we will be (overall) reducing our blog posts to once a month. Please check out our Facebook and Instagram pages if you want to follow along with us daily. Also, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our treasurer Joanne Viola (email@example.com). To learn more about all that God did in Africa in 2020, please read this post.