The Founder’s Story

God is the Founder of this Ministry

The Lulu Tree:

The birth of a family across nations

Partner with us

The Birth of the Lulu Tree

Let me preface this by saying — God is the Founder of this Ministry. Not me. I’m simply a very broken clay pot.

I am a pastor’s daughter. My love for Africa stems from when I was two years old and living in the Congo and Nigeria with my parents who were missionaries with Christian Blind Mission. My brother was born in the Congo, and I fell in love with the people, the culture, the vibrant landscape.

When I went back to Africa in 2014 on a blogger’s trip, it felt like going home.

And while I was there, I met the mother of my sponsor child.

She walked for four hours just to meet me.

Her soles were red from Uganda’s earth and she didn’t break a sweat in the high heat. Her eyes shone but she lowered them, looked at her sandals, even as I reached out a hand to touch her shoulder, and I could feel the strength in this peasant farmer’s arm.

She’d lost her husband just weeks earlier to HIV/Aids, an illness people still talk about in hushed tones because of the shame associated with it.

She’d lost her children long before that to this children’s home I was visiting – because she had a sick husband to care for and a farm that wasn’t bringing in money and no way to feed her sons or daughters.


And here I was on a blogger’s trip, able to pay for her kids’ clothes and education while she wasn’t. And not because I worked harder. No, she worked sunup to sundown and had callouses across her hands and feet. It was because I came from a country that was overflowing with food and privilege.

I smiled at her, but inside I felt sick.

I am a mother. Every night I walk into my children’s rooms and ache for them lying there in their beds, because no matter how long-legged they get, they remain tucked inside my womb. I cannot imagine how humbling, or humiliating, it would be, to have to ask someone else to take care of them. To not be able to give them food or water, to not be able to keep them under my own roof – and THEN, to walk four hours to meet the woman who could?

Our Father weeps. He anguishes over every single mother–because there are hundreds of thousands of them around the world who cannot afford to care for their kids.

And He’s asking the church to do something about it.

Sponsoring an orphan is good, don’t get me wrong.

But when a child still has parents who are alive, it is our prerogative to equip the parents.

Standing there with this beautiful woman, her son’s eyes shining as he looked at me, I thought, We have to do more.

I wanted this boy to look at his MOTHER with adoration, not me – a stranger.

So, I went home and, after five months of sobbing before the Lord,  He called me to start a not-for-profit called The Lulu Tree. (You can read more about the story behind the name, HERE.)

God told me clearly not to try to fix the world. “I could fix the world with one breath,” He told me. “Your job is to love.”

With this in mind, our vision at Lulu is simply To Become One Family in Christ. We are reconciling the poorest of the poor to their most loving and sacrificial King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We believe  that love hurts, and requires sacrifice. We believe love means going and being with the people, in their own homes, sleeping and eating and laughing with them. We believe in learning from the poor, for they have much to teach us. We believe in faith-raising, not fund-raising, because then God gets all the glory.

And we believe it’s best to let locals do it themselves.

With us cheering them on.

Will you join us, friends, as we seek to follow Christ’s steps to the remotest of villages, one prayer at a time?

New Memoir

Free Devotional

Connect With Emily

Emily Theresa

Phone (Canada)