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Fort Portal, Western Region,
Uganda

(208) 989-1875

RUJA is a non-profit organization empowering kids in Uganda to become world changers.

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The Blog

Out of the Woods

Andrew Green

I was looking through some pictures and Facebook posts from a few years ago during my first trip to Uganda. My first thought was, “You had no clue.” 

I really didn’t.

So much beauty and struggle has been birthed into my life from that first trip to Uganda. So much friendship and family has come from the loneliest moments I can recall. So much hope.

I remember spending my last few dollars on a root beer. It was in a glass bottle and that made me feel good, like I wasn’t so broke. That glass bottle is on display in my living room today. It reminds me that no matter how hard things get there is a tomorrow and there is hope.

I remember dumpster diving at Chick-fil-a, out of money and tired of asking for help. 

I remember not being able to make rent.

I remember feeling alone.

I remember crying out to God. I remember crying. (I’m tearing up a little now.)

I remember checks coming in the mail from people I had never met when I thought it was all over.

I remember a handful of people telling me they believed in me and in the dream and it giving me the courage to keep pressing on.

I remember moments where I felt like I was resting at the feet of the Father himself.

Somewhere along the way I grew up, something I was once committed to never doing. It’s not that I consider myself to have arrived. It’s just that we made it out of the woods and this is the first time I’ve felt it. Three years ago I was a boy with a dream. I’m not that same boy anymore. I feel the weight of the journey this morning.

I talked with Robert, our Ugandan director, last week and haven't felt so encouraged in a long time. The kids are growing like weeds. We are homeschooling our two youngest and their improvement is remarkable. Their english is nearly better than mine. I felt like a proud papa. 

We have our first high school graduate who will soon be our first college student. 

Better schools. Better grades. Healthier humans. Chickens. Rabbits. Gardens. Sugar cane. Love.

Sometimes you feel like you’re not getting anywhere and then you look up and everything is new. You’re out of the woods and you’re not sure how you made it.

The struggle isn’t over. This is just the beginning. We’ll go hard until we reach the other side. We’ll trek deeper into the brokenness because thats where we were made to go. Just like Jesus.

You've got the Magic

Andrew Green

Hey, friends. I hope you are all doing well! I want to start off by saying thank you! We started off 2016 with the goal of raising 100% of our annual operating budget all in the month of January. We raised 80% of our goal! Not bad at al! This takes a huge burden off of me. I'll still be working hard to raise money but without the fear of missing our monthly budget requirements for food and school fees in Uganda. That was all you. Well done.

We've recently launched a couple new features on our website that allow you to step into the role of world changer. You can now create your own fundraiser to help empower kids in Uganda. Run a marathon. Host a party. Do whatever you want to do you and use it to change the world. You can even pledge your birthday. Let your friends and family know that you're turning down gifts this year and instead you'd like them to donate to a cause that you believe in. You'll get your own fundraising page and we'll help you tell the world how you're empowering kids in Uganda.

To give you an example, I'm starting my own fundraiser called 300 Miles in Their ShoesI'm going to walk 10 miles every day of the month of April carrying a plastic jerry can full of water. Here is why: The average woman and child in Uganda has to walk 10 miles each day to retrieve and carry water. Every. Day. By walking this distance while carrying a large amount of water every day I'm going to be telling a story and using it as a tool to raise money and empower kids to rise above poverty.

This story is personal to me. Alex and JoJo are the first two kiddos I met in Fort Portal on my first Uganda trip two years ago. Not long before I met them they were victims of child labor, carrying water all day. Alex was 6. JoJo was 3. Let that sink in.

Half of Ugandan children live in poverty. Half of that group lives in what is classified as extreme poverty. That is 1.6 million kids living in extreme poverty in Uganda. Alex and JoJo fell into the latter group. I'm going to be walking on behalf of Alex and JoJo and the 3.2 million kids living in extreme poverty in Uganda. This is their story.

If you live in or around Boise, I'd love for you to walk side by side with me as we tell this story together. If you live somewhere else in the country you can walk in your city. If you want to know how you can join me you can check out my personal fundraising page here.

Meanwhile, think about how you can use your ideas to create your own fundraiser. Maybe you can pledge your birthday. I'm committed to doing what I can to change the world and I want you to realize that you can do the same. I believe in magic and that you've got it inside of you. Use it to make a difference.

 

Keep Going

Andrew Green

As many of you know we set a goal for 2016 to meet our base fundraising needs for the entire year by the end of January. It sounds like a long shot but the number we’re shooting for really isn’t that big. It is a challenge but it is within our reach.

Trying to figure out where this money is going to come from has taken up more of my mental energy than anything else so far in 2016. Honestly, this is true to a fault. I have let it stress me out a bit. Fundraising is not my forte. I hate it, actually.

I say all that to set the stage for the good news. (Cue inspirational music)

Fundraising is not our primary goal. Empowering the RUJA kids is.

Betty reminded me of this when she dominated her P-7 (the near equivalent of 7th grade) exams and qualified for secondary school! This is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.

Last year she failed P-7 exams for the second time. The school she was attending said that if she didn’t pass this year then she would have to bail on academia and opt for vocational school.

Nothing is wrong with vocational school but Betty wanted so badly to pass. Why? Because she dreams of being a lawyer. Did she want it bad enough? Turns out she did. Not only did she pass, she finished second in her class. Second! 

Betty needed this. I needed this. Often it is easy to feel like we’re not moving fast enough or accomplishing anything. We feel like we’re not going anywhere. Sometimes we just need something to make us look up. Its then that we realize the scenery around us has changed and we’ve actually come a pretty long way.

That is how I feel today.

When you feel like you’re not going anywhere make like Betty and keep going! Don’t quit! Look up and see how far you’ve come and press on! The rest of us need you to finish strong.

Betty made it and so will we. I feel re-energized to raise the funds we need so I can spend the majority of 2016 focusing on the things that matter, like helping the RUJA kids live their dreams. If you want to follow our fundraising progress check it out here.