Simply Put

BY BETH GREEN

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:19-21

Accumulation and complacency are ideas that have become my enemy. Just recently, Kelly and I started to go through the packed boxes in our storage unit. Seeing all that clutter got me to thinking about my inner boxes of accumulation and complacency. Accumulation of goods takes up physical space, while complacency awards me the luxury to coast in the tides of status quo, and at times grow unaware that I’ve fallen into that zone of comfort.

Why do we feel like we deserve the things we accumulate? Because we work hard? I know Kelly and I’ve worked hard for these boxes of things that we once so valued. And, yet, here they’ve remained, untouched, caged up for over two years. And now, being sorted through to give away.

Complacency is similar. We cling to the familiar, the comfortable, our treasures. We do everything within our control to work hard and achieve a life of comfort, security, and happiness. The lack of purpose and meaning lose their value when overwhelmed by “the things of this world.”

When I catch myself coasting through the channels of complacency, I run to Scripture. Not only did the Matthew 6:19-21 verses convict me of what I truly treasure compared to what God treasures, but also Hebrews 12:1, which says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off EVERYTHING that hinders AND the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

The stuff in our storage unit was weighing us down. It was time to “throw off” what hindered us in a physical sense. And how freeing once we did!  In a spiritual sense, I had to question and ponder what I valued in my heart. What do I spend the majority of my thoughts on? Does what I value, what I think about, how I live line up with what God values? Are these the things He desires me to have my focus ?

Storage is not a bad thing at all! But when we begin to “treasure” those things and are not willing to let them go when they are weighing us down, then they become an interference for our focus.   My time, my talents, my treasures must align with God’s priorities. I must allow God to transform any selfish ways in me, and make them selfless in service to others and for His glory.

It’s so easy to make the world’s ways a priority over God’s. So easy! The comforts of this world are tempting. I know that if I don’t check in with God daily on where my heart, spirit, and possessions reside, I will easily fall into the trap of my two enemies: accumulation and complacency. 

Foresight

BY BETH GREEN

Foresight is something that we could all use. According to Webster, foresight “is the act of looking forward.” Every day if we practice foresight, think about what all might change in our lives? Some people are better at this than others. Many like to live in the “now” rather than look to the future. But sooner or later, we all must deal with the reality that when we have planned and thought considerably toward the future, we usually are much better off!

But, what about having foresight for someone else? Does that allow us to truly make a difference in someone else’s life?  

I like to think so when it comes to God Is Grace. This holiday season God Is Grace will have an online catalog, which is used to supply great needs for women living in poverty in Uganda. The donors to this catalog may never meet the woman they may bless, but they are exercising foresight in providing a gift to a woman. 

Last year, for example, a donor by the name of Katelyn Pitts decided to give eight women in God is Grace a set of chickens.  With this gift, not only did Katelyn bless eight women in God Is Grace, but she also supplied a Christmas card, insert card telling about the set of chickens  a handmade Christmas ornament, which she was able to  to eight friends throughout the United States.
When I asked Katelyn “why did you decide to use the God Is Grace Christmas catalog as a means of gifting your friends?” this is what she shared with me:

"I've been donating to God is Grace for a little while now. I've seen firsthand what this ministry does and the impact that it has on the lives of women in Africa and it is absolutely beautiful. What I love so much about the Christmas catalog is that it not only gives me the chance to donate to an amazing cause, but it also allows me to use it as a small ministry in my own life. I've donated gifts on behalf of friends and coworkers, most of them are spiritual journey seekers. And there are so many different ways to bless a woman in God is Grace. For example, last year I chose to donate funds for the purchase of chickens (yes Chickens!) and was able to use the Christmas card (along with a note about the donated gift) and the beautifully handcrafted ornament as a special gift for my friends. It gives me the opportunity to show them the good that this ministry is doing and to, in a small way, open their eyes to something more than a material possession. I can make a donation which will impact a woman for a long time to come!  It's always a treat to hear how touched your friends are when you donate on their behalf and have them ask me to tell them what this ministry is all about. It's truly fulfilling."

Katelyn had the foresight to see the investment she was making by giving to a woman in God Is Grace. Her gift blessed her friends last year AND honored God Is Grace Ministry with the ability to assist struggling women in Uganda to develop sustainable businesses of raising chickens.
This is one of the women who was blessed through Katelyn’s foresighted gift:

Her name is Kamuyati. Her mother died when she was small and her father remarried. Her step mother did not care for Kamuyati and treated her cruelly. She was not allowed to attend school and worked hard as a child in the family garden.

Kamuyati married at 18 years old and was the second wife of her husband. He had a total of three wives. She had five children with her husband. The first wife accused Kamuyati of using witchcraft to kill her children. She was chased away one day from home by men with machetes. She met another man but she separated from him also due to his mistreatment of her. She had three children with the second man.

She now lives with six of her children in a small mud hut. Through the contact by a pastor in the area where she lives, Kamuyati was considered for support through sponsorship in God Is Grace.  
With sponsor’s funds, Kamuyati started making liquid soap and selling it. She has two goats she has bought with sponsorship funds. And thanks to Katelyn, Kamuyati is now raising chickens, which will produce eggs. Eggs will supply protein for her children and also be sold by Kamuyati. She has also been able to send her children to school – something that she was deprived of as a child. 

All because of foresight! During this holiday season, think about Kamuyati when you are giving gifts. Consider a gift with “foresight” and shop at our Christmas catalog this year! Your investment can last way beyond this Christmas season.

A New Creation

Beth Green: Posted on Saturday, May 14, 2016 8:44 PM

Farida was discovered last year by a village pastor and women’s leader in the village of Luggazi, near Jinja, Uganda.  Farida was living in a one room rental property with her four children.  Her husband had mental issues and disappeared.  She does not know where he is nor has his family offered to help her in any way.  Farida is living with HIV and lived isolated from her relatives.  Farida was Muslim at the time of our discovery of her, attending the nearby Mosque regularly.   

Through support from her God Is Grace sponsor,  Farida has been able to set up a small store where she sells charcoal, firewood and eggs (she is raising the chickens who lay the eggs).  She also has joined the God Is Grace Hairdressing class and is working to use this as a business too.  She is now able to pay her rent, get her medication, feed her children and educate them.  Farida’s life has been transformed by the power of God through the care of His people.  

Once Farida joined God Is Grace, she began to attend functions for the women of God Is Grace with other women in her community.  These women befriended her and it was through these friendships, Farida came to know Christ. She is currently attending church in Lugazzi.  

Recently,  Farida came to the God Is Grace office in Jinja to request a Bible.  Although she can not read, she told us that she has someone who can and will read it to her.   She is truly a new creation in Christ -  “old things have passed away and all things have become new. “  II Corinthians 5:17 

The Gift of Light

Beth Green: Posted on Friday, January 08, 2016 1:13 PM

Having moved recently to Michigan, I am amazed at night how dark the skies can be. Light at night has come to be very important to me since it is quite dark outside when walking from my car to our home. It has caused me to think a lot about the women of God Is Grace and how they have no electricity and therefore no light at all in their homes.  Kerosene is used to light lanterns but even this is costly for some women who can not even afford kerosene.  Besides this, even if they can, lanterns have proven to be quite dangerous.  

Luminade, Uganda, Zambia, Lights in Darkness, God Is Grace

Luminade, Uganda, Zambia, Lights in Darkness, God Is Grace

Having seen this amazing SOLAR light on "Shark Tank" which was developed by two women, Anna and Andrea and considered worthy of partnership with Mark Cuban of Shark Tank, God Is Grace decided to "test the waters"  by purchasing two lights from Luminade to take to Uganda last summer. The lights are very easy to charge by just placing the open package in the sun and allowed to sit for seven hours. It just happened that after we had charged the light, there was a power outage one night in Tororo where we were visiting God Is Grace women. The lights served well to give coverage for a fairly large room! We knew that these lights were going to be very useful to women in God Is Grace who struggle at night in their mud huts to supply kerosene for lanterns. These lights would be quite helpful and much safer for these women.

After returning from Uganda, we contact Luminade, the company that distributes lights to many areas where there are disasters. This company was very helpful in giving us instructions on how we could purchase lights for God Is Grace.  They also contacted us later to say that they had some lights available and if we could get them to Uganda fairly soon, they would help supply.  We were able to get these lights to Uganda through a gracious partner and now each woman in God Is Grace has a light which she uses to assist her in her "no longer dark" home (see photo above). We are so grateful to Luminade for their care and compassion shown towards these women.  

There is a "Where are They Now" on the company, Luminade, on SHARK TANK which will be shown TONGIHT, January 8 at 9 pm Eastern Time and 8 pm Central Time on an ABC station.  We encourage everyone to watch as this company shares how they have expanded! We thank God for you, Luminade and your care for people who are struggling for light around the world!     

If you are interested in ordering a light for a woman in God Is Grace, which are just $10 per light, you can go to our website at www.godisgrace.com and see how you can order a light to be taken this summer and given to a woman in God Is Grace.  Please consider as we need many!

The Blessings!

Beth Green: Posted on Tuesday, June 02, 2015 12:10 PM

Parima is like so many women in Uganda.  She lives in a village called Konko and dreams of being able to one day clothe and feed her children well. She wants them to have an education but saw no way for them to go to school - UNTIL...

Parima was given a sponsor in God Is Grace Ministry. Through this sponsorship, Parima is able to receive funds to build businesses. Her dreams have become reality and Parima has begun developing the business of selling produce.  She also wants to raise pigs and chickens.  

Parima was married to her first husband and had four children with him. He then left her for another woman, leaving no support for the children. Parima married again a second man and they had three children together. He has abandoned her. The second husband comes around once in a while but never supports their children in any way.  Parima, by herself, is raising 7 children at the age of 36! She plans on working hard to be able to care for these children and to educate them.

At Christmas time this year, someone thought "outside the box" and gave God Is Grace Ministry money for a pig instead of giving a gift to a friend or family member. This friend/family member received a beautiful card stating that "A Pig Has Been Given In Your Honor." TODAY, Parima was the recipient of that pig! She will use this pig to start her business in raising pigs - a great business in Uganda! We are so grateful to this donor who "thought beyond" in their Christmas giving!  

NOW Parima has hope - she is thinking of her future and the possibilities for her children! A pig has opened up thoughts of a business which will be ongoing! How Parima's life has been turned around because of these blessings!  

What Is Wrong With Me?

Beth Green: Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 3:16 PM

What is wrong with me?  How come I can not sleep at night when I see something like this photo (look closely at her legs and arms), it so touches my heart.  I guess I just know too much. 

People sometimes ask me "Why don't you do work in the U. S.?  We have the poor also!!"  First of all, God's calling came to me for Africa.  I have no say to the Master where I am placed.    I do try to be sensitive to the needs of others here in the U. S. BUT comparing the wealth of the U.S. to other countries, the need is so much greater in places such as Africa.  For one thing, the income is lower in countries such as Uganda and Zambia, where we work in God Is Grace.  People have MUCH less - bottom line.  Consider the situation of this child's mother who lives outside Jinja, Uganda.  She has no income, no government assistance or non profit assistance.  She literally has nothing!  Her two children got sick and her ONLY option was to take them to a child home run by someone she knows and trusts (very important in Uganda), and LEAVE the children with them in hopes that they would get care.  This child is close to the age of my granddaughter.  To think that if this was our only option for her - my granddaughter - it would kill me!!! 

The home, Shiloh Children's Home, where this child was taken is struggling also.  They have been told by health officials since they were not in a walled, secure area that they either had to shut down or find another place.  Naturally, another place is more expensive!  All this organization wants to do is care for abandoned babies and children - that's it!!  It breaks my heart and makes me so mad at myself when I think about what last night's dinner "eating out" meal could have done to help this home in need!!  

Last night, God hit me hard with that thought.  I have not gotten it off my mind all day.  This is why God Is Grace exists!  So that mothers, who are the primary care givers for children in Uganda and Zambia, can learn trades, support themselves and work hard so that their children can be cared for even when they are sick!!!  I am again very grateful to our sponsors who are supporting 97 women this year in 2015.   

Pray for these two little ones - pray that their Mom will be able to get a business started (naturally we will do something to help her) so that these children can heal and be under the loving care of a mother's arms again!! 

Come Go with Us!

Beth Green: Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 4:04 PM

God Is Grace Ministry is happy to announce a new group of women who will be supported in Uganda and Zambia through sponsorships this year!   We have 30 women in Tororo, Uganda, 20 women in Kabwe, Zambia and 47 in Jinja, Uganda!  We are so grateful to our sponsors for their support this year!  

We have set up for those who want to join us but can not go with us an opportunity for you to come be a part of our trip.  Every year when we go, we always come upon some great needs such as bedding, malaria nets, need for medications, Bibles, education, food, etc.  If you would like to help us with some of these needs, you can go to www.godisgraceafrica.com and click on "contribute."  The very first icon will allow you to give towards helping with these needs.  You can also write a check to "God Is Grace" and mail it to: P.O. Box 949, Brandon, FL  33509.  ALL gifts given to God Is Grace for this effort will be used for this need and NOTHING else. 100% of your gift will go towards these needs.  Also, these gifts given to God Is Grace through Kelly Green Global will receive a tax deductible receipt by January 31, 2016.   Thanks so much! 

We hope you will encourage others to participate in this effort by sharing this blog!  

The Value of a Daughter

Nicole Echols: Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2015 9:32 PM

"DAUGHTER YOU ARE LOVED"

When the road seems too long
When darkness sets in
When everything turns out wrong
And you can't find a friend
Remember ~ you are loved

When smiles are hard to come by
And you're feeling down
When you spread your wings to fly
And can't get off the ground
Remember ~ you are loved.

When time runs out before you're through
And it's over before you begin
When little things get to you
And you just can't win
Remember ~ you are loved.

When your loved ones are far away
And you are on your own
When you don't know what to say
When you're afraid of being alone
Remember ~ you are loved.

When your sadness comes to an end
And everything is going right
May you think of your family and friends
And keep their love in sight
A thank-you for being loved.

May you see the love around you
In everything you do
And when troubles seem to surround you
May all the love shine through
You are blessed ~ you are loved.

Author: Unknown

     As I read this poem about daughters it reminded me of the special bond my husband and daughter share. There is a love between the two of them that is rare and lovely. If you ask my daughter, Emma, who adores her  most in this world I feel certain her answer would be, "My Daddy." Because Emma knows this type of incredible love she has no problem believing that her Heavenly Father loves her even more than her earthly father could ever attempt to. Unfortunately, I recently read a story about two daughters in Africa who have never experienced this type of love. 

     Rebecca was born in a small village in Jinja, Uganda. At age 13 she was forced to leave school to become a housemaid because her family could no longer care for her. The work was hard and tiring for a young girl but she continued day in and day out until she was 17.  Soon after turning 17 Rebecca met a man who was ten years older than her. They began courting and married soon after. Since they had no place to live the couple returned to her parents' home. After giving birth to three children her husband abandoned her. She was alone, homeless and left to provide for herself and her children. With nowhere else to go Rebecca returned to her family's compound to live. With the support of God is Grace this year she has started a business selling charcoal, eggs, and vegetables. 

     Alice, Rebecca's younger sister, was also born in a small village in Jinja, Uganda. After the first grade she was forced to leave school and care for her siblings. When Alice was 19 she met her husband.  She was walking down the street when a man walked up to her and proposed. She thought about the difficulty of her life and the pressures at home.  She knew her parents struggled to care for her.  She thought this may be the fresh start she needed in life. After starting a family and having three children her husband decided to leave. He stopped providing for the family. Alice tried to file a police report so he would be held responsible for them but he denied being the father of their children. At this point Alice returned to her parent's home to live. She has since accepted Christ as her Savior and has started a business with the help of God is Grace. She sells second hand clothing and cow hooves (a delicacy in Uganda). 

     Even though Rebecca and Alice have been able to start businesses through the support of God is Grace they still face many difficulties daily. Their small mud home is cracking and leaking. The floors are often muddy in the rainy season. Their uncle runs the family compound and has decided he wants both sisters and their children off of the property. 

     My prayer is that amongst the turmoil and struggles of daily life these sweet daughters know they are valued and loved. Their life has not been easy but God created them for a purpose. He thinks they are special. He is their Daddy. When we support women through God is Grace we are able to show women like Rebecca and Alice just how valuable they are to us and more importantly how valuable they are to their Heavenly Father. What a privilege to be a small part of that. 

If you want to find out more about sponsorship we invite you to visit our web page, www.godisgraceafrica.com.

Christmas Shopping with God is Grace

Nicole Echols: Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 8:05 PM

Are you looking for a perfect Christmas gift for someone special? 

If so, the God is Grace Christmas Catalog is the place to shop. Purchase a gift in honor of someone special and bless a lady in the God is Grace program in Africa. Choose from items such as a malaria net, goat, chickens or supplies for an orphaned baby. The person who has an item purchased in their honor will receive a beautiful God is Grace Christmas card and a gorgeous handmade Christmas ornament, like the ones pictured below. For details on how to order go to the home page of www.godisgraceafrica.com

God is Grace Christmas Catalog

Nicole Echols: Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 11:58 PM

The God is Grace Christmas Catalog is coming. Starting November 24th you can visit www.godisgraceafrica.com to shop for all of your friends and family. Items such as a a goat, pig, malaria net, or chickens can be purchased on behalf of someone. The recipient will receive a Christmas card showing what item was purchased on their behalf along with a gorgeous handmade Christmas ornament. The following summer women who are a part of God is Grace will receive the item purchased. This allows you to honor a friend AND bless a family in Uganda or Zambia. This makes a perfect gift! 

Welcome to the God is Grace Blog

Nicole Echols: Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 11:55 AM

     Welcome! We are excited to launch our new God is Grace blog today. We have much to share as God's favor continues to fall on this amazing ministry. We plan to post frequently so you have an insight in to the lives of the women we have the honor of working with in Africa, give updates on immediate needs, and explain how you can partner with us. Visit this blog often and enjoy as you learn more. 

     Today we want to introduce God is Grace and explain how this ministry began several years ago. God is Grace is a ministry developed by Kelly Green Global. This ministry came into existence because of a deep concern for women living in third world countries who are trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty. God is Grace desires to help women break this cycle by learning a trade and beginning at least one business (more when possible for business diversity) which will provide sustainable income for themselves and their family. Women in the United States have the opportunity to sponsor a woman in Africa for one year as this process occurs. 

     We are thrilled to report that this year 98 women in Tororo, Uganda and Zambia are sponsored through God is Grace. God is at work and life change is happening! Spiritual, emotional and physical needs are being met daily. Wow! We are blessed and grateful. Please join us in praying for the ladies of God is Grace. 

Magedlin's Story

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Magedlin is from the village area in Tororo. She was raised by her grandparents. Her grandmother loved her and took her from her parents when she was just four years old. She still saw her parents as she was growing up but remained with her grandparents. Magedlin never received an education. During her childhood years, she looked after cattle for her grandparents. She had two brothers and two sisters and Magedlin was the oldest. Her brothers were educated – one completed senior 4 (equivalent to sophomore year in high school) and the other completed Primary 5 (5 grade). 

Magedlin learned to cook and would go to the well to fetch water for her grandmother. Her grandmother taught her many things including how to treat a husband.

 At the age of 14, she was married. She had grown up with the man she married. Her husband paid 4 cows, 2 goats and 4,000 shillings (about $1.35 in U. S. dollars) for a “bride’s price” for Magedelin. It was in 1978 when she married her husband, Daniel. She conceived her first born within a year of marriage and that child, a girl, is now 35. Her youngest is seven years old. She had five children and one child died so she is raising now one grandchild from that child who passed away. 

Daniel, her husband, died about five years ago of what might have been cerebral malaria. The symptoms were that he went crazy, so they thought that it might have been something spiritual rather than medical. This is why it probably wasn’t treated.

 Magedelin was able to meet her sponsor this year since her sponsor traveled to Uganda with the God Is Grace team. She was overcome with joy!  Her sponsor also gave her gifts which delighted her.  

Magedelin shared that her dream is to keep pigs and later to buy a cow for milk for her children. She has three pigs at this time. She also grows sorghum, cassava and maize. For now, she does not sell this food but uses it only to feed her family.

 She shared that the youngest children are in school. She said when she doesn’t have money for uniforms or for examinations, she sells food. Magedelin hopes to develop this year the businesses of raising pigs, chickens and also growing produce to sell.

Josephine's Story

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Josephine grew up with her mother. Her parents were divorced. She went to school up to grade 4. She stayed at home but did farm work as a child to help her Mother. She had a son at the age of 14. He is now 19. She met her husband at the age of 16. Her husband was from Zimbabwe but stayed in Zambia for his work. They married when she was still 16. She married young due to her parents’ divorce (it was difficult for her mother to care for her so she got married). Josephine and her husband divorced and he doesn’t come to see them. Since he left, she has been laboring in various farmers’ fields to get money to support her children. Her husband does not support them in any way. Josephine is a farmer and her main crop is peanuts. She harvests ground nuts (peanuts) and sells them. She uses what she has sold to help rent land again to grow another crop. Her goal is to expand to 3 acres to harvest maize (corn), ground nuts and sweet potatoes. Then she sells from this harvest and also supplies food for her family. She does this work with her little sons. She is a very hard working woman! She is currently raising two orphans – these children came from an uncle of hers who passed away (they are her cousins). Josephine is currently in the sewing class of God Is Grace in Zambia. She is also making bricks out of mud and has built all the buildings on this property herself. A hut takes about 9 - 10 days to build. Josephine will use her abilities as a farmer, a brick maker and hopefully, a seamstress, to support her family.

Estelia Making A Difference

It is always a pleasure to visit the ladies who were sponsored in previous years through God is Grace. Beth had the honor of visiting Estelia, who lives in Zambia, this summer. During her year of sponsorship she participated in weekly sewing classes. She graduated & opened a store in her community. She sews diligently every day. Estelia's hard work and determination have enabled her to support herself, her mother and her four children. Now Estelia is teaching her oldest daughter how to sew. She is making a difference in her life and is passing on invaluable knowledge to the next generation. We are proud of Estelia's accomplishments!