Monday, March 26, 2012

A Beloved Uncle

Last week, I learned that my uncle Charlie, who was only seven years older than I am, committed suicide.  He had a rough life, and the last week of it was spent losing a job and getting a time-out from some loved ones who didn't know how to help him.  At last he ended it all.

It was a difficult funeral, and I doubt that I will ever stop grieving now and then because I loved him. and he always made us laugh, and he was a good man.

It all causes me to stop and reflect on many things.  In the first chapter of John, he describes who Jesus is, that He came in to our world, but we didn't recognize Him.  He was light, the one who created everything.  Nothing came in to being without him.

But somehow we are blinded to those things, even though they are everywhere around us.  For some of us, we manage to wrap our minds around this wonderful idea that life is an adventure, and everything in it was created by this awesome being.  For us, everything has a meaning and a purpose.  But for others like Charlie, they can never quite see the gift.  And the everyday attempt to escape the demands of the world around us takes them down and down.

Without that connection to the life-source that created us, everything is hopeless.  And even people who are "successful" in life, always strive towards something more, something more.  But the more is already here, and the more does not make the same requirements of our lives as the world does.  The more, Jesus, only requires that we accept the gifts God has to offer of life and grace.  Everything is forgiven, and there are no other requirements other than to recognize and love our Creator.  Once we get that, then everything in life is success.

I will grieve for my uncle Charlie, because I will miss him.  That grief is part of life also, and helps me see in to the lives of others who have not yet found our Creator.  I'm glad that I have loved someone enough that it moves my heart, not only for him, but for others like him.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Melody's Newsletter February 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

Since my last newsletter, I have traveled to Gulu and back several times.  Gulu is part of the war-torn area in the north that was ravaged by the Lord's Resistance Army for more than twenty years.  For those who don't know, this was a terrorist group that went through the villages killing and kidnapping children for their army and to keep as sex slaves.  The stories of what was done to them are some of the most horrendous you'll ever hear.  About the time I left Uganda four or five years ago, that war was was finally ending.  Now the rebuilding has begun.  

My heart is definitely being called to participate in that rebuilding, and I have already been working on several projects in the north which promise to have a great impact there, bringing hope, rejuvination and the love of Christ to the people.  

Sanctuary of Grace

One of my favorites is a school called Sanctuary of Grace.  The missionaries there, Keith and Lisa Coggin, came to Gulu as the war was ending.  Although they believed they would begin an orphanage like the one the had run in the south, God had other plans.  Instead, Lisa began a Christian school, revamping a Christian home schooling curriculum from the states, replacing American stories and culture with those of the Acholi people in Uganda.  

The children are learning at an amazing rate, and their parents as well as top level government officials are astounded.  Educating the children at this level is creating hope and a new generation of Ugandans that can truly make a difference.  Because of the war, most of their parents never received any kind of education at all, but in these villages hundreds of children now have that opportunity. 

Our hope is that the media I create can be used to help the missionaries duplicate these schools throughout the north, reaching teachers, government officials, Christian organizations, and churches that can send funds and teams out to help build schools throughout the country.  School is not funded by government and the local villages are so poor, so these children must be sponsored from outside the community.

Because the curriculum is Bible-centered, the children are bringing new values in to their homes and villages.  It's amazing to see.  Here are some of the photos from our recent trip there.  We leave this Sunday to go and do some more media work, pray for us as we are leaving during the Uganda election time.  

Bible Studies with University Students

KIU Bible Study began with a small group of women last week.  I will have eight women, and we are studying the book Twelve Extraordinary Women.  Our first study was received very well.  The women were sharing with me that in this culture, women are generally regarded as unimportant and worthless.  This study focuses on how much God loves and blesses women, and how they have played such an important role in Christianity.  

Natete Slums

Back to Kampala.  In the city, there are slums where people from the north moved during the war in the north, hoping they would find work in the big city.  But when they arrived there were no jobs to be found.  They found themselves in a place where they were crowded together, without land to even plant food.  As a result, many turned to whatever means they could to find a way to stay fed and sheltered.  

A few weeks ago, we went in to the Natete slum to document the water and sewerage conditions there with a friend of ours, Douglas Oliro, from International Missions for Christ.  We hope to find ways to bring awareness and change to this neighborhood through the media that we create.  See for yourself what it's like in this slum:

Prayers and Blessings
As you can see, the need for media is one that is growing, and I already have several other projects to share with you next time.  I find that I need more help as I go, especially with working partners, and keeping my equipment and software up to date. 

Please continue to pray for me, for others to partner with me in this ministry, and for God to provide all I need.  Also pray for a new web site that we are creating called Changing Story that tells stories of the lives that have been changed by the outreach ministries of God's people.  

I have been seeing how each of these ministries is changing many lives, and bringing many to Christ, because they can see the love of Christ reaching out to them in a very real and tangible way.  For all those who partner with me in prayer and finances, never forget that you are a part of that.  I hope my photos and videos bring this work to life for you.  Thank you so much for your support.

May God bless you,

Melody Warford
Melia Missionary to Uganda and beyond 
Global Outreach International
If you would like to keep up with me more often, please visit Facebook and place a friend request for Melody Warford.

if you would like to help this ministry financially please visit 
or contact Global Outreach at 662-842-4615, P. O. Box 1 Tupelo, MS 38802.

December Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

I am finally here in Uganda after three and a half years of international work.  God blessed me with the same house I was living in before, and I am enjoying my time here already.

I hit the ground running, finishing up video and print projects for Interdenominational Christian Ministries in Peru, followed by photography for Mission Aviation Fellowship, Postcards and a banner for LED Uganda, and editing and print for African Bible University.

In addition to the media work I've already been doing, I have been working with university students at Kampala International University.  It's interesting to realize that they never get the opportunity to hear or study God's Word in their home villages and towns.  As an American, I tend to take it for granted that it's readily available.  However that's not true outside the city here.  So, when the new semester begins, I plan to be leading a ladies Bible Study from the university church.  The university itself was founded by Muslims.  Unfortunately leadership there has been lax, and often the teachers don't show up for class, or give the materials needed for the test until it is too late for students to study.  I am looking forward to bringing God's Word to these struggling students, and helping them see how great His love is for them.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to more media projects, and seeing what the New Year will bring.

Please pray for me as I readjust to this culture, and try to tell the stories of God moving through the world and bringing His light to all people.  If you have the opportunity to support this ministry financially, I invite you to do so.  This  ministry helps magnify the ministries of many other missionaries on the field.  Helping me out financially helps many other ministries do their work by providing a means to tell their story to get their message out and get more people involved.  Whether it's a one-time Christmas gift, or a much-needed monthly commitment of any size, God will use it in amazing ways.

Thank you so much for all your support both in prayers and finances.  I am so blessed to be on this particular mission field using this particular gift for God.  It's amazing how God has used it to raise support for conference centers, to raise sponsorship for orphans, to find committed students for Bible universities, and so much more. 

Melody Warford
Melia Missionary to Uganda and beyond 
Global Outreach International
If you would like to keep up with me more often, please visit Facebook and place a friend request for Melody Warford.
This ministry is part of Global Outreach International.  For more information on the ministry, please contact Global Outreach at 662-842-4615.

Picking Up Where I Left Off

It's been a long time since I posted here.(feels like a confession doesn't it?) Since my last post, I returned to Uganda, and have been living here for about five months. Time sure flies! I hope to make this the home of my newsletter from now on. Getting settled in has taken quite some time, but now my projects are beginning to take off, and I'm creating media for many different organizations.

I think I need prayer the most for keeping up with everything! I want to start posting here more often and figure out how to send this post to Facebook. When I send out email newsletters, many of them bounce back because they are seen as spam. Maybe this will help resolve the problem!

Bottom line, I'm being blessed once more here in Uganda, but always missing my friends and family in other places.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Returning to Uganda

In June I will be returning to Uganda for two months to try and find a house to rent. I am in the process of finding a car also. Then In October, I plan to return there to live and make Kampala my home base for international media work.s
Why I'm Going
Since I left Uganda, there has been an ever-present desire to return. While I was in Uganda, I built many relationships that are very dear to me. I shared through Bible Studies, and used all my life experiences to encourage others to trust in God, and to have faith in His love for us all. My desire is to return there to continue relationships that grow towards Christ, and also to create an international home base for my work there in Kampala. Please pray for my return, and that the needs I have will be met.
What I Need
Because Kampala is a large city, and was hit hard by our economic crisis, my living expenses will have increased. Things like a house for rent, electricity, water, and fuel have all gone up since I left. Although I have monthly support that can meet those needs, there are many other expenses that come in addition to monthly expenses.
I know that you can't participate if I don't share howa, so I've made a list of all the extra expenses I would have paid for in the past. These are needs that could rob me of the ability to meet the monthly expenses with my current support.
If you have an interest in participating in some way, please click on the You Can Help button to see how. Please understand that more than one person may decide to give me funds for a specific thing. In that case I will use the funds for something else on the list. Another option is to decide to give something small on a monthly basis. Whether enough to cover and of these expenses, or just a little towards them, God will use everything for His purposes.
(estimates, shown in order of importance)

Car  $10,000 (or $7,000 if I can buy the one that is currently available!)
HD Video Camera  $3500
Laptop for Videographer $1430
6 month's rent $3600 (required to rent a house in Kampala)
Airfare $1800

Work Permit $500
3 Terrabyte drives $$550
Lenses $1500
Software updates $500
Voltaic Backpack power generator  $500
Keyboard $50

There are five people that this ministry supports for their education in Uganda. Two of these are at university level.  Both are in media, hoping to use their skills to do media mission work like I do.  They are both exceptional men that have a heart for God and for missions.

Daniel Mugoda: $2,500/year for the next three years Bachelor's degree (this is partial support, actual yearly support is $4,000)
Brian Ourien:  $14,000 one time to complete Master's degree in Media

Three of the people that need educational support are young, around 10-12 years old. In Uganda, you must pay for your education, but most families only make enough to pay for food and shelter.  This is the case of the families these children belong to.

Yosam's daughter  $900/year
Maureen $600/ Year
Paul    $600/year 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Clearer Picture

A friend of mine who helped run the photography department of a Christian organization recently lost his job because of the economy. I had the privilege of sharing my thoughts with him and his family about what to do next. After a great deal of prayer, they decided to become full-time media missionaries, just like I am.

I wanted to share their latest newsletter,
because it is so encouraging to me. It communicates the importance of our new kind of ministry, and I hope it helps us see the value of what we do. From my friends:

Dear Friends and Prayer
We are excited to report our most recent ministry activities. A growing young
church in Geneva, NY invited us to share what God is doing in our lives. They were excited to hear our vision of using photography and media technology to help missionaries tell stories of God’s work all over the world. The pastor made a great illustration by getting people to recall the most memorable photograph they can remember seeing. He then explained that such images become emblazoned on our brain and are remembered longer than the best sermon you’ve heard, or the most eloquent speech. The power of visual images is critical to missions communication, and the role God has put us in is vital to missionaries being able to tell God’s stories.

Our next journey will take us to Indiana and Michigan for meetings, starting September 27 at First Baptist in Bristol, IN, where Becky grew up. We will end at a missions conference at Twin Branch Bible Church in Mishawaka, IN on October 7 before heading back to Pennsylvania.

Please pray for:

· Visits with supporters and potential supporters to share our vision
· Wisdom as we prepare
presentation materials
· Travel safety
· Our young children, will be away from home for 2 weeks

Jeff and Becky Raymond

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Las Cruces Wildlife

I find myself in the "Land of Enchantment". That's the official motto of New Mexico, and I find it to be so true! From where I am sitting, I have a wonderful view of mountains, hummingbirds, and cactus. Not to mention the roadrunner I met on the front drive this morning. He was enjoying a worm from the garden!

But even more interesting is the fact that I've been having a great time working on video here, and getting to know the people. It has been a blessing, and a time of renewal for me. It's easy to get lost in God's creation here.

So, I am busy working on video and print for Global Outreach's upcoming conference on East Africa. In addition to that, I am working on several other videos from my recent trips. It's nice to be blessed with such a great place to work in. Here are a couple of photos from the yard outside.