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Hope + Sisterhood Trip to Uganda

I’m having trouble putting this trip into words.   They joy has been overwhelming but the sadness has been so deep.    This morning started with a precious woman who was very malnourished because she chooses to put her son in school and sacrifices meals to do that.  She is a trained laboratory technician but she can not get work because of the stigma that surrounds HIV.  She loves the Lord and has the light of Christ in her eyes.  This afternoon, I had a woman ask me if I would take her HIV+ baby and adopt her because she feared she would not live long enough to raise her.   In between these encounters were moments of joy, celebration and singing.  We visited many sisters and their successful projects.  They are thriving and so unbelievably grateful for the support they have received.  One sister very proudly told me that she was able to purchase eggs….this is a big deal because eggs are very expensive.   When we gave the sisters {just} 2 kilos of beans they erupted into song and dance.  While the moment was filled with joy I couldn’t help but ask myself the question:  have I ever been that grateful for anything?   Much less, food???  We’ve had the opportunity to share the Gospel with two Muslim women.  We’ve received news that two sisters who were Muslim have accepted Christ.  One sister shared her son’s medical certificate with me that showed he tested negative for HIV, because of the medicine she takes!  She was beaming!!



These women are amazing.  Their faith is inspiring.  Their sadness compels me to action.  I believe in this program more than I can ever put into words.   The HOPE+ sisterhood isn’t just changing the lives of women in Uganda….it is changing me.




If you are interested in becoming a sister, please email me […]

The Radiance of HOPE

She’s come a long way baby…..
This.  THIS is what hope looks like.




When we first heard about Noreen, her situation was dire.  Because of her HIV, her family disowned her.  They kicked her out of the shack she was living in.  She and her children were homeless and hungry.  A friend of a friend reached out to Project HOPEFUL to see if we could help.  Noreen was living in Kampala and was no where near our other sisters but we knew we had to help.

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  James 4:17

It wasn’t going to be convenient or easy….and it didn’t exactly fit our program parameters….but that didn’t matter.  Noreen needed hope.  A home was provided for Noreen and she began receiving medical care and was improving.  But because she lived in Kampala, it was extremely costly to provide for her and her children.  We began to pray for a solution.  I contacted my dear friend Richard from Mukono and asked if he would visit Noreen.  Richard works closely with our HOPE+ sisters in Mukono & Lugazi but had never met Noreen.  After visiting her, he was broken.  He didn’t even make it home before he pulled off the road and called me.  He said “Dawn, we must do something.  I feel we need to move Noreen & her children to Mukono so that she can be cared for and her children can attend school”.  Before I even knew it, her children were being enrolled in school (FREE OF CHARGE), renovations were being made to a home owned by the ministry Richard is involved in for Noreen to live in (FREE OF CHARGE) and plans were […]

Hope + Sisterhood Uganda Takes Off!

God continually knocks our socks off with the way He has provided for the needs of our friends in Uganda.  Through the HOPE+ sisterhood, 37 women are getting a “hand up” that is literally changing their lives.  But God is also showing us there is much more work to be done.  All of our sisters & their children receive free medical care from the newly constructed St. John medical clinic in Mukono.  After a lot of prayer and conversation, we felt that it made sense for Project HOPEFUL to get more involved in this clinic.  If we can be a part of helping in a holistic way, Lord willing, could we be part of preventing a child from ever becoming an orphan?But with that decision comes responsibility and accountability which can produce the “deer in headlight” response.  But, God has consistently shown me just how much HE is in control of all of this.  There have been many nights when I have lost sleep trying to figure out how “I” was going to do this or how “We” were going to do that.  (check out this blog post:  Have Faith) What God has faithfully shown us is that all He needs is obedience.  We don’t really have to “Do” anything.Richard Kibirango is a dear friend and serves on the board of the medical clinic.  His family took care of our family when we adopted our son Joseph.  He is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the brother I never had.  I trust him with my life….and the life of my children.   When Richard visited our family in May, I felt God pressing two things on my heart….staff salaries needed to be covered for […]

Village of HOPE Guatemala: Partner with us!

When the Lord called us to start Villageof Hope, we all knew that it was way bigger than ourselves! We are so blessed by the leadership of Lifesong for Orphans and Project Hopeful and continue to be amazed at their experience and wisdom.

The other thing that the Lord continues to make clear to us day after day is that we are NOT in this alone… that this is the work of the Spirit and that He will call believers all over the world to be a part of the Village of Hope ministry.

It’s the stories that the Lord continues to write that break our hearts for the lost, the lonely, and the hurting in Guatemala.

Stories like Brenda…

stories likeMario…

stories likeRosa…

and stories like Yessica…

But that’s not where the work ends… the Lord has so clearly called us to provide family to those without… to provide hope to those with none… and to give
faith to those who don’t yet know Jesus. That’s what we are committed to and
we trust that the Lord will finish the good work that HE has started!

If you’re like many other Christians today, the Lord is breaking your heart and stirring within you to defend the cause of the orphan…. To do something about the plight of the orphan… we ask you to prayerfully consider bring HOPE to the hurting in Guatemala. The Lord can use your skills in so many ways… and in order to further our ministry, our work on the ground in Guatemala, we need the body of Christ to continue to work together… some the hands, some the feet, some the arms, some the heart… what is the Lord calling YOU to do?

Explore ways that you and your church can partner with
Village of Hope-Guatemala here.

Would you share about Village of Hope with 5 other people?
Would […]

Host Families Needed: You can help!

“Without intervention, upon leaving the orphanage, 60% of girls will end up in prostitution, 70% of boys will be on the streets or in jail, and 15% will commit suicide within the first two years on their own. YOU can revolutionize the life of an abandoned child.”                                                             - New Horizons For Children

Project HOPEFUL has been informed of a cutie that has an opportunity to be hosted. You have the opportunity to make a HUGE difference in the life of a child. Every child deserves to know what the love of a family feels like. We don’t have much time left to find Vlad a host family! Please inquire quickly if you are interested in showing this handsome guy the love of Jesus!

Ten year old Vladyslav is a very diligent student and his favorite subjects are math and PE. His director describes him as very active, polite and kind. He thinks logically and likes to analize things. Very friendly and likes to socialize with friends. Vlad attends an art studio where he likes to draw, paint, and work with clay. On his free time he plays soccer and loves to read and watch cartoons. His greatest and most cherished dream – life! Vlad is HIV positive.

Vlad is being offered for hosting via New Horizons for Children ( for 5 weeks this summer anywhere in the U.S. Please contact Stacey at for more information!

Help us build a playground!

From Project HOPEFUL FIG Awassa Director, Charisa Knight:

Want to help purchase a playground?

At this orphanage? in Awassa, Ethiopia?

For these children? (and many more)

The plans are for a slide, a swing, and a seated merry go round. A designer has drawn up the plans for it and is ready to go. We just need the funds!!  The estimate is for $1,200 and something that would give fun playtime for the children who live there.  (can’t you just hear the shouts, screams and giggles?) 

Many of these children have lived here since they were tiny infants and are still here. We really want to add some laughter and fun to their lives!

Our goal is to have this funded by my April trip! Sooner is just fine too! :)

If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to this please donate HERE and put PLAYGROUND in the message.  If you would like to send a check—message me at and I can give the address.

Thank you!!

HOPE+ Sisterhood Ethiopia: More Sisters Needed!

By Nancy Porter

The HOPE+ ET program seeks to alleviate the need for HIV+ mothers to relinquish their children and was born out of a desire to honor the birth mothers of Project HOPEFUL children. The goal of the Project HOPEFUL HOPE+Sisterhood program is to Help Others Perform Excellently through a determination to provide HOLISTIC care for infected mothers and their families in order to prevent unnecessary loss. These goals will be achieved by emotionally, spiritually and physically supporting families with HIV+ persons (primarily mothers) by providing them access to vital medical care, helping them obtain self –sustainability, and linking mothers to “sisters” in the US who will develop relationships for support and friendship.

Our goal is that Mothers won’t have to place their children in orphanages because of inability to provide for her family. Women will NOT be vilified because of their HIV status. We want these women to know that THEY MATTER! Project HOPEFUL wishes to provide HOPE to mothers in Ethiopia and connect them to women in the U.S.

The Program is broken down into 3 phases:

Phase one: Rehabilitation program in the recovery center. This “in-house” phase includes counseling, nutritional education, sanitation education, as well as medical evaluation and treatment for the women and their children. It lasts approximately 2 months. While in phase one, the women also identify possible job skill training opportunities. A home visit is performed to assess whether or not the occupation they choose is appropriate for their living situation. We also provide 3 meals a day as well as a snack for the mothers and their children during their time in the program in additional to covering transportation […]

Have “Faith”…

by Dawn Patterson

When I accepted the position of Director for the HOPE+ sisterhood, Uganda, it wasn’t probably 10 minutes later that I thought “what have I gotten myself into?” I was comforted slightly by the fact that there wasn’t an immediate need to get the program up and running and there was much grace extended on the timing due to our adoption.

When I returned from Uganda and started thinking more about the responsibility and my “skills” (or lack thereof), I panicked. Enter the voice of doubt. I quickly called Deb and said “look, I am not cut out for this. I don’t have the skills to do this. I MAKE JEWELRY. That is what I’m good at. I don’t “direct” anything. Deb was kind, patient, wise & encouraging. She said 2 things that really stuck. The first was “I tell everyone to not make any major decisions until 6 months post adoption” and the second was “and for the record…you are cut out for this. You are exactly who God wants for this”. Enter the voice of truth.

It didn’t take 6 months….only about 4 when I heard God say “go…the time is now”. God perfected every detail, funds were raised almost effortlessly and we were on our way to Uganda. And I felt a tremendous amount of peace.

When I left the U.S. I was under the impression that there were 18 sisters. So, when I asked “how many sisters do we have” and the response was “about 35”…..I panicked. Again. But this time it lasted all of about 30 minutes. God had perfected every detail of this trip and I knew He had this. Peace came over me as I heard the words “Trust […]

So What is the HOPE+ Sisterhood?

The HOPE+ Sisterhood program was developed in honor of the mothers of
the children of Project HOPEFUL volunteers who have died of
complications related to AIDS. This program seeks to offer HOPE to
HIV+ mothers and to prevent unnecessary loss for their families. The
original HOPE+ Sisterhood started in Ethiopia with 14 mothers. It was
a residential facility that brought hope to mothers by offering them
skill training, jobs and even micro-loans to start small businesses.

Project HOPEFUL has wanted to have a presence in Uganda for some time
but simply didn’t know where to start, but because our God is such an
awesome God….He paved the way.

The first phase of the HOPE+ Sisterhood, Uganda will begin with 34
“Sisters”. Each woman is HIV+, on the proper medications and is in
need of a “hand up”. With your support, these sisters will begin
small business, expand their existing business or become educated in a
trade they wish to pursue.

We had the honor and privilege of meeting each and every one of these
sisters in early January. We were even able to visit many of them in
their homes and see their precious children. Their stories were
heartbreaking and touching. Some were still grieving and some were
exclaiming “I am HIV+ and I have no shame”.

The sisterhood program costs $40 a month for 6 months. We are calling
this phase 1 because we want to leave the door open for God to
determine the next step.

At Project HOPEFUL we believe in the beautiful gift of adoption but
recognize this isn’t always the answer. This is a wonderful
opportunity to walk along side a precious woman and help her preserve
the family that God has blessed her with.

If you are interested in becoming a sister or if you […]

Game Changer – The End of Stigma

From Dawn Patterson.

The best laid plans are plans at best. I’ve heard this quote many times. It’s held true so often in my life. This trip to Uganda was no different. I went there with a plan…many plans in fact. But one of my plans took a turn, a radical turn.

The HOPE+ sisterhood has always been about enabling HIV+ women to live longer, fuller lives through a Jesus centered relationship with a sister here in the US. But, because there is so much shame & stigma surrounding HIV, many of these women wanted….and needed….to remain private. Although Project HOPEFUL stands by the TRUTH “No shame in our game”….we needed to respect this. It’s so important for these women to understand that they have a disease….but they are NOT the disease! But, to help them….we need to understand them first.

I went to Uganda fully expecting each woman to want their “status” to remain private to everyone except to their sister.

I can joyfully tell you, that was not the case. AT ALL. Were there women who had not shared their status publicly? Yes. And we will respect that. But there are women who are joyfully sharing their stories and I would be doing them a disservice if I did not share them with you.

Take for instance Lazia. I met Lazia 2 years ago for the first time when I traveled to Uganda with my friend Cathy. She was one of our home visits. She was not strong, she was not physically well and had a relatively new relationship with Jesus. Lazia was a muslim and after her husband died from AIDS, she discovered she was HIV+. A few years later, a local pastor heard about this […]