On Sunday, August 19th, we announced an exciting and significant investment we are making in another part of the world that we have the opportunity to make because of the overflow of generosity of our church family. After prayerful consideration on the part of our Elders and Missions Team, we have joyfully decided to give $55,000 to Sole Hope for completion of a building that is critical to the operations and expansion of their mission in Uganda - The Shoemaker Warehouse.
This is not only a significant amount, but is also a significant step in the life of our church that we believe sets an even higher precedent on what it means for us as a local church and the people of God to exist for the good of the world.
Below you will find detailed information about our partnership with Sole Hope, the impact of this investment and future plans to continue to give in significant ways. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Elders or our Missions Team.
Our Partnership with Sole Hope
Life Church has had the wonderful privilege of partnering with Sole Hope since 2014. With their U.S. office located right here in Salisbury, the focus of Sole Hope's work is primarily in the eastern African country of Uganda.
Sole Hope’s mission is to offer hope, healthier lives, and freedom from foot-related diseases through education, jobs and medical relief. The practical way that Sole Hope accomplishes its mission is by providing shoes to its patients - mostly children - which help heal from and prevent debilitating foot disease caused by small, potentially damaging parasites called jiggers.
This year, several from our church family have had the opportunity to visit Sole Hope in Uganda and to experience the amazing work this organization does, meeting and working alongside the beautiful people who help make it happen.
New Sole Hope Headquarters
In 2017, Sole Hope began construction on a new property, located along the banks of the Nile River near Jinja (Uganda). This new location will serve as the operational headquarters for Sole Hope, consolidating much of its work to one strategic location, that will in turn, serve as a hub for launching Sole Hope's mission to across Uganda through the development of satellite locations.
Currently, there are six building either under construction or near completion:
- The Hope Center, where as many as 60 patients can be accommodated at one time while recuperating from the jigger removal process.
- The Wellness Center, where vulnerable people around the country can receive free, quality care by trained doctors and nurses in a clean, efficient and private environment.
- Office Building, where administrative and operational staff will be consolidated, serving as a place for meeting with community leaders, government representatives, and healthcare workers, and training.
- Director's Residence, which will provide the country director a residence at the headquarters while serving as a place for welcoming and demonstrating hospitality for staff, guests, volunteers and patients.
- Meeting Cabana, which will provide a scenic covered, outdoor space for gatherings, trainings and meetings.
Lastly, the Shoemaker Warehouse.
The Shoemaker Warehouse
Currently, the shoemaking process happens in three garages and a back room in two different locations in Jinja. Sole Hope currently employs 20 shoemakers and tailors, who in 2017 were able to craft 20,000 pairs of shoes made from materials collected from shoe cutting parties in the U.S. and Europe.
However, the new Shoemaking Workshop, which will become operational soon, and will have a dramatic impact in the following ways:
- Increase employment from 20 to 60 shoemakers and tailors. In a country with more than 50% unemployment, most employed Ugandans support as many as eight people on one salary. Adding 40 jobs in the community roughly translates to 480 people living a dignified life, paying school fees, eating nutritious meals, and receiving medical care when needed.
- Increase productivity from 20,000 to 60,000 pairs of shoes per year. Shoes are what allow Sole hope to meet and treat patients, so the more shoes, the greater the impact Sole Hope can make. Consequently, the increasing the capacity of productivity, in turn, increases capacity for more shoe cutting parties around the world, which is an essential part of Sole Hope’s donor engagement and is the primary means in which new donors are introduced to Sole Hope.
- Improvement in working conditions. The new space provides better lighting, airflow and adequate space for work to be done. This investment in employee’s working conditions will likely result in a deeper commitment to the quality and excellence of their work.
For several months, our Elders have been prayerfully considering the opportunity to financially contribute to this particular facility in order to bring the construction to completion, and positioning Sole Hope to begin immediate expansion through the hire of more native Ugandan employees. This payoff also allows Sole Hope to move forward with the construction of its remaining facilities.
In early August, our Elders suggested Life Church make a considerable financial contribution and investment to the Shoemaker Building project, to be discussed and approved by our Missions Team. The decision was made joyfully and unanimously to send $55,000 from our financial reserves, which will cover all remaining costs for the Shoemaker Building.
So why give so extravagantly to something half-way around the world, something many of us may never be able to visit?
We obviously believe in Sole Hope, but Sole Hope is not the only internationally-focused ministry Life Church supports. Over the years, we have also made significant investments in Children's Cup (Brett & Wendy Roseman), Preemptive Love Coalition, Samaritan's Purse International Relief, and Compassion International, just to name a few. Each of these remain vitally important to us, including each of our local/regional ministry partners.
It's important to know that in 2018, our goal is to give away 15.3% of all giving received. Should we meet our budget (which as of this month, we are well on our way to doing so; see our 2nd Quarter Budget Report), we would give away over $100,000 to local and international ministry partners. Being a generous church has been one of our unwavering values since day one.
However, the $55,000 we have just gifted has not come out of our 2018 budget. This means should be meet our 2018 budget, we will instead be giving over $150,000 in 2018! That's almost twice as much as we have given in any one year up to this point.
Additionally, our Missions Team has been tasked by our Elders to consider opportunities locally to direct gifts of similar significance, which means we fully expect our overall giving total in 2018 to be even higher. We will be sharing more about these opportunities during the remainder of the year.
We do not share this information to boast in any way on ourselves, but in our gracious God who has not only supplied all of our needs, but who has richly blessed and entrusted us with these financial resources so that we might bless others.
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Ps. 115:1)
Will you join us in praying that this investment will be multiplied abundantly and will serve the purpose of blessing Sole Hope while helping to expand their ministry reach?
Will you also join us in praising God for the humbling privilege we have to give in such ways?