Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweet Sleep Ministry Brings Beds to Orphans

Earlier this year the President of Sweet Sleep, Jen Gash, and colleague Stuart McAlister traveled to central east Africa, visiting orphanages where Sweet Sleep would soon begin working. As they traveled with friends at Samaritan’s Purse to identify orphanages in the most dire need of beds, they encountered an orphanage in Uganda named Caring Heart. The orphanage was run by a man named Paul who had grown up as an orphan.

As a child, Paul had no place to sleep except on the street or in sewage areas and other unthinkable places. One night, he reached utter exhaustion as he tried unsuccessfully to find a place to lay his head. He told God that if He would protect him and give him a place to sleep, he would devote the rest of his life to caring for children who shared his plight. God did.

Many years later, Paul--now a pastor--opened Caring Heart orphanage. Caring Heart provided food, shelter, education and much love. But it had only eight beds for the use of its hundreds of children. So when a new law in Uganda made it illegal for children in orphanages to sleep on the floor, the government felt obligated to close Caring Heart.

The children were forced to find places to spend each night—just like Paul had when he was a child. Their prayers were the same as his, “God, give me a safe place to sleep…” So, when Sweet Sleep’s first team of volunteers to to Africa arrived this summer with new bunk beds for the orphanage, there was a celebration like nothing they had ever seen. The President of Uganda sent an official to welcome them. And, because Sweet Sleep had provided beds for the children to sleep in, the government reopened the orphanage. The children’s prayers were answered.

Jen is currently serving as Tennessee State Coordinator for Orphan Sunday and has helped stimulate more than 20 events in her state, including the launch of a comprehensive Orphan Care Ministry at her home church, Brentwood Baptist, and “Burritos for Beds” – a fundraising campaign with Blue Coast Burrito restaurants in Middle Tennessee to provide beds and bedding to children in northern Uganda. For more information about Sweet Sleep, visit

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