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On March 8th, the ministry threw a great birthday party for itself at the Hotel Arista in Naperville, IL.  More than 150 people came from as far away as Seattle, Washington and Newport Beach, California to help celebrate.  Despy Bales of the Sozo store in Dekalb, IL set up several tables full of Ugandan crafts, many of which were made by the current class of women in ABIDE.

A video called “Ten Years of Blessings” was shown to give people an idea of the original vision and the amount of work both in Uganda and in the U.S. that has gone into saving the lives of orphan kids   CLICK HERE to see the video.  You will enjoy.

The most poignant part of the presentation was showing kids as they were in 2004 and how they are today.  Doctors, lawyers, engineers, ministry founders, administrators… the kids who have grown up with Juna Amagara are stellar young people leading Godly lives and positively affecting the people around them.

Standing in for Matt Kehn, our intended keynote speaker, was Herbert Ainamani, Operations Director for Juna Amagara in Uganda.   His personal story of being a little boy in a child-headed family was heart-wrenching.  It was only when Rev. Ben found him with his brothers trying to build a shelter with some mud and straw that he began to have hope, for his uncle provided for him and sent him to school.  “Now,” Herbert says, “When I am speaking with these orphan children, I know what they are saying, what they are feeling.  I feel my work is important and have truly enjoyed watching these kids grow up over ten years time.”  He made the appeal he has made so many times:  “If I had the resources, I would take in ALL the children because those that are waiting are no different than those in the program.”

Capped off by a live auction and rousing appeals from Rev. Ben, the evening was a complete success.  Thank you to all who attended.  There is still time to donate to the Anniversary Fund – simply CLICK HERE for a secure on-line transaction.