March Visit to Uganda

kla_morningI was given the opportunity in March to fly to Uganda to create a short film for the African Children’s Choir.

I was excited to work with a great organization, and blessed to have the opportunity to return to our home and connect with friends face to face. Unfortunately I only had 7 days to accomplish everything!

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Filming at the African Children’s Choir school.

The African Children’s Choir is an organization assisting impoverished youth to attain a quality education they would not otherwise be afforded. The film shows where a choir member, Peace, used to live and how participating in the choir and attending their school has changed her life. Peace’s story is told alongside the story of Elsa, who was part of the very first choir back in 1983, and because of the opportunities through the Choir is now working to impact change in Uganda.

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Posing with the star of the show, Peace.

Peace and Elsa are amazing individuals who did a great job articulating their story and inviting all of us to join in the work of educating the future change makers in Uganda!

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Click this image to watch the 5 minute film!

While in Kampala for the week, I grabbed every opportunity to meet with friends and catch up. When I wrapped up filming, I picked up our car and began the 5 hour journey to Mbarara early Sunday morning. I rolled into town just as Church was starting and enjoyed gathering with good friends again.

After the service I drove an hour south to the refugee settlement to greet the women Betsy has been working with. It was encouraging to see them face to face and I was able to share a short video of Betsy greeting them and reinforcing that we are working to return and continue partnering with them.

A few hours later I drove back up to Mbarara to fellowship with close friends and spend the night at our house. It was fun to be in our home again and see it was being well taken care of. Every plant seemed to be twice the size, grass had finally grown, and some small bushes turned out to be fruit bearing!

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Boys at the African Children’s Choir school playing football.

The next day, Monday, I drove the 5 hours back to Kampala and caught my flight out that night. Getting on the plane, I was completely exhausted.

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Being goofy with a bunch of the African Children’s Choir kids.

I feel overwhelmingly blessed with the opportunity of being back in Uganda, even for a brief time. The entire trip was a refreshing reminder that this was the location and work God has for us and we can’t wait to return!

Below are a few of my favorite shots from the trip. Click to enlarge.

Back in Business

new_camera2In the last few weeks we’ve hosted a silent auction in Chicago as well as an online auction selling some of Micah’s photos.  We were overwhelmed by the generosity and support of everyone who participated and clearly saw God’s abundant blessings. We raised over $5,000 and we were able to purchase a Nikon DSLR, 2 lenses and essential audio equipment. We’ve been without a camera for 10 months, so Micah is loving having one back in his hands and already filmed for an organization the day after getting it!new_camera1

Thank you to everyone who came out to support us and participated in getting Designed4 back in business!

Silent Auction

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 3.09.00 PMOur Designed4 Silent Auction in Chicago last week was a HUGE success! Thanks to everyone who came out to support us and bought photos. We had 20 photos up for auction and every single one of them sold. By the end of the night we had raised nearly $4,000!

We saw God’s hand in so many things, and it was such a fun night! We are incredibly grateful for our loving and supportive community. Thanks for coming out!

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We know many of you missed the auction so we would love to have you join us on Facebook today and tomorrow to get some of these photos! The online silent auction is happening today, Cyber Monday starting at 6pm EST and ends tomorrow, Giving Tuesday at 9pm EST. Please click below to go to the private auction page and support Designed4’s work in East Africa!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1561373570760702/

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Recovery Plan

The waiter came up to our table and timidly said “Excuse me, but some children told me your car was just broken into.”  I immediately jumped up and ran to our car that was just across the street.  It was 6pm, still light out and on a public street but the bold thieves had only left shards of glass on our back seat.  The bag we kept our macbook pro, two cameras, and audio equipment was gone.  Just gone.

cameraThis happened back in February and they say time heals, yet the knot in my stomach still remains.  There was nothing we could do to recover the bag.  The police would be of no help, and insurance agencies had been uninterested in insuring thousands of dollars of camera equipment in a developing country.  So the equipment we had invested our personal saving into was now gone with no hope of getting it back.

As Betsy and I settled into this new reality we felt the best option was to step back and pray.  Was this a signal to end Designed4 as a business?  Should we stop working in Uganda?  The answers to these questions we heard from God and others was no.  This was a painful event but not outside of God’s sovereign control.  So we pressed forward.

Since our plans had us back in America within a few months, we decided to wait until we were back in the States to purchase new equipment.  We had some kind friends who allowed us to borrow equipment for film projects during the last few months in Uganda.

Now we are finally ready to replace the equipment that was stolen, but simply don’t have the resources to re-purchase it all.  So we are having a silent auction event on Thursday, November 20th.  We will be auctioning off 18 photographs and a few crafts from Uganda at Derby Bar & Grill in Chicago. All funds generated from this event will go towards equipment and get Designed4 back on its feet.

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Please join us if you are in the Chicago area!  We would love to see you and it’s bound to be a great event!  If you can’t make it in person and interested in joining in, we will have an opportunity for you to buy photos in the future! Stay tuned via our facebook page.