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This morning while my kids crunched cereal and worked on getting their eyelids open enough to get on the bus, I read a blessing over them from this little book that I keep in the kitchen.  I’ve started doing this every morning, reading words of encouragement that call out truths in their lives.  In any given moment, I’m a fairly snarky mommy, and my kids are becoming just like me, so these strange words of serious sincerity feel weird to all of us.  They giggle and roll their eyes, but I keep on blessing them with my words, “Shh, kids, I’m going to bless you now, hold still.”  I learned this from my friend Elaine Mayson, who has raised two of my favorite young adults on the planet and is brimming with insight into parenting.  She believes in the power of words and today she’s sharing with us about an amazing experience she had in Uganda with some of the young leaders in our HopeChest program at the CarePoint.

Imagine never hearing the words, “I’m proud of you”. What if nobody ever told you that you were special? Suppose you had a unique talent or ability, but it went unnoticed.

Unfortunately, there are many people in this world who have never heard those words that speak to their soul.   Words are powerful, they can heal, inspire, and motivate. Words can ignite something within us that has the potential to change the trajectory of our lives.

Beautiful words stir my heart. – Psalm 45:1

This summer I had the privilege of returning to one of my favorite places on this earth – Adacar, Uganda. This was my third time visiting this village, a village of people I fell in love with five years ago.   As a team, we spent months planning and preparing for this trip. Our goal was to assist Children’s HopeChest in their mission, to help a community of people become self-sustaining.

An idea that God placed on our hearts was to identify young leaders in this community of orphaned and vulnerable children. Children are our future no matter where we live. So focusing on a few young people we saw as leaders and role models just made sense.

We planned a special dinner in honor of the young people we identified throughout the week. For some, this meal may have been the first time they had ever eaten anything besides posho and beans. By the way the plates were pilled high, one could tell a treat like this didn’t come along often.

Five young men and five young women left the familiarity of their Ugandan village to be the guest of honor with 14 people who had traveled from America to meet them. They were seated in a prominent place and quickly realized we had seen something very special in each one of them.

One by one these young people walked down a row of adults who desired to bless them. We each asked God to show us what wisdom He wanted us to impart. What blessing needed to be given, what verse needed to be shared. This was a ceremony that called these 10 young men and women into a leadership role.



That Sunday afternoon will forever be burned into my memory. Tears are streaming down my face as I think back to the powerful emotion within that room. To look deep into the eyes of these young people and let them know their Heavenly Father adores them. To reassure them they were created in His image and, that He was calling them out to be a leader. God has something for each of them to accomplish, something great for Him. What a privilege to be a part of what God was doing there in Uganda.

If God is tugging at your heart, whether locally or internationally, don’t ignore that feeling. I never considered myself to be useful on a mission trip. What did a financial planner have to offer in a developing country? What I realized, everybody needs to feel loved, valued and given a glimpse of hope.

To read more stories from the team’s recent trip, click here.  We’ve been partnering with this CarePoint for six years now and have watched as the community has grown from surviving on handouts to thriving and succeeding, developing sustainable businesses, raising their school test scores, and getting into higher education.  If you’re interested in how your church, ministry, moms’ group, or circle of friends can get involved, go on a vision trip, and build a community partnership, email me at unexpectedmel@  I’ll talk your head off.