How It All Began

“I’m headed to Uganda, back to my home!” cheered Brandi McElheny.  Well, I only read that actual quote off her Facebook status post, but knowing Brandi, I’m confident she was cheering!  I knew Brandi from Facebook only and followed her personal wall, as well as several of her non-profit pages.  In particular, I liked her missional ministry non-profit, Beauty for Ashes Uganda, which served single mamas in villages outside of Soroti, Uganda.  

Brandi has a big heart and she wanted to bring love and hope to the most broken of women, the women who most of the world forgets or doesn’t see at all.  Last summer I followed her trip and nonchalantly thought, she should bring a team of photographers to capture what she’s doing there and inspire others to be involved.  Little did I know, that seed was planted and would quietly embed itself into my heart until February 2014 when Brandi again announced her annual summer mission trip scheduled for July.  And this time when she would go, she was bringing a production team.  I knew God wanted me to be a part of this.  

God had put a big picture calling on my life, “to go and communicate truth in a creative way.”  This trip would certainly serve towards that purpose and in May of 2014, I officially purchased my airline tickets to Charlotte-New York City-Amsterdam-Entebbe, Uganda and joined the other fellow two writers as part of the production advocacy team.  My job was to capture the stories of hope and need among the villages and advocate on behalf of these women through the written word, inspiring others to help bear their burdens and rejoice in their victories alongside of them.  

My bags were packed.  My heart was available to God and ready to serve to the best of my ability, trusting He would pull out the creativity and skill necessary to hang with a very professional and talented production team.  Now all I had to do was get on a plane.  How hard could that be?!

Elle NeeseComment