Thursday, March 31, 2011

Answers to Questions that you've asked.

1. Why am I doing this? I feel that this is where I am being called. This is where my passion is. My heart goes out to the orphans around the world. My heart breaks for them.  (more on this throughout the post).

2. What kind of education/training do you have to think you can make a difference? Well, my first response to this is I truly do not believe that any education/training is necessary. A basic understanding of the culture is always helpful as to not offend the people. The children and youth need to be showed love, to know that someone cares. The love of God is a gift in and of itself. One young girl always says, "Jolene, thank you for loving me." during every facebook chat that we have. That melts my heart. Giving $90 to pay the rent for one man, three summers ago changed his life. He is still living in that home in the slums of Kisenyi scrounging up the money monthly to pay rent. But he has a place to call home and a sense of accomplishment every month. He just needed that boost to get started. There is clean water in the village of Kiboyo and 2 widows have houses to call home because of Bridge Connections teams that I have been on and the gracious support from families and friends back home. God can truly use anyone to make a difference, if they are willing to go, pray, financially support, etc.

3. How did you get involved in international missions? Well another long story. But, 8 years ago (I believe) Beth Railing asked me to go to Romania with her. I was to tight with my money at that time and could not imagine parting with $1500. The following year, she and my mom convinced me to go. It has become, can I use the word, addiction since then. I traveled to Romania 4 times in 3 years. Then the "new pastor" at our church, Nate Kilgore, was having a meeting about a trip to Uganda. My brother, Dustin said that he would go. (Now for years of trying to get him to go to Romania with me and all he would say is "crappy Romania") I was excited about the possibility of sharing this experience with my brother. (I stayed an additional 3 months without him and the team). The following year I traveled back to Uganda with Bridge Connections again this time with my other brother Michael. (There are certain people that I get really excited for when they commit to these trips. Micheal was one of them.) Then last summer I led my first Bridge Connections trip. I was really excited that my best friend Kelly McGaw joined me and can finally share in my joys. Annnndd little did I know at the time (but God did) Julia Adams would become a great friend and she would also have the desire to serve long term. (Numerous other friendships have been made because of serving together. I can't put everyone here. YOu know who you are!)
There has never been a day that I have stopped and regretted any of the time or money that I have put into missions. I have received so much more than I have given. There is so much you can learn about yourself while serving others.

4. Why must you go the whole way over there to serve? This is a favorite question of mine and one that is hard to explain to those who have yet to experience an international missions trip.  I believe that I was created in God's image. Traveling cross-culturally has given me a better understanding of what that "image" is. I think that I can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of my own culture by experiencing others. I can better appreciate what blessings that I have because I have lived among those who have much less. And there is also something about being taken completely out of your comfort zone and having to rely on God to provide. I can't think of a single country in the world that is not worthy. To have people come and love "the forgotten ones". It doesn't have to be Uganda for everyone, but choose SOMEONE and YOU will be better because of it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Plane tickets are ordered!!

I depart the US at 6:10pm on June 8th!!!

Support Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

As many of you know, I have a passion for the people of Uganda.  For the past three summers I have traveled there for 1-3 month time periods working with orphans and widows in multiple roles. Every time I return to Uganda, I feel a peace; a peace that I am where God wants me to be. Upon returning to the U.S. last summer, i knew He was telling me I was to return.

Here I am 6 months later asking for your support as I travel to Uganda in June for (at least) a 7 month stay with a friend of mine, Julia Adams. God is good! We will be staying and volunteering at BULA Children’s Home ( located on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital city.  Presently there are 27 children in their care, ranging from the ages of 8-18. The home aims to support these children in their basic needs and future successes, and additionally strives to further promote their well being through counseling and support.  My responsibilities in the home will include being a house parent, some administrative duties, and being open to whatever tasks may come my way.

Outside of the home, Julia and I plan to work alongside friends of mine in the slums of Kisenyi with the children’s program. They have programs everyday ranging from dance, art, singing, Bible lessons, homework help, and basic hygiene skills that they teach the children. We are also planning on joining the Bridge Connections team (the group I have traveled with in the past) in Jinja in August. There, we will be working with Father’s Divine Love Ministries, building houses for widows, fellowshipping with the people in the community and planning activities for the children who reside there.

I am ecstatic about this adventure! My prayer is that I return with an even better understanding of the needs in Uganda, a renewed gratitude for all God’s given me, and a deeper understanding of how I have been uniquely gifted to serve. Sure, I am nervous about stepping out of my Lancaster Co. roots for this extended period of time; but as a Christian, I want to serve where I am being called; even if that place is Africa.

Now here is where you come in! I would like to invite you to join me in this effort.  The first way that you can assist me is through prayer. Prayer is really the key to successful ministry and this is no exception. Please pray for our spiritual preparation, our safety during the trip, and the life change that God will bring about as a result of ministry.

Beyond your prayers, if you are led to join me financially by supporting this mission, I would be grateful. I need to raise $5000 to cover airfare, room and board, ministry resources and transportation.  Bridge Connections ( ) has been a huge support in our search for a ministry to work alongside and has graciously offered to collect our funds. Tax deductible donations can be made to Bridge Connections. Be sure to include my name, “Jolene Goss“, on the memo line of your check. You may mail checks directly to Bridge Connections, Inc. at 6601 Hampnett Ave. Baltimore, MD 21214.  Please send your contribution no later than May 1st.

Thank you for considering my needs for prayer and financial support. “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27. Please do not hesitate to contact me ( if you have any questions. I am extremely excited about this ministry and hope you can share in my excitement.

With gratitude,

Jolene Goss

Friday, March 4, 2011

Entering the Blogging World...

Let me just start off by saying that I am no writer. It's not one of my gifts. I spent hours (actually days) trying to come up with a name for this thing. I asked everyone around me. And I came up with "Why not Uganda?". I think it's going to be a good name for this blog. It's the answer I give when people ask me the common question, "Why Uganda?". It also shows my simplistic way of life and lack of creativity.

Julia and Me
Well, it's official! I am headed off to Uganda in June with a good friend of mine Julia Adams. I am very excited about the adventure before us. I have committed to a 7 month stay, with hopes of staying for one year.  More details later... After I figure out how this all works.