In the Spring of 2011, I got a call from Sara Beth while she was working in Charlotte for another nonprofit. She wanted to share with Ron and I about a dream she had to help empower local leaders to thrive in their communities – a vision we now call 127 Worldwide.
We had known Sara Beth for 4 years at that point, and our family had grown to love her. She had become an “angel” to us and we claimed her as our own. I think it’s worth sharing a bit of that back story.
God grew a passion for Africa in our daughter Emily’s heart after we went as a family to Zambia in 2006. She decided to research African mission opportunities while in college and found Sara Beth, who was about to take her first trip to Kenya to work with Rose Bugusu at Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre. Emily went in the summer of 2007 and was hooked!
A few months later, most of that original team returned to Tumaini to spread some Christmas cheer. Not knowing the dangerous political unrest that would unfold upon their arrival– you may remember that was the year of a violent outbreak after election results were announced in Kenya– Sara Beth, Emily, and the rest of the group had to go into hiding. I truly think Emily wouldn’t be with us today if Sara Beth hadn’t intervened and made some wise choices. So Sara Beth affectionately has become one of us, an honorary Bowman.
When Sara Beth shared her vision for 127 Worldwide with us that spring of 2011, we knew it was a dream that would become reality and we wanted to be part of it. Like Emily, we were all in from that moment on. We have hosted partners in our homes and try to be involved in every way possible. Emily even worked on staff with 127 for many years.
For the past four years I have worked in mentorship and empowerment, training young women in jewelry-making, and selling their beautiful goods here in the States. This initiative, called Village Art Collective, is a win-win as these young women are employed by 127 partner Swahiba Networks to assist in all the good work being done there. This is one of the ways I love 127. They connect us, me and you, directly with the ministry that is happening on the ground.
Over the years of working with local leaders and their communities in Uganda and Kenya, I always sense that God has wanted to teach me a whole lot more than whatever I could possibly teach or do for them. Through the joy they show in the midst of hard circumstances, I have discovered that they have found the true riches– total reliance upon the provision of the Father and the joy that comes with that close relationship. To witness the day in and day out, diligent work they do to provide for the needs of widows, orphans, and vulnerable communities has given me motivation to do all I can to help.
As donors, my husband Ron and I have been so blessed and rewarded by being a part of 127 Worldwide. I would like to share with you 4 P’s that affirm our involvement with 127.
We affirm and believe in the 127 purposes. They are long-term, eternal purposes. Then the passion for those purposes comes with walking alongside trusted Christian partners in these countries. Knowing them personally and going deeper in relationship with them is critical.
We believe in the process by which they carry this ministry out. We have complete trust in both the 127 team on the ground here, as well as the partners they serve abroad. As we probably all agree, whether we’re talking about the team here or there, to know them is to love them.
Then if I may call out one more ‘P word’ – principles. 127 is Christ-centered, Gospel-motivated, and operates with the greatest integrity. We choose to invest our finances because we stand by the principles of 127. Giving to this one organization helps so many areas of need.
I am so blessed on this side of heaven to take part in this Kingdom work.
Happy Birthday 127! He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.