Continuing on with profiles of moms making resolutions for life changes, today we feature Sarah Ledford. No one understands the meaning behind “It Takes a Village” better than Sarah. For nearly two years, this local mom has worked tirelessly to make the world a better place for orphaned children – beginning with one village today and hopefully hundreds tomorrow.

Did you know there are 145 million orphans worldwide and more than 500,000 children in the US foster care system? In Uganda, a country riddled with civil war and disease, fifty percent of the population is age 15 or younger, and the country is noted for having the highest population of orphans.

Sarah and her husband, Chuck, are parents to three daughters (17-year-old Chelsea, as well as two daughters they adopted from China: Hope, 9, and Chloe, 6). They learned of these staggering statistics after their adoptions. And it wasn’t long before Sarah decided to do something about it.

In the spring of 2009, Sarah led a small team of ladies to Uganda to visit local orphan care ministries and discern how they could begin serving the orphans of Uganda.

“It’s one thing to watch footage of African children on television from the comfort of our climate controlled North American homes, but it takes it to a whole new dimension to be physically standing on the dry African soil, holding a child in your arms who’s parents have both died, unsure of the survival of this little one who’s dying of starvation…something as simple as food—which we seem to consume so freely…or because no one has the funds for an $8 antibiotic for Malaria,” says Sarah.

Upon returning home, Sarah knew she was called to begin a new ministry. And so in the fall of 2009, Sarah foundedekissa, which translates to “Mercy” in the local language (called Luganda).

She has since traveled to Uganda five times in the past 19 months – taking with her five different mission teams. These trips have resulted in enough fund raising to create a “hub of care” for the village she assists, which includes a Christian church (currently a chicken coop with plans for a physical church in the makings), a school, medical clinic and a facility to continue providing care for the hundreds of local orphans.

While she has certainly made huge strides, Sarah continues to have big plans for ekissa and for the children she serves.

“My goals this year are to invite and enlighten as many people who will dare to travel with ekissa to Uganda in order catch an up close and personal glimpse into the lives of the beautiful people of Uganda, whom I’ve grown to love so deeply.”

For nearly two years, Sarah has given so much of herself to her mission, and she says it’s the people of Uganda who keep her going.

“They don’t wonder what they’re going to eat at their next meal…they wonder if there will be a next meal.  They don’t wonder what they’ll drink when they become thirsty again…they wonder if they’ll get sick from that next drink of parasite infested water. Our friends in Uganda have nothing, yet they maintain a state of being content – something most of us could take note of!”

If you’re interested in accompanying Sarah on a mission trip with ekissa, assisting with an ekissa event, or raising awareness in your community, please contact Sarah directly. Or visit the web site or Sarah’s blog for more information.

Additionally, Sarah sells jewelry to benefit her mission trips, and you can find these charming pieces at ETC Consignmentin Winston-Salem or at Hip Chics Boutique in Clemmons.

And to Sarah: May this new year bring you the support, strength, and subsidy you need to continue to serve these children like you do. We all thank you, the world over!