“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Mark 8:35
This life. It is something we hold so close. We live our lives reaching for success, trying to live decently and comfortable. But what happens when we decide to live our life for the one who gave us life? When we decide that our life was not created for us to merely live in comfort and for ourselves but that it was created for us to serve others and for greater things than we can imagine?
This is the Vivas family. They have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus. Giving it all up to build a new life in Uganda with their 3 girls, Melany, Ariana and Amaris. They've chosen to no longer live for their desires or their satisfaction but rather for the radical love of Christ. Which ultimately is the only way of living that will truly satisfy the human heart and make us whole. What beautiful Jesus loving parents do these blessed girls have that not only say they love Jesus but literally show it every single day. I guarantee you their story will wrench your heart and open your eyes to a truly selfless life.
How did this adventure begin. When did that fire for following Christ begin to burn?
Alegna- When I was very young my mom "casually" told me the story of a missionary woman named Amy Carmichael who the lord used to save, love and mother hundreds of orphaned or abandoned children. Although I was very young that story inspired and awakened something in me that I couldn't articulate into words at my young age. I wanted to be like Amy!:)
The years went by and I forgot all about Amy. I married, had children, founded a church and four years ago the Lord compassion and deep love for hurting children surfaced again! We began fostering children. It was hard work but we wouldn't have had it any other way. I was content with our life, our home was our mission field. But then the Lord spoke to my husband...
Mel- In 2015 the Lord had me studying in prayer every scripture about the poor, needy, orphans and I began to notice how the Kingdom of Heaven is attached to the poor, Matthew 25:35-40. The Holy Spirit began working in my heart in a new and unexpected way. A compassion grew in me for the poor and the needy. I began to look at photos online of poor children, street children, and posting them on my wall in my prayer closet. That's how the fire for this adventure began.
What was it like moving to the other side of the world with three young girls, not knowing what life would be like, and not having the same accommodations as you had in the U.S.?
Moving to a developing country with three small daughters has been HARD-beautiful. We took time to research and learn about the culture. We looked at videos of Africa as a family. And we took time to condition the hearts of our daughters for the big change and challenges. It has been over two weeks and we (My husband and I) have had "airplane day" :) day where we just want to drive straight to the airport and go home. However, the daily happiness and joy our daughters have given us grace for those moments. They have embraced and adapted beautifully! Although we live in a very small town surrounded by villages, where nothing is familiar (clothes, food, etc...) and we know we'll never fit into their culture, Jesus meets us right here every morning and stays with us through the night :) Our hearts are full and we have joy in the hard. If we love God then we also love His will.
Have you both always had a passion for the helping the less fortunate?
Yes we have! I believe my(Alegna) passion ignited earlier than my husband, but my husbands some times shows stronger, if that makes sense :) Stronger in the sense that He moved his family to an unknown-hard place led by that passion.
Tell me a little bit about life in Uganda.
Uganda is a beautiful country with extravagant landscape and a very productive soil. Uganda is known for it's coffee. This country has some of the most hard-working people I've ever seen. Uganda is also a hard place. It is a developing country. There is poverty and need at every turn. Naked and malnourish children run the streets all day. Most schools are undeveloped...
What are some challenges you are facing everyday?
Our biggest challenge at the moment is the food. It is impossible to find food we are use to in our town. There are no grocery stores. We buy from local farmers and the town butchers. The meat hangs outside all day until it's sold. We buy chicken and it's killed and cleaned in front of us but we still get sick. We have decided to go to the capital now that we have a vehicle, at least twice a month to buy our groceries :)
How can we help Jubilee Life Missions continue expanding God's kingdom and helping others?
Jubilee is a starting Organization. Our family began this organization after selling our home and belongings back in the states. Therefore our funds are very low. Thankfully we have had the support of family, friends and some churches. However, Jubilee Life Mission needs monthly financial partners that can come alongside us and rescue these children out of the cruel streets of Uganda. We have to do a physical including blood tests for each child rescued. We must provide clothes, shoes and food. Jubilee Life Mission also provides each child in our program with an education and christian discipleship.
What is one scripture verse that encourages you everyday?
1 Corinthians 8:9 Christ that being rich, yet for your sake became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich.
"We have the assurance-a calming and quieting one- that God in His infinite wisdon has placed us where we are." -Elisabeth Elliot
I pray this post starts a fire in your heart for living selflessly and in service to others. We are only fully alive when we are helping others. Please keep the Vivas family in your thoughts and prayer! For donations please visit: https://www.jubileelifemission.org
Images by: Alegna Vivas