One hundred days; an amount of time often used to measure and predict the success or failure of a leader. It is an amount of time, after which we as a nation expect to see the trajectory our President will take us. Today, I end my first 100 days as President of Sweet Sleep on a flight to Moldova; to the birthplace of Sweet Sleep, to witness the unfolding of the future of the Organization as we respond to global changes in orphan care.
Sweet Sleep was founded 11 years ago in response to a simple need Jen Gash saw on a mission trip to a tiny country she had never heard of before called Moldova. The children she met were called orphans and they slept on rotten decades-old mattresses and sagging bed springs. Over the years, Sweet Sleep has provided over 22,000 beds to orphaned and abandoned children in seven countries around the world. But we’ve also learned a great deal about these children called “orphans”. We’ve learned they have families and that those families would care for those children if they could.
My involvement with the organization began Christmas, 2008. My children were very young and I was convicted to shift the focus of the holiday away from the gluttony it so easily can be in our culture, and to take steps to live outside of ourselves. That year, through Sweet Sleep’s “Give the Gift” campaign, I gave beds to my family. As I watched the Sweet Sleep story be told I was captivated. It’s a gift that truly changed my thinking, changed my heart, and changed my life.
Over the years my involvement has grown from twice a year mission journeys to administrative volunteering in the office; then to trips coordination and global operations direction. And now, as our Founder has stepped away to seek what else God has in store for her, I find myself being called President of the organization I love so dearly.
“The last 100 days have been challenging but immeasurably rewarding.”
The last 100 days have been challenging but immeasurably rewarding. We’ve built a strong team, developed impactful partnerships with local nonprofit ministries, and we’ve reestablished relationships that had been deeply missed. Globally we’ve worked to place 100 Ethiopian children into Christian Ethiopian homes, we’ve developed a vibrant program in Moldova that will train and equip Christian couples to adopt children in their own communities, and we’ve given beds to 130 children in Uganda who have been rescued, rehabilitated, and reunited with their parents or relatives. God has opened doors and has revealed the fullness of the renewing of the ministry of Sweet Sleep and its family preservation initiative, Heart For 1.
Today, a friend asked me, “Why Sweet Sleep?” I could only answer by explaining it was because God called me here. Five years ago, I was a stay at home mom with three tiny children who simply prayed that God would equip me and use me. God answered that prayer in ways far greater than I had the breadth of imagination to even pray. He can do great things through those who simply go to Him with open hands and say yes.