As we pause in life and give thanks, The Last Word is happy to introduce Sarah Hales, founder of ekissa, an orphan care ministry leading small, short-term mission trips to Africa. ekissa, which translates to “mercy” in native Ugandan, is currently fundraising for an urgent need in helping maintain housing for 15 children. To donate or receive more information, visit www.ekissa.com
1. How did you get involved with ekissa?
As the founder of ekissa, I can’t really say it was something I planned on doing from childhood. Having twice adopted internationally, my eyes were opened to the world-wide pandemic of orphans. While the opportunity of adopting has been a blessing from God, I felt God was calling me to a much larger picture of orphan care. God planted a desire within me, to take a look at the multi-dimensional causes of “orphan-hood” and to help make change.
2. What advice would you give to younger women thinking of starting a mission or doing what you do?
While ekissa is a “mission,” I believe ekissa can better be characterized as a mission of “communication.” Communication is an “exchange” – an exchange of activity, connections, access, words, emotions, etc. I would advise younger women to recognize the value of listening. Regardless of socio-economic level, skin color, country, race, ethnicity, religious practices, or sexual orientation, we’re all human! Everyone needs to be heard and respected. We have something to learn from one-another. It is in listening that we gain respect from others, which then yields trust, acceptance and reciprocity to promote exponential progress and ultimately, sharing the gospel.
3. Do you find that being a woman makes certain parts of your charity work difficult?
The greatest obstacle I face as a woman is the same here in the US as in Uganda. That obstacle is that of being heard/taken seriously by men. In the US, women have often been presumed to act from emotional points of view, which tends to negate validity. In Africa, there is a tremendous disparity in value among the genders. Due to this, often we will have our male board members be the front-runner, or the “face” of ekissa. A great idea may come from a female; however, because of her gender, no one may have “ears to hear” the particulars. Although, if the same idea is presented by a man, others are more eager to listen.
4. What sets you apart from other women?
Rather than focusing on differences, I prefer to focus on similarities or togetherness. There is enough parading of differences, and way too many stages performing the “elevation of self.” We are all uniquely different, yet equally alike. We were beautifully created to continue displaying the love and creativity of Christ.
5. Where do you see ekissa in five years?
I see ekissa more deeply involved in relationships with the indigenous people of Uganda, while they continue to build a more hopeful tomorrow.
6. If you could nominate a local woman for President, who would it be and why?
I would nominate DeComa Love-Lane, although, she wouldn’t take the job! I’ve learned from her the importance of sitting still and listening. The span of her heart and mind give new definition to “deep and wide.” She challenges not only herself, but those who posses an openness to grow, to look at everything from all perspectives.
7. How would you like to define your legacy?
Human…made lots of mistakes…played hard, worked hard, loved deep…because Christ FIRST loved me!
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
Warm chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven.