Back in October, I had the privilege of going through a Leadership Forum through my church, Grace Point, here in San Antonio. During that time, I began to establish what it is that I felt God has wired me to do. My purpose. What I exist to do. Through tons of introspection and evaluation of my life, I determined that I exist to show love and bring hope to boys that need guidance and direction. I realized that that had been the undercurrent, the driving force, behind everything I chose to do and to be involved in throughout my life. That’s what energizes me, and that’s what I know I can do to bring glory to God’s name. So, if that’s what I exist to do, then I realized that I must intentionally seek out opportunities both in my community and abroad to accomplish that.

Fast forward to about a month ago, and an opportunity to do just that falls in my lap. My friend JT Dick contacted me about this trip to Uganda that he would be leading in June. During the trip, he and the rest of the team will be partnering with a missionary friend of his to love and disciple orphaned street boys of Kampala, Uganda. This missionary felt called to build a rescue home for these boys five years ago, and now the ministry is building their third home. These boys have been orphaned due to civil wars, AIDS, neglect, etc. and they are left to fend for themselves and are often left without hope. This ministry seeks to restore that hope and to show these boys that they are loved. The team will actually be staying in the orphanage with the boys. As if this wasn’t enough for God to get my attention, JT also told me that this ministry is seeking teachers to serve their community by working within their school system for a few weeks over the summer. As many of you know, I started teaching this past January. My heart is pounding and my eyes are on the verge of welling up just thinking about it all.

I fought the idea of going for almost a month. I almost let my fear of uncertainty get the best of me. To say that I’m not scared or that I’m sure everything will work out how it should work out would be far from the truth. Truth is, I’m terrified. Not terrified of going to Uganda at all. I’m stoked about that part. But I’m terrified of what I don’t know. I don’t know how I’m going to raise $4,100 in two months. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for grad school since I’m not going to be working summer school to make enough money to do that. I don’t know how I’m going to have the time, energy, mental capacity, etc. to focus on raising funds and tying all the logistical loose ends together before heading out in June, all while I’m already being stretched pretty thin in work, church, and life in general. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for all the shots that I need to get before going to Uganda, since I don’t have health insurance.

But if there’s one thing that I do know, and one thing that the Lord has taught me, both through personal experience and through Scripture, it’s that He is faithful. That’s one thing of which I can be sure. I’ve also learned that the most important things are often the scariest things to do. And I also know that if I knew all the ins and outs of every detail of my life and of this trip, then I would have no need to trust God. So here’s to trusting God and embarking on this adventure with Him leading the way. I would love for all of you to have a part in this journey with me to help restore hope for these street boys of Kampala, Uganda. I ask that you pray over this trip and over the team as we make the necessary preparations. And as you may have already assumed, considering the distance and length of the trip, there is a definite financial need. Below are the details:

Trip Details
Cost: $4100
Money Due: End of May
Dates of Trip: June 10-July 16

I ask that you prayerfully consider donating to this trip. No amount is too small. If you wish to donate $5, great! If you wish to donate $500, great! Everything is greatly appreciated!

You can donate either by following this link or by mailing a check to:
Luis Semidey
1129 E Loren St
Springfield, MO 65807

IMPORTANT: Make the check out to Ichthus Ministries, but address the envelope you mail it in to the address listed. My name shouldn’t appear on the check at all. As long as you address the envelope to me, it will go toward my fundraising goal.

Thank you all in advance!

The Tree

His arms reach out in all directions,
Kids climbing,  jumping, playing,
Rope swings and tire swings
Boy oh boy,
This tree has it all.

He  stands high and mighty
Above all the rest—a skyscraper,
With leaves and animals galore;
This oak is alive and well.

This baby is known by many names:
A home, a refuge,
A playground by some,
A friend, or just art.

Multitalented .

He dances in the wind,
Plays in the rain,
Soaks up the rays
Day after day
Just having a good time living the good life
In freedom

Seasons come and seasons go,
And as the years pass by
This hoss just takes it in stride.

But this year is different than the rest.

The biting winter comes,
And gosh dangit it’s cold

The ice entraps his arms,
And the snow adds insult to injury.
What was once a handsome oak,
Is now a weeping willow,
Hunched over,

He begins to crack under the pressure
One limb,
Two limbs,
Three limbs,
His arms violently snap
And fall lifelessly to the ground below.

This broken, forlorn life
Tries to remain optimistic
Things will be better in the spring

The ice begins to melt
And his wounds are exposed.
The sun shines,
But still
The tree is naked, broken, bruised, used.

He tries to dance in the wind
Play in the rain,
Soak up the rays,
But he can’t;
It hurts too much
He’s reminded of the better days,
When he was stronger.

The spring, summer, fall, and winter come
But still
No leaves,
No animals,
No rope swings or tire swings,
No kids.
They’ve moved on
To bigger and better things

People say he’ll live again,
But when?

Two years pass,
And they’re all still wrong.

They contemplate cutting him down,
Put him out of his misery,
But no.

They have faith he will live.
He has faith he will live
They believe in him,
Which allows him believe in himself.

His arms are still cracked,
Still void of any life,
But he’s optimistic again,
And that’s good enough for now.

Patience keeps one sane.

He listens and waits,
And for the first time,
He watches life happen
All around him,
When alas!
A leaf.

A leaf pokes his little green head
Out of one of his limbs.
Flying solo.

But wait, what’s this?
There’s another,
And another,
And another!

He’s coming back to life,
He can feel it in his roots,
And everyone around him takes notice.

Within months he’s back and running,
Strong as ever,
Happy as can be,
Living free again.

His arms reach out in all directions,
Kids climbing,  jumping, playing,
Rope swings and tire swings
Boy oh boy,
This tree has it all.