This blog post is an invitation to support my new GoFundMe campaign:
Unfinished Business: Reuniting a Family
In the fall of 2014 many of you joined me securing the safety of a friend of mine, “Sophia.” Together we raised the funds to fly her from Uganda to Germany where she has applied for asylum because of her efforts as an Ally on behalf of LGBT persons in Uganda. Her case is now pending—and will likely not be decided for more than a year. (You can find more about that GoFundMe campaign — which is now complete — here.)
I met “Sophia” in 2013 while in Uganda on behalf of Wingspan, my church’s LGBT ministry. Several times during my stay Sophia looked after my safety. Last fall you helped me look after her.
But this was the measure of her fear at the time of her flight: I also met Sophia’s daughter, “Toni” in Uganda. At the time she was just a toddler; now she is a bright little girl. Sophia had to leave Toni behind when she fled the country. And for the past nine months Toni has stayed with Sophia’s mother, growing each day in ways Sophia can only imagine—but cannot see, or hear, or hold.
Sophia has recently managed to get a passport for Toni. It seems likely that very soon friends and family in Uganda will manage to get Toni a visa so that she can travel to Germany. “Harriet,” (as in Harriet Tubman!) who is friend of Sophia’s, and well known to Toni, will travel with her as an adult companion. Harriet will return to Uganda alone, and Toni will be reunited with Sophia and be included in her asylum process.
The biggest remaining hurdle is to produce the funds to cover all the expenses for both Toni and Harriet. Plane fare; visas; travel insurance; and miscellaneous expenses. Working with Harriet, we have estimated a total budget of about $4000 to cover everything.
I don’t have that $4000, and my guess is that none of you do either. But TOGETHER … WE do. Whether you can spare $10 or $100, please help me complete this unfinished business and reunite mother and daughter. No gift is too small—or too large! J
I’m counting on each of you to imagine Sophia’s longing for this day. I know as a dad and a grandpa, when I imagine her longing I can barely contain myself. And then I hope you’ll join me in making this longed-for day possible.
FINE PRINT DETAILS:
- Your gift will be tax deductible. So long as you provide your e-mail and/or mailing address during the donation process, once I retrieve the money from GoFundMe and deposit it through my church, I can provide you with a donation receipt.
- If you prefer to send me a check, by all means do that. Make it out to “St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church” and put “Wingspan-Uganda” on the memo line. Checks work just as well as online gifts (in fact, they bypass the processing fee charged by GoFundMe). Send your check to me: David Weiss, 1359 Blair Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104. I can post checks as offline donations to help track our progress.
- If we exceed the goal or $4000 (or if the total expenses are less than this) any extra funds will go directly to Wingspan’s Uganda Project, finding other good work we do in Uganda.
David R. Weiss is the author of To the Tune of a Welcoming God: Lyrical reflections on sexuality, spirituality and the wideness of God’s welcome (2008, Langdon Street Press). A theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, David is committed to doing “public theology” around issues of sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. He lives in St. Paul and speaks on college campuses and at church and community events. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more at www.ToTheTune.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” He recently published a playfully profound and slyly subversive children’s picture book, When God Was a Little Girl. Learn more at www.WhenGodWasaLittleGirl.com.