I’m back at it. Uganda. Youth Ablaze 2018. September 3rd. This time I’m not fighting it like I used to. I am fighting it, just not with the same intensity and self-righteousness. (I was wondering why I’m not, to tell you the truth.) Every year I agree to go to Uganda. This will be the fifth year.
I actually told Kathy, “Don’t tell him we are coming back!”
Every year after the conference, we are invited to Pastor Elijah’s house for dinner on the way to the airport. Over dinner, he talks about how great the conference was. The thousands of delegates who attended from many African nations. The lives changed by a new, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The businesses which will be started. The individuals changed because they were given a new vision for their lives. The people who will escape poverty and lead Uganda into a new, Christ-centered and economically flourishing future.
He starts talking about next year. He says things like, “When you and Kathy return next year, there will not be ten thousand delegates but fifteen or twenty thousand. You will impact so many more lives with your message. Each of the delegates knows the sacrifice you are making for them. They love and appreciate you. They look forward to your return and the new messages God will give you to tell them.”
This is where Kathy usually jumps in and starts fanning the flames of enthusiasm. “Yes. Yes. We will be back!” But I told Kathy to keep a lid on it. Shut up. Don’t even nod in agreement. Just let him talk himself out. In four hours we’ll be on the plane back to Atlanta. How freeing it will be not to have a commitment to return.
So why am I going back?
Kathy loves it there, and so do I. But I don’t want to love it. The thoughts I have while thinking about going are not nice. I can’t share them here. The thoughts aren’t very Christian. But the moment we exit Entebbe Airport and see Pastor Elijah and all those kids, I know we did the right thing.
All these people escort us to our waiting car and load up our luggage. Then we are greeted by each of the Hands of Love leaders. They welcome us and thank us for coming. Still standing in the parking lot of the airport, they begin singing praise songs to Jesus. We close in prayer, get in the car, and go to the hotel. We arrive around 2 am local time, exhausted and exhilarated.
The Holy Spirit explodes in us.
Months before we board the plane, I am praying, thinking, planning, reading, writing, and complaining. “God, give me something here. What do you want me to tell these thousands of young leaders from ten African countries? Come on. Speak. Speak. I’m listening.”
After months of this squirming, I’ll get a whisper of a theme. Last year, I didn’t even get that. But you know what? When I got there, I spent two full days writing all the ideas God gave to me. The topics, the points, the stories, the Bible verses. Yes. That is how it happened.
So why am I not fighting so hard?
I know God gave me all this experience in startups for a reason. I think this may be it. When will I ever have a platform this big with such outsized credibility? When will I ever have the opportunity to speak about my experience to youth hungry to leave poverty by starting a business? When will I ever have an opportunity like this? This is it!
They are naming businesses after me.
I am told many businesses have been started because of the information and prayers shared at Youth Ablaze over the years. Just last week while visiting Atlanta, Pastor Elijah told me a few young men in Uganda named their new business “Paparelli.”
When asked by a local what that means, they simply replied, “Professor Charlie Paparelli taught us how to start this business, so we named it after him.” You can’t make this stuff up.
Will you join me again in supporting these young men and women?
This is the 17th year of Youth Ablaze. In 2001 there were 67 delegates. Last year, 10,000. This year, 20,000.
The cost is skyrocketing.
I don’t know how God is going to fund this, but I know He will. The money will come from people like you and me as well as the church in Kampala, the kids’ registrations, local businesses, and graduates of Youth Ablaze who started businesses. The donations will come in the form of money, goats, chickens, bulls, cows, and volunteer labor. But everyone will contribute the best way they can. It is an amazing Christ-centered community event. You have to be there to feel the energy of the Spirit of God and the love that’s shared.
God is blessing Kathy and me in this ministry. He is also blessing those who come alongside us. Join us. These kids need our help.
Your donations will provide food, water, a sleeping mat, security, medical, and sanitation. They stay on property and in other open areas surrounding the property for a full week. It’s like Woodstock but for Kingdom-Minded Entrepreneurs.
Please contribute. Partner with us. Change people’s lives. Allow God to bless you.
We love you, and we are praying for you.
If God leads you to join us in changing these kids lives and multiple nations at the same time, I have outlined below how you might contribute. I hope you do it. I’ll keep you up to date while we’re there in September. You’ll be blessed as we are blessed.
Love, Kathy and Charlie Paparelli
PS: Here is the video I recorded last year while at the conference. It is a reminder of how excited and grateful the delegates are for your support.
PPS: Here are different ways to give:
– Postal address: Hands of Love USA, 1932 Bennetts Point Drive, Marietta, GA 30068
– Credit Card: Click here. (The site will ask you to register when contributing if you are not already registered.)
– Donor Advised Fund e.g. National Christian Foundation – Registered as Hands of Love USA with above postal address.
PPPS: For any question on giving, accounting, or tax receipts, please contact Laura Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404.610.9962.