EL CENTRO – Local Valley organization, Burning Bush International, held their annual Dinner & Auction, which was entitled “Aimor Arereng” meaning, “Sharing the Blessing.” Burning Bush founder, Jim Rhodes, views the yearly dinner and auction as a way to “check in” with donors and allow them to see the work that the organization has accomplished throughout the year.
The faith-based, non profit organization was launched in 2012 by Jim and Nancie Rhodes of El Centro, and primarily serves the country of Uganda. They provide humanitarian relief and economic sustainability to the impoverished country, along with evangelism. As part of their humanitarian work, the organization provides clean water wells to villages with little or no other water source, and gives goats to orphans as a means of economic stability. Additionally, they aid in healthcare and education.
The event Thursday night provided supporters with an overall ministry summary for 2016. It was a full event, which included a Ugandan specialty dinner of “Chicken on a Stick,” music from local talent Elijah Banaga, special presentations from local supporters, and a silent auction.
The event also featured Bonnie, Jake, and Danny Jones as special speakers. The mother-son trio shared highlights from their recent trip with Burning Bush International in February of this year.
Bonnie Jones, a school teacher and self-described “adventurer at heart,” said, “We want to share the big idea, which is [showing] all of the good Burning Bush International (BBI) does.”
“Kids are eating termites for survival,” she continued. She indicated that the work BBI does “has an impact on everything.”
The mother and son team aided in opening water wells, as well as bringing pillowcase dresses for girls, along with prison visits and providing medical help. In addition, Mrs. Jones brought a suitcase full of books which were given to schools in Uganda, and were donated in part from her students and the Kiwanis Club in El Centro.
The result of this experience led son Danny Jones to start a Go Fund Me page which is raising money to provide another well to those in need. His campaign is being accomplished entirely through social media, of which he said, “You can reach literally millions of people just through your cell phone.”
At the event, Pastor Tony Romano of Gateway Church in Brawley presented BBI with a check to provide three goats for orphans in need. The funds were raised from Gateway Church in just three months. Valley Christian Church of Imperial presented BBI with a check for $7,000 to help the organization.
Jim Rhodes made clear that 100% of donations go to BBI’s Uganda Projects, which include hospital and prison evangelism, nutrition and feeding programs, hospital, clinic, and educational support, as well as providing goats for orphans and dresses for girls.