Chris and Nikki Uglow work for Oriel Ministries, a charity they set up in January 2009 which aims to reach young people with the gospel in a culturally relevant way. Part of the ministry is their band, “L.E.D” (Let Everyone Decide), who offer lively performances filled with positive lyrics. They are passionate about supporting young people and helping them understand the depth of God’s love. We caught up with them at Creationfest in Cornwall earlier this month.
Tell us about your ministry
We started our ministry with the project L.E.D Band. The band goes into schools and preaches the gospel and holds lessons, workshops and assemblies. It reaches the kids at the level they’re at so they can personally understand what faith means. For some people we introduce them to Jesus for the first time.
We work in partnership with local churches because we want to make sure children are disciple as well. We have visited and shared with over 100,000 people over the last 5 years. We started off as a tiny ministry and God has started to grow it.
NU: Recently, God has put it on my heart to do something for teenage girls. So many girls struggle with self-worth issues, eating disorders, self-harm, image. There’s so much control with the internet and the media projecting perfection. We hold a conference called “Innocence Conference” where girls are pampered and we get to discuss topics like relationships, image, self-worth. It’s a beautiful day which we love. It’s amazing to see the change in the girls throughout the day. Teenagers today have so much more to face. We want to tell them that they are loved for who they are and who God has created them to be.
Where did you guys first hear about Compassion?
NU: I used to be part of an organisation called Innovation Trust and went to various events and heard about Compassion. I love helping teenagers in this country, but I wanted to think how can I help those in other countries? I have a lovely comfy bed and clean water. I feel like in the past I’d been selfish but I was thinking I really want to do something to bless someone else. I was living by support so God was giving me each month the money I needed but I wanted to give back. €30 a month can buy you a top or t-shirt. But in another country like Sumitra’s country – that can go so far. It can help her have a new life.
I’ve sponsored Sumitra for 8 years now. It’s so exciting to get letters through and see how her life is changing and how she’s growing up and developing into a young woman. Knowing that she’s centred on Christ because of what the Compassion team are doing is fantastic.
You’ve talked about working with young women ad helping them realise their worth. What are your hopes and prayers for Sumitra?
NU: I want her to grow up knowing she’s beautiful. God has created her and has a purpose for her life. Although sometimes she will struggle with things, I want her to know God loves her for who she is. He will provide for her. I want her to know she has support around her to become the woman God wants her to be. God has a perfect plan for her life. Maybe she’ll be able to help other people because she’s been helped.
Tell us about your decision to sponsor a child as a band
NU: 18 months ago we decided to sponsor Yasmani from El Salvador. He’s a little lad, he’s only 4 years old. His parents write to us and his teachers write to us. He sometimes says thank you and it’s not that you want the thank you but it’s great to help him out. It’s a blessing to us.
CU: Sometimes children just can’t afford to pay €30 a month to sponsor a child, so when we go into schools and share with them, we love to show them the water filters and it helps them understand context. We also created wristbands with the name of one of our songs “Freedom” and the Compassion logo and the proceeds goes bit by bit towards water filters for families without safe drinking water.
We’d love to meet Yasmani one day. It would be a life-changing experience.