Who We Are

Our Board

Brendy Alsup

Brendy is a wife, mother and homemaker in Templeton, California.  She is married to AJ and they have seven children.  Brendy is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Human Development and Psychology with a concentration in Early Childhood Education.  She has a variety of work experience ranging from marketing, event planning, the non-profit sector and full time youth ministry.  Whether speaking at Vacation Bible School, leading small groups or sharing one-on-one, Brendy encourages youth to serve God with their whole hearts for their whole lives.

 

 

Sandy Lebens
Sandy’s life has been devoted to children and young adults.  She enjoys helping young people develop a passion for service within the community and around the world.  She obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in Administrative Services from California Polytechnic State University.  In addition to working as a teacher and administrator for the Lucia Mar Unified School District, she coordinated curriculum for the district and provided leadership to the district’s K-12 mentor teachers.  She has also served in numerous capacities at her church including as a Stephen Minister, as co-leader of the Social Outreach team, and extensively in the child and youth programs.  As a board member, she is committed to the facilitation of God’s work in Africa and in other underserved areas of the world.

 

Travis Messer
Travis is a husband, father, and current Director of Ministry Streaming at the Salem Web Network, a division of Salem Communications Corporation.  Over the past 15 years, Travis has consulted with Christian non-profit organizations in the areas of online media strategies, donor development, email marketing, and database management. Having personally visited Arua, Uganda on two separate occasions, Travis is passionate to see the vision and outreach of Zozu succeed in its endeavor to provide new hope and life to the children of Arua, Uganda.

 

 

Katy Griffin
It is Katy's passion to see de-churched people become fully devoted followers of Christ. She has studied at Sonoma State University- Nursing degree, Fuller Seminary Extension Courses - Commissioned Lay Pastor, and has completed a Masters Diploma in Biblical Counseling. Most of the days you can find Katy hanging out with teens at Girl Talk, taking a missions team to go serve and learn, or jogging. Katy was honored and humbled at the offer of being on the board of this amazing ministry. After prayer, and talking with her husband, Katy replied yes. As a Mission’s Pastor, Community Advocate and Cross Country Coach (need lots of energy for that) she is expectant to what God has planned for the future of the Zozu Project.

 

Barby Wunsch

Barby’s passion for working with youth, helping underserved populations, and building relationships to connect families to assistive services led her to become involved in Zozu project. Currently active in her Development career with GRID Alternatives (non-profit solar for low income families), Barby brings extensive knowledge and success in fundraising, grant writing, and relationship building to the table. She enjoys helping others, finding unique solutions to complex problems, and looks forward to pursuing Development opportunities to help further the mission of Zozu Project. In her “free time”, Barby enjoys time spent with her husband and two children, fiber arts, volunteer work, and pursuing opportunities for personal and professional growth. She enjoys a vibrant relationship with God and sets aside daily time for reflection and conversation to help her find ways to share her blessings with others.


Zozu Executive Committee

Elaine Remy Lebens
Elaine’s passion for other cultures lead her to Arua, Uganda in 2013.  She felt an immediate connection to the people of Arua.  Unable to shake the memories of the beautiful children she met in Arua, she organized a campaign to build Solid Rock School and subsequently founded the child sponsorship program through Zozu Project to provide ongoing support for the school and surrounding village.  Elaine is privileged to work as a physician on the central coast of California.  She is married to Mick and they have three children. 

 

Mick Lebens
Mick lives in Templeton, California with his wife, Elaine, and their three children.  He attended UCLA and then the University of Rochester School of Medicine where he earned his medical degree.  He currently is in private practice working as a Family Physician.  He has travelled to Haiti, Peru and Uganda to help run medical clinics with a short term mission team from His Healing Hands.  His experience with the people in Uganda and their needs cultivated his desire to have God use him to help start Solid Rock Christian School in Uganda and the Zozu Project.  Mick also enjoys coaching his children in their sports and is active in Templeton Presbyterian Church.

 

Elsie Soderberg
In early 2017, Elsie flew to Uganda to see the work of the Zozu Project in person. With a degree in Communications and Entreprenuership from UCLA, past experience at start-ups and small international charities, and a touch of fearlessness, it was a good fit. Working full-time to see the poorest families thrive has been a challenge of unexpected proportions for her, and a blessing of unprecedentanted priviledge. To this day, Arua, Uganda remains the most remote and un-westernized place that she has travelled to. She believes that the Lord closed and opened the appropriate doors to guide her to Zozu, and is passionate about inviting more people to join in.

 


Our Founders 

The original vision of Zozu Project came from three youth after their first trip to Arua, Uganda.  With the help of their aunt and uncle, Tom and Julie Lebens, Zozu Project was established. 

Jessa Lebens

I have a passion for helping children and it's been an absolute privilege to get to invest in the beautiful kids of Uganda.  I can't wait to see all that happens over there in years to come!

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4

 

 

Ryan Lebens

During my first visit to Arua, Uganda in 2013, I met a little boy named Cesar who was so excited to show me his treasured belongings,  which consisted of a paper clip and bottle cap in a small, rusty candy tin.  Meeting children like Cesar who were grateful for so little and lacked the opportunities that I had taken for granted convinced me I needed to help.   

 

 

 

Nathan Lebens

During my trip to Arua, Uganda in 2015, I was blown away by the impact Zozu Project had in such a short time!   I could never have imagined that so much change could even happen.   So many people have made this possible, and I want to thank everyone who has given of their time, skills and finances to create change in Arua.    It has been such a privilege for me to help connect people in need to those who want to help. 

 

 


 

Our Uganda Team

We have the privilege of working with an amazing group of local leaders in Arua, Uganda.  With decades of experience in ministry, business, poverty alleviation, and in leadership training, they are our greatest resource.

Pastor John Paul Sewava

Our director, residing fulltime in Arua is Pastor John Paul Sewava, fondly know as Pastor JP.  He is the founder and director of Solid Rock Christian School in Arua, Uganda.  He is also the founder and senior pastor at Arua Community Church.  In 2011, Pastor JP heard God’s call and moved with his family to Arua.  Along with his wife Rose, son Joel (17), and daughter Rebecca (13), he left friends and extended family and relocated to an area of Africa with a heartbreaking history and in desperate need of help.  Before coming to Arua, Pastor JP had a long history of helping others.  He co-founded Africa Renewal Ministries, currently the largest non-governmental organization in Uganda with a mission to develop and equip generations of Christian leaders.  Africa Renewal Ministries has grown tremendously and currently has affiliated churches, a medical center, an orphanage, a university and supports numerous schools with over eight thousand students in sponsorship.  Pastor John Paul took on many roles at Africa Renewal Ministries including most recently as Missions Director, where he coordinated the Fellowship of Community Churches.  In this role, he was involved in evangelical campaigns resulting in new church plants in over twelve districts of Uganda.  He co-founded Gaba Community Church, currently the largest church in Uganda, where he most recently served as Missions Pastor.  He also established Maranatha Christian School and Maranatha High School in Gaba, Uganda.   Pastor JP has served on the board of directors for both schools.  He has also served on other boards including but not limited to Wenzt Medical Center,  African Renewal Saving and Credit, and Africa Renewal Management.

 

Solid Rock Christian School teachers and staff

Zozu Project supports 17 fulltime Ugandan salaries including teachers, cooks, janitorial and medical staff. Their dedication, faith and love for the children of Arua make them our greatest resource. 

 

 

 

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