$25 per month will provide the following to a child: Teachers' salaries, school uniform, scholastic materials, Water bills, transport, shoes, socks, breakfast & Lunch, a desk, medical services and sanitary pads for girls.

My devotion to the Blessed Mother stems from my mother’s love for Mary – my mother, Ann! Imagine that – my mother was also named Ann! My mother always had her rosary in hand, a blue rosary. As a little girl this was etched in my heart. The first time I heard about Medjugorje was in the late ‘80s. We were on vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was at the front desk and the talk was about a place in Yugoslavia where the Blessed Mother was appearing daily. What? Wow, how? The talk in the hotel was about a Lutheran man speaking about it. Yes, my youngest son Justin and I wanted to go!

Several years later, we were asked to house a foreign exchange student. I said, “Sure, but only from Yugoslavia.” My only purpose was that maybe someday I could get to Medjugorje. Well it happened that we got a young lady, Klaudjia, from Slovonski Brod during the Croat-Serbian war. Klaudy stayed in the USA with us for six years. She finished high school and also college while with us in North Dakota. She became part of our family. In 1997, my son Justin died. In 1998, my son Joshua graduated from high school, I got divorced, and Klaudy returned to Croatia, where she still lives with her children and husband. My Croatian daughter!

All my close friends knew that my dream was to someday get to Medjugorje. In 2004, I finally had that chance. In August, there was a note in a church bulletin about a group from Minnesota going. I asked my new husband, Jon, if he agreed with my going, and he agreed. So no stopping me! I called and told Jim Herzog, the leader of the group at that time, that I wanted to go. “Just tell me what I need to do.” So at the beginning of November, I was off…to my dream. I was one of THOSE who didn’t think they needed the Church anymore, and Jon was away from the church for 40 years. By the time we got to Dubrovnik I was NEVER returning. Then Klaudy came to Medjugorje with her daughter and husband. We had a wonderful two days together. It had been six years since I had seen her. I missed her so much. But when Klaudy left, all I wanted to do was go home. Get me out of this place… it was nothing like I THOUGHT it should be. I did not like it… but then something happened… the Medjugorje Blessings…I knew my son Justin was with me. I could smell him, feel him. He was there with me. But I did not know how to handle this. This is where the spiritual directors saved my spiritual life. Fathers Fred Harvey and Tom Richter were with the group that year. Their guidance and spiritual counseling have helped me become the person I am today.

Every year since that first pilgrimage, I returned to Medjugorje. Each year my husband would ask, “Gorgeous, what do you want for Christmas?” and my response would be, “Just come to Medjugorje with me.” I always got the same answer… “NEVER. How can you believe all that STUFF?!” On December 24, 2008, my Christmas gift in a large box was a note: “Dear Pammy Jane, I will go to Bosnia with you in 2009. But it needs to be conditional. Oh Yeah – I will go to Bosnia (Medjugorje) – no questions asked – no questions asked; but I have some demands. Love, Chonnee.” I do have that note framed and on our altar in the dining room! Jon did join the group in 2009 and 2010 with new group leaders Bob and Donna Harvey. In May of 2013, on the way home from Mass, Jon looked at me and said that all he could think about in church was Medjugorje. I could not believe what I heard. We suspected that Bob and Donna may be getting to the point that they wanted to be pilgrims again and enjoy the essence of Medjugorje without leading the group. Jon called Bob that afternoon and told him that when they get to the point that they do not want to take a group to Medjugorje, Jon would love to be mentored by Bob! Yes, you heard me right… Jon wanted to lead a group to Medjugorje! I couldn’t believe it. Bob told Jon that Jon just made his day! We really didn’t know what that meant. Two days later, Bob called and said, “Well are you ready to take over the group?” My response was, “NO!” We did not know that Bob and Donna had already decided that this was going to be the last year they took a group. Bob told us that they knew Mary would take care of everything. In 2014, we took our first group, with the guidance of great people. This year, 2015, we are taking another group. And God and Mary willing, it will continue. Now for my other “assignment” from Our Lady…in August of 2014, I received a Medjugorje newsletter with an announcement of a pilgrimage to Uganda and Rwanda. I jumped off of the couch and told Jon, “I have to go!” I showed him the paper and he just said, “I will not go!“ So in October we took our first group to Medjugorje and then, on Thanksgiving Day, I left for Uganda. My life changed forever!

Uganda is a beautiful country, the people are friendly, and I was enjoying my time there. Our guide, Stephen, who is the founder of Green Village Children’s Center, was very polite and knowledgeable. I was impressed with his professionalism and his relationship he had with several of the local priests. I could see his love for our faith and his people. I later learned that Green Village Children’s Center was a fruit of Stephen’s 2008 pilgrimage to Medjugorje. [His story can be found in our archives at] We had a delightful day at the village of Lwabikere where the children sang and danced for us. They were so beautiful and full of love. We had Mass, there were Baptisms, we ate together, gave the children rosaries, shoes, clothes and LOVE! THEN IT HAPPENED…. Stephen told me he would like me to meet someone. We then walked to a woman’s home. What I witnessed is hard to put in words. I met Nakibuule Maurice, a woman who lost her husband and five of her children, four related to AIDS/HIV, an epidemic that is still killing many in Uganda. Nakibuule, has taken in nine orphans who also lost their parent to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The children range from 3-13 years of age. When Nakibuule welcomed me into her home and shared her dream of a new home so she and her children could have shelter and safety, my heart sank. My heart was etched with stone; that look of total devastation in her face... her eyes were dark, lifeless, total sadness with no hope of change. I was in total disbelief of what I was seeing. The floor was hard dirt; the walls and roof were filled with holes. When it rained there was no way to keep the hut dry. This two room building was their home. One room served as a bedroom for all, the other a sitting room. When I left her, I told her I would help with her home. I did not know how, but I hoped within five years I could help with something, somehow. My mind went into overdrive. I was now on a mission of my own – a mission that could not be calmed. On the flight home, I prayed… asking for guidance, a sign, and some answers. I knew that I needed to build Nakibuule a home for her and her children. How was I going to do this? Where was I going to get the funds? Jon had helped me with my dreams of our Medjugorje pilgrimages. How could I ask him for more? A lesson learned… it was out of my hands and Jesus had already put it in order.

As soon as I got through customs and turned my phone on for the first time in over two weeks, I had many beeps, dings, toots from messages and texts coming in. Then I noticed several texts from “Doug,” but I didn’t know a Doug. The messages asked if I would be interested in working in a rural hospital about a four-hour drive from Bismarck. I chuckled to myself saying, “Sure, when God puts an 8th day in the week!” I knew this distance was impossible to drive for a day’s work. I very politely texted Doug and told him that I literally just got back into the USA from Uganda and I was not looking for a job, but would phone him in a couple of weeks when I had a chance to talk to Jon. Doug told me that he would email me a proposal to look at when I got home.

When I got to Bismarck that evening, I told Jon about my text from Doug. We checked the email and we were shocked at his offer – my jaw dropped. He offered me a traveling nurse job with very good pay, enough to build a home for Nakibuule and her children! I guess God gave me that 8th day of the week and I didn’t even realize it! Jon started to make oak crosses and asked for a $10.00 donation. I went to work. Friends and family donated for the home. In July of 2015, I returned to Uganda and spent several days with Nakibuule and her children. They now have a home, beds, mattresses, pillows, bedding, blankets, water, toilet, and most of all, HOPE.

Since my trips to Uganda, I have partnered with Green Village Children’s Center and we are building a school – St. Philomena‘s Primary School. We need a lot of help, prayers, mission partners, and missionaries who would like to join me in July of 2016. The school will open on February 8, 2016. I may not be able to change the world, but through love and education I can change the world of a child. So, hence the Medjugorje Blessings! If it would not have been for hearing about Medjugorje in Myrtle Beach years ago, I would have never gotten the Medjugorje newsletter, and would have never made it to Uganda… So for me, it is the Medjugorje Blessings – it changes lives. God is good … all the time! Editor’s note: So far 23 of the children have sponsors. They need 100 sponsors so that the school can be opened in February, 2016. You can visit to pick a child to sponsor. If you are not able to donate monthly, they will also gratefully accept a one-time donation to help the children. You can send your donation to Mary’s Mission, 3270 Bethany Loop, Bismarck, ND 58573 or contact them at 701-530-9310 or A Mass will be said for all the donors at the end of every month. In addition, everyone who sponsors a child will receive a beautiful crystal or mother-of-pearl rosary on the first anniversary of the sponsorship.

- Pam Kossan, 10/11/2015.