Follow by Email

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Well....New Hope


I know that most of you have never been to Karamoja.  It's not a place I ever expected to go either.  I have to admit I was a little afraid when the idea was presented back this time last year.  God wanted me to go though.  He kept opening all the doors, and presenting the opportunities so that I could do no less than obey.  When I went, it was all I had expected.....barren wasteland, hot, poor.  But it was also much more.  It was a place where God had placed some of His children.  A place where hope was needed.  A place where they were all but forgotten by most, except God.  They had been in a several year drought and little was able to grow there.  Skinny cows, skinny people, no baths.....you could smell it.......but no available water makes for those things.  I was convicted by God for the needs of these people.  But what could I do?  The needs were so great, and all of them were things that only God can provide.  I am not a rich person....I'm barely middle class here in the U.S. I don't have alot of influential friends, and am not connected to those with great financial means.  If you really think about it, I'm not even on the rich side of faith either.  I remember feeling totally overwhelmed by the needs, trying to figure out just what to do....how to help.  I remember words coming out of my mouth...."We'll pray for rain for Karamoja".  I don't know where that came from, but it had been said.  My faith wasn't strong enough to believe that God would hear my prayer for rain for Karamoja, especially after about 5 years of drought.  But, He did.  Within 3 months of that visit, they got rain.....not because of my weak faithed prayer, but because God is faithful...because He knew their need.  He just allowed me to witness it, to experience it, to see Him answer prayer.....He knew my weak faith.....but I think He also knew my desire to obey Him.....so He let me in on His grace and mercy to Karamoja.  After that glorious rain, the once barren wasteland was beautiful and green.  Cows got fat, and food began to grow.  We were able to return in September and do a medical clinic with dear friends in the medical field.  They, like me, were very reluctant to go initially.  But when they made that decision, God also worked in their lives......they have now committed to a long term relationship with the people of Karamoja.  We were able to drill a well in one of the villages recently.  It was just completed last week.  This too, was a miracle!  The company that drilled the well, had been doing so in several other locations in Karamoja, only to come up dry.  This well.....it was a gift from God, through the hands of His children....this well, it not only hit water, but such an abundance of it that it will provide clean drinking water, hygiene, irrigation, and cattle watering......God's water.  When God sends people somewhere, it is never a wasted visit.  When my friends were introduced to Karamoja, God touched their hearts......they responded with love and generosity.  One thing I know......God does not half do anything, and He never wastes opportunities.  Everything that God does brings honor and glory to Him, and it always blesses those affected by it.  It all sums up in Isaiah 41: 17-20  "The poor and needy seek water, but there is none.  Their tongues fail for thirst.  I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in desolate heights.  And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree and the pine and the box tree together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the holy One of Israel has created it."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All I want for Christmas....





How quickly this year is passing.  As I have heard Laura say about leaving the U.S. for a trip to Uganda, Christmas will be here in three sleeps and a wake up.  

Have you made your list, done all your shopping,  gotten a headache trying to think of just the right gift for that certain someone on your list?  Here's an idea.  It's the gift that keeps on giving; prayerfully giving forever.  One of our sweet and generous sponsors recently asked for this gift for Christmas.

What does Linda want for Christmas?  That's what her 98 year old mother in law asked Linda recently.  Although she normally tells her mother in law that she doesn't need or want anything, this year she asked for something.......she told her husband, Don to tell his mother that she would like for her to sponsor a child through Mercy Uganda.

Linda sent Laura an email saying this.....pick two children and just let me know the price....depending on the village and the school and whether a child boards or not the cost can be between $150. and $325. as a general rule.  When I get the pictures and information from Mercy Uganda, I'll visit my mother in law and tell her she is sending this child to school for me as my Christmas gift.  I'll do the same in January with the other child and tell her she is sending this child to school as a birthday gift to me.  She'll be pleased.  I'd like for at least one of these children to be a girl.  


Here's the rest of the story about Linda and her love for these children of Uganda.  Linda sponsored her first child as a gift for someone in her office.  She is carrying this on as a tradition.

So what's on your list this year?  Makes you think doesn't it?  I know it made me think about my own lists.

Merry Christmas

 Be looking for a recap of the year 2010 soon!



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good way to help!

Wow, time is flying and we hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We now look forward to celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have much to be thankful for here at Mercy Uganda.  After our banquet, we now have another well being drilled in yet another remote village.  Clean water!  What a blessing and how hard for me to imagine life without water just flowing from a faucet.  But such a bigger blessing to see those who are so grateful to pump water, clean water.   The new well will be like the one below that was recently completed.


Mercy Uganda now has a medical team that goes with the group to conduct clinics and provide much needed medical care in remote villages.

Mercy Uganda is so thankful for any and all contributions to help the women and children of Uganda.  We now have another, very simple way for you to give.

We GoodSearch and GoodShop for Mercy Uganda.
Raise money for Mercy Uganda just by searching
the Internet with GoodSearch.com , or shopping
online with GoodShop.com.


Really, that's all you have to do.  Search just like you would with any other search engine.  When you sign up for GoodSearch or GoodShop, you will be able to put in the charity you want to give to and then every time you search or shop, Mercy Uganda will receive a donation.

What an easy way to help the women and children of Uganda!  Thank you for all you do to help and encourage these people and most importantly for your prayers.



Friday, October 22, 2010

Second Annual Mercy Uganda Fundraising Banquet

This year's banquet came right on the heels of a trip to Uganda.  Such perfect timing our God has!

Several different ladies decorated tables with their china, crystal and silverware.  So every table was different and every table was beautiful.  This year students from our Christian school were involved with helping in several areas, from music to serving tables.  They were great!  Thanks to them all for their commitment to Mercy Uganda.

Our menu was salad, pork, green beans and baked potatoes, bread and dessert.   So many people helped with the food and cooking, setting up the tables and generally helping get ready for a great night.

Special thanks to Olive Garden and Chilis for providing salads.


Laura set up a table with pictures of things happening in Uganda......the sponsored children and projects, both completed and ongoing.  Look closely on the table and you'll see a wooden "stool" by the baskets.  This stool was made by a little boy who needed a sponsor in order to go to school.  He told Laura he made it for his future sponsor.  He got a sponsor at the banquet!  In fact, eight children got sponsors at the banquet!   There are over 500 children in the Mercy Uganda data base.  If you are interested in helping one of these children, check our website for more information.

In the year between last year's banquet and this year's banquet, much has been accomplished.  A well is now in place in a remote village.  You can see the new well in the header of this blog.  As a result of the report about this well, another well will be started in another village this year.

Medical teams have gone twice with Mercy Uganda to conduct clinics for people who don't have access to doctors.

Many people have joined in Mercy Uganda's work.....people we didn't know a year ago.

Children unable to go to school are now attending with the support of American sponsors.

So many more things are happening and it will be exciting to see all the Lord does through Mercy Uganda in the coming year.

Now for pictures of the banquet!

The tables









Singing

Serving

Preparing



Opening the dinner with prayer, Pastor Bob Hayes


The orthopedic surgeon who went to Uganda with the team and conducted medical clinics talking about his experience, with his daughter's help!

Talking about his love for Uganda and it's people

A live talk with our field director in Uganda, Henry Mello, on Skype.  He was giving us challenges....the first to pray for the people of Uganda.   It was 3 a.m. in Uganda.....so Henry, Gabriel and Lauren (from here living in Uganda and working with Mercy Uganda) got up from sleep to talk to us at the banquet.  That was a great surprise and very touching.

The banquet was a great way to wrap up Mercy Uganda's year and to start another year of service to the women and children of Uganda to the Lord's glory!

Thanks to all who helped and attended.  To get involved with us just visit our website.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Water....clean water!!


The Lord has provided clean, safe, and accessible drinking water to the remote village of Kyamagemule.  One year after we prayerfully began our fundraising efforts, God has given us a well.  Through many prayers and the generosity of many people, God brought health, safety, and so much more to them.  During a clinic we were a part of in Kyamagemule, I, and several ladies met with the women of the village to share testimonies.  One of the ladies stood up and began to speak in her native language. Through the help of a translator we learned that she was expressing her gratitude for this gift of hope to them.  She said "now no more children have to die drowning trying to get water".  We didn't know that a child had, not so many months ago, drowned in that muddy watering hole that used to be their only source for water.  To see the villagers all gathered around to see the first flowing clean, clear water come out was amazing! To watch children fill little water bottles and to be able to see through it because the water was so clear was a gift from God.  I am thankful that God gave us water.  I'm glad he gave us Henry Mello, our director for Mercy Uganda in Uganda.  He would not let the drilling company stop drilling after 60 meters, 70 meters, 80, and 90.....finally at 101 meters, about 300 feet, water gushed forth and the blessing of health and hope began.  We knew we would find water because God had already provided everything else, the money, the drilling company, everything.....He never stops short of what He is accomplishing.  I am thankful for that!!  We are now starting a new well project for another remote village....Kokoro, a village in Karamoja.  This will provide a way to irrigate crops in a very drought stricken land.  I know God will guide this effort too.  Please pray with us and for us as we move forward on this next well project.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

There and back!

Time has flown......a team that went to Uganda a couple of weeks ago is headed back and should be in town tomorrow, probably dragging due to the time difference!


This team has been serving in Uganda for the past two weeks.  Barb and Laura are on the far left....Barb is a volunteer and member of the board and Laura is director of Mercy Uganda.  To the far right is Dr. Dietrich and some of his staff, who went to conduct medical clinics.

Stay tuned for many exciting stories of how God worked in through this team!  


Thursday, August 26, 2010

How can they go unless they are sent?

Update.....


Aisha had surgery earlier this week to separate her arm from her chest!  She has a long way to go, a lot of surgery to endure, even more pain, but when it's all done she will be able to have a more normal life.  This is happening because of Christ's love in those who sacrificed to enable her to have surgery.  


Our prayer is that through this act of love, she will come to know and love her Savior!




***********************
We all cringe to see pictures of children in circumstances like this....or know of things like this.  We all want the villages we work with to be this.

Children need surgeries, they need schools and supplies and the people need to be self sufficient.  In order to be self sufficient, they need goats and cows, they need seeds to plant and water to make the seeds grow.  Mercy Uganda works hard to make these things happen, but all these things take money.

Romans 10:14-15
But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

Besides the things above, they need mosquito nets, mattresses to sleep on, desks in schools, food and clothing.  These things not only make a difference in their lives, some of them are lifesaving.

The most important thing they need and the main thing Mercy Uganda wants to do is to share the love of Jesus and to tell the people there the good news.

Here at Mercy Uganda, we want to be good stewards of all the resources God has provided.  And we want to do the best we can to raise funds needed.

SO......in preparation for the upcoming September trip and to finish raising the funds for the much needed well, we had a yard sale!   Lots of hard work by lots of people made this happen.  Many people donated items to be sold and some did the back breaking work of helping people load the things they bought into their cars.

Here is the check out table where people paid for their goodies.  When they paid, they were also given a pamphlet about Mercy Uganda and what we are doing in Uganda.

Laura had ripped a hole in her pants worked so hard that she needed an apron!  
Laura truly does put all her heart into this ministry.  God called and Laura answered yes Lord!  Laura's  husband, Mark works with her and the entire Mercy Uganda team.


People came by all during the day.  Some people came back two or three times to pick up some item they saw earlier.

At the end of the day, there were some tired workers!  These children were having a ball going through the clothes.....they found lots of stuff for their mama to buy.

In the upcoming months, Mercy Uganda will be having a banquet.  Please check out out website to learn how you can be a part of Mercy Uganda and a part of spreading the gospel of Christ throughout the world.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scars


When I was in Uganda in June we visited a new hospital in the Entebbe area.  As we sat there I was observing the multitude of issues the children had, from deformities in their legs to cleft palate, to burns.  There were a couple of little boys that came in with their upper bodies healing, somewhat, from burns. A friend who was with me said that a large percentage of the burns seen in Uganda have been intentionally done by stepmothers or other relatives.  I don't think that was the case with these two boys but we are helping a young lady who most definitely was set on fire on purpose.  It is horrible to suffer from burns, it is even worse when those burns were caused intentionally by someone else.....it is even worse when you are not taken for treatment for those burns and then, four years later you have no visible breasts and your arm is melded to your side making it unusable.  To further add to the pain, this young lady suffers chronic infections and bleeding from some of the areas that never completely healed.  As a social worker I wonder where the justice for this girl is. I wonder where the punishment is for those who inflicted this pain, and those who ignored the suffering.  As a Christian I am appalled by the evil that lashed out at her in this way, and I am compelled to do all I can to help her, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Her wounds go deep in every way.  This was done by an older sister who was angry because she didn't want to do her chores.  This was ignored by a family who didn't want to get the older sister in trouble.  This was ignored by extended family who knew this had happened, the pain she continued to suffer, and yet, they did nothing to help.  Only recently, when they wanted to appeal to the heartstrings of the generosity of others through sponsorship for school, was she ever brought to us.  That, in itself is a blog story for another day.  This young girl's pain goes back before the burn, and continues beyond the burn today.  Her father abandoned the family when she was little. Her mother died a few years ago and she lives with extended family.  Her older sister continues to be violent toward her and the family does not intervene.  We hope to get this young lady to safety and are working on medical care for her even now.  Please pray for her, for her safety and her healing.  Please pray that God will provide a safe haven for her from the years of pain and abuse.  Please pray for her older sister and her family, that God will change their hearts.  Please pray for us as we partner with doctors and individuals to help this precious girl.....God is our Great Healer!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Suffer the Little Children

 (Picture of multi-purpose room at Eseza's school)

People often ask how I can go to Uganda and see the things I see, and not break down.  Well, I do, at times, break down.  But the things I see, the things I experience while working with women and children in Uganda, are things that God uses in my life to break my heart for the things that break His heart.  He uses these experiences to grow my faith, to humble me, to keep my heart tender.  The new picture you see as our header is of a precious little family of children.  The oldest girl, Eseza, or Esther, is only 6 years old.  Those are her three little siblings with her, Tracy, Viola, and Senfuka. Their mother and father both worked in the stone quarries making about fifty cents a day.  The two parents together making less than one dollar a day to feed this little family!
Eseza's mother died this past year.  She was at work in the stone quarry when some of it collapsed on her.  The father, being left with 4 small children, and having to continue to work, pulled Eseza out of school to care for her younger siblings while he went to work. He works all day, every day, 6 days a week. This little 6 year old girl roams the neighborhood with little little siblings, and no food.  Daddy comes home in the evenings and then tries to find what he can to feed them on the little money he makes.  I know that I would have trouble feeding my family on that amount of money.  You see, Eseza had been in one of the schools with whom we work on our sponsorship program.  I visited that school recently, on my June trip to Uganda.  I was able to talk to the headmistress who graciously took me to this child and her home.  These beautiful little children are who Jesus talks about when he says "suffer the little children to come to me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven".  Children have a very special place in the heart of our Saviour.......we should give them a special place too.  Mercy Uganda is working closely with this school to provide a way for this little girl to return to school, and for her and her siblings to receive food and care.  The father agreed to let the children live at the school with the headmistress as caregiver, and Eseza able to learn again.  This arrangement is not perfect.  The school really does not have a boarding section yet, rather, all the children who are orphans there sleep in a multi-purpose room, used as a classroom by day, and lodging by night.  Some do not have mattresses or mosquito nets as they can't afford them. They sleep on the floor with no protection from the mosquitoes that carry malaria.  Food is in short supply.  However, the headmistress, precious lady that she is, and her dear husband, have a small garden where they grow food to help feed the children.  Mercy Uganda is working with them for ways to expand their ability to provide food through more agriculture, and through livestock that we hope to be able to provide over the next several months.  We are also working closely with them to help tie into the water system to provide more, and better water for the children, and are looking to the future for how we may help them expand through building an orphanage.  Yes, some of these are far into the future, but some are now, things that we can do to make a difference even in small ways as we seek God's guidance and provision in caring for His little ones.  We are prayerfully working with the father of Eseza and her siblings, so that he will be encouraged to be an active part of their lives and their care, and that he will come to know the Lord who loves him, and loves his children.  Please pray for Eseza and her family, for the headmistress and the school. Please pray for Mercy Uganda as we seek to honor God in our work with them.  Please pray, too, about how you might be a part of this ministry work with this little family, and many like them.

















(Eseza, Tracy, Viola, and Senfuka in front of their home)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Gift Toward Self-Sufficiency

We just returned from a 2 week trip to Uganda and, as always, were blessed and ministered to by the very people for whom we seek to minister.  We were blessed to partner with some ladies in the U.S. who provided the resources we needed to purchase sewing machines in Uganda.  We were able to purchase 7 of them and they were distributed to 4 geographical locations, 3 in Kyamagemule, 2 in Karamoja, one in Kawuku, and one in Kajjansi.  Because electricity is often an issue, the sewing machines are equipped with foot pedals that allow the ladies to sew without electricity.  In each of the areas where ladies received the sewing machines, there was great excitement and hope, as the ladies each realized the potential this gives them for generating an income for them and their families.  In Kyamagemule (which is also where we will be drilling the well), the ladies begin training this week on their sewing machines. We will also be working with them in developing a technical program which will build upon this new project, and eventually will add more areas of study.  In Karamoja the ladies in a small church will be the core group to begin this program of sewing.  We are also excited to tell you that one of the young ladies that received a sewing machine had just graduated from a sewing program in Uganda and was given a small space to start a business.  She grew an orphan in a local orphanage and from there finished school and got a diploma.  She was knitting sweaters for our sponsored children in Karamoja, and now has added making uniforms to that list.  Not only has the sewing machine allowed her far more opportunities for self-sufficiency, but it has now involved her in ministry work with Mercy Uganda. What a blessing!  Through God's grace and mercy, and the gifts of others, we were able to provide Mary with resources to help her build a small business, and involve her in helping others too. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Team is in the field........and the fields are ripe for the harvest!

Laura traveled to Uganda on June 8 and is busy!  She had lots of plans.....updating sponsorship information, meeting with the Minister of Ethics to talk about child sacrifice and many other things.  Whatever God places in her path she's ready to do! 



Playing with Lawrence......he's come so far in the last year!


Some of the work being done....As unbelievable it is, these are desks in a classroom.

New desks being built......

This is Kato....as you can see he needs some orthopedic work.  Laura will go with Kato to have x rays and see that the orthopedic surgeon gets them.   The last trip included an orthopedic surgeon and two ladies from his office.  He saw Kato and wanted x rays.

One day in the not so far future, Kato will get his much needed surgery.

There are several teams that go to Uganda from our church and other churches.  Below, Roth is in  Uganda with his wife and daugher each using their talents in different areas. Roth takes a break from   building desks and buildings to hold a little girl while Lauren, shows her her picture on the digital camera screen.  Lauren is living in Uganda right now and working in many areas.

There is much work to be done and many hands and hearts are needed.

The plans for the well in Kyamagemule are coming together and being finalized.

Children are being seen for medical concerns.

Children are getting sponsored so they can attend school.  Many of the sponsors sent gifts and letters to their children. 

Ugandan people are learning to build and to take care of themselves.

God is working in wonderful ways through Mercy Uganda.  Thank you for your support!

Stay tuned for many great stories of changed lives and lots of pictures when Laura returns.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blessings

I will be making another trip to Uganda in just a very few days.  Because of the generosity of so many people, Mercy Uganda has been able to provide many things.  Children are in school, who, otherwise would not be able to attend.  Cows are being purchased to help remote villages start over after a series of things left them devastated, roofs are being repaired even this very moment, sewing machines will be purchased during this trip, and some much needed medical care will be given to a number of women and children.  Something I continue to learn in life is this.....we tend to view our struggles as things to run from, things to pray that God will rescue us from.  What I am learning, though, is this....those very hardships mold us into more compassionate people, give us cause to lean more on our Heavenly Father, and strengthen our faith.  I see the needs in Uganda and how overwhelming they are.  I also see the faith of so many in Uganda, even in the very midst of the hardship.  Then God gives me glimpses of His tender mercy, His blessings in their lives, and ours.  I see how He uses the lives, the experiences, the struggles of you and me, and then works through them to minister to our sisters and brothers in Uganda.  I was looking at the pictures of the damage from recent storms in Karamoja and could not help but think back to January when I was there.  They had not had rain in 5 years, and were in the midst of a long and difficult drought.  All of the cattle from the 2 remote villages I visited had been stolen by raiders....around 100 head of cattle.  They were hungry, lacked resources to start over......and then......the rain.  Yes, the rain has damaged some roofs.....but God is providing for that too.  What is so significant is that the rain has turned a dry and barren place into a beautiful green and fertile land once again.....God's blessing!  God led precious sponsors to this ministry who have helped get 10 of the 31 children who need sponsors, into school.  Blessings....they are all around us....sometimes we forget how to see them, sometimes we don't try.....we get wrapped up in the pain of the moment and miss the tapestry God is weaving on the other side.  I'm learning,by God's grace...I'm learning!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Amazing Privilege

Over the past several weeks I have been "forced" to slow down a bit as my daughter and our precious 8 month old grandson have spent nearly 6 weeks with us while her husband, a navy diver, is off on a submarine.  I tried to balance grandmotherhood, substitute teaching, and the work needed to carry on the ministry needs of Mercy Uganda, and have felt, at times, overwhelmed, tired, and definitely inadequate.  This blessing of a daughter and grandson in our home as led me to pray more and stress less. It has drawn me back to where my focus needs to be....on God.  I would tell myself often that God's work goes on with or without me, and He certainly does not need me in order for Mercy Uganda to continue.  As I have slowed down my pace a bit, prayed more, savored the short term blessing of "company", God has, in His grace and mercy, been teaching me, yet again, that it is about Him, and Him alone!!  Then, this morning as I was doing my quiet time, I read a devotional by Charles Stanley.  I want to share a small part of it with you because it spoke volumes to me.  Here is an excerpt from that devotional  "One of the most amazing privileges that the Lord gives His children is the opportunity to participate in what He is doing.  The One who needs no help and has the power to do whatever He wants calls us to labor alongside Him to accomplish His purposes on earth.  Because He knows we need a higher goal in life than building our own personal kingdoms, He offers us the chance to take part in building His."  I knew that, and have pondered over just that very thing so many times as I have prayed for and sought God's will in Mercy Uganda.....this was just what I needed to read.  It put all of those inner thoughts and struggles, those ponderings into a perspective that gave me a peace and comfort about my roles, and the fact that God does not need me.....rather I need Him....and it is an amazing privilege to be a part of Mercy Uganda......it is also an amazing privilege to be a grandmother spending time with her little ones.
I may struggle to do all I feel I need to do, but what I really need to do is focus on the Lord, seek His face, hold His hand, and trust Him......I am way too weak and inadequate....God is all sufficient, and all powerful.  I really do love the fact that I am too weak......it helps me see Him so much better, cling to Him that much tighter,  experience His power and glory, and His amazing work so much more too!  My desire is to be close to Him, serve Him, grow in Him.....and be a vessel of His love to others.  He has allowed me to be part of Mercy Uganda as much to grow me in Him, as to minister to others....amazing privilege indeed! Thank you Lord for allowing me to labor alongside You in the work You are doing in Uganda.  (The pictures you see...in order...are: grandson Hudson, visiting Jajja; Papa and Jajja with our other grandson Brayden; cousins; our daugher and grandson; Sam Kisembo, a Ugandan friend who was visiting the U.S. recently; and lastly, two precious children, like many of whom have no parents or grandparents)