Dear Friends and Family.....
We apologize that we have not been able to send updates on a more regular basis. It seems that the days when we have the time we lack electricity and/or internet connection. On the nights when we have those, we have had a very long day of traveling and get in too late to sit down and type.
We have just returned from Karamoja and had a wonderful time with the people of Kokorio and Kayapas. We arrived via Mission Aviation Fellowship plane and were able to walk through the main market area of Matany to Pastor Phillip’s home where we were greeted by mothers of some of our sponsored children. They sang and danced a welcome and thank you song for us. We were then able to meet with a few of the children.
Due to very bad road conditions from all the rain AND a breakdown, part of our team...the Ugandan members, were not able to arrive until later that night and without the vehicle. Boda Boda's (small motorcycles) picked them up and brought them to Matany. Due to the vehicle not making it to Matany we did not have group transport to and from the two villages and were unable to visit as a team. While this was disappointing, we know that God has a reason.
The men were able to travel by boda boda to work on the pit latrines and the ladies had an absolutely wonderful day of teaching health and hygiene to 40 women in the morning and sewing to a group of about 25 in the afternoon. While only a couple of the women could speak English and the majority of them do not read or write (I saw a lady teaching another lady how to make letters to write her name on a picture she drew for us), we were able to communicate beautifully through pictures, and role play. We had the ladies draw pictures for us of a person getting water from a water source as we had discussed clean vs dirty water.....the ladies had never used crayons before and only a couple had ever even had the opportunity to draw a picture. They enjoyed it so much we gave them extra time for the experience and left the crayons for them to do more drawing later.
We were also introduced to a lovely 13 year old girl named Lucy. Her older brother is one of our sponsored children. He was the one who had been in the boda boda accident and nearly died. Because Lucy is the last child at home, her mother could not afford to keep her in school and was planning to exchange her daughter for a cow so she would have a way to provide for herself. Basically selling Lucy for a way to provide food for herself. Needless to say, this did not set well with the team and we are working on getting Lucy's mother to allow goats to be purchased for her in exchange for being given an education. Barb Gray, on the team has convinced her husband that this is a child they need to add to their list of sponsored children. Please pray for Lucy and her mother.
The men had a wonderful day of working alongside the men in working on the pit latrines and building relationships with these men. Mark and Doug are a wonderful pair of guys to work with the Ugandans because they don't try to push for things to be done the American way but allow themselves to learn from the Ugandans as well as teaching them some new ways of doing things in a way that builds positive relationships. What a wonderful thing to see how God is working in this village since the drilling of the well. The people are more open to the gospel and to Msungu's coming into their village. They see that we are not there to give and do for, rather to teach and assist them as they learn to provide for themselves. Some of the seeds we gave for their garden on past trips are producing vegetables and we saw one of the girls selling some of the greens in the market. We were also able to show the Passion of the Christ the last night in Karamoja. It was so beautiful to hear sweet voices say Jesu, Jesu...and to hear them cheer when Satan lost the battle at Christ's resurrection. To see a village open to the gospel and open to people coming into both their villages and their lives is extremely humbling and encouraging.
Yesterday we drove to Jinja to visit David and Lisa Fish (the daughter and son-in-law of our dear friends Dave and Susan Franklin) and their children. They are working with a ministry called Good Shepherd's Fold and teach missionary children. It took about 2 hours to get there and four hours to get back because of the traffic issues coming back into Kampala. Needless to say, this caused us to be over 2 hours late or the Jesus Film. The wonderful and patient people in Kajjansi waited as a very tired and worn out group drove up. There were at least 200 people still there, 2 hours after the show was to start. Laura had a few minutes to talk to the group and we gave the movie to the pastor in charge. We then left it with them because it was so late and they proceeded to watch the movie. This will kick off a series of evangelistic outreach meetings in the area and we look forward to hearing the updates.
Today, our last day in Uganda, will be spent driving back to Mercy Uganda's land to assess progress and plan the next steps in the construction. We will also take a walker to a sweet elderly man that the medical team had worked with in the past and had arranged for hip surgery for him. He had gone a year with a broken hip when the medical team met him. We also hope to meet the mother of our new child Lobowa James, whom we met at the ferry in February. She is dying of AIDs and is a Christian. We are convinced she has been praying for James and God led us to him in February.....he is a wonderful testimony to God's work through the sponsorship program and we can't wait to show you pictures, and share how God is taking what was once seemingly hopeless and giving hope and a future.
We have so much to tell you and lots of wonderful pictures. This trip has been a blessing to us as we have sought to be a blessing and to be used by the Lord in the lives of the people of Uganda. Thank you for being a part of this work. Your support and prayers allowed us to have an impact here and we are grateful to you.
Love in Christ,
The August Team: Mark and Laura, Doug and Kristin, and Barb
|Ladies at the health and hygiene class|
|Mark and Doug heading to the latrine work site in Kokorio village|
|The team with the Fish family|
|Lucy, the girl whose mother was going to trade her for livestock|
|Doug, Mark, and Gabriel working on the pit latrines|