Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Helping with Hurdles

When we see a friend or loved one struggling to get over a hurdle, do you go to them and help?  How many times do we see a child suffering, a person or family starving or someone who has never been given a chance to show how worthy they are?  Many times, and it's not just in Africa, it's everywhere.

Edwin and I look back through the years and realize that everything has been in God's hands, but He has given us the privilege to help others in Uganda through many of you.  Raising the children, providing water and food in the community, mending the sick, helping the elderly and so much more.

We are the voice for these people and we want to express their thanks through these blogs.  Someone once told me that Satan roars in Africa while he whispers in North America.  It's true and the many ways you have helped them, we need you to know how grateful they are for all that help.

Thank you!



I'd like you to meet Precious, Edwin's fiance.  Because of the growth at Home of Angels in the past few years, they both have waited patiently for the right time to marry.  The decision was recently made for November 2018.  Just a few days ago tragedy struck Precious's family, as both her parents were in a head-on collision, resulting in death within a few hours of each other.   The only thing giving them strength now is knowing that they are with God and together.  





As you know, our new nursery school recently opened.  We have the baby class, top class, and a kindergarten for our Home of Angels children.  These are the uniforms that Edwin had chosen for them to wear and the smiles you see don't even match the smiles in the classroom while they are learning from Miss Aidha.




Our school teacher, Miss Aidha is in full control.  The children love her and are learning faster than they have ever learned before.  So much so, that when they finish each day and go for dinner, they would rather postpone the food to do their homework first.




The school latrine is finally completed.  Thank you, Stephanie, for raising the money for the sock pit, septic and latrine by baking and selling banana bread for 30 days.  We are still building your chairs and desks for the schoolrooms for 2019.  Thank you so much from all of us.




The entire wall around the compound has been painted and the roadway will be finished over the next year.  Edwin has been trying to help the most destitute in our community and he's proven that if you give someone a chance, they turn out to be a very dedicated worker.





Meet Cheeza, a perfect example.  Oh my goodness, if this isn't a miracle story, I don't know what could be.  Cheeza is a man from the slum dwellers.  He actually chopped wood for the distillery that made alcohol not far from us.  One day a barrel exploded and blew out his eye.  He drank from morning to night and was the laughing stock of the community.

Edwin found him and offered him a job to chop wood for one day.  He worked so hard, we decided to give him a chance and asked him to come daily to do menial jobs.  Long story short, Cheeza now picks up little rocks for 8 hours a day and loves it.  He says he has never been so happy, hasn't had any alcohol in months and bought his first clothes and shoes with the small money he saved.  The community is shocked by the change in this man.





Meet the new Cheeza.  I hardly recognized him.  He now wants to meet Jesus because he knows from listening to the kids and our staff, it was He that changed his life.  No-one else.





Besides homework for these little guys, the next best thing is splashing in the cold water on a hot day.






Hope and Desire, our two oldest girls are now going to school in Masaka, a town approximately 6 hours south of us.  Both girls were at home on my last trip and I was able to say goodbye to them as they left to start another term.  They were so excited, but I have to tell you, the little people were weeping.





We have a wonderful friend at "Helping Hands" named Doreen who sewed all these clothes for the children.  Each time you see a picture of the children, they seem to be smiling, but honestly, it's real.  They are just so grateful for everything in their new life.  Thanks, Doreen from everyone.




Meet a few of our new kids from the abandoned orphanage.  Joweli has already taken over a monkey given to another child and believe me, no one better take it from her.  That's hers now.  The two boys in the middle are David and Yahighya and of course our little Eddie on the end.






Learning the alphabet Ugandan style



Our heart's desire is to help our children at Home of Angels, but even if we only help one child to have a better life, and to come to know the love of Jesus, we will have become obedient to the Lord's will for our lives.  This is all God's work and we are witnesses to what He is doing.

Thanks for helping us.








Sunday, May 27, 2018

Promise of a Peaceful Home

Whether you are one of the sixty-five million refugees in this world today or one of the abandoned children we've taken into our Home of Angels, every one of these people dreams of a peaceful home where they don't have to live in fear.   Thanks to the kindness of many of you, the children we are raising have experienced this peace, but what about the millions out there that still face the dangers every day?   We hear our children praising the Lord every night thanking Him for the beautiful home they live in.  They may not know all that is happening in this great big world of ours, but as the older kids learn, they share it with the little ones.  In prayer, they ask Him to bring peace to our world and provide the needs to all His children.

School will start in Jinja on Monday.  Our two older girls, Hope and Desire headed south to Masaka to their boarding school.  This was the greatest gift a child could ever receive over there and we thank the donor very much for giving them a chance to succeed in life.  Even though most of the kids cried, they had a big smile of excitement as they waved goodbye.

The nursery school for our 31 little people will be finished on Monday.  We have a very strong teacher that will hopefully work miracles in their lives.  She has been preparing all month for this and honestly, I was very impressed with her.  She will give them a good basis for P1 which is equivalent to Grade 1 in North America.

It's been a very exciting month with our two teams of young adults visiting from Canada.  They helped so many of the impoverished people living in our area and also were a huge asset to our children.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.




You can never get all the children in one picture.  If they are helping the Aunty cook, washing dishes or just taking a shower, they miss out.  This group of children was preparing to walk to church with our guard.  Presently, women and children in our area are being kidnapped so we are taking every precaution.  We now have an adult walking with them at all times or they must walk in groups.




Thank you, Thomas, for the solar lights you donated from Hong Kong.  We are distributing them to the many poor people deep in the bush and what we hear from everyone is a HUGE thank you for helping them.  Especially the children who need to do homework at night.  They're seeing light for the first time in the dark.  God bless you.




It's clean up time with weeding 





And grass cutting





The first team that came to Home of Angels helped our friend Mutesi patch up her home so the snakes and creatures couldn't get in.  James taught them to squish the mud between their toes to mix it and then fill the holes.  She was thrilled.  Edwin and I then bought iron sheets to prevent the rains from coming in through her roof.




The 2nd team from Canada worked so hard to paint the wall around the school.  This is only the primer coat but then each panel was painted a different color.  





This wasn't completed but you can get the idea.  Color everywhere.




Oh my goodness, we are so proud of this school.  It's absolutely beautiful.  We thank the Tsawwassen Rotary Club for donating enough to convert it from a chicken house.  We've named it "Morning Star Nursery School" and it officially opens on Monday for our 31 children in Home of Angels. 




Since there are 3-year-olds attending, the room on the end is fully carpeted for naps.



The second team from Canada baptized the older children in this pool.  We rented a swimming pool and it worked out well.  A very exciting day for everyone and Edwin and I were thrilled to have these young adults attend from Canada to celebrate with us.




I know, all the kids look the same with their heads shaved but the little one you see in the middle is Joweli, a girl.  Let me give you a better picture of this precious child.


  
Meet 3-year-old Joweli.  She's one of the children we took in from the abandoned orphanage and you couldn't find anyone happier now.



We would also like to thank Andy Steiger and his team for raising money for us by selling mugs through the "Human Project".  We will be able to get all the teaching equipment with it and still have enough for operations.   God bless you all for working so hard to make this happen.

Once again, thanks to all of you who follow our story and give both Edwin and I so much encouragement.  These children surprise me every time I go back.  They are growing leaps and bounds, but not only that, they are speaking English so much better now. and we figure in another year they will be fluent.    














Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Reason to Smile

I'll be leaving for Uganda tomorrow and wanted to post a blog before I go.  It's always been our intention to keep you updated monthly and I must apologize that this blog is the shortest I've written in nine years.   It doesn't mean that little has happened.  It only means that Edwin has been so busy that he hasn't had the time to concentrate on taking pictures.  There have been some recent changes in Uganda concerning homes for children and the government has been trying to clean up the damages. Many homes have been closed due to corruption and child trafficking.  Home of Angels is safe of course, but this has caused a lot of extra work for Edwin, and until it's completed, we will have to be patient.  I am arriving with two cameras, so be prepared.

I'm leaving a little early to help Edwin setup for a team of young adults from Northview church that will be coming to stay with us.  We'll be bringing in the last of the 20 abandoned children that Richard, a donor in Canada has fed and housed since November 2017.  What better way than to have our team from Canada handle this task? We will be baptizing the older children and going out into the community to hand out solar lights. The Gleaners have also donated 50lbs of soup for the hungry.  Perfect timing because we will also have the opportunity to spend a day with my friend Renee and her team, who are breaking the cycle of malnutrition just a few hours north of us.  It will be a very exciting time for everyone and I already know there will be many reasons to smile as we take all these memories back home to Canada.



Check out the old chicken houses.  You are now looking at "Morning Star" nursery school, a school for our 31 new little people (donated by Tsawwassen Rotary Club).  The grass has been planted, the latrine is ready and most of the painting completed.  When we originally built our Home of Angels, 3 young boys and their father painted our entire compound.  Ben, one of the sons, age 17 came to help us paint the nursery school, but tragedy happened as he left for home one evening.  He was on a boda-boda, the main mode of transportation when they were hit head-on by a car.  Both Ben and the driver died instantly.

The building on the left of "Morning Star" school will be called "Rachel's House" and will be opened next year for classes.  This has been donated by two amazing "Rachel's" that made banana bread at UBC last Christmas and sold enough to finish the building.  I will update you upon completion.





As you can see, Ben was a wonderful artist.  The rooms are beautifully painted with animals and the alphabet along with many other teaching tools.  R.I.P. Ben.







Ben is on the left in the jeans.  Since the accident, both brothers have stepped up to help finish the other building also.  They wanted to honor their brother, bless their hearts.  We have a very loving community and so many want to help us make this home a warm and happy place for orphans.






We recently received many solar lights from Thomas in Hong Kong.  These lights are not for sale but rather for the children to distribute to the poor.  When the team arrives, they will also witness the reactions of the people to such a simple thing as light.  Children will now be able to do homework at night and there will be fewer accidents just trying to get around in the dark.




Meet the team from Northview church.  Pastor Ezra Okoti will be bringing them to Uganda where they will be visiting both Word of Life and Home of Angels.  Ezra, originally from Kenya, will then return home via Nairobi giving them a chance to go on a short Safari before boarding their plane.




Thanks once again everyone for following our story.  We just know that God is at work in a very big way with all the exciting things currently happening.  I promise to keep you all updated by sending pictures and stories.











Sunday, March 11, 2018

What Matters Most

God's love and His message are certainly at the heart of our Home of Angels.  A love so strong that we can step into each day knowing that the good things are gifts from His hand and the challenges can be faced with His strength.  He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.

Our children are taught about Jesus and how He died on the cross for them.  They know Him and truly believe they will meet Him one day.  Thank goodness, because we recently had a terrible death.  Our precious John-Mark went to be with Jesus this week.  He was wrongly diagnosed with Hepatitis B when in reality, he had full-blown AIDS.  We pray every day that there will come a time when all these children know Him and will not be afraid.

Our Aunty Joy, Lovisa, and Yasin did an amazing job acting for the "Human Project" series.  It was
released on March 2nd and a box of tissue was in order for me.  Thank you Apologetics Canada and Power to Change for showing everyone the sadness of our world and the wonderful things that can come out of it.





John Mark was so happy the last time I was there.  He had received a new T-shirt from his sponsor and  I had also brought a soccer ball for the boys.  I lost the pump along the way so he decided to make it his hat as it matched his shirt.  R.I.P. sweet boy...we all miss you





Our Aunty Joy and Yasin strolling down the road.  If I could explain the love she has for these children, I would only have to show you this picture.  She is truly their mama.





Meet our Lovisa, our special actress in the Human Project series.  The story behind this is about Aunty Joy in her youth in Rwanda.  Lovisa portrayed her as a child when she had to escape the genocide in 1994.  She did an excellent job in showing the panic of escape right down to the tears.





Our nursery school is finished.  One building is open for our children to attend in 2018 and if successful, we will open both buildings to the community in 2019.  This time next year you will see a full compound of grass, shade trees, and a playground.




Early 2009, Edwin found Hope and Desire on the side of the road selling charcoal with their blind grandmas.  Both girls were the caregivers for these women at a very young age.  They would come to our property asking to pick weeds to cook for survival.

They asked God every night in their prayers for a chance to help others when they got older.  Prayers were answered as they were invited to attend a girls boarding school just south of us.  A school that would give them a very good education to make their dreams come true.  Thank you Clark for this great gift.




The Head Master of Victoria Academy allowed the other children to come home to say goodbye to their sisters before they left.  For the little ones, it was difficult, but once the older children explained they would be home in May, the tears stopped.




Over the years, we slowly destroyed the roads in our community with the many trucks bringing construction material to build our Home of Angels.  I remember almost falling off a boda-boda (motorcycle) because it slipped into a hole on the side.  Others struggled to walk home with heavy jerry cans of water, so we decided to do something about it.  A friend helped with his excavator and the roads were finally leveled.




When we first started building in 2009, there were few homes or businesses in this area.   Currently, there are many families building all around us expanding our community.  We feel very connected to these people as we have provided work, water, solar lights and just a lot of compassion.  Our last big dream is to build a church where the children and community will have the true Word spoken.


We are so blessed in North America.  Over and over I get asked, "what can I do to help"?  All
of you, whether you encourage Edwin and I not to give up, sponsor a child or just pray for the situations we get ourselves into....you are a HUGE part of our Home of Angels.  We thank you for making a difference for supporting us all these years.

I want to send you a trailer teaser of the Apologetics conference but I'm not sure I am bright enough to do this.  Here goes......

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vlguujn9u25u3rl/The%20Human%20Project%20-%20Teaser%20Trailer.mp4?dl=0

Just remember, it's only a teaser and the first part is about us but the rest is amazing too.  We hope you enjoy it.















Monday, January 29, 2018

From Weakness Comes Strength

We are all made weak in a variety of ways.  When we've suddenly lost something that was dear to us, our strength slowly leaves us.  In times of fear or worry, we find ourselves weak in spirit, or just getting old like I feel sometimes and we are reminded of our feeble bodies.  No matter what the situation, God always reminds us of our deep need for Him.

Edwin was reminded of his deep need just this week when he underwent an MRI, followed by an immediate surgery.  That was his time of fear and worry, but with his deep faith, I know he will recover and be the better for it in the future.  Right now, I would like to be his voice and use this blog to thank the many people who prayed for him.  He is recovering at his fiance's family home in Kampala and told me he is "putting his tools down" until he's healed.  David, his brother will be handling all issues until Edwin can get back on his feet.

We recently admitted 3 more little ones into our Home of Angels from the abandoned orphanage.  This makes a total of 7 children to date with 13 more to come in the near future.

We also have a new nursery school donated by the Tsawwassen Rotary Club.  It will be completed and opened in time for the start of the 1st term in February.  This is the first building where our 33 children under the age of 6 years old will attend.

In 2019, we intend to open a second building with children from the outside community.  Many parents are wanting their children to attend.  Our dear friend Rachel, a student at UBC, not only raised money on GoFundMe but also baked and sold banana bread for Christmas fairs to finish the construction.  Thank you Rachel.




Aunty Joy and Aunty Jennifer hard at work preparing Christmas dinner for our 45 kids to enjoy.




Sam and Sula passing out the sodas before the food arrives.





Each year we invite the community children for Christmas dinner, but this year we decided to have only our new family of 45 children attend.  They may not all be living with us at the moment, but it won't be long.  We felt it was important for them to bond as a family at this special time of year.




Meet our new guard, Richard.  He's come from the north of Uganda and is doing a good job of protecting the compound and helping the aunties with the children.




Apologetics Canada and Power to Change filmed for the Human Project series at our Home of Angels in 2017.  This film will be released on March 2nd and 3rd of 2018 at the Apologetics conference at Northview church in Abbotsford.  I was told to bring a box of kleenex to watch it so I'm really excited, but know I'll probably break when I see our kids in acting mode.  It was a surprise for us too.  They're also selling the "Human Project" mugs online to raise money for our home.  What a blessing.




Thank you, Stephanie, for all the hard work you did by baking banana bread for 30 days.  Stephanie and her helpers raised enough money to put in the septic, sock pit and the latrine for our new nursery school. School starts in a week and the men tell us it will all be completed by then.




When we started in 2009, this was all banana, mango and papaya trees.  There were only a few houses, but very few.  In this picture, you can see the growth over these nine years which includes a hospital and large school.  Beside the telephone pole, is our farm compound where our new nursery school is located.  Picture of opening day to follow on the next blog.





Let me introduce Rob, the manager of a Save on Foods in North Vancouver and my trusty promoter of banana bread, Roma.  Between the two of them, we sell out in hours.  Rob dresses in his favorite banana costume and greets everyone while Roma passes out samples to the customers.
What a team..... I only need to stand and smile.




We have a wonderful friend Thomas in Hong Kong who purchased a few goats for us in 2014.  We named it the "Chew Project".  We took them up to Malindi village where Edwin's father and his community friends raised them.  Today we have 325+ goats that we just started selling on the international market.  Sheds have been built to control disease and for separating the males, females and the babies.




It was difficult to get good pictures because we had to hire someone to go into Malindi by boat and take them.  The roads are either washed out or so dry, you can't get there very easily.  We are hoping to go early June and will capture good pictures to show you how large the "Chew Project" really is.




Meet Yiga, one of our newest children.  He's 4 years old but very small due to the tragedy in his life.






This is Sam, another new brother who is 4 years old.  Sam was left to fend for himself at 2 years old.  He was abandoned and now abandoned again. It will take a little extra work to make him understand we will never leave him.  Hard to believe what he's been through with this beautiful smile.





Meet 5-year-old David.  This little one has never had anyone in his life.  His parents died when he was a baby and who knows what happened to him after that. All we want him to focus on now is that he has a very loving family who cares for him very much.


These kids have really come from difficult places, but we know in time they will also come out of their shell as the others have and understand that God and all of us love them very much.

I would also like to remind everyone that if you want to donate to us online, you must use this link below.  Kuwasha (KIDS) has been kind enough to connect us to their website but you must go to the following link as it identifies our Home of Angels account.

http://www.kuwasha.net/jaaja-barbs-home-of-angels/


Thank you so much.










Sunday, December 10, 2017

Grateful to Everyone

It's been almost 9 years since we started our Home of Angel's dream, and throughout these years we have been blessed with many people that have come alongside to help us.  Edwin and I are so thankful to many of you who encouraged us; sent funding and just believed in us that we could accomplish this project by selling loaves of banana bread.  We still have some projects to complete before getting ready for the new children to move in and figure we will reach our maximum capacity before school starts in February 2018.

This is our hundredth blog and we're proud to say that we've documented our journey every step of the way.  I have to be very honest with you all.  I am not a very wise person when it comes to business, but God provided people to guide me and provide wisdom every step I took.  He provided people to come into our lives that believed in us and trusted we would do the right thing.

We thank our dedicated funders who made such a difference in the lives of the people in our community and in our children.  Thank you to the people who help me with fundraisers, baking banana bread, sewing clothes, providing food and water and so much more.  There are no words to really express the gratitude that we have for you all but, my biggest fear is that I will forget someone.  Always know that I mean every one of you who made this dream come true. You are ALL truly special whether I mention your name or not.





Stephanie set up a Facebook page called 30 Days of Banana Bread.  We created some funny videos to explain the project.  When people give a minimum donation of $30 to Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels http//www.kuwasha.net/jaaja-barbs-home-of-angels/ she will bake them 2 loaves of banana bread plus give 2 loaves to the Cyrus Center that helps the homeless youth in Abbotsford.  Search 30 Days of Banana Bread on Facebook to get involved.

Thanks Stephanie for your huge heart to help us in this way and help our local kids also.





To date, we have taken in 4 children from the abandoned orphanage.  This little one is named Joweli.  She's 3 years old and loving the fact that she has brothers and sisters who care for her.  Her big sister Lovisa is making sure she is learning the routine.




The film crew was hard at work every day filming the Human Project.  Our Aunty Joy, Yasin and Lovisa were the main characters and all three couldn't have been more professional.  Even though they didn't understand English, Edwin translated everything that the crew requested and it was acted out beautifully.




The kids were so excited when they saw something strange in the sky.  





A drone from Canada, something they have never seen before.  The drone was used to film and when this documentary is released in March, I will be able to show you what it was filming.   






We decided to have a birthday party for Mariam and Yasin's Jaaja who turned 96 years old.  He had never had a birthday before, so the kids and I baked cakes, blew balloons up and decorated the grass hut.  Meanwhile, James, our worker took a motorcycle over to pick him up because he couldn't walk.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday as he sat and watched, feeling so happy that someone cared.  Thanks Jane for providing this party.






Mariam and Yasin showed him the cake.  He had never seen one before and I must say loved the taste.  He had three large pieces.  Our children normally have no living relatives but Jaaja wasn't able to feed or take care of them so we offered to help him.  It's these two that now take care of him by helping him fetch water and making sure he's got everything he needs.





There was also another surprise.  Lovisa, Mariam, and Desire had a birthday that week and we secretly prepared for that one also.  Tradition says....buckets of water thrown over them but the fun part was that they had no idea we remembered.  It was a happy day all around.




We recently added 4 more little people to our home and they really are a happy bunch.  Always playing well together, never fighting and the one thing that I really notice is, they share everything they have with each other.  One skip rope will be shared between everyone and they all get a turn.


It's been a wonderful year and so much to be thankful for.  Thank you, everyone, for following our story and encouraging us along the way.  We truly have a family of children that love God and will help others because of the love they have been shown by many of you.

We would also like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year 2018.



I apologize for this video below.  It was supposed to show you our compound but it didn't work and I don't know how to remove it.  Just ignore it and chalk it up to a grandma that isn't too good at technology.  :)