Tuesday, January 9, 2024

End of Year Celebrations

Sixteen years ago, I would have never believed I'd be saying these words.  I'm fast approaching a new season, "the winter of old age".  We've all worked hard to achieve a dream and even though it's not quite finished, we couldn't have done it without your help. 

No matter what the circumstances were throughout these past years, we've trusted God to give us the wisdom and the skills to raise these children, to provide for the sick, hungry and the elderly.  We want you to understand that this is not about only what we've done.  It's also about all of you who played a part in helping us to provide for the orphan and the helpless. Whether it was by donation or through one of the many teams who visited HOA, we all did it from our hearts.  Friends like Joyce for example, who put Hope and Desire through YWAM and is currently putting them through a catering and hotel management courses.  So many wonderful people who cared about the helpless and never gave up helping us to help them on your behalf.  Below, you will understand the impact of what's possible in the future and we're convinced that many children from Ptarmigan schools will make a difference in Uganda.

We live in what I used to call "the bush".  Sixteen years ago there were very few mud huts but today a village has been constructed all around us.  After we built HOA for the children to live in we decided we needed a school.  We already had the two chicken houses with 1000 chickens that died of the Avian flu, so we converted it into a school that we named "Morning Star Nursery School". It filled quickly, so the next decision was to build a larger Nursery school.  Thanks to Richard and his family, we were able do this plus build a Primary school.  Our dream has always been to be self-sustainable with 500 students and the best qualified staff.  The Morning Star school was then converted to a Trade school so children could learn a trade before they phased out at 18-years old.  Also, the parents are now requesting their children would love that too but with a fee.  That's when the media became involved.

I had planned a trip to Uganda recently, but sadly, I had to cancel due to personal reasons.  Little did I know that they had prepared this surprise for me when I was there.  They still went ahead on a rare day the sun came out.  The school compound was set up for 1000 people. Twenty police cars arrived carrying two government officials.  The Commissioner of Education and Sports who issues all the permits to schools in Uganda. She was sent to witness what was happening at Ptarmigan schools in a district outside the City of Jinja, later to share it with the Prime Minister of Uganda.

In the second car was the Minister to President Museveni.  He sent her to witness what everyone was saying about Ptarmigan schools at Home of Angels outside Jinja. She was thrilled and beamed the entire day.  She couldn't believe the quality of education and that the youngest child could speak to her in English.

Because of the radio stations being involved, many parents arrived to find out how to enrol their child.

By midday they had reached their maximum of 1,000 people on the property, including the radio stations, news media and parents wanting to enrol their children.  The Minister was thrilled to cut the few cakes they had and she seemed to beam with a smile at all times.

These are children performing from Nursery school.  They danced and sang in English to Baby Jesus

The Muslim children had a beautiful dance also.  Where we are, everyone is the same and I love that. When we have a Christmas party for our Home of Angels children, it's the Muslims that bring the meat for them.

And back on our Home of Angels property, a tent was set up in preparation for our children to have a Christmas party also.  Because so many of the children were helping Uncle Edwin and Precious, they all aren't here but I thought you'd be thrilled to see how they've grown.  Thank you Laurel for making them so happy.

This was an amazing Christmas party.  I see meat in the rice, flowers on the table and the sun is shining.

We are rapidly building the hostel but with the hard rains, it's not been easy.  Edwin has had up to 75 workers a day and they won't be giving up. It must be completed by mid-January.  All you prayer warriors out there, please pray they can do this before school starts.  It looks like we may have a good enrolment.

This is the first part of a radio series about our Ptarmigan primary school.


This rain is heavy and goes all day like this

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and thanks again for all you've done for us over the years.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Our Anchor of Hope

Most of the time, life doesn't warn us of the unsettling experiences coming our way, but our loving Father knows and cares about our struggles and He invites us to bring our fears and worries to Him.  That's exactly what we've done at Home of Angels.  Many places in our world are suffering and we know that we will also go through times of struggling, but we're going to fight with everything we have to make it to the finish line.  What finish line you say?  To be able to operate on our own and still be able to help the orphan and the poor.  To raise more homeless children and for our two schools to equip the 500 students that we have recently enrolled.  

We are currently on our last project and that is our Ptarmigan hostel.  For many kids to come from a distance, they need to have a place to lay their heads.  We believe we will accomplish this, even in the rains. In the meantime, we've had some sad things happen.  Our Pastor Richard was attacked on his motorcycle and hit hard on his head with a sledgehammer, cracking his skull. He's presently being treated by a neurosurgeon that came from a distance and we'll soon know the results.  The rains have been unbearable.  Currently, the roads are all washed out.  For us to bring food in, we now have someone purchase it, drive to a place where Edwin and others can walk, pick it up and carry it back to HOA.  It seems that a safe home remains more of a dream than a reality over there now.

Our contractor and workers are still constructing the hostel but with this hard rain, it hasn't been easy for them. We've relied on them for many years and they have never let us down.  

Edwin managed to get pictures on a clear day and we're happy to be able show you.  Thanks to all of you who have stood with us all these years.  Please pray for Pastor Richard and for the rains to ease up.


We'd like you to meet our newest children that have come to live at Home of Angels.  From left to right we have Diana, Sheila and Zaina, all girls from our neighbourhood who have lost their parents.


In our last blog, I shared a picture of Corrie, our wonderful friend who has been collecting cans since 2013.  For ten years she never stopped and we wanted to honour her with a surprise present.    So we decided, in honour of her, we would name one of our homes after her.  Just to give you an idea...in 2013 she donated a cheque for $25.00. Ten years later she has collected ....get ready for this..... $34,000.00.
Our wonderful friend Corrie will be 90-years old very soon.

These two girls are in our Nursery school learning to read and write English.

I couldn't resist this picture......

These are our Primary 7 students getting ready to write their exams in the morning. Pastor Richard is praying over the students and their parents.  

And of course they must be a fancy cake to celebrate.  I wonder if they made this in the Trade Center?

This is our road.  We're up the road by that telephone pole.  When it rains, it gets narrower and narrower.

This is one of the homes under water on our road.  You can just see the desperation.  The crops are all looking the same.  Literally no food once again.

Look at that "Blue Sky" 😊

The hostel is coming along and only because the boys will not give up.

Just to let you all know, I'm planning to travel back there early January for a month.  I can hardly wait to see everyone, especially all these little people who I don't recognize anymore.  I'm blaming that on being so old.  I think I'm going to need prayer too so I won't end up in the Congo by accident. 😉

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The Power of Kindness

When the troubles of this world weigh heavy on our hearts, we can find comfort in the knowledge that He protects and fights for us.  God seems to choose the unlikeliest people to do His work.  It doesn't matter how old you are or where you're from, what matters is that you trust Him and respond to others with love.

For 15 years I've travelled back and forth to Uganda and still find it difficult to grasp the reality of the poverty and the sickness.  We've all been a team of servants witnessing how our Great God used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things for His Glory.  To take the most vulnerable, provide them with Agape love and for all of us to have been able to witness the amazing results.  If it wasn't for many of you helping us to make this possible, I can't imagine how some of these beautiful people would still be alive today.  We have climate changes just like other parts of the world and uprisings in Sudan north of us with thousands coming south into Uganda.  We have more than 28 refugee camps with the largest not far from us with 270,000 people. 

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, we will soon be starting to build a hostel for 200 children to attend our schools.  The construction plans are completed and if we can build the first floor within 3 months, we will have accomplished it.  We've always dreamed that one day we'll be self-sustainable and it looks like our dream will be coming true.   In the meantime, we'd like to share some of our latest news with you.

You've met Corrie before!  An amazing woman who has been collecting cans for Home of Angels since 2013.  Hold on to your hats because you're not going to believe this.  Corrie will be 90 years in 2024 and she has donated $32,899.00 over these past 11 years.  She takes them to the bottle depot, monitors the cash register and quite often has to correct them because they missed a bottle.  What a blessing you are Corrie for never giving up.  All of us are very grateful for your huge heart.

The children wanted to thank you also but since they're all currently speaking English, they argued over who would write the message.  Great way to practice.

Edwin's wife Precious monitors the Love project.  A project that started with 32 families in our grass hut nine years ago.  All the children are physically and mentally challenged and they've struggled to survive. The word spread and today we have approximately 170 families from across Uganda.  Precious has taught them to make soap, chalk for school boards, bricks, and mats.  We supplied them with a small piece of land to grow food and today, they are surviving much better.  Yes, it's difficult to purchase things like clothes and shoes but for them it doesn't matter.  Each family sells their own product and at the end of the month gives $30.00 too Precious to bank into their LOVE project account.  If a family finds themselves short, they can borrow $30.00 with permission.  

Out of these many families, there is only one father whose wife left him with three challenged children.
Food is very scarce here but we try and help them with the small profits we presently make. 

Do you remember our "God's Little Angels Ministry" where our kids would help the elderly every week after Sunday school?  These particular items were purchased by friends of Precious and will be delivered to the father and the three children at the Love Project.  

Because of the rains again, Edwin found it difficult for pictures of the church service but this Sunday, he managed to get a picture of the Sunday school children leaving the church.  

Sometimes there's a birthday party where some neighbour children are invited for a soda and rice and beans.  I can't tell if this little one is looking down at the food or praying, but the picture is priceless.

We have 4 housing units in our area consisting of 400+ men and women in addiction.  Edwin organized and brought together the police, community leaders and 4 camp leaders.  He found a local school ground with tents, chairs and the water was provided.  They were nervous to come because of the police but as Edwin lead the meeting, he explained it was all good.  They knew and trusted Edwin, so they listened.  The city officials and the police explained to them that they were only there to let them know if they needed help, not to be afraid to ask.  

This is Johnny and his grandmother.  Johnny has Elephantiasis which is an infection transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitos.  One of our donors is taking care that he gets to a good hospital with doctors who specialize in treating this.  Once treated he will be able to get out and play with his friends.

Thank you to everyone for partnering with us to help these kids, "celebrate living".  

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Helping Others Through Darkness

 The greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted.  Without a doubt, we are currently living in a community of poverty and brokenness.  It's been a difficult year for everyone through many days of rain, homes washed away, few crops planted and now the people feeling as though they're travelling through uncharted territory.  There is no more wood or charcoal for cooking, food and fuel is terribly expensive and there's very little work.  Officials are also receiving intelligence that terrorists are interested in planting bombs in churches.

With all that's changing in Uganda, we still continue to have some really good stories.  Two of our girls passed YWAM.  Hope excelled in her grades and will be coming to Canada with her team soon.  We have three more girls phasing out of HOA at the end of 2023 that will also attend YWAM and hopefully in 2024, two more girls will have the same chance. We have three more new orphans coming in as soon as they pass their medical and have their jiggers removed from their feet.  Each blood-sucking parasite I've been told carries 1000's more if not removed and burned.  

Because it rained for many months, the septic tank for the church collapsed underground.  The smell was so intense that church services had to be held in the Bible school.  The new tank has been rebuilt underground so  services will continue very soon.  This room will hold 500 people.

This is Alex and he's in the last stages of AIDS.  His mother, Mutesi recently passed away and his little brother died in 2013 of the same.  We were very close to this family and Edwin checks on him regularly.  Alex knows it's a matter of time now but he wanted to say goodbye to Jaaja Barb. Broke my heart but I know I'll see him again.

Yasin is delivering food to a neighbour that hadn't had food for some time.

This is the first new child we will currantly be taking into HOA.  She has had the jiggers taken out of her feet.  She lived with her Grandma until she recently passed and then off to the streets looking for food.  

This picture makes me so homesick.  Look at these "not so little ones" anymore.  It's been almost five years since I've been to Uganda and honestly, I struggle to know who some of them are.  I'm very excited to be going back for another Christmas with the kids and our neighbours.

Edwin and the police wanted to help the men in addiction in our area, so Edwin organized and brought together the police, community leaders and camp leaders.  There are 4 camps, each with a very organized leader.  The men and women were nervous to come when they saw the police thinking they were going to be arrested but Edwin explained to them that wasn't the case.  It was a good meeting. The police spoke kindly to them, explaining if they wanted help, they had professionals ready if needed and not to fear them.

Our LOVE project is amazing.  These children are physically and mentally handicapped.  Precious and Edwin went for a visit taking clothes for the children.  This little one and many others there can only crawl on the ground.  Their Mamas are providing everything they need by working hard to make soap, bricks, chalk for schools and anything new they can learn.  They have a community bank account and each family is putting in money monthly.  Precious is the Treasurer.  

Precious took him over to try some clothes on him and he was so happy.

Look at this smile!
This father has four handicapped children.  His wife left him for another man but he never abandoned them.   He of course struggled for food so we helped him out with porcho and soap..  

Everyone received a new shirt.
I love this expression!

The older girls are in another school off-site but when I go at Christmas, I'll be sure to update you.

Thanks again to all of you who've been a part of this wonderful story.   The sponsors, the donors and you prayer warriors who never stop praying for health and safety.  


Friday, July 7, 2023

Global Warming in Jinja, Uganda

 There is no doubt that global warming has swept hard across the entire world increasing its devastation as each year passes.  Unfortunately, heart-breaking events continue to happen again and again and we ask the same question:  Why do bad things happen to good people?  God's plan may not always be apparent to us, but He's promised to never leave us, and give us strength to get through our struggles. 

There was so much water causing most of our neighbours to have to watch their mud huts float away and having no where to go for shelter; our schools and homes had no electricity and the church couldn't be opened.  Then there was our borehole. We had no water.  Instead of driving to get water, the mud was so deep on our road that our car couldn't get out, so thanks to a friend of Edwins, who came daily on his boda (motorcycle), made it through 100 times per/day carrying a full 20 litre jerry can each time.  And for Edwin to communicate with me, he had to walk to the nearest gas station to charge his phone.  He never missed a day!

When we worry over these challenges facing those we love and fear the situation won't change, we should never underestimate the power of prayer, for our loving God hears our pleas.  We thank the Ames Family Foundation for a donation to purchase a 900kg (almost one ton) generator for us to return to normal and be able to start operating again.

Ptarmigan schools were also effected with no electricity and the fact the teachers and students couldn't reach us with the roads destroyed. We want to also thank the Ptarmigan Family for helping us get back on track again. With the weather improving, the principal is continuing to interview for applicants to attend. Precious and Pastor Richard are interviewing pastors as religious education is mandatory in Uganda.

The rains may continue but with the generator we can proceed with our dream of raising orphans, and teaching the community who God is.  We now have the land to build hostels for students coming from a distance and a trade-school to teach trades for when they complete their education at HOA.

This is a church not far from us and apparently this woman had no where to go when her home washed away.  We helped many with a tarp and a metal pot for cooking but it was impossible to help everyone.

This is Mutesi and our Sula who has been with us for 15 years.  He's prepared the mud with his feet for her to attach it to the poles on the hut.  This is not an easy job.  A visiting team from Canada volunteered to help her also to build another hut and it was exhausting.

Mutesi starting to build her new home.

The truck arrived from Kampala with an 900kg, almost one ton generator.  

It took 20 strong men to unload it and Dennis, our electrician worked more than 12 hours setting it up.

A generator deserves a celebration.  Lovisa, Eddie and Bridget are preparing Matoke which is a favourite  meal with everyone.  I even liked it and I HATE bananas, just saying 😉  

Edwin sent me this picture 15 years ago when he found this family on the street.  Hope, Desire and Sammy, their little brother, who we think was abducted.  Jaaja was blind and these three children looked after her and another blind Jaaja who was at home.  I met the girls picking weeds on one of my first trips.  Edwin explained that as caregivers, they came every day for food for the family. 

This is Hope 15-years later at her graduation at YWAM in Arua, a town in northern Uganda almost on the Sudanese border.  She did so well that she was awarded not only her diploma but a visa to come to Canada in the future. Edwin and Precious were able to drive 13 hours north to attend her graduation and have pictures taken with her so she would always have a family reminder.

We are all so proud of Hope.  This is quite an accomplishment for a child that started out the way she did.

We'd like you to meet Annet, Joanne, Zakia, Mariam and Eva. (left-right)

Three of these girls are currently writing their Secondary exams and will be finished early 2024.  The other two girls will be following one year later and all of them were ecstatic when Edwin and I told them we were sending the to YWAM when they finish.  They realize it's not easy and know that Desire didn't make it even though she tried so hard.  They've all come from horrific backgrounds and they deserve this chance to show the world that if your desire is great enough, anything can be accomplished.

Thanks to everyone who helped us to raise these children.  They are amazing kids that will be making a difference soon.  With that said, it's time to bring in more little people and that's the plan for the very near future.  Also, to open the church.  We've been ready for some time but with the rain and roads, it was almost impossible to anyone to walk or drive to us.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Love in Action

Heartbreaking events continue to happen again and again throughout our world and we wonder why bad things happen to so many good people.  Where we live in Mpumudde, an area north of Jinja city, life is currently very difficult because of the rains.  Yes, those rains are still falling.  Many of our neighbours have lost their homes, children have lost their families and death is widespread.  Because burials are a challenge for many; diseases are on the uprise with epidemics of mumps, measles, cholera and of course malaria.  Malaria has affected all our kids but they are blessed to have treatment immediately.

For fifteen years we've faced the good and the bad and as rough as it currently is, we want to focus now only on the good.  God promises to be with us always, protecting us from the storms of life and we know, as our foundation, we can stand firm trusting that our destiny is safe in His hands.  So...instead of bad news, we want to share some rewards that have recently happened at Home of Angels among our own children.  

Do you remember our little Alan, the one that was always in trouble?  Peeling paint off our homes, catching birds and spying on the girls?  Mom died giving birth to him in a swamp.  Jaaja pulled him out of the water and took him home.  A few years later, we found her struggling to raise the many children she had inherited, so we decided to help by bringing Alan home to raise.  Aunty Joy pulled 52 jiggers from his feet and I remember Edwin taking him to the hospital many times with pneumonia. He had a rough start.

I have to say, he did grow into a handsome little guy, but full, I mean full of mischief.  So much so that we had to send him away.  Edwin's friends in the police academy suggested they take him into their school for children on the base.  This was very happy news for Alan.  He bragged to everyone how he was joining the police force and when they came to pick him up, he was all packed ready to go.  He waved to his brothers and sisters and off he went for 3 months.  When he came home for spring break, he was a completely different child filled with respect.  

Alan's mentor.  Sam was the very first boy to live at HOA.  He actually was there to help build the boys home and in 2012, made the move into his very first bedroom with 7 other children.  Sam is a part of Alan's story as he volunteered to upgrade Alan's grandma's home who recently passed, so the others would have a roof over their heads.  And Alan would have a place to live once he phased out of HOA.  

The recent rains have washed many mud homes away or made them unliveable.  What I'm trying to explain is how close the children are as brothers and sisters.  Sam came back to help Alan, his little brother to have a home for the future and possibly for his other siblings currently on the streets.  He was our first success story.

When children reaching age 18-years must phase out of any orphanage, they usually have no where to live.  We made the decision to build a Trade school and to teach them a skill on the outside so they would survive. But, where do they live once they have to move out?  We couldn't have it on our property so Ames Family Foundation helped us by building a home on a piece of property across the dirt road from us. There is another wall around this home also for protection and our guard close by to monitor them.   Thank you so much to our friends at Ames Family Foundation for caring that the children had a place to live while they learned a skill for survival.

This is Alex with Edwin.  Alex is the brother of Nathan and son of Mutesi.  Nathan died at age seven from HIV/AIDS and Mutesi, his mom recently died of the same disease.  Alex remained alive and lived in the mud hut his mom Mutesi herself had built.  Because all three suffered with HIV/AIDS, my daughter Kim was kind enough to purchase a comfortable double-bed for them.  Alex has now been hospitalized with only days to live.  I'm telling you this because Junior, our latest boy to leave HOA has been by his side in the hospital day and night.  Our older kids who phase out of HOA, take care of each other no matter what.  Alex was like a brother and knows the Lord well. I sent him the "23rd Psalm" for Edwin to read to him and when he finished reading it, Alex said "Goodbye Jaaja".  That was difficult.

Many of you know Junior, our most recent boy to leave us.  He's been working for our contractor building homes and he's always on stand-by when Edwin needs him.  These kids grew up with brothers and sisters they love and call family.  They might all be orphans but in reality, they are an amazing family.

This is Jaaja and she's 100+ years old.  A rare age for anyone in Uganda but she, like other Jaaja's are responsible for their grandchildren when the parents die.  In the latest rains, her house collapsed on top of her with the bricks damaging her foot and arm.  She hadn't eaten for 3 days so when Edwin and Precious brought her pain medication, sugar, porcho and soap, she broke down and thanked God.  She has three grandchildren who at that time were out trying to find food for them all.

These are her beautiful grandchildren ages 5, 6 and 7 years old.  Full of jiggers, ringworm which is very visible and other things unidentifiable.  We would like to take them into our Home of Angels and raise them in a home where they will be loved.  Edwin will start the process soon but first there must be an internal medical check done.

I wanted to let you know that I had to cancel my trip again in July.  Many of you have sent letters and small gifts to the children you sponsor and they will receive them, but not until I'm able to leave.  I will keep you all updated and I also want to thank the many of you who have stood strong with us for so long.  You've made such a huge difference changing so many lives these past years and I'm so happy to be their voice to tell you on this side of the world how grateful they are.