Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sharing the Blessings

Christmas time is almost here and we hope that you are preparing your hearts for the amazing gift of Christ's birth and all that it means.  Whether we celebrate in a country blessed with everything or in an impoverished nation, we must never forget that we have received a priceless gift and to remember all that He has done for us.

In our 2012 Christmas blog, I wrote about the snow falling ever so gently in Canada while in Uganda, it was so hot.  This year in 2015, we have rain and lots of it on both sides of the world.  In Uganda, it has been devastating.  One report had warned that Uganda and other East African countries would experience an El Nino effect from October 2015 until February 2016.  Cholera and malaria are threatening the lives of many people and Edwin is not just standing by.  He has taken his wages to try and help some of the hundreds of kids in our area by purchasing mosquito nets and distributing them.  Like he says...who knows of a rich man that has a child dying of malaria?  These poor children are losing their lives because they have no protection and people like Edwin reach out to help.  I have witnessed the horrors of poverty there and I try to imagine watching it daily.  To go to 4 funerals in one day with children dying under 6 years old due to lack of a $10.00 mosquito net is mind boggling.

Edwin and I both realize we cannot help everyone and we know we need to concentrate on helping our children first.  We are working very hard to find operating costs for 2016 and that has to be a priority.  I do understand why he has tried to help and I am very proud of him for doing God's work at this special time of year.

Two kids from a village north of us that came to receive a mosquito net.

Edwin, along with Moses, Ivan, Bridget, Lovisa and Annette walked 1 1/2 hours into the bush and found kids living with no parents.  Edwin picked one child from each group and brought them back to our Home of Angels compound.  Our kids then presented each one with a mosquito net and walked them back 1 1/2 hours to their village.  The reason why they did it this way was to prevent a stampede as we had witnessed in the past.

Thank you TOIS for providing a way for us to get electricity when the City of Jinja cuts us off.  The people with homes suffer due to the demand used by businesses and factories.  We now have an inverter with batteries so that when the power goes off, we will have a stand-by system.  This is a wonderful gift to have as communication between Canada and Uganda is so vital in our operations.

Play-away in the U.K. has been raising funds for a playground for us for the past few years.  They are now installing it and the kids are so excited.  Thank you Rachel, Mark and all your team members for wanting to put a smile on the children's faces.

Kid's playing

African Relief Club

This group of "amazing" students at Chilliwack Senior Secondary School, along with their teacher Steve, have opened a food kiosk within their school to raise money for their organization in Nigeria.  They decided to partner with us at Home of Angels in Uganda and share all profits made annually between both of us.  Their African Relief Club is making a big difference in both of our organizations and I wanted everyone to see what I mean when I say "Kids helping Kids" is the best part about what we are doing.   I was brought to tears when they presented us with this cheque.

This is a village very close to our Home of Angels.  The village where our little Nathan lived that died of AIDS.  The children have basically nothing including clothes or food but always have a big smile.

One day when the kids were at school, Edwin found clothes in our container and decided to give them a present.  Smiles even got bigger.

Because we have been blessed with a donation from the Rotary to share a container, I won't be going back for Christmas this year.  It is very important to put this together so I will wait a few more months until our team from Northview arrives.  The children are already working hard on a welcoming performance with the odd Skype visit to show me what they are learning.  I am so proud.

Thanks to all of you who supported us in 2015 and made it possible to grow in the way we have.  Our farm is doing well with the chickens and vegetables along with the goats thriving up north.  If it wasn't for all of you, none of this would be happening.

Merry Christmas with blessings to all in the New Year 2016.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kid's of all Ages

I usually send out a blog about this time every month, but right now, with the rains and lack of power
in Mpumudde, it has been difficult for normal communication.  They are telling us that most of the power must be reserved for businesses and factories.  Homes like ours are now regulated outside the city of Jinja so we had been praying hard for a solution.  Last week our prayers were answered by the Timothy Outreach International Society.  They so generously donated an Inverter system that will suffice both compounds when our power is turned off.  We thank TOIS so much for all that you have done for us throughout the years.

The International Committee for the Rotary in Tsawwassen has decided to pay the entire shipping cost of one 40' container going to Uganda.  What a blessing this is for us as we won't have to worry about the same experiences as last time when we lost so much.  We have been allocated 1/3 of this container to get the things needed for the kids and our ministry.  Thank's to all the Rotarians involved for helping us make this dream come true.

I also want to thank the hundred's of kids that are helping us around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. I spoke to the British Columbia Student Leadership Conference last month and from that, many of these students went out and created their own fundraisers within their own school.  I would like to thank the many schools that have made it their mission to help us at our Home of Angels.

Meet Annet, our latest and our 20th child.  Annet will be our last child  until 2016 to let the kids adjust to each other and to the routine of their new exciting life.

This is a day I won't be forgetting!  Save on Foods had a fundraiser with the firefighters barbecuing  outside.  We sold out of banana bread as usual but when I wanted to leave, they wouldn't let me.  They brought me into a room and presented me with a rose and the money they had raised from the barbecue taped around the vase.  It's days like this that humble me into tears. the way, I wasn't the only one.  I love you guys so much for helping us make a home for kids that have nothing.

McMath Secondary school in Richmond is having a Zumba concert on November 25, 2015.
They are baking banana bread as a fundraiser for this event, and once again....Save on Foods
has helped them with the ingredients to increase their profit.  Thank you so much SOF for your huge heart for the impoverished and sick, not only in our country, but around the world.


They baked almost 100 banana breads at school for their fundraiser.
I am so proud of our kids in Canada.

The kids wanted to make their own sign to thank Northview church for their new girls home.  They made it themselves with photocopy paper and wrote the words "Thank you Northview church for supporting the Home of Angels.....Bless you".

It's the boys job to take care of the goats each day.  They wanted to show everyone they have a total of six new kids now and soon all the children will have their own.

It read......
"Thank you to the Ames Family Foundation for supporting our Home of Angels. Blessings to you all".  It was important to them to do this themselves.  They all wanted to be a part of this but 2 of the younger kids have malaria and stayed inside.

I'd like you to meet my friend Betty.  She saw that someone had donated little cars for the boys so she started making little black baby dolls for the girls.  I also want to thank all the other people who knitted both toques and dolls for the children.   You are all amazing and we are so grateful.

Thank you M.E.I. High school for hosting another Mom/Daughter sewing event.  These two beautiful girls made twin pillow case dresses with the help of their Mom.  There were a total of 40 dresses made that afternoon. Thanks to Christina and Kim for dedicating so much time and effort into their pillow case ministry.

I started this blog with only a few pictures due to problems with power in Uganda.  At the last moment, Edwin got some through so we are both happy to be able to share the updates both in Canada and in Uganda.

There are so many people to acknowledge.  We truly want you to know how grateful Edwin, the children and I are for everything you do for us.

God bless you all

Monday, October 12, 2015

Eyes of Love

I went to my friends school the other day to speak to the 1st and 2nd graders in her class and while there, I got some great tips on how to teach English to our kids in Uganda.   I also had the privilege to speak to the "Me to We" kids who represent the leadership team in Miller Park Community school.  They wanted to know how a 69 year old grandma could make her dreams come true because they, at ages 9 and 10 also have a dream to help others in and outside their community.  They are presently raising money to help the families whose co-op apartment recently burned down on October 7th.  I am so proud of our kids here in Canada as so many want to make a difference.  Another example of eyes of love.

We wanted to also let you know that presently in Jinja, the power situation is not good.  They have been turning off the electricity to residents during the day to conserve it for businesses and factories.
Edwin has tried his best to send updated pictures but for now we don't have as many.  I can tell you that we will soon house 20 children.  We are looking into the circumstances of a 3 year old little girl that comes from a nearby island. We have been blessed with help from Dr. John Paul who specializes in Kwashiorkor and Marasmus (malnourishment) and his wife Maurine, a social worker that works with lost children.  She has found this child for us and is now in the process of making sure there are no relatives to take care of her.

Stella, our newest arrival is also 3 years old.  We actually find it difficult to really know their true ages, as time doesn't seem to be a factor when the children are born.  She was living in the care of her ailing and homeless grandmother, but in the state she was in, she found it difficult to feed her.  She asked us to help raise little Stella as there were no other relatives.  But because she is so ill, we felt it in our hearts to help this elderly woman too.  We asked our dear friend Mutesi if she would help as she had 2 rooms in her hut.  The answer was yes and grandma was taken there the same day by Edwin.  We want to thank Marlaina for always helping the elderly and for providing food for both these ladies.  God has blessed us with a wonderful team of people who truly care.

Meet our new little Stella.

You may have seen Mutesi before.  Her son Nathan died a few years ago from AIDS at age 7.
Mutesi found it in her heart to help Stella's grandma and also an orphan she found sick and homeless.

God's Little Angel's Ministry is still hard at work.  They wanted to take a mattress, mosquito net and wash tubs over for grandma.  She came with only the dress on her back.  They also delivered the food that Marlaina so kindly purchased.

Plaque on our new latrine

Try and explain this saying to a Ugandan

It is our dream to have a fundraiser one day.
Both these beautifully hand-made rocking horses
were made by Sim.  Thank you so much for
your continuous love and caring towards us.

Our tomato fields are overflowing.  Moses, Sam and Ivan's duties are to pick them when the aunties request them for dinner.  And yes....Sam, being a typical boy,  had an accident and hurt his forehead by falling off the top bunk...lesson learned.

My very favourite picture.  If your wondering what the quilts around their waists are for, its because they are learning traditional dancing for the guests we will hopefully be having in the future.  
Shhhhh..... I wasn't supposed to tell.

On Sundays, when the kids have some free time, you can hear singing in our compound.  They are learning to be a choir for the Jesus videos being shown to our community.  It ceases to amaze me how so many kids never argue, share everything and consider....what's mine is yours.

I also want to share a video showing all the kids learning the words to "Here I am to Worship" for
their new choir.

We are currently designing a website for our Home of Angels.  Because so many wonderful people are wanting to learn more about us, we needed to provide this site.  The blog will be linked into it so I will always have the opportunity of updating you with current information.

God Bless

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Hope Within

For the few years that I've been a Christian, my life has been a roller coaster.  Someone recently said to me "Stop looking outside of yourself for the strength to carry on and start looking to Jesus...He will carry you through" and that is exactly what has happened.  He has carried me through.  He lives in me and without Him, I could never make this all work from my side of the world.  Edwin feels the same way and relies solely on His strength too.  Just wanted to share that.

Lets go to Uganda.  The amazing things that are happening in our Home of Angels are more than words can express.  We have 7 new little ones since January and one more to come before 2016.  The latest being a 2 year old little girl named Stella.  It works perfectly.  Because we have developed a home and a family, the older kids take it upon themselves to help the little ones which allows the aunties to do their duties also.  They all work as a team and from what I saw this past month, it is an amazing home full of love.  I can't wait to go back in December and really excited that we may have the opportunity of hosting a team from my church for a few days while I am there.

In the meantime we have lots of work to do.  Between working on a website and speaking everywhere from schools to shopping centres, like is busy.  The 700 Club in the United States showed our story when I was in Uganda (link below) which brought many of our US friends into our journey.

Can you imagine being almost 70 years old and having all this to look forward too?  Exciting......

"John's John" is almost finished.  All we need is a paint job and the marble plaque installed to thank the Ames Family Foundation for their donation to build it.

Meet our new kids Lovisa, Eva, Sam, Maureen, Ivan, Bridget and Yasin.  The only one missing is our newest child, Stella.  I promised them to thank you Northview for the Bibles you gave them, so a big "Thanks" from Uganda.

This is our newest little one....Stella.  She is 2 years old and has no other relatives other than a 75 year old very sick grandma.  They both have been homeless and Stella needs to have a home where she is cared for and not on the streets.  Grandma was so grateful she would have a home now as she can't physically look after her anymore.

Aunty Joy receiving the kid's milk for the day.

Lunch time.....Mariam is handing out hard boiled eggs to the little ones with aunty Joy serving the
lunch at the same time.

This trip to Uganda was short but very "fruitful".  I met a man on the plane from Vancouver that lives also in Kampala and owns Amfri Organic Farms, the biggest organic farms in Uganda.  He visited us with his team and later took Edwin and I to see one of his operations outside Kampala.  It was absolutely amazing to see over 1000 acres full of every fruit and spice available for the markets around the world.  The car was filled with fruits for the kids when Edwin arrived home and the children were so grateful.  Thank you Nazim.

Every morning there are chores to do.  Maureen, Bridget and Lovisa are now best friends and do it together always laughing and singing.

It's hard to believe that these two beauties were just recently little girls struggling to smile.
They may be the oldest but without them, I can't imagine. They teach the new little ones how
to work and assist the aunties whenever they are needed.

This is Doctor John Paul, a specialist in malnutrition.  We have been blessed to know him as he
has helped Edwin so many times with our own children needing medical treatment.  Our little Ivan with Kwashiorkor has suffered so much in his little life.  Doctor John Paul comes to our Home of Angels to help him and finds us Plumpy Nut to feed him for his strength.  We are so blessed to have people in our lives that we have both in Canada and in Uganda and will never take it for granted.

The staff, guards and children came together the other night to prepare a big dinner with the Jesus video to be shown after.  Over 100 adults came which was out of the normal.  Usually many children would arrive but not this time.  Food was served, a prayer was said by a guest to say thanks and also for the opportunity to see a real Jesus video in their language.  Three hours later, everyone went home happy.  For those who wanted Bibles, we were able to give them one thanks to a wonderful donor in Canada.

The following is the link to the 700 Club.  This video was made by my church when we were in the early stages of building.

Thank you once again for all your donations, prayers and encouragement.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Slow Boat to Uganda

This past trip was a very difficult one.  Our plane set off to Dubai but had to return due to technical problems.  Long story short, our delay was 33 hours in Seattle as parts had to be flown in for repair.   The good of it was I met some amazing people and the bad of it was listening to their anger.  In any event, we made it and I was welcomed by Edwin, Dolly and Nadine at Entebbe airport.  The drive to Jinja took 5 hours because of an accident on the highway, but all was made good when I arrived.  Since no one knew I was coming, I laid on the back seat floor as we drove in.  I made it without being seen.  I opened the door and all of a sudden I couldn't get out, as everyone flew down the driveway yelling my name.  I will never forget that scene.  I met 6 new children and fell in love with every one of them instantly.  We are now at 18 children.

The pictures below will give you a good idea of the projects currently being worked on and the love and happiness within our Home of Angels.

It was so good to come back to my second home and see these beautiful faces I missed so much.
The struggle getting here was immediately forgotten.

Meeting the new kids while the others sang a welcome home song.

Eva is 10 years old and was responsible for finding food for her little brother Sam and her older sister that is physically challenged.   All her other family has passed away.  Sam is also living with us but the older sister wanted to live with the local leader in their village.  Eva struggled to be the adult of the family but it was too difficult for her.  We are so happy to have them both at our Home of Angels.

Little Ivan is now living with us.  His mom tried to poison his father and since disappeared.  Edwin found him in a mud house staying by himself and we decided to bring him into a home as there were no other relatives. 

Meet Hadeja, a 6 year old child from a northern village who doesn't speak English or Luganda.  She is adjusting well and learning quickly.  At the time she arrived, her name was Hadeja but she recently informed us that she has now changed to a Christian name....Lovisa.  This was a decision made by herself which is pretty amazing at her young age.

We now have 18 children living at our Home of Angels.  We had a meeting with the kids and the aunties to decide on 2 more children.  It was the consensus that we bring in 2 more little boys between the ages of 6 and 7 years.  We will stop at 20 children until early 2016 and let them all adjust into the family.

Finally....a picture of the 78 goats in Malindi village.  We had not been able to drive to this village as the roads are impassible from the rains.  We hired a man to go on a 3 hour boat trip across Lake Victoria with a camera to take pictures for us, but I can only show you one of many.  The female goats are now starting to produce kids and we expect 100 by January.

"God's Little Angels Ministry" were excited to pass out mosquito nets again.  These nets were donated by Lynda and Marlene in Canada.  We went to a village within our community that was familiar to our children.  Over the years they had watched their friends die of malaria and seen the devastation of bed bugs.  They were so thrilled to be able to help them now.

Thanks to Northview church, Edwin has finally been blessed with an office.  A place where business can be done privately.  This office is within the 2nd children's home that will eventually house 30 kids.

Thanks to a wonderful group of people in Canada for funding our new septic latrine.  The men physically did everything by hand to build this and I realized how easy we have it in our country
with machinery.  They have little equipment but do an excellent job.  This latrine will be named after a gentleman named "John" so we have ordered a marble rock with "John's John" to be placed outside.

The passion fruit are on their second season.  When the rains come again, we will have many to feed the kids.  This time, tomatoes and kale were planted beneath which will help the white blood cells in our HIV/AIDS children.

I have been here for 3 weeks and it feels like 2 days.  The work load is heavy but our staff are all doing extra work to help Edwin.  We have been so blessed by these people...they have been with us for 5 years and never let us down.  They focus on doing only God's work and that is to raise these children to be leaders.  The results are already amazing.

Thank you to all that have been a part of this.  Thank you to the new sponsors and to Global TV for airing our story on the local and national news.  Thank you again also to Save on Foods for helping us with ingredients for the banana bread and to our local bakery for helping me bake.  We cannot find an end to our thanks because it spreads across the world with other countries now participating.  All of you are amazing and all of us here in Uganda are very thankful to you.