Sunday, October 30, 2016

In the Storm

Life can feel like a storm...whether it be in Uganda or at home here in North America.  It tosses us around with winds of misfortune, grief and stress.  Where can we turn?  We can rest in an all-powerful, all-wise and all-loving God.  He is definitely with us in this storm of life.

We've never missed sending a monthly update these past 6 years, but this time we've had some difficulties in Uganda with the network, the weather and the internet.  Even though we have a modem for communication, sometimes things aren't always perfect.

As you all know, God paved the way for us to operate our ministry through Timothy Outreach International Society (TOIS).  We have been very blessed to have partnered with this organization, as they make sure 100% of your sponsorship money and donations reach our Home of Angels.

As of December 2, 2016, TOIS will be changing their name to Kuwasha International Development Society (KIDS).  We would like to ask you to please address your cheques to KIDS from that date on with Home of Angels on the bottom.  They can be mailed to the same address. Thanks.

This blog definitely demonstrates both the good and bad.  Edwin and I never take any of what has been given to us for granted, but when we see the devastation of our neighbours, it makes us want to get out there and work harder to bring the Word into our community.  They are needing more hope  in their lives every day.

Meet the children currently living at our Home of Angels.  I'll be leaving in a month to spend Christmas with Edwin and the children and I must say, I'm really looking forward to it.  We have been given Gleaners food again this year and we plan to invite 200+ children from the community to celebrate the birth of Jesus with us.  Instead of balloons, Northview church is giving the kids snowflakes to cut out.  They might not know what they are but they'll soon learn.

Aunty Aidha is busy making porcho for the children.  This is a very strenuous job, especially when it's raining, but our aunties continue to prove their dedication to us.  One day we will have a stove inside the cookhouse that will be much more efficient.  It will keep the food warm and the cooks dry.

Our 500 chicks from Northview are still doing well.  Paul and James continue to monitor them 24/7. 

The drought is back and our gardens have once again dried up.  Our neighbours have also lost their crops which is devastating for their families.  This is how they get school fees for their kids, food and charcoal.  Forget the medicine is anyone should get sick.  

Forgive the darkness but the children left when it was almost dusk.  Hope and Desire are heading to school for two weeks where they'll write their exams to get into Secondary school.  These sisters have never been separated before so there is a little tension and worry that if they don't do well, they will have to go to different schools.  The other children are helping them carry their metal box with clothes, books and mattresses.  Both Hope and Desire have attended school for 7 days a week for the past 9 months in order to prepare.

We loaded our portion of the Rotary container in February of 2016.  Clearway truck rentals donated a truck to get it there.  In May of 2016 the decision was made that the container would not be sent to Uganda due to corruption, so we loaded it up from the warehouse and brought it back to Abbotsford.  Clearway and these men spent the rainiest day of the year helping me.  They donated the truck, driver, crew and Jeremy and his family gave us storage space in their home.  I cannot tell you how grateful I was for their help, especially after having surgery.  Thanks Jeremy to you and your team.

This is the biggest storm of grief I have seen in a very long time.  2,700 vendors in our Jinja market lost their livelihoods this past week.  The entire market caught on fire in the middle of the night.  As if it wasn't bad enough already with the draught and famine setting in, this had to happen also.  I just heard tonight that there hasn't been rain in some parts of Kenya in 9 months.  Please pray for these people as they have nothing left.

You are ALL a huge part of our team that makes our Home of Angels function in Uganda.  These children come from very sad situations and you have come forth from all parts of the world to make a difference.  They realize what you have done for them and believe me, you are in their daily prayers.  Edwin, the children and myself would like to once again say thank you for all you've done.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Heartbreak to Hope

Here we are, less than three months until Christmas and I'm already counting down the days.  All I can think about is seeing Edwin again and the 26 children who call Home of Angels their family.  I left in March and since then, Edwin has worked tirelessly visiting villages finding the child that is truly suffering.  It says in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." They have gone from heartbreak to hope, but with Jesus in their lives, they will forget their suffering in time.

We now have 8 new children. These kids have come from horrific conditions and with the love and attention their new brothers and sisters will give them, they will overcome. We've been given enough Gleaners soup to once again celebrate Christmas together with the many children in our community.  Northview church has given us snowflakes to cut out and hang instead of balloons this year.  Not that they will understand what a snowflake is, but they will have the thrill of creating a beautiful atmosphere and with teaching, understand the true meaning of Christmas for the first time.

Thank you sponsors for helping these children feel loved and cared for.  Many of you donated items to your children in the container last January but I must tell you that due to corruption in Uganda, it will not be leaving Vancouver.  We've unloaded it and I will be taking it in suitcases in future trips.

These little ones I will meet for the first time 

When the children arrive, there are a number of things that Edwin and the aunties must do to help them.  Almost all the kids come in with fungal diseases, so heads are shaved, washed and special fungal cream administered.  If there are jiggers in their hands or feet, the aunties or Edwin will spend many hours removing them.  Jiggers are like a little flea in the dirt with a sac containing 1,000,000 eggs.  They get into the skin and must be removed to prevent pain. This is why shoes are so important.

Our 500 chicks are 2 months old now and doing well.  We should have eggs in about 5 months and the children are already talking about who "Uncle Eddie" will choose to sort them.

Since no one knows how old they are or when they were born, each child picks a day in the year for their birthday.  I then send everyone a special card in one big envelope so they all will receive them.
Because I mailed them before the new kids arrived, Edwin went to the store and purchased and printed in their card so they weren't left out.  They never knew the difference and all were happy!

This time, I put a picture of themselves in their card.  For some, such as Yasin in the green shirt in front, had never seen himself before.  It was a lesson for me....I never thought of this ....they have never seen themselves.  We take it for granted that everyone has mirrors....they don't.  Thanks Edwin for capturing these expressions.

Look at these beauties turning into amazing teenagers.  The one thing I love about this culture is, even though Junior is the only boy, they treat each other equally.  There is no gender issue.

Hope and Desire in the white shirts are on their way back to school to study for their National exams in November.  Please pray for these two girls.  This will determine what school they qualify to go to next year and because they are sisters and have never been separated before, nerves are on edge.

Here are some of the little people and I am shocked at how they are growing.  Remember Yasin in the mud hut?  Look at this precious child front and centre.  Alan, our mischievous Alan! He turned out to the be big brother to all the new kids....a role model.

Paul and James are hard at it again in the garden.  The draught and rains have reversed seasons this past year but they keep trying.  They're planting maize and greens here.  For 8 years now they have never disappointed us in their work ethics.  Very hard working men.

Thank you Northview for the Bibles for the new children.

Message from Edwin

The staff, children and myself would like to thank everyone for all they have done for us over the years.  You stood with us not only in the good times, but also in the tough days where we felt like giving up with such a huge project.  You encouraged us to keep going and we will never forget.

I want you to know that we are praying God's blessings on all of you for the love and trust you have showed to us. We won't let you down and I promise you that these children will make you proud in the years to come.  Thank you for standing with us.