Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Child of Whom the Angels Sing

At our Home of Angels, we've had many dreams over the past 9 years, all of which were thought to be impossible situations.  If you've been following the blogs, you will have seen that every one of them has been accomplished to date.  All the projects so far have been constructed and run by Ugandans.  We feel it's very important to help their economy and support their families by giving them the work.

The wisest idea we had, was to build a grass hut that holds 150 people.  The community is invited to watch the Jesus video on weekends and all special events are hosted in this one area.  But, the best part about our grass hut, and what the children are at this moment preparing for, is Christmas.  They will sing a song about "The Child of Whom the Angels Sing" and we all know this is Jesus.  It's Jesus that helped them all to be in the situation they're currently in and they thank him EVERY night at their praise and worship in the grass hut before they go to bed.  

I recently arrived in Uganda to find them all waiting for me with Uncle Edwin coaching them to be goofy and making them laugh.  What a welcome.

I had to leave 2 weeks later because of business in Canada but while there, I took pictures for all of you to see their growth and the amazing changes I had witnessed in just 5 months.

I hope you enjoy these pictures and for those who sponsor one of these kids, thanks for helping them celebrate life with such happiness.  We are still looking for sponsors for 4 of the new children if anyone would like to join our team.

When I arrive in Uganda now, I go into my friend's hotel for the evening and a driver will pick me up in the morning and take me to Jinja.  Because it's such a long drive home, I would rather arrive during the day and be able to give lots of hugs.  How could I not produce a tear or two with this unbelievable welcome?

Everyone gets a hug but it's not so easy anymore to do the twirling.  I have to find a way to be 20 years old again...  Any ideas?

This is our new sign for Morning Star Nursery School.  You will notice Day Care, but it's not the same there as in North America.  The children go to Baby and Top class which is for the little ones and they too learn but take naps in the afternoon.   The older kids told me that the little ones speak better English than they do.

The next morning we went to school

I had brought lots of school banners, posters, and learning material.  Here are David, Yiga and our little Sambo preparing to give them to the teacher Aidha.  I cannot put into words how proud these kids are of their new school and their new teacher.  In just a few months, she has taught them not only mathematics but English.  Little Joweli, age 4 can now communicate with me.

Meet teacher Aidha.  She has decided, because the children did so well in their last term at Morning Star school, that she would give them an end of year party.  We bought sodas, had a professional graduation cake made and blew up lots of balloons.  This is why our new school is doing so well.  We have a teacher that really cares and because of that, the quality of education is high. Many families are now wanting to enroll their children in the future.

"30 Hours of Banana Bread" was created by Stephanie Reddicopp.  She provided the act of kindness movement to be spread all over the world and that's just what it did.  There was no money involved, just a gesture of kindness to people who would enjoy a loaf and put a smile on their face at Christmas time.

Even Banana Bread Rayah got involved and learned to make loaves of bread to hand out to the needy.  What a Christmas blessing this has been.

Here we are back at Home of Angels sorting beans.  Every day, this must be done.  Sorting the beans and also sorting the G-nuts (peanuts).   This is Eva helping Hadeja with the work.  Hadeja has made a huge difference to the workload for the Aunties and the children respect her, as tough as she is.  When you have these many little people, toughness with love is the key.

It's departing time for Jaaja Barb.  Everyone starts crying but I now have a new weapon.  We play a game and I have to cry the loudest and they must follow.  By the time we're finished, there are only tears of laughter.   I must tell you though, it's very difficult to leave them all.

Uncle Edwin with Joweli and Sambo

I hope you enjoy their song for you.

All of us at Home of Angels would like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a joyous Year 2019.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

30 Hours of Banana Bread

Hi everyone,

I would like to start by apologizing for missing my first monthly blog in 10 years.  There has been good and bad happening on both sides of the world and because of the sickness and deaths in Uganda, our blogs have had to be put on hold until I get there next week to help Edwin.

In the meantime, I wanted you to see what my dear friend Stephanie Reddicopp is doing again this year to promote the name of our Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels.  Last year she baked banana bread for 30 days and raised $12,000.

This year she's up to an even a bigger challenge that doesn't necessarily mean money but loving on people and giving them blessings at Christmas time.  I'll be leaving for Uganda soon and won't get a chance to experience her 30 Hours of Banana Bread but I'd like to share it with all of you before I go so you can follow her on Facebook or maybe even help her.

30 Hours of Banana Bread

An act of kindness movement inspired by Banana Bread Barb!

Be BOLD & BAKE and BLESS others!!!!!  I think Barb’s story is inspiring and worth sharing. I also think Banana Bread is worth sharing!  I want the banana bread to be shared all over the world as an act of kindness and for Barb’s story to be told!

Last year I endeavored 30 Days of Banana Bread… it was AMAZING!!!  I baked every day and was able to raise over $12,000 for Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels.  This year will be a bit different.  
30 Hours of Banana Bread is going to be an incredible world-wide movement that involves you!

              How to participate: BE BOLD & BAKE banana bread & BLESS others by giving it away!  I want to encourage people all over the world to join me to bake banana bread during those 30 Hours.  The goal is to bake banana bread and give it away to someone who you think should be blessed by it.  As you give it away, you tell Barb’s story of building the Home of Angels.  I will have a little story people can print off at home and attach it to their loaves when they give it away that tells Barb’s Home of Angels story.

              When: Starting at 6am December 14th  - Finishing at 12pm December 15th (during those 30 Hours)

You can bake with your kids or with some friends or by yourself, and then give it away!  My house will be open for anyone who wants to join me during those 30 Hours. Come for coffee, mash some bananas … let’s bake some banana bread!  Most of the banana baked at my house will be donated to the Cyrus Centre https://www.cyruscentre.com a shelter for at-risk and homeless youth in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, BC.
And, of course, some banana bread will be available for you to take home with you (by donation).  

              Share: Visit our 30 Hours of Banana Bread page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jaagashomeofangels/for all updates and hashtag your banana bread photos and videos with #30hoursofbananabread

              Share Barb’s inspiring story by printing off the story attachment that tells Barb’s Home of Angels story … then GIVE IT AWAY and BLESS someone with it.  

More updates will be coming… 
Join us at https://www.facebook.com/jaagashomeofangels/to stay connected and to prepare for this incredible opportunity!

Thank you!!!

~ Stephanie Reddicopp ~  

Edwin and I are just humbled by an event like this and we both want to thank everyone for helping us make a difference in these children's lives.  Thank you, Stephanie, for all you've done for others now and in the past.  This is a huge undertaking but you know that God is with you and you will never fail with Him walking beside you.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Peace In Our Hearts

When we put our problems in God's hands, He puts His peace in our hearts and that's exactly what He's done these past few months for Edwin and I.

I'm sorry for not creating a blog sooner but with the issues Edwin has had to deal with lately, we've had to focus on those instead.  As you know, Edwin's fiances' parents died in a head-on collision recently.  Her grandmother died soon after and now, Edwin's father is in the hospital. They had planned to get married in a few months but with all the current worry and sadness, only time will tell.

In our country Canada, it's normal for us to have had shots for measles and chickenpox as a child, but in poverty-stricken countries like Uganda, the people cannot afford them.  When we bring in the children to our Home of Angels we have little history about them and we realize, because of poverty, they would probably never have been able to afford the shots. Long story short, we now have children suffering from both measles and chickenpox at Home of Angels.  Because of your kindness, we have been able to have a doctor come in and inoculate them and the ones currently suffering are going to be fine.  No matter what is thrown at us, we know we are in God's hands and we trust Him to heal every situation.

We'd like to share some events with you that have recently happened. 

Two years ago, 20 women and their mentally challenged children came to us for help.  I was blessed to have witnessed this and will never forget them.  They had no way to survive.  They tried selling bananas and jackfruit on their heads, but all in vain.  They had nobody to leave their children with and as a result, no one would buy the fruit because they said the children were dirty. They really needed help, so Edwin and I rented land for them to plant for one year and the crops they produced were plentiful.

A few months later 4 motorcycles (boda-bodas) arrived.  Each one had maize and g-nuts for Home of Angels. These families wanted to thank us for helping them survive.  This is what it's all about and how God uses us to help the people of our community, Mpumudde.  They would never take it for granted.  They would give us their last chicken to say thanks for helping them.  For me, a white Canadian grandma, this was very difficult to understand how they could do this when they themselves were hungry, but I finally learned to say a simple "thank you" and be gracious.

Storing the food in the container

This blog took me 2 hours because of this one picture.  The kids are singing as they prepare the g-nuts and I tried to download it for you, but it was too long and it wouldn't work.  They are singing Stephanie Reddicopp's song "Psalm 42".  Stephanie, our dear friend wrote this song for the kids along with "Psalm 138" to learn in English and sing in Uganda.  They mastered it and I cannot believe that I can't attach this for you to listen to.  I'll figure out a way eventually.

The nursery school children model their new sweaters and shorts for you to see.  These are some of our youngest children attending our new school.

Our children take great pride in helping prepare the land donated to us for planting maize.  Maize is the main staple here and there is enough land for helping our Home of Angels and also the kid's "God's Little Angels Ministry".  

Look at all this hard work accomplished.

Meet James Kriunda.  He is one of our latest children to join our Home of Angels.  He was one of the kids abandoned from Agape Children's Home. I'm looking forward to meeting him soon. We thank Richard and his family for helping them until they could move in with us.

Meet Eric Muganda.  Eric has had a very sad life living alone but now, living at Home of Angels, he will have a chance to be happy with a loving family.

Thanks again to everyone that has stood behind this project over the past 10 years and for your prayers.  We have been truly blessed and we don't take a minute of it for granted.  I will be in Uganda this year at Christmas and will capture some great pictures and videos for you.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Genuine Appreciation

This is our 106th blog and a very different blog from what I've ever written before.  It's always been about pictures of the children and events at our Home of Angels, but because of bad network and the children so settled in their school studies, I thought I would put a different twist on it for a change.  There are many wonderful people that we would like to thank and even though we can't put everyone on here, please know that we truly are grateful to all of you.

When I go to Uganda, it's usually at the end of the school term when holidays are starting.  We are able to take lots of pictures and enjoy the time together.  But when school is in session, it's a different story. A normal day is to rise at 5am...chores until 6:30am...breakfast and off to school by 7am.  Home of lunch and dinner but back again until 9pm.  This happens 6 days a week with Sunday attending church and 4 hours of play time in the afternoon.  That's the norm for the older children.

Now that we have our own nursery school, we have changed all that for the little ones.  Because we have a nap room, the younger children go from 7am until 4:30pm only and love every moment of it.
When dinner is ready they ask Aunty Joy if they can do their homework first.  For kids who grew up starving, this is amazing for us to hear.  They love school and focus only on being the best student.

We would like to introduce our new "Morning Star" nursery school.  The grass is growing and thanks to Cheeza, our new employee, we are looking smart, as he would say.  Not a piece of garbage anywhere.  Cheeza spends hours a day just picking up rocks and making sure the kid's shoes have no mud on them.  He cleans the latrine daily and never asks for anything.  A perfect employee.

Our little Joweli...the star because she is the youngest and seems to get into every picture.  She wanted to show you that she looks like the picture on the wall.  This little girl is already speaking some English words thanks to our amazing teacher Miss Aidha.

It's exam time and believe me, these kids are really put to the test.  No one on the school compound can speak their traditional language, Lugandan.  If they do, they leave.  The strict rules are already starting to show an impact on these kids and they love school because of it.  Edwin tells me that when I come, they will be so proud to show off all the English words they've learned.  We will definitely work hard to encourage them.

It's time for planting and all the children must participate in helping.

Oh my goodness, I just recognized this woman.  It's Precious, Edwin's fiance.  She's helping the kids prepare the land for planting.  Edwin's friend has given us an acre for maize and beans and they will start planting as soon as it's tilled.  Precious is now with us at HOA every week encouraging the children and being a mentor to the big girls.  God has answered prayers.

Does anyone know an 84-year-old dumpster diver???  I do and she's the most amazing woman I know at her age.  Every month, Cory sends us money from the proceeds of her cans.  The word has spread and if it's not her family, her many friends are delivering them to her home.  If anyone would like to help Cory, just let me know and we'll set it up.

I've been told to get a team together before it's too late.  I think maybe I'm getting old or something, but I'm listening and I found my first team member.  As many of you know, Save on Foods sponsors us and with their help, we've been able to build our home in Uganda for orphans.  Now....finally, Lauren, daughter of the craziest Save on Food's manager I know, is baking a better banana bread than I can.  It's now a father-daughter team with Lauren baking and dad in his banana costume greeting the customers as they enter the store.

Not sure how this happened, but all of a sudden I heard the bagpipes at our fundraiser.   The banana leads them into the store playing this amazing music, along with many people who ended up buying groceries and purchasing our banana bread too.  A win-win situation.  Save on Foods is such a huge support for us and we are very grateful to all of them.

The Gleaners is a very special organization that supplies food around the world to the hungry and I am honored to be a part of this organization by volunteering.  We have been blessed to have had bags sent each time we go and we distribute them to the neediest.

The most needy indeed.  We know a grandma that has 16 grandchildren, but she has no way to feed any of them.  When she can provide rice, she cooks that and puts it on a large tray in the middle of the dirt.  The children race to get it, eating so fast, they only swallow and have never learned to chew.  This food was a real treat for them, so thank you, Gleaners, once again.  You are making a huge difference in this world by providing this food and the people who spend hours cutting it, will never really understand the impact they are making unless they witness this. It's heartwrenching.

Sorry if I've already sent another version of this picture, but every time I look at these faces, I miss them so much.  I'm not sure what Uncle Edwin did to make them all laugh like this, but they are the happiest bunch of kids I've ever known.  We all know that without Jesus, this wouldn't be happening.  He has also brought so many of you into our lives to help provide a good life for these children and we thank you all so much for caring.

Do you remember my wonderful friend Stephanie that baked "30 days of banana bread" this past Christmas?  She raised enough money to build a septic, sock pit, latrine plus much more.  With every loaf sold for HOA, she also made one for the Cyrus Center to help feed the homeless and vulnerable youth in Abbotsford.  She also wrote a song for Psalm 138 and Psalm 42 and sent it to our kids in Uganda where, in turn, they memorized the words in English and learned to sing it on their own.

Stephanie is again helping to raise funds for our Home of Angels and I'd like to share this with you.  If you go to her website and to "Banana Bread", you'll understand how she is blessing us again.

Stephanie is a professional singer and has her music available through the attached website, as well as through Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.  You can also follow her on 

Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make a difference in our home and provide for the children.  We all appreciate everything you do for them, but when I think about it, it's not only the children.  God had bigger plans.  Providing food and boreholes for thousands of people that were on the brink of starvation.  Hong Kong sending hundred's of solar lights for people never seeing light at night before or when the market burned down; how someone sent enough to help many women purchase a sewing machine, as this was their livelihood and they could still provide for their families.

I did mention that this was a different blog but I never intended it to be this long.  😊 

God bless ALL of you who also gave from your hearts over the years.

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.