Thursday, January 31, 2019

Reason to Smile

We all have families.

Some of us are blessed to have families who love and support us.  For others, it can be difficult.  Whatever our family's role in our lives may be, it shapes our identity and teaches us what we know about love, the world and each other.

Our "Angels" have faced the most horrible human conditions possible.  They have lost their families in ways most Westerners couldn't comprehend.

Together with a group of dedicated staff, we have given these children a safe place to live where they can trust the people who care for them.  These children have dreams, wonderful dreams of what they want to be when they grow up.  Even more importantly, they know what they want to be now: a blessing and a force of good in their community.  They have a profound understanding of who Jesus is and with His help, they will fulfill their dreams in life.

True, this grandmother is white and lives in Canada, but to my second family in Africa, I am Jaaja (grandma).  I may only visit a few times a year, but I always feel that a deeper bond has developed within the family each time I return.  Edwin's father has been living at Home of Angels when he isn't in the hospital and the family will even be getting bigger when Edwin and Precious get married in the summer.  They have made plans to live with the children until their home is constructed.

We intended to take pictures of all the children but because the mumps has crept into our compound, we can't show you the little ones who recently contracted it.  Our prayer request to all of you is that these children will beat this disease as they recently did with the measles and chickenpox.  Thank you!

Meet our "Radiant Rachels", two UBC students, who for these past years have devoted their Christmas holidays baking and selling banana bread along with recipes from their own website.  Every fair was unique and decorated to their own taste.  Last year they raised enough to finish building part of our new nursery school and again this year to help supply the necessary equipment to accommodate the students. With almost 4,000 followers, I can see why they sold out.

In our area of Mpumudde and beyond, there is little chance of getting medical help due to poverty.  This child has the mumps and charcoal has been rubbed around the neck with the belief that it will heal her.

Before I show you pictures the children today, I'd like to share a few pictures of the time before they arrived at Home of Angels.  On the top left, we have Paul, Barbara, and Silas.  Eddie is on the right.  Shakira is on the far left bottom with Joanne in the middle and of course our little movie star that was filmed in the documentary "The Human Project", Yasin.  See below...

Meet our new Yasin

From left to right, we have Ratisha, Eddie, Betty, and James.  Eddie in the green shirt has been with us the longest with the other three coming in from the abandoned Agape orphanage.  James, the most recent child has thrown himself right into teaching the little boys their daily chores.  He is so grateful to finally have a permanent home where he is really loved.  Most of his friends that were also abandoned went to the streets.

These 4 little boys also were abandoned from Agape.  Elijah in the green shirt is on the left.  David is in the purple shirt with Yiga or Yahigha as most people call him, with the big smile.  And then we have our little Sam, aka Sambo on the end.

This is Joanne, Tracy, Mariam, Zakia, and Eva.  Tracy in the red shirt was another abandoned child but now is very happy with her new big sisters and family.   She is now officially one of "God's Little Angels" and helps the other children on Sundays to do something nice for the impoverished in our community.

Look at Junior!!!  It was just yesterday that he was the size of his buddies here and now he's a giant at almost 6'.  Sam is in the yellow shirt, Eric, Ivan, Junior, and Frank.  Our official Home of Angels football team.  If I don't remember to bring back soccer balls and a real pump, I might as well give in to old age.

Here we have Shakira on the left with Bridget, Annet, and Lovisa.  Lovisa and Yasin were the two chosen to be in the documentary with Aunty Joy. 

Desire is our first on the left and I can see a sign of mumps on her face.  She looks very different.  Beside her is Barbara (coming in the gate with her 2 brothers at the top), Joweli, our English whiz at 3 years old, Precious, my banana bread helper and at the end is Hope.  Both Hope and Desire will be going back to boarding school as soon as they're cleared of any mumps.  

If you are a sponsor for Alan, Yasin, Silas, Paul, Jimmy or Chloe, they're in bed, but I promise to update you when they're better.

We've reached the 10-year mark and want you to know that without many of you and God in our lives, it wouldn't have been possible.  Thanks again for all you've done to make our Home of Angels such a happy place in the lives of these children.