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.