Friday, October 11, 2013
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
So many pictures…so many wonderful memories…so many new friends. Today we made our long trek back to Kampala with several stops along the way. First, We were off to Musana, a school that is doing some amazing things. They have plans to be self-sustaining by next year through many business ventures they have started including a small sewing factory, a restaurant in the nearby town, and soon to add selling bottled water from their purifier system - very impressive. They have a huge chicken house, stocked pond, and large vegetable gardens to feed the almost 300 children they serve. Wow! The director has made me pinky swear that I will come back and sing with the children on my next visit. Then, lunch in Jinja, which after almost 2 weeks of a steady diet of beans, rice, and matoke (plantains) was a welcomed treat. Followed by a very long bus ride back to Kampala. Tomorrow morning we will worship at a local church here before heading to the airport. I've included just a few of the many pictures from the trip. Thank you all for your many prayers, blessings and encouragements. They have been sustaining for us as the long days of ministry have exhausted us. Yet, as tired as we are I don't think we'll be sleeping much on our 30 hours of flight time as our minds are busy with thoughts of what to tackle first when we get home. I have appreciated your heartfelt comments and have passed along your expressions of love to those we have served. Be encouraged in knowing that though this is a very impoverished area there is abundant food here with even the poorest families having some land that they are growing beans, bananas, coffee and many other things. And, there are water wells easily accessible for most families in the areas we visited. The church IS making a difference here. This area is roughly half Christian and half Muslim. Our driver Haji is a delightful man and a practicing Muslim, yet he participates fully with our devotions and prayers, and I believe he is seeing Jesus all around him. Please continue to join me in praying for the people of Uganda. The workers are few but the harvest is so great. Looking forward to seeing my family and many of you back in the states very soon.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one spirit."
Today we visited the ministry house on the way to the Bulabondi school. We were all measured
By Patrick, (Girls and Josh for skirts and Glen and I for a shirt.) just kidding Josh! Jamie told me to say that! Patrick doubles as a tailor and we wanted to bless his business.
We learned how to roll the signature paper beads used in their headbands and purses. Paige shared her jewelry making skills and showed them how to make beaded necklaces.
After that we were off to the school. As we pulled in to our usual spot under the shade tree we found Glenn's student Richard proudly teaching several other men interested in the art of guitar strumming. Funny thing is he only learned the chords the day before and must have stayed up all night studying. Later on we heard him strumming chords right along with Glenn. Really made my heart warm. Glenn is so awesome with the kids. It is a joy being around the packed house whenever he breaks out the guitar. Smiles abound!
Josh and I along with Chimba, pastor Stephen and some other men from the school finished the Teacher desk and stool project. Also used some of the accumulated parts and pieces of used desks to make some shelves for the clinic and nurses quarters at Kokombo. Loaded them up and headed for Kokombo! Team, pastors, chickens and all! Yes I said chickens! You have always heard about that person who rides a bus in a foreign country and a person gets on with their chicken in hand and sit right next to you. This time it was actually us with the chickens!
We had a great ride home but were diverted to Chimba's house for a snack stop! He had his wife prepare us a couple of bowls of Jack Fruit. According to Josh it is the new super food! Very tasty, a cross between pineapple and papaya only a more rubbery texture.
It was a pleasure watching the team spread their love around today. This is a special group with many different talents. It is really fun to see how God is knitting us together!
Until we see you all again!
Via con Dios!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
We had spent the last two days building desks, taking pictures, interviewing, giving out goats and chickens to families, and spreading good news with our mercy bag visits at Top Hills School; so we should be pros at all of the above to do it again at Bulubandi School.
The men got right to work on the desks, while the women visited our friend, Irene, (who heads up the Womens' Ministry at Tree of Life) and her very talented troupe of bead-makers, basket weavers, and purse-crafters. These ladies meet with Irene every week and learn how to sew, study the Bible, minister to the community, and create lovely items to sell. We couldn't resist buying a few things to bring back home. (Our first market experience).
We decided to walk back to the school (about ½ mile or so) and thought we would walk facing the traffic like we do at home, which is on the right side. That would be fine, if the road was smooth and we could walk without watching our every step. Eyes on the ground mean no eyes on the traffic, so Liz had to pull me off to the side every once in a while when a truck came by. There is no sidewalk, and there is no mercy by the drivers. Thank you Liz!
We played a little bit of Keystone Kops trying to get organized enough to start on the pictures (who has the lists of the kids?, where are the forms for the unsponsored kids?, where are we going to shoot the pictures? where are we going to interview the sponsorship kids?), but we did get rolling on both and ended up with a very productive day.
After lunch, Sue went into the P5 classroom and talk to the kids there. She opened it up for questions to her and after the usual "What is the weather like in the US?, "What do you eat in the US," she got the question, "Tell us about the Pentagon." The teacher explained that they are really asking about 9/11. We were blown away by the level of knowledge and interest a fifth grader had about a bombing that took place when he was an infant (or maybe not even born – grades and ages are not quite the same as in the US) in another part of the world.
I (Judy H) got to get into my element today reading to a group of kids. I like to get pretty dramatic when I read, and I was reading a story about Franklin the turtle getting reprimanded by his mother because he went into the woods by himself, when he was clearly told not to. I was just reading "I TOLD YOU NEVER TO GO INTO THE WOODS BY YOURSELF!" when Sue approached me and thought I was talking to the four sweet, precious kids next to me. She thought I had lost it and needed to be sent to the bus for good.
We had our second market experience today when we left Bulubandi. Irene's husband is a tailor and has offered to make us all skirts if we get the material, so we all went into town to shop for material. Stall after stall, alley after alley of anything you can imagine. We looked at shoes (some wanted to get shoes for their sponsored kids) and discovered they are all black. There are about five different styles for men and two for women and all black. "Would you like black, …or maybe you would like black?"
After the market, some of us went to the Hope Africa house and spent time with our kids again. I was able to see the dormitory where my child lives and talk to her and my two new friends, Samuel and Joseph. It's always fun to talk to those joyful little people!
So ends another day of fun halfway across the world!
Love to all!
Jambo!!! Today was a great day at Top Hills! Day started out very upbeat as we made our way through Iganga picking up local Pastors and dodging newly made pot holes along the way. Our first chicken casualty causing screams from the front seat left many to ask the age old question "Why did the chicken cross the road?
Arrived at Top Hills after dodging motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, Huge sugarcane packed trucks and speeding cars. We set up to complete photographing all grades for yearbook project. Jen, Liz, Vicki, and Emily did a great job with all of the children. Jen is thinking about buying out Lifetouch Photography and starting a new career! ( not really)... great job ladies!!!
Men worked all day outdoors in an ex-classroom/stable to complete 6 new teacher's desks and stools. John, Josh, Pastor Steven, Chimba, along with 4 local helpers worked hard taking short breaks to play futbol and "scare the kids" ! It has become a welcome sound to hear Josh let out a freakishly loud roar as all the children flock around him to see what he is doing. Then all of them run away screaming and laughing as loud as they can. No one like you Josh!
Glen taught a teenager to play guitar. They literally worked all day learning chords, and songs. In the end, even one of the teachers, Moses, got to sneak over and take a quick lesson. thanks so much for sharing your Gift of musical talent Glen.
Another project we worked on was the Ambassadorship Program. Judy, Sue, Judy, and me, (Paige) got the Privilege of interviewing the ones who are showing the most potential in school work, and also meet other criteria to become sponsored children which provides many benefits to the child and his or her family. Our hearts were so full as they told us all about their home life, their many siblings, many times living with relatives other than parents, and many of them walking up to 4 kilometers to and from school. These are the best and brightest with dreams of becoming doctors, pilots, engineers, and nurses. Yay kids!!!!!!!! They sang to us and even showed their ability to read the bible - so precious to hear with their accents! Those interested will receive a bible to keep as their own. I can't wait to chose a child, maybe two.
Lastly, some sponsors in the U.S. gave money for Tree of Life to purchase goats and chickens for their sponsored child. Emily and Judy really enjoyed representing the ones who couldn't be here in person to give their child these very treasured animals. It was a pleasure to give these gifts which will provide milk and eggs for their families. They are greatly appreciated and Sue touched her first Chicken!!!
Well, tomorrow is coming way too soon so goodnight folks,
Monday, September 23, 2013
When the rain began to slow up then the men went to a covered area to start on the desks once more. Then we were called in to a class room for lunch. We are so grateful for their sweet hospitality. While we ate the rain stopped. After lunch we were able to start class picture & individual pictures. We completed primary 3 and by then it was already time to go. We left Top Hill to take Women's Pastor Irene home. Once we arrived to drop her off, she offered us to come in and see her home. What a privilege it was. To see her beautiful home.
From there a few of us we able to visit the children's home and see our sponsored kids. They taught us hand games and their favorite thing was to say statue and you had to freeze. Then they would day "over" for you to unfreeze. So funny. Enjoyed hearing them laugh. It was raining when we were dropped off and it continued to rain during our stay. We were all in the cooking area to stay dry.
When it came time to leave we had to walk down the road a bit to get on our bus. The road was so muddy and slippery. We were all slipping and sliding down the street. Laughing all the way to the bus.
We came home to a lovely surprise....a mouse! Not who I wanted to be roommates with tonight. We asked the front desk if they could help us catch it, so they stuck the squeegee under the bed to try and lure it out. Mission failed. It's still hiding in our room, it will probably crawl all over us while we sleep. Here's to hoping we make it till the morning.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
As we got there I saw a young girl holding a baby. I immediately asked if I could hold her and she handed me this bundle of joy - one and a half weeks! I could feel her little breaths. It was such a great moment. I kept her close until I began to feel a little wetness seep through and then I handed her off to Liz. At one point Liz, Jaimie and Emily were all sitting on the ledge of the church all holding babies. It was beautiful. These kids who have so little have so much love. They just grab onto your hands and do NOT want to let go. They go where you go. You start with one and before you know it you have a whole chain of kids.
After church we were served a wonderful lunch. One little boy, probably three, followed us in. I asked if we could feed him and of course were told yes, I fixed him a plate filled to the brim and he just sat there and ate and ate and ate. By the end of lunch his little belly was full! It was such fun watching him eat. He ate every single bite on his plate. I think if I had filled it up again he would have eaten that as well. After lunch we went on the Lee Bowers tour up the mountain. I kept using the photography excuse to stop. Such pretty scenery deserves to be captured. Besides I was so far behind the team that they couldn't hear me gasping for air. But alas I made it. And it was worth it. At the top I asked one of the gaggle of kids who followed us up to take a picture of the team. My goodness, she did an awesome job! On the way down we stopped and met a Muslim man who we shared with. We gave him a t-shirt and I asked if I could take his picture. Next thing we see is this old woman running up and she starts dancing. We gave her an empty cloth bag and she dropped to her knees and kissed Judy's feet. The man then told us that the land in that area belonged to his family and if we ever wanted to build he would give us the land to do so because he wanted us to be his neighbors. Think about that. We gave him a t-shirt and he offered us his land! I was just blown away. At that point Jaimie suggested that we come back up the mountain and give them both a mercy bag. So as we approached the church, Jaimie, Glenn, Josh and Liz proceeded back up the mountain. Much to their surprise the man was no longer there but a young lady was willing to lead them to him. And so they followed past one village and then past another. Just as they were about to give up and turn around they found him. He was so thankful. For those of you who know Jaimie this will not surprise you. This was suppose to be a quick trip up the mountain so we kept the kids from Kokombo with us. However as they started walking up the hill kids started randomly following. Jaimie stated "Jaimie, Jaimie, Jaimie", followed by "Josh is Weird, Josh is Weird, Josh is Weird". Meanwhile Josh is suggesting "Jesus loves me" but Jaimie is Jaimie so you get what you get. Then every so often unexpectedly she would turn around and go "boo" and all the kids would scream. Wish I'd been there. She is wonderful with kids and has her own weird way of connecting!!!
Meanwhile back at Kokombo we decided this would be a good time to hand out the t-shirts we had taken and some of the hats that some of the women from Riverside had made. Now here is the shocking part...not really! We had exactly the number of t-shirts, hats and scarfs for everyone there to get one. No one went home empty handed! How cool is that. We then took a picture of all of the kids and there was one little boy completely naked except for the hat on his head and his little green shoes. Oh, so cute! (he did have a t-shirt too, just opted not to wear it!
The day was awesome! We didn't deliver the Mercy bags to Kokombo. We were too busy doing what we felt we were being called to do. But it was a great day. Seems each day gets a little better than the day before and I'm not quite sure how that is possible. The team is great. Such wonderful hearts for the kids. They get it. They get that the reason for the trip is to share and to love. And they are all passing with 100%. Wish they were all staying for the month!!!
Its getting late and I am very tired. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. I miss you all but wouldn't trade this experience with these people for anything.
Love you. Sue
Saturday, September 21, 2013
(Tried to upload pics, but not working. Will try again later. So sorry!)
Babe, I love you.
We Americans have a lesson or two to learn from the Ugandans. These are a beautiful people who know real joy and have smiles broader than it seems their faces could possibly hold. These are a people who are so loving that they hug and kiss a perfect stranger more warmly than I with my own brother. These are a people so gracious and giving with what they have that it seems they are without a care or need in this world. These are a people who have not forgotten what it is to live and share in community. Hmm…it seems to me Jesus was trying to address one or two of these. I am instantly in love them.
Today was our first day to spend with the children at the Top Hills School. So we took another long "bumpy" ride down red dirt roads, zigging and zagging between motor bikes carrying everything from water jugs to tin sheets to bunk bends, zipping past pedestrians so near the bus I wondered if they might get sucked in by the draft, and barely missing most on-coming traffic by mere inches. As we gawked out the window (looking like the tourists we are) we saw thousands going about their daily business. In what would pass for no more than shacks back home there are thriving businesses selling furniture, providing cell service, simple open-stove restaurants, and all manner of stores and shops. Almost every structure here is built from the same red dirt as the roads we rambled down in the bus. As we pass from village to village and town to town these brick structures can be seen everywhere among the lush greenery and fields of sugar cane and maze. In many of the villages large ovens have been created at some of the homes for making and baking these bricks. Many of the houses and shops can take as much as a few years to finish depending on flow of money and the ability to fabricate enough bricks at a time to build with. It seems there is a bustling marketplace around almost every bend.
Upon our arrival at Top Hills we were greeted with the same love and exuberance we had been shown the night before when the Pastors welcomed us to our hotel. As we piled off the bus saying hello to the Pastors and staff, suddenly a flood of children came pouring out of the school – and they just kept coming! I'm not a good judge of numbers but there were well over 100 students ranging in age from 3 years to 14 years old. I confess that for a brief moment there was a quick panic that came over me as the reality of the situation settled in. Here we were about to be mobbed by this throng of children who wanted to touch us and talk to us and we could barely understand anything we were saying to each other. After many "I'm sorry's" and "I don't understand what you're saying" the older children seemed to take a cue and began to help with translating. I was struck by how fascinated they were with us. It was as if they had never seen white people before (which I know is not true). Simple things would captivate them, like arm hair, and they would stroke our arms for minutes at a time. We soon moved into a game of "Duck, Duck, Goose." It was at this point that this blog story will take a very personal turn for me. Because at this point I went to grab the guitar we have purchased specifically for this trip.
From this time on until lunch I don't even know how much time passed. I couldn't even see what the others were doing. Guitar in hand I made my way out onto a portion of the grassy field and sat down, motioning for the children to come sit. There was an air of excitement and I could hear the children closest saying play something for us. The next part fills my eyes tears yet again as I think about it. I began to play the guitar. The children began to clap and cheer and scramble for the best places to be able to view what was happening on the guitar. Again, it was like they had never heard someone play a guitar before. The children pressed in on all sides vying for good positions as the older kids put little ones on their shoulders or made room for them down front. After a couple songs I prompted the children to sing a song as well. One of the staff led them in the most beautiful song. The words to the song went something like "welcome visitors, we are happy you are here" as the children gleefully sang and clapped along. Imagine yourself down on the field of the smallest stadium in the world. As I sat on the ground in the midst of these kids and looked up in every direction it was like looking at stadium rows of little people all singing across to each other and over me. Yes, I went all weepy with tears of joy! It was one of the most beautiful and powerful moments I've ever experienced. We went on to exchange songs back and forth for a long time like that. We eventually moved to some shade and continued to sing before being invited to a generous lunch of Matoke (plantains), eggplant, rice, avocado, chicken, beans, fruit, and flatbread.
Following lunch our team was assembled into 4 groups and assigned a translator. We then hit the dusty trails out into the surrounding village to go evangelize. We carried with us bags of staple foods to give to the families after ministering to them. I heard stories from a couple of the teams of some accepting Christ as their Savior and others who ministered to sick children. Our team was blessed to reaffirm God's goodness to those who already know Him. We prayed for many widows and orphans and reassured them that God sees them and hears them. It was a special time for every team that will be treasured memories for years to come.
As we came back to the school we quickly loaded the bus with many of the Pastors and staff to give them a lift home before making the long bumpy ride home ourselves. Our evening ended at the hotel with dinner and a warm reuniting with our friend Phil Jones from the Hope Orphanage. We head there tomorrow where many of us will have our first opportunity to meet our sponsored children. Needles to say, we are giddy with excitement.
All this has been Day 1 of ministry in Uganda– and God saw that it was good!
Glenn Green – 9/20/13
Thursday, September 19, 2013
|Glenn leading worship in Entebbe this morning.|
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
1. Pray daily for your missionary – begin today. All except four will return to the U.S. on ; Sue, Judy B., Liz, and Jaimie will remain in Uganda until .
2. Pray daily for your missionary’s family - for their health and safety, peace of mind, and provision in the missionary’s absence.
3. Blog posts from the field are powerful prayer generators! Check out the following blogs daily for updates and stories during the trip:
Riverside Community Church Missions blog:
Uganda Tree of Life Ministries:
4. Continue to pray for your missionary for several days to a week after he/she returns from their trip and transitions back into home life. I will send more information on this later on.
5. Pray in confidence as you are led by the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged that even when we do not know what to say in prayer, we remain faithful to pray and He makes intercession for us continually (Romans , ; Hebrews ).
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Today I went with her to do a one on one session. Other wise today has been a day of laundry and preparation and catch up. Most days run from morning into the night with one on ones and bible studies. Tomorrow will be one of them, so I'd better start getting ready for bed. Miss you all.