Wednesday, August 10, 2016

34 for 34 :: George's Birthday Wish

Our birthdays are never about us. We always choose to celebrate them by doing something for someone else on that day. Even when we only had $200 a month in support for our family, for my birthday we took a pastor with us to the movies. It was his very first time in the theater. He held onto us like we were on a roller coaster because he literally thought people were going to jump from the screen – and that was after we convinced him they weren’t actually behind it in real life. When we finished we bought him a new pair of shoes – his first ever pair of dress shoes after taking him up and down the “moving ladder” – the escalator – for the first time. He was about 55 years old and he was so excited about his date that he called his mom right on the spot. Those were amazing times and it started a little tradition we have to always celebrate our lives on that day by inviting someone else in to share it.

this year we're dreaming big.

While our school is fully funded until the end of the year, Ekubo Children’s Home is not. George turns 34 on August 28th and just a couple days ago while brainstorming how we could raise the funds to even get caught up, it hit me that it’s August. The days are long here but the months seem to fly by. That night we went for a walk and I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday this year. He said, “Babe, you know we always do something for others so I’d really love to get the Children’s Home is funded.” We talked about how much that would cost and then got sidetracked on some recent resettlements, how many children have come into our care, how many lives have been changed, how amazing the families are doing now days and also how much we’d love to make some changes to the programs to greater impact the families after the children are resettled.



We walked and talked and he brought up our friend in the village, Maama Nalutaya, who is such an example to the community in that she takes in any child that is in need. She will tell you quickly – she doesn’t have a lot but she has a home and a garden and heart to share with any child in need. She doesn’t have children from our foster home in her care. She has been fostering since long before her husband died and he’s been gone 21 years. Her friends and family call her from other villages when a child is in need and she goes to see how she can help. Sometimes she can and sometimes she can’t. But there are currently 10 children in her care – 10 that had no one left and she stepped up. She is not married. She said the children she gave birth to are grown and figuring out the world for themselves and she doesn’t care to get married again when the children now in her home need her to pour everything she has into them.

As we talked he said, “You know what? I wish we could build her a new home. The way she has given her life for those children – and they all live in such close quarters. That is what I wish I could do for my birthday.”


Friends, we are inviting you to dream BIG with us and GIVE toward our fundraiser –
that, as God would have it, allows us to do BOTH if we raise $34,000 for his 34th birthday. 

Please give whatever amount God leads you to.
If 1,000 of you gave just $34, here’s what we can do:

Ekubo Children’s Home: $22,000
  • this brings us up-to-date with funding AND covers operations through December
Maama Nalutaya’s New Home: $12,000
  • 3 bedrooms, living room, storage room, 2 indoor shower areas, and a new pit latrine outside

Tour their home with me and let's dream BIG about the difference we can make:


Once the children’s home is covered and we are HALFWAY funded with her new home, we will surprise her {hopefully the network will allow and I can do it via Facebook Live} and then building will begin!!! I will post pictures and videos of the progress as WE ALL BUILD IT TOGETHER – EXTREME MAKEOVER: BUGABO VILLAGE HOME EDITION! 

Help us make his birthday wish come true!


You can also mail us a check and we will receive 100% of your donation! Please let us know it's on the way so we can keep that in mind when sharing the updated total every day.

Ekubo Ministries
792 Commerce Drive, Suite 102
Alexander City, AL 35010

Ekubo Ministries is a 501(c)(3) organization which means your donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.


UPDATE :: FULLY FUNDED with $275 toward furnishing Maama Nalutaaya's new home!!!


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

glimpse at the bigger picture

We are excited to have Pastor Kasujja step into the leadership role after all of you pulled together to send Pastor Tinka {former leader} to University. Yesterday Pastor Kasujja came to meet with us and brought his wife and one-month-old baby. We were shocked by his wife’s appearance. They told us that it was a goiter and she was scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday in the army barracks in the next town over. We know those barracks. Long story short, no one we knew that went there came back. They were going because they didn't have money and services there are free. They're free alright and you pay with your life. George asked if it was ok if we took her somewhere we trusted to get a 2nd opinion. He told them that we would cover the costs if they would accept. They did. Cheerfully.


Today we took them to a hospital here in Kampala and met with a doctor we trust. She had an ultrasound and tests run. She did not have that at the barracks. They were just going to do surgery. Our doctor said that there may not even be a need for surgery and that had they done it, he is certain she would not have survived.

These are the things that trouble me deeply. People don't have money so they are not able to get the care they need. Many times the care that is affordable is also what takes their lives. When you don't have money you don't have a And I'm not bashing this place. It's like that at many places. Today her bill was right around $204. That's more than the average person in this country makes in 7 months or so. It's hard to wrap your minds around it, isn't it?

The need is so massive that it feels like we are not making a difference. But can I share with you the bigger picture? For God to align people to give financially so that the previous leader could attend University and for this one to meet the requirements to fill the job and for us to be available on a bright Monday morning to meet with him and his wife about this new position and for her to just so happen to have surgery scheduled on Wednesday - THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. It blows me away how our yes - how our obedience {yours and ours} - impacts others and we have these glimpses into what that bigger picture looks like.

She was put on medication for 15 days. We return on the 20th to see if that is working and then we will discuss surgery if not. Please pray for her health. If you would like to chip in toward her bill of $204 for today, we would very much appreciate that help {designate to "where most needed"}.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being part of their stories!

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Friday, April 29, 2016

double your impact


Friends, God has blown us away yet again.

A beautiful family that adopted from Uganda, came to visit us while they were here, and has supported us since, contacted me a few days ago and has offered to match all donations up to $35,000 through May 31st.

Another sweet family wants to add another $5000 to that!

Yes, you read that correctly.

2 beautiful families that support us in so many ways have generously offered to match all donations up to $40,000 through May 31st!!! 

We were so overwhelmed that we had to just ask for prayer and soak this in before sharing. We have never, ever had this opportunity.

If we pull together and spread the word and this match is met, it will mean $80,000 for our school, which will fully fund us through the 2016 school year!!!

If God wills, we could enter June fully funded!!!! It’s the thing big, crazy dreams are made of.

So how can you help and what exactly does all this matching mean? It means that if you give $50, we will get $100! Sponsor a child for $300, 2 children will be covered! If you want to bless us with $500, it will be as if you gave $1000! Did your tax check come and you want to give enough to cover 5 children {$1500}? 10 children will be covered! Whatever God moves you to give will be doubled. Automatically.

This is HUGE, AMAZING news and it makes a profound impact on the children, their families, and our family as well. We can operate ahead of the game. We can work efficiently and remove the stress of fundraising on a daily basis. I can return to what I was called here to do – to tell their stories.

We are SO excited for this opportunity and, with your help, we can make the most of each penny of the match.

Because of your generosity, hundreds of lives have already been changed by the power of Jesus' love. Join us as we continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the children and families we serve. 



You can give a one-time donation by clicking the "donate" button below. To become a monthly sponsor you will have to go through the desktop version where you will see the option to "make this recurring".

You can also mail us a check or set us up for monthly donations through your bank's “bill pay” program. We receive 100% of your donation!

Ekubo Ministries
792 Commerce Drive, Suite 102
Alexander City, AL 35010

Ekubo Ministries is a 501(c)(3) organization, which means your donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Thank you for standing with us and encouraging us along the way.

If you'd like to be in the know about exciting news, updates, sales and other fun stuff, sign up here:



You can follow our journey here:
facebook.com/EkuboMinistriesUganda
instagram.com/ekubouganda



Update :: Monday, May 30th




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Thursday, April 21, 2016

hard to love

There are so many people we serve that are hard to love. The mom that says her children are a burden and they are better off with her drunken relatives. The father that beats their mother because she believes in Jesus. The young man who sleeps with several of the girls in the village, impregnating many of them and destroying their families, leaving us to pick up the pieces. The many "Christians" who come to church but think God is supposed to respond to them immediately and when He doesn't they go visit witch doctors for their needs. The young girl who tells her sister that her parents don't love her and her sister is now trying to find an escape/love in all the wrong places.

The stories are endless but if we're there to love we don't get to pick apart each one's sin to see if they are worthy of our love. It's one of the hardest things to do - to bend low and love these people that we'd rather avoid like the plague. His work is not easy. And we get it wrong more times than we get it right. But we show up. Day after day when we'd rather roll back over and cry. We show up because the world needs to know that we all fall short of the glory of God and that's is why He sent Jesus.



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Thursday, April 14, 2016

do you believe in them?

I can build the buildings and hire the teachers and buy the books and supplies and have the uniforms made and all the daily logistics required to provide them a private, Christian education. Yes, I can do that but I can’t relate to their struggles. I grew up very privileged where my school was free. My parents never had to work for school fees and I never sat home because we couldn’t afford school. I rode the bus because my parents worked; I certainly didn’t walk 2 miles to school. We were poor in comparison to most of my peers and we ate peas and cornbread more than I wanted to but I didn’t get my only nutritious meals at school.

I can’t relate to them but my husband can. He has been where most of them are. He sees himself in them. He invests in them the way someone invested in him. He tries to guide them the way someone guided him. He sees the potential in them that someone saw in him. So, while I can’t relate to them and serve them in that way, he can. And he does.

Do you believe in them?




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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

adjust your focus

The road is narrow and if you take your eyes off of Jesus for even a moment, the enemy swoops in and blurs your vision. Clean that lens, adjust your focus and keep walking. There's much work to be done for His Kingdom.


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Saturday, April 9, 2016

what if we believed the Bible instead?

Many have been led to believe that if God loves us and wants to bless us, He won't let anything bad happen to us. This is completely opposite from the Bible. Completely opposite from life. Yet we listen to that and it torments us. But if God is for us, why are all these bad things happening? If God is for us, why did He allow this? We have listened to too many inspirational speakers and not enough of the Word. I don't want to be pumped up and inspired; I want to hear the truth. And the truth is that this world is evil. We have had horrific things happen to our family. National news stuff. Viral blog posts and people rising up to right wrongs. But no. We have chosen a path - giving God full control.

Jesus PROMISES we will have trouble. Shoot, He PROMISES. WE. WILL. BE. HATED. We see our daily lives right up against Scripture but we have yet to see our daily lives up against ANYTHING any inspirational speaker has ever said and surely not anything remotely close to our lives reflecting prosperity gospel "preachings". How can anyone relate to that when suffering exists in the world? I don't get it. What we CAN relate to is the Gospel. The hard stuff. The longing. The suffering. The death. The pain. But wait. That doesn't make us feel all warm and fuzzy so we choose not to believe the very thing that resembles our lives the most.

God crucified His ONLY son. Where's the prosperity in that? Where's the warm and fuzzy? If God chose to have His own son suffer, what makes us believe His plan would never be for us to suffer? His own son had to carry a cross yet we should never have too much to carry. You know, because He loves us so much. How twisted are our beliefs that we think we are better than Jesus? We whine and carry on about how we JUST.CAN.NOT.BELIEVE. sin, death, evil, pain or why did He do this/that?

What if we started believing the Bible instead? That while God DOES want to bless us that those blessings come on the other side of hardship and struggles and failures. He can resurrect ANY situation. So those blessings come through resurrection and obedience. What if we believed that instead?


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

we have a hope

I will never forget praying that God prepares my heart for serving here. Even before I got on that plane almost 6 years ago to come here for the first time. I prayed, "Lord, I am putting myself on the altar to be used however I can." I worried that there'd be no one to truly help. I worried that I would not be able to handle it if I came for nothing. I worried that I would not hear Him correctly and do something crazy because I was so on fire for Him.

I came and I saw a tiny glimpse of life here. Some hard but mostly my skewed view of "how much joy they had despite being poor". I can't even believe I said such things. Like people knew they were poor. Like they were any poorer than me. I thought poor equaled material things. I had no idea. Oh, I had no idea the level of poverty within my own self. I flew home and knew that God had commanded me to return. I didn't have to wrestle with anything. I didn't have to discern anything. And I'd only been a Christian for 7 months. It wasn't an impulse because I thought these poor people needed me. I didn't know Scripture. I didn't know culture. I didn't know what they needed or how I could help. I didn't have to wrestle with myself or my parents or my friends. I was driven. I looked here and not around me. I had no idea what was going on but I knew one thing - I knew that this country was my home and I had to get back. I came back 6 months later and it wasn't a trip. It wasn't a guided tour of life here. I was thrown face first into some of the most heartbreaking situations - some I may not still be over because they kept coming at a rapid pace and I never had time to process them.

In just a few short months I became a leader, a wife, a mother to many, and then we found out that I was not barren like many doctors had said and that there was a life growing within me as I navigated everything else. I saw God's grace poured out and His mercy extended in ways that I no longer see. But not because He is keeping all of that from me. No, He's not. It's just because I am seeing life from a different viewpoint.

My experience is not yours nor will it ever be but this is what I know - there was a period for me right after I chose to follow Jesus - a honeymoon phase, if you will. Most everything I asked for, I got. Freely. Everything He asked for, I gave. Freely. That fresh, new relationship where you are learning to trust each other. Not Him trusting me. He already knew everything. He knew every move I would make and has since long, long before I was a thought in anyone's mind. So He knew me but I didn't know Him. He pulled me in and He was prepping me for what's to come. And that lasts for a while - that honeymoon phase. You're so in tune to one another.

But then too much happens - too much trauma and someone steps out of that relationship because they're not getting what they need. The pain is too much and the other person isn't helping. They are crying out for help and the other person is nowhere to be found. They are face down in the pit and the other person peeps in, gives them hope but there's no rope. There are so many traumatic experiences that only the other person can help but no help is offered, only hope which is quickly snatched away. The honeymoon is over and after such great losses, one of them is surprised they held on.

This is where faith is tested. This is where you either believe Him or you don't. This is where the road is narrow and you can't keep walking, or in my case crawling, but you're still on the road. This is where you see with your own eyes that this world is filled to the brim with evil and many things are done in the name of Jesus but it's all the work of the enemy. And you know what? The second you take your eyes off Him to acknowledge the enemy, you fall faster and harder as the years move past. This is not the honeymoon phase anymore. He is worthy. He can be trusted. He does respond but He also needs me to be in a place where NOTHING anyone can do will help. It ALL has to come from Him. Because otherwise it brings Him no glory. I don't know where you are in your walk with Him but I prayed for weeks over sharing this. The words were just mush. Today I am finally thinking clearly enough to write it out. I pray it encourages you. Our story matters and we need to keep sharing it, as shedding light into our darkness requires vulnerability and a whole heck of a lot of bravery but it can help so many that feel trapped in how they are feeling.


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Friday, April 1, 2016

life is not fair

Sometimes when they bring the babies to our gate I can't face them. Other times I go take their pictures so I never forget them. I was trying to find another picture and I saw this one. The ache will never ease when we have to turn babies away. It will never be fair to say we can't help. It's the very reason we're here. But we can only do so much until we are fully funded and being okay with that will just never happen.

Life is not fair. The only hope I have in times like these is remembering that of course life is not fair. If it were we would get what we deserve - we would pay the price of our sin.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

He is risen, y'all

Being a parent through adoption gives me another perspective of the cross. When the judge declared us the parents to our children, their statuses changed. They became sons and daughters. When Jesus paid the price for my sins that allowed me to be reconciled to a Holy God, my status was changed. I became a daughter. Our statuses changed. Our family changed. Our futures changed. He is risen, y'all and SO worthy of our praise!



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Friday, March 25, 2016

it is finished

"One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden, that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, 'It is finished.'

This is the gospel. The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent his Son, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in him will be reconciled to God forever." - David Platt {my pastor after I made the life-saving decision to follow Jesus}

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

God is about to move

I wish you could have been here to see it. The photo doesn't do it justice - this iridescent aura behind the cloud. The clouds had moved rather quickly for most of the drive to finish our errands and then this one stopped. The sun trying to break through but the darkness fought for close to 15 minutes to cover it. As I stared I had this overwhelming feeling that God is about to move. We are ready, Lord.


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evil doesn't win

2 months ago he died after his family came to his home and accused him of bewitching his brother 6 years ago. They yelled at him and wished him death right in front of his children. And the next day he died. His children saw it all and we were so afraid that in their grief and pain, they'd think evil won. We were so afraid his family would come for them and they'd have to grow up around such people. He loved his children and really struggled when their mother left them to be with another man. We thought for sure after his death she might come for them. And that would be good for them but her new husband mistreated them. After being dragged back and forth, they are still in our village, living with their step-mother and going to our school. They are being taught English and Math and Science, yes. But you know the most important thing they're learning? THAT EVIL DOESN'T WIN. THAT LOVE ALREADY WON.

Because of y'all. Because you love and support the work we're doing. Because you sponsor the school and buy tees and cupcakes. They know love because of y'all.

This is one of the last things he said to me:

“I was hesitant to enroll my children at your school. I couldn’t imagine a school in our village being best for them. At first I enrolled one child, which was my son, and he changed a lot. He learned how to speak English and he became bright - much more than his siblings that were at other schools far away. When I saw my son had changed I decided to move my daughter from where she was studying and brought her to Ekubo.” - Taata Ashiraf





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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

world water day

we have never had running water in our village. actually when I moved there we didn't even have clean water. we fetched our water from the only few sources we had. the water was full of parasites but when you have no other option a running stomach becomes the norm.

there are 2 seasons - rainy and dry. after the end of the dry season the rainy one never came. these water sources that get replenished during the rainy season were shallow. and the more shallow they were the more filthy they were.

2 back-to-back dry seasons took their toll and, not knowing when the rainy season would return, we raised money for a borehole. it was a slow, eye-opening process. when we can walk through our homes and have our choice of taps to turn and clean water comes out, it is hard to imagine that the whole world didn't have these same luxuries. and a luxury it is.

during the longest, hottest days of the drought when the funds had stopped coming I got an email from a friend I'd met through Facebook. she was no longer able to go on a mission trip she had spent over a year planning and wanted to give all the money she'd saved to us. blown away!

we hired a team to survey the land and we prayed they'd find the best location to drill there on our compound close to our home. and as God would have it, THEY DID! just steps from our front door! we wrote in the wet cement "bringing Living Water to the thirsty." so many gave and collectively we have been able to provide water for thousands of people from our front yard. but that borehole runs from sunrise to sunset. and it can't serve everyone. so God provided and we drilled another one in 2013!

I see so far past what is on my screen. the stories come alive below the surface. the stories of how far we've come. and they bring hope for what's in store. Today is World Water Day. Please pray that everyone soon has access to clean water.



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Sunday, March 20, 2016

its strength is in its wings

As the sun set I sat on our steps and watched this bird. It could fly anywhere but it chose to be there. I shivered thinking about it. I would have chosen a safer place, like a nest instead of a sketchy power line. It rests lots of places without fear because it can never fall. Its strength is in its wings.




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Thursday, March 17, 2016

cupcakes for education

In November our van put us out for the last time. I felt the Lord telling me to put the need out there and watch Him provide. But I was tired. It has been 2.5 years of this van doing the same thing at any given moment. I jokingly told the kids that THEY needed to raise the funds and they started talking about how they could do that. I wrote a blog post sharing their idea and left the rest up to God.

For the next few weeks we had to spend some of the money renting a vehicle because the van just absolutely wasn't fixable and I struggled so much with spending money that I knew every cent was needed for this new vehicle. God saw my struggle. He saw the money we used and He provided above and beyond our goal. We never told our children how many cupcakes they needed to sell because it was such a big goal and I didn't want them to feel as defeated as I had been. Children are absolutely fearless in their efforts. They'd never done this before and were just excited at the opportunity to what would happen, even if they didn't sell a cupcake one day.



Everyone that read the blog read through the math. Cupcakes were $3 each so we needed to sell a whopping 13,333 to raise the $40,000 for our vehicle. But no one ever asked. No one ever took the fun out of it. People might have known and they might have seen 1,000 and 2,000 and 3,500 sold so far but they never asked or made others feel like we had "too far to go" for their cupcake to make a difference. I just kept updating with pictures - almost daily. I thought that people would get tired of hearing about it. But no one did. We got off to a great start and then sales slacked off. What remained unchanged is the kids' faith and excitement. They weren't upset when few were sold. They were truly confident that they had a great idea and that God was going to honor it. I learned so much from them during that time. And whoa, were they right about God honoring it. In just 6 WEEKS they sold 14,400 cupcakes and we got our vehicle - it was even more than we could have dreamed!!

video

Our urgent needs right now are Ekubo Christian Academy and Ekubo Children's Home. Neither one has ever been fully funded and at the end of the year we had to make cuts to even make it. Realistically, with all the fundraising - the monthly donors, the craft and shirt sales and the various fundraisers throughout the year, the school only raised enough funding to put 280 of the 350 through school. We educated the 350 but it put a huge strain on the remaining teachers and staff. Last night as we discussed the downsizing of our school from 350 students to the 280 we had enough funding last year to cover, Ritah was sitting nearby. When we finished she asked if she could make more cupcakes. I smiled but inside I thought, "That was probably a one-time thing that people wanted to help with but if we continue it may exhaust them." Because you know what, that's what the enemy whispers. Donor fatigue. Compassion fatigue. If you don't have it together by the 5th year you probably just need to find something else to do. If people won't give to help the children now, why would they buy cupcakes to help? Fear is a liar and I'm just going to trust God again.

So they're back to baking cupcakes and I posted a picture of Frank, who had stood boldly at the fridge this morning and asked to try allll the cupcakes we had left over from last night.

                    


I explained that Ritah wanted to help with fundraising and you know what a friend of ours did? She bought that cupcake in the picture. And you know what another friend did? Her family offered to match the next $500 worth of cupcakes that sold. I am so encouraged how God would move people so quickly to encourage us as we kick off this fundraiser - a fundraiser of big ole faith and some sprinkled cupcakes - that are now made from scratch!


would you buy one of their "virtual cupcakes"? you buy and we'll bake some a little along and post pictures of them eating them. but the best part is that all the money will go to our school. 


Godfrey suggested $3 each so we will stick with that but give what you can. buy as many as you want! you won't find any fat or gluten or sugar in our cupcakes. they.are.divine. we will post pictures of them eating them as the funds come in!




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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

she is gonna change the world

Deborah. She raises her hand high in class. With her father trying to manage work and his 2 wives and families, she has a lot going on at home, like most children we serve. She does not let all of that bring her down nor is she a victim of her circumstances. She is a warrior, this girl. When she walks in that school a bright light is switched on. She craves learning. Knowledge is power and with it she is gonna change the world.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

she just needed help

She was an orphan herself and after her grandmother passed she lost her way in life. She got a job in a factory and she met a guy there. The factory paid more money than she'd ever held in her hands before and, with the money her new boyfriend was making, they daydreamed of a life that was much better than their pasts. He convinced her to skip work one day and then after a few days of drinking and taking his abuse she had no job and nowhere to go. A few weeks later she discovered she was carrying a life inside her.

She didn't even know his last name - this guy she had not long known. She tried to find his family but came up empty. She was told some missionaries were coming to their church and she showed up very early that Sunday morning. She explained her story to them but all they could offer was a spot for her baby at their orphanage. She knew she couldn't give her baby the life she felt he/she deserved but that didn't mean she didn't want him/her.

She just needed help, but not the help she kept being offered as she went around to various offices, churches and government officials. No one willing to help her keep her baby but there were plenty willing to take it. Lord, help us to always fight for family preservation and maamas like her.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Anthony graduated!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! Y'all pulled together SO many times and supported Anthony's education throughout secondary school {high school} and University and he graduated a few days ago! He is so thankful and knows it wouldn't be possible with God and your love and support. So thank you!

We don't always know our impact but for Anthony, who sat home for years without funding to match his passion for learning, we all made a huge impact by just chipping in to help meet his financial needs for school.


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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day

Today, as we celebrate International Women's Day, I am reminded of the strength and joy of the women I share life with here in Uganda. My beautiful mother-in-love radiates the love of our Savior. She birthed 12 children but has fostered over 100, even to this day caring for those that have no one. She moved from the city into our village when George was 10. Witchcraft was rampant. Christ's light was not there. She got all of her children ready and walked for 4 miles one way to church and in 2004 my husband helped her to build her own church. God used her life to bring others to Him. I am so thankful for her example.


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Monday, March 7, 2016

she belongs at home

They told him to put her in an orphanage. They told him he was too old to care for her. They told him of the white people that could take better care of her because they have more money. They told him her health was too risky to chance it. And you know what he told them? He told them he just needed a little help. He told them that he may be too old but old people have a greater depth of love and that love was worth the risk. She is his granddaughter - the best gift his daughter ever gave them - and she belongs at home.


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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Calvin

Almost 2 years ago, on March 25, 2014, we accepted a referral of Calvin, a missing child that had been picked up for loitering. Since he was old enough to give us info, we had him help with finding his way back to where he came from. That would have worked out well except as we started to trace his story he had no interest in helping. Matter of fact, he tried to sabotage all our efforts. He took us up and down roads he knew he’d never himself traveled - a wild goose chase that cost us many days and many resources. He’s one of the hardest children we’ve ever had in our care and caused a lot of chaos at the home. He’d never once been to school and we didn’t have the funding to send him so we had to refer him out to another home in May. Even with him going to school 5 days a week, they could only manage him for 2 months as he tried to run away several times somewhere between that home and school. At one point a kidnapper grabbed him but the other boys that were walking with him fought and scared him off. Before we knew it, they came knocking at our gate to return him. We received him back with open arms, certain that God had a plan for him but also knowing he needed to be in school. We continued to search for his family and also advertised on TV and in newspaper. No response. Because of your generous giving into our “where most needed” fund, we were able to send him to the village to enroll in our school. He blossomed, y’all. He just needed discipline and his mind needed to be learning. He’s actually a bright child for having never been to school before coming to us. He’s wild, but a fun wild, not the troublemaker, acting out of deep pain.


The search continued for his family but we had exhausted all avenues. TV, newspaper, feet on the ground, going to each and every police station {mostly shipping containers tucked off the side of the road} between us and all directions within a certain radius. We went often because they don’t have a network for info and everything is done by hand and kept in paper files. We never gave up searching and checking one more time. However, Ekubo is just a foster home – a safe haven for children in their journey. Off the top of my head, I can’t tell you the number of children that have only stayed with us for a night or a weekend. Sometimes we have them many months as we work out the details to get them resettled. Sometimes it’s longer. One day is more than we ever want for a child to be separated from his or her family. That said, it’s definitely not a place where children need to grow up. We foster the children until an alternative can be found. The road was narrowing by the day and Calvin needed a family. The 1.5-year mark came and we knew it was time to call off the search for his family and direct our focus to a foster family. We even wondered if we were that family. God clearly closed that door. We wondered why but we kept going. We never found that foster family so he continued to thrive in school and we just couldn’t shake that all of these things weren’t coming together for a reason.

It is an amazing feeling to be walking the path which God has set out for a child in your care but scary to not see clearly the way forward. Last month as we neared the 2-year mark of him being in our care we just felt like we needed to run the adverts again. They are costly for a home that’s not yet fully funded and it was a huge leap of faith but God knew that. He knew we didn’t have the money yet He nudged us to step out. We ran the advert and got nothing. Or so we thought. What we couldn’t see was that Calvin’s grandmother’s brother saw him on the news. He called Calvin’s grandmother who came to the police looking for him. When we do adverts we direct them to police, not us, as it risks the safety of not only the child but the other ones in our care. We got word that Calvin’s grandmother had shown up. We were ecstatic! We got in touch with her and went looking. It was NOWHERE near where we were looking. It was over an hour away.

When we reached her we found out the story. And it shattered us. Calvin was sent to live with her when he was 2. Because she was not able to afford his school fees his mother came back for him. Calvin’s father chose alcohol over his family and abuse over love for his wife. His wife couldn’t manage her broken relationship and Calvin so she left, leaving her baby boy behind also. Per her words, “Calvin was very naughty and used to escape to look for his mother so many times that he was known by the area police posts.” One time Calvin never returned. He somehow made it over an hour away and then into our care. His father stayed so drunk that he never reported the disappearance to his mother or grandmother. It was neighbors that finally did. If that wasn’t enough to shatter us, this did. A few months ago, after not hearing from their son and grandson for 1.5 years, they held a funeral for him in their village. A FUNERAL FOR THEIR BOY. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of his disappearance and the grief they endured for all those months and then, in an attempt to find some sort of closure, A FUNERAL. My heart shattered. I know where he is. They now have him in his arms, but A FUNERAL. FOR THEIR BOY. I can’t even wrap my head around the finality of that.

There was such joy but so much confusion and shock in their reunion. Calvin had missed his Maama so much when he was little that he would run away. It had been years that he was in his father’s care before he ran away that final time. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind when he finally her. So much shock that this is the only picture I have for you. The truest picture ever taken of the shock we see during resettlements - the raw emotion of “too many feelings all at once”. God bless them both.


There should be huge smiles but those will come. They will come. They have moved in with Calvin’s grandmother into a one-room house with 11 people. We are still very much involved with their case as we are helping their grandmother manage 2 more people while we are trying find a way forward to reunite his family. And that’s the hard part – to not only find his father but see if he is willing to choose his family over alcohol. Foster care is not just us opening our home to Calvin. It’s about picking up all of the pieces that led him to needing our care and trying to put his family back together, if possible. It’s not glamorous and the enemy fights us every single step we take.

Ekubo Children’s Home was a blessing to this family and this is why we exist. I don’t know where Calvin would be if we were not there for him. He should have been at another home that doesn’t even attempt to resettle children but he caused them too many problems. He could have been kidnapped and who knows what would have happened – child labor or child sacrifice - but God had other children fight off the kidnapper. He should have been in a foster family but we were not that family nor could we find one. He should have been anywhere but in our care yet God invited us in. He invited us to be here physically and you to be there praying and giving financially. Please know that our love {ours and yours} is not lost on this family. We are so thankful to have you join us on this journey to be the hands and feet of Christ to families here in Uganda. We are all broken and in need of a Savior. Praise His name for drawing us in and including us in His work.

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