Tuesday, September 8, 2015

but she came

“We have had him for almost a year and have advertised several times. When we advertise, we do so through the government so we don’t share our organization details and risk the safety of the child. The newspaper said for anyone knowing him to come to the police. The grandmother showed up at the police and was told that he was safe and being cared for well. She told them to let her go to the restroom out back and then come give them her details so she could be reconnected with him. She never returned from the restroom. But she came. So we have no details. The police have no details. So now we are running an advertisement again to see if she can come back again.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Stormy flew home with me to help with the kids and revisit the country that stole her heart 4 years ago when she came to visit us. Since the beginning of our sponsorship program she has sponsored Gideon, a child of Kakooza, and we trekked up the mountain to their home yesterday. We just went to visit but were welcomed with celebration and then Kakooza shared with her his testimony about his arm. I moved here Dec 1, 2010 and a couple days into January he came to us asking for help. His neighbor planned to have him killed and take his land. Late one night some thugs the neighbor paid came to Kakooza's home and began slaughtering all his cows, goats, and chickens, hung him by his neck and arm from the beams that held the tin roof up on his mud home, and left him for dead. But God was not done with Elisha. His wife and children, whom he told to run and hide, waited until it was safe and then they went for help.

We partitioned our church and created a small room where their family lived. We took him to several doctors in Kampala and they told him he had a slim chance of ever regaining use of his arm because the nerves were so damaged. We worked closely with him over the next 6 months to hold accountable the people responsible, ensure his family felt safe on our property {the thugs kept returning to harm all of us and we had to hire security} and also get physical therapy for him. A couple years later he had slowly regained all use of his arm and fingers and, because of the programs we have in place to help families sustain themselves, he earned and saved enough money to not only rebuild their home, but it is a brick one. God has really blessed him and almost replaced every single animal the enemy slaughtered. He thanked us by giving us a turkey. It was such an humbling day. He asked that I thank those of you who support Ekubo Christian Academy where his children attend.

"I will never forget the time the thugs came to our home, slaughtered our animals, stole everything we owned, tore down our home, hung my husband and left him for dead. Thank you for treating him. We had no money and no hope to reach the big hospitals. If you were not there maybe by now my husband would be lame. Thank you so much for treating him well. By that time we had lost hope but you took care of our family. May the Almighty God reward you abundantly." - Maama Hope

“My children have learned to fear God. I have taught them about the Proverb which says the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. I pray that before my children know anything that they fear God. After that I pray they get a good education so they can be well.” - Maama Hope

“We met in the Redeemed Church of Christ in Bombo. We have been in marriage for 22 years. Fearing God keeps our marriage strong. The advice we would give to newly married couples is to fear God and to trust each other. Above all you have to trust in God in everything you do. Also there is respect – the man has to respect the woman and the woman the man. And you have to trust in yourselves.”


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Maria & her Maama {5 years later}

these 2 are a testament to my faith. they'd been starved and left for dead. a 10lb, 2-year-old baby girl and her Maama. and God called me. ME. I was anything but prepared. I was an ill-equipped new Christian, only having decided to follow Him 7 months before. yet He called me. He called me as His daughter to not just go visit them. He called me to not just go sit with them and leave. He called me into the mess with them - into the hell they were living. He called me to take responsibility for them. the village was abuzz at how stupid I must be. at how lost a cause they were. at how deep in over her head the muzungu had gotten. but I turned a deaf ear and kept my eyes on Jesus.

for 5 years now they have been in our care. we have watched the hand of God reach down and pull them from the ashes. we have seen it. praise God for His faithfulness!

“Since the day you got me from where I was my life has changed a lot. You got me from a bad situation when my daughter was being starved and I was being abused. You built me a home and my daughter and I came into your care full time. Though I was not your responsibility you saw me as such and these days I’m feeling that I’m now someone. My health has changed. I have a shelter where I sleep very well and I eat very well. Though I still face some challenges with my epilepsy but the seizures are less frequent. I have hope that I will recover soon. On top of that I have gained energy and I can now dig in the garden, do housework, and many other things by myself. I am so independent. It was always a burden for me to depend on someone else and even then they neglected me. I have hope that my life will continue to change because I feel the people you have given me to help care for me are good people. I believe in Jesus Christ now. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me, most especially you and Master George. Maria is now growing, having education, medication, food, shelter and I feel that God has answered my prayers. Now everyone treats me differently. My family where you got me from now see me as a better person and everyone loves me.” – Maama Maria


Sunday, July 12, 2015

water is life

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. read the whole story here. 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!

as I sit here looking through the picture I took today 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.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I named him Christian

4 years and 3 months ago we received a call that our friend's wife had failed to give birth at the nearest clinic and they feared she would not make it to a hospital in the city. we jumped in the van and rushed down the bumpy roads some 6 miles away. it felt like forever. we pulled in and she was laid out in the parking lot writhing in pain. we got her in the van and rushed off to the city.

George turned on his hazard lights, laid on the horn so much I thought it might give out, made his own lane dead in the center of the road, and a drive that was usually well over an hour took like 45 minutes. we still have the crack across the windshield where a rock popped up and hit it that night.

at 3am a little boy was born and later on that morning we went back into the city to pick them from the hospital. I walked out of the ward with him and because he was so light and because George was walking beside me, everyone said as we walked by, "I can't believe she gave birth in a place like this." our friend and his wife had a good laugh. I got to carry him all the way home.

when we reached their home they asked a favor of me. it would be another week or so before he would get his Luganda name but they wanted me to give him his English name. but there was a twist. he had to be named after me. I chose Christian.

today I noticed his sister walk by and I wondered how he might look these days - whether or not I would recognize him. the next set of eyes I locked with I knew. it was him!!! my heart soared! I must have taken a picture of him a few days ago but didn't notice him among the others in that class. and I am glad God chose a special time away from all the other children to show me. He gives the best gifts. praise His name!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

he wasn't supposed to be sitting here

he was a bit shaken that I wanted to come sit so closely to him. we've had lots of problems out of him and his brothers because they used to rather drink and keep their children home from school when we were paying for everything. matter of fact, it's parents like him who made us switch from a one-to-one model where each sponsor has a child to where the money from all sponsors is pooled and we send only the children to school whose parents want to be involved in their children's educations.

he got clean a few years ago and realized he was failing his children. his children were welcomed to come back when school resumed for the new year, if and only if he could fulfill his part of the partnership. each parent has to give something, anything we can use - beans, firewood, maize, etc. - so that they, too, are invested in their child(ren)'s education. despite being a single father, he was doing his part. and he was doing it well.

but then his mother fell sick. they were living with her and she was the one to help look after them when he would be at work. he moved her in with an uncle who lives just a few houses down and when news got around to the girls' mom, whom had already left him, she came for the girls. she does not want them and will bring them back but his brothers took over his mom's house when they heard she had moved out. and they drink. he wants no part of that lifestyle. he is now homeless.

he wasn't supposed to be sitting here. I came to visit with Aminah's maama and he was here visiting. I wanted to hear stories from her about her daughter who is in our choir. I never expected him to be here. he almost got up when I came so close to him. his past is not clean and his future is hopeless. he misses his 2 girls. and it grieves me that, because he is making a positive change in his life, all seems lost for him right now. I left him laughing, after showing him the video of himself falling to the ground while trying to catch the chicken Maama Aminah wanted to give to me. it's a few posts back. I can only offer stories of the love of Jesus. and it breaks my heart but somehow keeps it together at the same time.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

light broke forth

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." - Isaiah 58:8