Friday, July 4, 2014

A quick note from our debrief site just outside Kampala called Banana Village.  We are comfortable, a little sad to have left our Ugandan partners this morning (July 4) and are now turning our thoughts toward home.  Pray for the seeds of conviction, courage and compassion to take root and grow in the soil of our hearts at home as we spend this time reflecting and debriefing for a couple days.
We are safe here and keeping an eye and ear out for any issues but there has been no unrest or added concern at this time here and things are calm.  We will be prayerfully safe and wise and trust our hosts to help us do so.
We do leave on Sunday about 3 and make our way through Dubai then on to Boston, arriving about 2:45 in the afternoon on the 7th.  We will be looking forward to seeing you all, having some special treats on the way home (many are talking ice cream, burgers, diet coke and such) - but the warning is to go s-l-o-w!
This has been a deep and meaningful time and the relationships and stories are significant.  We look forward to sharing them with you.
If we can get internet access tomorrow we will try to post a few photos - but for now this will be the best I can do with the limited service.  Susie on behalf of the team of terrific students and staff!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Team B is writing to you all the way from Kampala!

We left Child Voice International on Thursday, June 19th; we stayed at Hope Alive in Gulu from the 19th through the morning of the 23rd.  Hope Alive is an organization that helps sponsor the children of the surrounding community so that they might receive an education and be mentored by members of the staff and other volunteers. Most of these children are orphans under the guardianship of extended family members.

While at Hope Alive, the team was able to plan and participate in a full day of ministry with youth from 5 to 18 years of age. We taught the different age groups lessons from the bible, worshipped, and played exciting games! That night, we were able to do hut-to-hut evangelism to get to know the children and their guardians and to pray and encourage them. On Sunday, June 22nd, our team split into 3 groups to lead services at three different churches in the area. It is wonderful to experience worshipping God in a different cultural context! Overall, we quickly connected with the staff, the children, and the community and built great relationships.

Team B has been in Kampala for the past 5 days now; time is flying! Our team has again split into 3 different groups working at 3 different ministry sites. Some spend their mornings at Miles2Smiles, a daycare with over 70 children whose parents sought an alternative to taking their children to work with them in the market places. Others go to Great Army Church, an inexpensive primary school in a nearby slum; this group teaches various subjects to P1 through P5. The remaining group spends their morning at Thread of Life, teaching English to adults that will help them in their occupations and everyday lives. We've spent our afternoons and evenings together as a team, learning and growing as a group. We've listened to each other's testimonies of how and where we've grown up and how God has worked and continues to work in our lives. It has been awesome to share and learn more about one another.

Yesterday, we were able to visit Mulago Hospital and pray for healing for the patients. This is a government-owned hospital, and the conditions that the people have to face are heartbreaking. Some have gone days without eating, while others haven't received medical attention in days. We were able to share the love and hope of God with the patients and their families, though, and witnessed the power of the Lord as we prayed, encouraged, and saw some healed or at least relieved of some pain.

Everyone from Team B says hi! We've each expressed that we miss our families and friends a lot. Please continue praying for us, as we have roughly 7 days left in Uganda! Pray that we will continue to be fully present and free from distractions; especially the prospect of being home soon. Also, continue to pray for safe travels and good health for both Team B and Team A! God has been doing amazing things in Uganda; in the communities and in us! He's truly alive. Thank you for the prayers. We love you and will see you soon.

Written by Kristen and LaQruishia, on behalf of Team B

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Some scenes from Child Voice.  More smiles, relationships and ministry.

We owe you some photos - The previous ones did not post so I will try again.  Both teams are doing well, Team A is at Child Voice and has had a celebrative welcome with lots of song, dancing and laughter.  With them came two days of rain and cool weather which has refreshed everything and given the crops a good watering.  Team B is in the Gulu area for 3 days before moving to Kampala for their Urban experience.  They have over a hundred kids today at the Hope Alive center for a day of tutoring, song, games and friendship.  They will sleep well tonight!

At Fort Pateko, where the Muslim Slave trade into Uganda was haulted by Samuel Baker, 

We participated in the welcome dance at CVI

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18th  -  Debrief is a time of hearing each other's discoveries, sharing wisdom, and of entrusting the ministries we have been immersed in tot he team who will now carry on the relationships and the ministry.

Sharing some glimpses of the beauty and the ministry at Child Voice:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Written Monday June 9th By Miki and Kristen.
Hello family and friends,
We have been at Child Voice International in the village of Lukodi for about 5 days.  It took us nine hours to travel by bus from Entebbe and along the way we saw spider monkeys, baboons, and the beautiful River Nile.  We have spent the past few days getting settled into our huts, spending time with the 19 girls and their children currently at CVI, and discovering everything that God is doing here.  Not long ago, this land was dominated by an atrocious war – yet God has brought restoration not only to the very land where we are staying, but also to the people who were deeply affected.  The Lord continues to bless CVI and provide many girls with peace, healing, and individual restoration.
Sunday was our first day at Lukodi Community Church where our team led the church service and worshipped our Lord in various languages.  One of our Acholi sisters currently in the CVI program gave her life to the Lord and we also had the privilege of meeting a former CVI student and hearing her testimony of God’s work in her life since graduating.  It’s a blessing to experience God’s love, grace, healing, and mercy in this place as He transcends countless cultural barriers.
Due to lack of electricity and internet access in the village, we apologize for the delay in updating the blog!  We are all safe and sound, keeping busy with many tasks throughout the day.  Our free time is often spent learning the local tribal language of Acholi, hand washing our laundry, playing with children, and sharing life with one another on the team and at CVI.  Please pray for our team, that God would continue to provide us strength, that we would be a united body in Christ, and that we would humbly bring glory and honor to His Kingdom.
God is good.  Lubanga ber (Acholi)
(Team B:  Josh, Tina, Tom, Nancy, Andre, Jeremy, Wes, Jeff, LaQruishia, Kristen, Becca, Miki*, Megan
Greetings from Team A as we serve in the Gulu area at Hope Alive, a child sponsorship and empowerment organization.  We are living rural and getting to know each other even better (comes from being side by side on the floor on mattresses and many late night talks).   Sharing life with our Ugandan partners is as important as ministry and curriculum and God is richly blessing relationships here.  Tomorrow we all meet up, both Team A and Team B for a day and a half mid-term debrief.  We are all pretty excited to see each other and looking forward to coming together at a place away from our ministry sites.
I will let some more of the photos tell the story for you and let family and friends know that we are all well (with a couple minor colds and sniffles) and working hard.  We sing every night, have taught in schools, planted crops and have enjoyed deep philosophical talks over a basin of laundry and dirty clothes!

Changing Places

Our team A has served for the past days with Hope Alive, a child sponsorship site in the Gulu area.  Today they are helping in an understaffed school, then having an assembly at the end of the day with students.  They will share with these young students a motivation to remain in school - some of the most profound testimonies coming from our Ugandan University partners as they have stories about persevering that have inspired us all.  They have experienced life in a rural community, planting cassava, doing their laundry in buckets on the grass, and living in two small rooms side by side on mattresses on the floor.

After a reunion and mid-tern debrief with both teams A and B together tomorrow - we switch places and team B will go to Hope Alive then on to Kampala and team A will go to Child Voice.  At the debrief, a highlight is always the transferring of these placements as students entrust their counterparts with the relationships and the ministry they have become a part of and attached to.

Your prayers for a thoughtful and for a restful debrief are welcomed.  This day and a half is a chance to step away and ask God what He is teaching us.  The highlight is a half day retreat at a beautiful site in the Lukodi area called Fort Patiko - the location at which the Muslim slave trade into Uganda was halted by Samuel Baker.

I'll post this - as our internet is touchy - then try to upload some photos of life these days for you.  Blessings to everyone and greetings to family and friends from our students!

Getting Ready to Transition

(Internet is not easily accessible so we apologize for the lack of updates)

Hello from Team B!  Today is our last full day at CVI (and Megan's birthday!)  We are preparing to transition to the second half of our mission where Team A and Team B will be switching locations - team A will spend the next two weeks with the girls at CVI while Team B will spend the next two weeks serving in Kampala.  Please pray for a smooth transition for both teams, that we would embrace any changes and all opportunities to serve the Lord.  Pray for good health, safe travels, and continued awareness of God's presence and work in us as individuals, as well as in our team as a whole.  And most importantly, pray that we would LOVE with everything we have.

Written on Tuesday, June 17th by Miki

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pictures from Team A in Kampala June 5-10

Team A together in KampalaMeeting area

Miles of Smiles NGO

Making new Ugandan friends

Off to church


David and Children

Ellie and Irene

On the Bus

Julian arrives from Boston

Children with Disabilities March

We love mosquito nets!

Learning songs