Saturday, August 28, 2010

Raining Hope Uganda Trip - Aug 8-23 2010 #8

Update #8
It is Saturday, August 28th, and I have spent this first week back unpacking, resting & processing all that God has done & continues to do. I wanted to fill in the missing few days I was not able to get to a computer to update you. I read over the updates to see what blanks to fill in. Wow. Reading it all at once is just overwhelming. It is difficult to describe how we were feeling each day. We were awestruck at how He orchestrated each day. Seeing on paper how much God accomplished in 2 short weeks continues to amaze me.

I had updated you on various aspects of the last week of our trip. In the midst of the ministry, it is important to provide the team moments of rest. These are our “Sabbath Days” of rest & recharging. These are all local attractions that don’t cost us a lot of extra money.

The Source of the Nile is where the Nile River begins. Everyone always enjoys our stop here. Here is an excerpt from the devotion we use about the Source of the Nile…(Rev. 22:1-5) “The Nile River begins here and twists and turns around 4,000 miles before it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Every day, from the beginning of recorded history until now, communities of people from Uganda to Egypt have come down to these waters to take part in the life that it gives…we are all here because at some point we became discontent in merely drinking from the waters of life and we decided to seek the Source….we are seeking to encourage you, wherever you are to open your eyes to the wonder of God. Seek the Source of Life in all that you do, whether in America or Uganda, city or village. May God open our eyes to Christ all around us.” Kelly & Solomon were standing at the edge of the Nile and caught a glimpse of a family of otters! That surprised me too!

I always explain to team members that the area of Uganda we are in is very green & lush pasture. It is unlike what most people think of as more like the Rift Valley, dry and barren. Consequently that also means we are not around animals such as lions & giraffes. The most that we may see is an occasional monkey or two. Well, God gave us more than we expected! When we were leaving the park we were greeted by a huge family of monkeys on the side of the road! The most I have ever seen at the park is one or two. Denise & Kelly loved it! Funny story and answer to prayer… that morning, Denise had woken up in the middle of the night. She said she was praying for me about the upcoming meeting I had that day. She had written me a note and left it at the door. Each morning I was leaving notes under the door for the team…so she knew I would be coming by. When she laid back down, she looked out the window at a palm tree. She prayed that it would be nice to see some monkeys even swinging on the tree. She got back up and noticed that I had come by and slipped something under the door. But this morning was Kelly’s Golden Day…and I had slipped a bunch of paper “monkeys” under the door! She busted up laughing…God answered her prayers! Little did she know that God had a huge family of real monkeys waiting at the Source of the Nile!

We also took a boat ride to Samuka Island. It starts on the Nile River and travels across Lake Victoria to this little island. It is a very relaxing ride. Part of the trip includes going past Jinja Sailing Club and the Fishing Village. This is one of my favorite devotions we share because it is very challenging as followers of Christ. It comes from Mark 1:16-18; 10:17-23. It gives a stark difference between the beautiful hotel/sailing club (under renovation) on one side … and a common fishing village on the other. “In light of Mark 1 and 10, which group of people here would most likely drop everything to follow Christ, should he show up on the scene right now and offer an invitation? Standing between these two worlds, which ones would be the most likely disciples of Jesus? Many of the Christians here in Uganda have left everything to follow Christ. They have been extradited from a Muslim family to become a Christian. They have been misunderstood by their communities because they have refused to see the witch doctor or take his advice. They dropped their nets to ride a bicycle to a village once or twice a week to preach. It makes us question every day who the real disciples are. They are examples to us of freedom. It makes us re-imagine what we terms as “sacrifice for the sake of the gospel” into “an opportunity of freedom. The invitation is always open.” Really makes you think.

The third place I take the team is Bujagali Falls. This is a beautiful part of the Nile River that has rapids more than “waterfalls.” The blessing was we arrived right when two tour groups of white water rafters were going through the rapids. We had free entertainment! Most of the time I pay the locals to watch a man go down the rapids holding onto a jerry can! But this time we watched boat after boat of rafters brave the rapids! Only a few spilled out into the raging water!

These moments of rest in the midst of a day are refreshing. At each one we marvel at God’s creation. There always seem to be teaching moments if you listen carefully. Even at Bujagali Falls, we quietly looked at the calmness of the waters just before the rafters plunge into the rapids! But they all came out on the calm end of the river and continued to float down until they reached the next set of rapids. Isn’t life similar to this picture? Life will have moments of turmoil and trouble. Yet with God, we will endure.

After the meeting with the landlord’s daughter on Thursday, we went to Cornerstone Church with Pastor Paul. The church was having a women’s conference. I had been invited to come and share a word of greetings. Because of the meeting I had with Paul at the beginning of the week, I was able to go together with him, Margaret & Shifora. It was a celebrative & healing time! We worshipped & praised together with the women. Paul introduced me and welcomed me home. I signed the song “I Found Love” that seems to be the running theme of the week!

On Friday, we went back to Pastor Gerald & Ruth’s home to help him string the guitar. It being a 12 string guitar, it became a challenge for Kelly & Pastor Gerald to re-string. But it gave us more time to spend with Ruth and the kids. I was able to see more of the YWAM campus than I ever have before. Ruth even prepared a meal for us. They were excited that we were able to stay and share a meal in their home!

On the way back to the home, Solomon asked if we could stop at the Global Seminary campus where he used to live. He wanted us to meet his other family there! We were greeted with huge hugs and welcomed smiles! Solomon also wanted us to see their business they have of raising chickens both for eggs and for fryers. It was amazing! Once we get our farm in working order, this is another avenue of income for the home to help them become more self-sustainable.

We made one more stop on Saturday to the orphanage that Solomon’s friends run. These are young men that Solomon grew up with in another orphanage. It was really a surreal moment to see all 4 of these men standing together. The director, Moses said that they were given a chance in life. They now just want to do the same and give children the same chance for a better life. They are ministering to street children, all boys. Moses is a tremendous artist…one of the best I have seen in Uganda. They are teaching the children art so they can have a trade to help sustain them as they get older.

This trip has been about reconciliation.
This trip has been about our being more self-sustainable.
This trip has been about hope.

We had our soda party on Saturday. Some had said they had not had a soda since Christmas. We bought small muffin/cakes for each one. Some couldn’t remember when they last had one of those. They were elated when we told them we bought meat for their supper!

Each night we had praise & worship, prayer & devotions. We started signing to one another “I Love You.”
We shouted at the top of our lungs “Strong & Courageous!”
We signed our memory verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” The children believe this. They have a renewed hope.

The funny thing is each night as we closed, we danced to the song “Cupid Shuffle.” They loved it! Move over makarena…the cupid shuffle has taken our kids by storm! It is just good to see everyone get up and dance and be so filled with joy!!

We met another woman and her husband at the Paradise Hotel. Their names are Athol & Rosie. They are a couple from Australia that also ministers to those in Africa. As they were leaving, Rosie stopped to pray with the three of us ladies. We exchanged contact information. As she looked over my brochure, she became overwhelmed as we prayed. She shared that she saw our ministry expanding. She saw an expanding of our tent peg. She encouraged me to not get discouraged because He has plans for us.

That has been confirmed over and over on this trip. It has been a highly encouraging and powerful trip.

I believe it is because we have been obedient…
Reconciliation is a powerful tool.

I am sending a separate email concerning the home and what God is doing in regards to the future. It is big! Please be in prayer for us that God would provide.

Today is Saturday, August 28, 2010. I will be going to Ojai to attend the 2nd Annual Micah’s March. This is a walk and dinner/concert to support the family of Micah Marshall (son of Devo Marshall – my co-laborer with the children in Uganda) They are raising funds for his medical needs as well as raising awareness of SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). Please be in prayer for this fundraiser and for Micah who is now 2 years old!

Thank you all for your support & prayers. “He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 We experienced Him. He came to us. He poured Himself out. We are moving onto the Promised Land!


Raining Hope Uganda Trip August 8-23,2010

Update #7
We are already on our way home! We currently are in London on our overnight stopover. I will attempt to go backwards to update you on our comings & goings.

We left Jinja at 4:45 am to make the drive to Entebee Airport. Needing to arrive 2 hours before our 9:30 am flight facilitated an early morning drive! Denise & Kelly experienced seeing their first bats on this trip as we waited for Solomon to arrive! Early in the morning they are migrating back to one end of the Nile River. This early they seem to enjoy hanging around the hotel! Hotel Paradise staff were gracious in being awake and helping us as we journeyed out.

Most of our drive was in the dark. Another first for me was seeing a group of men journeying together with a camel! Yes…camel! It was pretty cool. Solomon said they make long journeys all the way from Nairobi. As the sun began to come up…the towns slowly were coming to life. We began to see people emerging from their houses. We also saw a group of the cutest little pigs…and yes…there were “3 little pigs!”

Saying goodbye to Solomon at the airport was very difficult for me. Solomon was truly a God-send on this trip. He is now managing our home and doing an amazing job. It was very comforting leaving Uganda knowing that the children are in such good hands. This trip we began a reorganizing process that we know God is honoring. The children are very encouraged for the first time in a very long time. I know that is very vague to understand fully…but I will explain it more once I get home.

It is a brand new day for our children & our home.

The last update which would have been #6 was a short message to ask you to pray for me as I had a meeting with the landlord. I gave an update with the request of assistance to enable us to move from the current home. We are still praying that God will provide the necessary funds to move within the next few weeks. We already have another house that looks like it is available for us to rent.

God is moving us forward. They are excited. Their memory verse for the past 12 days has been Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you not to harm you. Plans for a hope & a future.” They are claiming this verse and living it out. I taught them the sign language to the verse and they memorized it the first time around. I had one of our children, Henry lead the group each evening in reciting the verse.

They have hope.

The theme of this trip has been reconciliation. It simple was about relationships. God is moving us forward. He rained down blessings on this trip and could only be explained by Him. Each time that He poured out a blessing…it was right after I had stepped out in obedience to make relationships right. We have had challenges these past 3 years. But it has been amazing to watch the power of God’s Word come alive. We simply followed and obeyed what His Word told us to do.

I discovered a new but old song. It was on a Rachel Lampa CD that I have not listed to for years. It is entitled “Brand New Life.” Here are the words…

I remember when I fell to my knees , Saying please come to me I really need you now.
I felt your mercy bringing joy to my soul., Now I know letting go led me here somehow

So this is how it feels when you’re around me
So this is how it feels when love surrounds me
Sun is shining and the grass is green the birds are singing in harmony.
Wake up knowing that you’re here with me , Thank you for my brand new life
My days are colored by lasting hope , It’s like I’m looking through a kaleidoscope.
I see heaven everywhere I go , Thank you for my brand new life

I never realized what it meant to be free , Now I see all of me is what you want from me
I believe that you’ve erased any doubt
Knowing now can’t live without all you’ve given me
So this is how it feels to be forgiven. So this is how it feels to be really living

I never seen a miracle before . Now I see them everyday for sure
It’s almost like you’ve opened up a door to a brand new life.

This song became a theme song for me personally as I have watched God unfold His plans for us piece by piece each day that we have been in Uganda. Proverbs 20:24 “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” We learned lessons in walking by faith not by sight. We woke up in the morning praying for God to direct our steps. By the end of each day, we were thanking God for things that happened that day that in our wildest dreams we could not have even imagined or planned out. His ways are way better than our ways.

We have seen miracles. We have experienced healing. We have loved deeply. We have been loved deeply.

Yesterday when we checked into Entebbe Airport we had 8 checked pieces of luggage as we went through security. From the short distance from security to the check in counter…one bag seemed to be missing. The agent had printed out 8 tags…but we seemed to be short one bag. It seemed to be a mystery how one bag could disappear. But after some inquiry, someone went all the way to the back to check our luggage and did discover the agent had not tagged one of our bags. Praise the Lord! If we would not have investigated further…the bag would not only have made it to Los Angeles, but it would have remained lost as it had no final destination tags. They apologized…but we praised God it was found.

Hmmm…sounds familiar…what was lost was found. I am glad that in our lives that we have a final destination…that is eternal life with Jesus!

I know that you have a missing gap of a few days that I will catch you up on when I get home. I have a short window before leaving for the airport to send out this update. I wanted to at least get word to you that we have made it half way home and will be back in California soon!

Thank you for your prayers. Continue to pray for us as this re-entry process is always challenging. Pray especially for Denise & Kelly as this is their first experience with the reverse culture shock process. They have loved deeply & are forever changed. We have been a three fold cord that God has blessed!

We love you all!

Oh…and last night as we sat and shared a meal…we looked out the window and it began to rain.


Raining Hope Uganda Trip August 8-23,2010

Update #6
My meeting with the landlord went better than we could have asked or thought. I watched God do amazing things right in front of my eyes! There is a long story behind this that i will email tomorrow.

The short version is that we have been leasing this property that the children's home is on. We have been having troubles for a long time with the owner. They have been very patient with us as we have been behind on our rent. We are slowly making that up. The amount owed for rent is close to $1500. But they have added on additional costs that they are counting as wear and tear on the property. We can not leave the premises without taking care of the cost. That is approximately $3,500 plus replacing the pit latrine.

I wish you could have been here to experience the miracle that took place in our meeting. the landlord's daughter came to meet with me instead of the father. Praise the Lord! Solomon, myself and the daughter all met and had a very good meeting. In good faith we have agreed to pay her $5,000 and move as soon as possible.

We have so many things happening here that God is providing. He already has led us to a place to rent that will be much cheaper than what we currently pay. We would like to move by the end of this month.

The reason for this email is for prayer. God answered your prayers for the outcome of the meeting.

Second is in order for us to leave the house...I am in need of $5,000 to do so. We would like to borrow the money and pay it back quickly. It is hard to describe in an email how much we need to get out from under the landlord's hand. We would appreciate any help than anyone can give to us.

If you can help with a loan, please either contact Carol John or Devo Marshall or email me back. We are sorry to give such a last minute request. I would especially appreciate your prayers.

We have the promised land ahead of us. We are trying to leave Egypt.

Blessings & peace to you!

Raining Hope Uganda Trip August 8-23,2010

Update #5
We have been moving all around and God is so good!

Yesterday I was in the midst of sending the update that Denise had written when the power went down in the business center. I was unable to send her update to a few of you is why you are receiving two updates at once! Our time on the computer has been limited mainly because we are out from morning until evening. By time we return to the hotel I don’t have access to the computer. That’s the way it should be though…because we are accomplishing & experiencing so much!

So much has happened since Saturday! We have been caught up in a whirlwind of excitement and emotions. Let me try to paint a picture for you that will unfold before your eyes. I know this is long…so thank you for taking the time to join us!

We journeyed towards Kampala on Saturday. One of our young men in our home, Charles Mukasa has graciously offered up a piece of land that Raining Hope will use as a farm. It is on the outskirts of the main town of Kampala. He inherited the land some time ago and wanted to donated it for our use. At the time we were not able to pursue it. But God’s timing is always perfect. We wanted to utilize it as a farm to grow food for the children at the home. As we made the long drive of over an hour, it began to RAIN. As we got closer to the land, the rain not only got heavier, but the drops were the size of golf balls! I have not experienced rain of that size before. I shared with the team that God must be getting ready to really pour out His blessings! When we arrived at the land, I was speechless. I was expecting a lot that was empty, ready for us to plant on. God had in store for us a picture of “exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ask or think.” It is 10 acres of land with very rich and fertile soil. It already is lush and growing. We walked through a matoke (banana plantation), papaya trees, vegetables, casava and so much more. The land actually needs some clearing so we can plant various crops. We even stumbled across a pig wallowing in mud amidst the banana trees! I think the pig will become our mascot as he was really cute! Denise gave him the name “Humphrey” because of the snorting sounds he was making! Considering that Humphrey will probably become a source of food…I think naming him is not a good idea! I already am becoming very fond of our little mascot!

While in the banana plantation, Charles handed me a machete and said, “Aunty Eydie, you cut down the bananas! So we have video and photos of me cutting down my first banana tree! Quite the sight it was! Ha!

We had the bonus as we walked around that the land also has a quarry. The stones that it provides can also be used as we build. We ran across a man who was breaking the stones with a mallot. Denise first wanted to take a photo hitting the small rocks. Charles then said, Aunty Eydie, your turn! In one swing of the hammer, I broke the rock! Denise said, “I got it all soft and ready for you to break!”

At one point I was so overcome with God’s goodness in His provisions. I turned to thank Charles for his sharing His land. I began to weep and he just gave me a huge hug and said, “It’s ok Aunty Eydie, it’s all going to be alright!” Charles shared ideas of what we can plant. He said, we will then have no more food problems. We can also sell food that will help bring income into the home.

Charles also has hired a man to tend the land since he is away. This man’s name is also Charles and has his family living there. At one point we met a sweet young woman, Evelyn that when she shook Kelly’s hand said, “good to meet you…are you saved?” Wow! How many times when we meet people are we that bold for Christ? That opened up a door for a blessed conversation about our Savior!

As we drove away with bananas and cassava, I was overwhelmed at what God had just done. We now have to plan out what the next step is in clearing parts of the land to plant new crops. Because of the distance from the home we also have to decide about transporting the goods. This is one of the items you can pray with us about.

After leaving there we traveled back towards the city of Kampala. Denise has friends here, Sheila & Michael. Sheila is a Californian who met a Ugandan man, married, and moved to Uganda. She moved to Uganda over 20 years ago. I had met Sheila once when she was on a visit to the US. When we stepped out of the van, Sheila was waiting with open arms. Her response to Denise was, I can not believe that you are actually here in my home! They have talked about this…and now it has become a reality!

They had a meal waiting for us! She said, “Can’t have people here from California and not have hamburgers!” We also had a bounty of fruit & avocado. We had a great time of fellowship. They are in the process of renovating the home to house visiting pastors and missionaries. We pray that God would bless them as they have dedicated this home for His use. Their son actually has come to California to attend college. I had offered to contact the son when we return to bring some Ugandan encouragement! I have been given a hug and a kiss of the forehead to carry back to give to him!

The hardest part of the day was the drive back to Jinja! Because it was late in the afternoon, we hit the jam of traffic. Kelly & Denise got a huge dose of why I do not like to travel through Kampala! It took us very long to arrive back to Jinja. Solomon did a great job getting us back home! We actually passed by the place where the bombing had occurred just a few weeks ago during the World Cup Finals. You would never have known that anything had happened there. Solomon had to point out that was there it had occurred. Life has returned back to normal here.

Sunday, we went to church at Revival Christian Church in Jinja town. I arranged to go on boda boda’s to the church as it is not far from the hotel. Denise & Kelly loved their first ride. For those you who don’t know…a boda boda is the public transport of a motor bike. We sit side saddle on the back seat. It is always a part of our experience in town!

The service was amazing. This time, the power was out so there were no instruments or microphones. I have come to love services more when we don’t have the use of technology! All there was was the instruments of hands clapping and voices lifted up to God. There is always perfect harmony of voices being lifted up to God. It was beautiful! As Andrew began to share the message, it was from Proverb 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, leaning not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” I received a small note from a young girl. The message on the front said, “immediate reaction.” On the inside was a request for me to come say hi to the Sunday School children.” So I quietly slipped out and headed towards the area where about 30-40 children were waiting. I greeted them and then we sang together and signed the song “Follow You,” sung by Michael Priebe. This is always one of their favorite songs! It is always so special to see their little hands signing “follow YOU!” I then slipped quietly back into my seat in church and settled in to hear a great message based on the verses in Proverbs!

By time church was over, Solomon had joined us and was ready to take us back to the hotel for lunch. Our friend, Godfrey had also come from Mukono to visit for the day. We all went over to the Sunset Hotel for lunch, where I have discovered the best Chinese food I have ever had! It was a delicious lunch as always!

The rest of the afternoon we spent at the home. We were able to give out the clothes we had carried to Uganda. The skirts that Kendra & her grandmother made for all the children were a big hit! We also gave them the sandals that we purchased in the market. They had gone without sandals for longer than they should have. As we purchased the plastic sandals, I commented to Solomon that they should not go that long again without them. I discovered they only cost approximately $1 each. You should have seen how happy they were with the simple gift of a sandal.

As we arrived back at the hotel for the evening, we were greeting by Pastor Joshua. Before I went to meet with Denise & Kelly, he pulled me aside and said, “In church this morning the Holy Spirit showed me that I should give you these verses…Isaiah 41:1-4.”
As I went to the room, I read the verses to the two women. We stood amazed as I was preparing for a meeting the next day…and these verses were just the encouragement I needed.

We have had various issues with individuals that needed “immediate reaction.” God has been leading me in the importance of reconciliation, no matter the cost. God has honored our obedience and relationships have been restored and strengthened! What is happening on this end can only be explained by God.

I had time with Pastor Paul on Monday. As I walked up to his home, he was carrying his now 7 month old daughter. She is precious. I will post a photo later as she is a picture of cuteness! Our time together can only be explained by our God.

Our time on Monday also included a visit to Pastor Gerald & Ruth. Their two boys, Ezekiel & Elijah are growing so fast! It was a special moment when we gave Pastor Gerald the guitar that Carol John had donated. He is so thankful for the gift. I had already given him the note that Carol had written to him. He realized because she had been given this guitar as a gift from her parents so many years ago, it must have been difficult to release. But he also counted it an extreme honor to receive such a precious gift. Ruth has also given me more beautiful necklaces…some different than what I had brought home before. You will all love them!

Kelly & Denise spent the afternoon at the home working with the children. They made more paintings with the children, played and even helped them with their homework. Solomon & I went back to the market to buy supplies. While I was back at home at Dove Ministries, Roxette Rogers handed me an envelope. She said her son, Elijah had given it to her to give to me. It contained $25 to use to buy medicine for the children. Elijah first heard me speak 3 years ago and was touched by how little it costs to save the life of a child. He saves his money and then from time to time has given it to me to carry back to help the children. Because of his generosity…we were able to buy much needed medicine for the children. All of the medicine that we had was expired and no longer good. In that were the tablets to combat malaria. God is good.

God is providing and He is answering prayers. We start each day giving it over to God. We are learning to talk less, listen to Him and go where He tells us. It is more exciting that way! Each day that we have done this, we come to the end of the day and are amazing at what He has done. We could not even plan out the kind of days that He has given to us. Denise put it well. The other night she said, “Let’s hurry up and go to sleep so we can wake up and see what He does tomorrow!” Amen!

It is still raining…the weather is cool…and God is showing Himself all around us.

I have more to share in the next update that will continue to unfold this picture of His provisions and His care for us.

Be in prayer for us as we are already on our downward slope of preparing to come home. God still has so much to teach us in a short time. Pray especially for wisdom & discernment for me as I continue to meet with those God directs.

We love you all!

We are continuing to pray for a downpour of His rain.


Raining Hope Uganda Trip August 8-23,2010

Update from Denise Levette – August 16, 2010

Well, it’s been a week since we arrived in Uganda with Eydie. I must tell you, I am awestruck by the presence of Eydie in this town of Jinja. She is loved by everyone she knows. They treat her with absolute royalty and affection. I count it an honor just to be with her in this place. She is discerning and confident in what she does. What she does is amazing when it comes to the reason she is here which is to serve and provide for the kids that God put into her care. My heart is changed and being changed each day in knowing and seeing the Lord go before us and prepare the way to each day’s specific assignment. At the end of each day all we know to say in our heart and mind is “see what the Lord has done!” He is so good.

Being here in this place, its surroundings, & experience first hand the hospitality of the people I feel at home. Somehow I get an inking in my spirit that it won’t be the last time I am here. See you real soon.

In His Care,

Raining Hope Uganda Trip August 8-23, 2010

Update #3
The past two days have been filled with blessings from God!

It was good to have morning devotions with the staff of Hotel Paradise! That is always one of my favorite experiences. It is so good to start our day with worship, praise, prayer and hearing from God’s Word. It is even better when we can do that with our brothers & sisters in Christ!

We finally made it to the bank yesterday to exchange money. When I was here in May, Uganda had just started releasing their new currency. The old currency is slowing fading out. The bills are very beautiful and colorful, much like that of places in some of our asian continents.

I took Denise & Kelly to town to do some of their first shopping. First stop was my friend, Rita’s shop. For those of you who purchased some of the paintings on cloth from Rita, she was very thankful for your support! Her little daughter, Mary had been waiting for me to arrive. At first Mary was very shy and kept giving me a curious eye! She kept slowly inching towards me. Then a little girl next door came in and began playing the drums with me. That is all it took! Suddenly, Mary latched onto my legs and buried her head next to me. Her mother began speaking in Luganda to her and quickly scooted the girl back to her family. Rita said, “Mary doesn’t want anyone else touching you! She said she is your friend!” After that she latched onto me throughout the shop and didn’t let go! We then traveled to the familiar spot of the Source Café. Good to see old friends and sit to eat lunch a grab a cup of coffee. Brandi, I missed having you here for that cup of latte!

In the afternoon, we went to Living Hope Children’s Home to have time with our children. I met with one of our directors of the school some of children attend. They have been very patient with us as we have been behind on school fees. This term finishes up this week. Be in prayer with us as we need to catch up on these fees before the new term begins in a couple of weeks.

When we arrived at the home we were unloading the suitcases of supplies that we have for the home. As I looked up, coming down the road was our friend, Janet from Cornerstone Church. She is the one that I was delivering the suitcase of supplies from the other ministry back at home. It was a nice reunion and great timing! She was so thankful for the supplies and the love behind it.

We also had our first devotion time with the children that night. All I have to say is, “We are going to be … “ and they all shout “Strong & Courageous!” It is amazing how that theme verse from my ISP trip in May of 2009 has become the theme of Living Hope!

On Friday morning I was greeted by Douglas, one of the staff here at the hotel. I loved his greeting… “Thank you for waking up!” I agreed that I was happy to have woken up too! We need to all be thankful that God has given us life today!

We had a great devotion time led by Edward of the hotel. It was the reminder from Romans 1:14-15 of our responsibility to go into the world and share His love. I shared with the group about a prayer request that has come from California Baptist University. A traffic crash that occurred on August 9th killed one of the CBU cheerleading coaches.
A van carrying the cross-country team of California Baptist University to training in Bishop was struck by an out of control SUV. The CBU cheerleading coach who was driving the van was killed instantly. There were 12 students in the van she was driving.
If you go to the following website you will be able to get the details on how to pray for the students & families involved in this tragic event. Please keep California Baptist University in your prayers.
Yesterday was an exciting day of watching God provide. We moved around Jinja town and the local market purchasing items for the home. Through the generosity of gifts from those of you at home, we were able to buy much needed mattresses for some of the beds. We had not replaced any of the mattresses since we started the home close to three years ago. These are very simple foam mattresses…and some were falling apart. We also purchased sandals for all of the children as some have been walking barefoot for lack of shoes. We are searching for new mosquito nets in the next few days as well as other supplies. Solomon made a funny comment as we moved around. He said, “Eydie, you know more people in town than I do!” Ha! Guess I really have become a Ugandan!
We also have had a generous gift given to purchase more food. Our supply has been very low. There have been days when they have gone without food. When there is food it is limited to poshe and beans. A kind gift was given so we could give the children more variety and nutrition. We will be purchasing that food as well.

That evening during devotions, I shared from Psalm 9 “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name O Most High.” We spent time just thanking God and praising Him. It is amazing that when I asked what the children are praising God for… almost all of the answers had to do with their relationship with God, that they have a Savior who loves them, that they are alive in Christ! The answers did not focus on material things, even though we were able to purchase items for the home yesterday. It was a moment that touched my heart because of their love for the Lord.

Last night as we came back to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised to see Edward. The amazing thing was he had his 2 year old son with him! The last time I had seen his son is when the ISP team of 2009 went to visit Edward and his family at their home. Their son was only a few days old when we met him! Now he is walking around! What a tender moment!

I was also surprised to have Pastor Gerald stop by the home last night! He just came by to say hello. His wife, Ruth is the one who made the necklaces I brought back on my last trip. He shared what God is doing in their lives and what ways they are moving towards the future. One of the comments that he made was a great ending to my day. He said that they have been teaching their young twins to pray. As Ezekiel went to pray one night (2 years old) all he said was, “God, please bless Aunty Eydie.” Out of the mouth of a child.

It rained again last night! He is showing down His blessings. We are starting Saturday with great anticipation to what He will do today!

We are continuing to pray for a downpour of His rain.


Raining Hope Uganda Trip August 8-23, 2010

Raining Hope Uganda Trip
August 8-23, 2010

Update #2
Now that we are getting settled in… I am able to give you an update on the past couple of days! We have had many people praying for us as we prepared to travel. God answered your prayers! We had hardly any traffic on the Los Angeles freeways to get to LAX. That in itself is always a sort of miracle!

Arriving at LAX at the International Terminal it was busy as always. We entered into the terminal near the Emirates area. It was busy and crowded. Yet as we moved to the British Airways terminal…we turned the corner to find no lines! Just like in the story of the parting of the Red Sea was our check in experience. After checking in we looked behind us and there were suddenly a large group of people! God is good.

Another answer to prayer was God leading us to the exact check in agent. We were allowed 1 extra bag each because we were traveling as a humanitarian group. That allowed us a total of 9 bags. However I had an extra bag that needed to get to one of the church ministries in Kakira. The women’s group had agreed to pay the $140 extra bag fee. We were praying that the fee would be waived…and it was!!! One of our pieces of luggage was a guitar that had been donated to one of our associate pastors. When I mentioned to the ticket agent that we had the guitar, she said to carry that on and have the flight attendants store it. Wow! That was a huge answer to prayer!

Our flights and our 9 hour layover in London all went extremely well. For those of you who may be “So You Think You Can Dance” fans…we saw Nigel Lithgow, executive producer on our flight. When I text Kiana to tell her that I saw him standing in line, she said, “Tell him hi & that we danced on National Dance Day on July 31st! So being a good mom…I did! He was very nice and liked the recognition of the participation on the 31st!

Another blessing came when we boarded the flight from London to Entebbe. I was sitting in the bulk head row in the aisle seat. Next to me was a mother with a young child. Just as we were getting to know each other, the flight attendant came to me and said, “If you don’t mind, I want to move you to the row ahead of you to give this mom and her child more room.” I said that was fine…only to find out the row ahead was Business Class! Wow! God is good!

Touching down on Ugandan soil is always so heartwarming to me. I feel the warmth of being back in my “home in Africa.” Denise & Kelly were excited to finally be here after months of preparation. All of our bags arrived safely and intact! As we walked out to the crowd … Solomon was there waiting with open arms, a huge smile and a welcoming hug!

Our 2 ½ hour drive to Jinja went very well. It is always fun for me to watch the wide eyes of those who are experiencing Uganda for the first time! Of course the driving on the roads of Uganda are always one of the exciting adventures for first time visitors! We made our traditional stop for chicken on a stick & roasted bananas! As always they seem to love the new food!
Arriving at Hotel Paradise on the Nile was an introduction to the hospitality of the people of Uganda. The people of the hotel have truly become family to me. It was a huge reunion with everyone that greeted us. Many didn’t know that I was returning so the look of surprise on their faces was worth a thousand words! Denise & Kelly immediately felt the warmth & love of the people.

We were faced with a brand new procedure for the hotel…a security check of the bags. Since the bombing in Kampala surrounding the world cup a few weeks ago, they have instituted a new “security screening” of all your luggage. With our 10 bags plus carry ons it took a while for them to open up each bag and inspect the contents. But it was good to know that they were going through such procedures to secure our safety! For those of you who have been asking about the safety since the incident, you would be pleased to know they have said that they have not been affected much by it in the Jinja area. The security check is just a precaution … but all is well here in Jinja!

Tuesday was spent more in letting Kelly & Denise rest and get accustomed to a new culture and time zone! I had time to do some catching up with Solomon and discussing the possible plans for the next 12 days. What is exciting about this trip is the unknown of what God has in store! There are some specifics in what we want to accomplish … but daily we are going to trust God to show us what to do and we will follow!

Wednesday was a good example of how His plans are always better than our plans! There are no staff devotions on Wednesdays, so we were able to sleep in a little bit. After breakfast, Solomon came to pick us up. First stop…the bank to exchange money. However, once there we discovered the banks were closed for a national holiday. A former president of Uganda had passed away and burial was yesterday. In observance of this, the banks were all closed. When I left Uganda in May, for the first time I came home with excess shillings. I finally learned to travel home with some shillings so that when I arrive back I immediately have money to use (especially for chicken on a stick!). So God prepared the way in May … because the banks being closed would have posed a problem with the money I needed for our meals etc. Praise the Lord!

We then went and visited the children at the home. I am always filled to overflow when I first see our children! Some had just come from going to get water. Henry saw me and began to run with a jerry can filled with water. Let me tell you…I had Kelly & Denise each hold the can filled to the brim with water so they would know just how heavy a load the kids are carrying. We normally don’t have to go to get water this way, but with the financial crisis we have been under, the water at the home had been recently turned off. That is being alleviated today as we will be able to pay part of that bill. Solomon commented that this period has been good though for the home as they have come to appreciate the blessing of having running water at the home and not take that for granted.

One of the most heartwarming moments when I introduced Denise to Tabitha, the child that she and her husband sponsor. As soon as I told Tabitha that “this is Denise the person you…” I was going to say sponsor. Denise said “mummy” as that is what Tabitha called Denise in a letter that she had written to her. As soon as she heard the word, “mummy” she leaped towards Denise and gave her a huge hug along with a hug smile! What a moment.

When I asked Solomon what the weather has been like, he said, “very hot.” When I asked about the rain…he said “no it has not rained in over 2 weeks.” All of you who know the story of past trips and how “Raining Hope” got it’s name…know how important rain is! We base our ministry on Zechariah 10:1 “Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.” So we prayed for rain.

Guess what?? Yes…we had rain yesterday and the weather was cool! While we were at the home it began to lightly sprinkle. When the first drops came we were praising God. He has always made his presence known to us in rain. Soon after leaving the home we went to the market to buy water. By time we walked out of the market…it was POURING DOWN RAIN! We moved down main street in the car to head to the Source Café for lunch. As we stopped by Rita’s shop she came running out with a big smile and huge hug! We have been overwhelmed with His love.

The rest of the afternoon was a lesson in just going where He leads. Solomon took us to meet some of his old friends that he has grown up with in another orphanage. They are now running a home for street kids. Visiting this new home was very encouraging for me. I spent some time getting to know one of their workers from the UK. She gave us a tour and explained how they are working with kids that formally were street children. What an unexpected blessing to land there in that home.

We also picked up Charles Mukasa who is one of our adults in our ministry. He has been a part of our ministry from the beginning as one of our sponsored children. He now is attending a local University and helping us with the work in the home. You can be praying for us as on Saturday we are going to look at a piece of property that now belongs to Charles. It was given to him when his father had passed away. He wants to use it for Raining Hope as land that we can plant food. This would be an exciting venture for us as it would help us in providing more food for the children.

This trip is centered around new things that the Lord is leading us in. In upcoming updates you will have more specifics in how to pray for us. By the end of the day yesterday, we were in awe of what opportunities have presented themselves. Since coming to Uganda 3 years ago, I have been in a process of learning to trust God, asking Him to show us what to do, and then following where He leads. Yesterday we went where Solomon had arranged…and we were speechless with how our day ended up!

In the four short days since leaving California to coming to Uganda, God has already shown Himself in ways that are beyond anything that we could have imagined. Pray for us as lives are being changed for Him.

I woke up in the middle of the night to a downpour of rain! This verse is what I found, “He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3.

We are praying for a downpour of His rain on this trip!