Saturday, August 28, 2010

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.


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