Chapter 10 Update #6
October 8, 2010
It is Friday, October 8th and I have arrived safely in London . Overnight stays in London are challenging and expensive! After spending the past 10 days in Uganda , it is always difficult to pay close to $8 one way for the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel! I also had a mocha & rustic bread with dipping oil for dinner…and I think just that cost close to $14! I took my leftover bread with me so I can have a snack later! Funny…in Uganda you don’t want to waste food when so many around you don’t have enough. In London , I don’t want to waste any because it is so expensive!
This is a different Holiday Inn than the one I stayed in with the ISP team in May. It’s actually smaller than my room in Uganda …yet it has a warming towel rack in the bathroom, an electric trouser press again the wall in the entry, and internet connection in the room! The hotel is also configured in a circular design. I literally walked the complete circle to get to the lifts (elevators) because I turned the wrong way from my room! It was like a scene from a movie…I thought I was never going to get off this floor!
We left Jinja at 5 am to arrive at the airport in time to catch my 9 am flight. Because Solomon knows his way around Kampala so well, we were able to dodge the morning traffic and make it in just over 2 hours. He is amazing! When we got to the airport, there was extra security being taken. We think it is because of the visiting dignitaries that are arriving for the Saturday celebration of Independence Day for Uganda . They also wouldn’t let any cars drive up to the departure area. Surprisingly enough, it was not too crowded once I made it inside the airport.
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday all seem like a passing blur to me! So much was accomplished in a very short period.
Solomon went to the local council’s office on Tuesday to start the process of registering our ministry in the new district. I had to go into town to pick up some things from friends. One of the ladies who used to work at the Hotel Paradise now works at a computer training center. She had stopped by the hotel to visit with me on Monday. As I visited her at work, I was also able to meet her boss. After praying for their business, he had me sign their guest book. He was so excited because I was the first “muzungu” to sign his book! (White person).
There finally was a hint of coming rain. There were dark clouds and even thunder! I was sure that the rain was just around the corner! Yet…still just black clouds hovering…thunder booming. Where was the rain? I heard it was in California ! Yet that is where the funds were slowly coming in to support the work. As I looked up at the dark clouds I had a sense of how the Israelite children must have felt as God led them out of Egypt . He led them cloud by day and fire by night. He was leading the way out. I was full of peace knowing that He was leading us out and to trust in Him.
On Wednesday, Solomon & I had to travel to Kampala . Just driving through Kampala is always the adventure. At one point Solomon asked if I wanted to drive! My response was a very firm “no” followed with a laugh! I told him that I would have to graduate to that level. Traffic was so congested that when we delivered an envelope to someone in Kampala for Robert, that person just met us outside and we passed it to him out the window as we barely stopped. Now that is special delivery!
We went to meet the new landlord to negotiate the details of the rent face to face. We found a parking space in the midst of the craziness of the city. We actually had the meeting in the car! Hudson is one of two brothers that takes care of this property. We came to an agreement and was able to secure the larger home we had been looking at for 6 months at $400 a month! We will need to come up with the additional $2,400 to pay for the following 6 months. It is an answer to prayer that they accepted less than the full one year’s rent.
After the craziness of the city, we traveled to the outskirts of town where it was much more peaceful! We went to Sheila & Michael’s home, the friends of Denise Levette who we visited on the last trip. I had a few things to give them from their son, Aaron. We found just Sheila at home that afternoon. We stayed just for a short time, sharing with one another over freshly squeezed passion fruit juice and popcorn!
Thursday became the day of freedom & celebration! The money from the US arrived on Wednesday. I was able to go and pay off many of our outstanding bills and school fees. With all of the reconciliation that was begun on my trip in August, much had been uncovered and then put in order. We had a very clear picture of what was actually owed. Solomon is doing an excellent job at this end for us. Brandi & Kurt also facilitated this for us as they helped with setting up the budget. We want to start brand new!
The landlord of the current home paid us a last minute visit on Thursday. We had a very great meeting and left on good terms. He graciously gave us to the end of the weekend to vacate. We will be dismantling the outdoor dining area that we constructed as that timber belongs to us. He has given us until next weekend to complete that. He is going to remodel the home and use it again for his family. He said I am welcomed to come back and visit. This was only God who could orchestrate such an exit. We have also come to appreciate their caretaker in this past week. The miracle of reconciliation is a powerful tool that points people to the grace of a very loving God. During our time of prayer as we completed our meeting, it began to rain! It actually began to POUR! There was thunder and LOTS OF RAIN! There was so much rain that the landlord had to wait until it let up before they could leave. I went outside and watched the children running and laughing in the rain becoming drenched! I wish that you could have all been there to experience the love of God pouring blessings out on us. It was worth waiting through the week of dark clouds hovering over us. The outpouring of rain at the moment we prayed with the landlord was powerful. It became so strong that the sound of the rain almost drowned out Paul’s voice.
The rain let up enough for us to start loading up the trucks that we had rented. We had to make four trips to the new home in Bukaya. We brought some of the beds and whatever the children wanted to take to leave at the new home. They will take just their personal belongings to finish out the third term at the alternative site.
With each trip, we brought the children in small groups to their new home. It was an experience that “you had to be there” to see their expressions of joy when they saw the house for the first time. One group made it there with the first truck before I had arrived. When we pulled up to the house, the children came running out. I barely got out of the van when about 7 children came and all hugged me at the same time with such joy and smiles on their faces! They are so happy. They LOVE the new home. As each group of children came the reaction was the same. They love their new home. They send their greetings and their thanks to all of you back home who have made this possible by your generous giving. They have seen the hand of God in all of this. They have experienced the benefit of being “strong and courageous” even when it was difficult to hang on. They know that God has a plan and a future for them. Jeremiah 29:11 has become alive for them. Thank you all for that part that you continue to play in their lives as He uses you to accomplish His will.
We had not started moving back and forth until just before dusk. So by time the last truck came for the night with the last load of children it was already past 11 pm. Pastor Paul had remained with us through it all. I had asked him to bless the new house for us as we begin a new chapter in our lives as “Raining Hope Children’s Home. Even though the prayer was all in Luganda as we joined our hands in prayer…I understood it as a prayer of blessing not only over the structure of the home but for the ministry of Raining Hope in Uganda and stateside. It was a powerful moment and a precious way to close out this 10th trip of mine. When I arrived at the house that evening, I stood out on the upstairs balcony. As I looked out into the darkness of the night…in the distance…lightening with the sound of thunder.
We have left Egypt and are entering the Promised Land. It is good.
Here are our current prayer requests:
1) We praise our God for answered prayer. Even though there are still things that still need to be moved…God answered our prayers that we were able to get in the house before I left. I was glad to be with the children and dedicate the house before coming back to the states. Thank you.
2) Schoool. We did pay the balance of school terms that we knew we owed. However, we were loaned that money at home so we could pay it off in one place back in the states rather than owe the multiple people here in Uganda .
We discovered on the last day that we owe an additional amount of school fees that was unexpected. This is an additional amount of approximately $1,500.
3) WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP. Thanks to those who have already helped sacrificially in giving to assist the children.
a. If you would like to help you can make a tax-deductible donation of any size to help us pay off the amount loaned to us to clear all debts.
b. Contact our treasurer for Raining Hope Inc., Carol John at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
c. You can also go to our website at www.raininghope.org You can make credit card donations at that site.
4) Continue to pray for the transition. They will not all be together at the new home until December and the end of the school term. Pray for Solomon and the staff as they prepare the house during this transition.
5) Pray as we shift the name from Living Hope Children’s Home to Raining Hope Children’s Home! Solomon will be working on all the necessary paperwork and meetings.
One last thing that sends us over the top in knowing that it can only be God who orchestrated all of this…
We had asked you to pray for the solution as to how the children could finish the third term. The way schools work here in Uganda it would be very, very difficult if they could not have completed this term. The solution that we had first come to was the school where most of the children attend had offered to board all of our children until December. This is what we thought the solution would be and were praising God.
But God had another solution.
We had called Pastor Paul in to help us with a different school. Little did we know that God had more in store for us. Turns out, the director of the school that was going to board the children was asking for a pretty large amount of money to board the kids. It was going to be more than we were equipped to handle.
But we serve a God that says, “Nothing is impossible with God” and “He does not give us more than we can bear.”
The solution … Pastor Paul has graciously offered to house our children in his home until the end of the term. We will just pay for cost of food. It will be tight quarters but he will also use his garage to help facilitate this. Because God has already begun the reconciliation in August … we were able to come to this point of working together. Again… you had to have been there to experience this moment of coming back together. I am overwhelmed with how good our God is.
The power of reconciliation. Overwhelming.
I arrived in London and made my way through customs. I found my bus to the hotel. After checking in I received my keys to my room. On the key card were the words..
Holiday Inn – Now Relax.
I started at LAX with the words… Re: LAX as their slogan.
I end with this word from God…
He is taking care of our children in the Promised Land.
We have left Egypt . No turning back, no turning back. No more wandering. We have entered into His promise and His blessings.
38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. 41 I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.
I will leave London soon to head back to the states. Please keep me in your prayers as I travel. I will be back in California about noon on Saturday.
Thank you for partnering together with Raining Hope!
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11