Monday, January 3, 2011

Raining Hope Chapter 11 update #4

Raining Hope Incorporated
Chapter 11 – Update #4
January 3, 2011!

We had a great New Year’s weekend! Solomon & Godfrey came around 3 pm for a late lunch. We had lunch in the garden with a full New Year’s buffet! It was very nice. For those of you who have come to Uganda, you know it can take up to an hour to receive your food after ordering. The buffet was nice because we were able to choose what we wanted and not wait so long. The nice thing was they charge according to how much you take instead of one flat fee! Those that know me know that buffets don’t normally work well because they charge so much more than I eat! Best thing…the buffet came with cake! So I already have had my “come back cake” on my first full day here!
When we were driving from the airport to Jinja, I saw a restaurant sign that said, “Slow Food!” Even Solomon didn’t know what that meant. It is the opposite of American “Fast Food!” We have decided that “Slow Food” is what the food is here if we order off the menu! Really!
We went to the children’s home right after our meal. It was so exciting to drive up to the home for the first time since we moved in. The children were all smiles! They opened the gate and were jumping up and down! I opened the car door and they all tried to hug me at the same time! I looked at our new front entrance and there was a sign that said, “Welcome Aunt Eydie!” It is difficult to fully explain the range of emotions I felt at that moment. It was so good to walk through the house and see the beds set up in each room. Last time I was here was our move-in day. We had beds piled everywhere, mattresses and clothes piled high in the hall. The house seems even bigger than I remember! I had wondered how we were going to fit 38 children in the home. Now there seems to be extra space! We serve a God that multiplies! The house is filled with the sound of laughter and a spirit of peace and joy. The children are so happy!
They have constructed an outdoor kitchen where they do all of the cooking. Instead of having the outdoor eating area, they now eat in the dining room! Devotion time is also inside the house now in the living room! Right now the children are all slowly returning from visiting their families for the holidays. By time I leave on Saturday more of our children should be here.
Devotion time is normally from 7-8 pm. Back in California that would be 8-9 am of the same day. If you would like to pray with us during that hour, you would be joining in on our time of worship & study! Solomon’s good friend, Lewis is currently helping out in the home. Lewis and Solomon were both part of Good Shepherd’s Fold. I have met many of Solomon’s friends who have been a part of this ministry. They believe that since they have been given a chance in life, they now want to help more children to give them hope. Lewis and I are both leading in the devotion time. Fred is leading in the worship. I just wish you could all be here to worship with us!
My first Sunday of 2011, I spent worshipping at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Kakira! It was like coming home to be able to attend services there once again! The power of reconciliation is overwhelming! There is a moving of the Holy Spirit in this place. We attended the second service. Pastor Paul’s message was a great one for the New Year. The encouragement was to let Jesus direct you this year. Pastor Paul said, “This time around ask God for help. Last time you did it alone without asking God for help. This time around, ask God to help give you direction, supply your needs, give assistance & protection & listen to His correction. God will reward His servants to those who are faithful.” No matter what difficulties may come our way, the encouragement was God uses them to shape us into who He wants us to be.
Pastor Paul gave me the opportunity to share a word of encouragement with the people. He wanted me to sign a song as well. The sound system was not there so I had to depend on my portable ipod speakers. I used the song “God is Good” that Denise had given us last year at the home. We had everyone clapping and signing along with me! Another moment I wish you could have been here to see the whole church signing and singing!
Last year they started a new tradition. Instead of giving gifts at Christmas, they use the first Sunday of the New Year to give gifts to one another. At the end of service they have a time to exchange gifts. Pastor Paul told me that it is so important to appreciate one another. It doesn’t have to be much, but just something given from the heart. He said that sometimes, something so little can mean a great deal to another person. Because he had told me ahead of time, I was able to participate in this tradition!
The time at the home that afternoon was so relaxing. It was so relaxing that for the first time, I actually dozed off in the living room while the children were writing letters to friends back at home! It says a lot about the overwhelming sense of peace that exists in the home!
The children have started their letters for me to carry back home. They would ask me how to spell some of your names and I would write it down on a piece of paper. They name past team members, sponsors, etc. What was funny was there were a couple of the neighbor children with us. One sweet little girl is named Doreen. She is probably about 6 years old. She wanted to write a letter and I thought, “hmmm…she doesn’t know any of these people.” The first name she said was, “Aunt Eydie.” I thought, “ok, how sweet that she wants to write me.” But the second name was, “April.” We have April Dominguez who came with the CBU team last year. I figured she heard one of the other children say April’s name. I gave her a piece of paper and off she went to write April a letter. BUT, then later she came back to get more paper. The person in front of her said, April. So when I asked Doreen who she wanted to write to she said, “May!” The children all started laughing! Annette was sitting next to me and couldn’t stop laughing!
The twist to the story is you probably are thinking the same thing I did. I thought, how funny that she was thinking the months of the year! I laughed as well until I told Solomon the story. He said, “You know why that is so funny?” Apparently, about a month ago, Solomon was given two precious dogs from his friends at Good Shepherd’s Fold. The names of the dogs… “April” and “May!” So…little Doreen was writing to the two dogs…April and May! Sorry April Dominguez! Ha ha ha!
The children are very happy! The children are safe. The children thank you for your support and your prayers. They love you all and send their greetings.
My first weekend of 2011 has been a blessing! Thanks to my family and friends in the United States who are so supportive of my travel at this time of year. The people of Uganda wanted me to tell you thanks for sharing me with them for the holidays. They realize that being with them means I am not with my family back home. Pastor Paul emphasized with the congregation on New Year’s Eve what a sacrifice it must be for my family and I. They wanted to express their deepest thanks from their hearts.
Prayer Requests:
1) Five days is a very short time to accomplish all we need. Please pray that we prioritize our days and are wise in how we use them.
2) Solomon & I will be meeting with schools and looking at the needed funds for school fees. Pray for a smooth transition and for the needed funds. The first term is always more expensive as we need to buy new uniforms, supplies, etc.
3) Pray for the situation at the home for a new manager. This is an area of great discernment and creativity. The home is functioning so well with a great spirit of unity. Pray that what decisions we make will be God’s BEST. God has already revealed much in the past 2 days. Pray I continue to seek Him in this decision.
4) Pray for blessings upon Pastor Paul and his family. He is allowing us to use his car this week instead of us having to rent the van. As I hear stories about how full his house was when he housed our children, it continues to show me how much he came to our aid in a time of need.
5) Pray for Cornerstone Church as they have received some funds to begin their building project again on the church. They are so excited about moving forward as a congregation. God is honoring the spirit of reconciliation that we experienced last year. My heart is filled with joy.
Happy New Year to my friends and family back home! God is good, all the time!

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