Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Ugandan Dream Launch!

We have successfully launched “The Ugandan Dream!”  Words cannot adequately express the thanks I have in my heart for each one of you.  I am so thankful for those who made the effort to be present at the launch November 9th!  We had about 100 people present to participate in this pivotal moment for Raining Hope.

We had a glorious hour of worship, led by Ricky MacDonald and the worship band of Grace Fellowship.  After tons of wonderful desserts provided by members of Grace Fellowship, we entered into a period of hearing from the heart of Pastor Doug Spriggs & myself.  We launched the new Raining Hope website, created by Emily Goodman. The new promotional video for Raining Hope was revealed that was produced by Shannon & Brian Sutton.

One of the exciting moments involved the release of the new Raining Hope Giving Site  created by Kim Spriggs.  We launched it around 12 noon on Sunday.  Within the first hour we had donations of $6,000!  While we were in the launch, we watched as the donation climbed to $12,000!  In 24 hours we were up to $25,000!   This is happening within the first 24 hours of launch!  Praise the Lord!

At the launch, I shared words sent by Pastor Godfrey, our assistant manager at Raining Hope...

“I have seen Raining Hope help hopeless and lost children to be true followers of Christ. Most of these children came when they were infants and now they are growing adults. I was encouraged when most of them said that Raining Hope has helped them to grow in their walk with God. Their trust in God is based on the fact that God has been faithful to them and saved them by grace. These children are involved in church ministries such as music dance and drama and they love to worship God. Every time I am with them, they want to hear from God’s Word.  One thing I also believe God is doing in their lives through Raining Hope is teaching them to handle difficult times by trusting Him.  It is during these times, they put their trust in God and keep closer to him in prayer. Their love for one another is something that is amazing among them; they live as true Disciples of Christ as they express love to one another. The hope they have in God is expressed on their faces through the joy with them that comes from the very spirit of the living God. It is therefore clear to me that Raining Hope is doing the work of God. And as pastors this is exactly what God calls us to do.  And when I see where God is working, there will I get involved and join God in what he is doing. This is what makes me happy to serve with Raining Hope.  The evidence of God’s presence and transformation power in the lives of the children of Raining Hope is tremendous and I strongly believe that God is at the center of every activity.  Any wise person who wants to be blessed and be involved with God’s activity will think of joining God in what he is doing with Raining Hope.

You don’t just sit back send money and watch as other ministries do, but you are directly involved and identify with us and our culture which is the very mind of God who did not just create the world and left it to be governed by laws of nature but he is involved with us, thank you so much. No wonder you are Kisakye Eydie because through you and Raining Hope we have experienced God’s love and grace. May the omniscient and Sovereign God continue to uphold you and sustain that which he began in your life and may he hear all the prayers of the Raining Hope family In the US and around the world. As Raining Hope Uganda, we will continue to love you and draw you closer to ourselves through prayers, and faithful serve God through the opportunity he has give me to join him at Raining Hope for his glory and purpose of his vast Kingdom.  - Pastor Godfrey

Raining Hope is making a life-long investment to raise up a generation of people who                                         will be used by God to change Uganda and the world.

Thank you for joining us on our journey as we change the world together!
Forever grateful for each one of you...eydie

Friday, August 1, 2014

Raining Hope Service Project - Chapter 17 - Update #7 - July 25, 2014

Chapter 17 - Update #7 - July 25, 2014

Well, we are on the airplane headed home!  I am sorry that I wasn’t able to send this last update until I arrived home.  Let me try and update you on the past days activities!  (This update is long!) 

1) Shopping in Jinja Town - We were able to spend multiple days going into town to shop . As the team was on the lookout for souvenirs for family & friends, I took them to the shops of people I know. One stop is to see my friend, Rita. The girls all fell in love with her and her family! They are the ones that named one of their babies after me! The team loved finding new Uganda treasures to take home!

One of the disappointments was we were not able to do the boda boda rides to town. I had someone for the hotel negotiate with one of the drivers. They agreed upon a price, and I even paid them. But then as the other boda drivers came, they quickly would leave. Basically, we were given a “Ugandan” price. But when they saw we were “mzungus” they doubled the price! They even gave me back my money! I am rarely taken advantaged of any more as a “mzungu” (white person), so this was a surprise. We heard later that if we would have insisted they stick to what we agreed the original boda driver would have been bullied or beaten. Even the hotel owner Mrs. Otile, got involved because she was embarrassed it had happened. The drivers would not budge even for her! So we sacrificed the ride and the hotel van took us to town!

2) Boat ride to Raining Hope Land - One of our mornings we took a boat ride to visit the Raining Hope land! It takes about 45 minutes to get there as we wind down the Nile River and drop into Lake Victoria. We pass the famous “Source of the River Nile” where the Nile River actually begins. The interesting thing for me was how high the water has risen. Since the installation of a new dam, many of the familiar sites were now covered with water! It was a strange site indeed! 

The team loved seeing the land and all of the crops that are currently on it. It was good to see some of the trees that we had planted last year. Some of the trees have not made it because of all things...ants! But you should see the size of the Ugandan ants! It is an odd thing, but the ants will attack the trees and other vegetation! How such a small thing can do such major destruction!

3) Andrew’s House - One of the evenings after the ministry in Kakira, we were invited to the home of Andrew & Rachel. Andrew is one of our dear friends and works here at the hotel. He shared that in 2012, our team of CBU students went to his house to visit his family. His two girls, Mary and Martha were just infants. We prayed with him that God would provide the way for them to build their own home. God answered and we were invited to see the completed structure! In January 2014, he was lacking just about $265 to finish purchasing the sand and concrete for the floor. Raining Hope paid Mary & Martha’s school fees. This allow them to finish purchasing the necessary supplies for the house! They are so thankful for that day the team came and prayed for them. It was great to stand in the midst of answered prayer!

4) VBS/Teacher Training - The three days of teacher training & Vacation Bible School went really well. The teacher training was small but very productive. The team was able to work with the main children’s workers of Cornerstone Church. We left behind materials and taught them how to use them. This training was a answer to prayer for Pastor Paul. He had said, so many times groups come in and do these great Bible Schools. But when they leave, the church is faced with what to do next. This time, we wanted to leave them with tools to use so they can continue the work with the children.

Vacation Bible School was anything but small! The first day we must have had about 150 children! Each day just grew in number as they told their friends! The second day there were close to 200 and day 3 had close to 300! On Day 2 an invitation was given as part of the lesson. There were 87 children that gave their lives to Jesus Christ! The church took down all their names and will be following up with their families.

Something that we didn’t know was that many of the children who show up for Bible school are from muslim families. Pastor Paul asked for prayer as they visit with them. Coming to faith in Jesus is an issue for those children. So pray for Cornerstone Church as they reach out to these families.

5) CD is complete! The Raining Hope Children’s Choir has completed their 6 track CD! I have the master copy with me and soon you will be able to purchase it for a donation to the ministry! It is so very exciting!

6) Computers - Because of the generosity of Grace Fellowship Church in Duarte, we had enough extra money to purchase 2 computers for the ministry! This is a HUGE answer to prayer. Both of our workers have to use internet cafes to communicate with me. It has caused many a problem whether hackers get into the accounts, or just the delay in response time. We have been praying for years for this need! GRACE FELLOWSHIP did such an amazing job with raising money for their team members, that there was enough left over to meet this need. We are so grateful for the support of Pastor Doug’s church.

7) Van - Praise the Lord for the Raining Hope Van!!!! It made a tremendous difference to finally have our own van!!!! Godfrey is an EXCELLENT driver! Thanks to everyone who has given towards this need to make this possible. It made all the difference in the world for our team. Pastor Doug was even able to drive it to town a couple of times!

8) Hospital Visit - One of Pastor Paul’s children, Keren became very ill with malaria & typhoid. Because of the generous giving of donors, we were able to pay for the hospital visit and the necessary treatment for Keren. Some of us went into the hospital to pray with Keren and the family. While we were there, we met another grandmother who was there with her grandson. His mother had died giving birth to him. He is now in the care of the grandmother. He was suffering from malaria. We were able to minister and pray with her before we left.

9) Raining Hope Party! - On Saturday, we were able to spend the morning in a team debrief. This is the time we reflect on what God has taught us throughout our journey. I also spend time preparing the team to go home. We talk about reverse culture shock and how to finish well! This is always an important time for the team. We talk about how to depart from the home when we say our goodbyes. Years ago, Kristen White from California Baptist University, helped to institute a plan in departing the home well. You know that relationships have been formed and the team was having difficulty knowing that they would have to say goodbye. But we talk about how if we allow the sadness to overtake us, it doesn’t help the children at all. It also makes the trip all about us rather than Jesus. So, the plan worked perfectly! 

We first had a soda party! The only time they really get a bottle of soda is when I am visiting. So it is a real treat! But this time, we had many other special treats! We had Queen Cakes, bananas & boiled eggs! They went crazy when we told them that there were boiled eggs! They were SO THANKFUL for so little!

After the party we had supper. We were able to buy them meat for their meal. It is not often that we are able to feed them meat. Most of their meals consist of Posho & beans. Having meat is always for special occasions. This was definitely a special occasion!

We then went into a time of praise and worship! We did this each evening at the home. It is one of the favorite times for the team. We shared testimonies and just kept them in high spirits. We then give everyone about 10 minutes to say all of their goodbyes and give good hugs! It is actually a celebratory time of wishing each other well! The Raining Hope children then gather around the team and send us off in prayer. It is such an amazing experience to be standing together having all the precious voices lifting us up to the Father!

The children then go outside and form two lines directing us to the van. When we are ready, the team runs through the line, giving high-fives as the children shout, “Strong and Courageous!” It is an amazing time! Just about everyone is smiling, happy, and truly excited about the way the team departs. As we drove away with the faint voices of the children still shouting, “strong and courageous,” we sense the Lord saying to us, “Well done.”

10) Foot Washing - When we returned to the hotel that evening, we had a time that we washed one another’s feet. I had Pastor Godfrey & Pastor Gerald join us for this time of serving one another. The men washed each other’s feet and the women were able to wash each others as well. I had then ordered a cake from the hotel to finish off the evening!

11) Glory Be To God Church - But our ministry work was not yet done! On our last day, we attended Glory Be to God Church. We see many familiar faces at this church as much of the staff from our hotel attend here. They graciously allowed Pastor Doug to preach that morning! The ladies as well worked with the children’s ministry. There must have been 150 children that were a part of the morning worship. It was a good way to end our ministry work! The church just loved hearing Pastor Doug preach. The reports were all so positive! I was told that when I return,

he must come back to preach again! That is huge for this church to give their pulpit over to a visiting pastor...especially a mzungu!

We had one more lunch that was ready and waiting for us back at the hotel. It surprised us that the bill was taken care of by Mrs. Otile! When I went to pay for it, the server said, “No, it is on the house!” We are so deeply loved by our friends at Paradise Hotel!

12) Drive to the Airport - Even though we had lunch, that didn’t stop us from having chicken on a stick on the way to the airport! The team loved it so much coming in, they definitely wanted to stop on the way out!

There was traffic heading to the airport which slowed us up some. We stopped in Kampala to have a quick hello with a dear friend, Sheila Kajumba. Her son & daughter are attending school in Ventura. Sheila recently lost her husband a few months ago. We exchanged hugs and greeting before heading to Entebbe.

13) Letters - As we had about 5 hours to wait at the airport for our 1:00 am flight, we had a lot of time to finish our debrief. As we waited at the gate, I also handed out the letters that the children had written to the team! It was such a joy to watch the reaction of the team members as they read the encouraging words from the children! There were a lot of smiles and laughter to go around! It was a good way to end our journey in Uganda!

Upon arrival to LAX, we were missing one of our bags! That is the first time in many years that has happened. We figured out it was one of our extra team bags that was going to my house. Thank goodness it wasn’t one of the team members bags! Our connection in London was so short, we think a whole group of bags didn’t make the transfer. Shannon & I waited to file the claim for the missing bag as the rest of the team went out of the baggage claim area. By time Shannon & I finished, we exited to find the team with their families! Katie’s mom and dad made a sign for us to welcome us home!

As another chapter of my life in Uganda comes to a close, it is filled with many new memories and stories that can only be explained by God. This has been an awesome experience with a WONDERFUL team! We continued to keep Kim & Melanie close in prayer and contacted them throughout the journey. Continue to pray for both of them as they are still facing health challenges.

We had a relatively healthy team, until the end of the journey. Pray as I am still sick with a cough and cold. Shannon now has an eye infection that started on the way home. Kelly has also gone to the doctor to receive treatment for a respiratory infection. Doug was the only one that did not get sick! So keep on praying for our team as they are battling illness. Pray as well as the team re-enters American culture. They were very effected by the Ugandan culture. It takes time to process through the blending of both.

THANK YOU ALL for your prayers and support. Special thanks to all our family members who held down the fort while we were gone. I am so thankful for the families of our team members. You made it possible for us to go and serve knowing that you were home supporting us. You played such an important role for our team!

"So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." 2 Corinthians 5:9

mama eydie kisakye!

P.S. Ask any team member about our mascot, Trash Chicken!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chapter 17 - Update #6 - July 25, 2014

Chapter 17 - Update #6 - July 25, 2014 

I wanted you to hear directly from each team member on their thoughts of Raining Hope since they arrived.    

From Shannon: 
“When we pulled up to the Raining Hope house, I had some expectations running through my mind.  What if they are afraid of us?  What if they don’t like me?  As we entered the property, I saw children running beside the van.  And when the door was opened, we were flooded with huge smiles and loving hugs.  All of my expectations were wrong.  These children truly loved us and wholeheartedly welcomed us to their home.  I’ve never seen the kind of joy that these kids were sharing with us.  As we played and worshipping with them, I thought to myself, ‘This is truly a glimpse of heaven given to me by God.’  I have never felt so filled with love that tears just came flowing out of my eyes.  These children truly know what it is to be content in the presence of the Lord.  I am so amazed by the many things that Raining Hope is teaching these children.”  

From Katie: 
My first impression with Raining Hope was that God has given these kids a lot of talent.  Our first night with them they performed a variety of worship songs.  All of the kids were singing and dancing as one played the drums.  

Their energy and joy was first apparent as we pulled in the driveway the first night.  They swarmed the van with hugs and huge grins.  After spending 7 nights with them, I’ve been blessed to discover the depth of their relationship with Christ.  Every night we have a time of worship in which the kids share with all the rest of the home what God is doing in their lives.  Each child always ensures that God gets all the glory constantly repeating, “Praise God.”   I have been encouraged to observe that they are being trained up in wisdom and truth.  I was speaking with one of the girls and in a casual conversation she began to encourage me, “Everything I do I do for God.  If I’m dancing, I dance my best for God.  If I’m singing, I sing my best for God.  If I’m preaching, I preach my best for God.”  She even went on to inspire me, “In Philippians it says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’  She was reminding me of this as she was trying to get me to dance.  I had been telling her, “I can’t dance.”  (Side note from Eydie...I have been watching Katie dance with the children!  She is dancing with the joy of the Lord!) The kids at Raining Hope are a blessing! 

From Desiree: 
First Impression of Raining Hope:
I was not ready for the crazy welcome we received when we first arrived at Raining Hope. The children crowded around the van, hugged us all when we got out, then paraded us into the house. I have never felt that much love and acceptance from people that I had never met. These children are a TRUE gift from God. Their passion and zeal for God exudes when they dance, sing, and pray. Their worship time at the end of the day is one of the most amazing sights! They praise God with all of their hearts and bodies. Every song is lifted high to the heavens. It is something that will truly bless your heart. These children are amazing, and have taught me to worship with abandon.

From Kelly: 
The first day we went to Raining Hope, as the van drove up to the gates, I could hear the joyful shouts of the children.  They practically climbed all over each other to open the door, give us hugs and take our bags.  They greeted us - some shyly, some with great ease and confidence, and all with wide, beautiful smiles on their faces.  As our time here has gone by, I have gotten closer to some of the children, but all of them never fail to hug me goodbye or greet me joyfully.  Each time we share evening devotions, I am struck again and again by their joy - not just because we are having fun together, but because we all love Jesus and are celebrating Him together.  I have learned much about trusting God, working as unto the Lord, Christian hospitality, service, and love, and most of all that the joy of the Lord fuels all the endeavors of our lives.  I will never be the same now that I have spent time with these children, and I hold them in my heart.  Philippians 1:3-7a 

From Doug: 
There is no place on earth like Raining Hope!  The people of Raining Hope (children and staff alike) are some of the brightest and most talented people I know.  They are also deeply devoted to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  As soon as one enters the ground of Raining Hope, they know they are somewhere special.  All people (first time visitors and old friends alike) are greeted with the the same enthusiastic cheers and hugs. The days at Raining Hope are filled with love: for God and for people.  This is the real thing too: no pretense here.  These young people are so grateful for what God has done in their lives, that the praise and worship never stops.  Neither does the love. It flows from one person to another and then back around again, throughout the Raining Hope family and spills on anyone close enough to bask in the warm glow of love and praises for God!  An evening at Raining Hope is unique.  After all of the greetings and hugs, there is some time visiting, game playing and crafts. But the best part of the evening is when the music starts.  Someone begins clapping and singing and before you know it, you are caught up in the miracle of enthusiastic praise and worship of God, through celebration, song and dance unto the Lord.  These kids are seriously talented and seriously in love with Jesus.  After all, He has set them free and given them abundant life.  The kids of Raining Hope share that love and grace with everyone.  They are leaders in their schools, active in their churches, and fully devoted to God and to each other.  It is a joy to be with the people of Raining Hope.  It is a joy to support what God is doing among these kids.  In fact, that may be the best word to some up Raining Hope Children's Home: JOY!

My team is incredible.  They are sharing the love of Jesus.  They are making a difference.  God is using the children of Raining Hope to make a lasting impact in their lives.  As a parent, I couldn’t be any more proud of how these children have welcomed and loved on the team.  The children and the team are making a difference in the Kingdom!   My heart is so full of LOVE in Uganda.  I am blessed!  Mama Eydie Kisakye 

  1. PRAISE - Pastor Gerald & Pastor Godfrey are doing well now! 
  2. Teacher Training & VBS are going well!  Pray for us as we have the last session at Cornerstone today.  
  3. Some of our team have come down with colds and/or sore throats.  It is not keeping us down.  Pray for us that we are completely healed and that we finish well!  
  4. Saturday will be our final debrief with the team.  This is a significant time for us.  Pray for us as we meet for most of the morning and then late evening.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Raining Hope Service Project - Chapter 17 - Update #5 - July 23, 2014

Sorry for the delay in sending you an update.  Once the conferences began on Friday, there was not a lot of time for me to post.   Pictures are also coming!  You can check out my Facebook (Eydie M Miskel) as some of my teammates are posting their photos! 

There are no words that can adequately describe what has happened in the last 4 days.  Even as I write this, I can’t believe that I am trying to catch up on only 4 days.  With the amount of ministry that we have been privileged to be a part of, it seems like so much longer!  This update will be long but you will see why we are so busy! 

The Open Air Evangelism went very well.  For three nights we meet in the middle of the village of Kakira.  When we arrived on the first night, they had already started the worship.  The worship team from Cornerstone Church were on this small platform praising the Lord in song.  The platform was made of timber and look sturdy...until the choir started really praising Jesus in song and dance.  The whole platform moved as they moved!  I had visions of the whole thing collapsing!  But it was much stronger than it looked.  Pastor Paul said, “It has been tested and it can’t fall!”  The makeshift ladder that we all had to climb to get on top of the platform was another challenge!  But that too was easier than it looked!  

I was asked to sign music for each night, before the message and during the invitation.  Doug brought the message each evening.  The team was introduced on the first night and each shared a greeting as they were introduced.  Kelly, Shannon & Katie each took a turn on one of the evenings to share their personal testimonies.  You would be so proud of all of them!  If we would have had one more night, Desiree would have also shared!   But standing on a platform in the middle of a village is truly a challenge.  You have some that are paying attention to the Word that is being proclaimed.  Then you have others many others that glance but continue on their way.  There were many children who came and crowded in front of the platform.  Even though many of the young children may not have known English, their smiles they gave went way beyond any language barriers!  And we must not forget the chickens and the cows that are passing continually around us!  

Each evening there were people who came forward and prayed to received Jesus as their Savior!  One of the most touching moments came on the last evening.  Pastor Gerald was praying with one of the individuals that came forward.  He later shared that the man did not speak English or Luganda.  Yet, the Lord opened up the communication barrier for him to understand that he needed Jesus.  Pastor Gerald speaks Swahili which ended up being the language that this man spoke.  So Pastor Gerald was able to pray with him to accept Jesus as his Savior!  We stood in amazement!  

Sunday Worship at Cornerstone Church
We loved worshipping at Cornerstone on Sunday morning!  There were two services beginning at 7 am and concluding at 1 pm.  We did not have to arrive until 9 am. Pastor Doug brought the message in both services.  The team brought greetings.  I signed a song for each one of the services.  The team loves the way the Ugandans worship and praise the Lord!  

Raining Hope Children’s Choir Gala 
After the church service on Sunday, we stopped at the hotel long enough to pick up a snack and then head to Bukaya.  This is the village where our Raining Hope home is at.  Annet from our home had put together a Music Gala that was all focused on Raining Hope!  One of the local churches hosted the event.  Because we had to return to Kakira for the last evening of the evangelism conference, we only had a couple of hours to stay.  Knowing that we had a commitment to get to, they adjusted for us by having the children perform all of their songs early.  All I can say is, “WOW!”  They were SO AMAZING!  They sang all of their songs that are on our new CD.  Seeing them sing and dance, my heart was overflowing with pride as a parent.  We were blown away.  Then Annet joined the children and sang a couple of her songs that she has recorded.  She is the one that has written all of the songs on the CD and choreographs the dance.  We are extremely blessed to have her with us.  

The whole event started with a downpour of rain!  We had to run from the van to the church because it was coming down in buckets!  I LOVED IT!  I even came back outside to just get poured all over!  

Pastor’s & Women’s Conference
Both days of the Pastor’s and Women’s conference went very well.  The plan had been for the women to be up on the top floor of the church.  The men were going to be down in the bottom part of the church.  But that morning as well, it poured rain!  So the bottom area became flooded.  So we divided up the top floor area.  Amazingly it worked!  
I was so blessed by the response of the women who were in attendance.  They truly have a desire to learn.  The team was incredible!  I asked them to dramatize the scripture so the women could see it come alive.  One scripture we used was Genesis 26:12-25 about Isaac and the conflict over water rights.  The team was awesome in portraying Isaac and the servants who were digging wells.  I know we captured it on video!  We also talked about how Abraham’s faith was tested in Genesis 22 by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Now that drama was worth you all seeing!  The “foam knife” that Kelly had made looked so real.  I think that the children that were watching through the windows from outside must have been wondering, “what in the world is that muzungu doing?”  Ha ha!  Kelly even provided the ram in the thicket!  She had a little lamb stuffed animal that miraculously came forth at the right time!  I have a brilliant team! 

We also focus on the fact the we have one purpose and that is to be pleasing to God.  The ladies were all responding that that truth.  The focus of the second day was 2 Corinthians 5:9 “So whether we are here in this body or away from this body our goal is to please him.”   I had our team each share one of the devotions from our 40 Days with Jesus that meant the most so far to them.  There were tears & joy shared in this time.  I have been so proud of my team.  They have been stretched with how much they have had to speak in front of groups.  I am watching all of them confidently share the more they are being put on the spot.  As a “mom” I couldn’t be prouder of them.   

We also focused on one of my stronger areas...that of encouragement.  I am known for slipping notes under the door of the team members each day of the journey.  My involvement this past year with CBU and the ISP program, has been that of encourager.    So I focused on that with the women and how they can be encouragers of those around them.  I quickly found out at the end of the 2nd day, they are not used to doing that kind of encouragement.  So it blessed my heart when I watched them catch on and love writing notes to others before we left!  They even came up to get more cards so they could write more!  

We were blessed by an organization here based in Kampala that provided us with some tools for pastors.  A friend at CBU gave me the information and we were able to bless the pastors with this material!  

Devotion time with the Staff of Paradise 
Three days a week, the staff at our hotel begin the day with a time of prayer and devotion.  This is one of my favorite things to do when I am at Paradise Hotel.  This hotel honors the Lord in their business.  It is a blessing to be able to be a part of this time in the morning.  We had Pastor Doug bring the devotion that morning.  The staff were all very touched by the message.  Pray for the team as we will lead the devotions today(Wednesday) and on Friday.  

One of the moments that blessed me came after the devotion on Friday.  One of the workers that is fairly new came up to me and said, “I have been watching you and I like the way you follow God.  How do I do that?”  This woman touched my heart.  I met with her later and she is a born again believer.  But she doesn’t have a lot of people around her who can help her in her grow in her faith.  Her roommate is not a believer.  She just needed direction & encouragement.  I had an extra copy of “Jesus Calling” so I gave it to her.  After we prayed, she held the book to her heart and said, “I am going to take care of this & treasure it.”  She challenged me and touched my heart when she in turned prayed for me.  She is a very strong believer, just wanting someone to walk alongside her.  

So as you can see, we have been very busy.  We come home at night so exhausted that we are falling into bed!  But we finish off each day with the children of Raining Hope.  We get a second wind by time we get to the house!  They are filled with so much joy that it is so contagious.  The team is working on their updates so you can hear from them about Raining Hope.  Each day just gets better and better!  Just when you think it is not possible, the kids just blow them away with their love and devotion to the Lord! 

In between all of the ministry, we have had moments of rest and recharging.  Next update I will talk about our shopping adventures as well as our boat ride to the Raining Hope land! 

Oh...and this team has been one that can’t stop laughing!  The joy of the Lord is our strength!!! 

More tomorrow! 
mama eydie kisakye ! 

  1. Pray for Pastor Gerald.  He had been ill and there was a concern it had something to do with his kidneys.  We sent him to the doctor and they could not find anything wrong after performing some scans.  He is now on pain meds.  We pray that it would bring relief to the pain. 
  2. Pray for Pastor Godfrey.  He has been working so hard as our interpreter.  He had a huge job in interpreting for Pastor Doug.  He has come down with a cold so keep him in your prayers.  His wife, Irene is also very sick.  He left us yesterday to go back home (about 30 minutes) to take care of her.   We will update you on her condition.  
  3. My team has been incredibly healthy!  Praise the Lord!   No stomach issues or any other illnesses.  But some of the team is starting to get the scratchy throats, including me.   Pray for continued good health as we finish strong this week.  
  4. The girls begin teacher training and Vacation Bible School today.  Pray for them as they lead! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chapter 17 - Update #4 - July 19, 2014

On Thursday night, we were able to go to visit the children at Raining Hope Children’s Home!  In one of the next update you will hear from the team members with their own words what that first day was like.  When we drove up, all the children came running to the gate!  On the other side of the gate before it was even opened, I could hear squeals of delight!  They all began to chant, “Strong and Courageous!” which is one of our life verses for Raining Hope (Joshua 1:9).  As the gate opened, all we could see was smiling faces and children jumping up and down for joy!   They ran along with the van until we parked.  Many of them were holding onto my hand before I even got out of the van!  As the doors of the van opened, the children not only swarmed around me with hugs...but they went to all of the team members and graciously welcomed them with hugs and smiles!  One of our team members said they have never been so welcomed anywhere in their life!  

We went inside and had a sweet time of introductions!  The children of Raining Hope blessed the team by singing songs of welcome to the visitors. They had about 5 songs prepared that were all about welcoming them to Raining Hope.  I sat in tears for how the children genuinely loved on the team.  They sang and danced their ways into our hearts.  

We had a “strong and courageous” competition!  Whenever I say, “And we are going to be...”  the response of the children is always a loud and strong, “Strong & Courageous!”  LOUD!   I then turned to the team of 5 and said, “Do you think you can be louder than them?”  We gave them a chance...and they did well but just couldn’t match the voices of the children!   

The children also know how to recite Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you.  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 hope and a future.”  But they recite it in voice and sign language.  One of our young students, Henry is the one who now leads them in this!  It just brings joy to my soul to watch them live out this verse.  They truly believe that the Lord has plans to give them a hope and a future.  

The majority of the time that evening I just had the children spend time with the team.  It filled my heart to overflowing to watch the initial moments of the children just embracing the team.  One of moments that will be etched in my heart was when the some of the older boys immediately went over to Pastor Doug.  I normally lead teams of all women.  So to see the boys just connect with Pastor Doug was beyond words.  He is spending some amazing time getting to know them and speak truth into their lives.  Now that some of our boys are so much older, they are in need of male mentorship.  Doug later shared with the team some of the conversations he had with them and it showed me a glimpse of why he was here on this team.  

When it came time to go, the children all escorted us back to the van.  As we drove away they again sent us off with a round of “Strong & Courageous!”  With those words resonating in our minds we completed the day filled with hope & encouragement.  The team felt extremely loved by children they had just met. 

When the team debriefed the day, I wish you could have been a fly on the wall to hear about what they had just experienced at the home and how it effected them.  By time it got to me, all I could say was , “You know, as a parent, whenever someone compliments me on how wonderful Kiana is, it just fills my heart with such joy & parental pride.  That is what I felt tonight.  All of my children at Raining Hope just loved on you all so much.  I am so proud of how they are growing up to reflect the love of Jesus.” 

As a mum, my children at Raining Hope made me proud that evening.  My team felt deeply loved as did I.  

More soon! 
mama eydie kisakye! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chapter 17 - Update #3 - July 17, 2014

Chapter 17 - Update #3 -July 17, 2014
What an amazing morning to wake up in Uganda!  The guest house that we stayed at in Entebbe provided an amazing breakfast for us.  The team was slightly puzzled with the milk that was on the table for the cereal.  It was hot!  Brave team members ventured out and discovered it became more like oatmeal.  Doug had a few challenges with the pitcher the milk came in!  After realizing that it wasn’t working too well he opted out of having any cereal at all!  

Pastor Gerald & Pastor Godfrey arrived to take us to Jinja.  They came with two vehicles, one being our newly acquired van!  Pastor Godfrey successfully passed his permit testing and is now our licensed driver!  This is an answer to many years of prayer for Raining Hope!  

I am glad that we waited until the next day to make the drive to Jinja.  Watching the team members experiencing the sights and sounds of Uganda was priceless.  Their eyes were wide open and their hearts were full of joy.  Whether we saw sights such as Lake Victoria or the acres of lush green tea plants or sugar canes, or boda bodas loaded down with items that just seem too large to be place on the back of the bike, they all just soaked it all in.  

We made a stop in Kampala to pick up some pastor materials to use in the upcoming conference.  This gave the team an up close and personal experience with Kampala’s & bodas jockeying for position!  

The team was officially welcomed to Uganda by the traditional stop for “chicken on a stick!”  As we drive up to the familiar roadside vendors, the sellers swarm the van trying to be the one we buy from.  We have stopped here at just about every one of my 17 trips.  I have been taught to go directly to the grills to get the chicken and the roasted bananas fresh.  The consensus of the team was...DELICIOUS!  This was their initiation into Ugandan culture! 

But arriving in Jinja, crossing the Nile River and turning down the familiar road to the hotel always makes my heart leap!   As we arrived at our hotel, I began to see all the familiar faces of friends and my Hotel Paradise family.  It is like one big family reunion for me.  As always, they welcome the team with open arms.  The team members have been blown away at the graciousness and friendliness of everyone they meet.  

I gave the team a couple of hours to unpack and settle in before supper.  When we went down to the restaurant and conference center at the end of the property facing the Nile, it had made even more changes since my trip in January.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Pastor Doug was blown away.  The last time he was here that building was not even there.  

The team is loving the food here.  They are pleasantly surprised at how good the food tastes!  The hotel has also stepped up their menus by hiring a new chef.  If there were any doubts about what kind of food the team would eat here in Africa, those concerns are all gone!  

After a good night’s sleep, the team was ready for their first full day in Jinja!  Yesterday (Thursday) was an extremely good day!   We had an amazing team breakfast and devotion time.  The setting couldn’t be any more perfect.  The backdrop is the Nile River.  The weather the past 2 days has been perfect!  It has been cooler, overcast and raining a little here and there.  Humidity is very low.  I think this has been some of the best weather I have ever had in all my 7 years of travel here.  

One of our first big adventures was taking the team into the local outdoor market to buy food for the home and for our meals.  The average salary for a Ugandan is $270 per year.  Most of the people in this market live on approximately a dollar a day.  This was a great cultural experience for the team.  As Pastor Gerald, Godfrey and myself bought food from various venders, the team soaked up the experience.  

A miraculous moment came for me as we were buying some vegetables.  I heard Pastor Doug say to someone, “No thank you.  I don’t need any.”  As I turned around, all I could see were plastic dust pans.  As I looked at the young boy who was selling the pans, to my amazement, it was my friend who I have talked about in previous years.  He is a young boy who lives on the street.  We helped get him into safe shelter for about 3 months.  The cost...about $25 for 3 months.  I have also bought bread & juice for him so he would have some food.  He works by selling these plastic dust pans.  When I was here in January, I could not find him.  Turns out that he cannot be in the Main Street area because he gets chased off.  The fact that we found each other at that precise moment in the middle of this huge Jinja Market can only be explained by God.  Pastor Doug and I were able to talk with him.  We helped him to get back into safe shelter for another 3 months.  

The afternoon back at the hotel we had lunch with the team and Pastor Paul!  He brought his daughter, Shiphera who is now about 4 years old.  Adorable and so sweet!  Another pastor, Samuel was with Pastor Paul so they all joined us for a meal.  We were able to get a good idea about the ministry activities that are coming up in the next few days.  

Last night was the highlight of the day.  We were able to go to Raining Hope Children’s Home!  I am going to reserve the update on that visit to the next posting.  It literally deserves to have it’s own update.  It was overwhelming amazing.  

I am on my way to meet the team for breakfast and staff devotions with the hotel.  I will post pictures to the blog later on tonight.  

Thank you for praying.  It is making a huge impact on what the Lord has us here for. 
mama eydie kisakye

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RHSP - Chapter 17 - Update #2 - July 15, 2014

We have safely arrived in Uganda!!  We did not have any internet service until we arrive here at our hotel in Jinja this afternoon.   But we have all arrived safe and sound!

Thank you for your prayers for our meeting at LAX!  Each one of our team members arrived early!   The Lord made the way clear of traffic for all of us!   When Heather & I parked the car, Kiana & her boyfriend, Taylor pulled up right behind us!  Considering they had come from another area, it was amazing that we arrived at the same time & found each other in the LAX parking lot!   Thanks as well to David, Brian & Thomas who also came to send off their family members!  Special thanks to Melanie & her mom, Laura who made the long journey to LAX to help with our luggage.  Melanie came, leg brace and all to send us off.  It was difficult for us all having to say goodbye at the airport.  But we know in the Lord’s timing, Melanie will be able to travel to Uganda.

The Lord made the way clear for us with the baggage as well.  Because we had to meet at the airport, we needed to divide up all of the team/supply bags that carry all of the materials needed for ministry.  We had 15 bags total that we were dividing up.  When we were finally ready to check-in, we were ready to brave the LONG line.  As I went first to get a place in line, I noticed a sign that said, “Baggage Drop - Online Check-in!”  Because I had checked the whole team in on-line, I was able to go into that line that only has a few people!  Praise the Lord!  The whole team followed and we were able to quickly make it through the check-in process.  We noticed that soon after that, the line behind us began to grow just as long as the other one!

We were able to have a great team time at LAX as we waited for our flight.  All went well on both flights.  Our connection in London was the shortest time I have ever spent in the London airport!  It gave the girls just enough time to pick up a couple of souvenirs!

Normally when I arrive at Entebbe Airport, I always love the view outside the window of the approaching green fields & familiar homeland of Uganda.  This time it was very different because we arrived around 11 pm!  But even though I couldn’t see the familiar sights, but heart was still filled with emotion.  I was sitting next to Kelly, who has wanted to come to Uganda since she was a little girl.  There were two other times in her life that she was suppose to come to Africa, but events in her life kept her from coming.  It dawned on me as we were landing that Kelly’s dream was becoming a reality.  What a privilege that the Lord chose this trip with Raining Hope for Kelly to finally make it to Africa.  A wave of emotion came over both of us.  As the plane touched down on Ugandan soil, the smiles on the team’s faces told the whole story!  We had arrived!

Customs went well as we also were well prepared.  Having taken care of our visas before we arrived made that process very quick.  We also retrieved all 15 of our bags!  The most welcomed sight was when we exited the terminal, there was Pastor Doug waiting for us!   Finally!  The team is now all together!

Because we arrived around 11 pm, we decided to stay in Entebbe overnight.  Our friends at the hotel we stay in Jinja, arranged for us to stay at a local guest house.  The manager from that house picked us and all of our luggage up at the airport.  It was only a few minutes away from the airport.  It was absolutely perfect!  It helped the team to not have to travel so far in order after having just spent the last 20 hours getting there!
It gave the team members a place to lay their heads for the evening.  Our journey has begun!

I will write another update about our first day in Jinja!  But because I was not able to get onto the internet until today, I wanted to make sure that our friends and family know we have arrived safely!

The team members are loving Uganda!!!  You will hear more from them in upcoming updates!

mama eydie!

Chapter 17 - Update #1 - July 13, 2014

If you are new to receiving my updates, I am on my 17th trip to Uganda in close to 7 years.  I have entitled each set of updates according to the number of the trip.  Amazing that I am on Chapter 17 in my story of my life in Uganda!  

Here is a copy of our itinerary so you can pray for us as we travel: 
Flight Itinerary:
British Airlines Flight BA 282
Depart        Arrive
LAX to London July 14       July 15        
10:15 hours 3:45 pm     10:00 am

British Airlines Flight BA 63
London to Entebbe    July 15       July 15 
8:20 hours            12:30 pm   10:50 pm   
I will return to the USA on: 
Monday, July 28th

British Airlines Flight BA 283
Depart        Arrive
Entebbe to London July 28       July 28      
8:45 hours 1:10 am     7:55 am

British Airlines Flight BA 62
London to LAX  July 28       July 28 
11:05 hours 9:40 am     12:45 pm 

Please be in prayer for my team members.  
From Duarte: 
Doug Spriggs, Kelly Marley, Katie Baldwin & Kim Spriggs
From Bakersfield:  Shannon Sutton & Desiree Vigo
From San Juan Capistrano:  Melanie Zanotti 

We have had a challenging time in preparation for this journey.  Kim Spriggs and Melanie Zanotti are team members that will play a different role.  They both went through the entire training, then discovered that they would not be able to travel to Uganda with us on Monday.  

Kim was diagnosed with something called "Pseudotumor Cerebri", which is basically a serious buildup of spinal fluid on the brain.  It is a very serious condition and would have likely blinded her (from pressure on the optic nerve) or worse, if it had gone untreated.  The draining of the spinal fluid removed the overwhelming pressure in her brain.  The doctor would not clear her for travel concerned the cabin pressure on the plane would have done serious damage. She is continuing doctor care so she would appreciate your prayers.  She just had another spinal tap and has more doctors appointments this week to determine the next steps. 

Melanie Zanotti also was injured a couple of weeks ago playing competitive volleyball.  An MRI has determined that she has a torn ACL & needs surgery.  Her doctor as well will not clear her for travel.  So at the last minute this week she had to cancel her trip.  Melanie is also the younger sister of Kristina Mancilla (Osbourne) who traveled with us to Uganda on my second ISP trip.  

Doug Spriggs, Pastor of Grace Fellowship is traveling with us on this journey.  He actually left before us to travel to Spain & Zimbabwe to lead in another conference.  He had been excited about serving in Uganda with his daughter.  This is the word of encouragement that he gave to our team: 

“Ladies, none of this is a surprise to the Lord.  He has known about these setbacks for Mel and Kim since before the foundation of the world.  He has a plan to use all of these obstacles for His glory!  Our job is to press into Him and make sure we allow Him to be our strength and our Guide!  I trust that God will work through this situation for His glory.  That doesn't just mean for those of us who are going, but also for those who may have to stay behind.

We are probably all familiar with Romans 8:28, where we are told that God causes all things to work together for good to those of us whom He has called.  What we sometimes miss is the context of that passage.  That section of Romans 8 is all about God's eternal plan for our lives.  And verse 29 tells us that the "good" He is working these things together for, is that we might be conformed to the image of Christ.  So, as we face these trials (especially Mel & Kim), I want to remind us all that God's ultimate plan for these challenges is to help us become more like Jesus.  So that is my prayer for you all - that you will not miss this opportunity (nor the many more opportunities to come) to be conformed to the image of Jesus.  Remember, it is all about Him.”

So as our journey begins, we will have 2 very special team members on the ground here at home.  They will be facilitating our 24 hour prayer chain as one of the responsibilities they will carry.  I am sure they will have other tasks that only they can do from here.  

If you want to sign up for an hour slot of prayer for our prayer chain, please email me back at with your preferred time.  We are in need of many more volunteers to support us in prayer.  

We also are still in need of funds for the journey.  We have enough to cover the initial portion of the trip.  But we still desire to have funds for ministry opportunities while in country.   If you would still like to give towards our journey and the children of Raining Hope, please contact Carol John at 805-377-7387.  You can make donations on our website at  Carol has moved to Maryland so checks will not be received in time if you send them to our office.  

Since we are all coming from different parts of Southern California, we will meet at LAX at 12 noon tomorrow (July 14th).  Pray for all of our team members that we will arrive safely and on time.  Southern California traffic is something that we need to pray is kind to us tomorrow.  Melanie will be joining us at the airport to send us off.  Kim has a doctors appointment tomorrow so please keep her in your prayers.   Pray as well for Doug who is meeting us in Entebbe on July 15th.  His connecting flight from London to Johannesburg was cancelled last week.  He was delayed in arriving to his conference. So pray that all his connecting flights will be on schedule!  

Special thanks to Grace Fellowship in Duarte for all they have done to be supportive of their team members and this trip.  They provided the space for all of our meetings.  Thanks to Kristy Spriggs who helped arrange all of our luncheons.  Pastor Doug has been a huge support for the team and to me on this journey.  I look forward to serving alongside him as well as the rest of my fantastic team!!! 

Last trip I found this verse on a tray at LAX,  “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.  - Walt Disney”  Goes along with one of my favorite verses, “For nothing is impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37

Thank you for going on this journey with us.  Your prayers are always heartfelt and needed.  As always, lots to be accomplished, but one of my main purposes is that of a mom going to see our “kids.”  

mum eydie kisakye!