Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chapter 19 - Update #10 - April 30, 2015

I still have one more day to update you on.  But before I was able to start writing that update, I received an email from Godfrey.  All is well...just wanted to include you in on a time of prayer and fasting.  

This is what Godfrey said, “We are doing well and are in prayer and fasting for three days.  We are thanking God, humbling ourselves before Him and creating time with Him.  We are dedicating the new house and our lives before God and it will all be for His glory.  We are also praying for good health since we have been experiencing health challenges.  At the same time, we thank God that we are getting better.  Everyone is experiencing renewed spiritual vigor. “  

I was filled with such joy when I received this news this morning.  I wanted to send this out so you can join us in prayer.  They are 10 hour ahead of us so it is already Thursday afternoon for them.  But I wanted to give you the opportunity to lift up a prayer alongside our children as they seek the Lord these next couple of days.  

An update on those who you can pray for specifically: 
Annet - has a problem with her backbone but is receiving treatment
Florence - she has had medical problems and they didn’t know what was wrong.  But doctors finally discovered it was her spleen and it was miraculously healed.  But now she apparently has problems with her gall bladder (stones) which had caused an infection and resulted in lower abdomen pain and fever.  She is fine now with completion of medication. 
Vivian & Maria - treatment for typhoid
Tabitha and young Joan are well now after their typhoid treatment
Jireh is well after receiving malaria treatment 

Continue to pray for healing and for protection of all of the children from further illness. 

In Update #9 I talked about the issue with typhoid.  I asked more questions with Godfrey to see what can be done with the growing problem in the country with water pollution & poor sanitation.  The new house that we are living in is the best house we have occupied.  It seems like poor sanitation is not an issue in this house.  So we are looking at all possible causes.  

As far as drinking water, they buy “water guard tablets” to put in the jerrican of water.  If they have no tablets then they boil the water.   The water does come from the National Water Pipeline that is treated but they also advise people to boil their water. 

The option we are looking at is buying a “water cooler” that will give the children safe drinking water.   It will cost us about $125 to purchase the cooler.  I don’t know what the water will cost us on a monthly basis yet but it is the best option to give them good, safe drinking water.  

The main cause of typhoid in the house has more to do with the toilets in the house.  The outside pit latrines will actually reduced the problem.  While I was there we were able to start the process.  Continue to pray that all necessary funds will come in so we can complete this soon & cut down the spread of the disease.  

These are just a few things to focus on in prayer when you remember the children the next two days.  They are still filled with so much joy and thanksgiving for all that God is doing in their lives!  

Please feel free to email me back if you have any specific questions.  If you have any financial questions about making donations, you can contact Carol John at 805-377-7387.  

Thank you for praying for our precious children at Raining Hope! 
Love you, 
mama eydie kisakye! 

Chapter 19 - Update #9 - April 24, 2015

I made it back safely from Kentucky late Sunday afternoon!  It felt so good to come home and not only unpack but put the luggage away for awhile!   I have spent the last two days in basic isolation at home!   I have had a lot of work to catch up on....just doing it quietly at home!  

I have a couple of more days to catch you up on!  I left you with Saturday night coming home at midnight from the home!  Not only did I get back after midnight, Godfrey got back even later.  

While I was there, a couple of our children became ill.  I discovered something on this trip that is making a HUGE difference with Godfrey managing.  As soon as any of our children show any signs of sickness, he is immediately taking the children to the clinic or hospital for treatment.  Apparently, it is common not only for our previous managers but in general that they would wait until they were really sick before taking them.  The biggest testimony to this is from one of our students, Vivian.  I may have mentioned her in a previous update.  Every time that I have come to Uganda, EVERY TIME, Vivian has been very ill.  I was beginning to wonder if she was more seriously ill.  This was the FiRST time that I have come that she was healthy and looking GREAT!  She even commented on how healthy she was now!  She was glowing with strength!  Turns out, some managers were telling her to wait until she was really sick before taking her to the doctor.  You know in America how that is...we convince ourselves we don’t need to go to the doctor and that it will get better on its own.  Right?   We finally go when it just doesn’t get better.  That is what was happening.  But when you are dealing with malaria and typhoid, it doesn’t go away or get better without treatment.  I am SO THANKFUL for Godfrey because at the first signs of fever and illness, he takes them to get treatment.  It is very clear when someone has malaria or typhoid.   I watched his little Jireh who is full of life basically stop having no energy at all.  It is like the Energizer Bunny that runs out of battery power and just stops!  When he took me home, he brought Jireh, his wife Irene, & Joan & Sylvia as additional escorts with us.  They dropped me off at midnight then all proceeded to the hospital to get Jireh treatment.  He did this 3 nights in a row.  The first night was with little Joanne who became ill.  Godfrey always takes at least two of the other older students with him to escort and learn how to deal with the hospital.  Jireh needed treatment two nights in a row.  Both had come down with typhoid.  Since I have come home, Godfrey has written and asked for prayer.  Right now we have five of our children going through treatment for typhoid.    This disease is not something that we have dealt with on a regular basis.  He said it is because of the increasing water pollution that has increased in their country and poor sanitation.  He said that sometimes sewage water joins the uncontaminated water and this leads to disease. He is doing everything possible to ensure good sanitary measures & toilet habits.  The pit latrine that we are building is important in this process.  We are also trying to budget in getting clean drinking water in the house.  Godfrey talked to me about installing the equivalent of a “water cooler” that could contain clean water for the children.  We are looking into the costs of this.  Godfrey is on top of it and is the one making the difference in the care of our children!  

He didn’t get all of them back to the house until about 2 am.  What was actually pretty funny was Sunday morning, we all seemed to be worn out from celebrating until midnight!  I woke up extremely late for me at 7:45 am!  I am normally up at 5 am having quiet time.  Godfrey was going to pick me up at 9:45 am for church.  Turns out, Godfrey said that all our children woke up late too!  He had to actually go in rooms to wake everyone!  Guess we celebrated a little too much!!  Ha ha!  It actually is more that the children are at peace!  They are so happy and content that the extra sleep was something that pleased my heart.  They are able to now rest easy that they are in their own home!   

We did run into another issue which caused us to be late to church.  Our van only will hold half of the children.  Normally on a Sunday morning, Godfrey has to hire another van along with our van to get all of them there.  But since he had to come and pick me up, he hired one of the larger “vans” that can accommodate all of them.  He was having trouble securing that so we actually didn’t arrive to Glory Be to God Church until about 10:30 am, (Service begins at 10 am but goes until 1-1:30 pm).   But let me tell you, it was an exciting moment for me.  I arrived with Godfrey just about 5 minutes before the hired van. So I was able to greet all of the children as they walked through the gate!   This is now their home church and nothing could please me more!   The feeling of all being home in our home church was thrilling!    They were all dressed up in the clothes that we had bought the day before!  The smiles on their faces were worth a million dollars!  I will not forget that moment as it is etched in my heart.  

As soon as we arrived, it was our turn to present.  The children first presented one of their Raining Hope choir songs from the CD.  All of our children presented, not just the choir.  Even our 3 little ones, Jireh, Jael & Promise (the child of our new cook), were in the front following the older ones!  Talk about a proud moment as a mum!!!   After that, I got up and signed the song, “How He Loves.”  I shared the story that I shared in Update #4 about how God just purely LOVES US. It was becoming clear to me that this trip was characterized simply by His Love for us as His children.  The children all stood on the platform around me as I signed that song which in of itself was overwhelming.  Then we finished by signing together the song, “Giants Fall.”  I can’t even put into words what that moment was like, signing that song while the children did their choreographed movements behind me, singing at the top of their lungs the chorus!   

We had such fun the night before practicing together, that I encouraged the children to do the same on Sunday.  We talked about the fact that we are not performing for the people but we are worshipping our Lord.  I expressed not to worry about being perfect but just have fun and be pleasing to the Lord.  I had someone at the hotel the next day tell me that message came through.  That person told me that our children are different.  He said, “You can tell they are not performing.  They truly are worshipping the Lord and we can tell the difference.”  Wow!  I am again a very proud mum.  

The worship at the church was energizing & powerful!   I watched our children fully engage in the worship time.  As I walked through the congregation taking some video, I was blown away at how happy and full of joy our Raining Hope family was!   Even Joanne who had gone to the hospital the night before to be treated for typhoid was dancing and praising the Lord!!!   The message was brought by our friend Andrew from the hotel who is one of the pastors of the church.   It was powerful and encouraging and spoke right to my heart.   

The van that we hire was ready to take the children back to the house.  I met the children back at the house and we spent all afternoon together!   As I shared in Update #6, this is where I had Frank begin to help me with the video taping.  The new normal at Raining Hope is giving the students leadership roles involving them in ministry on a daily basis!  I love it!   Frank truly became my ”Producer, Camera Man!”  Frank learns quickly.  I showed him how to use the camera and what things I wanted on the video. He started becoming a “Director” and I just let him loose!  I actually stood in amazement as to how well he took on the new role!   

We had to take breaks because my camera would need to be recharged.  While we were recharging the batteries, I actually went to the “salon.”  So, our older Joan is actually going to a beauty school now.  She wants to become a journalist.  But for now is learning a trade so she can get a job to help with school.  She is learning now how to work on hair, so I gave her my head to practice on!   I wasn’t sure if my hair being short and finer than their hair would work  But she got so excited that I would offer my head that she jumped at the chance!!   Well, what I didn’t realize was that it would not only be Joan but 3 others all joined in.  All of a sudden I was in “Joan’s Beauty Queen’s Palace Salon,” and “Sylvia’s Beauty Palace,” and “Florence’s Beauty Salon” and I think there was one more!  Plus, Henry was in the back as the manager, supervising!  To have all their hands on my hair at the same time was quite a site as they braided away!  There are pictures that you may or may not see!  This all happened on our new HUGE porch area!  If you remember from my trip in January, I was excited that the house had a porch.  That has always been a dream of mine.  This porch is 3 times the size of the original house!  God is so good!!!! 

In the midst of it all, they had made lunch and always would have a tray for me in my “queen seat” that was decorated since the first day I arrived.  At one point they had a tray of delicious pineapple and jackfruit waiting for me.  

The evening turned out to the be the topping on an over the top kind of day.  During the devotion time, I started sharing.  But as I shared from a devotion, I began to talk about how much I appreciate Godfrey.  I expressed the difference in Raining Hope right now has a lot to do with having him in charge as manager but more important how much he loves them as a father.  As I asked them what kind of difference he is making, I was blown away with the response.  One by one, they all began to share from their heart what he means to them.  It was a time of verbal encouragement and extreme love.  I watched Godfrey just melt into the chair.  He was overwhelmed.  Just as he said, “Can I share something,” the children all began to cheer in delight that we had a visitor walk through the door!  Andrew had stopped by to visit us!  He was on his way home and had said he would come.  

But what happened surprised him...ALL OF THE CHILDREN got up and surrounded him with love and hugs!  They all greeted him and shouted with joy that he was there.  He told me that he was overwhelmed with the greeting and did not expect it.  I then allowed Andrew time to share greetings with the children.  

Andrew shared that he had not expected to share, but because of their overwhelming response, he was compelled to share a simple message.  He said that what he sees from these children is God’s love.  He said that they way that they all came at him just shows how much love they have to give.  It is a picture of God’s love for us.  He said that it is the power of His Word, His Holy Spirit living in each one of them that compels them to love like this.  He told them that his small children, Mary, Martha and Sean were amazed at their singing and dancing on Sunday morning at church.  They told him, “Daddy, we want to dance like those sisters of Aunty Eydie!”  Andrew confirmed the truth of Jeremiah 29:11, that God does have plans for them.  He said, “Your futures are sorted out.”  That is a Ugandan term that means their futures are planned out and secure.    It was a very encouraging time. 

Then Godfrey finished out the night by sharing from his heart.  I shared a devotion about friendship which I will share in the last update as this one is already pretty long!  But Godfrey was sharing from his heart out of all the love the children poured over him...and Andrew talking about LOVE.  

Godfrey shared a story that I had not heard before.  You see, about six year ago, I had to hold Godfrey accountable because he was not fully trusting in God.  I had a couple, Brandi & Kurt who lived at the home for 5 months.  One of the things that they discovered was that Godfrey was too focused on money.  As I tried to hold him accountable, he denied it and was very defensive about the accusation.  This led to my breaking fellowship with him.  At this point he was just coming alongside our ministry but not a staff member.   I returned 6 months later on a trip by myself.  He came to me broken in spirit.  He apologized and said that what was said about him was true.  He didn’t want to believe it himself.  He said that God brought him to the point in his life where he realized he was wrong and that he wasn’t trusting God with his life.  He asked forgiveness not because of any finances.  He said that he already had lost his mom and dad and couldn’t afford to loose a mom a second time.  That was over six years ago.  He came under my authority and desired to learn how to trust. My relationship with him was more important than any material thing.   I have watched him grow into the man of God that he is today.  At one point, when his wife became pregnant with Jireh, they didn’t know how they were going to care for her.  They were struggling with many things in their lives.  But they decided to fully trust the Lord to take care of all of their needs.  God miraculously came through for them.  This was a turning point in his life.  That is the reason their daughter was named Jireh, “God Will Provide.”  

Godfrey said that there was a time in his life that everyone turned against him.  He said that no one believed in him.  But said I continued to love him and to stood by him no matter what.  What i didn’t know was years after all of this, he ran into another man who helped him through school.  When he said to this man, “What can I do to repay you?”  The answer was this, “The way that you can repay me for the way I have loved to give that love in return to someone else.”  Godfrey said that the love he was shown in the time that I could have given up on what he desires to do for others now.  He loves these children at Raining Hope because he was loved first.  He is spending the rest of his life loving others because of the command that is given in scripture,  “We love because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19. 

I can think of no better person to be leading our ministry in Uganda than Godfrey.  He is the one we have waited for to run this ministry in Uganda as I work here in the States.  Others have told me it is impossible.  But with God, all things are possible.  

I have one more update to send.   The reason that it is taking longer is not just that my time got full while there the last weekend.   It is taking an emotional bit out of me to write each one.  I know they are long so thank you for taking the time to read.  But with each word I am relieving the week.  With each word I become more thankful to God for all He is doing.  With each word I am missing them even more.  So by the end of each update,  I just need time to process before the next one! 

Until tomorrow! 
mum eydie kisakye! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chapter 19 - Update #8 - April 24, 2015

On Saturday I was able to spend more time in the morning doing some work while Godfrey took care of other business.  It actually has been helping to divide up responsibilities so we can get more done.  Since I was there for only a short week it was a good option for us to get more things accomplished!

While Godfrey was out running errands, I was able to have another cooking lesson with our chef in the kitchen!   Godfrey returned and we feasted on the meal together!!!  Mrs. Otile joined us for the latter part of our meal! 

We went into town and visited Rita & her husband.   On my first day in town, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the news that Rita was able to occupy a small corner of a shop to set up some of her items to sell!  Last time I was there, she had lost her shop to developers.  It resulted in her having to work from her home.  Unfortunately that brought little business her way.  So I was thrilled when my other friend, Faith told me where she was.  We rejoiced together when we saw one another again!  They are hoping soon to get a little more space so they can display more of their products.  Continue to pray for her and her precious family.  

Godfrey and I were able to go back to the Central Market to buy more clothes for the children.   Going through the market is a 3 story maze!  It is basically like a swap meet.  We were specifically trying to find shirts for the boys and long skirts for the girls.  The funniest thing was after looking at various “stalls,” we walked into one area that had a sign that said, “Old Clothes.”  I stopped and looked perplexed!  I asked Godfrey about it because up until now, all the clothes I had seen seemed old or used.  Apparently, the “old clothes” section was the “used clothes” section so it was cheaper.  The “new section” still baffled me because those seemed just as used as the “old” section!  But buying the “old clothes” were less expensive so I didn’t question that!  Godfrey was looking for very specific styles.  He was looking for dress shirt styles for the boys and peasant type skirts for the girls.  For my ISP teams ... the long skirts that you leave for the girls are PERFECT for what they desire to wear.  It also made me realize just how important those clothes are to them.  They don’t have much.  They wear the clothes we bring for them until they are torn and tattered.  They were in need of new clothing.  We bought each boy 2 shirts and each girl 2 skirts.  That day we bought 28 skirts and 18 shirts and it totaled just around $135!  For 46 pieces of clothing, the skirts averaged a little over $3 and the shirts $2!   How many times can we spend $135 on one or two items for ourselves?!   I was literally shocked at how much we were able to purchase.  It also helped me because when I have to pay for an extra piece of luggage it will cost an average of $150-$170 for each piece.  There is no way that all that we bought that day would have even fit into one bag.  So buying clothes there is a good option for us and less expensive.  We can easily buy new clothes there (or old clothes!)    But the biggest blessing is always when we give them the clothes!  I did bring some clothes with me so they also received about 2 shirts each.   They cheered and praised the Lord over their new clothes!  They were proud to immediately put the clothes on and model for the camera!  The grins that are on their faces light up the room!     

Godfrey & I were able to have a great meeting with Mrs. Otile and Robert that afternoon as well.  For those that are new, Mr. & Mrs. Otile are the owners of the hotel and Robert is their son and General Manager.  It was great to spend some time with them as well.  She is such a gracious host.  She had coffee and cakes ready for us!    They have been instrumental in the house purchasing process.  I am so thankful for their love and support.  

After that meeting we headed back over to the house.  I had all the letters ready to give to the children.  What was a bonus were the bags that I put the letters in!  When I spoke at the Women’s Brunch at Fellowship in the Pass recently, they had given me some bags from Brighton that they use to actually make children’s dresses.  The ladies had given me some dresses for Godfrey’s children and extra bags for all!   The cool thing was that the front of the bags had anchors all over them.   I read a devotional from a book called “A Cup of Joy.”  The one I read was called, “An Anchor Through Change,” by “Your Promises From God Today.”  As we are in the midst of change this was a good reminder: 

“Change often makes fear into an ally.  Fear likes to remind you that you’re out of your comfort zone.  It heckles you about why things can’t stay the same.  The other voice of change is opportunity.  It gives you a chance to stop and look at where you’ve been and where you want to go.  Go to God!  He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever!” 

“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth.  And the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You will endure.  Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will have no end.”  Psam 102:25-27 

“Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth!  The Lord of hosts is with us;  The God of Jacob is our refuge.”  Psalm 46:10-11 

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.  He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 

They cheered when we talked about Jesus being our anchor.  This is our time of change.  He has been with us through all the ups and downs.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever!   The bags will be a reminder that He is our anchor through it all!  

We had time after all of that to practice our songs to present at church on Sunday.  We had so much fun!  I wish that all of you could have been there as we practiced “Giants Fall!”  Through all of it, I could hear the children laughing and having so much fun as they belted out the words to the song!   They also practice one of their Raining Hope Choir songs !  We had so much fun I didn’t get back to the hotel until midnight!  

So much more in the next update!   Still have Sunday and Monday to fill you in!  God really did pack a lot in a very short period!     

Michael is running the marathon at this very moment.  As I look out the window the rain is coming down.  They predicted rain and thunderstorms.   I am meeting another one of the wives in about an hour to go wait at the finish line.  Pray for him to finish well! 

God blessed my life yesterday by a visit from an old friend!   I remember when I was at LAX that my friend, Pastor Dale Hansen and his wife Linda live here in the area about 2 hours away!  I called them when I arrived and they graciously came to visit us last night!  Then last night on Facebook I saw a post by Lynell Baille (Berg) who was one of my ISP Uganda team students!    I had no idea that she lives here in the area with her husband as well!  So we are going to meet up this afternoon!    God is good!!!!   

If I don’t send another update out before I head home tomorrow, I will be back in Ventura Sunday afternoon.  Continue praying, continue praising! 

Loving the RAIN! 
mama eydie kisakye! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chapter 19 - Update #7 - April 22, 2015

The whole drive to the airport was miraculous.  You remember all too well how I missed my flight back home in January.  Everyone now is always so concerned I leave even earlier than needed, just in case!   There is also a lot of construction going on with roads in Jinja and the road on the other side of the Nile.  It is actually quite messy.  

By stopping at the house we were about 45 minutes behind of when we wanted to leave but it was all so worth it.  But as soon as we got on the bridge crossing the Nile River, Godfrey realized he forgot his phone at the home!  His wife called Frank to see if one of them could jump on a boda boda and bring the phone to us.  So we stopped at our normal petro station to fill up the van.  The  bonus was I was able to meet Rebecca, the manager of the station and good friend of Godfrey.  She was a huge support to Godfrey during the purchase of the house.  I was able to personally thank her for all of her help.  Just as we were ready to leave, Jonathan came on a boda with Godfrey’s phone...and we were off!   It was just another example of our students taking on leadership responsibilities!  I was able to drive away looking at Jonathan’s smiling face!  

Besides Godfrey, I was also escorted by Irene, Annet, Baby Hope and my friend Mary to the airport.  As you remember from one of the other updates, Mary is my friend and tailor who has made all of my African clothes the past 8 years.  The material needed for the choir uniforms had to be bought in Kampala.  To save a trip & the fuel, they all came so they could stop in Kampala on the way home.  It was fun having all of them with us.  Godfrey sent me a message last night that they were successful!  I can’t wait to see the finished uniforms!    He said the cost of the material alone was only the equivalent of $135 USD.  That is uniforms for all 13 plus Annet as the director. I am not sure what Mary’s labor costs will be but altogether it should only cost about $18 per uniform!   I cant wait to see when they are all finished!  

Godfrey is an amazing driver.  We prayed before we left knowing that we needed clear roads in order to make it in time.  As we approached Kampala he asked me what time it was because the time of day will direct which is the best route.  At that point it was close to noon so he decided to go right through the heart of town.  That surprised me because I was sure during the noon hour people would be getting in their cars to head out for lunch.   Well, in Kampala it is totally the opposite.  During that time everyone is busy eating lunch but they don’t leave their offices.  Godfrey was absolutely right!  We pretty much sailed through Kampala!   Godfrey even commented on how God answered our prayer for a clear pathway & it was pretty miraculous! 

We were able to stop just outside of Kampala to meet up with our friend Sheila Kajumba!  Her son, Aaron and daughter, Rebecca live in Ventura so I am able to bring a few small things back and forth for them.  It is always good to see her even for a quick hello and lots of hugs! 

We then made it to the Entebbe Airport in plenty of time for check-in!  It is always hard to say goodbye but seemed a little harder this time.  Thankfully, once checked in and  through passport control, I didn’t have long to wait before boarding.  As always, as my plane leaves Ugandan soil, the tears well up in my eyes.  This time I was also reading the letters from the children.   It is a mixture of pure joy and a love that causes the mixture of emotions. 

The flight from Dubai to LAX was great.  It again was their large A380 plane.  It was so smooth I didn’t even feel the take-off!  

Once at LAX I took the Road Runner shuttle service that is the door to door service.  Because I had Bible study at my house that evening, I needed to get home on time.  It actually worked out great!  The shuttle driver started asking me questions about my work in Uganda.  Turns out that he attends Calvary Chapel in Oxnard!  He was touched by the stories of the children and all that God is doing!  

I am going to catch you up with the activities of the weekend in the next update!  Continue to pray for me as I process and recover.    I actually had to turn around on
Thursday and board a plane for Kentucky.  Michael and his friends are running in a marathon on Saturday so I am here until Sunday.  In the land of the Kentucky Derby which is next weekend, it is again another culture that I am acclimating to.   I actually slept the whole flight from LAX to Detroit...then slept from Detroit to Louisville!  THAT is very odd for me!   

So keep praying for me!  I will have the other updates done hopefully by this evening!  

Still in awe! 
mama eydie kisakye!  

Chapter 19 - Update #6 - April 21, 2015

Since I wrote the last update, my time just flew each day!   We used each moment of this short trip together and it was worth every minute!  I didn’t have any time to write any more updates until now.   I have safely boarded my flight home and currently am back in Dubai overnight.  Please pray for the second segment of my flight:

Depart Entebbe Tuesday, April 21 4:10 pm 
Arrive Dubai Tuesday, April 21 10:30 pm 
Duration of Flight 5 Hours 20 minutes 

Depart Dubai         Wednesday April 22 8:55 am 
Arrive Los Angeles Wednesday, April 22 1:55 pm 
Duration of Flight 16 hours

My days were so full that I didn’t realize until now that I have to catch you up from Saturday afternoon until today!  I am going to work backwards and talk about today first.    It is currently 1:30 am and I want to make sure I at least get a partial update out before heading back to the airport at 6 am!   

As I sit in this hotel room, I am overwhelmed with His love for me.   I miss the kids.  Something amazing happened on this trip.  In Henry’s words...I am speechless.  Leaving Uganda this time was like the first time I left.  The kids poured so much love into my heart that I am literally overflowing with thankfulness.  If I think too hard or don’t think at all I start crying.  Not sure if that makes sense but I don’t understand it either!  In Godfrey words, he said the kids needed me here at this time just so we could be together as family  He is so right.  

The reason I want to start backwards is I actually need your prayers.  I coach our team members that travel to Uganda how to deal with reverse culture shock as they re-enter American society.  I am never beyond needing prayer as it is always hard for me to re- acclimate.   Part of what I personally deal with is “emotional shock.”  I actually slept for a couple of hours on the flight to Dubai which is unusual for me.  That is my escape mode but also my emotional exhausted mode!  I began reading the letters the children wrote to me which are gifts from the heart.   Their words brought a wave of love and emotion that washed right over me!  So all is exceedingly great...just need your prayers as I process.  

One of the great things about the location of the house is that it is right on the way to the airport!  So I was able to say goodbye to the children this morning instead of last night.  This actually turned out to be better for them as well.  Last night, there was that sadness that was beginning to creep in knowing I would leave the next morning.  As much as we try to keep our focus on Him, the love we have as a family becomes overwhelming. But this morning, we started by signing and dancing to a new song, “Joy Unspeakable” by Mandisa.  We were jumping around and dancing for joy!  It was a reflection of how we keep saying that we are speechless!!!   We had so much fun!  I wish you could have sen all of their smiles and heard all of their laughter!   

I then began thanking Frank who turned out to be an excellent camera man.  He helped me with doing the video tape interviews I needed.  I called him an excellent camera man/director/producer man.  The children then said, “And juiceman!”  This was because he was in charge of making juice with the blender.  So whenever I would call out Frank’s name through the week they would all laugh and say, “Juiceman, juiceman!”  He loved it!  So then I would say, “I have discovered that we have our own Raining Hope reporter...Sylvia!”  They cheered!  When we were doing the interviews, Sylvia literally shocked me!  She began to shine on the camera!  Her desire is to become a TV anchor person or reporter.  She truly has a talent.  I have captured her on video so look forward to watching that soon!  But all of this turned into one of the most amazing moments.  They then began calling out others in what they have done the best this week.  I watched in wonder as they encouraged one another.  While we were doing all of this, Godfrey had gone to his room to change clothes.  When he walked in he was looking pretty “smart” which is their word for looking nice.  They children all said, “Uncle Godfrey is the best in fashion!”  He came out in a teasing “model” walk and they all roared in laughter!   What he did not know is that I had secretly asked all of the children to write him letters of thanks.  We always focus on the letters that come home to all of you who write to the children.  This was the first time that I have asked for them to write them to the manager.  He was so shocked that it stopped him in his tracks!  

This all was a good transition towards the prayer time the children had for me to send me off.  Let me tell you...we have done this each time I leave whether I am with a team or not.  But this time was different.  There is a love bond that was tightened and strengthened between us this time.  The title of being their mum was more defined in ways that I can’t explain.  I explained that last time I was here I went from Aunty Eydie to Mama Kisakye.  But the role of their Mum was made clear this trip.  They all surrounded me and drew in close.  They all began laying their hands on me. I looked down when I felt some lay their hands on my feet.  I saw Esther on her knees with head bowed hands covering my feet.  Florence grabbed my right hand and Jemimah drew in and grabbed my left hand.  Others grabbed my arms and put their hands on my shoulder and back. Then the prayers that were lifted up almost lifted me up off the floor.  They were filled with such love and power that I did not feel worthy to receive it all.  That moment will be one that I will not forget.  Then they all gave me hugs one by one. After receiving all of this love, Godfrey had arranged to have Frank say thank you on behalf of all the boys and Joan on behalf of all the girls.  This was something that they have never done before.  By that point you can just imagine how over the top it was for me and my emotions!  

The escorted me to the van and we were all smiling, joyful and thankful for all that God is doing.  The children started shouting, “We love you.  We will miss you but we will stay strong and courageous!”  They were all smiling and waving saying our traditional, “Strong and Courageous!”  I began to look around and didn’t see Florence. She takes it pretty now when I leave.  Just as I thought she might be having a hard time, we turned the corner of the house headed towards the area we exit.  Because we don’t have a perimeter wall, there is no gate.  But the first night that we left the house, we were beginning to leave the compound.  Joel said, “I have to go and open the gate!”  He had forgotten that this house had no gate!  He just reacted out of habit!  He stood at the exit with no gate and just smiled at us laughing that there was no gate to open!  But that became the joke of the week.  The next day, Joel ran out to open the “gate” and pretended to push open the door!  Hilarious!  Then some of the girls caught on and picked up a large piece of firewood to make a “gate” to open!  So when I was looking for Florence ...she was at the “gate” with a huge smile on her face.  There were two other girls and Fred standing right in the middle of them with another piece of firewood that made a cross.  They “opened” the gate laughing and saying, “Bye, we love you!”  I smiled and video taped until we drove out and they “closed the gate!”  Then as we drove away...I wept.  Indescribable joy.  

I will continue my story when I arrive home.  I actually fell asleep for awhile and woke up in enough time to finish up to this point.  I need to head to the airport now to catch my flight.  Please keep me in your prayers for continued safe travel!!!    You will be amazed at the rest of the story as I have been overwhelmed with His goodness.  

Thank you for standing alongside me with your prayers and your love!   

Love you all! 
mama eydie kisakye! 

Chapter 19 - Update #5 - April 18, 2015

Raining Hope - Chapter 19  - Update #5 - April 18, 2015 

I woke up yesterday and felt like I was in a dream !   Something I hadn’t mentioned the night I came home from the celebration was what happened before I went to sleep.     As I praised the Lord in my room, I decided to pull the curtains of the mosquito net around me.  For those that have been a part of my journey since 2007, you know that the mosquito net is not to keep the mosquitoes out!   I LOVE to have my quiet time in the midst of the net.  In such a small space I will sign music and praise the Lord!  As I sit on the bed and soak in His presence, many times I don’t want to leave the power within the net!   So last night, as I sat on the bed, I realized that the new canopy style nets made the space so much bigger!!   I started signing and had SO MUCH ROOM!   I thought of the verse in Isaiah 54:2  "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” (NIV)   I began to smile with joy with the idea that God is enlarging my territory and He was so good to give me visible confirmation!   I then looked up the verse in another translation (NLT)...
"Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
I am going to let that version speak for itself because I still remain speechless!  

For those that have traveled here with me, you will understand when I say I am enjoying my morning breakfast of spanish omelette’s, pineapple, baked beans and Nescafe instant coffee!   All that is missing are those of you who have been on my teams!  

I went to the hotel’s morning fellowship time.  This is one of my favorite things of the Paradise Hotel is that they honor Jesus by starting the day with morning devotions for any staff member that can attend!  It is in the most beautiful setting...right next to the Nile River.   I went just expecting to receive the Word from another staff member.  Most of the time when I am here, they want me to bring the devotion to motivate the staff.  But I had not talked to anyone about it in advance.  I was excited this time to just receive!   I sat down & we prayed and worshiped the Lord!  After the night I had with the children, I began to just stare at the Nile realizing how blessed I was to have this place as a significant part of my life.  They even asked if anyone had any praise reports to share.  Not thinking I was going to bring the devotions today, I shared about our new house.  As soon as I finished that, the person leading said, “Ok, we are now going to have Sister Eydie come and bring the Word today!”   Thankfully, I have learned in Uganda to always be ready to be called on at any time.  But this one totally caught me off guard!  

I actually shared the same quote from the book I shared with the children about God loving us...period!   The message was simple...God loves you.  I signed the song, “How He Loves” and encouraged each person to go through their day remembering how much He loves them and to share His love.  As we finished, in the distant background we heard thunder!   I was able to say,  “God is serious!  He loves you!”   

Then Godfrey and I spent some time going over the budget needs and house needs.  I marvel at how God is providing for all that we need.  Godfrey is doing an amazing job budgeting and managing.  Amazing job.  We are blessed to have him managing Raining Hope.  

Godfrey took Annet & Hillary with him to do some of the food shopping.  I stayed back at the hotel to get work done.  I also was invited to join my favorite Chinese cook to have another cooking lesson!!!   It was a good time of ministry because I discovered his daughter was recently burned in an accident.  She is at a hospital in Mukono receive severe burn treatment.  It recently happened about 3 weeks ago.  Please be in prayer for her.  She can not walk and is bedridden until some of the burn is healed.  

One of the things that was a priority for the new house was a pit latrine that is common in all houses.  They needed to start construction as they have already dug the pit.  The cost of the construction will total around $800.  We are at least beginning the process.  What was the most amazing part of all of it was the way that Godfrey entrusting the older boys with new responsibilities.  He called Frank to join us by boda boda to oversee the delivery of the materials we purchased.  After Godfrey and I finished the transaction, we left Frank in charge to get the materials home!  That freed us up to go and get other supplies!  I didn’t realize he had done the same thing with Hillary & Jonathan!  Godfrey had 3 students in 3 different places carrying on the ministry of Raining Hope!  It is an understatement to say that I was a proud mama !  Godfrey has taken the steps to teach our older students how to carry on with responsibilities they will be faced with in life.  I can see the difference in the way the students are carrying themselves.  They are so confident knowing that they are playing a huge part in the ministry of the home.  Leaders are emerging right in front of my eyes!    

The other new thing for me on this trip is the opening of the central market!   They have been constructing a new building for years!  I was able to shop at the new market for the first time!!!!    It is amazing!  It is basically an indoor mall that is divided up into individual stalls.  Instead of the market being outside, effected especially by the rain, it is all indoors!   We only had a short time to walk through but plan to go back to purchase some clothes for the children.  

I also had the blessing of having Mary, my tailor come to visit us at our home!   We are having Mary make new uniforms for the Raining Hope Choir!  They have been presenting at church and have upcoming opportunities to share their music.   There are 13 students that are in the choir.  She will make dresses for the girls and shirts for the boys.  They are thrilled!!!   Mary was my first visitor in the new home.  She has made all of my clothes for the past 8 years.  But she has never been at our house or around our children.  So last night the children presented two songs, one of which is “Giants Fall” that we will present together on Sunday.  Mary also had never seen me sign or even know that I ministered to the deaf.  Before she left she shared a word with all of them.  She was most impressed with how they all place God first in their lives and how they are so full of joy!   

I had a long talk with Henry last night as well. I will be sharing more about his thoughts in another update.  I asked him the simple question of what differences there are now that we are in the new house.  His response, “Wow!  I have so many, so many!”  He proceeded to share with me for close to an hour his thoughts, his dreams, his thanksgiving for all that God is doing!  

We spent a lot of time just being in one another’s presence last night.  We danced, we praised the Lord in song, we laughed, we talked, we just enjoyed being together!  We spent time in prayer before I ventured back home.  I love that we only live about 5 minutes away now from the hotel.  Such a bonus!!!   

The children are happy.  They are full of joy.  They are full of His peace.  They are thankful.  They know they are loved.  

Last night it rained as we drove back to the hotel.  As we prayed thanking the Lord for the day,  we sat in silence for a moment just listening to the rain.  We listened to the rain as it poured out as a symbol of all the ways that the Lord is pouring out His blessings on us now.   

As I walk around, at any moment I feel like I am going to cry.  He is so good.  I look forward to another day in great anticipation of experiencing what only He can do.  

Thank you for your continued prayers.  You are all here with me on this journey!   I pray that these updates are giving you a glimpse of all He is doing.  I know they are long so thank you for taking the time to read.  May God bless you with each word and touch you in ways that will make your heart leap for joy! 

Joy Unspeakable! 
mama eydie kisakye! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chapter 19 - Update #4 - April 17, 2015

Raining Hope - Chapter 19  - Update #4 - April 17, 2015 

I am speechless.  Last night driving home from the home, I sat in the van and told Godfrey that I didn’t even know how to feel. He thought that was the funniest thing but he felt the same way.   I don’t know if there has ever been a time that I have felt the way I did last night when I left the home.  

We did not go to the home until close to 5:30 pm.  The children begged Godfrey to not bring me until they were all home from school.  After all, the purpose of the whole trip was to experience the new home TOGETHER!   So Godfrey and I spent the afternoon in town buying supplies and visiting friends!   The funny thing was, Godfrey kept asking me questions such as what were the words to the song, “How He Loves” which is the song my ISP team sang when we had my African naming ceremony.  He said, “The children just want to learn the chorus.”  He would then say, “Well, they need it today.”  He continued to be very insistent about getting to the home at a specific time.  He finally couldn’t contain it any longer.  He said, “The children have a surprise you today so they all have to be there before we show up!  He didn’t realize telling me that they had a surprise was blowing the element of surprise!    

The anticipation of just seeing the house was more than any one person can handle...this person in particular!   But what surprise was waiting for me was more than I could have ever imagined.  

God has given us HIS BEST!  The house is amazing!  The day they called me when they got into the house, Henry’s words echoed what I felt yesterday!  I was SPEECHLESS!  There are no words that can give justice to what happened when I arrived.  

They had been watching and waiting.  So as soon as they saw the van, I heard shouts of joy and excitement!  Then I heard some music playing when we drove into the compound.  As we rounded the corner to the large porch area, I saw smiling faces as they jumped up and down for joy.  I heard, “Welcome Mama Kisakye!”  But as my eyes focused on the children, I saw they had made a special walkway for me and balloons were everywhere!  I then began to notice the bubbles they were blowing to usher me in!  At this point I don’t know how much more I saw among the tears that were streaming from my face.  Godfrey stopped the van and said, “Are you ready?”  I wasn’t sure if I was or not.  As I exited the van, Florence was the first to welcome me with a huge smile on her face & just a big of a hug.  Jonathan then was standing there as a complete gentleman.  He offered his arm out to me for me to take so he could escort me into our new home!   I pretty much needed it because I think I went weak in the knees from the overwhelming outpouring of love!   I think it was Jemimah that then handed me a little bouquet of wildflowers!  As I walked through their balloon lined walk way, they began throwing confetti at me and at my feet in front of my path!  I felt totally honored as a bride would in a wedding ceremony!   So if you are not crying by this point...just wait!   

As I got closer to the door of the house, I realized that the music I was hearing was “Giants Fall!”  Inside the house the music was blasting, they were singing the words to the song, balloons, confetti and bubbles everywhere!   They had recently been able to re-cover all of our broken furniture!  My team last year will remember how they were all falling apart!   The couches and arm chairs looked beautiful!  Then Jonathan directed me to a special chair of honor!  They decorated my chair with balloons and a paper on the seat with a cross.  I felt like I was in a dream!   As the song finished, they restarted it and we went through “Giants Fall” from the beginning.    For those that don’t know the story of how important this song was for us in January, I will include the words to that song at the end of this update.  Basically, the new house represents all the years of ups and downs, being told we couldn’t and shouldn’t proceed.  Yet, with God all things are possible!  Miracles are happening and they have watched giants fall!  

This was just the beginning!  Then they said they had a special presentation for me.  As I sat, they started the song one more time.  They had choreographed dance moves to the whole song!  I wept through most of it.  They sang the whole song from their precious hearts.  They know they are victorious in Jesus Christ.  That moment was indescribable.  

They then arranged for various students to come and say thanks on behalf of the group.  Hillary was the presenter for the whole event.  Words just rolled from his mouth directly to my heart.  They had previously chosen students who are normally not the ones who stand up in front to make the presentations.  Three of the students gave wonderful testimony of all that God is doing!    It was all so well organized and thought out.  I still cried through most of it!  

Before we proceeded with the program, we took a tour of the house and the compound. With each step I took, the more amazed I became at the gift the Lord has given us with this house.  It is in extremely good condition.  The layout of the house is amazing.  The bedrooms are huge!  Compared to all of the houses that we have been in the last 8 years, this is definitely the best!  

Godfrey had told me when we bought the house that it had a secondary house.  When I saw the video I was under the impression that the whole house needed renovating on the inside.   But it is only half of the house that needs remodeling.  They are currently using the finished half for the boys quarters and for Godfrey and his family.  The main house is the girls quarters with Annet.  Once we complete the renovations, we will have an amazing amount of room.  Godfrey said we can use that section for the Raining Hope office.  Speechless.  

The compound (grounds) itself is amazing!!   As we walked around the house, I was so amazed at how much room there is for the students to play!  Godfrey said this house & compound is larger than the house we were renting.  It is definitely better than the first house we thought we were going to buy!  

The location is amazing.  Right after we cross the bridge over the Nile River, we turn left on a road that is directly across from the petro station.  We then go just a short “block” and we arrive at our home!  The area is known as Amber Court.  Right next door to us, Godfrey showed me a house that use to be the Queen of England’s home when she visited Uganda!  I thought, “Wow, we are in good company!”  It is run down now and has new owners.  But it really is a cool bit of information!  

So many people still want the house!  Our advocate suggested that we post signs on the house that say, “House is not for sale.”  Godfrey said they get inquiries all the time. One of the first priorities is the need for a perimeter wall and a gate.  Right now there is no gate or way to secure the property.  Funny, last night when Godfrey was taking me back in the van, out of habit, Joel ran ahead and said, “I will open the gate!”  Ha ha!  There was no gate to open.  He still waited at the edge of the property, laughing at his mistake but nevertheless wanted to send me off with a “see you tomorrow!”  

But back to the rest of the evening!  After the tour we came back into the house.  They still had more presentations to make.  They presented another one of their songs.  They had a few more people speak.  Then our older Joan came to speak on behalf of all of them.  They are all so thankful to everyone who has given support to make this dream a reality.  Having a house that they can call their own is a huge deal in Uganda.  It is hard to fully explain the extent of how much it impacts their lives.  Many words were shared from Joan’s heart.   As she specifically shared how much I meant to them, I could not contain the tears.  She expressed that so many of them have never had a mum or a good role model as a mum in their lives.  I have become their mum.  Even Hillary said that I have been elevated from auntie to mum.  He said, “We can no longer call you auntie because you truly are our mum because of the love that you have for us.”  The majority of what Joan shared was more about my relationship with them as a mum than anything else.  This was a moment that we needed to have together as a family.  We cried, we laughed, we celebrated, we praised the Lord! 

They gave me an opportunity to speak and i was so overwhelmed I didn’t know if I could.  So I first opted to sign a song so I could gather my emotions!  I signed, “How He Loves” because that was so important for that song to be a part of our celebration.  Right before I signed the song, i read them this portion for a devotion book that I am reading, “Reckless Devotion” by Heidi & Rolland Baker.  It was part of the devotion entitled, “Adopted.”    “When we give our lives over to the Father, we discover that He adopts us.  We’re not orphans.  He takes us in, because He loves us and we are His kids.  It’s not because of anything we can do or have done, not because we’re better than anyone else, not because we succeeded through hard work where others have failed.  Before the foundations of the world He picked us out to receive His grace and mercy, and He just loves us because we are His kids. Period.”  

I told the kids...God just loves us.  Period.  I just love them...they are my kids.  They are your kids.  They know how much you love them too and they are grateful and humbled. 
After I spoke to them as mum to family...we signed and sang together one of our favorite new worship songs, “Alive!”  Boy, was that room alive with His joy!!!!  

We finished out the evening with a time of prayer that put it all over the top.  Godfrey led out and we stood in a huge circle lifting up prayers to the Lord.  Most of those praying were praying in Luganda.   It was music to my ears to hear the absolute fervent prayers of a child being lifted up in unison together.  After a long time of prayer, I thought we were done.  But then Godfrey called for everyone to find one other person and pray together for each other.  I was standing near Henry and Dan so I joined their group.  There is a reason why those at school have started calling Henry, “Pastor Henry.”  The prayer that he lifted up was so powerful.  As I was also praying out loud for both he and Dan, I became so overwhelmed with the power and authority resonating from Henry, that I began to quiet my voice to receive what Henry was praying over me.  It was a very humbling experience to have one of our children who I have known for 8 years, grow into such a powerful man of God who could pray with such conviction over me.  

So you can see why driving back to the hotel last night I really didn’t know how to feel.  I woke up this morning still in a sense of awe and wonder.  The whole ceremony and celebration was their way of showing their thanksgiving.  They want so much to do something not only for me but for all of you.  They want so much to pay us back for loving them and providing them with this amazing home.  This evening was their way of saying thank you in the only way they know how.  Last night was a gift that I will never forget.  It was worth more than any treasure on earth could hold.  

I hope my words, even though not the same as being there, gives you a glimpse of how much they express their thanks to all of you.  This is their thank you gift to you.  I thank you for helping to make their dreams come true.  

From the bottom of my soul I thank you, 
mama eydie kisakye 

"Giants Fall"
Everyone's telling you - To let go of what you're holding to
It's too late, too far - You're too small, it's too hard
Throwing water on that spark - Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons - The things you're not seeing
But oh, maybe they don't - Know what you know
That you're not alone

Don't you be afraid - Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight - He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small - But watch the giants fall

We could really live like this - Can't you imagine it
So bold, so brave - With childlike faith
Miracles could happen - Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face
Ask and believe - You're gonna see - The hand of God in every little thing

Miracles can happen - Anything is possible - Watch the giants fall