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 you...is 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 him....is 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!
mum eydie kisakye!