Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chapter 20 - Update #11 - August 5, 2015

Wednesday  - 8/5 - Magwa School 

(I want to thank you for taking the time to read the updates.  I know they are long.  I want to accurately portray the events so you get a glimpse of seeing what we saw...God doing what only He could do.  He receives all the glory for all that happened.  Even as I write, I am in awe as I remember our time in Uganda.  Because the updates are long, I don’t want anything to get lost as you might not read all the way through.  So I am going to split up even the days into events.  I just finished recording the events surrounding our visit to Magwa Primary School.  This particular day still included our door to door evangelism and our first day at the home!  So....I am going to sent those as separate entries.    Take each update in and soak up all He has done!  Thanks again for taking the time to read.  I know it is like looking at someone else’s vacation photos not actually being there.  But trust me...let the words become alive in your heart and it can be as if you have walked right into our story! Love you!...eydie)

For the past few months, I had been working with Godfrey in the planning of what we would be doing on this trip.  Many emails back and forth with ministry opportunities and how the team could best serve.  Yet, even with all of this preparation on our part, nothing was finalized until the week that I arrived.  Since most of the team had gone once before, they understood this process.  I do my part...then I wait and pass it onto the team as soon as I know anything.   For some on the team who love planning, this understandably was a challenge.  For me, nine years of dealing with the Ugandan culture, it was normal !  So for our training, the directions I gave to the team were this...

Show up
Be spiritually prepared
Do whatever is asked of you
Trust me...Trust Him

These simple truths became more important than we would could have ever imagined! 

I had been sharing in the morning devotion time with our hotel staff all week.  We wanted to give the team opportunity to share once they arrived.  Talk about hitting the ground running!  Because I knew that Pastor Doug would not have a problem with preparation, I asked him to take the first day with Melanie.  I love to see how God used the team to minister to the hearts of those in Uganda.  I was very proud of Melanie as this was her first time with us.  She shared about how not being able to come last year was heartbreaking.  But her testimony of how God used that to deepen her dependance on Him was inspiring to those listening...especially to me! 

One of the projects we were committed to was visiting Magwa Primary School where our primary (elementary) school children attend.  Because our arrival coincided with the week the children were doing exams for the second term, it limited us to when we could come.  Godfrey had been working with both primary and secondary schools to come up with a specific date.  Once I arrived, Godfrey informed me that as much as the secondary school wanted us to come, they did not have a day that would work within our time frame.  The invited us to come August 14 but by then we would already be home!  The week before the team arrived is when Godfrey informed me that the only day the primary school had opened for us was Wednesday, August 5th. Originally,  he said we would speak to the school’s scripture union club & present them with Bibles as gifts from the ministry.   We would also spend time encouraging the teachers.

So originally, because of the exam time, it was sounding as if our focus was on a smaller scale.  But as normal .... the plans began shifting.  The school contacted Godfrey and said we could minister to the whole school.  They would have an assembly time with all grades combined.  This is where I first heard that the school consisted of 670 students.   But they would split this group up into three smaller groups according to age.  I had our team split up two by two and go with each one of classes.  The only direction that we were given was it was an evangelism time and we were encouraged to share our personal testimonies!  This was exciting because it is a public school.  Can you imagine that happening here in the United States?   Kelly & Katie had the youngest group (age 5-7).  Desiree is a third grade teacher so we sent her with Shannon to the 8-9 year old group.  Doug & Melanie then ministered to the 10-14 year old kids. 

Imagine arriving in Uganda at 11 pm on Monday night in Entebbe.  Then using most of Tuesday just to get to Jinja only to hear from your leader that Wednesday you would stand before a group of kids and give your testimony?  It really went back to our training...

Show up
Be spiritually prepared
Do whatever is asked of you
Trust me...Trust Him.

And our team did beautifully!  It was a challenge but the team all rose to the occasion.  For the little ones it was sharing testimonies and then having more time to sing.  For Doug & Melanie it became more of a teaching time and a clear presentation of the gospel.  They had kids raise their hands to receive Jesus as their Savior!  In a public school setting...God is amazing. 

We had a time we presented the school with gifts.  Each child received a piece of candy, a pencil & a pen.  Something that I was learning on this trip working closely with Godfrey was the sensitivity to what was appropriate to give.  I am in the midst of reading the book, “When Helping Hurts” by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert.   Pastor Doug also ran across an article called, “VOLUNTOURISM: MORE HARM THAN GOOD.” by
Heather Ruiz.  As Raining Hope, we are shifting in terms of what can we do that is God’s best that helps and is culturally appropriate.  Turns out, the simplicity of giving a pencil and pen during exam time spoke loudly and was appreciated than anything we could have brought with us from America.  You should have seen their smiles when they received their gifts.  The sweets were just a bonus for them!  The school administration had them line up according to their classes so it would be organized and not chaotic!   

The team was then escorted to a room where we were to meet with the staff and the teachers.  This was an encouraging time for all of us.  We were able to just say thank you to and bless them with encouragement.  The “chancellor” for that area (like a school district official) came to officially greet us and act as a host.  We discovered later that he is a muslim.  That in itself was amazing that he was so open to what we were doing in sharing the gospel.  Godfrey had informed me that the appropriate thing to do for the Scripture Union club would be to present them with 20 Bibles that would be on behalf of Raining Hope Ministries.  They were so thankful for the gift! 

Here is a view of the day at the school from Desiree's eyes...
It was especially neat for me to be able to go to the school to see where the children learn.  I am a teacher at home in California.  The children are so happy at their school. They are so well-behaved and well taught.  We first met with the whole school and introduced ourselves.  Then the children were split into three groups by age and the team led the groups.  Each team member gave their testimony and talked about how God is an integral part of our lives.  The children also sang songs and blessed us.  After being with the children we met with the teachers and administration of the school.  We got to bless them with words of encouragement and new Bibles for their Bible club.  You could tell that they were greatly encouraged and blessed!  ...Desiree

You would all be so proud of the team...I definitely was!  So much happened in this 2 hour time span.  But the moment that stood out for me is when we first arrived in the van.  The kids were all scattered on the lawn clustered in groups of friends.  Yet, when our children of Raining Hope saw us arrived, they immediately came to the van to greet us.  It was so amazing to see our kids in their school uniforms.   They hugged us with HUGE smiles and escorted us to the school office.  You could tell they were proud to have us there visiting their school!   It just melted my heart to see our Raining Hope kids so happy at their school. 

And as we left, our Raining Hope kids were the ones to escort us back to the van.  They made sure we were safely inside.  As we drove off, their smiles are what are etched in my heart.  

Our children are in a great school, getting a great education.  This was an important way to start off our week of ministry.

To God be all the Glory!
mama kisakye! 

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