Monday, August 24, 2015

Chapter 20 - Update #16 - August 6, 2015

New Perimeter wall and back gate area

New Perimeter Wall 



Thursday  - 8/6 - Second day at the home

We arrived at the home a little earlier than yesterday.  There was still a lot of daylight which was great. Yesterday, the team had only seen a small portion of the house, mainly the sitting area where we had our devotion time.  So Godfrey and I took the team on a formal tour of the whole compound.  They were amazed at it all!  The perimeter wall was now almost complete.  We were just lacking a gate at the other side of the compound.  (Update...this back gate was just currently installed!  Because of a donation made by Grace Fellowship while we were there, Raining Hope was able to purchase a gate to complete this project!)  The only area we didn’t walk through was the incomplete boy’s quarters as it was too dark and construction materials all over the ground.

This will be the next renovation project.   We were able to get our certificate that allows us to operate as a ministry.  So many orphanages are being shut down by the government because of corruption.  We have been blessed to be one of those that has been given the clearance to keep operating!  The timing of buying the house was key.  Having Godfrey as the manager was all God’s perfect timing.  Godfrey has done so much to make sure we meet all the requirements.  We are so thankful for him.  Recently, we received our official certificate to operate as Raining Hope Ministries.  We changed the name from Raining Hope Children’s Home so we could operate on a wider scale.  This way we are not limited to only ministering to our children.  This was the suggestion from Godfrey which again shows the perfect timing of him becoming the manager.  

One of the requirements by the council making these decisions is we need to have an office.  They were not going to approve the certificate without having the office in place.  But Godfrey explained that we just bought the house and have a list of remodeling projects.  We moved up the timing of renovating the boy’s quarters because this second building is what will house the office.  They were in full agreement and awarded us our operating certificate.  So we made a decision to wait on the new roof and get the boy’s quarters done first.  Pray for us as we have started work on the renovation.  Godfrey has sent me photos of the progress.  We have made good progress but need to wait for more money to come in to help complete it!  God is good!

In the midst of our touring the house, we came to the front lawn.  The kids had started a volleyball game and we immediately lost a team member from the tour!  She whisked off to join the game & others soon followed her!   I had already warned the team that when I watched the kids play the other day, there were not many rules...just a lot of fun.  I explained to the team if they are going to play volleyball to please refrain from trying to do it the “American” way or to try to correct them with how they are playing.  I know that this was difficult for some of our team that wanted to jump in and try to fix things the way that we do it. But I was proud of them because they did just go with the flow.  At times, Godfrey told me that they don’t even really keep score.  They just want to have fun.

We also had a great conversation at one point with Godfrey about competition.  I loved hearing this story.  Some of our team wondered about a competitive spirit or if it were common in Africa.  Godfrey said, “No, in our culture we do not care much about competition.”  It was interesting because he said their culture is more about supporting one another rather than competing against one another.  Isn’t that beautiful?  After he said that I realized how true that statement was.  It is why I didn’t want the team to go in and try to make the volleyball more competitive.  It is why it doesn’t matter if we teach them how to win better.  It doesn’t matter to them.  They are more about supporting one another and just having a good time.  What would happen if our culture were more like that?

Godfrey asked if I could go finish more of the shopping for the dedication since the team seemed to be ok at the home.  It gave them time to just hang out with the kids which is what they had been wanting to do.  We brought Jonathan with us as we were going to be buying some heavy bags of food.  I love having our kids go with us to help.  It gives them such a sense of belonging and responsibility.  Jonathan said that when Uncle Godfrey includes them in the shopping, it makes him feel important and that he has something worthwhile to offer.  Amen!  We were gone a little longer as shopping in the local market takes time.  Even with all of this we still did not finish everything!   But it was getting dark and the Jinja Market Place closes at dark.

When we returned, we went right into our evening devotion time.  In honor of the Dedication Day for the house, we surprised the children by giving them each a new Bible!  These were the ones that we picked up in Kampala on the way home from the airport!   It had been awhile since each one had their own Bible.  It was precious to see how excited they became when we brought the box out!  In order to keep the Bibles in good condition, Godfrey decided to keep them all together and the children can checked them out any time they want.  They bring the box out at devotion time and they each have one to study from.  They honor the Word of God and Godfrey is also teaching them responsibility.  It was very touching to be a part of this special moment.

I forgot to add that on the first night we had another special moment during the devotion time.   A week before I left for my portion of the trip, I was in my neighborhood on my morning walk.  I ran across a yard sale on a Friday morning which was odd in itself.  Normally, yard sales are all on Saturdays.  I decided to take a look and I am so glad I did!  I ran across a keyboard in GREAT condition.  It turned out to be only $20 and it came with a stand!  I called Pastor Doug and Carol and we together decided it was worth trying to bring it as a checked piece of luggage.  Because I had the team, I knew that we would have extra pieces of luggage available.  I am so glad that we decided to bring it!  I knew that Godfrey had wanted a keyboard for the home for quite some time to use for the devotion time.  Keyboards are an essential musical instrument for their worship second only to a drum.  To get one there would have cost us hundreds of dollars.  I wish that all of you could have been there when they first saw the keyboard.  We have a video clip of this moment thanks to Shannon!  The kids had already started the devotion time with praise & worship.  As they worshipped, Godfrey & I went to assemble the stand.  As we walked in with the keyboard on the stand, the song they were singing erupted into shouts of joy!  I remember Henry looking like he was having a seizure because his body was just shaking with excitement!    A $20 keyboard that will fill the house with praise is just priceless.
I also had found some suits and dress shoes at another yard sale the next day.  They were the perfect size for Godfrey.  This came from a wonderful couple in my neighborhood who minister in a church in Oxnard.  Godfrey was overjoyed when we gave him the suits and shoes.  He put on one of the coats for the kids and they again erupted with shouts of joy!  When this couple found out what it was for, they sold me the suits for only $10 each!   Again, priceless to see how happy it made Godfrey.
For the devotions tonight, I gave Desiree and Katie the opportunity to share.  Desiree shared from a devotional and Katie gave her testimony.  The kids loved hearing from the team!   I also shared a short encouraging word.  Because we gave the Bibles to the kids, I had them look up various verses that we just touched on as a short devotion.  I gave time over to Pastor Doug to just share a short word of encouragement on the important of Scripture.

We did have a meal after this time of devotions.  This also is our time to debrief the day and talk about all that God is doing.  That conversation was filled with absolute awe experiencing the joy that exists in the house!

Two of our biggest days are just up ahead!   The next update will be filled with our ministry to the hotel staff!

Thank you for taking the time to read.  I appreciate your care and support of our kids.

Kale, mama kisakye!

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