After a successful three days of conference, Saturday was going to be a day that we would celebrate together. We planned to have a Christmas, New Year’s, & Birthday party as a family. We were also celebrating the official opening of the newly renovated boy’s quarters. Things shifted slightly because of a turkey!
If you remember in the January newsletter, I told you the story of how thieves stole our Christmas turkey. The children still had a Christmas meal, minus a turkey. They rarely have turkey because it is for special occasions only. While I was there I went looking for a turkey roaster so I could cook a turkey at the home. In Ugandan culture, most do not have traditional ovens. We do all of our cooking outside in large pots over charcoal. After hunting around the stores in town, I discovered this type of roaster was not available.
But my wonderful family at the hotel said they would cook the turkey for me! Robert was able to secure a turkey for me. Saturday morning he called me and said, “We found you a turkey! Do you want to come down and see it?” As I came downstairs, I realized I was to see a turkey that was still alive, not neatly wrapped in a package in the grocery store! As I looked at the turkey, I felt like the President of the United States who pardons a turkey each Thanksgiving in a public ceremony! I could almost hear the turkey saying, “pardon me, pardon me!” The turkey gave its life to make a lot of people happy. I blessed it in Jesus name as it was taken away!
The hotel kitchen staff wanted to marinate the turkey for a day. So we decided to shift the main party at the home to Sunday. Then we included the launch of the new outreach ministry in the celebration! We turned it into a two-day party instead of just one. The kids loved the idea!
After spending the rest of the morning studying for speaking at our launch the next day, my friend, Mutete came to cook lunch for me. I took a break and went into the kitchen to watch and learn. The funny thing is, as I stood next to Mutete I realized there was a large silver tray on the counter covered in banana leaves. It took me a few minutes to realize what was underneath. My suspicions were correct when I raised the banana leaves to take a peak....our celebration turkey was already in the marinating stage!
Here is the lesson I gained from this experience...
The turkey looked so much bigger when it was covered with feathers. On the outside, it can puff up its feathers, be prideful and make a lot of noise. But when you strip it down to just the bare skin, it is not that big at all. In fact, I was a little concerned because it was rather small...not the 25 pound turkeys I am used to cooking at home! To fast forward to Sunday...when it was cooked and put through the heat, it seemed to have shrunk! Lesson I shared with the children was this....sometimes people puff themselves up and appear to be what they are not. They are loud & prideful even to the point of being a bully. Yet when you take away all the stuff on the outside, on the inside they are not that tough. Then when that person goes through the heat and pressure, they really show what’s on the inside. Even for us, we learned all week what it is like to be near the River of Life letting our roots go down deep or far away in the desert. The turkey’s life ended up being an object lesson for them that they understood clearly. So many of them have been told they are not good enough & bullied by others. It is to these people they want to share the Gospel. People are empty on the inside without Jesus. None of our children want to be a turkey! They want others to see Jesus on the inside and outside of them! Praise the Lord!
Godfrey & I went into town to see my friends before leaving Monday. We also went by Ozzie’s to see my friend, Jude. She makes the best cakes and homemade bread! I had forgotten to order a cake for our party. Thankfully she had an almost full chocolate cake that was perfect. I had also ordered a banana cake from the hotel to make sure we had enough.
The afternoon at the home can only be described as indescribable! Because we postponed the big celebration to Sunday, we spent some time talking as a family about all that God is doing. The children have been instrumental in helping me to understand more about culture as we are improving our ministry and writing policies. It was a significant time together.
We then had a very special time together as Peter, our first graduate from post secondary school came to visit. He traveled all the way from Rwanda to be with us this weekend. He was going to come for the whole conference but came down with malaria. He still made the long trip only to stay for two days. Peter graduated from a four year law degree program in December. We found out that 107 students started the program four years ago. There were only 35 who finished and graduated. Peter was the top male student! The top student was a woman. So Peter graduated as the second best student over all. He told me this year he is studying for the Rwanda Bar which is a nine month process. He already has the top law agencies in Rwanda after him even though he has not yet passed the Bar. We are so proud of him.
We had him talk to the rest of the family about his journey. He focused on the dreams of the children and not giving up. He told them he has wanted to be a lawyer since he was in primary school. He told me at another time that he put himself through law school at times working three jobs and 20 hours a day. His dream became a reality. He is a great model for the rest of the children. They were so encouraged to hear from him.
We also had a couple give Peter a graduation gift to help our new law student. He dressed up in a new suit, shoes, shirt & tie and looked so professional! He was overwhelmed & thankful.
Our birthday celebration included a huge group! Not only did Godfrey, Annet and I all have birthdays in December, Irene’s was in JanuaryI There were at least five more of our children who had a birthday in these two months. So we all got together as we sang Happy Birthday to us all!
The next surprise was for the Raining Hope family as a Christmas, New Year and Birthday gift! When I was at home in December, I had someone at my church ask if we buy livestock. We don’t have room to buy a lot of animals, but Godfrey said we could use a cow for milk. We began to investigate the possibility. Because of the generosity of three donors, we were able to purchase our own cow! Robert & Andrew were able to secure the purchase from the person who sells them milk at the hotel. The great thing about buying from him is if anything goes wrong, we have security to have bought from someone the hotel trusts.
The plan behind having the cow is not only to provide much needed milk on a daily basis. But this cow will produce excess milk that we can sell. This will be a source of self-sustaining income for the home. Hallelujah!
The cow already had a name before we bought her. Through some discussion with Carol, the name “Leche” was decided upon! Leche in spanish is “milk.” In spanish the word for meat is “carne.” Carol said, “We don’t want her to ever get confused that she would be used for anything but MILK!” I told the kids that this is job security for Leche, and they loved it! It was so fun to hear them call “Leche” by her name!
When they arrived with Leche, the children erupted in praise! Leche is a beautiful black and white cow. Immediately as she jumped off the truck, she went for every piece of grass or anything green! I told Godfrey, “We won’t need a lawnmower or slasher from this point on!” We had Andrew lead in a time of prayer and dedication as we welcomed Leche into the Raining Hope family.
The added bonus...Leche is pregnant! When the owner discovered the cow he wanted us to have was carrying a calf, he didn’t raise the price. God blessed us with two for one! God is so good.
This day was truly a day of miraculous blessings. Thank you for reading with me all the way through. I pray the words of the update will give you a small sense of what I experienced.
It is currently Monday, February 1st. I leave for California on Wednesday. Carol’s sister has been out of town and returns tonight. It makes a huge difference for both Diane & Carol to have me here when she is out of town. It snowed a little bit more this weekend. But it is warming up and the snow is beginning to melt. My children in Uganda are praying for California and the recent El Nino storms that have hit. Begin praying now for my safe travel on Wednesday. Pray for Carol’s sister, Diane who is flying home today from California. Thank you for your prayers.
I have at least one more update to send regarding the Launch of our Outreach Ministry on Sunday. As I continue to process all that God has done, it helps to be here in the quietness of the snow and the peace of this home.
mama eydie kisakye