Blessings everyone as we begin a New Year helping the children in Uganda at Kirabo Seeds home. Everyone at Kirabo Seeds has enjoyed nearly two weeks holiday, including Mama Tonya. The children spent their holidays at home with their Aunties or Jjajjas. We sent them along with a Christmas chicken and some cooking staples. The children enjoyed wearing their brand new outfits for Christmas. Thank you to all of the sponsors who gave generously to be sure the children were able to wear new clothes to celebrate Christ’s birth. The staff in turn was able to return home to their families to rest, relax and enjoy reunions.This is the one time of the year they are all able to take a good break from the hard long hours of caring for 17 children every day. I hope in 2015 we are able to add a second week of rest to the schedule.
The children remain on holiday from school until the end of January. I have a stack of letters they have written their sponsors in my email box. I’ll forward them next week so you can all enjoy their scanned hand written notes decorated with stickers. I’ll continue to handle the pen pal correspondences using email. The children have been taking computer lessons for over a year so this is an excellent way for them to practice their skills. When I travel in the past it has been fun to provide everyone a letter or two from sponsors but unfortunately not every child gets one and we are at risk for feelings to be hurt. When we use the computer it will be a more private task of writing. We won’t see anyone comparing, counting or competing with this activity. We all know how kids can be and they are no different on the continent far away than they are in America.
This has been one of the more rewarding aspects of working with the children in Uganda. The methods of parenting Craig and I learned from the bible as we raised our children apply to the children there in the same way. They need unconditional love, appropriate boundaries, positive reinforcement, consistency, consequences and safety to talk out heart troubles. All of the children performed well in school last year and all were promoted to the next class. In Uganda, as students pay for education, the school earns more if they don’t pass a student! So it is easy to imagine many students are held back. Our staff is absolutely determined that our children become the best students they can be. It is the fast track out of poverty in Uganda and we all have high hopes for these kids.
I look forward to my trip to Uganda in a couple weeks! I haven’t seen the children since August. Kira and Jack will travel with me as usual and they too miss their brothers and sisters. I will visit the two young boys we helped with medical care. Thanks to so many who helped us provide for these surgeries these two boys are well on their way to a normal life. I hope in 2015 Kirabo Seeds can provide funds for more life saving surgeries for children. I am sure God will work in his mysterious ways to show us what’s next. I count it my greatest blessing in life to be able to serve our great God in these ways.
Our most pressing prayer request for 2015 is to find a suitable home to move the children. Our landlord sold the house we rent now and we were supposed to move by the end of January. We searched all of November and December but we couldn’t find an affordable and suitable location. The search process there is absurdly random and unorganized. It’s much like using a metal detector on the beach hoping for a lost piece of jewelry. In despair I asked Robert to have a meeting with the landlord and the buyers to see if we could get more time. The new owners agreed to give us eight more months! They appreciated the work we do and gave us the time to provide well for the children. It will take Robert all of his time searching and exploring neighborhoods to find us a home big enough, with separation for the boys and girls and of course, on that is affordable. So we hope you will remember this problem in your prayers.
I must say 2014 was a challenging year. Chicken pox flattened the children in waves right from the start, taking our sweet Boniface in February home to Jesus. After the funeral everyone sunk low into a deep sadness and many strange occurrences of coping mechanisms developed causing all of us to dash to and fro to put out behavior fires. Our van collapsed after spending way too much of our precious funds to save it over and over. Our new car arrived but had a bad crash when Kenny swerved to miss a street kid who ran in front of it. One of our children had to be returned as we learned he indeed has a family who can provide for him. One of our cleaning girls was caught stealing from the home and had to be fired. Finally, the two court cases we have endured for years drag on and on like a dripping faucet that keeps you awake in the middle of the night.
Even so…our God is greater than all struggles. In 2014 we welcomed Rhonah to our family and she is a smart sweet and much loved child. Kenny joined us full time and brings energy and enthusiasm to the staff. We organized weekly team meetings to develop cohesive teamwork and effective communication. We began monthly outreaches in the neighborhood seeing many children come to know Jesus in our home. We were given a gracious donation to buy a brand new van that arrived late November. Erica has organized our bookkeeping with Phiona in such a fashion that we are crystal clear, accountable and transparent with our funds. Two young boys were able to receive life saving surgeries. Irene joined us to begin weekly counseling sessions with the children, both in gender groups and one to one. Christopher was able to spend five months with Kirabo Seeds and helped us understand the gaps we can close to better do the work of orphan care in Uganda. Many many friends visited to serve our home and love the children. It makes a lasting impact on the way they experience God’s love to receive it from so many from so far away. (thank you) Only God can accomplish all of that in one year.
I am still and feeling a deep gratitude.
I hope for one more thing in 2015, besides a new home. I hope we can find a missionary couple willing to live in Uganda and manage Kirabo Seeds from there. I believe this will be the key to help us not only grow, but to package what we do and how we do it so it can be replicated over time and space. I trust God to provide team building experts with patient managerial skills and excellent organizational skills to join our team. I trust God in all things especially this one.
Thank you to all who continue to support us and love us. You are making the difference in the lives of children that will precede you into eternity. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a child in our program, contact me we have room to add you to our fun.
Happy New Year to all!