In September 2010 our friend, Pastor Robert Nabulere, came to visit our home while he made a few stops in America. He was traveling to find sponsors so children in his community could attend their school. They could not afford school so they were praying the children would get sponsors. We sat at our dinner table and Pastor Robert answered our endless questions about his culture. We couldn’t learn enough because we were in the final stages of adopting our daughter Kira from Uganda. Jack sat at that table and listened to everything Pastor described about the living conditions for children in Uganda. He didn’t say a word, but that didn’t mean it didn’t have an impact on him.
Jack learned that it costs the parents in Uganda a lot money to send each of their children to school. The schools are not free like in America. Most parents can hardly afford to feed the large families they have, so in most cases school is impossible. Children sit around idle during the days. This upset Jack. He said, if that were him it would be just awful.
We also learned some sad conditions about the families in Uganda. The women are mostly single because men are allowed to practice polygamy so they will leave a wife to go with another woman and make a new family. She is alone to shelter her children, grow food, sell what she can, and try her best to come up with the finances to educate her children. They have many children in one family in Uganda. Their homes have no running water or electricity. The space is often so small their mattress has to be rolled up during the day and put in a corner. If there is enough room for the bed all the children and mom sleep in the same bed.
A week or so after Jack learned about how hard life is for the children in Uganda he came to me with an idea. He wanted to do his own fundraiser. I will admit it was during a busy time in my life, I was really hoping I could postpone his idea until it became a passing one! I really didn’t need another project to do since I was preparing our family to go live in Uganda for six weeks. He explained to me he wanted to bake pumpkin bread and sell it to earn money so children could go to school in Uganda. Well, that was really sweet. I figured I could help him make a loaf of bread and then I could get back to my work, so we went to the kitchen.
While his bread was still warm he found me again, working, and dragged me across the cul de sac to sell it to his friend’s dad. The man was so impressed with Jack’s noble efforts he doubled the asking price, setting it at ten dollars. Jack waved the money all the way home. We both felt energized by the good deed so I dropped my work and we went to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients. The manager at the Kroger gave me a worried look when I put all his canned pumpkin in my cart. I should have asked him to order me a few personal cases if I had known any better at that point.
He became a serious baker. He began to get so many orders he coudln’t keep up so he learned to do the math so he could make four loaves at a time, using both ovens. He woke up fifteen minutes earlier for school and put four loaves into the oven before getting on the school bus. After school he would visit neighbors to sell his loaves. The people loved to hear him explain how he was selling his bread so children in Uganda could be able to go to school. I know every time I heard him tell his simple story I was inspired to do what little I already knew to help others. Jack hauled fifteen loaves to classes at church, and he even visited his dad at work with a heavy case of bread. He decided to spend all of October making and selling bread, and he raised $1700!
My friend Veronica, from Uganda, came to visit us while Jack was baking his bread. She was overwhelmed to find out what Jack was doing for the children in her country. She explained that her best friend, Joy who volunteers at her pregnancy crisis clinic in Uganda, wasn’t able to afford to put her ten year old son in school for the first time this year. She was so disappointed that Andrew was sitting around the clinic and not studying. So Jack came over to where Veronica was sitting at our table and told her that he would pay for Andrew’s year in school. He gave her the money when she flew home, and the next day Andrew went back to school. Jack promised to sell bread every year to help keep Andrew in school.
When we went to Uganda we met with Rose at her school and there were two more children Jack could afford to send to school for a year so now he sponsors three children!
The other girl he sponsors he did not meet. But her aunt works in the kitchen at the school and the little girl lives with her because her mother recently died and her father is in jail.
While we were in Uganda we visited an orphanage on Christmas Eve. The way these children lived were so bad we knew God brought us there so we could help them. They ate one meal a day of posho and beans, and porridge in the morning. They hauled their water from town. They sleep on the hard floor. Going to bed hungry on a hard floor is not the way any child should have to live. So our family decided to help. We bought a cow, and Jack’s cousin Emily bought a cow, we bought two hundred chicks who will soon be laying eggs, and we pay a portion of their food budget so the missionaries who are there can actually work with the kids rather than run around and try to raise money to be able to feed them. There remains a problem though, they need to go to school. Some cannot write their names. So we are busy now finding 34 sponsors so all of the orphans can get an education and be what ever they dream of being when they are grown. This means Jack is back to his baking ways. And we are traveling to speak about his story. We believe God is going to make a way for all of these children to go to school.
This is what I learned after I stepped aside and got out of Jack’s way to make and sell bread. God will use a little boy to do a big work. And who would have ever know that when mothers and children on another continent pray that God would use a small child in America to answer their prayers? God took the small bit that Jack knew how to do and multiplied it like the fish and the loaves to take care of so many more than we could have ever imagined possible. God is at work in the lives of every child on every square inch of this earth. Finally if I had not stepped aside and allowed Jack to make a big mess in my kitchen I would have missed the miracle. I’m so thankful I did not stand in the way of seeing God work through my son to bless children in Uganda.
this is written by Jack LaTorre:
March 12, 2012 we had a party and the people that had given us donations first to start us off at the orphanage were there.
My family shared experiences or things they learned from Africa. Kevin shared about our God drivin friends with the safehouse that we stay at.Jordan shared about the child he sponsored. My mom shared about the trial that God helped her push through. I shared about one of the things that I learned. We Americans take to much for granted. Like,when it’s time for school here, we hate getting out of bed and in Africa the kids are litterally begging to get money to go to school.
These are the African experiances that we shared March 12,2012.