Friday, April 30, 2010

Achieving Milestones In Our Infancy

In December we posted this entry about our NGO status:

December 2, 2009
We Received Our Approval For An NGO!

We have been working on this all year, and comparatively speaking, it was a lot more work than getting our 501 (c) (3) in the USA! So now we are allowed to apply for Visa Work Permits instead of Visitors Passes which in the long run will save us money along without the hassles of going to the immigration office every two months. This is important to all of us long term volunteers. It will also allow us to apply for any government grants that are available in the USA or Uganda.
This Officially puts us on the map!

Jireh Ministries Foundation, Inc. USA
He Will Provide Ministries, UGANDA

May 1, 2010
Now our work permit has been approved! 
 Another milestone!  

Being a young organization, as we are in our 5th year, these are all the steps needed to do the job we are doing here.  The NGO is a non government organization equivalent to a non profit organization in the states.  The work permits are for the  immigration department so we can work in an organization without renewing special visa passes every two months. They have issued a two year work permit to us.  This will save us money in the long run because of the cost of special passes, and save so much inconvenience not having to deal with the capital city for all the immigration services. 

This is all good but it doesn't come without a price tag.  We are in need of some additional funding as this all adds up.  The one work permit we have right now for Jim  is $250.00 per year for two years and the processing fee for the work permit is $150.00 and the processing fee for the NGO is $200.00.  This total comes to $850.00!  This is kind of expensive just to be a volunteer (it is still called a work permit) to do God's work!  But I guess it goes with the territory. We are really grateful, because once submitted both our NGO and Work Permit were  approved relatively quickly as we have heard some stories of long delays.

If you are able to help out with these costs it will be greatly appreciated.  We know the Lord will provide, we just don't know how He plans on doing it and who he is going to use.  But we just want to give everyone the opportunity to participate.  Please memo your donation: NGO  These can be made on line or by check.  

Regardless of how you can help, everyone please pray for us!  

A special thanks goes to Richard at MAF, Mission Aviation Fellowship, who assisted us by the processing of this paper work for these two government agencies.  May God bless them as they have been the missionary's missionary. This is an extra service they do besides their main ministry of flying missionaries and supplies into remote areas. 

United We Serve The Lord Our God!

Amazing Maize

How Sweet It Is!
Farm Project Update

Just a few months ago we shared with you about our co-op farm with God's Revival Church here in Uganda.  This project which is funded by donors, enabled us to develop and plant four acres that were available to us to grow crops.  Our maize is now about 5 feet / 3.5 meters tall!  It seems we planted at the right time, just in time to take full advantage of the rainy season.  The timing was not ours but the Lord's since we were dictated by the donations we received to fund this project.

I would love to show a picture but we don't have a working camera at the moment.  

It is funny, in the village the people are amazed at our corn crop because many of theirs are just beginning to sprout.  Some didn't plant because they were afraid the rain wouldn't come, others didn't plant right away because they doubted the rain at first and then planted late.  We planted when we had the funds and on faith that the rain will come!  Sounds like a bible story to me!

With the crop both ministries will use some of the corn flour or known locally as posho, that we will have milled.  We are planning to sale some to the market so we can purchase other food, and prepare for next season.  The donations made to us will be multiplied through this project!

We will keep you posted as we get closer to harvest time!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rejoice In Our Suffering

I prayed; "Please God Heal Me" as I was heaving my way through the night, I knew I had become really ill.  My head had been aching non stop for hours like it was going to explode.  My eyeballs felt so much pressure like they were going to pop out.  I could barely crawl back to bed and wondered how soon I would have to get back up for more, because I couldn't move fast if I needed to get out of bed in a hurry.  Everything hurt!  I was just waiting to the point when I could at least drink some water and keep it down.

It seems I have malaria, and as I started taking the course of medications, my body was rejecting anything I was taking by mouth, and that meant no headache medication either. It seems I am now on the road to recovery, not 100% yet, but getting there, it will take a couple more days.

So what is so joyful about this?  As I am alone here with my kids, I realized they are supposed to depend on me but I have nothing left to give.  But when called to action they stepped up to the plate and kept checking to make sure I was still alive.  Yea, I mean that literally, malaria is the number one cause of death in Uganda as well as in several other African countries.  They have seen death occur far to often, so they know the possible consequences of an illness.  Most everyone here has had malaria or have seen it, so they know all too well the effect it has on your body.  So they made dinner and followed the schedule for the cleanup and chores.  The evening prayers and worship were conducted as we have scheduled.  They prepared the morning breakfast and locked the main house so they would be able to come in and get their morning breakfast without disturbing me.

All of this is something to rejoice to the Lord about.  My little children, made up mostly of orphans and street kids, have learned what "Love thy neighbor as thyself is all about". I think they also know what having a family is truly about too!  Praise God!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Joking Matter

As Jennifer and I completed our Bible Study Radio Show on Sunday evening, she turned to me and said; "Jjaja, do you know who those people were?"  She was referring to the ones that were entering the studio for their show as we were signing off and exiting.  Because of the local language unless you have an interpreter as Jennifer, a lot can go by unnoticed.  She said they are witch doctors, and they are selling their healing preparations.  This is the reality of what we have here in Uganda.

I know back home in the states, when people hear of witch doctors they depict something from the movies, people with colorful headbands and shakers dancing around the fire and the impact is usually humorous to the observer.  Jokes are often made about them and they are used in comedy routines as well.  When you see first hand the impact they make on a society, it is not so funny anymore.  It is very real and often people are cursed.  So much of the time the fear of the curse is enough to bring people down.  Land has been cursed because someone is building a church, or because of a family feud.  Unborn babies are cursed to have deformities or to die.  It is an evil practice but very real.  False healing is given to others and because they did not get proper medical care they become more seriously ill or die.

We have a variety of culture, religion, beliefs, and cults here!  We need to be aware of our surroundings and to take things seriously.  It is must be quite an interesting contrast to be listening to the radio, because within the same hour, they hear about Jesus and eternal life and then hear of the evil side. This is how blatantly Satan operates here.

Since I know the Lord was on our side during our broadcast, as we always cover ourselves in prayer, we have faith that His almighty power was covering our listeners. Please remember to keep all of us in your prayers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Have A Servants Heart

In John 13: 1-17  we learn a good lesson in humility and to have a servants heart.  When Jesus can go around and wash his disciples feet it really teaches us a few things.  The example that He laid down for us is pretty amazing.   He is teaching a level of leadership that can be really challenging for most of us.  Our human side tells us that this is not the proper protocol of a leader of a kingdom, company, organization, or a church.  But Jesus is telling us otherwise.

Tonight we played out the Gospel story.  Matty was the narrator, Rob played Peter, and Jjaja Jim played Jesus.  So as Matty began reading the scripture I went with a basin and a pitcher of water and a towel as Jesus showed us, to each of our children and proceeded to wash their feet.  When I came to Rob, he read Peter's part; "Lord are you going to wash my feet?"  7Jesus said; "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."  Then we continued through the scripture 8-12.  I completed the washing of our children's feet / After the completion of washing the disciple's feet Jesus said:  13"You call me teacher and the Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am.  14 Now that I Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

Then the children proceeded to wash each others feet as it says in the scripture;  16  "I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

It was just on Saturday that I was talking to the kids about having a servant's heart.  We should have a good attitude about helping one and other and offer to do something that you see needs doing.  We find that all of of life's lessons can be found in the Bible.  Hopefully this will be one of those Bible stories that will stick with them for the rest of their life!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Birthday to Remember!

We had some donations through "Causes" on Facebook for my Birthday, totaling $60.00!  Wow and thank you so much!  This is where a person can designate a cause for someone to donate to, in lieu of giving a traditional birthday gift. Of course my cause was Jireh Ministries Foundation.

So what was so exciting this year on my birthday? It was telling the kids that they will receive "birthday presents" on my birthday!  There were things that we had on the list to purchase whenever our budget might allow it.  So, some real needs were met, and we had an extra nice party too.

So for about $11.00 usd we had goat, plain spaghetti, home made chapatis, deviled eggs, with cabbage salad!  The kids said it was like a Christmas or Easter dinner, a real feast for all 14 of us here!

The gifts were an allowance of the equivalent of $2.50 / 5,000 schillings each to purchase sandals for the boys and some necessities like knickers, bras and petticoats that the girls shopped for and picked out their most needed items.  They all were extremely excited about this gift!  Some of us take the basics for granted but everything is a blessing here, Praise God!

So that totals $31.00 for food and clothes which leaves us with a balance of $29.00 to go towards some of our other needs, like, school fees, rent, food, utilities, etc. Thank you so much for the birthday gifts!

We played games, danced, played drums, and had birthday cake too!

Priscilla came up with this game of sorts, where you pick a small wadded piece of paper from a bowl and after you unravel it, you have to do whatever the message tells you.  Well, little nine year old Joseph decided to keep cashing in on his ticket.  It said; "Hug Jjaja", so every so often he would come over, take it out of his pocket and show me what it said, and  then give me a big hug and a big smile!  It really shows all of us how important a hug can be!

So much of the day was spent in preparation for this party.  Just in case you might think it is a waste of time and energy, it was not.  It shows the kids thinking of others more than themselves, not focusing on their own problems or difficulties and being optimistic and happy about life.  There were children decorating as I was not allowed to go in the living room until party time and even then had to be escorted.  They walked to town to buy their birthday gifts, made birthday cards, iced the cake, made chapatis, fried the goat and cooked the  dinner.  Kids were hiding things and covering their papers as I would walk by, just a busy excitement in the air.  My job was making deviled eggs & spaghetti, and preparing the icing for the cake.

We closed in prayer and a few songs about 11:30PM.  What a long and productive day!  To be the guest of honor was a real blessing in itself but I also realized, we met another milestone! Praise God!

My Birthday Party Reveals A Renewed Spirit!

In February 2009 we opened the Door of Hope Families here in Uganda.  My birthday, March 31, was the first to be passed by, almost unnoticed.  Robyn mentioned it, but birthdays don't have much meaning over here.  For one thing, several of our children did not know when their birthday was, and they surely never celebrated one before.  We tried to have a little fun and they were going to guess my age, well that was a real smart idea Einstein.  93 - 78 - 65 OK lets stop this, and try something different.  Most of them had not spent much time with a muzungu before and we look different than the locals, and the longevity of life here is in the forties.  I was 58 last year, not too old yet, right?  But for a young African child, this white man with graying hair must have looked ancient. 

Well through this past year we learned how to celebrate birthdays and before long everyone decided that it could be a good thing.  We assigned birthdays to ones that didn't know theirs and we had cakes and parties, games, and music and fun!
 Here is the stories on how we make Birthday cakes:

 This was all made possible by Robyn's joyful spirit.  She taught them how to decorate and make the day special.  We never started with gifts as a necessity or a focus.

They started bringing small gifts with home made gift wrap of something that was special to them that they were willing to give up and share.  The decorations were soon taken over by a couple of girls that "took the ball and ran with it" as they could make a room look festive by going out in the village and gathering vegetation and that added with a few traditional balloons, and like magic it was a party!

Birthdays were now a time to give someone a special day and for all of us to celebrate with each other.  We would always include prayers, and worship, and testimonies and talk about what this person means to us or discuss their special attributes and praise God for the gift of life.

So this year my birthday still falls on March 31, but there was a different excitement in the air.  The kids said we need a good party this year because last year it wasn't very good.  Can we have a real party?  Yea lets have a great party.  How about goat or beef for dinner (meat is only on special occasions, like Christmas or Easter), and chapatis, and eggs, and jack fruit.  OK lets do it, so how about we wait until this weekend when we are out of school so we can stay up longer for games and fun.  

The excitement of this event was a healthy change in their lives.  It was optimistic, thoughtful and fun.  When your family is made up mostly of orphans and street kids you realize that events like this are a true blessing from God and we thank Him for showing us the change that is being made in these lives.

I will tell you how it went on the next post!

How do you celebrate birthdays?