Monday, December 5, 2016

God's Plans are Amazing!!!

(NOTE:  apologies for crazy formatting -- blogspot is not cooperating. LOL)

I want to tell you about some exciting and amazing things I witnessed 
this past October when I returned to Uganda to 
reconnect with my dear family and friends. 

If only words and pictures could convey the incredible things God is doing there!

Let me start with my visit to our Village Learning Centers.
(One of the most powerful ministry ‘programs’ I have ever witnessed, by the way. )
I'll let comments from the villagers speak for themselves: (translated)

These little sweeties truly LOVE school !
“My child was very stubborn. Now he comes home with Bible quotations. He can quote and understands the meaning...”

“Our child is now leading prayers at home.”

“There is a great change from parents working together.  We are learning cooperation; we come together and share ideas; we are learning conflict management and team work; … to love and work together as one ...”

“The children are challenging their parents. We also want to learn to read and write.”

“The vision to penetrate this village with the Word of God is happening through the children; 
it was difficult with the adults.” 
~Pastor Fred Lukulala

“Children are giving families enough information to have 
spiritual growth at home."

“Children are going for prayers [church services] – parents are now coming also.”

“People are now hearing from God.”

Now, if that is not enough to just totally blow your socks off, 
as it was for me, there's more ...

In the most remote village, both men and women have organized football (soccer) teams; alcohol consumption has reduced and with that, several other related issues; more parents are coming for prayer and coming to know Jesus!

Lisa, co-director of partner ministry, Our Call Missions, attended a meeting last month of the Association of Christian Schools International. Directors from all over Africa were in attendance. 

She was told that 280 schools from various African countries are requesting our curriculum. 
This is BIG guys!

(Apparently, no other curriculum like this exists.) 

When God has a plan, He doesn’t mess around!  This is way beyond our abilities, which makes it all the more incredible — to Him be ALL the glory. We want every word to be Holy Spirit inspired! That Lisa, I, and the team would have the time, energy, and presence of mind to write creatively and to hear His voice. 

“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us …” 
~Acts 17:27

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Village Learning Centers Update

Term 1 is behind us and 2nd Term is in
full swing.  As with any new work, challenges are inevitable. One being that the classrooms and huts were not completed on time. But, that challenge is also behind us, as you can see by this simple, yet complete, classroom structure.

Of course other challenges have and will continue to arise as we adjust to meet them. But all and all, the term was a success in many, many ways.

Our program is designed for each village to contribute in key areas. One being building the necessary structures, another being feeding the pupils and the educators.

This also had a challenging beginning. The concept is new: this is not a government hand-out; and where alcoholism and poverty is prevalent, the issue makes for hungry children trying to learn and educators trying to teach. 

To remedy the problem, our Educators called village members together to address the issue. Their solution is that all contributions and commitments toward meals be supplied one-week BEFORE Term 2 begins.

Another huge challenge is absenteeism, due largely to illness among the children.  Educators report 2-4 pupils per day are ill. That is a staggering, yet not unusual, number in a place where malnutrition and malaria exist on a large scale.  Please join us in prayer for this.

Educators reported that in Latodore, suspicion and mistrust from the village is another challenge. Educators report that as they stood their ground, continuing the work God has called them to do, pupils began to come. At term end, Educators happily report that relationships are now much improved and villagers are beginning to understand the importance of school as they see the progress their children are making in a short period of time.

We couldn’t do this without those of you who have come alongside in support. Thank you  – lives, whole communities, are being changed.  Let it spread throughout all of Uganda, S. Sudan and all of Africa.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 2016

Just to update you ... I am still here in the good ol' U.S.of A.  I continue to care for my dear 89 year old mother here in Ashland, but am still very much involved in the ministries God has called me to.  Before I update you on that, did you know that this amazing women I am caring for has lovingly raised 10 children; and she now has 65 grandchildren (including great and great-great).  And though this time is challenging beyond measure, I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve my beautiful mom. She has always been there for her children, and this is my time to give back to her.
David and Eli enjoying the pictures I sent them.
back in Uganda …
I continue to communicate weekly with Lucy and George.  Lucy is caring for our precious little Eli and now his big brother David. She will also be having Eston over once per month to see ‘our’ side of his family.  He’s not so happy being the ‘orphan’ in his current family – orphans are definitely at the bottom of the pecking order. And in Uganda they are many.

Eli, Benson (one of our Educators), me and precious Eston.
George and Lucy continue to visit Kampala-Anyuka where one of our two Village Learning Centers is in full operation.  George and Lucy have been going through the Bible with the children, as well as the many adults that also enjoy attending.

George and his wife Flo continue to care for Apiyo and her tiny twin brother Ocen Denis.  This week their older sister showed up at George’s – broken-hearted.  Her uncle treats her cruelly and physically abuses her. She ran to the safest place she knew.  George will go through the proper channels to keep her in his home where she will be loved and cared for … and reunited with her siblings.  What a blessing to see God loving on His children -- no orphans in His kingdom!

Also: our curriculum – so exciting!  As we speak, the ‘Roots to Fruits’ Curriculum is being piloted at several Ugandan schools: three Watoto Schools, Oasis of Hope in Kampala and Gulu, Restoration Gateway in Karuma, and Abaana’s Hope in Gulu. Keith and Lisa recently visited the Watoto schools and found the teachers faithfully using the curriculum with positive results! Miraculous!

We look with anticipation to the changes that will take place as the children of Uganda develop a Biblical worldview through this curriculum and the work of the Holy Spirit; and, as we train and disciple teachers in the way God is leading. (Thankfully, I am able to commit 10-20 hours per week to curriculum work.)

Future Disciples and World Changers
And finally, in October, I will be traveling back to Uganda for a month. While there, I am blessed to join Keith and Lisa. We will visit and evaluate progress at the Village Learning Centers and pilot schools. And, Lord willing, I will travel to S. Sudan to encourage our Acholi family there.  We are pre-arranging some visits and looking for open doors as God leads to minister to the Muslim Women in Sudan.

Monday, November 9, 2015

EDI Kitgum Nov.15

Our Educators-in-Training graduate in 11 days!! Unbelievable!!!
Gathering in Kitgum with wives after a week in the bush. 
Lisa shares some encouragement from the Word. Awesome group!

Please pray God supply sponsors for their wages (centers start in Feb.)

Also, that He give protection and strength to their marriages and families. 
That they be filled with wisdom and perseverance and 
above all LOVE. 
Jesus let them be vessels of change as they shine Your light
in these villages who desperately need YOU! 
Very challenging task ahead for them!

If you have a heart to join us ... check out this link to learn more:
(click 'DONATE' to sponsor one of our VLC Educators!)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Another Season Begins

My amazing mother and awesome son Charlie.
Some of you may not get my newsletter or follow on Facebook, so I'd like to dedicate this blog post to making sure that everyone who has partnered with me in some way is aware of recent changes.

My mom, Lila, now 88, is suffering from dementia.  As the disease takes more and more of her mind, her need for care increases. This is where life-change is necessary for me.

It is without a doubt that God has put a passion in my heart 
to reach the children of Uganda … and beyond.
He has confirmed that call in my heart over and over, and opened doors beyond belief.  

In February, as I desperately sought direction, the Holy Spirit, our guide as Christians, 
made it very clear that it was time to fulfill my role as daughter and 
commit my life for a season to care for my mom.

My work  in developing Christ-centered education will continue, 
both during my time in the states and, Lord willing, for the rest of my life.  
I will also coordinate ongoing ministries from Oregon (thank you Lord for internet).  

My two favorite boys in Uganda: Ocira Eli and Odong Eston.
I have been in their lives since they were babies.
Other than my temporary location shift and time with my dear mother, 
everything else will continue and remain the same.

I don’t know what the future holds exactly.  
But, I know Who holds my future in His hands and His ways are always amazing!

I have been overwhelmed and blessed deep in my heart 
by the love and support you all have given me.

My deepest struggle in leaving Uganda for a season is my love for two amazing boys: 
Ocira Eli and Odong Eston!  
Please pray God hold them and keep them safe and loved while I’m away!

Here's what's happening currently:
Educator Development Center: Graduation in November!  Trainees have received amazing training in areas such as: Old/New Testament Survey, Creating a Biblical World View, Retooling and Rethinking for Multi-Grade Teaching, Biblical Life Skills and so much more.  God has put together an amazing team! In October, I get to join them for the final term, and then in March 2016 our first Village Learning Centers will kick off!
Village Learning Centers:
George and Lucy continue weekly Bible teachings for the children (and adults) in our 1st Village Learning Center site — Kampala Anyuka. Exciting things are ahead!
Also, George and his wife Flo have taken in 2 orphans to add to the 7 children they currently have. Apiyo Desire and Ocen Denis are at last in a stable, loving, godly home. We hear that Ocen now smiles & plays. They are both loved now. Thank you Jesus!
Roots to Fruits Curriculum:
Phase 1 of curriculum is targeted to go to print by the end of the year, Lord willing.  It seems He is planning to actually provide a Printing Press for the project.  Again: Wow!
Kitgum Quarterly Retreats:
As I have been sharing, my home church in Gulu has partnered with me in ministering to my Acholi family from Kitgum & S. Sudan.  Please pray with us as this continues — that these amazing people will find new strength and courage to be lights of God’s love in every area of their lives. Especially within their families.  Let them be godly examples worthy of following.
October to S. Sudan:
Upon my return, we will be taking a team to minister to our Acholi brothers and sisters in 
S. Sudan.  Please pray that every detail will be in line with His perfect, loving will.
Mid-December Return:
In mid-December, I will return to the USA to care for my mom as long as I am needed.  
I will store my things in Kitgum and maintain my $20 a month apartment to serve as a guest house for our Christian family passing through, for prayer and worship gatherings, children's church, and whatever else God wants to use it for.  It is His sanctuary for us!

Again, my deepest thanks to all of you who are sticking with us through these changes.  
You can be sure His work will continue!!  He Who started a work will complete it!!!!!!!
Akera Samuel- a humble, godly man -
contemplates question on Term 1 Exam
He will be an amazing Educator!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Latodore - Kitgum Travels

O'ket James, from my home church in Gulu, leads worship
Sometimes there's worship and other times there's WORSHIP!
This unusual house made of sandbags is FINALLY, after 4 years,
being occupied.  It's such a cool house!  We enjoyed!
Was blessed to reconnect with long-time friend Katherine
and to see dear sweet Doreen from Latodore.
Hellen and Lucy you know if you follow my posts at all ...
they are always there ... we are great trio if I do say so myself.
Sorry for strange layout. Blogspot isn't the  most cooperative place to format.

You may recall some time back my involvement in a ministry to a little remote village called Latodore.  For a few years, we would travel there for 2-3 days each week to build relationships and teach the Word.  This was a place where most had NEVER heard about Jesus. Our dear Kenyan friends Fred and Susan have continued the work.

This past weekend, we got to re-visit this village very dear to my heart and to reconnect with some dear people.  It was such a sweet time of fellowship, worship, prayer, and refreshment.  We stayed up past midnight sharing struggles and praying for one another.  Then, joyfully exhausted, shared a hut with 5 dear women and a cute little boy named Paul.

Then, our team of 5, plus a few we gathered along the way, traveled back to Kitgum to meet up with our Acholi family from S. Sudan.  I rent a small cubicle on Lucy's compound which serves as our family home. Anyone passing through Kitgum now has a place to feel comfortable and fellowship with whomever might be around at the time.  There were 17 1/2 of us (counting Lucy's family and baby Teresa)
Joy!  Joy!  Joy!
Liz, my close friend in Gulu joined us this trip &
thoroughly enjoy meeting all these wonderful people
She's helping the ladies shell g'nuts (peanuts).

This is that unique house from the outside view ...
oh ... and Fanuel and James
Growing up in a family of 12 happy people makes me so enjoy a houseful!  Not that there aren't challenges to 'personal space' at times, but mostly, my heart is overflowing to be with these people whom I have grown to love and respect so much over the years.

We did lots of praying, worshiping, sharing, and laughing together.  We shared some struggles, some victories, and some future plans, and it was heaven on earth to me.  God worked in all of our lives in so many ways. All I can say in response is THANK YOU JESUS for allowing me to be a part of this!

Johnney ... always, always a joy to be around!
(that's our little family cubicle in Kitgum)

These 3 .... love them all so much!
That's little Eli Ocira on the left whom I've know for 7 yrs.
and who isn't so 'little' anymore.  Awesome guys!
Liz in our family home with Eli & newly arrived orphaned children
Apio Desire and Ocen Denis. God has good plans for them!
Pastor George & his wife Flo will foster them.

Evening Worship in our Kitgum home.  HEAVENLY!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

ACSI Regional Meeting

Omony, Onen, Benson and Paul

reviewing Quest workbooks and hanging out before hosting ACSI Conference

(Association of Christian Schools International)

Okwera George, long-time ministry partner and dear friend,

facilitates the class through "Quest", a purposeful journey toward holiness.

Paul and Akera performing a drama about discerning truth.

Onen and Saverius performing a drama about communicating assertively.


... AFTER !!

The building is being transformed along with all of us.

Looking sharp before ACSI Conference -- the 1st event in our new building.

L to R: Saverius, Omony, Onen, Akera, Jeremiah, Amos, Paul, Benson.

ACSI East Africa Director shares from
God's Word for our direction.

Prayer over new ASCI regional office -- in our building!This partnership has the potential of networking with 1000sof Christian Schools throughout Africa. GOAL:  Sharing the love and knowledge of JESUS

Fun-loving ASCI team.