Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goodbye Uganda, Congo Here I Come...

What a day… I was on the road from 2:00-9:30 today from Holly’s van to public bus to private taxi to public taxi to motorcycle and finally my friend Mark’s car. It was a little exhausting but I suppose a good warm up for the 20 hour bus ride I have ahead of me tomorrow…

Anyway, I am now back in Kampala after a great week in Jinja. I didn’t end up visiting as many different ministries as I had hoped to but I sure had a great time with Holly’s kids. I could easily see myself spending four months there and, once again, I was sad to say goodbye but the truth is, they really don’t need me there. They have two long-term volunteers who do a great job taking care of the day-to-day stuff and watching them this past week has made me look forward to my time in the Congo as I imagine I will have a similar role there to what they do at Our Own Home.

So, tomorrow I leave for the Congo and now that that time has come, I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is… how am I feeling? Well, I am obviously looking forward to getting to know and love on those kids. I am also apprehensive about certain things such as the long bus ride by myself, the loneliness that will inevitably come from being the only Muzungu and the only English-speaking person, etc. In spite of these apprehensions though, I have no fear and what I feel most of all is peace. Over the past two weeks I have had a lot of opportunity to spend time with God and I have sensed Him speaking to me and preparing me for these upcoming three months. I get the sense that my time in the Congo is going to be quite difficult yet I feel ready. I want to grow deeper in my relationship with God, I want to truly seek His face every moment of every day, I want to learn what it means to be totally dependent on Him and so my prayer is that He would strip away everything else until all that remains is Him. It’s a scary prayer and I am certain there are going to be times over the course of the next three months that I will wish that I had never prayed it but I am equally certain that when it’s all over it will be so totally worth it. One thing that God has made clear over the past two weeks is that this is where He has called me and that He has gone before me taking care of all the details, all I need to do is give Him my all. I have no idea what these next three months have in store but God has given me verses to cling to and I know that there is nowhere I’d rather be than the center of His will.

So, I am asking for your prayers, both tomorrow as I travel and throughout the upcoming three months. Pray that I would experience God’s presence, that I would continue to trust Him more and more and that no matter what happens that I would remain faithful in giving Him my all (for a more comprehensive list of prayer requests please see my previous post here). I have been told I will have internet access over there but I won’t be sure of anything until I get there. Either way I expect it will take me at least a couple of days to get it all sorted out however I promise that I will post as soon and as often as possible. In the meantime, thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. None of this would be possible without you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jinja (part 2)

Ok, I know that really you're all on here because you want to see pictures of Holly's kids from Our Own Home so here you go...

The Girls' / Babies' House


Some of the girls...


Daphnee, Diana & Joshua


Latisha, Joshua again (ooh, I could so easily bring that boy home with me!) and Aliguya (sp?)


What I spend a good part of my days doing... allowing girls (in this case Gertrude) to braid my hair


Me and my little friend, Aliguya (sp?)


Another one of my "friends", Diana...


The Boys' House


Some of the boys...





Kato and one of his favorite toys (like I said, kids here are resourceful!)...


Mark (LOVE this boy!) and his toy car which he made himself


Tomorrow I might be going to visit a couple of other ministries that I have been following here in Jinja but nothing is confirmed yet. If not, I will simply be spending the day at Our Own Home which is just fine with me. Then Sunday, after going to church with Holly and the kids, I will take the bus back to Kampala, go and pick up the rest of my luggage from Mark & Sarah's and then try to make it to a bit of Robbie's graduation party before I pack up my stuff and get ready to leave for Congo. I will do my best to post one more time on Sunday. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jinja (part 1)

So, here I am in Jinja. I arrived late Monday afternoon and have been surrounded by children ever since. So far I have been spending my days reading stories, letting children pull at and brush and braid and put flowers in my hair and seeing how many kids I can fit on or around my lap at one time. What a difference from my time in Kampala! Holly’s place (i.e. Our Own Home) is great and I am absolutely loving every minute of my time there. She has just over forty kids between the ages of 1 and 15 and each and every one of them is so precious. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken any pictures yet (sorry!) so you’re just going to have to take my word for it. The kids are separated into two homes just down the street from each other, one for the boys and one for the girls and babies. So far I have spent most of my time at the girls’ home and have managed to learn all their names so now I’m working on the boys…

Yesterday I went to visit Amani Baby Cottage, the babies’ home I volunteered at for three months the last time I was here. Most of the kids from back then are gone now but I went with two purposes in mind… 1) to visit the few staff members that I was especially close with and 2) to see my Matty. Mama Lucy is the Ugandan woman I worked alongside of for the entire three months I was at Amani and I just adored her. We have had the opportunity to exchange letters a few times in the last 2.5 years but it was great to actually be able to see her again. Equally good yet also very hard was seeing Mama Katherine. For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, Mama Katherine is Jonathan’s mom (if you have no idea what I’m talking about please click here). Even just walking through the gates at Amani brought back all of those emotions I felt when I first heard about what had happened to Jonathan and seeing Mama Katherine brought it all to the surface. Just seeing each other brought us both to tears and we spent several moments just hugging and crying together. I should have been visiting him on this trip, marvelling at how much he had grown, rejoicing at how happy he was in his new family. Instead, there I stood, doing my best to comfort his grieving mother. I cannot even begin to imagine what she is going through…

The day was not all sad though, there was Matty…



Approximately two and a half years ago someone placed this tiny baby in my arms and it was love at first sight. They told me he was under my care and that I should give him a name and so I chose a name that I felt best described what he was, Matthew – “Gift from God”. I remember that first day, holding that three day old baby I had just named, wondering how I would ever leave him behind. I have wondered about and prayed for him often ever since and yesterday I got to see him again. He obviously had no idea who I was but was happy to receive some extra attention and so I happily spent the afternoon pushing him on the swing, holding him, playing with him, reading to him, etc.



Is he not the most handsome little guy???



Matty & I - June, 2007     .........................     Matty & I - Yesterday

Anyway, that’s all the news I have for now but I will try to post one more time before I leave on Sunday. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Goodbye Kampala

Today was a great last day in Kampala. I went to church this morning and then afterwards I went with one of my other friends who graduated this week to meet his family, see where he lives, etc. Robbie is an RA at the Music For Life Primary School I have been talking about and is such an incredible, godly young man. It was a privilege for me to be able to spend a couple of hours with him hearing about his life, encouraging him and praying with him. From there, Paul had arranged for almost all of my friends here to get together at one of their houses. While I was with Robbie, they all chipped in and worked together preparing a great African lunch for me. It was great to spend time with them all together, laughing and having fun like old times, and I felt so blessed that they would do all that for me. Finally, we ended off the day by going to the One Voice choir rehearsal. There weren’t many people there today, mostly just the friends I had been hanging out with all afternoon, but I can’t think of a better way to close off my time in Kampala then by joining these good friends / brothers & sisters of mine in songs of worship to our God.

As many transitions are and I’m sure most will be throughout the rest of my time in Africa, today was bittersweet. I have so enjoyed this time with my friends; I am sad to say goodbye and know that I will really miss them. Still, I am looking forward to my next week in Jinja visiting ministries like Our Own Home, Amazima, One More Child and Amani Baby Cottage. I don’t know what my internet situation will be like in Jinja but I will try to post at least once or twice while I am there. Thank you so much for your prayers up to this point and, let the adventures continue!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday

So, today was the day. This afternoon Sam and Bonny picked me up in a taxi and we loaded all the bags and headed off to Katanga…


Katanga is one of the poorest slums in all of Kampala. Just minutes from Kampala City, sandwiched between the city’s largest hospital and largest university yet, as Sam put it, largely forgotten. Sam and Bonny gave me a tour of the community and then we returned to the football field to begin Kids Club…


They sang some songs and read a bible story and then it was time to distribute the school bags. They took those who attend school to another area and Bonny began speaking to them in Luganda. I understood little of what he was saying but then all of a sudden the room erupted in cheers and I knew he had just told them what was about to happen. He had told them they were going to receive school bags but you should have seen the looks of joy and surprise on their faces when they opened them and saw that there were even school supplies in them…












Of course, things didn’t go perfectly. Once word got out what we were doing parents started bringing their kids and not all were able to receive bags. Still, all things considered it went quite well and Bonny and Sam seemed please which was what was most important to me.

When we got back to the guesthouse Sam shared that he felt today really made a difference for their ministry in that community. You see, Sam and Bonny truly have very little finances for Kids Club except what they can come up with out of their own pockets. They go each week to sing, play games and teach bible stories to the children but the need is so great that it can sometimes feel like they’re not actually doing anything. Let me tell you though, today I saw with my own eyes that they truly are making a difference in this community. When we arrived all the kids ran towards them shouting, “Uncle Sam! Uncle Bonny!” and then walked around with us holding onto their hands. Even though I am a Muzungu visitor which often results in me getting all the attention, the kids were genuinely more excited to see Sam and Bonny then they were to see me and I could not have been more thrilled. I am here for one day and may never see most of those kids again but Sam and Bonny love those kids with all their hearts and they are in it for the long haul – that is what makes the real difference. Still, as Sam said, today was important as, aside from the obvious which is that the children really needed those school supplies, it also showed the parents in the community that Sam and Bonny are serious about helping in any way they can. Sam and Bonny both said that they wish they could write each one of you who donated a personal thank you however they asked me to extend to you their heartfelt gratitude. So, on their behalf and mine, I want to thank each one of you who donated money, bags of school supplies or simply a pack of pencils. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the forgotten children of Katanga and for enabling Sam and Bonny to carry on with this ministry that God has given them.




Webale nnyo!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday

Today was a really fun day as I got to do something really special, celebrate the graduation of one of my African friends. I met Jean Paul on my first trip to Uganda when he helped out with our camp team and we have kept in touch regularly ever since. He has become a good friend, almost like a brother to me and so when he told me months ago as I was planning my trip that he would be graduating in January, I knew I had to be here. Paul’s graduation was actually earlier this week but as the graduates are only allowed to invite two people to the ceremony itself, we decided to celebrate today instead. I showed up at his house early this afternoon with balloons and we took some pictures before heading into town for pizza. It was a lot of fun and I felt really blessed to be able to be a part of his special day.









For obvious reasons, around here graduation is a big deal and as Paul proudly wore his graduation gown around town this afternoon, I marvelled at what a huge difference the African Children’s Choir is making in the lives of these kids. Paul was not the only one of my friends to graduate this week and as former African Children’s Choir members, all of them were sponsored straight through university. For most, it’s an opportunity that would not have been possible without the choir. Former choir kids grow up to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, choir directors, etc. who then go on to give back to their community, invest in the next generation and ultimately affect change in their country. With about 35 choirs so far and approximately 25 children in each choir, that’s a lot of lives changed and a lot of leaders who can and will lead this country into a better future.

So, tomorrow’s the big day when Sam, Bonny and I will be distributing all the school supplies that you have provided. We would appreciate your payers. It’s great to be able to help but distributions like this can also get pretty complicated. We are only giving out bags to the kids that go to school so that will mean separating out those that don’t and making sure that there is no fighting, etc. Also, tomorrow could potentially put Sam and Bonny in a tough spot as word gets out that they gave away all these resources and the community comes back asking for more as Sam and Bonny truly have nothing else to give. So, please pray for Bonny and Sam tomorrow, that God would give them wisdom and discernment in how to distribute these resources. Pray against fighting, rioting, jealousy, bitterness, etc. Pray that the community would understand that this is a onetime thing, that the children would be blessed by the supplies that they receive, and that this would open even more doors for Sam and Bonny to minister in the community and not be a hindrance for them. Finally, above all, please pray that God would be glorified tomorrow and that the kids and their families would understand that this gift is from Him and know how much He loves them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday

Today was indeed a quiet day. This morning I went out to buy paint and paper for the Congo and then I spent the rest of the day packing school bags. The day was a little long but at least it was productive…





All set for Saturday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday

To make up for yesterday’s long post, I will make this one short and sweet…* Today was another great day. I just got back from spending the evening with my missionary friends, Mark & Sarah. Mark is the principle at Music For Life Primary School, the school the African Children’s Choir kids attend once they return from tour. He and Sarah (and now their two children) have been here for about four years and I first met them during my first three-week trip to Uganda back in 2006. Sarah and I connected right from the start and although I only see her when I’m in Africa and we don’t keep in touch much in between, every time I see her it’s like it’s like reconnecting with a long-lost sister. It was great seeing her again today, to catch up and to share our hearts with one another and to hear what God has been doing in each other’s lives.

This morning I met up with another Ugandan friend of mine and we went to visit Teacher Hellen, the headmistress of Bugolobi school (the school I often refer to as “a local school that I know and love”). The kids are still on holidays but it was great to visit Teacher Hellen at her home and spend a couple hours chatting with her. Teacher Hellen is one of “those” teachers, the kind who should win medals of honor… She is a godly, self-sacrificing woman who, in her many years of teaching, has made a huge impact on the lives on many children, including some of my African friends. About a year ago I sent a small package for Teacher Hellen and Bugolobi school along with a friend of mine who came to Uganda. Among other things there was a card in it for Teacher Hellen, encouraging her in her work with the kids, telling her how much she inspires me and that I pray for her often. Today she told me that she continues to read that card at least once a week and that it is an encouragement to her to persevere. It’s a lesson I have been learning this week, the power of simple things. My African friends, with all the hardships they face, telling me, “Your cards, your e-mails, your notes of encouragement, your prayers, your gifts, no matter how small, they matter, they keep us going…”

Tomorrow looks like another laid back day, visiting with friends, putting batteries into calculators and packing school bags (I really need to get on that before Saturday!)…

Thanks for your prayers!

*Sorry, I tried, but I just can’t do short and sweet!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday

Today was a good and very busy day and something tells me this is going to be a long post...

First things first, I know you’re all anxiously awaiting picture of all of our school supplies for Saturday’s distribution. It took some running around but we did manage to purchase the rest of the stuff today so, here it is…



60 backpacks, 600 exercise books, 60 packages of pencil crayons and 108 batteries for calculators.
The grand total… a little over $1,000,000… in Ugandan Shillings that is (approximately $730 Canadian Dollars).

Here is what is going in each bag.



10 exercise books, 8 pencils, 5 pens, 12 colored pencils, 1 calculator, 1 ruler, 1 eraser.

In the end we decided to do only 60 bags as only about half of the 100 kids that go to Kids Club actually go to school. So, that means that the kids are getting a few more pens, pencils, etc. in their bag and any extra school supplies will be going to a local school that I know and love here in Kampala.

Another big accomplishment today, I bought my bus ticket for the Congo! It was no small feat, let me tell you… For months now I have been asking all my African friends to look into buses to the Congo for me but none of them have had any luck. Today, before doing anything else, Bonny and I headed over to the bus park to try to sort it all out. We asked everyone we saw and everyone said that there are no buses that go to Congo. The people I will be working with in the Congo told me to take a bus called “Ideal Express” but no one out of the dozens of people we talked to had heard of it. After about 30 minutes it appeared that the only way was for me to take a bus to Rwanda and then transfer from there. For obvious reasons, I did not like that plan and I started to pray that God would point us in the right direction or help us talk to the right person or something. As we were heading to the office for the bus to Rwanda, Bonny all of a sudden stopped and turned around. There behind us was a small little office and in the window was a small, white, 5x7 sign with the words “Ideal Express” written on it in simple ballpoint pen. The fact that Bonny spotted it was a true miracle and it was indeed the right place, a direct bus from Kampala to Bukavu. God is so faithful. Every time I start to question if maybe I’m crazy for doing this, He works things out in such a way that I can’t deny that His hand of favour is on this trip. The bus leaves at 9 p.m. and at first I wasn’t too sure about traveling at night but it’s actually perfect because it means I will be arriving in Congo during the daytime as opposed to travelling during the day and arriving in Congo when it is dark. Once again I am certain that this is where God wants me and that He will continue to pave the way ahead of me.

So, as much as I have been enjoying my time with my friends over the past few days, I have been so looking forward to being with precious African children. Today I got that opportunity. The places I’ve been for the past few days see so many Muzungus (white people) that the children have hardly reacted to my presence there but today was different. This morning I went with Bonny to see his family and as we walked we could hardly carry on a conversation as every child we passed quickly noticed me, the seemingly out of place white girl, and ran up to shake my hand or waved and shouted out the few English phrases they know: “Muzungu! How are you? Bye, Muzungu!”… I loved every minute of it. As we walked I enjoyed just observing the children. Toys are few and far between around here yet that does not stop them from playing… Running alongside old bicycle wheels while pushing them down the road, chasing chickens (a favourite of our toddlers back at Amani), playing football (a.k.a. soccer) with old newspaper tied together with string, a box with an old plastic hanger as a wheel for an imaginary car, a sort of makeshift bowling with rocks and old batteries and my personal favourite today, three boys pulling “cars”, rectangular juice cartons with water bottle lid wheels and a long string attached…

Anyway, back to telling you about Bonny’s family. When I first met Bonny three and a half years ago, his brother had recently been killed, leaving behind a one year old little boy. Bonny took that child in as his own and has been providing for him and raising him with the help of his mother for nearly four years. In addition to his nephew, Bonny has also taken in two other children, of no relation to him, who have also been orphaned. Last time I was here (2.5 years ago) I got to meet Bonny’s nephew and today I had the privilege of meeting the other two children as well. As we rounded the corner to where Bonny lives, my heart melted as these three little ones ran towards Bonny with open arms squealing, “Daddy!” His love for them and theirs for him was written all across each one of their faces and it was such a precious sight to see.



Simon – Don’t let this picture fool you. This little one is full of smiles and personality, he was just very confused about the contraption I was holding up to his face.



Bridget – She was so quiet. I couldn’t get her to smile but she was content to come and cuddle on my lap with her new teddy bear.



Joram –This little man is a bundle of energy. Here he is happily showing off his new “dolly” and Bible (Thanks Marlene and Bonnie!)



After leaving his place Bonny took me to see another little boy, a one year old with HIV. This child and his father had been staying with Bonny up until about a month ago when the father died of AIDS. Now the child is back with his mother however his mother doesn’t want him and is threatening to leave. Bonny is heartbroken, not knowing what to do. He loves this child as his own and would love to take him in but he is already supporting three children and is truly not sure he can handle any more, not to mention the medical needs of this child. I saw him today and was concerned about his protruding belly, thin hair and lethargy (Casey, if you’re reading this I know your heart just skipped a beat). I would have loved to have held him but he was not a fan of Muzungus and clung to Bonny for dear life :)

After spending the day with Bonny I can say that I have been truly humbled and challenged. You see, Bonny supports these four children, along with another 10-12 who he helps with school fees and school supplies, entirely out of his own pocket, from the money he makes training choirs. Bonny has learned to rely totally on God’s provision. He told me stories today of times when he had less than $10 left and he would simply laugh and pray, “God, you know I have nothing. These are not my children, You are the one who gave them to me. You need to feed them.” And the next day, without fail, money would come in. Still, everything Bonny makes goes towards these kids and when he doesn’t have much, he himself goes to bed hungry so that they can eat. We talked a lot today about the mentality of those who work simply for themselves and their own families. Bonny believes, as I do, that we are called to take what God has given us, use only what we need, and then give the rest back to Him by giving to those in need. This is what I believe but I am a long way from living it out the way Bonny is. One thing’s for sure, the next time I think I have nothing to give, I will remember Bonny and think twice.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday

So, we were half successful today. After sitting down and figuring out what everything was likely to cost we went to the bank so I could get the money. As it turns out, you can only withdraw $300 at a time so we ended up just buying exercise books and pencil crayons today and tomorrow we will go back for the school bags and batteries for the calculators. So, sorry, I know I said there would be pictures today but I want to wait until I have everything before I lay it all out and pack it into the school bags. If all goes well, I should have pictures for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, let me tell you a little more about Kids Club and more specifically, about the two guys who run it. Sam was orphaned as a young child and was raised by his aunt and uncle. He was sponsored as a child and is quick to tell you about the huge impact that had on his life and how much that sponsorship meant to him. As a result, Sam is extremely passionate about sponsorship specifically and also about ministering to children in general. In addition to running kids club, Sam is currently going to school at night and working full time in order to do that. He is studying commerce and his dream is to start his own business and hire employees so that he can do ministry full time. Bonny, unlike most children, was raised by his two parents but nevertheless faced much hardship in his life including the death of two of his siblings. At eight years old Bonny was selected as a member of the African Children’s Choir and after touring for a year he returned to Uganda and is being sponsored straight through university. Bonny loves music more than anyone I have ever known. In addition to Kids Club and going to school Bonny is very involved in many different ministries including training choirs all across East Africa. The one thing Bonny loves more than music however is children and his greatest dream is to take in up to a dozen orphans and raise them as his own.

Bonny and Sam are both godly and passionate young men who truly get what it means to be a follower of Christ and it was great to be able to spend time with them today. We went out for lunch today and Sam insisted on paying for me. When I tried to protest he replied, “The Bible says to share with others, no matter how little we have.”… We in North America could certainly learn a lot from these guys.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday

Standing amongst a couple hundred Africans, on each side of me friends who I haven’t seen in years and yet they still feel like family, joining with them in raising our hands and our voices in praise to their God and mine, the God of all nations…

Halleluiah, Halleluiah, for the Lord God Almighty reigns…
Holy, Holy are You Lord God Almighty…
Worthy is the Lamb, Worthy is the Lamb, Amen.

There are no other words to describe how much I love those moments.

After church today I went to the school that the African Children’s Choir kids go to once they return from tour. Most of them are still on holiday but the ones who just finished elementary school before Christmas were there today as tomorrow they will be getting the results from their government exams. I spent a couple hours there and had a good time talking with a few of them who I remembered from when we did camp there last time I was here. After that I went to watch a choir rehearsal of a group call One Voice. One Voice is made up of former African Children’s Choir kids, now in or completed university. They get together to do various projects in the community from building homes, teaching about sanitation, and music and drama outreach concerts. My friends have been talking about their concerts for quite some time now and I’ve always wanted to go to one. Unfortunately their next concert is right after I leave for Congo but I was glad to at least be able to watch them practice today. I cannot even tell you how talented they are… They were rehearsing a new song, someone sang it for the group once then after just two simple words, “in harmony”, with no further discussion they began to sing and it was though I was surrounded by a host of angels singing.

Tomorrow I am going shopping for school bags and some other school supplies to complete what I brought with me for our distribution to 100 kids on Saturday. There’s going to be so much stuff I’m not sure where I’m going to put it all but I’m excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to post pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm here!

Let me start by saying that I have discovered that arriving in Africa at night is actually quite anticlimactic. It was so dark when I got in last night that, aside from the wonderful Ugandan accent of my driver (which I didn’t realize how much I have missed), if I didn’t know any better you could have told me that I was anywhere in the world and I would have believed you. This morning however I was awaken by that African earth trembling thunder I mentioned in my last post. Later, when I got up and looked out the window and I saw the red earth street filled with taxis and motorcycles, bicycles loaded high with stuff, children playing with bicycle tires and an assortment of goats and cows I knew it was true, I really am back in Africa.

Turns out there’s free wireless at the guesthouse where I’m staying for the next week so I guess you can expect to be hearing from me pretty regularly. Not right now though… I have been sitting with my bags waiting for the driver to come just dying to walk around. So, now that my bags are safely stored in my room I’m outta here :)

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This is it...

Well, this is it. I leave for the airport in less than an hour and now that all my stuff is finally packed and within the weight limits, I can't wait! If you haven't read this post, please check it out so that you can understand how huge it is that I am leaving for Africa today. Two and a half years ago God promised me that He would bring me back to Africa and tomorrow will mark the fulfillment of that promise. I am overwhelmed right now by God's goodness and His faithfulness to me.

Anyway that's it for now but please check back soon.
AFRICA, land of red earth and potholes and thunder that literally makes the earth shake, land of singing, dancing and unencumbered laughter, land of and the most beautiful children, unexplainable joy and a faith that conquers all... HERE I COME!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THANK YOU!!!

I have spent the past few days sorting and packing all of the donations that I received to take with me to Africa... wow!!! How exciting to see all that has been provided to bless the children over there...





beabie babies and art supplies for the Congo...



school supplies for a local sponsorship program...



teacher supplies for a local school...







clothing, deodorant and medication for orphans living with HIV/AIDS...



soccer balls for everyone!



Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. I can't wait to see the look on the children's faces as I give them these gifts and them how much you all love them... And yes, I will take pictures!