Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You From Kids Club



I'm sure you all remember Sam, Bonny and Nicholas and their organization, Kids Club Kampala, through which we distributed all those school supplies back in January (if you don't you can read all about them here, here or here). Well, I got an e-mail from Sam the other day asking me to share the following letter with you on behalf of himself, Bonny and Nicholas...

On behalf of the little underprivileged kids of Uganda especially Katanga slum and the management of kids club Kampala, we want to send our sincere appreciation to all the people in Canada who can never stop thinking of us.

We would like to deliver this message of thanks to the people who donated their money for the kids which we used to buy bags and books, thank you for sending us calculators, rubbers, pencils to mention a few.

We are grateful and thank you and the entire church in Canada for supporting us, please we need you! Keep up the support and the good work of the lord.

We have you in our hearts; Every time we meet for our activities we shall always pray that God blesses you all at work, home and even in your finances.

We are indebted to you.

God bless you indeed.

Yours faithfully.

Wambayo Samuel

On behalf of kids club Kampala
To LOVE and give HOPE to the children


video



Sunday, May 23, 2010

One Week

Well, it’s been just over a week since I got back from Africa and I thought it was time I update you on how I’m doing. Actually, I’m doing quite well. The transition back has been much “easier” than I expected it to be. I think one of the reasons for that is because I don’t really see as a transition back to life here but more like a vacation, a furlough so to speak, before I continue on to the Ukraine. I am really excited about leaving for Ukraine in two months and, in the meantime, I am enjoying spending time with my family, resting and organizing presentations and other opportunities to share with people about all that God has been doing. Still, whether or not I ever go back, Africa will forever hold a piece of my heart and, if God told me to, I would happily get on the next plane to go back.

So, just to give you a glimpse of where my heart is at right now, here are the top ten things I’ve enjoyed about being home and the top ten things I miss about Africa…


Top 10 Things I’ve Enjoyed About Being Home


10. Movies

9. Sweatpants :)

8. Fast, reliable internet whenever I want it

7. Beginning to be able to share in person about all that God has done

6. A couch to lounge on

5. Sunday morning worship, in English

4. Hot showers

3. Going for a walk and not having men shouting out at me from the side of the road

2. Good cereal with real milk

1. Conversation with my family – it’s free, the reception’s great and we never get cut off because the phone card runs out, the cell battery dies, etc.!





Top 10 Things I Miss Most About Africa


10. Being surrounded by breath-taking beauty

the view from the backyard of the orphanage

9. Visits to the maternity

outside the maternity with the receptionist, Suzanne and one of the other midwives

8. Rice and beans

like I said, I love rice & beans!

7. Boda boda rides

taken in 2007

6. Sharing my heart with “missionary” friends who truly get it

.
Holly (and Israel) & Sarah (and Jodie)


5. Spending countless hours pushing kids on the swing while singing songs of praise and worship to God or listening as they sang quietly to themselves songs that I had taught them in preschool

Marleine loved the swing & she really, really loved to sing

4. Preschool

video

3. My friends

at our "farewell lunch"

2. Snuggling with my two “special” boys

Bwemere & Matabaro

1. All the kids, whether from the orphanage in Congo, the slums of Katanga, the village of Masese or Our Own Home, who just want to be loved

Bugolobi Primary School

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I'm back

Good morning. Just a quick post to let you know that I have made it home safe and sound. Thank you for your prayers. I have cried many tears over the past couple of days (although not nearly as many as I thought I would)… Tears of relief that all that has been hard these past four months is over, tears of deep sorrow over having to leave a place / people that I love more than words can describe, not knowing if I’ll ever go back, tears of wonder and gratitude over all that God has done and is continuing to do in my life. I truly am in awe that God would choose to use me…

Anyway, thank you for journeying with me over these past four months – and the adventure’s not over yet! I’m excited about all that God has in store for me in Ukraine (more on that soon). In the meantime, keep checking back as I continue to post stories from my time in Congo.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last Day

As far as last days go, this one could not have been any better. As some of you may remember, on my last day in Kampala back in January, a group of my friends got together and made a great lunch for me at one of their homes. It was an amazing gesture of generosity and friendship that I will never forget and today I wanted to return the favour. Oh how I would love to pile them all on a plane and have them over to my place for lunch but, since that’s a little bit out of reach for my budget, I decided to take them all out for lunch instead. So, this afternoon the eight of us met up at a nice little restaurant in the middle of an absolutely gorgeous park, right in the center of the city. The food was great and the company was even better. We sat there eating and talking, making fun of each other and laughing so hard that this time I thought I was going to be sick! It was great but let me tell you what really makes my African family so special and why I love them so much… As the laughter died down, one of the guys suddenly suggested that we go around the circle and tell everyone what we appreciate about each other. And so for the next hour or so we did just that, every one of us appreciating and affirming each person seated around the table. I was touched to hear all the wonderful, positive, encouraging things that they said to one another and so blessed for the opportunity to really share with each one of them how much they mean to me. After everyone had had their say, we simply began worshipping together, right there in the restaurant. We sang one of my favourite Ugandan songs, We Are Together Again, as well as another song that I didn’t know yet was so fitting – Bind Us Together In Love. Finally, our time of worshipped flowed into a time of prayer as we joined hands and lifted one another up in the presence of our Heavenly Father. If you have never had the privilege of being prayed over by a group of African brothers and sisters let me tell you, there is nothing like it. Then, the inevitable came and it was time for us to go. And so I hugged my friends goodbye and fought off tears as my taxi, quite literally, drove off into the sunset.







Of all the transitions I have experienced over the past few months, this one is without a doubt the most bittersweet. With all the travelling I’ve done, over the course of this trip I have experienced homesickness for the first time in my life and for months I have been longing for this day when it would be time for me to return home. Yet, if home is where your heart is then Africa is also my home and as much as I want to go back home, I don’t want to leave here. The last time I said goodbye to Africa three years ago, God gave me a promise that He would bring me back here one day. This time I have received no such promise and so I must say goodbye, not knowing when or if I will ever be back here again. Even now as I look at all the things on my bed that need to be packed, the whole thing just seems surreal. I would appreciate your prayers over the next 48 hours as I deal with the flood of emotions that are bound to surface.

Anyway, I’m off to pack and then try to get some sleep before my driver comes to pick me up at 5:00 tomorrow morning to head to the airport. Thank you. For everything. See you soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coming to an end...

Whew, what a day! What a great, long, wonderful day… This morning I went to visit my good friend Sarah who I’ve mentioned before here. Her husband is the principle at the school where the African Children’s Choir kids return to after tour and, as I’ve mentioned before, I truly feel like she is a long lost sister so it was really good to spend some time with her again. After that I met up with two of my African friends and we went to visit the child that my family sponsors. I thought we would be going to his home but as it turned out Teacher Hellen had arranged for all of us to meet at her place instead. When we arrived we discovered that Allan, our sponsor child, had been there since the morning and that the two of them had prepared a huge, delicious meal for us. Teacher Hellen has got to be one of the most generous, hospitable people I know and the five of us had a really great afternoon together, talking, praying for one another and laughing so hard my side hurt.



Allan lives with his grandmother and when I asked how she was doing he said that she was good but that she was disappointed she wasn’t going to get to see me. The truth is, I was a little disappointed too and so the four of us decided to head over there. I wish you should have seen the smile on her face and heard her squeals of delight as she saw us coming around the corner! We didn’t stay for too long but I was happy to be able to hand deliver the food I had bought for them (she must have said thank you at least two dozen times!), to greet her on behalf of my family and to pray with her in person.


Finally, after leaving Allan’s place, Bonny and I went to check in on Paul and his family in Katanga. By that point it was dark and rainy so we were only there a few minutes but I was happy to see them one last time. At some point during the day today it hit me that I am leaving in just two days and I nearly began to cry. How I’m going to leave behind these people, this place that I love so much I just don’t know… Please pray for me tomorrow as I spend one final day with my friends, that the day would be a blessing an encouragement for them and for me as well.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jinja

So, here I am in Jinja. I arrived Thursday around noon and spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with Holly and her little guy, Israel. For those of you who don’t remember, Holly is a good friend of mine who runs a children’s home here in Jinja for children living with HIV. When I visited her back in July she was seven months pregnant and now she is the mother of a beautiful, two-month-old little boy named Israel. It was great to be able to meet (and hold!) little Israel and also to spend some time catching up with Holly, debriefing about the Congo, etc.

Holly & Israel

On Friday I spent the day at Our Own Home (Holly’s children’s home). I was thrilled to see all of Holly’s kids again and spent the day chatting with the older kids, reading stories with the younger ones and snuggling with the babies. My favourite part of the day was evening devotions with the older girls, just sitting around worshipping with them, once again in a language I understand. It was so great to be able to communicate with the kids as they all speak pretty much perfect English. While I know that God knows what He’s doing, I couldn’t help wondering how different things would have been in the Congo if I could have communicated with the kids there as well…

Still totally in love with this little guy...

Joshua

And now this little man (new since the last time I was here) has captured my heart as well...

Moses

And I continue to spend a lot of my time with this precious, story-loving little girl...

Aligaya

Yesterday was an especially good day as I got to go and visit a ministry that I have been wanting to visit for years. Out of all the ministries that I have been made aware of over the past several years, if I had to pick one that most reflected my heart it would be Katie’s. Katie has been in Uganda for three years now and has started a ministry called Amazima. Some of the things that Katie does include a sponsorship program for approximately 400 students, a daily feeding program for over 1000 children in one of the poorest villages in Uganda, an income-generating project for widows as well as simply doing whatever needs to be done to love and care for those around her who are sick, hungry or in need. In the midst of all this Katie has also adopted 14 girls ranging from infancy to adolescence. Oh, and did I mention that she is just 21 years old? Katie is a huge inspiration to me as I strive to serve God and love others with everything I have and I strongly encourage you to take a few moments and go check out her blog (www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com). I guarantee you, just one post will leave you challenged and inspired.

Anyway, every Saturday all of the kids from Katie’s sponsorship program are invited to “worship day”, a time of worship and bible study followed by a hearty lunch. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go and visit and it was great. I got there around 10:30 and shortly after they began their time of worship. Oh how precious it was to join in singing with several hundred of these precious children! Afterwards they had bible study during which time one of Katie’s staff told them a bible story and then had the kids come and act it out. The kids were riveted and just laughed and laughed seeing their friends playing the parts of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob & Esau – makeshift props and all. After bible study the kids played for a while until lunch was ready. And oh, what a lunch it was! It stated off with each child receiving a hardboiled egg, followed by a heaping plate of rice, beans and chicken – yes, chicken! I was surprised and delighted to hear that this is what the children are served every Saturday. After lunch, the kids play some more and then at around 4:00 when they head home each child is given a bag of rice, sugar, etc. to bring home for their families. I had a great day loving on the kids as much as I could and, after reading about Katie’s ministry for years, it was great to be able to see at least one small part of it in person.

Worship
video

Bible study

Eggs...




Lunch... those are some BIG pots of food!






Notice the little girl in the orange skirt and the other one in the yellow shirt...
they were my playmates / snuggle bugs for the day - they were so cute!

Well, that’s it for now. Tomorrow I plan on spending the morning with Holly and Israel and then I’ll be heading back to Kampala for my final 3 days (yikes!). Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there and a special shout out today to my mom – thanks for everything, I can’t imagine these past three months without your love and support.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday

Today was a much quieter day, hanging out with two friends who I haven’t had much of a chance to see yet since I’ve been back. These two friends love to show me around Kampala and today they decided we should go to the Uganda Museum. I’m not much of a museum person but it was ok and I was just happy for the time to spend with my friends. Neither of them had been before and one in particular is a real intellect and it was great seeing how much he enjoyed it.

Tomorrow I head off to Jinja for 5 days to visit Holly, her kids at the orphanage and her brand new baby, born just two months ago! I am really excited to see her but not so excited to be “moving” again (packing, dropping my big bags at a friend’s place here in Kampala, lugging all my stuff for the week to the taxi park to take the bus, etc.). There’s no free wireless there but I will try to go to the internet café at least once to update you all. Please continue to pray for energy throughout my time in Jinja. I can’t believe I only have 8 days left before I leave this beloved country. Please pray that I would enjoy every moment.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday

Today was a really special day. Nearly 4 years ago I came to Uganda for the very first time to help run day camps for impoverished children. Our first stop, a school in the village of Luwero, where we were greeted by 400 of the most beautiful, gracious, faith-filled and simply endearing children I had ever known. God did a mighty work in my life in Luwero; it was there that I first fell in love with Uganda and it was there, as we said our very tearful goodbyes and the bus pulled away, that I realized that I would never be the same again. In 2007 I had the opportunity to go back to Luwero once again for a short, three-day visit and, although the whole story is too long to tell right now, those were the three most purposeful, glorious, awe-inspiring days of my life so far. As you can see, Luwero holds many special memories for me.

As I mentioned, when we were first in Luwero in 2006 we were doing camp for 400 children yet there were a handful of them that I made a special connection with. When I returned in 2007, there were 900 children at the school nevertheless, God allowed me to find and reconnect with several of those students that I had connected with that first year and our bond became even stronger. I have continued praying for those students ever since and, even before I made plans to come back to Africa, I asked God to give me a chance to see them one more time. As soon as I realized that I was going to be back in Uganda I e-mailed the social worker at the Luwero school with pictures and first names (that’s all I had) of three specific students and asked he could try to track them down for me. This was no easy request as these students all graduated 2-3 years ago! Still, he gave it his best. One of the students he was never able to identify, another he discovered had moved and the phone number he had for the family was no longer valid. Last week however he told me that he had indeed managed to track down one of the students. She was still in Luwero and if I wanted, I could come and visit her this week. Of course my answer was yes!

So, this morning I headed off to Luwero. The entire trip, from the guesthouse to the school (where the social worker lives), took 2.5 hours but once again, it included a boda ride so I was happy. I arrived at the school and was excited to see Uncle Rommie and his family. He has three of the sweetest children ever and I was excited to see how much they’d grown in the past 3 year years. Oh my, have they ever grown! Our three “babies” were now all grown up. All of Uncle Rommie’s children are extremely smart and, when I asked them if they are still bright like when they were little, they smiled and ran off to show me all their report cards (very rarely a mark under 90%) – so cute! When I get home I’ll have to post before and after pictures. In the meantime, here they are (with their new beanie babies of course!)...

Uncle Rommie's Family - July 2007

Today - Priscilla, Praise & Paphra

After visiting with his kids for a bit, Uncle Rommie and I headed off to see Shalifa. When I first met Shalifa in 2006, I immediately saw in her great potential. We would sit around after camp with a handful of other students who were all trying to teach me Luganda. Shalifa was my best teacher, extremely intelligent and extremely patient, and I’d have to say that she taught me nearly every word I know in Luganda (including how to count to 100!). As we pulled up at Shalifa’s house she ran out to greet us, so excited! She couldn’t believe I still remembered her, let alone that I had come all the way from Kampala to see her. We had a great visit, talking and laughing as we reminisced about old times and then I had the privilege of praying for her in person after all these years of praying from so far away. I know that God has great plans for this girl and, even if we never meet again in this life, I can’t wait to find her in heaven and hear all about how God has used her.

Shalifa had this sign waiting for me when I arrived... (ok, I may not be from the U.S.A. but I felt welcomed nonetheless!)


Shalifa & I - July 2007

Shalifa & I Today

Shalifa was not the only child I got to visit today. You see, I wasn’t the only one whose life was forever changed by that trip to Uganda in 2006. Our team was made up of individuals from all across Canada, the US and the UK – one of those people was my friend Jenny. Jenny and I met here in Uganda in 2006 and, after returning to Canada/the US, we kept in touch. God had stirred something in both of our hearts and we e-mailed each other often as we tried to sort through it all. We met again back here in Uganda in 2007 where we were once again part of the camps team and then the two of us returned together to Luwero for those amazing three days. From there I headed off to New York for my internship with Metro Ministries and Jenny headed off across North America as a chaperone to 26 of the sweetest children you will ever meet – the 30th African Children’s Choir. Jenny spent about 16 months with those kids and obviously fell completely in love with them. Over the past 4 years, Jenny has become more than just a long-distance friend. God has led us on such similar journeys (right about the same time that I left home for one year in Congo/Ukraine, she left for a year in South Africa) and it has been as though we are walking this road together, even from a million miles apart. Anyway, Jenny hasn’t seen her Choir 30 kids in over a year and so, when I realized that I would be back in Uganda, we were both excited for me to see them and give her a full report (with pictures!). Unfortunately, the way the timing fell, the kids ended up being on holidays (all former choir kids stay at a choir-run boarding school but go home to see their families on holidays) both times I’ve been here so I haven’t been able to see them. As I was in the taxi headed to Luwero however, I all of a sudden had what I could only describe as a divine recollection – Daniel, one of Jenny’s kids, lives in Luwero; maybe Uncle Rommie would know where he lives and we could go see him! Well, Uncle Rommie did indeed know where Daniel and his family live and so we popped in for a quick visit. It was great to see him again (I have met Jenny’s kids several times, both here in Uganda and while they were on tour), to see how much he has grown and to hear about how he and all the other kids from his choir are doing. Most of all though, it was great to be able to tell him that his Auntie Jenny loves and misses him and all the other kids.


Daniel - July 2007                                                                      Daniel & I Today

The day kind of passed in a whirlwind and by 2:30 I was back on the taxi to come back to Kampala. It truly was an exhausting day but it was so worth it.

Jenny, I’ve been thinking about you all day… wish you were here!

Jenny & I - July 2007

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday

This morning I met up with Bonny once again and we headed back to Katanga to visit Paul and his family. Bonny already brought over the food and medication yesterday but I wanted to see them again and, also, I knew you would want to see pictures. Even before the problem with the school fees, Paul was kicked out of school because of his rash. The other kids in the community say he is cursed and won’t play with him for fear of catching what he has. Today I went in with one goal in mind – to show this boy that he is loved. Bonny and I both showered him with affection, stroking his back, rubbing his head, playfully grabbing his arm or punching him on the shoulder and every time we touched him he would just look up and smile. Then I pulled out the beanie babies and, once again, the kids were all smiles and laughter…

Here in Africa, older kids don't often smile for pictures but she could barely hold it in :)

Paul's older brother, also HIV+

This little guy was so cute

Precious Paul

Paul and his mom

I think Paul’s smile says it all however I want to say a special thank you to all of you who donated towards this trip. In a place full of never-ending need, today you can say, “I made a difference to that one…” Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus, a tangible expression of His love to Paul and his family.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday

I woke up this morning with great anticipation. For the past three months, the church I have been attending has been entirely in Swahili meaning that I didn’t understand a thing. What’s more, the church did not really have a time of corporate worship. They had several choirs who sang during the service however no one else joined in, they simply remained seated and listened. I could see that some were worshipping quietly, meditating on the lyrics, but since I didn’t understand what was being sung it was a real struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was constantly singing praises to God while washing laundry/dishes, pushing kids on the swing or cuddling them in my lap and I had many wonderful, intimate times of worship alone in my room yet oh, how my heart longed to join my voice with fellow believers in singing praises to God for His great goodness. Well, today was the day and by the time I got off the taxi I was so excited I had butterflies in my stomach! It was a beautiful time of worship and celebration indeed and I couldn’t help the tears that flowed as I marvelled once again at God’s faithfulness. My only disappointment was that it didn’t last longer.

After church I went to the African Children’s Choir training academy to visit the new choirs. They are training two choirs right now and I have a good friend who will be travelling with each one and so I was really glad to be able to meet “their kids”. I always LOVE meeting choirs while they are still in training, they are so cute and little and excited about everything. I didn’t get to spend much time with the kids as they were busy packing to go home on holidays tomorrow but I had a good time nonetheless and I hope that it was a long enough visit that they’ll remember me if I get to see them in Canada :)

The training academy is kind of a hang out spot for former choir members after church on Sundays and, as a result, I got to spend time with quite a few of my African friends today. It was great to be able to catch up, hear what God has been doing in their lives and share some of what He’s been doing in mine as well – everyone loved the bus story!

Now, I’m sure you’re all wanting an update on the Katanga family. Thank you for your prayers and concern. After praying about it, Bonny and I have felt led to provide the medication needed to treat Paul’s rash along with that of his older brother who also had a rash, although not as severe. We will also provide the family with enough food to get them through the month until the university students return. This leaves the problem of the school fees however we cannot do everything and, as school fees are a recurring need, it would leave Bonny with a continued financial responsibility which he cannot manage right now. The medication will cost $50 per child and food for a month (for a family of 7!) will be $100, meaning a total of $200. I have been struggling trying to wrap my mind around how such small amounts of money came make such a huge difference… I don’t envy Bonny. This is his life, being approached every day by people in need, having to decide who to help, knowing that he simply cannot help them all… Please continue to keep Paul and his family in your prayers and, if you attended church this morning, take a moment to thank God for the opportunity, the privilege you have to freely worship Him with other believers in a language you understand. As the saying goes, we don’t know what we’ve got ‘till it’s gone.

p.s. I have indeed been updating my blog with stories/pictures from the Congo. I have been posted them according to the date they took place so scroll down or look in the archives from February, March and April to read more

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday

Have I mentioned lately that God is faithful? For whatever reason, I didn’t sleep much last night and as I lay in bed this morning, already tired before the day even began, I knew I did not have adequate strength to face the day. Inadequacy is a feeling I have come to know well over these past three months however and I have begun to see it for the blessing that it is as it makes me more fully aware of my dependency on God and allows His power to be made perfect in my weakness. And so my prayer this morning was simply, “God, You’ve done it before and I know you’ll do it again, please give me all that I need.” And did He ever! Today was to my spirit what the guesthouse breakfasts’ have been to my body…

As I mentioned yesterday, I met up with Bonny this morning and we headed off to Guyaza. It took us a little over an hour to get there but I continue to love driving through Africa and this particular trip also included a back road boda (i.e. motorcycle) ride, which is one of my favourite things to do in Africa, so I was in my glory (sorry Jenny, don’t be too jealous!). Once we reached Guyaza the first thing we did was go to visit the triplets. Three years ago, a family with 6 kids was struggling to get by when they discovered that the mom was pregnant. They wondered how they would ever provide for this new baby and then came the shocking news, she was pregnant with triplets! They simply did not have the means to feed these three new children and so Sam and Bonny stepped in, providing money each month to buy milk for the babies. I got a chance to meet the triplets when I was last here in 2007 and was excited to see them again. Well, they are not babies anymore and, although I was amused at how all three of them are completely different in size, I am happy to report that all three seem to be doing well and do not appear to be suffering from malnutrition. They were extremely shy / fearful of me, the Muzungu, at first but were all smiles when I pulled the beanie babies out of my bag and oh how I wish you could have heard the squeals of delight from their older siblings when they saw that I had brought some for them as well. My favourite though was the smallest of the triplets who held her teddy bear close to her chest and kept looking down at it and then back up at me, her smile lighting up her face.

The parents with the triplets


Some of their older children

The triplets with their new teddy bears.
They were all smiles, until I started pointing my camera at them...

While in Guyaza I also got to see a bit of Kids Club. Every Saturday morning they do Kids Club with a group of children in Guyaza before heading to the slums of Katanga for their afternoon Kids Club program. Because Sam and Bonny have jobs, other responsibilities, etc. they are not always able to make it to both Kids Clubs every week and so they had to find a volunteer who would be able/willing to be there all the time. I met Nicholas at Kids Club in Katanga back in January but, given the chaos of the school supply distribution, I really didn’t get to talk to him. Today however, in between the two clubs, he took me back to his house to meet his wife and baby and I got to hear his story. Back in January I shared with you a little bit of Sam and Bonny’s life stories (if you haven’t read them I encourage you to do so by clicking here) and now I want to tell you about Nicholas. In 1997 Nicholas was serving a year in prison for assault when a preacher came and shared with Him about Jesus – a day that forever changed his life. To say that Nicholas is passionate about Jesus would be an understatement. Nicholas works on call as a builder however, no matter how badly needs the job, he never accepts work on Saturdays as he is committed to being with the kids, loving them and teaching them about God. He also goes every week back to the prison where he first heard about Jesus to bring that same message of hope to those who are there now. “There are times to work and times to preach the gospel,” he told me today, “God will provide.” Nicholas has a one month old son named Philip (I am loving all the chances I’m getting to hold little African babies!). When asked how many more children he would have I was surprised to hear him say just one or two (that is extremely small for an African family!). He then went on to say that after having one or two more children of his own he wanted to start taking in other children in need of a family. As you may remember, that is Bonny’s heart as well and that got us talking about how Bonny was praying that he might be able to buy a plot of land where he could build a home and expand his family (every week someone approaches him with a child in need of a home but he simply doesn’t have the space). Obviously, a plot of land is not something Bonny can afford yet he started sharing with us about what God had been teaching him lately. “Why do we limit God?” he said, “He is more than able. If we ask for small things He will give us small things but if we ask for big things He will do it.” One by one we all started recounting stories from our own lives of God’s provision in situations that were totally impossible. I continue to be challenged and inspired by these godly, passionate, self-sacrificing young men and in that moment I couldn’t help but think to myself, “This is a window into what heaven is going to be like, sitting around with brothers and sisters is Christ, all from different backgrounds and nationalities, sharing stories of God’s faithfulness…”


Kids Club in Guyaza

Sam, Bonny and Nicholas

After stopping for lunch (I ordered beans and was so thrilled!) we headed over to start Kids Club in Katanga. I wish I could tell you more about what a “normal” week of Kids Club looks like but in the end I didn’t really see any of it. Just before Kids Club started I noticed a little boy with a rash like nothing I have ever seen before. It covered his whole face and head and was scattered across his arms and legs as well, so thick that at first I thought it was burn scars. Bonny and I spotted him at the same time and as we looked at each other I knew we were both thinking the same thing – “We’ve got to do something for this boy”. So, we headed off with the boy to go find his mother. As we did I got a real inside look at Katanga and it is a true slum in every sense of the word; cramped, flies everywhere and a river of sewage running straight through it. Nearly every child I saw was filthy and visibly malnourished and I found myself being filled with a deep love for that place while at the same time overwhelmed by the great need. That feeling of being overwhelmed only grew as we found the boy’s mother. She told us that her husband had died of AIDS a couple years back and now she, along with at least two of her six children, were also infected. The mother had no job and no money and could not afford the medication needed to treat her son’s rash. All of her children had been kicked out of school because the mother was unable to pay their school fees and, what’s more, we discovered the family had not eaten in three days. After hearing all of this, Bonny and I both stood there feeling totally overwhelmed. What do you do in the face of such all-encompassing need? We started asking more questions and found out that the mother had been taking her children to a local AIDS clinic that Bonny knew of. They had started Paul, the boy with the rash, on ARVs and had told the mother that she needed to buy additional medication to treat his rash however it was very expensive. We also discovered that a group of students from the university had been supplying that family with food however the university was now on holiday for a month and that was why they had not eaten. It began to feel like there might be a way to help after all. Bonny and I went and bought enough food to last them the next couple of days and told the mother that we would be in touch. The two of us agreed to pray about it tonight and talk more tomorrow about what we might be able to do. Would you join us in praying that God would give us the wisdom and resources needed to help this family in the right way? I’ll keep you posted.