Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tick, tick, tick!

T minus 4 days and counting... We are spending our last Saturday (of the summer, really) in Beaufort, enjoying the water but also cleaning in preparation for closing the house for a month. Hard to believe the time is right on us!

Tuesday we are having a packing party - trying to figure out how to get all our stuff, camp stuff, requested stuff, and donated stuff into 13 bags weighing 50 lbs or less each. It will actually be the first time all 6 of us are together, and I'm hoping Ryan will give us a quick run down of the camp plan, so that the others can be praying about it, and preparing for our meetings next Saturday (our group) and Sunday (our group plus the Ugandan volunteers). We are really trusting the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us, as we will have 40 precious kids ages 6-15 who are eager to learn about Him, and basketball. We covet your prayers for strength, wisdom, and for us to have a clear rhema (timely) word from God during our devotions.

While the camp is the main focus on our trip, we will also be going down into Namuwongo (the slums) 2 of the afternoons after camp to distribute clothes to Ray of Hope families. This will be a shock for the 3 girls who haven't been before - it's always a shock to us, who have been many times! But it is also an amazing experience, and I know it will really impact the girls.

AND - we ARE doing fun stuff too!  We will be going to the National Theater and Friday markets, attending the fabulous Ndere Dance Troupe dinner theater, and going on a one night safari to Lake Mburo (which involves crossing the equator!). Not to mention swimming and hanging out with all the great people at Fathers House!

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A week!

We leave a week from today! So exciting! How can you help?

*  Donations for grants to women in the slums.

*  Donations of clothing and shoes.

*  Donation of funds for medical supplies (or of medical supplies).

*  Still need a working laptop!

*  Prayer!!

As I said, we've been taking this week to enjoy our families, but starting Sunday or Monday, the heat is on! We've got a 4 day camp for 40 kids to plan/finalize, 13 bags to pack, a bank run, a lot more shopping to do... I'm used to our regular trips to Uganda, and can get everything together quickly. But this is a whole new ballgame!

We appreciate all your support! Please pray for us Aug 4-15 (Ryan, Amanda, Erica and Catie), and Aug 4-26 (me and Zeke), esp for easy travel, manageable jet lag for the 3 not used to such big time zone changes, and no illness while there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

9 days and counting down...

Picture caption: this picture is taken in front of what is considered a "nice" school (that wooden building behind the kids) outside of Jinja, near Bujagali Falls. The ATV adventure company we rode with is sponsoring the school and updating it, adding a play ground, and generally helping the community. These kids are students there.

Wow, this summer has flown by! We leave in 9 days, and have a LOT to do before then. We will be packing our 13 bags on Tuesday afternoon as a group, so we can spread the weight around and bring all we can of the donated items. I've still got some shopping to do to fulfill some of the requests from friends in Uganda, as well as important things like getting the cash from the bank (you can only exchange hundred dollar bills, 2006 or newer, with no marks, folds or tears... so it's a pain!).

The members of the team seem to be having their "last hurrahs" this week, with 4 of us out of town on vacation with families. Since the 4 college-age girls all have to start real life back up as soon as they return home, it's nice to get that last fun time in.

We have the final details on the camp:
40 kids:  10 ages 6-9 (5 each girls and boys), and 30 ages 10-15 (also evenly split)
8 local volunteers
2 translators
6 Americans
13 basketballs
58 tee shirts
20 pennies
2 face painting kits
75' of mural paper
dozens of markers (for the mural)

Ryan's planning the camp, and devotions and other activities. Nesco is ready for lunch 4 days straight, with  56 people each day. We've figured out how to have enough safe water for everyone.

So I think we're getting there! Come next Thursday afternoon, whatever we don't have is not going! This is expensive - it's costing Ten Eighteen about $3500 to put on the camp, so we'd love to have your help in funding it. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So much stuff!

Wow, we have a lot of stuff to take to Uganda already, and the collection process hasn't gotten into full swing yet. We have received the basketballs and volleyballs, most of the 58 tee shirts, and the mesh bag and ball pumps. We have all kinds of arts and crafts stuff for face painting and for the kids to do a 75' mural during the camp. The donated clothes continue to come in. Taking some meds and clothes for Fathers House, and will be getting a lot of bandages and other medical supplies. Oh - and our OWN stuff!

We are under 3 weeks at this point, and I'm starting to get very excited! 4 of the kids going have been working at New Life Camp until yesterday, so now they have some time off. One had surgery yesterday, so we are praying for her quick healing. We'll be doing some travel to the coast in the next couple of weeks to spend time as a family, so I'm trying to get all my to-do's done here and not be distracted there.

I had 2 opportunities to see God at work yesterday, and both came about because of a very simple thing: when I heard God speak, I obeyed. Now, I don't deserve or want ANY credit for that... No more than I want credit for breathing. We should be listening and obeying, all the time, just as naturally as breathing. While God doesn't owe us any explanation, it is really amazing when we get to see a seed planted or a person set free. Keep you ears and heart open - you never know what will happen!

Note - in the photo above, the boy is chewing on leaves. Notice that his stomach is distended with malnutrition... When they are hungry, they chew on leaves or, if they have a few shillings, sugar cane, which keeps hunger pangs at bay but doesn't provide any nutrition.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3 weeks!

Holy cow, we leave in 3 weeks!  Much progress has been made, but being our first team trip and camp, there are a whole lot more details than usual. Praying for clarity!

I have ordered the 58 camp tee shirts, 10 basketballs, and 6 volleyballs (for Vicka, not for the camp). I've verified that we cannot get an extra baggage allowance from Delta, so we will have 13 bags of 50 lb each to work with. Our transportation during the trip is all confirmed, we have 36 kids signed up (room for 4 more), the catering handled, and our Ugandan friends are joining the fray. The Youth Sharing Center is reserved. Our visas have been processed and received. Packing lists have been sent out. Prescriptions dropped off at the pharmacy. And I'm sure there's a whole lot more to do!

In addition to the camp, Zeke and I will be going out with the hospice team in Jinja one day, and spending 2 days at the orphanage at Arise Africa. We will also be going down into the slums of Namuwongo to talk to the ladies we have grants to last visit, see how they're doing, and see if there are other needs we can meet. The kids will be on school holiday, so I'm hoping to see and talk to some of the 20 kids we are sponsoring for school fees.

The camp supplies (tee shirts, balls, etc) and medical supplies are expensive, and we'd love to have your help with a donation to offset costs. We also covet your prayers, as this trip (the first half anyway!) will involve a lot of logistics in a country with horrible traffic and a... relaxed sense of time. Thanks for all your donations of clothing, and your support so far!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Counting down!

I have been terrible at updating the blog, and time surely has flown! We leave on August 4 for our team trip to Uganda, where we will be conducting a sports camp (basketball) for kids from the slums of Namuwongo, as well as visiting the slums to give out clothing and other necessities. We will have 6 of us from the States, 4 or 5 boys from Fathers House, and several other Ugandan friends helping out. We're very excited!!

The visas have been processed and received, and I am hoping to order tee shirts today. Still much left to do: purchasing basketballs and volleyballs, borrowing pennies for scrimmages, buying whistles, talking Delta into allowing us extra baggage free of charge, getting money (those pesky new $100 bills!), planning the daily activities, confirming with Nesco about the meals... But God is able, and He will give us wisdom and energy!

We would love for you to help us as we get ready - we still need funds for the balls and tee shirts, and we need childrens clothes and non-medicine medical supplies (bandages, latex gloves, alcohol wipes, etc). I will be visiting the hospice and the orphanage after the team returns to the States, so we will be taking all we can for all three of our main missions there.

Most of all, please pray! The team will be going Aug 4, arriving Aug 5. Four will be returning Aug 14, arriving Aug 15, and Zeke and I will be leaving Aug 25, arriving Aug 26. We covet your thoughts and prayers as we are traveling and having fun with the kids!