Clips From Our Most Recent Field Adventure Brinding New Orphans Into Our Home
March 27, 2014
Love Changes Everything
We have over 300 children at our school now. At least half of them would not be in school at all if it were not for this ministry. It seems that all 300 children love to chase the Muzungu around the playground during recess. I am getting a lot of exercise that is for sure. Today, I spent time in each class and I feel like I could sleep for years! Seriously teachers, where do you get your energy from? The Baby Class teacher insisted that I teach a drawing lesson to the kids. My drawing skills consist of stick figures! I managed to teach them how to draw a caterpillar, cocoon and butterfly. I also taught the upper classes about America. “Why are the Muzungu’s skirts always so clean?” one student asked. Another asked, “Is there sun in America?” They think that we are white because there is no sun. I must admit, despite their lack of state of the art materials, these children are great students and the teachers are doing an amazing job. The new children we brought into the orphanage this past October had to be put in lower classes at first because they knew little English. However, the team really invested extra time tutoring them over the holidays. Now, they have not only caught up and are in the grade they should be in but more than half of the new kids are in the top 5 students in their class. It goes to show that a little love goes a long way in a child’s life. Love changes everything.
March 23, 2014
When Love Showers Down
It was a wonderful Sunday. Woke up to more rain so I got to try out my new Ugandan rain boots and walk to church in the mud. At church, lots of water was pouring down from the makeshift ceiling into an area the church had blocked off with bricks to contain the flooding. They were probably annoyed with the unintentional heavy waterfall but people pay thousands of dollars to have such natural waterfalls in their homes and buildings. It was a beautiful sound, listening to the waterfall and being able to be in church with muddy rainboots. The floors are dirt anyway and who needs shiny shoes in order to worship. We then headed to Timothy Home for KidsChurch. All the new children were dressed in their Sunday best with huge smiles on their face. I can’t believe how quickly they have already transformed. The children jumped for joy during worship and shared testimonies. As I have mentioned before, safety and protection are always the number one thing they thank God for on Sundays. It goes to show how much violence and fear they lived in before coming to the protection of our home. To them, having a safe place and being alive means the world to them. It also touched me that a few of the current children got up and shared how thankful they were for the new children that have come to the home. It has made them happy to have an expanding family. At the end of service, we anointed the new children with oil from Jerusalem. Then, the locals brought a girl to us who was very ill. It always amazes me how the first reaction of Ugandans is to lay hands on and pray for the sick. In America, our first reaction is to reach into our medicine closet or take them to the doctor. Their faith is the first thing they go to. It is also amazing how our home and school has become a refuge and place of hope for the village. If anything is going on in the village, we know about it and people are always coming by to ask for prayer and find hope and encouragement. Let hope continue to rise in this place.
March 22, 2014
Our Growing Family
March 20, 2014
This Is Africa
Last night was a reality check that I am back in Africa as I woke up to lizards going through all my food and lots of insect friends around my bed. Mom, I think they were after those bags of M&M’s you snuck in my bag. And no need for morning coffee in Africa when you wash your hair with the world’s coldest water. Even though the water was ice cold, all I could do was be grateful that there was enough water pressure to wash my hair. Every day here is a toss up with the water and electricity. Words cannot describe how much joy I experienced being reunited with the kids again! Imagine over 200 children running and yelling “Mommy Jenneeeefaarrr!” I don’t think anyone could make me feel as loved as they do. I could not believe how much the new children have completely transformed. They are living miracles. Today, we went out into the field to a neighboring district. Children sprinted out of their classroom to chase after the Muzungu when they saw us drive by. Sorry teacher! We now have two new additions to the orphanage home, Zaina and Mariam. Zaina grabbed my hand and would not let go and Mariam sprinted as fast as she could to meet us. It never gets old, seeing their reaction to riding in a car for the first time, seeing their new beds and blankets, and the joy they feel knowing they have a family. Their eyes light up and they giggle with excitement at every little thing, seeing running water and toys and books. Today, we also came across an elderly woman who could not walk. She isn’t able to go to church on Sunday so she puts on her Sunday gomesi and lays on her mat and prays. We prayed for her and she kept reaching out to touch my cheeks and hair in amazement that a Muzungu had come to see her. Despite her wrinkles, old age and completely weathered body, I saw one of the most graceful and beautiful woman I have ever seen. She emanated a beauty that isn’t defined by the outward but shines from within. Please pray for us as we are going to a difficult village tomorrow to pick up new children. The adventure continues…
March 17, 2014
Back To Africa I Go
Today, I board a plane to Uganda. Many people have commented that it is so easy for me to travel. Yet each trip for me is a struggle. Each trip presents a set of challenges and obstacles to even being able to board that plane. People would be quite surprised if they knew the truth of my struggles behind the “GO”ing part. Yet God has pushed me to GO. He doesn’t say GO when it is convenient. He doesn’t say GO when you have an abundance of money. He doesn’t say GO when you can go with a group and won’t be alone. He says GO. I have learned that when we take a step of faith he is faithful to honor it. And a step of faith doesn’t mean one without fear. It means taking that step despite fear. It means GO, period.
November 6, 2013
A Glimpse Into A Day In the Life Of A Muzungu In Africa
Today I woke up at 3:30am to the loudest most insane thunder and lightening storm I’ve ever experienced. Took a bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) in the rain. Trekked through mud all day, slipped twice. Got peed on by a baby (most don’t wear diapers here). Took another batch of children to get new school shoes. Took children to Uganda Cares to get tested for HIV. Prayed as each finger was pricked and anxiously waited for the results. We then had to call a little boy into our office that I am super attached to… We had to look him in the eyes and tell him he is positive. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. We had to show in our faces that it wasn’t a big deal and he would be fine but underneath the mask my heart was pierced. I have loved that boy since the first time he smiled at me. After he returned to class, Peter and Ruth and I were sitting in silence in the office. They began to sing softly, Jesus Heals and I began to pray Jeremiah 29:11 over his life:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
After a long day of ministry work, I take off my muddy shoes, wipe the masacara from underneath my eyes, then turn on my computer to perform legal work. It’s tiring having two jobs but it is so worth it to be here. To be “here”… present in moments that matter. To be face to face with that boy today. To comfort him and hold him in my arms. To assure him that there is hope and there are good plans for his life. And I know my journey of hope-filled moments will continue this year to the prisons of South Africa and to new places he will lead me next year. I am beyond grateful to have the best office in the world right now. Even if I have to work in the dark half the time… I am blessed. Excuse me while I go kill some mosquitos.
November 5, 2013
Oh you know, just my typical morning commute to work…..
November 4, 2013
Let There Be Shoes
How special it was for me when I was little to go to a real store and get fitted for a brand new pair of school shoes. I remember how excited I was to walk around in my shoes. This is something every child should experience. Therefore, we went on several shopping trips to Bata to get the children new school shoes. They were so excited about their new shoes that they slept with their shoes and shoe boxes in bed!
November 3, 2013
Family is Forever
Love my sponsor children! We have now grown to a family of 9! If you are interested in sponsoring one of the remaining 8 unsponsored children on our urgent list, go to http://goandtellglobal.org/30-in-30-days/.
November 2, 2013
I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me
Another day of extremes. The children teach me so much about how I need to be as a person. I sat with the children at lunch, giggling and laughing, every single one of them offered me their food. Remember that this is coming from children who don’t eat at home. I was also surprised at how well they share with each other! I need to be more like them. We then walked through the village (almost stepped on a snake, I screamed like a little girl!) to deliver rice to a family in need. The unsponsored children are hurting so bad, my heart breaks for them. My biggest struggle right now is processing the fact that we are limited in being able to help these children. I am trying to work through the emotional process of knowing that we can’t help them all right now and some children won’t make it. Then, a very frail woman who has a daughter attending our school came to our office today to pay school fees “before she dies”. The hopelessness of this woman with HIV/AIDs gave me chills… I can’t think of a worse feeling than hopelessness. I have felt it to an extent at times in my life and it is the worst feeling in the world. Her daughter will become an orphan, when will this cruel, repetitive story stop?
Amidst it all were the sounds of laughter and singing from our beautiful children. Their joy and love is the hope I cling to each day. When I leave, they chase the car, wave and yell “Byeeee Mommy Jennyfur!” Anything I have gone through to be here is worth it just for those special moments each day of looking into the eyes of real life miracles.
The finale of the day, I attended an overnight prayer event at a church with dirt floors, wooden benches and hanging lightbulbs. People prayed from 9:00pm to 5:00am straight, no break! I’ve never seen anything like it. The hunger for God was unreal. It made me jealous. I want that.
I need Africa more than Africa needs me.
October 30, 2013
Hens, Nails and Twins
Holy fabulous day in the field! We went hen shopping and delivered many hens to 6 families of children who attend our school and will participate in our hen child entrepreneurship program. Growing up I never thought I’d ever be a hen delivery woman setting up chicken businesses. Ballerina maybe or zookeeper… Love the randomness of God when you say here I am send me!
Then we went to pick up the twins, Moses and Benah. They are the last children we are taking into the orphanage until next year. They must be extra special because we had a nail pop our right front tire this morning then another nail in our left front tire this afternoon. One nail for each twin! Always double the trouble but we love them so much already.
The boy had been telling the village all week that his new father was coming for him (Sempa Peter who runs our orphanage with his wife Ruth). He waited up all night in anticipation. Now he is finally home and loving the soccer room! He will learn here just how much his Heavenly Father loves him.
October 21, 2013
Five New Children: Slyvia, Ivan, Ali, Joan and Jimmy
Another amazing day! We hiked through banana fields in some serious heat and all sorts of mud since it poured down rain yesterday. We picked up a total of 5 new children. They were definitely the most excited bunch we’ve had yet. They had never been in a car before and their eyes lit up at every detail and laughed the whole way home. Here are some things they commented on during the drive:
- They were so amused by the speed dials and odometers. They would giggle and squeal just watching them go up and down. They thought Sempa was making it happen by just squeezing the steering wheel.
- When we got to the nice, paved black road, they squealed at the sight of the road being turned a color! They have only seen browinish red dirt roads and never a paved black road.
- They thought the car just stays in one spot and its the road that is moving and the trees move too. I think they thought the road moved like a treadmill under the car and the car never moves.
- The reflection of the sun on the road made it look like water from a distance. They commented on how there is water ahead but then it just disappears? So cute.
- When we passed a cell phone tower with round metal pieces at the top they pointed and said look at those saucepans so high up there!
Check out video clips from today: New Children
Brothers Stick Together
Definitely one of my favorite pictures from this trip. Ivan and Ali walked so fast and so far ahead of us they couldn’t wait to go to Timothy Home! No shoes and just a small sack of clothes, brothers stick together, right? They were so so so excited to have a home, their eagerness and joy touched my heart so much. Yep, I cried. It was as if someone told them they’re going to Disneyland. I guess Timothy Home really is like Disneyland in Uganda. In my opinion, it’s by far the happiest place around.
October 19, 2013
A Real Life Princess
My Cate was sick and had to stay in from school today. My little pony stickers and 2 Disney movies later… She was all smiles! Little girls are the same everywhere.
October 18, 2013
In His Shoes
Wow, what a day. It is crazy the emotional extremes I have been going through on this trip. Like today, I found myself with tears as we went to pick up a new child only to find that he had already died from HIV/AIDs. This pierced my heart, the feeling of getting there too late but I know he is with his Heavenly Father. Then later in the day I almost threw up when we picked up a new orphan, Mukasa Henry, who had some of the worst jiggers I’ve seen. They were infested in both his fingers and feet. My stomach churned examining them. He didn’t have shoes so we took him to get a pair of nice school shoes, sandals and socks. He put on the shiny black school shoes and waddled like a penguin when he walked because he’s never walked in shoes before! He was walking like he had tennis rackets on his feet, we couldn’t stop laughing at how cute he was. I was overwhelmed with joy watching him enjoy a Coke and get to see his new home. When he washed his hands at the orphanage he was perplexed about the running water facet, why would we waste water and let it go down a drain? He’s never seen running water before or a sink. My heart is full knowing that this boy will have so much more than just shoes and water…. Can’t wait for him to be showered with love!
October 20, 2013
Timothy Orphanage Home
Teaching the kids today the difference between a plane and a helicopter and this is what happened. Oopsies!
October 19, 2013
Today we got chased by some children who had never seen a “Muzungu” before. This is what it’s like driving out in the villages. You feel famous!
October 16, 2013
War On Typhoid
Go and Tell has launched a war on tyhpoid and other infested water related diseases. Enjoy clips from our day delivering water filters in the village.
October 14, 2013
October 4, 2013
It has been quite an adventure the past 48 hours. The power has been out and we have been experiencing insane thunderstorms. It didn’t really matter that I couldn’t blowdry my hair because I took a bodaboda (motorcyle taxi) out to the village that dried my hair very quickly! If you know our village roads, then you would understand that taking a bodaboda was the scariest thing I’ve done all year! Scarier than cage diving… What has touched me the most is seeing the five new kids already transform before my eyes. They are integrating well and already smiling and laughing. It has really shown me that this is God’s true heart for his children. To give them hope and a future. I couldn’t help but think that he feels the same for all of us big kids too.
Can you believe this is the same girl less than 48 hours later?
October 2, 2013
Well today was one of those days where you know you will never be the same. We received a call from a Pastor in Rakai district, a place where the first recorded case of HIV came from and has since been hit heavy with the disease. We drove out there to pick up 5 new orphans to take to Timothy Home…. At one point today I was in a mud hut with a woman dying of AIDs, holding her hand and assuring her that we would take good care of her two young children. She had been so worried about what would happen to her children when she dies. With tears streaming down her face, she called me her miracle. As I picked up her 3 year old daughter, little Sara and held her in my arms, I couldn’t help but think that little Sara is the miracle.
October 1, 2013
Oh the Places You’ll Go!
They say don’t carry around a lot of baggage through life but I just pushed over 250 pounds of luggage, destination Africaaaaaaa! Enjoying my last Starbucks, the wall decor happens to be luggage….ready for takeoff… I feel sad to leave but I am remembering the moments from this summer, laughing with the village women, water balloons with the orphanage children, and reminding myself that any sacrifices are worth it just for the moments where you feel like your life made a difference. Thank you family and friends for your prayers. Love you all!