Jul
2004

22
Website Additions
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We added a Statement of Faith page to the website and added a page about the Unifund Project in Romania.

The Uganda team should have gotten home yesterday, July 20. Hopefully we will have some news about their flights home soon.

 

Jul
2004

18
Uganda Team Update – Sunday, July 18
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Yesterday morning, five of us got up very early to go hike the rock, which has been calling our name all week. It was more than just a rock, however; it was a miniature mountain with a cable car that went to the top, with a steep rock face that required us to use our hands and feet to ascend parts of it. There were some areas that were so steep that they had put metal ladders into the face to allow us to reach the top.

When Robert P, Tom, Virginia, Joe, Michelle and 2 of our Ugandan guides reached the top, Tom began to recite Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I’ve climbed the mountain and looked out over the promised land…” speech. It was a great feeling of accomplishment that we had conquered the mountain. The rest of the day, each time we drove by, we would call out “We are in Uganda and we climbed that rock!!” What exhilaration!

Unfortunately, the computer I was just working on in the cyber cafe wiped out a whole disk full of pictures, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to transmit all the other pictures on the other two disks. I’ve moved to a different computer, so I’m hoping it will work.

Yesterday was a special day as Pastor Josh, Emory, and Russell participated in the men’s seminar, Iliana and Rachel spoke at the women’s seminar, Tommy, Robert P, Tammy, Selah and Sarah did skits and prayed with kids at the teen seminar while Stephan, Matt, Kristen, Lana and Rachel Junior played with the children.

In the afternoon, many of the children performed dances and songs to the beat of African drums for Michelle, Joe, Pat, Diane, and Raianne. Because the Hope 4 Kids team knew they had just one more day here with these incredibly special people, we were making the most of every minute with them. We were taking lots of pictures of those who have come to mean so much to us, and our hearts were starting to break at the thought of having to say good-bye.

Some of my personal reflections from yesterday: our friend, Moses, presented Joe and I with a beautiful fabric painting…and the words of love he shared with us deeply touched our hearts. He told me how much he loved Joe, and that he had an opportunity to have a long conversation with Joe during the week and it was such a blessing for him to know Joe. He also talked about all that Joe had done to make a difference for their people, and we were so moved by his sincerity and love.

Teddy is a 27-year old woman who calls me Mummy because I told her that she’s almost the same age as our son, Joey. Her mother is dying of AIDS, and Teddy has worked so hard all week to help feed all the needy people who have been coming to the clinic. Yesterday, she was telling me that she would like me to see her handiwork, and that she loves to knit and crochet. What a blessing that I happened to have yarn and a crochet hook in my backpack, as well as a sweater pattern, that I was able to give her. I know that there’s nothing like getting pretty yarn and a new pattern to get you excited to start a new project, and she was jumping for joy when she received these.

Joyce continues to hug us every time she sees us, because she is so grateful that we are her brother and sister in America who have promised to help take care of her sons.

Our dear friends, Protus and Moses, asked us to take a picture with them so that we can send the pictures to them so they will always remember us and we will always remember them.

A few days ago, there was a woman who came to the clinic with severe meningitis. Virginia, Raianne and Rachel prayed over her as they were convinced that she was gasping her last breaths. They arranged transportation to the local hospital for her, sure that she wouldn’t survive the journey. Yesterday, they heard that she had miraculously recovered and went home from the hospital. What a miracle!.

This morning, Sarah, Selah, Tammy and Robert P presented some puppet shows and children’s ministry moments for the little ones. Then, we brought the kids into the main worship service, where both Pastor Josh and Pastor Brendon preached. In addition, they ordained new pastors for churches in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and other countries, and they also ordained new deacons for the True Vine Team Ministries. By the time the morning worship was done, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon. We stopped for lunch at Pastor Wilbur’s, then headed back to the hotel so they could baptize the new believers in the pool. Tonight, Tom will be speaking at the crusade in the city of Tororo, and tomorrow, we leave for Entebbe airport.

This was our very last opportunity to see our children that we sponsor and the friends that we will never forget. Tears flowed as we hugged good-bye and shared last gifts with each other.

It’s moments like these that fill our hearts to overflowing. We will treasure these memories always.

Uganda is a place that has transformed our lives in countless ways, and for many of us, we know that God is already beginning to put on our hearts the desire to return.

Please pray for traveling mercies as the Hope 4 Kids team journeys home tomorrow, and for strength and health for Pastor Brendon’s team as they remain here until Friday.

 


Uganda Team Update – Saturday, July 17
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Unfortunately, today will have to be another picture-less day (we can’t always count on the internet here), but here’s the daily update from yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll be able to send pictures tomorrow…I’m not sure if all of them are getting through because I’ve had some returned emails and I haven’t had a chance to check the website, but hopefully you’re getting a flavor of what this experience has been like for us!

 

Yesterday was a really special day for the church of True Vine Team Ministries and the Hope 4 Kids Medical Clinic. There was an all-day ceremony and celebration dedicating these ministries, and it was attended by government officials, pastors from churches in Uganda, Kenya and other countries, as well as proud church members who are so excited to see their dream come true.

Tom and the Hope 4 Kids board of directors were honored for their vision for this ministry, which has helped to make this all possible, and it was so fun to be a part of something that was such a blessing to so many.

In the late afternoon, we still had time to play with the kids and fellowship with the adults. Pat and Diane were able to go into one of the remote villages, and they’ve learned that “not far” to an African has a whole different meaning than it does to an American!

Selah, Sarah and Robert have been having great fun getting acclimated to the culture as they hang out with the other teens from Arizona and get to know the children of the village. Emery finally arrived yesterday after having missed his flight in Phoenix. His connection from New York was so tight, plus the fact that he needed to switch airlines, it prevented him from getting to the gate in time before Pastor Brendon’s team took off for Africa. So, Emery had an overnight stay in Phoenix, and Russell went with the driver to Entebbe aiport (a 5-hour one-way drive) to pick him up and bring him to Tororo. We’re so glad to have him with us.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we serve God in this amazing place!

 

Jul
2004

17
New Photos
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See the photo blog.
 


Note from David – the web guy
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The Green family of Ohio sent me a great email today and I realized that there may be a misconception about my involvement with this mission trip.  Like many of you I am living this mission trip vicariously through the reports from my home in Phoenix, Arizona.  During the summer of 2001, my wife and I traveled with H4KI to Russia.  It was a wonderful experience.  While on the trip, Tom and I began working together to update his website with trip reports.  This started a fun filled relationship with H4KI and myself.  Since 2001, I have been the primary technology and web guy for H4KI.  Now, the groups on the different mission trip email me their reports and pictures and I post them online. 

 

Michelle Halonen is the author of these trip reports and a veteran on H4KI mission trips.  I will be happy to answer your questions about the trip or H4KI at my email address.  Enjoy!

 


Uganda Team Update – Friday, July 16
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Internet access continues to be a major challenge to try to get the information home, and it’s almost impossible for each of our teammates to get online, so this is the best way to communicate with you all.

One of the highlights from Wednesday was that as some of the team members chose to walk back to the church after lunch at Pastor Wilbur’s house, we walked past the girls school, where we could hear the rhythm of the African drums being played in the music class. When the girls caught sight of us as we walked past their classroom window (it wasn’t a window like we think, just an opening in the wall with wrought-iron bars), they all came to the window to see us. So we began dancing to the beat of the drums, and soon the music teacher and all the students came pouring out of the classroom to play the drums and dance and laugh with us. It was such a joy-filled moment.

Yesterday, the nurses (Virginia and Raianne) finally got a morning off from the clinic after a long week of seeing an endless stream of patients. They went into town to use the internet café, and felt such freedom at being outside and seeing the beauty of Uganda that they’ve missed all week. When we finally returned to the clinic, Virginia’s “daughter” Evelyn was waiting for her, and Virginia was so excited to see her, she took the rest of the afternoon off from the clinic so she could spend the afternoon with the little girl she is sponsoring.

Robert, Joe, Matt and Stephan finished digging the trench for the conduit, and after Robert laid the conduit and the electric line, they buried the trench again and felt great that they had accomplished such an important job.

The children were so amazed and delighted when Tom and Stephan set up the volleyball net we had brought with us, and in no time, they had an amazing game of volleyball going. At the same time, Joe had taught Isaac and James (the two young men that Michelle, Joe and Matt are sponsoring) how to play American baseball, and then Isaac and James helped Joe to teach the little kids the game.

Pat was busy refereeing two football (soccer) games at the same time, and Rachel C again had the kids playing with the parachutes.

In the meantime, Tammy, Robert, Selah, Sarah, Rachel J, Lana and Diane went on a long journey in the van to Pastor Andrew’s school in another part of Uganda. They had a wonderful time playing with the kids and being a part of a special celebration at the school. Selah and Sarah had the opportunity to pray with some people in need of healing, and they feel sure that the healing has begun. Tammy talked about what it meant to have God in your life and asked people to pray for God to become part of their lives, and they were thrilled by the response.

Tommy went with Pastor Isaiah to his church in a remote village and had an opportunity to be part of an amazing worship service there. He was so blessed as he felt the anointing of God on the words he shared, and so grateful for the opportunity to serve in this way.

Anna and Kristen stayed back at the hotel because they weren’t feeling well. One of the most awesome moments of the day was when the receptionist from the hotel, who kept bringing Sprite and ice packs to them, came in later in the afternoon and shared with them the verses from Psalm 41:1-4. It was such an encouragement and blessing to them as God renewed their strength.

Again, Tom spent a major portion of the day getting electrical and medical supplies, while Pastor Brendon, Pastor Joshua, Iliana and Russell spent much of the time at the seminars and crusade that Pastor Wilbur has organized.

The two teams have quickly bonded into a cohesive ministry team, and we are enjoying every minute of our time together. As we looked at the rainbow that spread across the early evening sky, we felt joy knowing that we were in the palm of God’s hand.

 

Jul
2004

16
Uganda Team Update – Thursday, July 15
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This update will be short today because there have been challenges at the internet cafe, trying to find a computer that will work and will actually “send” the email. Yesterday was another wonderful day of working in the clinic, and even though the lines are still very long, the illnesses were not nearly as critical as the patients the nurses and doctor had seen the past few days.

Joe, Robert, Matt & Stephan had the opportunity to show off their brut strength as they used pickaxes and shovels to dig a trench for the electric conduit. Michelle and Rachel J spent the afternoon hand-washing the cement floor in the church, which is a gruelling, back-breaking job that these people do every single day. The palms of their hands and fingertips were raw by the time they finished.

 

Lana, Anna and Diane all helped Virginia and Raianne in the clinic most of the day. Rachel C and Kristen had the kids laughing with joy as they played with soccer balls, parachutes and frisbees. Pat spent the afternoon scraping the interior walls of the pump house, preparing it for painting. Diane went into town to purchase crochet hooks and yarn so we can teach the women how to crochet, and Michelle was able to download an easy sweater pattern that we can use as we show them how to make things that they can sell in the marketplace.

Tom has spent a lot of time in the city of Tororo gathering all the medical supplies for the clinic and construction supplies for the church project.Pastor Brendon’s team from Arizona and Pastor Joshua and his wife, Iliana from California arrived just in time for a huge storm that blew in. The winds whipped the dust and dirt so strongly that we quickly began to herd the children into the church, just in time before the wind started to fling the metal roofing sheets around like pieces of paper. They landed where the kids had been playing just moments before.

It was a mad scramble to bring all the bags of cement in just before the rain started, and as soon as we brought the last bag in, the downpour began. Pastor Wilbur’s team drove up with the sound system in the back of the pickup truck, and we helped unload it into the building in the middle of a torrential rain. Unfortunately, the equipment got very wet, but we’re praying that none of it was ruined.

We made the best of our time in the church with all those kids and construction workers and adults that have come for the crusade. We sang and danced and laughed and played as they rain pounded on the metal roof.

Pastor Wilbur’s wife, Jane, and some of the church ladies that have been preparing all our delicious lunches prepared a wonderful supper for our team, Brendon’s team, and Joshua and Iliana. We were so happy to have this wonderful opportunity to get to know our new friends and team members from Arizona and California. By the time we got back to the hotel, some of us had blisters, some of us had tired, achy backs, some of us were just exhausted (especially Brendon’s team that had just arrived from Arizona), but we were all incredibly blessed by how great our God is!!!

 

Jul
2004

14
Uganda Team Update – Wednesday, July 14
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Yesterday was another busy day in the clinic, with the patients getting more anxious to have their turn to see the doctor and nurses. More of our team were put to work to help with crowd control and guiding people from the waiting room to the examining room to the lab, to the innoculation room and finally through the pharmacy and out the door.

One woman that came was unable to walk because her legs were so swollen and hardened, probably due to kidney shut-down. She crawled all the way from her distant village on her hands and knees, only to learn that her only hope is a kidney transplant. How heartbreaking it was to realize there was nothing more that could be done for her.

While the clinic was in full swing, a group of women were busy preparing a meal of millet and beans to feed the hundreds and hundreds of people that had come from so far away. It helped soothe a lot of anxious hearts as it brought the assurance that we really did care about these people waiting in such long lines.

Some of our team spent the morning spackling the pump house for the Hope 4 Kids well and digging a trench for the electric lines. Robert began painting the pump house with paint that was a bit thicker than water. It will take many coats.

In the afternoon, our women were invited to be a part of the weekly women’s Bible study. We were so blessed and encouraged by these gracious women who praised God with their whole hearts. The time of praying and praising together ended with the distribution of reading glasses to the women who were struggling to see the words in their pocket-sized New Testaments.

We were challenged by the idea of helping these women to help the needy families in their congregation. They would like to begin some type of home industry where the women could, for example, learn to knit and crochet so they could make sweaters that could be sold in the marketplace. Some of us are already dreaming about ways to help make that happen. In fact, Matt suggested that if we could teach them how to crochet hacky sacks, he’d buy the first ones they make!

As we witnessed a beautiful sunset in the early Ugandan evening, we left the clinic and church, anxious to return again tomorrow to experience all that God has in store for us.

 

Jul
2004

13
Uganda Team Update – Tuesday, July 13
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As if it could be possible, yesterday was even more special than the day before. While Raianne, Virginia and Anna stayed at the clinic to take care of the huge volume of people who were tenaciously waiting in the hot African sun to be seen by the doctor, the rest of our team went to a number of villages to visit the orphans and their guardians and families in their huts. I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the primitive living conditions we saw. The mud huts with thatched roofs had dirt floors and several chairs inside. A few had the luxury of a small table, smaller than a coffee table. And that’s all they had in the whole hut. There was no electricity, no place to wash or go to the bathroom. The women would prepare the meals outdoors, and the family would gather in a circle on the ground outside the hut to eat their meals together.

Because getting water meant walking a long distance to go to a well and hand-pump the water so they could fill a 5-gallon jug, which they carried on their heads back to their huts, they didn’t waste it in frivolous things like washing themselves or their clothes or their dishes until it was absolutely necessary.

For those of us who sponsor a child, we were deeply moved to see the tremendous sacrifice it takes for the guardians to take these orphans into their homes. It means that they not only have one more mouth to feed, but also they must give up precious room on their dirt floor for that child to sleep. The floor size of that entire one-roomed hut would be equivalent to one child’s bedroom in America.

What we, as sponsors, give to support our orphan is so small in comparison to what these families give to provide them a home, and yet they were the ones blessing us with gifts as we arrived. A number of us have received chickens and bananas and pineapples from these poorer-than-poor families, and we have been humbled as they have knelt before us to present their gifts to us with joy overflowing from their hearts.

It was such an amazing moment to see Stephan as he met his child for the first time, and as Kristen finally met her Beatrice, and as Rachel and Robert adopted a child on the spot and met the grandmother that will be taking care of her. When Matt met young Hudson, he knew immediately that this was the child he was to sponsor, and as they began to play hacky-sack together, Matt was impressed at how quickly Hudson caught on to the game. It’s no wonder that as he left, the hacky sack became a special gift from Matt to Hudson. Pat and Diane adopted a new little girl who is the sister of Hudson (Matt’s child), so they are excited to now be an extended family!!! Tom had a chance to visit with Sophia and Beatrice, and they were wearing the lovely new clothes that Sara had bought for them. Michelle and Joe could hardly wait to see their Dorine again. The first couple of times they met her this week, she had been incredibly timid, but this time, she greeted them with hugs and smiles. At the end of the evening, Lana met Fiona, the little girl that she was adopting, and it was the perfect end to a long but exhilarating day.

 


Uganda Team Update – Monday, July 12
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What a sight as we arrived at the church and clinic this morning. The line for people waiting to be seen in the clinic had multiplied from the line that had been there on Friday. People with sick children, standing in the sun, not sure if they could get in today because there were so many people in front of them…and yet they wait.

Rachel brought delighted smiles as she created balloon animals for the children in line. Matt, Stephan and Michelle made the wait more bearable as they entertained them with pipe cleaner creations of flowers and eye glasses. Joe let them look through his video camera screen so they could watch themselves in action,Pat brought laughter and dancing with his clarinet, and the rest of the team was recruited to work in the clinic to help process the patients even faster.

It’s amazing to see Lana, Kristen, Anna, Rachel and Diane assisting the doctor, lab tech and nurses! We are having the time of our lives!!!

Thanks for your continued prayers. We love you!!!

 
 
About

Hope 4 Kids International is 501c3 faith-based non-profit committed to help children around the world that are suffering from extreme poverty through Dignity, Health, Joy & Love.

www.hope4kidsinternational.org

Contact
General Inquiries : info@hope4kidsinternational.org