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November » 2006 » Hope 4 Kids International Blog


Sunday – November 19
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The Fellowship group and Robert went to Pastor Peter’s church where both Pastors Eric and Brad preached. Fellowship is sponsoring the building of a new church.

The rest of us attended True Vine’s main church where Pastor Bill spoke.

At both churches we spent time with our friends taking last minute pictures, and getting hugs from people we won’t see tomorrow.

Pastors Joshua and Iliana met their daughter. She’s from Kenya and when True Vine found her she was naked and had no one to care for her. She took the representative to the bush and showed her twelve graves-her parents, grandparents and all other relatives who had succumbed to AIDS. She ate by offering to carry water and doing chores for people in exchange for a little food. At night she slept outside beneath the thatched overhang of someone’s roof. In order to take her picture to register her for the orphan program they had to borrow a dress. A woman from True Vine has offered to take her in but first they have to take her back to Kenya to get permission from the tribal chief. Please be praying for this little girl. Sadly her story is not unique.

As we loaded the bus to return to the hotel Pastor Wilber boarded and told us “the container has arrived!” We cheered and returned to the hotel to change clothes and eat so we could get that container unloaded! It was like Christmas! The wheel barrows, the ladders, and coils of wire and electrical supplies thrilled Darrin and Robert. We were all excited to see new machines and tons of hospital supplies! Michele couldn’t wait to try out the beautiful new dental chair. There was an air of festivity as we carried and sorted and oooh and aaaahed. The Ugandans were right there with us in our joy. It was dark when we finished but what a relief to know it is all sorted and secure before we leave on Tuesday!

Tomorrow we will finish up projects, say goodbye and pack up to leave Tuesday. We’re all looking forward to some pumpkin pie and pizza!


Saturday November 18
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The big day has come. We found Ugandans had worked through the night and we still smiling! The site was alive with activity as the distinguished guests began arriving. Pastor Ruth who was the mistress of ceremonies appeared with some of her street boys. The Uganda AIDS representatives were in attendance along with many local government officials and parliament members. We were all in our places when the representative from the president’s office arrived. Hundreds of orphans were under a big tent, pastors and invited guests from the community were directly across from them and the VIP tent was in front. We all stood when the motorcycle escorting the Toyota SUV pulled in front of us. Pastor Ruth led the delegation to welcome the honorable Dr. Stephen Malinga, the minister of health. After he was seated on a comfortable couch the Pastor Ruth began the ceremony with a prayer and the Uganda National Anthem. She praised the work of True Vine and said, “It is easy to see God is at work here.” Next was the VIP of the grounds. Tom and Pastor Wilber gave an overview of what had been accomplished in the past three years as they walked the grounds. With great ceremony the foundation stone was unveiled and the tour through the hospital began. Dr. Stephen was impressed with our wanting a preemie ward. He asked, “Are you sure you want that? It’s very expensive to have a heart monitor, oxygen, incubators and all you need.” He paused and then added, “But then. There isn’t a preemie ward in all of Eastern Uganda. . .”

Back to the ceremony site we were treated to singing and dancing by some of the True Vine children who say, “We are no longer orphans because Jesus is our father so we don’t want to be called the ‘orphan choir’ but ‘African Children with a Mission.’”

Pastor Joseph, Chairman of the board of True Vine spoke, asking the president’s office and local officials for help in reducing the pollution from the cement factory. He also requested help in staffing the hospital.

Pastor Brendon told how we in the United States came to be involved and Pastor Joshua talked of our partnership and how people from every kind of background came together to labor in love for this project. Tom spoke of God’s grace, his love for the Ugandan people and hope for tomorrow. Pastor Wilber addressed the crowd telling of the background of True Vine team ministries; he told of the setbacks, achievements and future goals. He said, “Our services have no boundaries-we treat everyone-as God has no boundaries.” He requested help from the government for a number of things for the hospital such as an ambulance and an access road. He then appealed to Dr Stephen to intervene with a problem we were having with a container filled with medical supplies, electrical and construction goods and clothing, flip flops and blankets for orphans. It was being held up because they wanted to tax us a phenomenal fee.

After a number of speeches the honorable Dr Stehen stood to applaud the children whom he said, “are the reason we are here.” He praised our efforts and promised to help with our container and to look into other areas of concern. He passed out five of the 700+ backpacks we were giving to the orphans today. He ended his speech by talking of our Lord Jesus and how we were following Jesus’ example by reaching out to the orphans and the widows.

It was a great day! Everyone agreed the celebration was a great success!


Friday \november 17
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Today’s lesson was taken from an article on Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life. The article stated the Rick Warren prefers calling missionary teams “peace teams”. Then goes on to say what each letter in peace means. Every now and then Tom likes to measure what Hope4Kids is doing and he will look at someone he admires and respects to see if we are in line with them. So today we took a look at Warren’s Peace.

P= Plant new churches or partner with existing ones. Here in Uganda we have partnered with True Vine Ministries who were meeting in a tumbling down wooden shack and helped them build a new church. 51 churches have been planted since then.

E= Equip leaders. Hope4Kids trains and teaches men in women not only in ministry but have equipped them to start businesses such as funding the women’s ministry to train women who are living in poverty. Tom helped a man living in poverty start a driving school. Now that man has two driving schools and is working toward buying an apartment complex. We can point to many people who had no hope and are now leaders in the community.

A=Assist the poor. We take verses from the Bible and try to live by them such as “do not mock the poor” and in James 2:15 -16 we read: “If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat. What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help?” And in James 1:27 “Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.”

C=Care for the sick. Hope4KidsInternational is building clinics in Peru and Romania. Here in Uganda we built the clinic and tomorrow we will dedicate our new hospital. Our nursing teams have trained the Uganda nurses in practices such as using gloves when they treat patients and they are now immunizing children.

E=Educate the next generation. This also matches what we are doing. Immediately upon sponsoring an orphan that child receives a uniform so he/she can attend school. We meet their school fees in secondary school. So many have dropped out because they can’t afford the fees. True Vine and the nurses have been educating the children on AIDS, health care and teaching life skills.

After a prayer we were dismissed to serve.

Remember Cadija? She was one of the widows Jane and I visited before the team arrived. She’s between 110 and 120 years old. She crawls around looking for firewood in the bush. We found she sleeps on a pile of dirty rags. We brought her sheets and a blanket not knowing she had no mattress. Yesterday a team of us arrived with a mattress. Imagine living that long and never owning a mattress! She was so happy. She didn’t want to come back out of her hut.

Lolo brought blankets for widows so we visited a couple widows and gifted them with her blankets. The paths in the bush were not made for vehicles and our mini-bus sunk into the fresh mud. We had quite a time!

We also re-visited another widow. Last time Jane and I brought her gifts she said, “I don’t want salvation. I don’t want you coming her to tell me about salvation. And I don’t want the Mzungu to take my picture!” We obliged and told her we had just come by to check on her and to give her some gifts. Yesterday when we returned with a mattress she welcomed us warmly. At the end she said, “I will put on my goma (a dress up dress) and you can take my picture.” She also asked that we pray for her and she prayed for us.

Back at the site the team was busy welcoming new orphans and playing with the kids after school. Laura’s team was swamped with kids who wanted their faces and fingernails painted. They were told Bible stories and played with hula-hoops and the parachutes. Cooper had a little drawing class and Carol and Cheryl showed kids how to make paper airplanes.

Tomorrow will be the big celebration and the dedication of the hospital. Many of the Ugandans will work well into the night caring for all the last minute details. Chris and Wendy finished re-upholstering well-worn benches and tables in the clinic. Elizabeth and Darrin welcomed the orphans who came from a distance in trucks, vans, bikes and by foot. They partied in the church with singing, dancing and eating and were joined by Wendy and Chris when they finished their tasks. The girls will sleep at the church and the boys will be at a school house. A truck full of mattresses pulled up to give the children a more comfortable sleep. Some couldn’t wait for a mattress and fell asleep on the floor. Others won’t sleep much in anticipation of tomorrow.



Thursday, November 16
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Early this morning a team of brave hearts climbed the rock. They all made it to the top at around 5000 feet and back. Tom, Cooper and Mike didn’t think the grueling climb was enough of a challenge so when they came down they ran the 1 ½ mile back to the hotel.
This was a real break through for Tom because a year ago when he climbed the rock he knew there was something wrong and that caused him to go in for a blood test which showed he had prostate cancer. He’s been through so much this year but God has been faithful! We all cheered to know that his strength is returning.

Today’s lesson was Ephesians 4:11-12 “Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong.” We are designed for community. We are called to gather together-not only to belong but to serve. Everyone has a part-not one gift is greater than another.
Ephesians 4:15-16 says, “Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it all together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.”

With that we were encouraged to go and serve to the best of our ability bringing the love of Christ in all that we do.

A mud-spattered crew returned to the hotel this evening. We’ve been having some heavy rains and along with the rain a whole lot of mud! Some of the team trudged through the yuck with smiles on their faces as if they were enjoying it! One team went into the bush to see sick orphans. Dina said it was the best day yet. The kids were so excited to see the Mzungus running through the mud. Eric said he was so thrilled to go to the middle of nowhere…to go down a mud path where cars don’t usually go and then come upon a mud hut and go inside and see mattresses and mosquito nets provided by Hope4Kids. It’s inspiring to realize how far Hope4Kids actually reaches out and touches lives.

Other team members stayed on site and painted between the cloud bursts. Still others worked on projects; some turned the church into a playground and enjoyed the kids.

Sharon says she has supported other organizations and what has impressed her the most is to come here and touch and feel and see where your money is actually going. Feeling the impact of her support has been a great blessing for her.

“… And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) (NKIV)



Wednesday November 15
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Yesterday some of us went to meet the chief of police. Cheryl is with the California Hwy Patrol so she brought her badge and ID with her. When we arrived the chief was not in so we met the inspector. Tom told him we had a police officer with us and the inspector began looking the men over to see who it was. They pointed to Cheryl. Pleasantly surprised the inspector welcomed her and a sergeant and another officer popped in. They NEVER allow photos but he did allow a photo of the three of them and Cheryl. Cheryl asked if we could see their operation and he willingly agreed. We saw where they do fingerprinting and the crime lab. There was a large line of women waiting to speak to someone in the domestic violence division. A woman was checking in with a big knot on the back of her head and blood all over the side of her face. Then we walked down a narrow dark hallway where the jail cell was. It was difficult to see the prisoners as they were in a small dark room. Cheryl stopped and said, “Have you been bad boys?”
“No. We are only suspects.”
Later, a Ugandan told Cheryl that if the men are sent to prison the conditions are much more deplorable. They are beaten senseless every night and are forced to do hard labor during the day. Their one meal a day contains embalming fluid so they are slowly poisoned to death. Those who are released are so sick they die anyway.

In family time this morning people were remarking about the extreme joy these people have in spite of being raped, beaten and having lost family members to AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Tom related to how the Ugandans prayed so furiously for him when he had cancer. They would fast and cry tears to God on his behalf. When he and Sarah arrived in Uganda this past June there was a huge celebration. People waved flowers and banners, and danced and sang with jubilation. Tom noticed one of the women dancing feverously. He kidded her later, “You were getting pretty wild there!”

“When I heard of your cancer I went without food or water for six days, praying continually. I suffered so much so my joy must be greater.”

Tom reminded us that the power of the gospel can ease the pain. Jesus knows our suffering. His family fled to Africa when he was a baby. He was beaten and mocked. Although he had the power to hurt back he allowed them to lead him like a lamb going to be slaughtered.

These people have wept deeper than we have ever wept. They’ve experienced sorrow way beyond anything we could ever experience. Yet they are not cold and bitter. They aren’t hiding behind their troubles and are not violent. Their height of joy comes from their depth of mourning.

We welcomed Bill Goodwin to our team last night. After our team leaves Bill will go to Kenya for a prayer conference.



Tuesday November 14
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It seems the longer we are here the busier we become! The site was loaded with activity today.

Brad and Michele were the dentists today and had some difficult extractions. They are doing an awesome job with their limited tools and equipment. Chris held the flashlight for them as they worked.

Laura and Brie headed up the tie dying for the new orphans. We were expecting 160 new orphans! Dina was one of the team who helped. She said her highlight was when they put the color on the white t shirt and watching their eyes light up. They explained the meaning of the colors as they dipped the shirts. ie. red represents the blood of Christ which was shed for you. . . She enjoyed the one on one time with the kids because usually you relate to them in groups but this task was a one to one so that was really special for those helping. Angie was the runner and would go get water or whatever else they needed.

Cooper worked in the dental and painted outside. He then helped with tie dying and ended up at the women’s ministry store to string beads.

Donna helped Elizabeth as she registered and photographed the new orphans.

Pastor Ken painted and helped pack food. Then he walked for an hour uphill to preach at Segombe’s church. He was almost to the top and a woman came running down to meet him. He was a little nervous that she was going to collide and knock him back down the hill but she stopped in time to hug and welcome him. Afterward she gifted him with a live chicken.

Debi and Wendy were teaching Pastor Jane a few American terms like “goof ball”! Jane was so proud of herself when she walked up to Tom and said, “golf ball!” Tom said that is one thing he hasn’t been called.

Toward the end of the day some of us were relaxing outside the women’s store. The women decided to treat us with singing and dancing. Brad video taped them and then played it back. They were laughing and giving out calls of jubilation. Then they really started performing!! Brad entertained them with a little dance which really got them going.

It was a great day.
Thanks for watching and praying.



Monday November 13th
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Brad and Michelle saw dental patients and pulled a few teeth.

Elizabeth took some peole out to see orphans and Brie was excited to see where their sponsored child lives. They visited her home and found eight kids living there!

Some of the team packed beans and rice in individual bags for 720 orphans. They will be placed in backpacks and given to them on Saturday. We used Eric’s muscles to transport the heavy bags to the church.

Others stopped in at the women’s ministry store and purchased dolls, bags, baskets and jewelry made by the local women.

There was a trip to town for supplies and attempts to use the internet.

I was privileged to visit the Salvation Army Children’s home where I was shown around the compound and met some of the children and staff. Patsy moved from Tempe Arizona to work full time with the orphans. After the tour she took me to a house next door to see Emily.

Emily sold everything she had in Minnesota and moved here about six years ago to take care of some of the street children. She has 15 boys living in her home and they all love her and call her Mama.

It was inspiring to see the dedication and love Patsy and Emily bring to these kids who have been tossed away by society.



Saturday November 11
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The team arrived today! We were happy to see them!! Tom led a tour around the site and explained each building and the vision for the future. As we toured we gathered more and more children and Tom had to stop frequently as people ran to hug him and tell him how happy they were to see him. We ended at the pre school playground where Eric and Tom and Ken and all the guys really. . . acted like boys climbing the monkey bars and playing on the see saw. Angie loved the merry go round! We played until almost dark and reluctantly returned to the hotel with promises of returning tomorrow.

Of the team of 26 there are twelve of us who are returning for our 2nd, 3rd and even 7th time.
So you know people really love this place and can’t wait to come back.



Friday November 10
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Today was a busy day for everybody. The guys were busy wiring and troubleshooting.
It’s not easy when they are working in a little room and guys crowd in with them to watch. Whenever they have to walk to another area kids are grabbing them and wanting to walk with them. They are accomplishing some good work though. Last night a guy who is working with them brought parts in to the restaurant. We totally lost Darrin and Robert as they examined the parts discussing them like they were real treasures. They couldn’t wait till morning!

Elizabeth spent much of the day buying food for us to hand out to 720 orphans next Saturday. She also went to see a house being built for Joseph, one of our orphans. While in the field she was so surprised to see nurses from our clinic treating people in the bush. When she remarked about it to the orphan staff one replied: “Oh yes. They do outreaches all the time.”

The grounds people are diligently sprucing up the compound. Choirs are practicing; fliers are being distributed and buildings are being painted. Everyone is looking forward with much anticipation to the celebration of the dedication of the hospital on the 18th.
Tomorrow evening the rest of the team should be here and women’s ministry is occupied with making baskets, necklaces, anklets and other craft items to sell to team members.

I explained chargers (Plates underneath dinner plates) to the women and one of the basket weavers, Grace decided to make some for me. You can see her in the photo holding up three. She is going to make six! As the women work they tell stories. They heard that I have been collecting stories of the women of Uganda and each has one to tell and is anxious for me to interview them. When I hear of the suffering each one has had to endure it really makes me wonder. I’ve heard stories of rape, witchcraft, attempted murder, murder, unbelievable abuse, abandonment, and on and on. Yet, each woman says, “When I accepted the Lord life is so much better.” They still endure the same problems but they now have Hope.

When I see the children and how they are expected to work almost as soon as they can walk it still amazes me. The other day I was walking and I came across a tiny boy around two years old out all alone collecting fire wood. I sat with a little girl with a baby strapped to her back. She’s four and her brother is one!

I thought of something Pastor Ruth told me when I interviewed her:

“When I looked at the poverty of these people I sat quietly and repented in my heart. God forgive me for asking for more. You have already given me more than I deserve. Sometimes we go on our knees and we ask him for more. When we look at these people we know God himself cares for them and as we reach out to show love to them we are thankful to God that he will use people like us for such a time as this.”



Say Cheese
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Don’t forget to check out the photo albums. Rachel has been busy taking pictures. 96 and the team hasn’t even arrived!!!!!

Hope 4 Kids International Photo Album


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.

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