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April » 2007 » Hope 4 Kids International Blog


Monday April 23
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Many of our group were invited to lunch in the homes of the local people. They discovered lunch was not just in ONE home-they were involved in a progressive lunch! Then when they returned to the site they discovered they were invited to dinner at someone else’s house! They were full physically, emotionally and spiritually by the time they returned to the hotel. The locals were so excited to host them and wanted them to bless their homes. Paul said, “We had to pray when we entered their homes-then over the meal-then we had to pray a blessing over their homes-then pray to leave!”

Elizabeth took a team way out to places where some have never seen white people. In one area people stood around staring at them until one of the Ugandans said, “Stop staring at them like they are animals!”

There was still a lot of activity on the True Vine site. DJ remained on task with his painting team and finished painting three houses and they are now starting to paint the guest house. Kristi worked in the hospital while Mae and Audrey continued to test people for reading glasses. One of the nurses came to work with labor pains. They haven’t gotten the idea of having their babies in the hospital yet so she went home and had the baby there. Some of us went to her tiny one-room home and crowded around to see her newborn baby boy. All the kids in the neighborhood swarmed the doorway trying to see too.

We will be leaving for the States-home to our loved ones early Wednesday morning with a stop at the Source of the Nile and shopping in Kampala. I’ll be doing the wrap up when I return home.

Thanks for your prayers and for coming along with us.


Sunday April 22
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Elizabeth, Jenn, Angie, Jim, Gwen and Tom Flynn went to Pastor Peter’s church for the Sunday morning service. Fellowship church of Anthem sponsors and are paying for the new building of this church. They had a great time and had trouble pulling away to get to lunch.

The rest of us went to the main True Vine church where David preached another great sermon! We said a sad goodbye to Pat and Colleen. They were such a blessing to the team and Colleen added a whole lot of life to all that we did!

After lunch part of the team went to the farm where Angie and a couple others lost their senses and started kissing pigs!

Sean, Janet, Kent, Laura, Robert, Wendy, Greg, Pastor Peter, Andrew, George, and I went to Kiri Mintiri’s (a widow with whom we’ve been working). She sent a message saying she was ready to accept Christ and would we come to pray with her. So we all crammed into the van to Kiri’s house. She welcomed us warmly and Pastor Peter led her in a prayer of salvation. Her 50-year-old son who had been praying for her for years said, “Mama. Now is the time to burn your witchcraft items. You don’t need them anymore.” She brought out her idols and drum used for witchcraft and said, “Burn them.” Then she brought out her homemade still and said she didn’t want to make and sell alcohol anymore either. We gave her money to start a new business. She said she is going to use it to buy and sell fish.

We told Kiri that her neighbor Cadija had accepted Christ too and changed her name to Wazemba. She wanted to go see her so we loaded MORE people into the van and went to see Wazemba. Kiri told her she was now “saved” and the two widows rejoiced together.

When we returned to the hotel we found a number of True Vine people at the swimming pool wanting to be baptized. David and Sean baptized them. Angie wanted Pastor Wilber to baptize her so when they entered the pool David said he wanted Pastor Wilber to baptize him too. What a day of rejoicing this Sunday was!!



Saturday tea party
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What a day! Our entire team went to the land purchased by Smile Africa and helped put on a tea party for women in ministry. Pastor Ruth invited everybody and planned the program while we came to support and serve. We arrived in time to help set up the tent and chairs. Pat played the clarinet at the entrance while the women began to show up on foot, bicycles, and our rented bus. Some women took three days to arrive from an island 40 miles away! The balloon squad made animal shaped balloons for the women and for the children who came to watch. We unpacked the dishes and cups and garden hoes and Shawn and Pat took turns entertaining the women inside the tent with their music while they waited for the tea to begin. Even men came!! We told them they were welcome to eat with us but the gifts and the party were for the women. Pat started things off by playing “When the Saints go Marching in”. Everyone was on their feet clapping, dancing and singing along. We were ready to begin.
Pastor Ruth was mistress of ceremonies and a leader in her church gave some opening remarks, telling how Smile Africa began. Jenn and Kristi sang beautifully accompanied by Shawn on the guitar. I told how the tea party came to be. Patsy talked about God putting dreams within our hearts and Wendy spoke on the churches’ response to the AIDS epidemic. Akua, who is in public health demonstrated some basic hygiene practices. Then it was time to eat! What a beautiful sight as we had the women remain in their seats while our team and some of the Ugandan men served. Tom was having a great time serving tea and teasing the women knowing that for some-they had NEVER been served by a man! Pastor Wilber made a HUGE statement by serving the women! Shawn played the guitar and sang while the women enjoyed their meal.
It was time to hand out the gifts and we decided it would be good if Colleen and Stephanie did the closing prayer before we gave out the gifts because the women were going to be so excited they would forget all about the prayer.
We were a little concerned as we had 250 purses filled with cosmetic bags, shampoo, soap, deodorant, Kleenex, hankies, band-aids, washcloths, wallets, journals and pens, etc. We originally thought there would be 100 women at the tea-that quickly jumped to 150 so we scrambled thinking we wouldn’t want to run out. We gave out 175 filled purses, 175 garden hoes, 700 pounds of rice and beans (Colleen loves to feed people so she and Stephanie purchased bags of food and the women had Smile Africa weighed it and bagged it for the women) and 350 orange tree seedlings!
The women were thrilled! They laughed and cried and laughed some more. They were so grateful.
We loaded up the extra gifts and took them to Pastor Ruth’s to be distributed to the many widows who are in great need. We were told the hoes were a perfect gift as it is planting time and rather than eat the beans most will plant them.
Robert was in town and caught women walking home with their gifts balance upon their heads.
I was so proud of our team! Everyone played a part-we have a couple quiet ones like DJ and Sam who just work hard. Bill and Cindy entertained children away from the tent during the program. David was caught holding a baby for one of the women. Tom had his Ugandan daughters help-teaching them to give back. Angie and Elizabeth photographed and videotaped the event. Mae and Audrey stood by the gate welcoming the women and pitched in on serving and handing out the gifts. Paul, Greg and Kent are awesome and do whatever is required. Laura was busy on the balloon squad. Gwen served wherever she was needed. Robert and Jim helped set up the tent and carried heavy items but had to leave the tea to fix the generator at True Vine. Everyone worked really hard today and I am sure will sleep well tonight.
Thank you for all who contributed to this great day. Those women will never be the same!


Friday April 20
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Elizabeth took a team to the Tororo districts to present more goats and shoes. They had to vaccinate the goats. They gathered the children and goats to take a group picture. It was NOT easy! The team of 13 and five goats were in the van and gifts of two chickens, sugar cane and other items.

A group of us were in town shopping for items for the tea party. One of our widows, Fatuma, came by. We greeted her warmly and pulled her into the store with us. Colleen asked me, “Does she know Jesus?” “No.” “Let’s ask her if she wants to know Jesus.” We took her on the bus with us. She said, “Because I had leprosy no body wants me around them. But you have come to my home-you’ve given me gifts and shown me love. I know that is Jesus in you. I want to know him too.” Pastor Ruth prayed with her and she received Christ.

Those who didn’t go out with Elizabeth or to town remained at the site with Jim working on the generator and DJ heading up the paint crew. People are so busy I can’t keep up with them all but know that all are well and having a great time ministering to these Ugandans.



April 19
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Today was another full day!

A group went out to visit some village churches, one of which is sponsored by Pat,Shawn and Janet’s church , South side of Spokane, WA. Pastor Justis welcomed them warmly and even had a fabulous lunch prepared for them. We have a “Build a Village” program. for $22,500 you can purchase land; build a church, clinic, pastor’s house,and dig a well. this also buys a sound system, a generator and all the furnishings for the church and pastor’s house. To date there have been three villages sponsored. As the team visited the site they found in one area people have been walking six miles round trip to fetch water. Those who cannot walk that far collect water from puddles and collect water when it rains. This water is used for drinking as well as bathing and washing clothes and dishes so just digging the well alone will ease burdens as well as provide clean drinking water-thus saving lives.

The team also bought food for the village. Bill figured it all out=they gave out enough food for 1600 meals at 10 cents per meal! About the same as it would cost to take your family of four to a nice dinner.

We arrived at the site to work on Cadija who is now called Wazemba’s house to find her old hut had totally collapsed! Her cries woke the neighbors about midnight and they had to pull her from the rubble! She suffered a bump on the back of her head but is okay and happy that she can move into her new home tonight. Her new pink purse came out unharmed! She is rejoicing that the timing of her new home was so on target and so excited to move into a bigger and nicer hut that the trauma had no effect on her mood.

Elizabeth led a team to Kenya to visit some orphans just across the border. They had some crazy people like Kent and Laura and Audrey and Kristi singing and laughing all the way. They had a great time handing out goats and gifts to the orphans there and then sang and laughed all the way back!

Wendy, Greg and I went to see widows with Pastor Ruth, taking mattresses, food, new totes and other gifts. They were so overwhelmed. One cried, “Who am I that God should care about me? I never dreamed anyone would come bringing such wonderful gifts.” We met another widow named Wazemba! I’ve never heard that name and neither has Pastor Wilber so we were shocked to meet two in two days! She told us Wazemba means “season of planting and sowing”. We also had the honor of leading her to a new life in Christ.

Pastor Ruth has helped many widows start up their own businesses in order to sustain themselves. We sat in huts and women brought out necklaces they have made and showed us foodstuffs they make and sell along the road.

In Gilbert, AZ there is a group of women called Quilt Angels. They meet every Monday to sew quilts for the residents of House of Refuge East. They took the women of Uganda on as a project and made 100 totes for them as well as donating money for an overlock machine and what they call here a hand machine. Pastor Ruth desires to train disabled widows and since their sewing machines are treadle some weren’t able to learn. Now thanks to the Quilt Angels they are going to be trained and operate the machines by hand. AND there was enough money to purchase a knitting machine! They are all so grateful and excited. They also have copied the totes by the Quilt Angels and are making their own now with Smile Africa tags!

Thanks for your prayers. There is so much to tell I can’t do it all here but know that your support is making a HUGE difference and lives are being changed for today and for eternity.



April 17
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Today a fabulous team of men and Cindy went to the jungle to build a new hut for Cadija. Andrew, Robert’s head electrician gathered some of his Ugandan friends and told them “We have to help the widows. We must all sacrifice and do this thing.” Rather than buy the poles they went into the forest and cut their own and did all the prep work. Cindy and Bill walked a mile carrying the poles to Cadija’s. Kent, Robert, Paul, Greg and Jim cut poles and helped construct the hut. You can see Kent balancing himself atop the frame winding the small poles around the roof. When the widow’s team arrived the frame was finished and Cadija was sitting on the ground gazing at it, smiling and laughing. She kept thanking us over and over. She said, “Everyone has forgotten me but you did not leave me here for my house to crumble and fall on me.” She is Muslim but says they don’t bother with her anymore because she is old and they think she is crazy. “But YOU have not forgotten me!” We gave her a small bag of beef and our conversation was over. Some people have gone years without tasting meat and she was very anxious to go inside her hut and cook it.

Gwen, Wendy, Sam, Laura, Jen and I delivered mattresses and beds to three widows. We rented a small truck so most of us had to ride in the bed on top of the mattresses. It was more fun than riding in a Suburban! (Jen doesn’t want her husband to look at the picture of her riding on top of the mattress because he might think she has forgotten about seat belts. The driver was very careful).
The widows were also were given a small bag of meat. Natecha, whom we put in the hospital last week was sitting outside and still looked very ill. She greeted us weakly but when we brought out a new bed and mattress she jumped and shouted in jubilation as her despair turned to hope.

Elizabeth took a team way out into the bush to see orphans and to give out shoes and goats. Team member, Sam has a seven-year-old son, Josh. He and his first grade class made posters, putting them around his school asking for jerseys for the boys in Uganda. He collected 122 jerseys and you will see in the photos how energized the boys were who received some today. Colleen found another orphan to sponsor and Stephanie couldn’t decide between three children so took them all.

Pat continued with his music program. When our truck rolled onto the site he had a little marching band outside. It was so cute but by the time I fought my way out of the truck they had gone inside and were putting the instruments away. Perhaps tomorrow. . .

I can’t begin to describe how it feels to meet your sponsored orphan. You feel such a connection and when you meet this child and know that his/her life will be different because you are giving $26 a month (about what some of us spend on Starbucks each week) waves of emotion sweep over you. There is something about actually sitting with them, hugging them and having them call you “mommy” or “daddy” and seeing their joy. They have stood helplessly by watching their parents die and now here is someone who came all the way from America to say: “You are special to me. Even though I live thousands of miles away I think about you, support you and pray for you. You are going to have the basics in life PLUS you won’t have to drop out of school because you can’t pay the school fees or you don’t have a uniform. You can be whatever you dream of becoming.” Several of us have experienced the connection this week. I met our granddaughter today (sponsored by our daughter, Lisa). She’s soooooo cute! She goes to True Vine preschool so her education has already started. Typically the children are shy when we first meet them but once they understand they are special to you they began to smile and the next time they see you will run up to you and grab your hand and not let go.

Mae and Audrey continued giving out reading glasses and Kristi worked hard in the medical center today. DJ remained faithful to his paint project. I wasn’t around the site enough to catch Mae doing anything crazy but. . .

I was around the church long enough to catch Pastor Dave’s afternoon inspirational message. He’d gone to the radio station to speak but their system was down and they were unable to broadcast.

Keep the prayers going!

April 18

Colleen knelt in front of Cadija and asked a teenage boy, “do you speak English.”
When he said he did she said to Cadija, “God healed me from cancer so I can come here and lead you to Christ.” She told her how Jesus loved her and wanted her for His child.
Aquati, who gets one day a year off had taken today off. He knelt next to Colleen and asked what she was doing. Colleen said she wanted Cadija to know Jesus so Aquati talked with Cadija and said; She’s ready. She wants you to pray with her.” After they prayed together Cadija was so happy and immediately said\; ‘ My new name is Wazemba-I’m Cadija no more. The old is gone. I’m a new person. You brought me tea, you bought me rice. People who are not even from my tribe are building a house for me. My Muslim friends have left me but you keep coming.”

As neighbors dropped by to watch the hut being built Wazemba told them all, “I am saved. I am Cadija no longer. Call me Wazemba!”
Colleen then asked of the children who were standing around, “Do any of you want to receive Jesus as savior?” Seven said “Yes!” It was a day of rejoicing! Later when Jenn, Tom Flynn, Janet and I went by to check on the progress Wazemba said, “I’m saved and I have a new name-Wazemba.” She didn’t want to keep her Muslim name and wanted a Christian name.
Wazemba’s house is coming along nicely. The team feels one more day of work will finish it.

Liz took a team into the bush to again hand out goats and shoes. What a fun day they had! They were greeted warmly and Justis church fed them a beautiful buffet lunch.

The triplets have been hospitalized once again. They were so dehydrated they had a very difficult time putting the IV’s in. Finally through much prayer and perseverance Kristi managed to hook them up.

DJ is diligently painting with team members dropping by to help when they have time.

There is so much activity I can’t keep up with it all.

Continue with your prayers as we see God’s Spirit moving through this place.



April 16
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April 16

Today was a busy day as some of our orphans came for goats and shoes. Sam, Laura, Janet, Cindy and Gwen helped sort and fit shoes. Angie took pictures for Elizabeth as she picked up her husband, Tom and Jen.

DJ, Paul, Jamie, Kent and Greg painted a house. Jim worked on the generator. Robert held and electrical class and lined up materials for building Cadija’s new hut.

Kristi helped out in the clinic and went to town to stock up on medicine.

Pat, Colleen and Stephanie stopped in homes checking on friends and bought enough food to feed a village they will be visiting.

Pat also gave clarinet lessons while Kristi taught guitar and Bill taught the trumpet. We are looking forward to a concert soon.

David preached on the radio and held an afternoon service.

Wendy worked with orphans and orientated Kristi to the clinic/hospital.

Mae and Audrey ran the eyeglass clinic. Mae took time out to spend with her sponsored child and to take a motorcycle ride. The children were laughing and so excited to see a grandma riding on a motorcyle!

Some of us also delivered all the purses to Pastor Ruth and prepared for the tea party.

Tom told us how hard the Africans have to work to build things and when three men dug a septic pit for us they had to dig it by hand. It took three months for them to dig a 30X30 foot wide pit which is also about 30 feet deep. He walked us out to see it and we were all in awe as we realized these men did this with only picks and shovels. They had no levels or way of measuring. It was all by sight. Robert called it the eighth wonder of the world.

Tomorrow will be an extremely busy day. Keep us in your prayers.



April 15
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We went to church! Those who wanted to dance with the Africans got up and had a great time. Some of us observed with cameras flashing and videos rolling. Pastor Dave preached an inspiring sermon; Pastor Birtch played the guitar and led us in some worship songs he wrote and three hours later we emerged into the bright sunlight to greet friends and meet new people.

After lunch at the hotel and a short rest we went to the local hospital where most people go to die. It was the condition of this hospital that caused Hope4Kids to long for a hospital on True Vine site. (Our hospital is in Phase one with limited operation.) The team wandered through the wards praying for people who have no hope and several gave their lives to Christ. I think most of the team went away feeling such gratitude for the hospitals we have in the United States. It’s a difficult concept to grasp when you realize that the families have to take food and care for the patient-even dispensing their medicine! If you have no one you just lie there untreated.

After dinner we all dragged our Hope4Kids bags into a conference room and organized the purses and gifts for the tea party which will be held for pastor’s wives on Saturday. We started out planning for 100 women-then it changed to 150-now there are 200 invited guests!! Pray that we have enough because it’s a given that more will show up! It was a fun time seeing the team working together, kicking in ideas and making a difficult task light.


April 14
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Elizabeth and her team of orphan workers went to Bugiri to deliver goats and shoes to the orphans in that area. As you can see by the photos the children were thrilled with their gifts.

Pat, Colleen, Wendy and I went with Pastor Ruth out to the bush. Pastor Ruth and her friends who care for street boys take them to a pastor in the bush when they are addicted to glue. They take them at night so the boys can’t find their way to town to get glue. The pastor and his family keep the boys up to one year and the success rate is pretty high. We looked at the tiny quarters and wondered how a family of five could live there AND share with street boys. For lunch they were having some greens they found in the bush and sweet potatoes. They were grateful for the boxes of food we brought. Anwar is the boy they are caring for now.

The team finally arrived at the hotel! Happy to be here we spent time getting acquainted; settling into their rooms and eating a hearty buffet lunch. They told us about the great safari and all the animals they were able to see. I managed to get a few pictures for the website.
We hopped on the bus and toured the True Vine site. Some played with children; others prayed for patients in the hospital and held the triplets; Pastor Birtch set up the new drum set. When the Ugandans saw the beautiful new drum set they could hardly contain their excitement. Then Birtch wowed them with a drum solo while everyone clapped, danced and cheered. Much to everyone’s delight Pastor Wilber sat down showing his talent by picking up the beat. Other church members took turns and no one wanted to go home.



april 13
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April 13

Pat set up the new drum set at the church; unpacked the guitars; mixing board, bass amp, and stabilizer. He’s now waiting for Pastor Birtch, the worship pastor from Spokane, to set up the new sound system. He then gave drum lessons to several of the guys who picked it up easily.

We all stayed around the True Vine site visiting our friends. When we dropped in to see the triplets we found them to be coughing and appeared very sick. The mother said she hadn’t been able to nurse them and had no formula. She appeared to be weak herself and said sometimes she feels so discouraged she feels like running away. We bought formula for the babies and food for her other seven children and took her and the babies to the hospital. Two of them have pneumonia and we admitted-so all three stayed with the mother. Please keep these babies and their mother in your prayers.

Pastor Ruth and her husband had us all over to dinner last night. It was a great time with a lot of good food and MUCH conversation. When Pat and Basil (Ruth’s husband) started talking shop-Pat’s a lawyer and Basil is a judge so they had a great deal to discuss. Robert and Scott were in a corner talking non-stop while the rest of us talked and laughed the night away.


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