These will be the last updates you will receive from us while we are in Uganda. We leave early tomorrow morning to head toward Kampala, where we’ll be taking an evening flight from Entebbe airport to Nairobi, and then from Nairobi to Amsterdam. Hopefully, I will be able to send one last update from Amsterdam on Tuesday morning, and we’ll be arriving back in America on Tuesday afternoon. If you add 10 hours to Phoenix time to make up the time difference, that means that our journey home will be approximately 43 hours from the time we leave the hotel to the time we arrive in Phoenix. For those heading to California, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Florida, their journey will continue on even after all that. Pray for endurance and smooth traveling connections!!!!

Friday, November 12

The knitting and sewing lessons have come along very quickly, and we have seen incredible progress. Some of the women have mastered knit and purl and have now begun making sweaters. It was also great fun to watch the women who have mastered the treadle on the sewing machines and can now sew actual seams. They used empty cement bags from this week’s cement projects to cut out paper patterns and then practiced sewing the patterns together. The women were adorable as they modeled their paper clothes that they had sewed…many of them are ready to sew with fabric, and they can hardly wait to start.

Some of our team members went into the villages surrounding the site today, and had an opportunity to meet people we’ve not yet seen. The villagers were thrilled to have mzungu guests, and the children were beside themselves with excitement.

One of the things that has touched our hearts the most has been the incredible reception we’ve received from the children.

Wherever we go, the children clamor around us, and if we drive by, they run up to the roadway and wave and yell “Jambo!” which means hello. They all want to shake our hands or hold our hands or just touch us and be near us. That’s one of the things we’ll miss most when we leave this place. Every day, kids come during their lunch break and right after school to hang out together at the church. Even when groups like ours aren’t here, this is definitely a community place; it doesn’t matter if they belong to the church or not, all are welcome to come and play. Many times, the reason the parents begin to come to church is because the kids have been so blessed by this welcoming community.

This afternoon, we had the wonderful surprise of watching a baby calf being born. Already we are seeing the multiplication of our investment as this baby calf entered the world and immediately added worth to the herd that we’ve purchased for the farm project.

Al had an opportunity to preach on Pastor Wilbur’s weekly radio program on Mambo Rock radio station in Tororo. Now that’s something to brag to your grandkids about!

When half of the orphans from the orphan project arrived this afternoon, we attempted to show one of the cartoon movies with Tom’s laptop computer and projector, but unfortunately, there was one little piece missing, and without that piece, we couldn’t hook the projector up to the sound equipment to generate the audio. The kids were disappointed, but when we went outside and started to play ball, they forgot all about the movie.

Saturday, November 13

This morning, many of the orphans came for their monthly program at the church, and in addition to a worship and praise time, we showed “The Jesus Film” with Tom’s laptop and projector (this time we had the missing piece, and the audio worked well). In spite of the fact that it was like going to a drive-in movie in the middle of the day, people still sat and watched in fascination as it powerfully told the story of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection. Before lunch, we also had time to take Polaroid pictures of the kids and the adults, and they really got a kick out of that. It was so fun watching all of them walking around as they showed each other their pictures..

The afternoon was filled with excitement as many of the orphans received goats through money that has been raised by school children in America. It was so fun to be a part of this ceremony and to see their reactions as their names were called and they came up to the front of the church to get their goat. It was also incredibly cool to see that no one minded that the goats peed and pooped on the church floor; it was just accepted as part of the process and was later cleaned up with no complaints or concern. In addition, a number of hand-made quilts were given to some of the orphans, and their eyes lit up when they saw how beautiful they were.

Later, while we were teaching some of the women how to macramé, they told us that the next thing they wanted to learn was how to make those blankets because the blankets were very “smart” (that’s their word for pretty). When we told them we didn’t know how to make them, that some of our friends in America had made them, they told us that we need to tell these women that they must come to Uganda to teach them how this is one.

We finished off the day by going to the football field to watch the True Vine Team Ministries team play football (in America, we call it soccer). It was great fun to cheer on these kids that we’ve been hanging out with all week.

This was our last full day to play with the kids and be with all our new friends. Tomorrow, we will spend all morning and early afternoon in the worship service, then we will be going out to the farm, where we’ll see the progress that is being made with this project. From there, we will head over to the hospital where we’ll hand out beanie babies and blow bubbles and visit the hundreds of kids there. Then it will be time to pack for our journey home.

We are so anxious to see our families again, but so heartbroken that it’s already time to leave.

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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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