Greetings from Uganda,
Yes we are still here in Uganda, and I might just sneak in this post before the end of the month. I really haven’t got a good enough excuse to offer for not writing earlier, so I won’t try.
Firstly we’d like to give a special greeting to my Auntie Elva in Matamata who celebrated her 90th birthday on the 28th of this month; and also to Judy, our sister-in-law in Auckland whose birthday was on the 26th of this month. Blessings to you both!
This month at the Ark there has been a few special events. There was a birthday celebration for the ‘Ice-cream Man’. The ‘Ice- cream man’ is a non-christian Asian businessman here in Uganda who abides by the law of giving and receiving. He has proven that the more he gives, the more his business prospers, and so he has committed himself to provide ice-creams and more, for all the children once a week.
On his birthday he wanted to celebrate it with the Ark children, so he brought his extended family, and all the food with him. (Two hundred beautifully iced cup-cakes; a mammoth chocolate and cream birthday cake; boxes of drink for everyone; and of course – ‘ice-cream’) The children were delighted, and so was the Ice-cream man and his family, when the children danced, and Noah’s Ark Brass Band performed for them.
The Ice-cream man is wearing the striped shirt
Boys preparing to dance for the Ice-cream man
Noah’s Ark Brass Band
On the 21st of this month we also celebrated Papa’s birthday. This is something the children look forward to every year. It means they can get all-dressed up, perform, eat special foods and drink Coca Cola or Fanta. They love to present songs, dances, skits, and hand-made presents to their Papa.
My nine to ten year old boys reading group presented a skit to Papa, which ended with them presenting him a cloth book I made with these letters inside.
2 YY – U R, 2 YY – U B, I C – U R, 2 YY – 4 ME (This little ditty will take some of you back a few years to when autograph books were in vogue)
Papa among the children while opening the gifts given by them
Also earlier this month we had a team of people from Holland who came to help build two more Family Units. They departed yesterday evening, just before another team arrived. Papa is hoping both Family Units will be finished by Christmas time, as the Children’s Home is getting rather full, and the older ones need their own space. That will mean there will be a total of 8 Family Units counting Mama & Papa’s household.
The team hard at work laying the foundations for a new Family Unit
Finally we have managed to purchase some Luganda Bibles, and some have already been distributed. The pastor of the church up the road is in the process of waiting for the people to bring in their contributions for their Bibles. We will also be handing over the money raised in NZ for the Malnutrition Clinic in the next couple of days – see photo’s below.
Colin passing over Luganda Bibles to Auntie Agnes for distributing to some NACMU aunties
(Photo handing over Malnutrition money will be inserted shortly)
Both Colin and I are continuing to forge closer relationships with the children and also the Aunties and Uncles. Some are very open and willing for us to be part of their lives; others are a little more reserved. Colin preached at NACMU Church a couple of weeks ago on ‘The Importance of Knowing God’ – Part of a series which will be preached by different ones over the next few weeks. On the day Colin was to speak, all hell broke loose with the weather. The thunder roared – the lightning temporarily blew the sound system, and the rain hammered on the iron roof, which made it completely impossible to hear anything. All this was close to the time of Colin getting up to preach. But praise God, it only lasted about 15 minutes before completely passing, so all was well. I think the enemy didn’t want the Word of truth spoken, but the prayers of the people won out.
Next month (August) will probably see Auntie Katie return to the Ark after three months of treatment in the States for her terrible burns. Katie has booked her flight to return to Uganda early in August, but this depends on what her burn specialist advises. It is school holidays here in August, as Uganda still has a 3 term system, so Katie is keen to get back here to run the holiday program. Please pray for Katie – she is one brave lady.
Well that’s all from me (Bev) this month, Colin may like to add something more…
Colin: Over the last two months – since returning to NACMU – I have hardly spent any time down at the woodwork shop. This is partly because there hasn’t been any projects for me to work on, but mainly because at last I have been able to be more focussed on the ‘spiritual’ side of things, including the following:
- Preparing Bible studies for the teen boys group who meet at our place twice a week. When this group started earlier in the year, we had 3 students. Over time it grew, and we now have 7 students. Being a boy’s group, Bev isn’t involved, but one of the school teachers – Bosco – is co-leading with me. He is a mature Christian, and we get on really well. From time to time we have a game evening which helps to build relationships. The boys do seem to be genuinely interested in the studies we are doing.
- As part of the church oversight team, I have been working with the pastor and youth pastor on the current teaching series – ‘Knowing God’. This has been an answer to prayer, and something that I believe the Lord has been preparing me for over many years.
- Coupled with this, I have written a small booklet entitled: ‘Knowing God – How Important is it Really?’ It’s small – containing 11 A5 pages. This is for the purpose of encouraging people to go beyond just listening to the message on Sunday – much of which gets forgotten anyway, unless they are good note-takers. It’s really just stage one, as it needs to be followed up with a booklet focussing on the nature of God, which will form part of their growing to know God more personally.
I still love to make sure I spend some time each day with the children, whether it’s the ones who come rushing to our door after school, or the younger ones over at the children’s home. This is part of what makes it special being here. They are all SO different from us Europeans (Mzungus), but they are so beautiful and friendly – always wanting our attention.
Thank you all for your interest in what we are doing around the other side of the world, and thank you for your prayers.
Colin & Bev Winters