Here I am once again finding myself on the back-foot trying to get this blog setup before the end of the month. It’s proving to be a bit tricky this month because its school holidays here in Uganda, and school holidays at the Ark means we have approximately 125 school age children looking for something with which to occupy themselves. Not all children knock on our door, but many do, so we spend time playing board games or fixing stuff they bring. It can be anything from broken sunglasses or toys; shoes which have come apart; damaged Bibles; knitted articles to sew up or fix — somehow it all seems to end up at our door. It’s funny, but the children don’t call knitting needles – ‘knitting needles’. They either call them knitting sticks or knitting hooks. Anyway in my wisdom I decided to get Colin to shorten some knitting sticks so they would be more manageable for small hands. Little did I know that this would bring an avalanche of knitting sticks to be shortened; all children wanting them ‘now-now!’ Now-now, is a phrase Ugandans use for ‘right this minute’.
Also this month Colin and I celebrated our birthdays with many little mouths that scoffed down a large chocolate cake that I made for Colin, and an apple and walnut cake that the lovely Auntie Stephanie made for me.
Colin ready to share his birthday cake with the children
Spot Colin is under this mass of children calling for more cake
We also celebrated our birthdays with Mama & Papa, Katie, Christian, Stephanie and Jared. We went to the African Village for an evening meal, (or supper, as everyone here calls it). It’s the first time that Colin and I have been to the African village, so it was a real treat for us. It turned out to be a very attractive holiday resort, which is only a 15 minute drive from the Ark. (I didn’t get to take any photos of the place as it was dark when we arrived)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all family and friends that sent birthday greetings to us both. But methinks I’d rather NOT celebrate anymore birthdays considering how seriously close that I am to three score and ten. Ha!
While I am talking about birthdays – Happy birthday to our son Shane whose birthday falls on the 3rd September; Colin’s Mum Queenie, who turns 95 on the 4th September; our granddaughter Billie on the 5th of September; our sister-in-law Liz on the 12th September; my friend Caroline on the 14th September; and a late birthday wish to Hayden who turned ?? years old on the 18th of August.
I mentioned in our July blog that Katie was hoping to return to Noah’s Ark this month after being in the burn unit for three months in the United States. Well…our Katie is back, scarred, but still very beautiful inside and out. Katie has launched herself into the holiday program for the children, but gets tired, so time-out is needed on the odd occasion. Unfortunately Katie contracted Malaria last week, which has not helped her situation. Please pray for her.
So far the highlights for the kid’s holiday program have been a visit to the Coca-Cola factory (about 20-25 mins from here); fishing down at Noah’s Ark fish farm; a night visit to a factory which was setup with special lights that illuminate all things white. Lots of fun and games were played at that factory.
Another team from Holland have come and gone this month. Their main task was to continue building the family units which were started by a previous team. I will add an updated photo so you can see the progress.
The progress on Family Unit 3 Girls
Also, the new accommodation for the boy boarding students down at the secondary school is almost completed. Papa’s design skills are beautifully displayed with the use of leftover provision containers. There are six large containers under one big roof area, and at present, four of them are being converted into sleeping quarters for the boys. The picture below shows one straight ahead, and one at the right. The secondary school is just over the road outside the Noah’s Ark gate. I think Papa wants to keep the boarding boys safely outside the gate at night so they don’t get silly ideas about our lovely ‘Flowers’. Good thinking I say…
Boy’s Accommodation Units
Inside Boy’s Sleeping Quarters
Here at the Ark we held our first late night prayer meeting, which was led by the Ugandan people using their own style of worship. Bongo drums – loud speakers – dancing – beautiful singing and loud praying could be heard until midnight. There was a good sized group – maybe about 40 people.
Colin and I went down for the first couple of hours, and I must say I did enjoy it. But when it came to praying time it was hard for us to concentrate with all the movement, music, and loud praying. It was held in an open-sided traditional thatched roof hut down at the Nursery School, but because it was dark on arrival I couldn’t take outside photos. I did however take a photo of the inside roof structure of the hut, but I don’t think it shows the true height of the roof, which is extremely high. Fortunately Colin was able to get a good outside photo the next day.
Inside roof structure to Traditional African Hut
Photo of Hut Taken the Next Day
We are yet to hear feed-back from those attending, as to whether they want this to be a regular monthly prayer meeting. This first open prayer meeting came about because of a number of our Ugandan aunties expressing a desire for their own traditional all-night prayer meeting. They would normally travel miles on foot, out to a village, to attend a prayer meeting such as this.
We have one more week of school holidays, and then the kids are back to school until mid-December. I am always thankful when we get through the holidays without any accidents. So far only a few scratches and bruises – may it continue.
Mama & Papa (Pita & Piet) and three Ugandan children from their family unit are leaving for a 5-6 week trip to Holland on the 7th of September. It won’t really be a holiday for Piet & Pita as they have lots of speaking engagements and promotional work to do, but I hope they manage to get a few days of R&R. Please pray for safe travel for them.
In the past 2 blogs we mentioned that we were going to post some pictures of us handing over the money raised while in NZ for the Malnutrition Clinic. Sorry about the time taken to do this, but at last we have them.
Cash hand-over to Mama
In the picture above, little Nalima in the black top was one of the children who came to Noah’s Ark as an extremely malnourished child. The picture below shows the contrast of before and after her treatment. (Nalima is at the right of the money). Once again, we give a big thank you to all who have contributed to this needy Clinic.
Donated Money, and Images of Malnourished Children
Colin went up to distribute the Luganda Bibles at the local village church this morning. (Sunday the 30th Sept) I’ll let him fill you in on that story…
Several months ago I was invited to a small church about 20 minutes walk up the road from NACMU. Part of the reason for being invited was that most of the people there are poor and couldn’t afford to buy Bibles. Uncle Bondi from NACMU already knew that we had been helping many people to get Bibles at a fraction of what they pay at a bookshop. In this case the people needed to buy Luganda versions (local language), as their understanding of English is very limited. But we weren’t able to get them straight away, as they were out of stock. So it’s been a bit of a journey, and also we have been waiting for the people to save their money. But at last we have been able to hand out the first bunch of Bibles – 18 so far – to those who have saved their money. In the photo, the pastor is in the black suit with his wife in the red dress. I think you will be able to pick me!!
Church People Receiving their Luganda Bibles
Currently we have a leadership group of four people (including myself) that have been meeting with small groups of aunties to talk about spiritual issues. One of the main concerns in African countries is that due to their poverty they can’t afford to buy their own Bibles. As a result, the only spiritual input they get is from the church message on Sunday – if they can get there. Another issue is that often the gospel message is not explained so well, and people are not aware of what it really means to be a born-again Christian. Still another issue is that there are a number of Muslims amongst the aunties and uncles, so we are very keen to talk with them about the Good News.
So interacting about these things has been the introduction point at our meetings, and has given us the opportunity to give to each of them a gospel booklet giving a full explanation of the gospel message. Once we have met with all the uncles and aunties, we are planning to have a Bible study time which will be open to anyone who wants to attend. Please pray that the Spirit of God will help those who need to, to make the right decision, and then to help them grow in their faith as together we study God’s Word.
Well that’s all from us this month. We continue to value your prayers in the things which God is leading us deeper into.
Bev & Colin Winters