Yes…We are still in Uganda! We’ve been back for just over a month now after spending 6 wonderful weeks in NZ / Australia amongst family and friends. One of our reasons for returning to NZ a couple of months before our due time, was to avoid the hottest months here, but the weather pattern tricked us – since being back we have experienced the hottest weather we’ve ever had here. Apart from the heat we have nothing to complain about, we are both well and are looking forward to what this year will bring. But – Praise God – the last few days have been a bit cooler with quite a lot of steady rain. One could well say that the rainy season has arrived. Bev says – ‘Hallelujah!!!’
On returning to Uganda our flight from Melbourne was delayed by 5 hours, so we missed our connecting flight from Dubai to Entebbe. (There is only one flight to Entebbe daily and that’s early morning) So on arrival we were transported to the Emirates airport hotel in Dubai, where all our meals were catered for and nice comfortable bed provided, all courtesy of Emirates.
Even though we landed in Dubai very tired, we took advantage of the daylight hours to see the city. We did this by hiring a taxi for two & a half hours at a very reasonable rate. Dubai is an amazing city. United Arab Emirates is very prosperous country, portraying it’s wealth in its impressive architecturally designed buildings, and roading and rail system.
Burj Al Arab luxury hotel. The small round pad at the top left is a helicopter pad.
Railway station. See train coming in on the left
Dubai towers (not sure what their name is)
Burj Khalifa. 160 stories high – 828 meters – eight rugby fields high!!!
If you want to view more, google Dubai and you find amazing things.
What a complete contrast to Uganda, which sadly lacks the infrastructure that it so desperately needs for it to change and move forward.
Typical Kampala roadside shacks often used as stores.
Our first few weeks back at the Ark were rather quiet as the children had gone back to school. They had been out of school for the best part of 3 months, due to a government decision not to open any schools until about week after their elections, which were held 18-19th February. Being home in NZ at the time of the elections was a good move, as Kampala was alive with super-loud speakers; chaotic traffic-jams; and crowds of people. Arriving a day late back at the Ark meant we were only able to spend a few minutes with Piet & Pita (Papa & Mama) as they were super busy packing to leave for Holland the next day, taking 3 Ugandan children with them. I did however get introduced to all the new babies that came into the safety of the Ark while we were in NZ … aaaand – still they come!
While we were in NZ a new youth pastor was welcomed into the Ark family. Adrian & Christine and their 11 month old baby boy Judah had been working amongst the youth at the Ark for three weeks before we got to meet them. They are a lovely God focused Ugandan couple whom we have the privilege of working along-side. Pastor Adrian & Christine are in the process of having one on one meetings with all boarding and Ark secondary students to get to know them better. This, I believe will be very beneficial. In the near future I’m hoping to work along side Christine and a few other Ugandan Aunties in a ‘Women’s ministry’. This will have to be approved by leadership. Colin can share a brief over-view of what has taken place so far concerning the spiritual welfare of the teens.
Colin writing: Pastor Adrian has confirmed what I had already learnt – that most of the secondary students really don’t know what it means to be a true Christian. But hey – it presents a wonderful opportunity to share the greatest news the world has ever had – we have a Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the only way by which we can come to God, and even better, through Jesus we can have a personal relationship with Almighty God, so that one day we will spend eternity with Him. What an exciting future there is in store for those who have become true followers of Jesus.
The program for secondary students is well under way. This includes the Wednesday evening youth service which is compulsory for all boarding and NACMU secondaries; the Thursday evening Discipleship group studies which are compulsory for NACMU students, and voluntary for boarders; and a new Youth Bible Club group which is for any students who want to learn more about what the Bible teaches. This was offered to all the students about a month ago at the youth service, and at that time there were three who volunteered. Since then it has continued to grow, and we now have about twelve – if they all come. I have been given the responsibility of providing Bible studies for the Youth Club, and I have a very mature Ugandan lady – Hilda – who is assisting with leading these groups. We are having two sessions, one on Saturday afternoon for day students, and the other on Sunday morning for all other secondary students.
We have been starting by focussing on the gospel message to ensure that they all have a proper understanding of the ‘Good News’, and are following this up with studies about the ‘Wonder of God’s Love and Grace’. To gain a real appreciation of the love and grace of God as displayed in the crucifixion of Jesus, we need to know something of God’s greatness, power, and authority. That will be our starting point. Then we will be looking at the huge contrast between this Almighty God, and the humbling of his Son – his servanthood, and his suffering the wrath of God for our sins. This is the ultimate example of the magnitude of God’s love for us. My prayer is that these studies will impact the lives of these young people and that they will become ambassadors for Christ among their friends and families.
Because of the influx of new day and boarding students, we have buying and distributing more Bibles. Please be praying that they will come to appreciate the true value of God’s precious Word. The thing we are emphasising when we hand out Bibles is that it is the most special book in the whole world because the Most High God has – by His grace – given us His Word so that we can get to know Him and His purposes for all of us. Praise God.
Back to Bev: Also since being back here we have had the privilege of been blessed by Christian’s Mama who flew from Holland to visit her son Christian. Her mission was to bless every Auntie and Uncle and child in the Ark, which she certainly did in one very special way or another. Thank you Janneke – God bless you and all the supporters that helped you achieve this.
Easter was another special time here at the Ark. Jesus and the cross was of course the focus, but egg painting and the finding of them was also part of the children’s day. Like last year the children carried 3 large wooden crosses around the campus. They stopped at various places and listened as Pastor Adrian unfolded the true meaning of Easter.
Children painting Easter eggs (hard boiled eggs)
Now – for those at Riverbend Bible Church who have an interest in Alex & Simon and the building of their home here in Kampala City. You might like to know that we went and visited them a couple of weeks ago. On a good day it takes about two hours to get to their place from Noah’s Ark. We found them very happy and focused on getting their land ready for planting so it can sustain them in the coming months and years. They have already planted sweet-corn and passion-fruit. I personally will be following their gardening progress with great interest, as Simon & Alex are using the principles from a book called ‘Planting God’s Way’. They are also very focused on getting to know the people in their village and provide them with a church that is based on good sound doctrine. Already each Sunday they run a church service at their place. People come and sit where they can, mostly on the floor in their living area. They are thinking in the future they may need a tent to accommodate the people.
Alex and Simon happy with their new home
Land cleared and partly dug over, ready for planting. Home upper left.
When Colin and I reflect on the speed that Alex & Simon’s property was bought, home built, and land cleared ready for planting, we see a MIRACLE!!! Anyone that has lived in Uganda would testify that nothing ever gets done with such speed, especially if it has government documents and lawyers attached to it. We would have to add, that as part of the ‘miracle’, Deanne and Sherrilyn played a major part in the whole project. So much so that the neighbours reckon the home and land belongs to Mzungus (white people).
Below is an updated photo of our sponsor children sitting with their beloved Auntie Teddy.
Ollie and Billie, look how big your baby Colin has grown.
From left – Katie, Auntie Teddy, Colin & Judith.
Well that’s it from us this month. A special thanks to all that showed us love and hospitality back in NZ and Australia, we very much appreciated it.
Happy birthday to our granddaughter Jamie on the 30th of April.
Colin & Bev Winters.