Christmas greetings to one and all,
Some say, ‘another year over and deeper in debt’, but we say, ‘Glory be to God – our provisions are being met’. God is indeed faithful – we can see His hand of mercy on this place NACMU.
And still….babies continue to arrive due to different circumstances – mostly abandoned, or neglected. Some are due to mothers dying at child birth and the families unable to cope. I’m not sure just how many babies we’ve welcomed into the Ark over the past couple of months – at a guess I’d say six. We have also seen a few Ark children resettled. Sometimes circumstances change and a parent or relative wants the child returned to the village. If this is approved, the future welfare of that particular child is monitored by NACMU social workers.
One of the young girls who have been resettled to her uncle and aunty is Joanita who arrive at NACMU shortly before we returned here from our last trip home in Feb/March. She had been mistreated by her mother, and didn’t even know anything about a father. When we first met her she looked like she needed some loving attention, so we were very happy to oblige. Over a period of time she settled in well and made lots of friends. By the time we found out that she was going it was too late to say goodbye, as she had just left. This brings a certain amount of sadness of course, but we pray that her relatives will take good care of her.
The past couple of months have seen the completion of a number of new buildings – plus Mama’s birthday; primary and secondary school end of the year functions; Cantata rehearsals and preparations; Christmas decorating; and children’s Christmas present wrapping. Colin has all but finished building and fitting the kitchen in the large new house near us. Also the Bible Club in which Colin was teaching has finished for the year. I have just completed the sewing and altering of clothes for the up and coming cantata. Noah’s Ark has also welcomed a number of visitors – both teams and individuals who have come on a short term basis to help in various ways. Unfortunately due to circumstances we have also seen the departure of Marinus & Marloes who returned to Holland with their family a couple of weeks ago. They are a lovely family and will be missed by many. We pray that they will settle back in Holland after serving in Uganda for quite some time.
Last week Colin and I went Kampala to do a 3-week food-shop, just so we don’t have to go into the City again until after Christmas. That way we avoid the hassle of traffic jams, which makes the journey twice as long. While there, we went to an ATM to withdraw money, with which we normally have no problems, but this time the machine short changed us by 200,000 shillings (NZ$ 80)and gave us no receipt. We went into the connecting bank for help and were told that they couldn’t do anything, but if the machine shows an error then we will be reimbursed sometime in the near future. It would be nice to get our money back, but I’m not holding my breath.
This week the Ark school holiday program swings into play and full Cantata rehearsals take affect. Katie and Christian, who are only weeks away from their wedding day, are doing an excellent job of directing and organising the Cantata in the face of many challenges. On Sunday 18th of Dec the first presentation is to be held exclusively for the Ark family and the Police force families. This will give the Ark children the chance to see the Cantata without swelling the numbers of people expected during the week. If it’s anything like past years there will be thousands of people lining up at the gate each day. There’s going to be two performances a day for four days in the week prior to Christmas. Mon – Tues – Thurs – Friday, 10am and 2 pm. I will be working in the dressing room, and no doubt Colin will be helping hand out the Samaritans Purse gift boxes to all the children at the end of each performance.
(Colin writing) Many of you know Alex and Simon – the Ugandan brothers who have received sooo much help and support from Deane and Sherrilyn from Riverbend Bible Church. They are strong Christians who have done Bible College training and who have committed their lives to serving the Lord in Uganda. In our April blog we spoke about their new home – built with the help of Deane and Sherrilyn, and we also mentioned about the home church which they started and which has been steadily growing. They are now at the stage where they need to set up the church tent on their property to cope with the growing numbers of people. I am now involved in the process of finding a suitable tent at the right price and quality for seating about 100 people, and we are hoping to set it up in January or February. As some of you know, Deane and Sherrilyn have set up a fund for people to donate money towards the church tent. If there is anyone who would like to know more about Alex and Simon, or would like make a donation towards their church, please email us and we can forward their NZ Bank account number to you.
I experienced somewhat of a disaster day on Monday this week. It started with good intentions but ended up being rather challenging. Our pastor John’s mother passed away on Sunday morning and the funeral was planned for Monday afternoon. The funeral site was about 3 ½ hrs plus from NACMU – way out the other side of Kampala. There were about 11 people from here who wanted to go out of respect for the pastor – even though we had never met his mother. We were over an hour late leaving – Africa time – and of course had the usual traffic jams. Once we left the tar-sealed roads on the outskirts of Kampala, the dirt roads gradually got worse and worse, causing unnecessary delays. Then a crisis began. The engine of one of the vans suddenly stopped running and simply wouldn’t start again.
Thankfully there was a grass area on the side of the road where it could be parked. Uncle Sam – the secondary school principal and one of the drivers – knew of a ‘man’ in the area who might be able to help. Some of us went on to the funeral site which wasn’t too far away, while Aldert – the other van driver – and a few other passengers stayed with the broken van. U. Sam got in touch with the ‘man’ and went off to pick him up. Thankfully he wasn’t too far away. By the time they came back to where we were, I had an annoying headache, and was being somewhat disturbed by the loudness of the huge speakers which were only one metre from where I was sitting. So I decided to go with U. Sam to see if I could help with the van.
It turned out that the timing belt had broken, and needed to be replaced. The ‘man’ knew some motor mechanics who would be able to do the repair work, but they were at least 1 ¼ hours away. So again we had to suffer the roughness of the roads there and back again. By the time we got back to the car it was about 6.45pm and was getting pretty dark. However, the mechanics knew what they were doing, and the van was up and running by 8pm. After picking up the other passengers we had another long journey on the rough roads before we were back onto the sealed roads. Eventually we arrived back at NACMU at 11.30pm, exhausted and ready to hit the sack.
Well that’s it from us. Sorry – we have no photos this time, but we may insert some soon. It will be 2017 before we make another blog entry. We wish you all a very safe and blessed Christmas as you celebrate the reason for the season.
Congratulations Greg & Carla on your recent engagement. We look forward to meeting you Carla. (For those that don’t know Greg is our nephew)
Blessings from Colin & Bev