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Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Uganda Update... Lots of hard work and much blessing

Day 2 on the ground of Uganda is finished! More importantly, day 1 of work projects is completed! Thankfully prayers were answered and everyone survived for the most part. With the exception of a few dehydrated and worn out workers, everyone is just exhausted.

Jim, Mickey, and Bob worked hard on carpentry projects today. They are in the process of building shelves and finishing up some closets for a couple of the orphanage's houses. When their projects are done, the team house as well as a couple of unfinished children's houses will have a lot more much needed storage space.

The rest of the guys worked very hard on digging a trench for a new water line. What is so awesome about this new water line is that it doesn't benefit the Agape Children's Village, it benefits the Bukerere community! This has proven to be an incredible way for the community members to see God loving not just the orphanage, but everyone, including them - the community. One lady, a witch doctor who lives very close to where the new water line will go, has actually said that if we put a water tap by her house, she will accept Jesus into her heart! Therefore, the team decided at tonight's meeting that we will be putting in a water tap for her. So pray for her salvation, please! Another example is a man named Chris. Chris is the plumber who is helping our team and community members lay down the piping for the water line. Bill James has been witnessing to Chris for quite awhile, and today 2 of our team members got to speak to him about Jesus as well. Everyone who has spoken with him seems to see his heart softening very quickly. A big reason for that is this water project. It shocked him that the orphanage and our team wanted to do this new water line for the community without asking for any money or aid in return. He definitely is seeing God all over this project. Please keep his salvation in your prayers.

I know I've talked a lot about this water project, but I can't move on without speaking on the enormity of this project physically and the toll it is taking on our men's bodies. The trench they are digging is at least a foot deep and it is going to be at least 500 yards long! They put in SO much hard work today, yet they still have a long way to go so...PLEASE PRAY!

Jan worked on helping the village ladies and children with their laundry and also tutored some kids in their reading. Seeing her with these kids and seeing the way they learn with her is amazing. Illiteracy is one of the biggest and most common problems with these children, because it hinders their school work tremendously. A lot of them can hardly read at all, so God is definitely using Jan and Colleen in productive and moving ways.

Colleen and I were blessed to spend a lot of time with the children today. We began the morning with walking around the village with the younger children and Katie (the Katie that lives and works here) and then spent the afternoon running water and granola bars to the hard working diggers. After that, we each spent more individual time with the kids. We talked with them, laughed with them, learned new things from them, and Colleen took on the challenge of teaching them as well.

Today was definitely extremely long and exhausting for everyone, but as always God provided. He provided strength, endurance, energy, time, and plenty of water to go around! It isn't even 9 pm yet here, and for the most part we are all either in bed or in the house chilling quietly. Before I head to bed, here is our prayer request list:

- Ryan experienced a little dehydration today while digging. He's very much okay now, but please pray that he and everyone here stays hydrated and healthy.

- Natalie James worked extremely hard today while digging as well. She expressed some ill feelings and pain tonight, so please pray for rest for her tonight.

- Please pray for Chris and the witch doctor's salvation, as well as anyone and everyone else around us who needs the Gospel.

- Jim had some stomach pains tonight. He went to bed early not feeling well so please keep him in your prayers.

- Please continue to pray for Saturday's carnival outreach.

- The men will continue their projects tomorrow. Please continue to pray for good health for all of them, as well as spiritual fruit to continue to come out of their physical labor.

*Praise report!* Bill James is feeling much better. Thank you very much for all the prayers!

Goodnight and God bless!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Uganda Update

Uganda update from team member Katie:

"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

This seems to be the ongoing quote in the last 24 hours. We are all so shocked that we are finally here, in this beautiful and very different place, that we have to keep commenting on God's amazing miracles that brought us all here.

At this moment it is 6:30 pm here in Uganda, (8:30 am in Oregon) and we are wrapping up our first day in the Agape Children's Village. The team is currently eating dinner and tonight the menu I believe is posho and beans. (Hope I spelled that right!) The best way to describe this meal is that it is very similar to mashed potatoes and beans. This meal, we have been told, is a staple here in Uganda.

told, is a staple here in Uganda.

Reflecting back on the day we had makes me smile from ear to ear. For the most part it was a very relaxing day filled with meeting everyone, touring the village, and playing with all the beautiful kids! I don't think I ever saw a team member not smiling. It is impossible to not be filled with God's peace and joy when surrounded by all these children and their contagious smiles as well as their infectious love for the Lord.

I saw team members doing everything with the kids, and the kids loved it! Keith, Jan, and Kevin all played volleyball, which seems to be a village favorite, with the kids at different times; Mickey, as well as many other team members, had a child's hand wrapped around his own almost every moment, and Colleen and I spent some very precious time reading the Bible with a group of about 8 kids at their request!

I have to say, Colleen and I were almost teary eyed at the experience we shared together with a small group of kids. About 5-8 kids came running up to Colleen and I asking us to bring out our Bible, because they wanted us to read it to them. Honestly I was very stunned and confused. At first, I wasn't sure that I had understood them correctly. Seconds later we were all sitting on the steps outside the team house reading God's Word! However, Colleen and I were definitely not doing the reading. Once I opened my Bible, one by one they started shouting out passages they wanted me to flip to. Once there, they'd all recite the verse! They must have referenced and recited about ten verses. It was incredible. I really don't think I've seen Christ more clearly than when I heard these children recite John 3:16 together in the most loving and sincere voices. I honestly don't know why I didn't break down in tears when a couple of the children told Colleen and I they loved us when we were done.

I think I can speak for the whole team when I say all of our lives were changed today, even if just by a little, and we still have 2 weeks to go! We are all definitely enjoying the people, the food, the environment, but most of all, seeing the Holy Spirit all over this village. Like a lot of things in this world, God's fingerprints are very evident and seen here in Uganda and especially at the Agape Children's Village.

As for prayer, we are always appreciative for it, but here are some specific prayer requests:

- Bill James has been sick since last night. He thinks it might have been something he ate, but whatever it is, please pray for a quick recovery.

- Kevin burst a blood vessel in his wrist today while playing volleyball with the kids. He's ok and his hand is functioning, but it's definitely sore. Please pray for his pain to go away.

- Tomorrow we start the work projects. Some people will be digging a trench for a new water line. Some people will be doing carpentry work around the village. Some people will be painting and helping Danyal with the kids. Please pray that everyone stays safe and hydrated, as well as for the work to go by quickly and productively.

- Finally, the village is putting on a carnival this Saturday as an outreach to the community. The girls will start preparing for that this week. Please be praying that the outreach is what the Lord wants it to be, that many people come, and that many people hear the Gospel.