If I’m learning anything while in Uganda it’s that change is certain and almost constantly occurring on the mission field. Just when you think you have mastered something about life in a new place, something changes and you’re back to figuring out your new normal, again. That has been the real stretching and pruning for me here, the gap between what my expectations were and what reality is and being at peace with Him in that gap.
Audrey and Gabe will finish up their 4th and 6th grade school years on July 3rd. This is significantly delayed in comparison to our American School Calendar due to their winter break from mid-December till early February and then their 3 week break that coincided with the Ugandan school calendar in May. Although they’ve had these extended breaks they are more than ready to finish and have a break for a bit. We are so proud of how they’ve adapted and worked hard even in transitions this past year has brought.
We learned a few weeks ago due to numerous kids at the staff school transitioning back to the States that Gabe would only have 2 students in his class and while Audrey would have a few friends in hers we felt it on our hearts to pray and look for options that would be more conducive to them building a community while we’re here. We’ve been so grateful for the staff school here on campus that has provided a soft landing for us and the kids and have loved the convenience of them riding their bikes to school or Ben quickly running them up on the boda and we knew that other school options wouldn’t provide the convenience or ease we’d had but we still felt it necessary to look for a good fit for them.
God quickly guided us and led us through this process, we visited two schools last week and Ben and I immediately felt on the second visit we were in the right place. There’s a nearby ministry Good Shepherd’s Fold That has served in this area since 1994, they run an orphanage, a school, a baby ministry among other various work. They also have an international school there that’s mission is to teach and prepare children to return to school or college in the United States. When Ben and I left there last Wednesday we felt so at ease about the quality of education and future community that could be established there for Audrey and Gabe, we returned with them on Friday to see it and take their placement tests. They too felt so good about GSF and loved their new teachers. We are all excited about this opportunity for them and it also being a way for us to extend our community here.
Last Friday we were called to an all staff meeting where we learned that our Country Director, whom we’ve gotten close with in our time here will be leaving in August. For all of us on staff here this was an unexpected and abrupt announcement. Mark has been an incredible leader and sacrificed much to see this school established. We rallied around him in prayer after his heartfelt speech to us. Although we know God has us all in the palm of His hands, the transition is hard on those staying and those leaving. I ask that you join us in prayer for Mark and his boys as they return to the US and for next leader of The Amazima School that will be selected in the coming months, that the Board will be prayerful in seeking a new Country Director and that that person will be aligned with the heart of God for His mission in and through The Amazima School.
On our very first home visit at the beginning of March to the home of George Wandera, we learned that he had an older brother, Joel (pronounced Jo-el) who had epilepsy and had fallen from a brick smoke stack last July and that his mother had been taking care of him since, the best she could. The fall had left Joel essentially paralyzed from the waiste down and the doctors they could afford to take him to at the time only minimally assisted them. Without access to quality care and no means to financially get him proper care long term they had returned home with Joel. At the time of that first visit, Mama George didn’t invite us in to see him and respectfully we didn’t push although we began to pray for Joel and hoped God would open a door for us to help if it was His will.
In May our fellow mentors, Katie and Sean, visited George’s home because his other brother, Josam, lives in their house (we alternate visiting the families if a sibling is also enrolled at TAS). Out of what we believe to be pure desperation that day, Mama George invited them in and they were devastated by the condition they found Joel in. Because of the inability to care for him he was very sick was was suffering from terrible bed sores that had caused deep infections. After that we united with Katie and Sean and began aggressively seeking how we could help the brother of two of our students, jointly committed to financially providing to get medical help for him. Thankfully our team leader Kelly partnered us with a mentor out in Buziika who has worked tirelessly to get Joel the care he needs. Joel has now been in the hospital since June 8, his wounds are healing, he’s gaining strength through increased nutrition and last week he began steps towards therapy with a therapist from Ekisa Ministries who The Amazima School partners with as well. The Buziika mentor has been diligent in making sure Joel is being cared for properly as well as daily making runs to the pharmacy to get his medicines (because the hospital charges double if you get it in house), taking care of Mama George and traveling to Kampala for a wheelchair and other items that will be necessary for bringing Joel home soon.
We want to thank all of our supporters and donors who are on this journey with us. Because of you not only are you supporting our ministry to the students at The Amazima School but because our God supplies and multiplies, Joel who wasn’t far from death and had no quality of life, has received medical care and will have therapy into the future because of YOU. Because of your generous giving and being the hands and feet of Jesus Joel will have an increased quality of life, he will no longer live in despair but has HOPE. Thank you, we can’t adequately express our gratefulness to all of you.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)