Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mosquito nets, dad, and travelling

Ellen and I have had a great, but busy last two weeks. I am back in Kampala with my dad who is heading back to the airport after a 10 day visit. He got to see many of the Cornerstone projects and the work we have been doing here which was great. A couple highlights of his visit have been a visit to his compassion sponsored child who he has been writing to for 8 years. We got to meet the boy, Ivan, and his entire family out in their village, Mbale, which is located 45 minutes off the road from the town. The family received us warmly with singing and dancing. Not only has Ivan had lunch at school and school fees, but the family bought a chicken with the extra money, sold the eggs and now owns a goat which is a pretty big deal. The Compassion project was pretty neat itself. If you have a Compassion child, feel confident, it is great work. It really touched us to be with his family. We also just returned from Gulu where Cornerstone has two homes for street kids. Ellen, Wilter and I were working on medical records for the kids, hanging mosquito nets, and teaching first aid. The kids were wonderful, such sweet spirits.

We spent the previous week in Kampala hanging mosquito nets for all 5 homes here and teaching about malaria. I think my dad is professional at hanging mosquito nets which I bet he never thought would happen considering he had probably never seen one before the trip. Wilter taught the lesson and she did a wonderful job and related SO well. I think we asked many of you to pray specifically for the person we would hire to work here and let me tell you, it has been a prayer answered. She relates so well to the kids and cares for them like a mother.

Ellen and Wilter are travelling home tomorrow from Lira where they have been for two days doing the same things we did in Gulu with the two homes of street kids there. Pray that our last week in Uganda would be a blessing, that we would make the people here feel appreciated and loved. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We just arrived home on Friday night from our 7 day trip to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimajaro. We went with our friend Kristen who is here working on the home for former child prostitutes that Cornerstone is starting. Basically, the trip was amazing. We were freezing the whole time, but all three of us made it to the 19500 foot summit. We climb through all five nature regions and slept and walked through such beauty. It was truly a bonding experience although at some points we were quite miserable and we all cried at least once. On the summit night, we climbed from midnight to 645 am to reach the peak through whipping winds and freezing temperatures. Our water, hands, eyelashes, and toes froze. All in all, we feel a huge challenge complete and it was totally worth it.

Today, we are going to one of the boy's home Kibuli to start working on the medical records with Wilter. Pray that it all goes smoothly. Thanks for the prayers. Pray that we stay positive and really love the people around us this last three weeks of our time in Uganda.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We are so excited!

Ellen and I have spent our Sunday afternoon cleaning out the office that our new Health Coordinator Wilter is going to use. We really got the Spring Cleaning fever and were cleaning ten year old dust off the shelves in the office that no one has been using. She is starting Monday morning, so keep our transition in your prayers.

Yesterday, we spent the day at two of the Youth Corps homes, the Ntinda girls home and the Kibuli boys home. We spent the first couple hours hanging out with the kids and then taught a first aid lesson. The first aid lesson turned out to teach us some interesting lessons about Ugandan medical culture. For example, the kids were convinced if you got a burn, you should first urinate on it and then cover it with a rabbit skin (specifically a rabbit too). Also, we learned that they think you should pour water on your head and lay on the ground to stop a nose bleed. It is interesting to teach in such a different culture of medicine. We are learning. We are excited for Wilter to start giving the health talks b.c perhaps it will be more convincing to learn from someone of your own culture. I have never taught another to use a bandaid before or to hold pressure on a cut, but when I think about it, I learned these things from my parents. Living alone in the world has left some of these kids without the basic knowledge we take so for granted.

One of the things I keep recognizing in Ugandans is there hospitality. They really live out the principle to give out of the abundance of your heart even if you have little. One of the mentors at Kibuli home, Dennis, is in university and works a part-time job at a canteen to help pay his tuition and spending money. Each time we come to the house, he provides us a spread of food including bread, bananas, tea, and casava (Ellen's favorite). Each time it makes me think about how much he loves to spend time with us and give to us to show his appreciation and I can really learn from him to open my table and my home to others. One boy at the home named Paul gave both Ellen and I pieces of candy that he had bought off the street. It is so sweet b.c he is the same boy who was telling me he is really hoping to acquire a second pair of pants so that he can wash his clothes in a rotation. Can you imagine if your closet included one pair of pants and you were buying small gifts for people you know have lots of money compared to you, it is a beautiful heart.

The kids and their stories have really blessed me. I see Jesus' hands and feet in the mentors who raise these abandoned orphans and street children and I see God's work abundantly in the beauty of transformed lives of the children. For the little Ellen and I have been able to serve them, our lives have been changed. I pray that my heart and actions will forever remember the beautiful, simple, hospitable people of Uganda.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kigali, Rwanda and Lake Bunyonyi

Leah and I just got back from our quick trip to Kigali, Rwanda. The main donors for all the Cornerstone Projects, the Temmis' and the Cameron's were in town and flew to Rwanda just for last Monday. We took the bus there early so we could tag along to their tour!

We havehad an amazing past few days, this will be a good time of reflection for me. We started on Sunday taking the 6am bus to Kigali, Rwanda.That was interesting in itself because we had assigned seats when webought the tickets, yet I have never seen anyone push so hard to geton a bus, much less adults! We picked up new people all along the wayso it filled up pretty quickly. We soon found out that everyone we know always takes the 3am bus because the 6am bus uses the wrongborder that is out of the way. It was a little over a 12 hourjourney. The border itself was just weird-we all got out of the bus,left our stuff on it...the bus drives away (meets us in the rwandaside) and we have to walk like 1/2 a mile to get to the rwanda side. Immediately,there were so many changes once we left Uganda. First of all, the roads in southern uganda can hardly be called roads--more like dirtand pot holes.

I cannot believe I was even able to concentrate on the page of my bookbecause we were swirving and pumping and accelorating and stopping. Somehow--I was rather at peace, just excited to have a day to read and listen to music and be by myself (or act like it).

Ok, so the roads in Rwanda were wonderful. They were paved withalmost-real asphalt, were smooth, and we were switched to drive on theright side of the road! Apparently that's what they do in france andbelgium. There were small mountains all around us, we were either on peaks or valleys for the next 3 hours. There is also an immediatechange in land-use. Rwanda does not have very much land compared tothe number of people in the country, so they farm a much pargerportion of teir land. A lof of the cow farmers (traditionalprofession in rwanda) moved to Uganda for a host of reasons, one of them being more land for graizing.

We were picked up at the bus station by David who works in the office here--he got there a day ahead to prepare for the Timmis visit. I cannot tell you how spoiled I felt getting driven around in acar...not having to call a taxi, or negotiate a deal for 10 minutes,or even figure out where we were going. It was one of those simplepleasures i took for granted everyday at home. Here, it was one of the sweetest gifts. The boda drivers there all had to wear helmetsand have helmet s for their passangers. They also had to wearreflective vests and their motorcycles all seemed a little newer thanin Uganda. The city was set amongst hills, and though kampala is seton 9 hills, they don't compare. The hills were bigger in Rwanda, andyou could see lots of trees on them wherever you were. Plastic bagsare illegal in the country, so there is much less trash on the roads.Also, street venders are illegal so there is no one trying to sell youstuff as you walk past (in Uganda, wherever you go you pass streetvendors with anything from candy to maize and peanuts to ties andsilverware). Thus, the whole experience seemed cleaner and healthier(they still have the exhaust problem but there is a lot less trafficand traffic jams). The Youth Corps. house there is for 8 maleuniversity students who Cornerstone somehow connected with. Theirhouse was wonderful, tile floor, a real bathroom with a toilet, ashower and our own bedroom! They were wonderful hosts, fixing us teaand dinner (rice, beans that were better than Ugandan beans, andfrench fries).

SO on the surface, Kigale doesn't even compare to Kampala. Thesurface is thin and fragile, and I could immediately tell there is adifference in the whole fear of the country. People obey road signsand traffic laws there (no one does in kampala, the law basically hasno authority at all on anything much less traffic) but people obeythem in Kigale because of fear. There is tension in the air thereunlike anywhere I have ever been. The level of trust is coming, but it is not fully realized.

We were able to go to the Cornerstone Leadership Academy there for a few hours. I could spend a year at that place. It is beautiful, ontop of a mountain looking down at a river. The sky seems bigger inRwanda, I haven't figured out why, but it was definately bigger at theschool. There was so much hope in these kids lives, so much sincerety. For a people having gone through so much--like must continue and they are doing the best they know how.

CLA is also the only school in the region taught in English. In order for Rwanda to assimilate into the East Africancountries, they have to speak English. This desire for English has just happened recently, so the government is in huge support of CLA.They also all scored highest in the region on their national exams.Most astonishing, the CLA has never had any fights. They are the onlyschool in their district that has never had tribal related fighting attheir school. Thus, many other schools in the area have asked thatthe CLA students come talk at their schools about the precepts theylearn at CLA--basically asking them to come talk about Jesus and thepeace and reconciliation he preaches. This astounds me. Theheadmaster is even broadcasting (he was asked to) once a week on aradio station there to talk about the precepts, and characerdevelopment. This was stunning to me. Jesus' work throughreconciliation was so real I could feel it at this school.

If anyone wants to support a school like this in Burundi, they aretrying to start one as soon as they get funding and Burundi has hadmostly the same conflict just a little more recent.

Our time there was unforgetable and life changing. To see Jesus' work of reconciliation in such an unabashed, bold and intense way cannot really be explained in words. He is real, His work is real, and the Kingdom of God truly at work in the world today.

We spent 2 days in Lake Bunyonyi right outside of Kibale, Uganda on the way back to Kampala. It is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I have ever been. it reminded me a little of Cetner Hill lake with the hills around it, there were just lots of little island hills with farmers farming terraces on all of them. The first night, leah and I were the onlyguests on the island, it was a weird feeling but peaceful. We took a canoe out to the surrounding ilsands with little villages, swam in thewater and layed out on the dock. The canoe was carded out of an old tree, so it was nearly impossible for us to make it go straight, and Leah and I have done a lot of canoeing in our past! This trip was a perfect getaway from smog and city dust! We spent a lot of time alone, and probably walked around the island 15 times while we were there, seeing something new each time.

Thank you for your prayers and love and emails. We feel so blessed to have these experiences and to have all of your prayers and support. God is redeeming the world. Not just here, but everywhere. I encourage you to start looking for ways God is redeeming the world right around you. Sometimes this means stepping out of your comfort zone--but did God ever really call us to comfort?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


We have been working hard all week doing interviews and trying to find the perfect person to be the health coordinator for the kids in the Cornerstone family. After six interviews and a ton of deliberation, we offered the job to a lady named Wilter this moring and we are so excited!! Wilter is a clinical officer (which is like a hybrid RN/NP with a little training in both roles). We are so happy that God provided her and that we will have something to leave for the kids when we go home to the states. She is starting on October 6th, so we will have some good to time get her aquainted.

I took a girl to get HIV/STI tested yesterday. Got got to sit with her for a while and talk about her life and her family. Both her parents have died and she is an only child. She doesn't know a family member in the world. She looked my in the eyes, ask me if I had a mom and dad and then went on to tell me how lucky I am. Wow, can you imagine. I really feel so blessed to be given so much in the world. It is really a challenge to us to remember others, to consider where they are coming from, and help.

We are going to Rwanda tomorrow to see the genocide museum and visit the cornerstone programs there and then heading to a lake that is supposed to be beautiful in s.w. ugandan for a two day vacation. We are pumped. Pray we will be safe.


We have been working hard all week doing interviews and trying to find the perfect person to be the health coordinator for the kids in the Cornerstone family. After six interviews and a ton of deliberation, we offered the job to a lady named Wilter this moring and we are so excited!! Wilter is a clinical officer (which is like a hybrid RN/NP with a little training in both roles). We are so happy that God provided her and that we will have something to leave for the kids when we go home to the states. She is starting on October 6th, so we will have some good to time get her aquainted.

I took a girl to get HIV/STI tested yesterday. Got got to sit with her for a while and talk about her life and her family. Both her parents have died and she is an only child. She doesn't know a family member in the world. She looked my in the eyes, ask me if I had a mom and dad and then went on to tell me how lucky I am. Wow, can you imagine. I really feel so blessed to be given so much in the world. It is really a challenge to us to remember others, to consider where they are coming from, and help.

We are going to Rwanda tomorrow to see the genocide museum and visit the cornerstone programs there and then heading to a lake that is supposed to be beautiful in s.w. ugandan for a two day vacation. We are pumped. Pray we will be safe.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ranch, Rats and AIC

This week started off with a spend-the-night at the Mengo girls home. This home is very dear to us for so many reason--the girls are sweet, the mentors are dedicated and though some don't speak good English, they are accepting of us. Their garden is fabulous (little rows of maybe 2 inch tall greens...carrots, tomoatoes, colard greens, etc.) It is fun to see them taking so much ownership in this initiative. We decided to accept their invitation to spend the night earlier this week. We danced the night away, or at least tried. Leah and I looked like something to the effect of jittery legs moving like a grasshopper to a completely different beat than our upper body. At least we gave the girls a good laugh. Florence, a beautiful mentor, inside and out, allowed us to share her bed while she slept on a mat on the floor. Despite a rat under our bed keeping us up all night (like inches from our head) we had a great time with the girls.

We have spent much of the week receiving applications and scheduling interviews for the nursing position Monday and Tuesday of this coming week. In conjunction with the 2 staff members helping us with the interviews, we have created a structure to the process as well as a grading formula to score them fairly. This has been a great learning experience and we are so excited to see how the interviews turn out. Please continue praying for God's guidance in this process.

Leah and I also got to go up to the Cornerstone Ranch, Ekitangalla, to see all that is being done up there. It was a great getaway from the crowded, polluted city of Kampala. We were able to go with 2 of our new friends, Kristen Vogal and her friend Liz as well as Eric Kreutter. We were able to see their cow cattle (large milking ranch), fish farms, primary, secondary and Leadership Academy plus much more. It was a blast and a whirlwind of a very quick 1 night trip.

Tonight we are preparing for our big day tomorrow. We have invited the "AIDS Information Center" to conduct a training day for all the mentors. They will talk about transmission of AIDS, facts, and STIs. Most importantly, they will be talking about what it is like to live in homes with some positive and some negative kids. This is laying the groundwork for being able to test the kids in the future. Circumstances are tough with group living and the high possibility of stigma that could ensue once the testing is done. We are trying to go about this the best way, as we believe not testing someone is more harmful, but we recognize the sensitivity. We are providing tea and then lunch for all the mentors, notebooks and pens. Thanks to all your continued support. We look forward to sharing tomorrows outcome with you.

Also, side note--we went to Kibuli boys home tonight to teach a little health class on clean water and germs. We brought them their kettle (thank you) that will actually make it feasible to boil water to make it clean. Sweet Saddam (Kibuli is in a primarily muslim community) is a follower of Jesus who is also a muslim. He decided to pray for the kettle in the middle of the room. It was awesome!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Safari, Aerobics, and

Well, Ellen and I just got back from Murchison Falls. 7 hours in a van to get there, but totally worth it. We went on a game drive and saw a lion and lionese, and all the other standard animals... elephants, giraffes, buffalo. We also went on a boat safari which was breathtaking. We saw crocidiles and hippos, and ended at the fall which were so beautiful. This morning we went on a hike up to the top of the falls and then drove home. We welcomed the break for sure.

My birthday was fabulous. I wore the standard american birthday hat and had a cake and everyone from the office sang the ugandan birthday song to me. Thank you for all of the emails and thoughts. I felt very loved.

This week, Ellen and I are going to all of the homes and teaching about clean water and leaving the large kettles to boil water in as well as jerry cans specifically to store the water. We hope that this will make it more convienient to drink clean water. We have gotten another application for the job and have a couple of others interested. All three applications we have are from people who seem very qualified, so we couldn't be more excited about interviewing and finding a person to work with the kids.

On another note, ugandans take their aerobics seriously. Ellen and I went to this absurbly fun class the other day at a hotel that was floor and step aerobics taught by this crazy man who was the ugandan version of richard simmons. Hilarious. So funny too, this class would be totally taboo in the U.S. for a man, and it was full of men and they were so into it.

I thought I would leave you with something I have been thinking about: The church. I have loved to see the working of the international church. God's church goes so beyond formulas and straight to the heart. We have loved to see people praises Jesus and retaining their unique cultural heritage. Last sunday, a large family sat in front of us in church in traditional indian attire. It was great to see our similarities in Christ. Ellen and I were very taken by it growing up in a church that sometimes takes on a one dimensional face. It is great to remember, that with God, he looks straight at our heart and he wants everyone to know Him.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hoeing around in Kampala

So we have now successfully planted gardens at two of the houses, Makerere and Mengo. In typical boy style, the Makerere boys wants to plant as soon as they had half way finished tiling the land. The Mengo girls did all the tiling last week, and wanted it to 'rest' for a week before we planted. Girls are so patient. We made seed beds at both houses for tomatoes and eggplants--basically a small area with sticks planted in the ground all around it with banana leaves laying over them to shade the seeds from the sun. Fortunately, it also keeps the chickens out (chickens that are the neighbors typically just roam around all the houses, what could be detramental to the gardens...). We were also informed by a Mengo mentor that she had to stand by the garden all day to keep the goats out. It will be a miracle if anything actually grows.

We planted carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, collard greens, dodo, and nakati (both greens) at the houses. Today, we are going to Kibuli to see what we can plant. This is the transition house where the kids are freshly off the street so it will be interesting how it all works out.

We have also planned a teaching day for the mentors on Sept. 20th where the AIDS Information Center (AIC) is going to spend all day talking to the mentors about HIV, STDs, transmission, and how to incorporate a person who is positive into a group living situation. We hope this will lay the foundation for AIC to then test all the mentors and youth at a later date, this is just a very sensitive issue that has never been dealt with here.

Today is a national holiday in honor of the King of the tribe around Jinga that just passed away last week. All the businesses are closed and all the members of that tribe are going back to Jinga today for the burial.

Wednesday, in honor of Leah's birthday (everyone should try to email her happy birthday, or call at +256774696413) we will be going to Murcheson Falls for 2 nights of camping, hiking, a sarafi ride and a boat ride! We are very excited.

Please keep praying for the Health Coordinator we are trying to hire. We have now sent out 5 copies of the application and have 2 more people we have heard are very interested. We would love someone with a background in health who also has experience teaching. One person in university is already interested in interning without pay with whoever we hire just to get some experience. Keep this person in your prayers as there is no way Leah and I can find this person on our own.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

what do choking, gardens, and kettles have in common?

Today we did our teaching with all of the mentors who live at the homes with the kids. Ellen gave a little bible lesson on what god says about the body and keeping it well and then I taught about clean water, handwashing, and choking. Choking turned into me giving ellen fake CPR when they kept asking... what would we do next? It was pretty hilarious. They loved all of it and asked so many questions. We didn't get through nutrition or first aid, so we are going to teach another day. Then, we went to the market and bought seeds and organic bug repellent for the gardens. We are working on the Makarere home on friday and the mengo home on saturday. One of the mentors Florence, who is just a heart of gold, came up to us after the meeting and said that her home, the mengo home is going to make their garden a community service project and give extra to the other homes and to their neighbors each month. I thought that was a beautiful picture of generosity. Ellen and I also picked up five large kettles to make boiling water more convient for all of the homes. We had our taxi driver go bargain for the price while we hid our white faces under the window. It was pretty funny.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Last night we went to Ntinda to play soccer with some of the girls. It was funny because half the girls had cleats on while the other half was barefoot. It was painful to watch a cleated girl smack shins with one who was barefoot though they never complained. If anyone has any extra cleats (smaller than my size 9 1/2) Leah's dad could bring them in October to even out the playing field!! Anyway, it started pouring down rain on the dust field, so needless to say, we were muddy. Actually, we were covered in mud.

After soccer we decided to stop at a vegetable stand and try and break our large, 20,000 shilling bill (about $12.50). We purchased:
5 tomatoes
4 green peppers
2 eggplants
4 onion
3 limes
1 avocado
5 carrots
It cost us 5,000 shillings or about $3.00. Can yall believe that? There were a few mice running around the vegetables so that's a little downfall. Otherwise, we love to cook around here!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Yesterday we went to the Mengo girls home to hang out for the afternoon. We brought a Frisbee (thanks Mrs. Welbourn) and the girls picked it up faster than any American kid I know. A few minutes into our game one of the mentors, Florence, who was doing the wash outside at the time, asked if we wanted to start clearing the garden.

Thus, she brought out 3 hoes, a shovel and a 'slasher' (in case you don't know what that is, it is how grass is cut around a long knife with a curve on the end). We spent 3 hours, in skirts and sandals mind you, clearing a plot. We found probably 30 old shoes amongst tons of yams that the girls will fix as a treat later this week!! These girls were incredibly hard working and cleared the plot faster than I could have imagined!

We are continuing to learn new things everyday about these girls lives, their hopes, their faith in Jesus, and the daily routines of their lives. We are excited to buy seeds this week and possibly start planting very soon! We have been attending a great church downtown, and this afternoon we are going to play soccer with the Ntinda girls! Please keep us up to date with what is new in your lives!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Leah and I have been working hard these past few weeks. What we could usually get done in about 4 hours in the US takes us the better part of daylight to get done here. We finally created a calendar of events and are ensuring we take one day off a week for personal things like laundry, running, writing on this, and sleeping late! Here are some highlights...

Wednesday-- Each week we have a staff meeting for about 3 hours (it would never fly in the US). We spend about an hour singing praise songs, then have a lesson that a different person gives each week. This week, an elderly man, Mzee Lukewa, was asked to come to the meeting. Mzee is Swahili for a wise person. This is a well earned title. His talk was on, "Having a vision and mission in life." A vision is what you see into the future while a mission is the road you take to get there. His point, is that God has a vision for each of our lives formed from many of the teachings of Jesus. This vision becomes unique through our relationship with God. Humans have self awareness, conscience and free will. We are called to exercise self-awareness with the guidance of conscience to use our free will to worship and glorify God. Wow. The lesson continued, and if you would like more information on, I have typed up my notes. Leah and I both plan to meditate on these words during our time here. His wise words and unabashed love for Jesus reminds me so much of my grandfather, Papa. I told Mzee that they will meet in spirit, and he was so interested and intrigued by this connection I made. He asked for a picture of Papa so I am getting him one!

Thursday: We told the boys at the Makerere house we would fix them an American meal sometime last week and they were REALLY excited. We decided on spaghetti, or "Super-getti" in Uganda. We bought minced meat, noodles and tomato sauce at the supermarket and fresh carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and garlic off the street. They LOVED it! The best part was that they ate it with their hands, it was hilarious.

Friday: We spent the morning at the Kibuli boys home again and really wanted to get to know them better. The first game we thought of was two truths and a lie. For a group of street children in a culture that does not approve of lying, it was fun to see them understand and get excited about the game...After touring their neighboring slums and a few hours of asking questions about thee States, Leah and I went on a trek to get to our next meeting. There was a down pour of rain. Rain in Uganda is just like in the US. Walking in the rain in Uganda is nothing like in the US. The open gutters immediately fill with trash carried by water...and this trashy, mud-water flows in the street. We were covered in mud splashed on us by the trucks...Words can't really describe the circumstance, but you get the picture. We finally made it to our meeting where we got a ton of educational material on 'healthy choices' for the kids. They even have a training program we hope to send the nurse we hire to. Currently, we are cooking dinner for two of the cstone staff that have helped us so much thus far! Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and encouragement. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Having a blast!

Right now, Ellen is ironing clothes for an australian man who is taking his little ugandian boy Micheal for their adoption court date tomorrow. They have gone through a three year stuggle to get Micheal in their family. Please pray for them that it will go well. I think that is one of the most wonderful things about staying here at the cornerstone compound. There are four rooms and we meet the greatest people travelling through.

We spent the day organizing and contacting NGOs to put together a health education program for the homes. We are organizing a manuel for the nurse that we are going to hire as well with job description, tasks, etc. Please keep the hiring process in your prayers. We are really excited about the program that we can leave here for these children.

We have visited all of the five homes in Kampala now and are very excited about the work ahead. We are planning for mosquito nets, better methods for boiling like with big kettles and waterbottles to store the water in, gardens at some of the homes. We love getting to know the kids and each story is unique to see how Jesus brought them off the street and has given them hope and a future. The mentors at the homes love the kids well and the charactor development program at the homes is so influencial to growing the kids.

The kids are inovative somehow too. Last night Ellen and I visited the fifth home, Bukesa, and we played soccer and monkey in the middle with a soccer ball made of a t shirt and plastic bags... can you believe that! The things they make toys out of! We are going to try to teach frisbee at the makerere home, so we will see how that goes.

This week, we are going to go back and hang out more at each of the homes. By the following week, we plan to begin some of our projects... we'll keep you up to date! Hope you are doing well in the States. We love you and can feel God working through your prayers here.

Friday, August 22, 2008


We have now visited two of the youth corps homes, Kibuli and Ntinda. most of the time there we spend just getting to know the kids and mentors and finding out a little about their stories. Today, one of the girls we met is a refugee from Rwanda. Both her parents and all but one sister were killed at home when she was 7. She and her sister then moved to Kampala, and her sister just committed suicide 6 months ago. Hence, she is now an orphan and trying to assimilate into the cornerstone Ntinda girl's home.

More than anything we have been taken back, yet again, by their hospitality. The girls do not have much, but they share everything. In Uganda, not many people ever have sugar...and the girls typically only each posho (flour and water) and beans. When we got there, we were served tea with a generous amount of sugar and rolls (I didn't know the homes ever had rolls). They then insisted that we stay for lunch. They went out and bough greens, dodo, to serve us with the posho and beans. It really hits home when people with so little share so much.

We might not have been here very long, but Leah and I are both feeling very settled. We were able to do some yoga on the roof yesterday and went on our first run today. My bag did come yesterday with everything inside, it was exciting! We are beginning to make plans to visit Soroti next week to learn how to plant a garden since the rainy season is fast approaching.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Few Days...

We made it here to Kampala, Uganda on Tuesday August 19th as planned. Leah had a bit of a miserable flight (we think with food poisoning) and Ellen lost one of her bags. Leah is feeling much better, thankfully, and we are both delighted to be back in this wonderful country. We were greeted with white smiles and warm hugs by all the staff members. Our first day here has been rather busy. We met with Tim Kreutter, director, his son Eric, and the other two staff members who will be helping us, Phillip and Charles.

After that brief meeting catching us up on the Youth Corps houses where we will be working, we joined the mentors in their weekly meeting. This consists of praise and worship music for at least an hour, a simply prepared Bible study by one of the mentors, and then announcements followed by more praise music. God is good.

On Thursday (today) we took our first trip to one of the homes... the entry point for the kids. It was a home of boys who were so sweet and receptive to us. We walked around and talked to the boys and thought of ideas for projects... we have so many ideas. Pray that we can work through them. We let the kids ask us health related questions and they were full of them. We talked about everything from clean water, body mechanics, dust in your eyes, stomach bugs, and much more. We are going to visit two more homes tomorrow.