Progress

Construction on the school in Uganda is continuing!
Snapshot_20130228_8If you think of it, please be praying for all involved with getting this school started. Much prayer is needed!

I sometimes wonder if my prayer matters, but just yesterday I heard of two incredible answers to prayer. One of those was that my cousin, Daron, received good news! Let’s keep praying many more positive reports from the doctors will be coming his way and for continued healing.

I appreciate you prayer warriors!

Our 2 Corinthians 9:8 Story

The following true story is a display of God in our life that I long to remember and have impact my future actions.

When Brad officially committed in December to go to Uganda in January (note that short time frame) he didn’t really count the cost of missing the NFL playoffs but he count the financial cost. He decided he would pay for it. God has blessed us to be a blessing.

Much to our amazement and God’s glory, the cost of Brad’s trip was covered by people who gave generously. They were “planting crops.” Other than Brad suggesting to one person that they could donate to his trip if they would like, he asked no one else. A handful of people gave enough to cover his $1,500 airfare, expenses while there, and $600 worth of shots. Does that just not have God written all over it?  We continue to be blessed to be a blessing. Praise God!

While Brad was in Uganda, I listened to a challenging sermon on 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. It seemed to apply amazingly well to how God provided for Brad’s trip. Here’s an excerpt for you:

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Now that’s a mouthful. Let’s unpack it. He says:

And God is able (that’s the word from which we get our English word “dynamite.” He’s got the power. He’s got the power to do what? He says God has the power)
…to make all grace abound to you, (Overflow to you. Whatever your grace container is, God has the power to fill it to where it’s overflowing, more grace than you could possibly need, to abound to you. Why?)
…so that (now and then having? No! always!)
…always having (some sufficiency? No!)
…all sufficiency (the word sufficiency is the word translated “content” in 1 Timothy 6—that we would have always what we need in order to be content in a few things? No! that’s not what it says)
…in everything, you may have (a little? No! you may have)
…an abundance (for a few things? No!)
…for every good deed;” 

Check out the above link if you’d like to listen or read the entire message on 2 Corinthians 8 & 9.

Why Build A School In Uganda?

Isn’t Jesus the answer to the problems in a third world country? Let’s teach them about Jesus and that will solve many of their problems. Wealth isn’t the answer to their problems. I don’t want to make the American standard of living their standard of living. I battle against the need to keep up with the Jones’ every week. Is starting a school going to help them?

That was my thought process while Brad was in Uganda. I’m a huge fan of education, but I kept wondering “Why build a school?”

I’ve gathered several reasons while listening to Brad talk about his time in Uganda.

1. The Bible commands us to care for orphans, widows and the poor. With the established CarePoint, the children were being cared for with a meal six days a week of posha and rice and some Bible teaching. We wanted to do more for them, and a school is a way to do that. Whether we see amazing results from it or not, we are obeying the command to care for the poor and orphaned and maybe even widows through providing them with jobs.

2. Lodging

This is Alex. He is about ten years old. His dad recently died, and his mom is either dead or who knows where. He lives with his aunt and six cousins. IMG_4846The left third of this building is where Alex sleeps. He uses the mat Brad is holding in the above picture and has a mosquito net. The aunt sleeps in half of this section and the seven kids sleep in the other half. Brad thought it was similar to the size of a pickup bed. IMG_4852Brad gave Alex a toy car and some pictures of us but worried that was going to cause problems for him with his cousins. We would be happy to give Alex a bed and more clothes, but it would likely all end up going to his uncle or to others in the family. With our boarding school, Alex can have a bed in a larger room, can stay year round and have a few of his own things.

3. Food – These children eat posha, which is like a corn meal porridge, and rice almost all the time. Although they live in a tropical climate, they eat very little fruits and vegetables. Now that there is five acres with a fence around the school land (to keep others from helping themselves), we’re hoping to grow and raise different types of food for them to eat. Learning how to garden and care for animals could be a valuable part of these students’ education. Someone already planted orange trees and these boys worked hard at weeding them.

Uganda Orange Trees

4. Education – I wonder how often some of the kids get to the public school. In a letter Alex wrote us, he said through an interpreter “…my guardians mistreat me a lot they don’t cloth me. Because of this I fail to go to school. At school they need children to put on school uniforms which I don’t have so this has denied me the chance of studying and my life is in ruins.”

Sponsors of older girls in Kayango are paying so the girls can go to private schools, largely for the girls safety. Sending them to private schools is expensive, and they’re required to take certain things and have certain clothes. Brad and James took 14 girls and 4 boys shopping to get them clothes for private school. I’m not sure if the green dress in the following picture is for school or just for fun.

IMG_4908

Brad said the private school students knew English, but the students in the public schools did not speak English even though English is Uganda’s national language. Public school classes have around 100 students to a teacher. We’re hoping to have 25 students in a class at our school.

5. Jobs – We’re starting with just a primary school but hope to have a secondary school someday. The focus of the secondary school would largely be vocational training. You’d be shocked at even the basic life skills most Ugandans need to learn.

At the same time, the school will create many jobs for people in Uganda.

6. More time to learn about Jesus – At the schools students are in now, they’re learning some religion but it’s never certain exactly what. Our boarding school would obviously be different!

7. Basic living conditions – One great example for you: At some of the private schools students are given only five liters of water for an entire day to do whatever they need involving water – drinking, bathing, cooking, etc. Another school relies on rainfall, so in the dry season they have no water at all. James asked the kids if they would want running water in the new school, and they saw no need for it. Even without running water, they will have whatever water they need.

I’m sure there are other reasons I’m failing to mention, but my doubt about why we should build a school is no longer.

What do you think?

The Start of a School

Brad was in Uganda to help start building a school, but our community is not just building a school. We’re starting a school. God is using small town Nebraska to start and maintain a boarding school in Uganda.

The challenges of that are more than we know, but it is clearly an opportunity for God to show HE IS ABLE. He has already shown up, and I know He will continue to do so.

Following are a sequence of pictures of the start of the building. Notice the fence topped with barbed wire. It is there to keep thieves out and surrounds the five acres of property purchased for the school.

IMG_4796

How it looked when Brad and James arrived

IMG_4798

chopping the lava rock with pick axes

IMG_4801

IMG_4808

The kids even helped with covering the ground with these big rocks.

IMG_4860

Random Chicken

Random Chicken

IMG_4895

Then they crushed the large rocks.

IMG_4976

Cement Mixing. The sun was clearly too bright there for our little camera.

IMG_5011

Plastic went on top of the rocks and cement on top of that

IMG_5012One fourth of this foundation was finished before Brad and James left. Two Americans who live in Uganda will continue to keep the construction of the school going. Several people are going back in May, and I look forward to seeing their pictures of the progress.

Why a school? I’ll tell you as much as I can about that next time.

 

Boda Towing and Bicycles

I’ll get to the real reason of going to Uganda soon, but for now a little story and pictures are easier to post.

Uganda Boda Boda

3 men on a boda boda

3 men on a boda boda

The second week Brad and James were in Uganda a pastor’s conference was going on at their hote. Brad and James each rented a boda boda from pastors at that conference for the week so they could get to and from the construction site. One morning on Brad’s drive to Kayango, he had a boda boda break down. The chain flew off and cracked something.

Brad was stranded on Ugandan road side. He thought he was going to have to push his boda a mile to the construction site, but James came to the rescue. While he was waiting for James someone who knew James was around stopped to keep Brad company, knowing that being a white man sitting alone on the side of the road wasn’t a very safe situation.

James came and they towed a boda with a boda.

IMG_4999They took it to a repair shop and the ticket stating what it would cost to fix it had super glue on it. They thought the $40 part was too expensive. James told them to get the part and the $40 part would be covered.

The other popular form of transportation in this part of Uganda is bicycles.

Twitter and Boda Boda Stories

I’m conquering my fear and telling you that I am now on twitter. Why do you I fear telling you that? Because you might think twitter is dumb, I have only tweeted twice, and you’ll think I’m a Husker sports fanatic if you look at who I follow on twitter. It feels pointless to tweet to only six followers, and I don’t know who else to follow. Please help me with both of those things if you’re able.

I joined twitter because I see it as an easy way to share tiny town Nebraska news. If you’re into twitter, you can find me at @smalltownNE. If you’re not into twitter and don’t want to miss out on tiny town Nebraska news, you can always just click on the “Sign Me Up” button on the right and you won’t miss a post.

I will make no promises on the frequency of my tweeting, but I’ll do my best to keep it interesting.

Now for the story behind my second tweet. “Just talked to Brad in Uganda-He was on a boda going to pick up a 16yr old who yesterday walked 3 hrs to and from work for a days wage of $2”

Brad and James rented boda boda (Ugandan motorcycle) for the week. Apparently having a license for such things is completely unnecessary. Monday at around 4pm a Ugandan teenage boy named James who was working for them said he needed to leave to head home. He had to leave early because it took him three hours to walk home! He’d left from home at four that morning! Brad and James offered to take him home on the boda, so Brad, James and James all rode together on the boda to take James home. I am told three people on a boda is completely normal.

When I talked to Brad last night, it was morning there and he was heading out on the boda to go pick up the Ugandan James. He was hoping he would find his home since it was somewhat off the beaten path and that he wouldn’t cause James to fall off. Brad hasn’t perfected his boda driving skills and the roads contain many wash outs.

This morning when talking to Brad about his day I asked if he had given James a ride without knocking off the boda. He said, “Yes, but…” Then he told me what had happened with the boda that day.

Brad drove two Ugandan workers out to a truck to help load it with rock. He hit some sand, the tires went funny, and he laid the boda over. The Ugandans bailed before it tipped and had a good laugh at Brad. Amazingly no one was hurt at all! I thank God for that.

I’m not the best story teller but these events are very humorous to me when I picture them happening to Brad over in Africa. I hope you can enjoy in spite of my story telling skills.