Mission 2016

Imagine yourself immersed in the culture of Uganda…loving on orphans, teaching students, roofing teachers’ houses, delivering mattresses and mosquito nets, refurbishing an orphanage…RESTORING HOPE.

That’s what a first-hand, on-the-ground experience in Uganda looks like. We learn their names…and listen to their stories.

Perhaps you want to invest in a team member’s opportunity to go or donate toward the $14,000 we raise for our projects on the ground. Please visit http://www.embraceuganda.org/donate to donate.

We will have two teams going this year, a Short Term and Long Term team.

  • Short Term Team (June 25 – July 9, 2016) Focus Koreng with visit to Agape Children’s Village
  • Long Term Team (June 25 – December 20, 2016) Kaihura, Agape Children’s Village & Koreng

Embrace Uganda has partnered with www.bonfirefunds.com and is selling t-shirts to raise funds for our 2016 summer mission team’s projects. The money raised from T-shirt sales will go towards mission projects such as clean water wells, medical clinics, solar panels, and educational scholarships for orphans. Check out this year’s collection of shirts at https://www.bonfirefunds.com/embrace-uganda-t-shirt-fundraiser.

Beautifully Messy Love
(by Sarah)

Every morning we go to Hope Academy Nursery School. Jamie, Kaitlin, and I each take a classroom and I’m in charge of teaching the preschoolers- all 30 of them!

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Preschoolers are messy, dysfunctional, high maintenance, and trouble. But they are also cute, funny, lovable, quick to show you love, full of energy, and in need of Jesus and God’s love just like the rest of us. Through the task of teaching them, God has been teaching me what showing His love to them looks like. Although I don’t find myself particularly good at wiping runny noses, calming toddler hysteria, teaching numbers, or keeping them from smacking the daylights out of each other, those are some of the forms God’s love takes on for these preschoolers.

Beautifully messy love.

So,those things are what I attempt to do. I have to accept that it may be chaotic and they may still write number four upside down at the end of the day, but it doesn’t really matter- as long as they feel God’s love.

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Isn’t that the most important thing? God’s love. So many times I get caught up in the details. I want everything to be perfect. While it is important to create effective ministries, I’m learning to let go of this constant desire for perfection.

Nothing in this world will ever be perfect. But, God’s love is.

Let’s hold on to that.

Agape Children’s Village
(by Joy)

Today we are traveling about 5 hours away from where we were ministering at Kadacar to an orphanage called Agape Children’s Village (ACV). There are no babies at this particular orphanage, it is aged from primary 1 (around 4 or 5 years old) til about age 16. Half of our team from a ministry called World Wide 127 split from us this morning and are visiting a different orphanage that has very little babies. We will resume as a full team on Wednesday.

Please pray that we would love the orphans well, see the needs and effectively meet them. Pray that we would show God’s love to them. There will be about 65-70 children that normally only have one mamma taking care of them and a few assistants.

Pray for safe journey as we are at a pit stop roughly an hour left to arrive. Pray for those who have motion sickness to be at ease and also please continue to keep Shaun in your prayers as he juggles the home upkeep and the children.

Saying Goodbye (by Joy)

Today we will end our time at the Kadacar Primary School where we have been serving all week. It will be bittersweet, pray for us as we don’t want to leave and that we would be able to impart the love of God as best as we can to them.

Also, we have had four team members sick, please pray for healing and protection.

Pray for Shaun as he has now had the kids for a long time without my help. Also pray for us as we are really starting to miss each other’s companionship.

Thank you so much for the prayers.

Giving blankets (by Joy)

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We started out the day giving away blankets to all 657 children in the school. They only gave them to the children in school (we weren’t financially able to give them to the other children who came in from the villages as they heard the news) as a gift. We couldn’t financially afford to give them mattresses at this time (post on giving mattresses away sometime soon I hope!), but I couldn’t hardly handle absorbing the emotions of this experience. All the kids quietly stood in line with their classmates and waited while we un-packaged the bags that the blankets were packed in. Then it was our job to hand out blankets to children that basically own the clothes on their back (their school uniform that we provided two years ago) and hopefully one other outfit, if that. I just bawled crying while I handed them out. I couldn’t grasp that this was the only thing (besides their school uniform) that they had ever been given to have as their own personal possession for comfort– that they would sleep on the ground each night, or if they were fortunate they might have been given a small mat. But they do not even have the haven of a bed to lay their head to rest. They don’t have a mosquito net to keep the bugs from flying all over them while they sleep. They are in utter poverty and some of the happiest, most content, grateful, obedient & God-ward focused students I have ever met. Once all the children had received their blankets (notice that they waited until then)– they screamed and yelled in elation. They couldn’t believe their new present of love– they laughed and danced in joy. They hugged us and beamed with smiles stretching from ear to ear. They ran home to show their mammas– which is so insanely humbling– to think that most of these children don’t readily receive much affection- either from their parents (it is not culturally normal to have lots of physical touch) [some of whom are off working] or many of the children are orphans and do not have parents to love on them at all. The blanket is a small way of telling them that we love them as a vessel of their Creator God who loves them so much more. A blanket is a source of security and comfort– almost a physical way of receiving love. How many blankets do we have in our home (5? 15? 20?)? We are physically giving them the opportunity to receive a touch of love from God. It was so humbling. Thank you for your prayers as we are so insanely blessed to serve this incredible group of people.

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Feeding 657 school children (by Joy)

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Yesterday and today we had the absolute honor of providing lunch to the 657 children at the school in Kadachar. Embrace Uganda financially sponsored the ladies of the village to make huge pots of posho (it’s a white cornmeal– looks like a really thick grits– grit patties almost), beans, and what they call soup (which is really just the liquid water from boiling the beans) during our time working at the school this week. We formed an assembly line and handed out plates to one by one to the children. There are no utensils, just plastic plates- that they have to wash and re-use (wash in a bucket with a little soap for the next class to use the same plates to have something to eat off of).

It was a fulfilling experience knowing that most of the kids do not get to eat lunch at school. I spent a lot of the day with Grace and she said they usually only eat breakfast and lunch, not dinner. It sounds like the majority of their diet is rice, beans, pocho, and some fruit/veg when available. However, every last one of the kids cleared their plate and washed it– they patiently waited for their lunch, they were not picky and wasteful. It’s sad to think I’ve enabled certain traits in my children which really isn’t ideal for their spiritual growth. These children have learned to be grateful for what they are given.

I ask for prayer today that I would come back and be able to help our family learn joy and thankfulness. A praise for these precious children and their attitude that inspires the world.

The Pathway of Life (by Lexi)

As I am walking through the fields of Uganda giving mattresses to those who are needy. Sometimes there is a perfect pathway for us to walk through to the huts, sometimes not. More times they were bushy, hilly, rocky, trees hitting you or weeds hitting your legs. It’s a good way to look at life. God did not intend for our lives to be perfect other wise how would we bring His name glory for getting us through the rough patches, and the trials and tribulations. Sometimes it is so dark that you can’t find your way, it is cloudy and you are unable to see, but then there is Jesus: LIGHT! The brightest star!

There are also many times when walking to make a delivery that there was no path made so we had to create our own by walking through the corn stalk or making our way through the fields, either way we always found our way. Jesus is the way! Sometimes we have to create our own or take new paths because God decided you needed to move on to the next path of life. There are many times when we have to let go of people or a lifestyle that are only dragging you down rather than building you up, God teaches us lessons each time so that he can prepare us for what’s ahead or a “new pathway”. There is a reason for everything. Each time a door shuts, it’s a blessing!

Lexi

Canceling Satan’s Plans
(by Alyssa)

Satan attempted to destroy our plans today, but God is bigger. Two of our teammates were sick and unable to join us today. They were discouraged about not being able to come, but are doing much better now. At Kadacar we finished up the lessons and the clinic was able to see all the students! The highlight of the day was giving blankets to all of the children. Pastor Michael shared his story of receiving a blanket when he was a child and the effect it had on his life. It was so amazing to give that special gift to so many children.

In the afternoon, we began the mattress distribution. We would walk to each house, pull out whatever old bedding they had, put down the new mattress, and made the bed with new sheets. Stating the process does not even begin to touch what goes on in those homes. Pastor Michael is so great at praying for the people and finding out their stories. The gratefulness and joy of these people cannot be described in words. To see 70 and 80 year old people receiving their first bed is so humbling. You truly see the image of God in these people as they praise God for His provision.
Alyssa

Content In All Things
(by Becca)

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through Him who gives me strength…” Philippians 4:12-13

1) Content in the midst of worry

As we made our way to our first flight’s gate, I could barely contain my excitement! This was it! We were finally leaving for Uganda! Little did we know that the flight had been overbooked by 9 seats. And who wants to guess how many people we had flying on our team? You guessed it, exactly 9. However, despite the worry I “should” have been feeling, I felt perfectly content and at peace. I trusted in The Lord. I knew He had not brought us through all that preparation to have us miss our first flight. So we prayed. And The Lord answered. Our God is faithful! Nine seats were available and we excitedly boarded the plane on our way to the country God had called our team to.

2) Content in the midst of joy

Throughout this trip, God has blessed me with more positivity and joy than I thought my heart could handle! I don’t think I have went more than 30 minutes without smiling or laughing during those first three days! My heart is so full! Our first two days of serving were spent at Kadacar Primary School where I ran, danced, laughed, served and sang with all that was in me. I learned some of the Ateso language and many of the children’s names. It is a goal of mine to truly know the people I come into contact with. I don’t want them to just be a face. They are so much more than that. They are created in the image of God, and they are deeply loved by the Savior. And it is after that love that I am striving to model my life. So I run and sing and dance some more until I’m soaked in sweat under the African sun and my sides hurt from laughing so much! And I am content in this joy. This pure joy that is from God alone. I am content because I can feel Him working out His purpose during this trip. He is changing lives and bringing hope.

3) Content in the midst of sickness

Tuesday was a wonderful day of serving and loving like Jesus. We got back to Kumi hotel with bright eyes and radiant spirits. After dinner, however, I got sick. And when I say sick, I mean sicker-than-I’ve-ever-been sick. I don’t need to go into much detail for you to imagine the kind of sick that left me in the bathroom until 1:30am and several trips after. Despite this illness, my heart was so full of gratitude and heavenly peace. How, you may ask? Because I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Because I am held by a Heavenly Father (when my earthly father is half way across the world) who brings me peace and comfort in times of trouble. I was able to be thankful after each time I threw up because I knew that God created our bodies to react that way to disease in order to heal. I was thankful for my lovely team members, Joy and Allison, who have treated me like their daughter when we are so far from home. I am so grateful for God’s provision in these two compassionate, godly women who have showed me so much love. They cared for me and provided me with what I needed without making me feel like a burden. They encouraged me with kind words, and they joked and laughed with me when I would feel good for a brief time. I am thankful for a prayerful team and “get well soon” flowers from Amos. The Lord is faithful. He gave me strength to be positive even through all of this. My God is Healer. Even though it has taken two days of lying in bed, sleeping lots, and trying to replenish my body, I am finally feeling back to my old self! I am still a bit dizzy and weak, but far better than before. Praise God!

This trip has taught me so much already. It has taught me to trust in The Lord in all things. It has taught me to minister to everyone I touch, wether it be a team member in need of encouragement or a young student from Uganda in need of love and care. It has taught me that things may not always be picture perfect, but there is still always a way to bring God glory no matter what the circumstance may be.

Please continue to pray for the team. Pray for healing and continued spiritual strength. Most of all, pray that God would be glorified in and above all things. We will be distributing mattresses tomorrow (Friday) in villages as well as saying goodbyes to the children of Kadacar. It will make me sad to go, but I know The Lord has done great and mighty things so far and will continue to do so as we go into our second week of serving. And for that I am thankful and content.

Becca