The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Uganda Blog

Hello friends! While I didn't have time to personally blog while in UG, we did keep a team blog. Here it is, in it's entirety, for your reading pleasure! But, first, let me introduce you briefly to the players. Sam and YT are SOI staff members who led our trip. Tim is our pastor. Dave, a pharmacy manager, is his neighbor, and a member of the church. Ashley is married to Jeana, who heads our children's ministry. He does construction-y stuff. Rebecca is wife to one and mother to six! Jess was our only single member. Her current life as a high school special ed teacher has pushed her probably even more than this trip did! So, here you go!

February 6, 2010
Welcome to the offical team blog of SOI’s February Missions Team. Feb 8 -20, 2010 Sports Outreach is teaming up with Life Community Church from Wilmington,NC. This is the first international missions trip to Uganda for the church. The team is made up of an awesome and adventurous group of LCC’ers. The team is composed of Head pastor Tim Blevins, Dan Kelly, Rebecca Bradshaw, Ashley Lindbert, Rachel Wilson, Jessica Biggar, and David Kelly. The team will be led by SOI Missions Director Sam Casey and SOI Charlotte Director Dustin Swinehart.
The central purpose of this mission is to come alongside with work of Sports Outreach’s Ugandan staff and Adopt-A-Village.

So what is Adopt-A-Village… For the last 20 years N. Uganda has been victim to a brutal civil war. Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army ( LRA) have wreaked havoc on the Acholi people of Uganda. Abducting children, forcing them to fight, and spreading violence throughout the region. At one point over 1million people were displaced from their homes and forced to live in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. In these IDP camps death and disease were rampant. Its left an entire generation without purpose without practical skills for survival. Thankfully peace has returned to the region. But now the IDP camps are closing and no aid is being delivered. Its time to return home. But where is home? All these people know is a refugee camp. It has left its scars on this young nation. Sports Outreach is going out to these resettlement villages and helping to identify the needs, put in clean water, develop a sustainable food source, teach farming techniques, build schools, plant churches, and in this process help give these people a chance to survive and find Hope in Jesus Christ. This effort is carefully monitored by SOM Gulu director Aloysius Kyazze. Kyazze and his staff of 13 are helping reach into these villages and minister to the people in a way that is Practical, Sustainable, and Burden-Lifting.

The team will also spend 3 days in the capital city of Kampala working with Sports Outreach staff in 4 of the most impoverished slums in the nation. Its sure to be a challenging and yet impactful time of ministry.

Life Community Church has graciously and courageously stepped up to join Sports Outreach in this vital ministry of investing in people and villages in northern Uganda. These efforts are not possible without the generosity and service of the body of Christ. We are excited to take this adventure together and allow the Lord to use us in whatever way He sees fit. We know we are not going out alone and we have been sent by many people who have generously prayed and given financially so that this trip can be a reality. So we are asking if YOU will stand with US in prayer.If you are involved with Sports Outreach or Life Community Church, set your cell phone alarms and watches for 9 PM and pray this trip and the people going on it. We will do our best to keep you updated as regularly as possible, but bear in mind we will have limited internet access.. Feel free to post comments or word of encouragement and your messages will be relayed to these brave team members on the ground in Uganda. Let the journey begin!
~Team LCC

Day 1, Feb 9, 2009
Arrival in Kampala
After 20 some hours of travel, crossing the Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea and the vast Sahara Desert, & lots of airplane food, we landed safely at Entebbe International Airport right near the north shore of Lake Victoria. We made it through customs and all our bags arrived! All the LCC team members made it too. Always a plus. Praise the Lord for traveling mercies. As we walked outside the airport the warm balmy evening and the smells of Africa enveloped our senses. We were greeted with a warm welcome by several members of Sports Outreach Kampala staff: Robert, Patrick, Frank, Barnabus, Paul & Wilfred. Wilfred (our bus driver…best driver in Uganda) whisked us through the streets of Kampala and to the Namirembe Guest House. Home of the “million dollar view.”. We checked into our “luxurious hotel suites” that feature mosquito nets and a shower that directly aims into the toilet… For all you multi- taskers out there this is a very nice feature. The team is healthy in good spirits and ready for the drive north to Gulu tomorrow. We are excited for what the Lord has in store for us.

Other highlights from the trip.
-Pastor Tim Blevins losing the battle against an Ambien pill. His skin turned a shade of either pale yellow or light green. But like any great leader it didn’t phase him.
-Having open seats on the flights! We could lay out and had a whole row of seats for each person!
-Surprisingly amazing chocolate ice cream on KLM.
Keep praying at 9 PM. Feel free to post comments to friends and family. Once the comments are approved they will post to the website. More tomorrow!! Team Uganda Out!
~Sam Casey

Feb 10, 2010 Day 2 – Drive to Gulu

Wow! We are here, somewhere many miles away from home. First let me say our team from LifeCC is doing great. I am very honored to be serving along side these guys. We have laughed, prayed, cried, been amazed and over whelmed at the people we are encountering. If you have sent a family member over here, I recognize the sacrifice you are paying for them to be here but please be reassured they and I are going to return home greatly changed and will have made a difference in Uganda. Dustin and Sam, our fearless leaders are doing a great job. After spending some super long rides on planes and vans with them I am ever more confident that we are doing the right thing by supporting this mission with them. Everyone is healthy, well fed, safe and we are in comfortable housing. Thank you for praying for us.

This morning we started the day at the Sports Outreach Kampala. We visited their home office and sat in on their devotion time. You would love the way these guys worship. They bring it! I was allowed to share the devotion this morning, which was good. Ready in season and out. After spending time in Kampala we jumped in the van and headed towards Gulu, which is about five hours north and is the area that was most devastated by the civil war. We crossed the Nile River, which was spectacular and saw some baboons on the side of the road. After arriving here in Gulu went to the farm where they are putting into practice principles that will help their community be self-sustaining. We toured the facilities and even crashed a ladies Bible study who gave us the most enthusiastic welcome I have ever experienced. Other Highlights: 1. Driving on the road to Gulu. Talk about an experience in faith in your bus driver. The roads here are pretty wild. 2. Jessica having every snack known to man. 3. Ashley sharing his names with the crowd a Gulu Church. He was quickly laughed at the by the translator when he introduced himself. Pretty sure Ashley is a girl’s name in Acholi. 4. Kendall, SOI staff working in Gulu, getting sneezed on by a huge pig while sharing about the importance of the pigs at Koro Farm. Towel please! 5. Sam wiping out at the well and probably hitting the back of his head on the ground while filming. Tonight we head off to bed a little tired but totally filled with God’s presence. Thank you for your prayers. Don’t forget to pray at 9 PM.
~Tim Blevins

Day 3, Feb 11, 2010
First Full Work Day in Gulu

Today was our first full day of ministry here in Uganda. We headed back to the Farm first thing this morning, planning to do some work there. We were welcomed again with love and joy, as we were yesterday. Ashley led devotions for the staff and Day Care children. He did a great job. Then we split up with the women staying to participate in the Day Care activities with 50 children, ages 2-5 and only two teachers. The children craved our attention and our sunglasses. We were amazed how well they behaved. When it was time for the morning snack of porridge (something like Cream of Wheat, but made of cornmeal and LOTS of sugar!), the children were served one by one and all 50 of them waited quietly and patiently for all to be served before eating. It was a pleasure to love on these sweet and beautiful children, but it was also encouraging to see how these young teachers managed their class with love and patience and the joy of the Lord. Meanwhile, the men delivered some bricks to a village where the SOI staff was building a house for an elderly woman. The men were encouraged to see how the work on the Farm is being reproduced in the village where families are being given hope for their lives as they receive ministry at the same time. In one case a young girl began attending the church on the farm. Though the family allowed her to come and be involved in the singing ministry, they were closed to further ministry. However, when the staff from the Farm brought a pig for the family to raise, the door to relationship opened and now ministry can take place.

After lunch we visited several other homesteads to see how the gift of a pig can change the living standard of the family. We met a woman with HIV who had been ostracized from her community, but found a new life through the ministry of SOI. And, we visited a cell group meeting under the mango tree that used to be the gathering place for people seeking the help of the witch doctor. Eight months ago, the witch doctor came to know Jesus and now she is full of praise. We have all been impressed with the amazing vibrancy of the people we have met. There is a special blessing over the Farm. Where we expected to find despair, we have found life being lived abundantly. In the coming days we will go into places that have not yet been transformed by the presence of God. We are overwhelmed what God has done in such a short amount of time at the Farm.

Some highlights of the day:
–Sam jumping off the brick delivery truck and not quite landing on his feet once again.
–Kendall losing her headband to a drive-by thorn bush.
–Jessica whispering that she was about to pop, which Tim interpreted as her having a word burning in her. She took the opportunity Tim opened for her, but it was her bladder, not her heart that was bursting.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Let us know what God is laying on your hearts or send us your questions by leaving a comment below.
~Rachel Wilson

Day 4 Feb 12, 2010
Gulu, Uganda

“Praise God! “Amen.” “My name is Rebecca.” Our team is becoming familiar with this typical, yet profound, SOI Ugandan greeting. God is the essence of all that is done and said throughout the SOI ministry. Today proved to be another full day. We started out at Kirombe where SOI began in Gulu. We spent time with the children in the courtyard of the school playing games and getting lots of hugs. The teachers are so dedicated and share God’s love with them on a daily basis. We were privileged to sit in on an intimate time with one of the women at the center who shared her “God story”, it was a testament to the faithful God we serve. Her name is Christine ~ and I believe a hero of the faith. After leaving Kirombe we went to the Remand House. This is similar to a correctional facility for boys ages 14-18. Some are in for burglary, rape and even murder. Some are waiting to be tried; some are waiting to be sentenced. We were given the opportunity to play volleyball with them, as they are just learning the sport. It was a great time to just have fun and see lots of smiles from young men who really do not have much to smile about. They are also learning to play chess and demonstrated their skills for us. The SOI staff meets with this group two times each week. During the rainy season they teach them farming, as well as sports, chess and they continue sharing the transforming power of the love of God.

The highlight, at this stop in our day, was hearing each team member share God’s heart for these boys. After they shared, one young man asked Ashley to show him how to ask God to be his Savior, and that is what it is all about! On to a quick bite of lunch, enjoyed in a park setting. I have to say, the food has been quite good, and we are very grateful. On the road again to Lugutu. We are in awe of the work Aloysius and his staff are doing in this village. Just two years ago they had to walk miles to the nearest water source and many were barely clothed. Today they are experiencing renewed hope with a well, clothing and a new school. The school has full time teachers with 180 students attending. We met the man who donated the 4 acres land to house the school, playground and latrines. Aloysius also introduced us to his first contact with this village ~ a sweet lady named Esther. It is so incredible how God used one meeting to begin reshaping the life of this village.

Next, we load back in the van to visit another remote village called Pugkwini. This is one of the villages we are praying about adopting. These people have yet to experience the joy of the Lord in their lives. We sat and listened to Aloysius, as he, with much wisdom and love, communicated the purpose of our visit, asking what their desires were and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with them. As Tim put it, “It was like sitting in on a meeting with the apostle Paul.” Words truly cannot describe this appointed moment. We later were able to speak with the leader of the village and he said if clean water, a school and a church came to their village they would surrender and worship. God is already working in their hearts according to His good pleasure. It was an amazing day; not so many funny highlights, but a very defining moment to share. It is a common sight to see women with two 5- gallon water buckets, one on her head, one in her hand and a baby tied on her back walking miles to retrieve water and then miles back home. We had the opportunity to carry just one of these about 200 yards; it proved difficult even for the men. It brought home just a small bit of the reality of the hardships endured by the people of Uganda on a daily basis. Water is a matter of life and death; something so available to us yet so scarce to the people of Gulu. Praise God! Amen. We love your comments and look forward to reading them at the end of our days!
-Rebecca Bradshaw

Day 5 – Gulu, Uganda
Feb 13, 2010
The Final Piece of Puzzle

Its hard to describe today’s events in words. But we have no other option since it takes 2 hours to upload one picture… so here it is. Village Visit to Lajwatek The day began with a visit to the village of Lajwatek. We met with the local village leaders and they shared with us about our urgent needs of clean water and a school. The village is home to 500 adults and 1500 children. We visited their “borehole” which is basically a muddy pond fed by a small swamp. The water is very dirty, ridden with disease, and its their only source of water within 3 miles. It was heartbreaking to see small children filling up jerry cans and drinking the filthy water. This place needs water. Soon… The hopeful news is that the leaders in this community are willing to partner with Sports Outreach and to help develop sustainable programs to help empower the people. It was also a powerful reminder of how much we take for granted and all of us will think twice and say prayer of thanks before we enjoy a glass of clean water. Two days ago we brought bricks to the village to help build a hut for a woman who had not had a house in 20 years. Today when we visited the hut was nearly done! This was a great encouragement to us that the people are ready to work here. They are determined help themselves, to rebuild this community, to get their lives back together.

Village Visit to Laleland
We jumped in the vans and drove to Laleland. We were greeted by Pastor Jefferson who is beginning to use sports to reach the youth in his community. We also helped lay the foundation for the piggery. Translated….We carried really heavy rocks for 1 km. Ashley picked up a 100 lbs. boulder. What a man’s man! He then turned around about one quarter into the journey and promptly dropped the rock back where it belonged. He then quickly stuffed his cargo pockets with pebbles. While some African lady picked up the 100 lb. rock he dropped and carried it all the way on her head, with no hands…. We then chopped down several trees and macheted the branches off. We hauled those over to the piggery to form the shelter. On another note, today was the day LifeCC took some time after visiting 4 villages to decide which village the church will be choosing to Adopt. The group took a time of prayer and each person felt the Lord leading towards the same village. We felt a sense of destiny for our church and we will most certainly by pioneering a new effort in northern Uganda alongside Sports Outreach. Quick lunch at Koro Farm and by quick lunch I mean “Fanta orange.” We then received a pep talk from Coach YT about the fundamentals of soccer. He broke down our formation using soda bottles, and American football terms.

Things we learned.
1. No first downs in soccer
2. Can’t use your hands
3. Don’t head the soccer ball while wearing a baseball cap (Pastor Blevins now has a small divot in his head, b/c he did not follow directions
4. When in doubt, kick it out.
We then jumped back into the van, and set off the on the Road to the Middle of Nowhere. I’m not kidding. The sign on the road said “Middle of Nowhere Road.” We drove, and drove, and drove, and drove, drank warm water, and drove, and drove, talked about ice cream, sweated profusely, and drove and drove, feel asleep, and drove. And then we arrived at our destination. Only it wasn’t our desination. So we drove through a village. Not kidding. I touched the roof on a hut while we drove by. The the road stopped. But we did not. Our van drove through the high grass and into the bush. Literally it was a bush. Still not joking. I swear on Ashley’s goatee. We then arrived at our final destination at Ongai. Which translated into English means “Place in the Middle of Nowhere.” We then proceeded to walk through high elephant grass and a narrow dirt path and finally there was a clearing. A small mud hut church, thatch roof, dung spread floor, and behind the church was the beautiful site we had ever laid our eyes on. A soccer field, with makeshift goalposts out tree branches, and a team warming up in bright orange jerseys. This team was fit, skillful, fast and African. All things our Life Community team was not. This was our moment to shine…. And shine we did.

Starting lineup. Ashley Lindbert as the goalkeeper, Defenders: Tim Blevins, Sam Casey, Kendall Bartholomew, and Rachel Wilson. Midfield: Twinkle toes Dave Kelly, Aloysius Kyazze, Dominic Alvey, and Jessica Biggar. Forwards: Dustin Swinehart, and the ever dangerous Rebecca Bradshaw. Lets just say we played hard, but on this day the hare clearly defeated tortoise. We ended with a final score losing to 3-1.

Highlights included a back heel to forward somersault from Dave Kelly. Jessica Biggar getting smashed in the face with ball. Aloysius doing a belly flop in the dirt, Kendall getting pancaked by a defender on the ground. Ashley saving a ball off the line, and then tackling a Ugandan half his size, with no shoes on and winning the ball.

It was a valiant effort, we played like Acholi warrior poets (I don’t what this means but sounds good). It was soccer in its purest form. After the match we gathered the village crowd together and shared the Gospel message. It was a powerful sharing time and they went from laughing at us to listening to the most important Story every told. This is what a ball can be used to do. We had several people from the village respond to the message of salvation and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior while the rest of the villages sang in celebration as the sun set over the field. It was a moment none of us will forget. Then we had to drive home in dark which took approx. 2 and half hours. We grabbed some dinner at the Hotel Florida. Don’t believe the hype of this name. It was nothing like a hotel or Florida. And then what happened next will go down in Life Community missions folklore for years to come. After the long drive nature was calling. And Dave Kelly boldy answered that call. While all of us went into the toilet, Dave unfortunately chose door #2. In his defense, the sign on the door did say “Men’s BATHroom” however the other door, the right door, said “Men’s Toilets” Needless to say after answering the call, Dave came out with a very puzzled look on his face, and upon further investigation Ashley handed him the missing piece to the puzzle and he realized his costly mistake. You see this was no urinal. This was a shower stall. Our territory had been marked. You have no idea the laughter that ensued following this amazing event. After a delicious dinner we headed back to the Hotel completely exhausted. We are currently sitting in our hotel room. Its pretty warm tonight, and our rooms are very hot. Praying for a good rest. Keep praying at 9 PM and feel free to post encouraging notes to your friends and family on this blog. Your words or encouragement, and your prayers are fueling this team to do amazing things for the Lord. Everyone feels love from all the comments accept YT. No one will send him anything. His comment count is zero. Please help. Anyone…. Much Love from Uganda, -Sam Casey

Day 6
February 14, 2010
Gulu, Uganda

Don’t go Chasin’ Waterfalls: Farewell to Gulu
We awoke to the sound of falling water. This was not rain. It was water pouring out of the 4th floor of our hotel. As it turns out Jessica and Rachel’s room was at the source. A pipe broke in their room and the bathtub was not draining. Needless to say the rainy season came a little early here at the hotel! We grabbed a quick breakfast and were picked up in the van by Aloysius. We drove over to Koro Farm to be apart of the worship service at Gulu New Foundation Church. It is a church that has been planted by Sports Outreach in which Aloysius is the pastor. The service began with encouragement from Maureen. YT then led a Bible study on The Sermon on the Mount. We then broke into singing, dancing, and praises filled the air. Such a joyful time as we worshipped with people unashamed to praise the Father in Spirit and in truth. It was also a 90 minute cardio workout that rivaled P90X! The drums in worship were unmatched. It was the sound of heaven. I have to believe God prefers Acholi music. After worship Pastor Tim brought a powerful word on being sure of our salvation and the urgent call to reach others for Christ. We prayed and Aloysius concluded the worship time with announcements. Following church, we met with local village leaders where a woman was raised from the dead a few months ago. She shared her testimony about being healed after 3 days of being dead and now is a believer in Jesus. After she was healed over 60 people from her village also became believers. Praise the Lord! Amen!!

After church we came back to the hotel and got some much needed rest. It was close to 100 degrees today. After resting, we went out to visit the village, Life Community Church has adopted the name of the village is…. It’s a surprise and we will announce it at church when we return. At the village we heard testimonies from a man who had been abducted by the rebel army during the war. After a time of prayer we greeted the villagers. Ashley took this opportunity of greeting and turned it into a 5-7 point sermon. He spoke boldly about picking up large rocks and making poor decisions. It was filled with convictions, finger pointing, charades, illustration, animation, dissertation, exaggeration, & and powerpoint presentation. Ashley has found his next calling…. The Preacher Man. However when Aloysius whispered to me, “Your man must stop. The sun is going down.” We knew it was time to end this amazing sharing time.

So we jumped back in the van. Speeding past a forest fire in the bush, we made our way back to the Hotel Florida for dinner. Again, don’t let the name full you. Dave Kelly learned his lesson from last night and stayed away from using the shower as a toilet. We are so proud of him. Way to go Dave! Although Ashley heard Dave murmuring something about using the sink…for what, I do not know. We had a farewell dinner with Sports Outreach Gulu staff. It was a joyful time of sitting around the banqueting table. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together. We prayed over the staff and then the staff prayed over Life Community Church. Wow! What a powerful time. Our lives will never be the same after spending these days with these wonderful Sports Outreach staff members here in Gulu.

Other highlights:
1. It was the first church service where the people jumped around way more than Pastor Tim Blevins
2. What does Ashley mean in Acholi? It seems the people laugh every time he introduces himself
3. Cold Fanta in triple digit temperatures
4. YT with his self-proclaimed “the best sermon ever”
5. The bull in the road blocking our path to Koro. Bulls have the right away according to Acholi traffic laws
6. Receiving blog posts from loved ones on Valentine’s Day. Hint Hint.

Farewell Gulu! We head to the Nile River to visit Murchison Falls and then conclude with a 3 day visit to Sports Outreach ministry in Kampala. Hard to believe we are halfway through the trip. Much Love from Gulu! Team LCC

Days 7&8
February 16, 2010
A Post from the Better Half

Our day yesterday began with a mystery. Both Sam and Rebecca were missing several items of clothing. Following a bit of sleuthing the items were discovered and displayed for all hotel guests to view. Unfortunately, some of Rebecca’s unmentionables were on display. The final piece to the puzzle fell into place when she found her socks, still damp, shoved into Sam’s laundered Pumas. Finally we could load up the omnibus with luggage tied to the roof, and we headed down the road in scorching heat. Three hours later we caught our first glimpse of the mighty Nile stretched before us. Another hour’s drive through the game park brought us to the Shangri-La of Uganda. We were greeted by a hostess who handed us small rolled towels. The first touch brought us to heights we’d not yet known in Africa. The towels were ice cold! We scarfed down a late lunch and then climbed aboard the African Queen for a river tour to Murchison Falls. The boat had just enough seats for our group and we were able to view the wildlife pretty closely. Since the day was ending, many animals came to the river to cool down. We encountered a 7 meter (21 ft) crocodile (even though this is Rachel writing, I promise I’m not using hyperbole!), many, many, many hippos, a plethora of bird species, some elephants, a few playful baboons, and handful of warthogs and water buffalo. The park boasts 48 different brands of deer. We’ve seen them all. We reached the Falls as the sun was setting. We got a great team photo that we are anxious to share with you. And, Ashley, of Lindbert Portraiture, captured quite a few romantic shots to remember this Valentine’s Day apart from our loved ones.

(Jess takes over writing for a bit) After dinner, we gathered outside the lodge to worship God in His magnificent creation. It was meaningful to be together alone as the team, celebrating what God has done with us so far. After such a touching time, the Spirit drifted away and we jammed out to our old high school prom songs. YT has a remarkable talent for identifying THE song based on your year of graduation. (YT has a trophy for another remarkable talent… 10 pts if you can tell us what!) We had a six-thirty breakfast call so it was off to bed for us old maids! The old geezers decided to stay up and give special attention to the pool. Now, let me share with you that the pool signage indicated that there were no swimsuits allowed after ten P.M. (time of pool party: MIDNIGHT)… I’m just sayin…..

For us old maids we got a little taste of the future… AKA “Hotflashes” Our rooms had to have been at least 100 degrees.After about ten minutes Rachel yells out “I found the air conditioning”, which really turned out to only be the tiny little screens above the glass door, which was hidden behind the curtains. The debate started, should we or should we not sleep with the curtains open, the sub-debate was whether or not Rachel should put her pants back on. We felt that was important considering the transparency of the door. This lead into a ten-minute flash back of their teenage slumber party laughter. Now, I was in the room next door thinking I was going to have to “MOM the MOMS.” Luckily for them they stopped. The heat of the room was still stifling so in the middle of the night Rebecca peeled off her pajama pants and crawled onto the cool tile floor! About this time the geezers were coming back from the pool party….

(Rachel writing again) By seven in the morning we were headed off to explore the African wild. While the air temperature had pleasantly cooled, the atmosphere in the van rose significantly when we picked up our guide and his AK-47. The “big five” safari sightings are water buffalo, rhinos, elephants, leopards, and lions. There are no rhinos in this refuge, and the leopards are nearly extinct. We did see the buffalo and elephants in quantity. But, the lions eluded us.Finally, our guide got word on one of his three cell phones that one was nearby. Aloysius, the best driver in Uganda, put the pedal to the metal and we were in hot pursuit. It was impossible to stay on the road with such a tantalizing prospect before us. In no time, we were crossing the savanna with nothing but the stares of the deer to guide us to our prey. It was like nothing we’d ever seen before. Not one, but two majestic lions rose from the savanna grass, a male and his female, their own pride of two. They owned their land and were oblivious to man’s presence. They exuded confidence, fearing nothing.

We spent the entire rest of this day in the van. Thankfully, YT and Sam came armed with a vast database of group car games tucked away in their brains. Still, the time on the road passed slowly. When we finally arrived in Kampala, we were privileged to share dinner with the founder of SOI and some other visitors from America. We have come full-circle, now back in the hotel where we began our time here in Uganda. The next couple days will be a whole new adventure as we experience the work of God through SOI in the city.

1. We’ve been reviewing our Acholi names. Dave wants to know what “David” means in Acholi.
2. Rhomboid. That’s a shape, right? What does that even mean?
3. Dave: “Do you think the elephants ever get in a fight with the hippos?” Tim: “I don’t know. Do you the elephants ever get in a fight with the kangaroos?”
4. Jessica is scarred for life. A large male baboon unabashedly struck a pose which Jessica found disgusting.
5. Ashley enjoyed his stay so much and so longed to bring Jeana back, that he stole the key to his hotel room. Some hours into our drive, we received a call from the concierge requesting the key be returned to it’s lawful owner.
Thanks for your prayers. Keep praying at 9 PM!
~The "Girls"

February 17, 2010

This morning we had another great devotion with the Sports Outreach team here in Kampala. You’ve never participated in a true group devotion until you’ve experienced prayer and worship with this staff. Having been filled up with the Spirit, we boarded the bus with the Good News Football Team. These are the young men who embody SOI in Kampala. They are a professional soccer team, but they use their “stardom” to win youngsters to Christ. They practice together several days a week and play a game each Friday. We were privileged (permitted) to join today’s practice. We divided up into three teams and rotated playing together. Rebecca was a trooper again; I “almost” scored a goal; the guys did okay too. There is nothing like football to draw a crowd here. It throws open the door for these guys to share about Christ. They regularly see people surrender to Jesus after a match.

But, their ministry is so much more than this. When they are not on the field, they can be found in the slums around the city. They are involved in educating children who cannot afford to attend school. They orchestrate chess clubs where the kids learn to think in new ways. They administrate feeding programs for hundreds of kids. And, of course, they play soccer! Today we visited one slum project in Nateete. The team has worked their way up to offering classes taught by qualified teachers, providing lunch to all their students every day (the only meal many of these kids receive), and doing monthly community service including cleaning out the drainage ditches. These men are so dedicated to their work that Moses, who heads the Nateete staff team, moved into a home in the slum seven years ago. At the same time (when he was 22years old), he began taking in boys who had been orphaned by AIDS. He is now father to nine former orphans, ages 7 to 20. The 20 year old, Martin, is the captain of the Division 1 football team, Life Eternal. The team comprises 32 Nateete young men coached and discipled by Moses.

We also walked up to the bakery where some young men are learning a trade that could potentially help to lift them out of their poverty. The cakes they make are like large, pyramid-shaped muffins. Both the cakes and the bakers are growing in reputation around the city. When some of you come visit in the next couple of years, don’t be surprised if someone tells you you have to taste the Heavenly Cakes.

This evening we were treated to a banquet by the Sports Outreach staff. It was like a church potluck, except that the yams were purplish. What a treat to sit with these men and women who are living the Gospel in some of the world’s most desperate circumstances. Their faith, their commitment, their hope for a brighter future are inspiring, but their humility makes them so easy to relate with.After dinner we were able to give an amazing gift to these great guys. Each Good News player received a sweat suit. We were also able to provide 50 pairs of “boots” (cleats). What a treat to provide something integral to the spread of the gospel! We completed the evening with worship and prayer. It’s an amazing experience to pair up with one of these staffers for one-on-one prayer. First the mzungus for the Africans and then vice-versa. The Ugandans outprayed the Americans yet again and we’re down 2-0 for the trip.

1. Tim has an O.L.D. injury. Pray for his quick healing because we have another game on Friday.
2. “Maybe you just shouldn’t play.”
3. Traffic. When was the last time you sat still on the road in a bus full of Ugandans.
4. The blue bottle challenges. Ashley is the ultimate loser. Don’t forget to ask him about it later.
5. In bowl number three, hooves. Bowl number seven, bitter berries. Ugandan food isn’t always good.
6. Coke floats. Sam taught the staff this American treat. It’s our answer to the bitter berries.
7. Current Fanta Consumption Facts:
Rest of the team 73
Ashley 416

Day 10
February 18, 2010
African Aerobics????

This morning started like yesterday with another staff devotion. And, again, we headed to the slums after our time of fellowship. This morning we went to Katwe (say “kat-WAY”) and Kibuli (say “chi-BOO-lee”). The staff working in these areas are ministering in the same ways we saw yesterday. In Katwe we saw a little girl, about 5 years old, sitting on a short wall, with her left arm held out in obvious pain. It was pink and raw, covered in flies. She was despondent and had a far-away look to her. We asked the other children what had happened to her. They told us that she fell out of bed into the fire. It looked as though nothing had been done to treat her. We visited the Katwe “playground” where they conduct the football games. It was shaped like a bowl and there was only the hint of grass. Around the edges, cows and goats nibbled garbage. Ashley drew hopscotch on the ground and taught the kids to play. I played a mimicking game with the children who had rallied around the mzungus. Then we visited a woman in her home. It was one very small room which served as the bedroom for her and her four children, their living room, dining room, and kitchen. The three twin beds were bunked and used for storage as well as sleeping. Her 18 year old son had proven himself in the SOI program in Katwe and was hired to work up at Koro farm in Gulu. She was very proud of him, as are we. It’s very rare for anyone to make it out of the slums. On our way out of the area, we stopped to call on another family involved in the program. There is a mother (who was out working), a 13 year old girl, boy-girl twin 10 year olds, and little bitty. The 10 year old girl had been scalded over more than half her body. She’d spent a year in the hospital but they were unable to treat her pain. She cannot go to school because her legs still feel like they are being burned. Pain-killers do no good for her. Samson, one of the staff for Katwe, is looking for options for her to be treated and to return to school. He is willing even to foster her if it means she can get the help she needs. After another crazy bus ride, we entered the Kibuli slum. The path through this area was uphill all the way. At the very top of the hill, we saw a middle class neighborhood. Sam, another Ugandan staff guy, told us that when the rains come, the people there open their sewage so that it washes down into the slum. There’s just nothing you can say when you hear something like that. We met a 16 year old boy, Patrick, who came to know Jesus through the ministry of SOM. His family is Muslim, as are most of the people of Kibuli. His mother was very welcoming of our team. When Patrick first decided to follow Jesus, she was not pleased about it. But, as he has stood firm, and as SOM has continued to minister to him and his family, she is now pleased that he is receiving an education, food, and training in character. Patrick says he preaches to his family every day!

After lunch and a short rest we headed out to the Remand Home. This was different from the one we visited in Gulu. There were 150 kids, including a handful of girls. When we walked in, they were all assembled in a multi-purpose room. The staff asked what they learned last week. Several hands shot up. The answers blew us away. They had really grasped the lesson and applied it. We’re talking about teenaged boys and girls in juvenile hall. Dave and I shared testimonies and Tim preached a mini-sermon. Then the fun began. Most of the team went out to the football field to play a friendly game. I sat and chatted with a 14 year old girl, Fatuma, about her life. Her father died when she was 2 years old, leaving her mother, her 9-month old sister, and herself behind. Her mother had to work, so the girls raised themselves. Fatuma had been in the Remand Home for 2 weeks and had a month to go. Her mother sent her in because she wasn’t going to school and wasn’t obeying. Meanwhile, Dave was participating in the aerobics class. For 45 minutes he kept up with the youngsters. Little did we know, Dave taught aerobics for 2 years! Of course, that was about 100 years ago. But, he’s still got it. Tonight we’re having “family night”—junk food and group games. It’s nice to have a little time to unwind after such a heavy day. By the way, if you are one who reads all the comments, please know that Jess and Rebecca laid low today and are ready to jump back in for our last day here in Uganda.

1. Sam gained ten pounds. It’s pure sugar—oatmeal cream pie, tube of mentos, rice krispie treat, Twix, passion Fanta, 10 Twizzlers. And that’s all we could find the wrappers for.
2. YT learned that Tim’s luggage has a habit of getting spread around.
3. Dave’s testimony about his prodigal son.
4. The clap champion. Again, Ugandans 1, USA 0
5. Novida is even better than Fanta.
Rest of the team 5
Ashely 43

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Day 11, February 19, 2010
Heading Home

Life is good! We just completed our last day in Uganda and we are on our way to the airport to begin our journey home. We have experienced some of the most impactful days that any of us could have imagined but honestly the team is ready to get home to see our families and friends.
You will probably be able to tell that this is Tim writing and not Rachel because she writes so well.

Today began once again with the SOM team with devotions followed by an educational trip to a museum about Uganda history. This nation has had a very Christian influence over its history. After the tour we ate our favorite meal of the trip…pizza and ice cream. It was a welcome sight from the rice and beans!

We took about an hour after lunch to shop at a local market for a few surprises for our families.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who prayed for us, help financially support us, and stayed in touch with us. We feel that what our church will accomplish through Uganda and for these people was worth the sacrifice we all took. Thank you.

Also thank you to Sports Outreach; Dustin Swinehart and Sam Casey for leading us into pioneering a new mission for Life Community Church. You guys are the best.

Please pray for as we begin our trip home and oh yes, we are pumped about getting back to see all of you. By the way, Lifecc will be rocking this Sunday! The team and I can’t wait to be back worshipping with everyone again this week.
God is good!
Pastor Tim


Heart4Adoption said...

Thanks for sharing these!

My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued