Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March in a few words/photos...

Well, I hit the ground running. God is so good in all that He is doing at LCH. I just wanted to bring out some highlights that happened in March.

Social Inquiries:
The Lord has seen it the right time to expand LCH and bring hope into the lives of 20 new little girls. Wow!

People often ask me how we get our children... Everything must go through the government. Throughout March, Edward and I have been very busy doing social inquires with the Probation Officers. These are people similar to CPS.

Some of the girls were recommended by pastors of our church plants (bringing awareness to some of the most desperate cases that they had within their churches). Others were recommended by partner ministries. The probation officer visits each home to assess the living conditions, arrangements, education opportunities and general vulnerability of the child. Based on these findings they then either approve or disapprove of the need for institutional care for the child. Papers are then filed with the local magistrate and taken to the courts for the judge to see the child and hand over guardianship.

Many of the girls have lost parents to AIDS. About half of them are total orphans, while the others are partial orphans who are under the care of a sickly mother or passed on to an auntie or grandmother in hopes of better care. Three of the children are coming from a nearby babies orphanage (that our LCH children have visited before).

I know that God has hand selected each of these new children to be at LCH. Now, we are just waiting for the local magistrate to be in office and approve the paperwork. Pray with us for timeliness in this process. We are all so excited to meet our new sisters!


The kids have been doing serious practice and training for the sub-county track competition. Each morning I would find them in their field with their teachers, running relays or doing the long jump. One day we even had a neighboring school join us in the field for a friendly competition.

Those who were not running were busy cheering... or playing.
Brenda Babirye with two community students.

Me and Beatrice- who qualified for District competition in long jump.

Being silly

The cheering department


Nurse Pam and Gettu organized for a dentist to come and check the dental health of all of our children.

Later in the afternoon, the dentist held a dental hygiene seminar to tell children and staff about the mouth/teeth, proper brushing and care, and diseases or problems that can come if they don't brush. The children and staff were very receptive and asked many questions to gain further insight.
LCHPS- Community Children:

God is doing great things at our school and many people are hearing about the success our first set of P7 candidates. This year we have about 70 community children enrolled in school with our LCH students. It is fun our children make friends from outside.

The nursery school is filled with new faces of small little children.
Soon, many of our 20 new little girls will join them in class.

God's hand at LCH:

The girls hostel is in its finishing stages. It looks so "smart" and the older girls cannot wait to "shift" (move in)." All of the beds, mattresses, etc have been bought so we are expecting things to be in order by the end of this week.

The Local Management Committee took a "field trip" to the farm land to gain a better perspective on what and where the land is.

Plowing has begun in preparations for the rainy season.

My life:
When I arrived back in Uganda my house had one more person than when I had left it. Elise is my new housemate. But not for much longer, as she is leaving at the beginning of May (her commitment was 4 months). Even so, the four of us have been having a lot of fun together.

One weekend me, Emily, and Elise decided to go hiking half-way up Mt. Wanale. Starting bright and early at 6am, in attempts to stay out of the sun for the whole hike, we climbed the foothills of the mountain for about 45 minutes. Passing through villages and by many houses with little kids shouting, "Mzungu, how are you?"

It is so beautiful up the mountain! Things are so peaceful and so lush. Life is simple.

Once we had reached the half-way point, we climbed up a big boulder to see the view of Mbale town. Slowly some little friends started joining us. This little girl totally showed me up as we were getting off the boulder. While I scooted down using all my limbs to brace me, she simply walked down, no hesitation, with a baby on her back and a knife in her hands. She has had a lot more practice, what can I say?!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Visitation Day

Imagine finishing elementary school and being told by your parents that after the summer holiday you were to pack you belongings and all your bedding because you are being sent to boarding school for your whole high school experience.

If you are anything like me, this might seem like a punishment- like for the bullies at school that need to be sent to boot camp to get straightened out or for the rich Hollywood type. But in Uganda, secondary boarding schools are a cultural norm. Therefore, in keeping with true African style, the oldest 10 children of LCH began boarding schools in Kampala and Mbale in the middle of February.

Last Sunday was the first Visitation Day for our Senior 1 students in Kampala. Having left Mbale very early to make our 4 hour journey to the capital city, we stopped along the way to pick up a picnic lunch of chicken and chips and buy some much craved for goodies like bread and butter, sugar, cookies, and soda.

As we reached the school, there was sea of dark bodies with bright green and red shirts. We met up with our students' main class teacher and he helped us to find them. Relaxing under the mango tree with Auntie Christine, Jarod, Paul, and Fiona, we spotted Sylvia running toward us (below on left). With tears rolling down her cheeks she hugged us. But we were concerned. "Sylvia, why are you crying? Are you sick?" She shook her head but still wouldn't answer. Then I asked her, "Are these tears of sadness or of joy?" She replied joy. So sweet. She was just happy to see us. Slowly the other students found us and it was a sweet reunion.

They shared many stories about the new friends they had made, how life in secondary school is, how their teachers are strict but good, and about their daily schedule and weekend fun. Paul and Fiona also shared about what is happening at LCH Primary School and how how they elected a new head boy and girl for the school.

The girl then showed us their dormitory. It is basically a huge room with multiple triple layer bunk beds. Though they could choose anywhere to sleep, our girls have two bunks right next to each other. (The boys said they are on opposite sides of the dorm.)

S1 students in Kampala: Emmo O, Sylvia L, Ritah K, Zulufa N, Naster C, Ivan K

It was a wonderful day. Being my first real experience with Visitation Day, I had a lot to learn and it was fun seeing the children take the initiative to show me different things around their school or remind me that I had not yet seen the results of their monthly tests. But now with a little experience under my belt, I am ready for the next "V day".

The students get first term holidays on April 20. Although I am glad they are studying hard, it is weird not having them at LCH. This was the class that I was closest to, seeing as they were the oldest and I can relate to them better, but also because when I first arrived at LCH in 2007 their teacher went for maternity leave and they had no teacher to fill in, so I did. They were in P4 then. Now my babies are growing up :) I think I know a little how parents feel now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back in Uganda

Proudly showing off the rice that came from our farming project in Namajje.
We harvested 4 sacks of rice hulls (while the children said will make 2 bags of pure rice).

I arrived in Mbale on March 3, grateful that none of my luggage (aka wonderful treasures from America) got lost in transition. I am so glad to be back. And luckily, today was a public holiday so I got to play with the kids all day (instead of them being at school).

But God was so faithful during my time in America. One of my prayers was that He would give me new opportunities to share what He is doing at LCH. And that He did. I was interviewed by a reporter of the newspaper in Midland, Texas. Feel free to click on the article linked below.


(In the printed copy, there are 2 wonderful photos of me and the children)

I look forward to sharing more about my life and the life of the children at LCH. Thank you for praying for us.