Easter Newsletter, 2008

“He Is Risen.  He Is Risen Indeed!”

Today is the beginning of March and you folks back home in Canada will be hoping for spring to be around the corner as well as the hope that is found in Easter later this month.

Here in Uganda we continue with the same pattern of twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of night each day with the temperatures remaining between 20 to 30 degrees Celcius throughout the year.  Right now it is supposed to be the beginning of the rainy season, but the weather pattern seems to have changed and we don’t know whether it is dry season or rainy season.   However, I tell the Ugandans that this country of theirs seems to have one of the finest climates in the world   Spring Equinox will soon be here on March 20th when the sun’s rays will be directly overhead here at the equator.   With the coming of Easter at that date, we are reminded of the wonderful hope we have in the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Blessings of Volunteers

The past eight months has been filled with a variety of volunteers coming and going from different parts of the world bringing with them their talents and skills along with their hearts to share time and gifts with the children and staff of Eagles Wings Children’s Village.   On December 24th, we moved Family #2 of 24 children from our home in Soweto , Masaka twenty five miles away to EWCV 72.1 acres of property at Lubumba Village .  Their housing was ready to be lived in even though there is still much to be done to complete their construction phase.  Christmas was celebrated in the church at the property with both families present.   It was a joyous occasion shared by nine volunteers from Manitoba , Canada who helped to wrap children’s’ gifts of new clothing and assisted many other tasks.   All the volunteers who came during the eight months were a blessing to the children of EWCV.   We thank them so much.

EWCV Staff Retreat

In the month of January we saw most of the children of EWCV taken home by their former care givers for a month’s holiday.   This was also a time for our staff to take holidays before joining us at Prayer Mountain EWCV Staff Retreat at the end of January 2008.  It was a wonderful retreat where we were blessed with some fine speakers on the theme of “Called to the Ministry of the Lord”.   We are thankful for our speakers, Kenneth Rwego, Pastor Jonnes and his wife, Gertrude, and Pastor Kalibala who came from various parts of Uganda to join us as well as our Canadian friends/volunteers, Walter and Marilyn Dyck, who came and shared with us for two of our sessions and also our House Father of Family #1, Caxton Kawuma.

At 2 am one night, I woke up feeling a tingling sensation all over my body.   When I put on my flashlight, I could see that my body was covered by ants.  I woke Ann up as she was also being invaded by ants all over her bed and body.    I went to turn on the light switch and found that the floor, walls, and ceiling were totally covered by ants.   They were biting us and we had to get out of the hut in a hurry.   We went into another place where we were able to brush off and pick off these biting critters.   Some friends came with paraffin and poured it on the floor of the hut whereby the ants curled up and died.  We got our belongings out of the hut and slept the night in another hut.

Beth Pipe Nursery & Primary School

During the month of January we saw the framework of our new school go up with the assistance of some of our volunteers.  A team of volunteers from Lubumba Village came under the leadership of the local councilor to build a mud hut kitchen as well as to build a mud energy efficient stove for the kitchen.  We hired a cook to be prepared on the opening day of school February 7th to begin the task of cooking and serving the children from Lubumba Village who have joined our EWCV children for schooling each day.  Our children are served their meals at their homes whereas the village children receive porridge in the mornings as well as lunch made of portio and beans.   The Nursery children go home each day at 1 pm.

We have allowed 93 children from the village to join our 48 EWCV children at the school as we are setting a maximum limit of 36 children per class.  A village committee selected 93 of the most needy children of the community who are mostly orphaned children to join our school.  Most of them weren’t schooling because of the distance to walk to school and the lack of school fees and supplies.   Our school has been built as a temporary structure until such a time we can manage to finance the building of the permanent structure for which we have the architectural plans and land.   The school has been named after a close family friend who originated from Gilbert Plains , now living with her family in Winnipeg .   The school is named “Beth Pipe Nursery & Primary School” with an extension class at our home in Soweto for Family #3.   We now have a total of six fully qualified teachers at the Primary level.   The staff is trying to come up with the design for a school uniform for the children.  We will have160 uniforms made for our students when the Lord provides at a cost of about $10 CAD per child.

Family #3

We also have brought in four children into our care in Soweto who were in desperate need and they became the first children to join Family #3.   In January we hired new family parents for this new family #3 and during this month of March we will be bringing in the rest of the family of 20 more orphaned children into our care at our home.   Our Social Worker, Allan, has already selected these 20 children and we have placed them on the website for sponsorship.   We will step out in faith to bring them in ahead of having the sponsorship as we believe that the Lord will provide for them.   We have a cook ready to cook for them and will hire a lady to do the washing and ironing of the children’s clothing each day.   We also have some staff on the website for sponsorship of their monthly salaries.   These sponsorships ensure that the staff will be paid each month regardless of whether donations are sufficient to cover all of the monthly expenses.

Bill & Ann’s Retreat

Last weekend we left our home on Sunday for Lake Nabigabo near Lake Victoria where we had some time to rest and to be rejuvenated with time to ourselves and God.  Next time we will leave our phones at home or at least shut them off.  We stayed in a hut by the lake, but this time we weren’t invaded by ants.  The compound is well treed and has some good areas for hiking near the lake.  I even went swimming while Ann was entertained by three monkeys which sat on her seat at eye level watching her every move with the packet of cookies.  After she gave them her share of the cookies, they went on their way.  During one of our walks, it was so funny when we sat down to watch a large group of about 24 monkeys playing beside us in the bush.  There were so many young monkeys and they reminded us of small children at play.  One of the young calves grazing nearby wandered over to me and as he approached to lick my hand, a young monkey came over to chase him away.  It was hilarious.  The next day one of the young monkeys tried to catch a chicken and was chasing him around on the grass.  He didn’t catch the chicken.  On Tuesday morning we had a table set up beside the lake so that we could have breakfast and watch the sunrise at 7 am.   We were served a fine breakfast by the cook and were busy watching the cat having a drink by the shore of the lake.  All of a sudden a banana on the plate of fruit beside us disappeared as one of the monkeys grabbed what he could get away with before being chased away by the manager.  We refused to share any more with the monkeys.

Thanks to the Donors and Sponsors of Children and Staff of EWCV

We wish to offer our thanks to the sponsors who provide support the children and staff each month financially as well as by sending cards, pictures, and letters for special occasions with packets of stickers inside which are given to the teachers for the children to share.   Our children at EWCV do not have places in their huts right now to store personal items, so we ask for things which can be shared among the six children of each hut.  The letters and cards are read and translated by the House Fathers to the sponsored children.  We have matched pictures of the Sponsors alongside a picture of the child they sponsor and have placed these posters on the walls of the children’s dormitory huts.  The children are being challenged to be able to pronounce the names of the sponsors and how to spell their sponsor’s name.   Our Social Worker and teachers are now coming to our aid to have these children of EWCV somehow prepare letters of Easter Greetings to be scanned in our office and emailed to the sponsors before Easter, good Lord willing.   We apologize to all sponsors for not following through with this before now, but we need help in our Ugandan office for scanning and emailing during the next two weeks.   We are hoping that Ann will train Sam Muwonge to do the scanning and emailing when we are overloaded.

We also thank the many generous donors, some giving anonymously.   We are now waiting for our veterinarian doctor friend to provide us with a cow as the corral has already been built and we have the elephant grass growing in abundance to feed the cow.  This cow/corral is being made possible through a generous donor.  Another donor has anonymously provided money for us to drill a well.  We have had the Hydro Geological Engineer come and do the surveying for water.   The results show that there is most likely water at the lower part of the property, but we are now waiting for our contact in Kampala to find us a drilling company.  We have continued with a water crisis, but this well should solve our problems.  A church on the west coast of Canada has donated money towards the purchase or building of a cistern for storing water.  Good Lord willing, we will be trying to have our Foreman, Dan, undertake the construction of a chicken coop for each family so the children can be learning some agricultural skills including working in their family garden.  The school has already begun having students digging and preparing for seeding for when the rains come.   We have replaced the roof of the wooden church and it is now not leaking when it rains.  The church also serves as our Nursery Classroom during the week, but on Sundays, there are about fifty village children now joining us at church as well as our own EWCV children.  Villagers are now coming for the Wednesday evening Bible Study/Fellowships.   We are continually reaching out to the community trying to build a very positive relationship and trust with the villagers.   All the various projects underway are made possible only through the generosity of the donors who are walking with us in this project.  Thank you so much for your interest in Eagles Wings Children’s Village.

Thanks for your prayers

Many thanks to those of you who have agreed to join the number of people praying for EWCV around the world.   Yesterday our friend’s church in southern Manitoba organized a prayer vigil for people to pray 24 hours around the clock for EWCV.   We knew we were being covered by prayer yesterday and this is truly what keeps us moving forward.  To those of you I didn’t contact, but would like to be praying for the children and staff of EWCV, we welcome you and/or your church to join in the many groups who have agreed to pray for EWCV during one day each month.  We appreciate your taking maybe fifteen minutes, thirty or sixty minutes to pray, whatever time you can spare for prayer.  We are praying now for the safe arrival of the Chairman of our Canadian Board of EWCV from Manitoba, Ken Buhler and his lovely wife, Marg, who arrive from Tel Aviv on Sunday and will be with us until the following Friday.  We are excited about their visit and will be encouraged so much by having some time with them.  We pray that they will be blessed by their visit here in Uganda .

Easter is the perfect time to ask the Lord above to keep you always in His care, and bless you with His love.   God Bless You At Easter.

Ja Ja’s Bill & Ann and the Children/Staff of EWCV.