Newsletter – April 8, 2003

Dear Family/Friends,

Easter Greetings in the Precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. His has risen indeed! What incredible hope He has given us for tomorrow. (Luke 24: 1-8)

Once again, we wish to thank many of you for your encouraging letters, emails, phone calls, prayer support, and gifts. We have had difficulties accessing the office computer for emailing and often have been unable to respond to emails. The office computer and email system have been down frequently.

For those of you who don’t know, we received our one year work permits from the Dept. of Immigration and are now able to remain in Uganda until February 3rd, 2004. Then we will once again seek God’s direction for our lives. We are still waiting for the Bishop to give our committee an appointment to present our completed proposal to him for the Kako Home for Lone Orphaned Children, so there is no progress with that project. Please keep praying for direction for us regarding this project

On March 9th the Diocese began a Missions program to take the Gospel message out into people’s homes in Kako and the surrounding areas of Masaka. Ann has been going out each day with her Ugandan friend visiting homes below Kako Hill to share the Gospel message. They walk for miles through the banana plantations coming home quite happy and blessed with their visitations. God brought Ann’s new friend, Rosemary Kaddu, just at the right time when our friend Rachael returned to Makeriere University in Kampala after staying with us since October. Rosemary is about the same age as Ann and they both make a wonderful team as they both love the Lord and enjoy sharing the Gospel with the peasant farmers. Rosemary translates for Ann when needed. Bill went out two weeks ago with a team staying in tents (leaky) in the rural areas traveling each day to various villages showing the Jesus Film in the Luganda language as well as sharing the Gospel message in the villages and schools. Many Gideon Bibles are being handed out to students in the rural areas by members of the Masaka Gideon Camp. (Matthew 8:25)

Bill has also been asked to preach in the rural Anglican parishes each Sunday as part of a team of Evangelists who go out to preach the Gospel message. Each day, many people of all ages are responding to the altar calls given to receive Christ as their personal Saviour. The Bishop was out in one of the villages last week going house to house sharing his own testimony with people of how he was Saved and how Jesus changed his life. He has been giving the clear message to everyone about the need of salvation for each of us. (John 14:6; John 3: 1-21)

Yesterday, we were able to borrow our friend’s pickup truck and drove to some of the villages along the shore of Lake Victoria. This was our first time visiting Lake Victoria which is the largest lake in Africa and the third largest lake in the world, we’re told. It was quite an experience preaching under the shade of a big old tree near the shore of the lake surrounded by small homes of the fishermen. Part of our team had been to this location a week ago to show the Jesus film and the villagers were encouraged by the follow-up of our group of 11 members who had come to lead them in a Sunday service. Several people responded to the altar call and were Saved. Praise God! We also praise God that our friend loaned us his pickup truck so that we could take the team out to the lake. Otherwise, we could not have made the trip. We provided the gas for the truck. That area near the lake has very dense jungle vegetation compared to where we live. When we arrived back to our house in the late afternoon, Ann provided a wonderful meal to feed our whole team plus extras who came to visit. She is finding the pressure cooker a real asset when trying to prepare meals ahead of time or at the last minute.

Two weeks ago Bill started traveling throughout the Diocese with the Diocesan Education Secretary visiting Head Teachers and schools. They travel mostly by Boda Boda (Motorcycle Taxi) and Mini-bus taxis due to a lack of vehicle for the Education Dept. in this Diocese. It is impossible to be on time for appointments when you have to wait for the buses to fill up before they depart. There is no schedule for the buses. Thus, Bill and his partner, Rev. Isaya Kijjambu, often arrive one to two hours late when there are several transfers involved and it begins to rain. They travel a couple of days each week when able to get out to the rural areas.

Last weekend we stayed in Kabungo with our friends, Rev. Christopher and Harriet Muwonge, from Saturday until Wednesday night. Christopher had asked Bill to preach in a couple of the churches in his archdeaconry on Sunday. Gideon Bibles were handed out to nearly one thousand students as Bill and Isaya made school visitations in the area from Monday to Wednesday. Several hundreds of students responded to the invitation to pray with them. Once again our friend had loaned us his truck and made our visitations possible.

We have just entered the rainy season at Kako Hill with the Spring Equinox occurring on March 20th. The sun’s rays have been directly overhead here near the equator. It has been quite hot and dry during the last few months, but quite pleasant when standing in the shade with a nice breeze. Now the evenings are cooler with the rain often starting during the night at around 3 am until perhaps 8 am. Then by the afternoon it usually turns hot and sunny. Many people are now working in their gardens to complete their planting for this growing season of about three months. Even though we are supposed to be in the middle of the rainy season, we haven’t had rain now for about four days.

With the coming of the rainy season, the white ants are in abundance. They are quite large and have wings. Last week, some young children at the side of the road showed Bill their drinking cups asking him if he would like to try some of what they were eating. The bottoms of the cups were filled with crawling ants. He thanked the students and said that he would pass on this offer. There should be an abundance of grasshoppers appearing within a few weeks. Bill says that they are delicious when fried. Ann has yet to sample them.

The new school year began in the beginning of February and we have had people coming to see us each day to receive financial assistance to sponsor their child into primary, secondary schools, or university. We have been able to provide assistance to over twelve students with the gifts which many of you have provided. However, there is a limit to what we are able to do. Today, we are assisting a ten year old girl, Lilian Osula, enter Kako Boarding school. Lilian is a special case for us as she visited our friend who lives at the back of our compound a month ago. She comes from Northern Uganda which has been in the grips of war for the past seventeen years. A few weeks ago, Lilian escaped from her village north of Gulu where the rebels were burning the houses. Lilian ran into Gulu for safety. She was brought back here last night by our friend who has taken her over to the school today to be registered as a boarding student. Please pray for peace for northern Uganda where the war has dislocated thousands of families and so many children are suffering and dying. Please pray for Lilian as she relocates once again, this time into boarding school. We are also trying to assist some of the students we are supporting to work hard digging some land to plant cash crops such as cabbages, vanilla plants, maize, beans, etc. to raise enough money in the future towards their school fees.

We tried to contact many of the Rotary Clubs in Manitoba by email to appeal for financial assistance for our friend’s thirteen year old niece, Fiona, who needs a heart operation. After sending out about forty emails, we have had a donation of $100 Canadian towards the $5,000 USD which we have been asked to raise to provide the necessary airfare for Fiona and her mother to fly to Madras, India for the heart operation. Fiona’s parents are very poor and are unable to pay such expenses. Fiona was in the hospital in Kampala two months ago in a very weak condition, but improved and returned to school. However, she is back in the hospital in Kampala. Bill met with the Rotary Club in Masaka again to make another appeal to them. One of the Governors of the Madras, India, Rotary Club was in attendance and Bill appealled to him to see if the Madras Rotarians will cover the cost of the operation as well as the accommodations needed during hospitalisation. Without having access to keeping up good communications by email, it becomes very difficult to reply to many messages when they come in. Some people have indicated a desire to provide assistance and to make a deposit into our Gilbert Plains Credit Union checking account, but haven’t confirmed that they have followed through. We need to know this information so we can make a withdrawal from our account and deposit the money into the Ugandan Heart Foundation located in Kampala.

We are very pleased that the members of the Gilbert Plains Lions Club has responded to our challenge to the Manitoban Lions Clubs to provide financial assistance towards purchasing bunk beds with mattresses and sheets for the Misanvu School for Handicapped/Blind Children. Bill visited the school again this past week and was able to tour the dormitories once again to confirm that they do not have any beds or mattresses to provide for the boarding students. There are a number of students who are blind and Bill has asked Dr. Mulwanyi of the Lions Eye Clinic in Masaka to visit the school to examine the blind students for further needs. Our friend, Barry Randell, of the Lions Club in Gilbert Plains has offered to make contacts with the Manitoban Lions Clubs to see if they will respond to our request. The school at the rural village of Misanvu has one brailer for the blind teacher to use, but needs another one. We don’t want this school to close down due to a lack of the basic necessities (which are many).

It is possible that we will have a team coming from Athens, Greece around Easter from Hellenic Ministries. We are still waiting for them to confirm that they will be coming. In July/August we are hoping to join up with Campus Crusade for Christ, MAF (Missions Aviation Fellowship), and Hellenic Ministries to go to some of the islands in Lake Victoria to show the Jesus Film and to share the Gospel message through personal witnessing in the fishing villages. We are also waiting for confirmation from several of our friends who have indicated an interest to visit with us at various times. We will certainly welcome anyone who wishes to visit with us at our home, but ask that the cost of the transport from Entebbe International Airport be covered by themselves about $75 (Canadian) as we will have to hire a car and driver.

We would like to pass on our condolences to the families of Lucy Mouck and Dorothy Beyette of Gilbert Plains who passed away recently. We were saddened to hear of their deaths. We also ask you to pray for a speedy healing for our good friend, Beth Pipe, of Gilbert Plains who fell and broke her leg. She is still in the Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg and will require about two months of healing before she will be able to put any weight on her leg. Please pray for Cecily Andrews and Frank Edwards of St. Saviour’s Church in Winnipeg who have been struggling with cancer for the past year. We praise God for the successful operation of Doug McLaren.

To those of you with your roots in Gilbert Plains, I would like to let you know that our friend, Mrs. Lorna Best, formerly of Gilbert Plains, now living in Victoria, B.C., will be celebrating her 100th birthday on July 1st, 2003. If you wish to send birthday greetings, her address: c/o Oak Bay Lodge, #485-2251 Cadboro Bay Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8R 5H3.

We were pleased to hear that sister Gloria and Lloyd Bassett of Moose Jaw, SK returned safely from their winter holiday in Mexico and as well, sister Vicki and Jack McTaggart of Winnipeg returned safely from their trip to Portugal. Our daughter, Linda, emailed a few days ago saying that their three children have been quite sick with the flu as well as Mike’s daughter, Sheena. They are all on the mend now, thankfully, and quite ready for the warmer temperatures of spring to arrive on the Canadian Prairies. They have had a long, cold winter with very cold temperatures during February averaging around minus 35 degrees.

We have enjoyed our young missionary friend, Ben Friesen’s, emails from Thailand where he has been working with students and involved in various missions programs as part of his Prairie Bible School field work. Ben, if you are able to read this email, we thank you for your excellent correspondence since you left Canada and wish you well as you prepare to return to Canada next week on April 23rd. May God prepare your path before you. We are also anxious to hear if Clinton and Maria Thiesen and boys have relocated from Dauphin, MB to Athens, Greece okay. We do hope that their move has gone smoothly. Another move coming up will involve our young friend, Grace Lee, when she moves to Edinburough, Scotland from Vancouver, B.C. in Aug./Sept. 2003 to begin her Masters Degree program in Science.