Newsletter – April, 2010

EASTER NEWSLETTER

“Springtime is God’s way of smiling.”

From the reports which we receive from back home in Manitoba, Canada, we understand that in many areas the snow has melted, and the Red River is flowing quickly and bulging with ice coming from North Dacota in the USA.   People are thinking about planting seeds for flowers and vegetables.   It is an exciting time of the year when we can reflect that “The whole earth is full of His glory.”  (Isaiah 6:3).

Here in Uganda we do not think about the seasonal changes like those of you back in Canada, but we are now into the wet season of March, April, and May when people have been busy planting their seeds.  By now most of the seeding has been done.   Then the weeds come quickly due to our ideal growing conditions.   It most often rains in the morning hours and then is sunny during the afternoons.   You can almost see the plants grow in front of you!   We have been blessed to have our plowing of six acres done in time when people from Lubumba Village as well as many of the older students from our school came to assist with the planting.   Two acres were planted with only beans, then the other four acres were intercropped with maize and beans.  If we later have an abundant harvest, it will help cutting down the higher food costs with feeding all the children.   Villagers will volunteer to help us again later when weeding needs to be done.

Completion of New School and ECOSAN Toilet

The new Beth Pipe Nursery and Primary School has now been completed with plastering inside and out and the ECOSAN  toilet was also completed this week.   What a joy to know that we have reached this far!   We can praise God for every blessing He has provided for this project.   Preparations of the school compound are now underway and we will prepare for the move of the students, teachers, and their furniture into the new school towards the end of this month.  They will have one week in the new school before semester break for two weeks.   Then they will return to the new school for the second semester.

We still need to have the wiring of the school completed for Solar Power, painting to be done inside and out, and a kitchen built with energy efficient stoves, but that will all be done as the Lord provides.   We are even considering having a coral built near the school having three cows to provide bio-gas for the kitchen instead of continuing to burn wood in the cooking stoves.

Three cabinets have been built by Paul Sekonjako, one of our students, for the library books which were sent by Blumenort Mennonite Church in Rosetown, Manitoba whom we thank once again.  Then we will have some of our volunteers who are coming later this month sort out the books to go into the three cabinets if they are willing.   Paul is going to give the final varnish tomorrow for the last cabinet.  The teachers should be able to use these wonderful books when they return from their two week break.

It is at this time we thank all of you who have contributed towards the building of the new school.  We also thank the International Rotary Club in conjunction with the Cowichan Rotary of B.C., Canada and the Masaka Rotary Club here in Uganda.  We received the good news earlier this week that the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda will be providing for us to have another ECOSAN toilet built for the school for the girls at the opposite end of the school.   The present toilet will be shared, one side for the boys and the other side for the girls until next month when the new toilet will be built.

Water Project

Some of you will be interested to know that our solar pump provided from George Grinestaff and his church in Soldotno, Alaska, has been providing some good service along with the solar panel which we installed beside the well.   The water is being pumped uphill to the ten thousand liter tank near the new school.   Now that the plastering of the school and toilet has been completed, we will be able to fill the tank for use whenever needed.   During construction, so much water was being sucked out by the workers that the tank was most often nearly dry.  Our maintenance man, Michael, is now digging two trenches from the main water pipe to be able to divert water when needed to Families 1 and 2 tanks.  They have been having so many times when the town water pumps weren’t working and water wasn’t coming to our property at Lubumba.   Soon we shall be independent of the town water system with our own system.   We are so thankful for your guidance, George, in working all these things out.  The water purification kits have been a blessing also for our children and staff.

Peckham House

We are thrilled to see pictures of the inside of our old house in Gilbert Plains which has been renovated by Richard and Tammy Kowalski.   Our daughter and her family had a one night stay recently and send us some pictures.   Wow!   Great job, Richard and Tammy!    This newly renovated guest house now owned by Richard and Tammy is now being used by people making bookings.  You can contact Richard and Tammy to make bookings by emailing them at:   Kowalski@nullnwconx.net and/or phoning them at 204-548-4353.   The rates for three bedrooms are:  Queensize Bed at $60, Double $55. and Single $50.  A fourth bedroom is available if you bring your own air mattress.   You are able to make your own coffee and tea.   No pets, no smoking.  You can make inquiries regarding extended stays for special rates.  Central Air is available during summer months along with cable T.V.  A beautiful 18 hole Golf Course is available nearby and is noted as one of the finest designed courses in Manitoba.   There are a variety of fresh water lakes for picnicking, swimming, or fishing nearby.   Gilbert Plains is located in the Parkland Region of Manitoba between the Riding Mountain National Park and the Duck Mountain Provincial Park.  The house has much history attached to it having been built in 1904.   The Peckham family owned and occupied it from June 1946 to 2009.   I understand that many bookings are already being made for this coming summer for families to stay in it when attending weddings, etc.  It is also close to Assessippi Park for downhill skiing during the winter months and there are also many cross country ski trails and skidoo trails nearby for winter recreation.

Trip to Greece and Egypt

Ann and I will be leaving Masaka tomorrow afternoon to drive to Entebbe to fly to Athens, Greece, Sunday morning at 4:30 am.   We can’t praise God enough for providing us with the tickets through our friend, Sophia, in Toronto.   We were invited to attend the Family Conference of Hellenic Ministries of Athens, Greece this coming week out at their seaside property at Porto Astro along with all their staff, many of whom we worked with for two years during our volunteering with their mission before coming to Uganda in 2002.   We will be staying with our friends, Joe and Joan Vautour, in Athens before and after the conference.  On our way back to Uganda on April 17th, we will be stopping in Cairo, Egypt for three days to visit with our friend, John Daniel, to see how he is doing with his ministry in Cairo.   We will arrive back in Uganda on April 21st and back to Masaka on the 22nd.

Future Projects for EWCV

For those of you who have asked us about our needs at this time, please feel free to contact us if you wish further information.   Our website shows some of the 90 students who we are still looking for sponsorship at $40 per month on the student sponsorship link.   We praise God for the nearly 90 students already sponsored from the day students from the surrounding villages who attend our primary school each day.  We are half way with this sponsorship program.   Our Student Sponsor Relations Supervisor, Edith Namara, is in charge of assisting these 180 students.   It has been most challenging for her.   With our staff nearing 40, we now have 24 staff salaries sponsored each month.  Others are still up on the website waiting for sponsorship.

Some of the students who are not sponsored become very sick and need medical attention.  We told Edith to take them to our family doctor, Dr. Jjun Ju, because they need special treatment which they cannot afford.  Their illnesses became serious without immediate treatment.  A couple of the students suffer from sickle cell disease and others from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and often from a lack of food in the home.  I tell Edith to arrange transport and medical testing/treatment for them trusting that God will provide for the expenses even though they aren’t sponsored.  This is one of the reasons that having a medical clinic on our site will be a blessing when God provides.  One of our boys, Ibrahim, in Family #3 needs medical testing in Kampala which will cost us over $500 CAD just for the testing.   Then there are the added costs of providing transport along with the care giver who has to travel with him plus accommodations and meals plus treatment.

Our Thanks

Our thanks go out to those of you who have continued support the children of EWCV with your prayers, financial sponsorship or donations, and letters/cards.   What a blessing you have been to us.   Like we have said so many times before, without your walking beside us with this project, we couldn’t do it alone.   This is God’s project and He keeps providing in miraculous ways we couldn’t even imagine.  Thanks to the volunteers who have come with gifts and energy to do various types of programs with the children.  Just your being here has shown great love to the children.   As I type this newsletter, I can hear the children of Family #3 singing and practicing for Easter Sunday’s program when they join the other children of families 1 and 2 at the property for the service led by Rev. Christopher followed by a meal afterwards.   The plays/acting by the children will be the sermon.   When I hear their singing or spend time with them pushing some of them on the new swings hanging from the tree outside, or just sit with them hearing them read a new book, then I know why we are here serving God with His children in Uganda.  The hope that these children have is the same hope that we have been given by the message of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after His death for our sins.  The promise of Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace to each of us who accepts it willingly or denies it.  What a gift!

Happy Easter!

“Have a happy Easter,

Fill your heart with song, Delight in springtime’s beauty,

And God bless you all day long!”

From the children and staff at EWCV Uganda