Newsletter – August, 2003

Dear Family/Friends,

Greetings from Kako Hill in Uganda! Great News!!! Many of you already know that we are now hooked up to the Internet at our home in Uganda. During the last couple of weeks our computer was down frequently due to electricity outages and we had to have our friend do some reinstalling because the system was locked resulting from improper shutdowns. Today everything is working great and we have hooked up a UPS Battery backup for power outages. Praise God! We still continue to have electricity outages nearly every day, but now we are prepared. Please do not send pictures on our home email address given above, but use our hotmail address for pictures only.

Welcome Home to daughter Linda & Ken with their children to Winnipeg after spending their holidays in Vancouver, B.C. with Ken’s brother and wife, Ron & Nicki. We were so pleased to hear all their news about the trip and the great time they had. Also, we wish to congratulate our son, Mike, on the success of his recent interview for a new computer job in Winnipeg with being selected out of about 200 people.

Since our Spring Newsletter, Bill has travelled a few times in every direction from home with the Education Secretary to visit schools where he has been able to pray with teachers and students with many of them committing their lives to Christ. Many Gideon Bibles have been handed out to students and teachers when we were provided with transport to carry the boxes of Bibles. It is awesome to have the freedom to share about Jesus in the schools here in Uganda, much different than back in North America where Jesus has been dismissed from the education system. This week on Thursday we spent the day at Kalungi Primary School with the team from Life Ministry showing the Jesus Film in the Luganda language to the students during the afternoon, then showing it outdoors on the soccer field during the evening. Kalungi School has developed a wonderful Student Christian Fellowship Group which meets each week to worship, sing, pray, and study scripture together. The group is growing quickly due to the enthusiasm of a couple of the teachers who commit their time to work with these students. We are the patrons of this group having visited them several times to encourage them.

Joan Vautour’s Visit: Our Canadian friend from Athens, Greece, arrived at Entebbe International Airport May 17th to visit with us at Kako until June 8th when she returned to Athens. Her husband, Joe, was unable to join her for the trip. We are so grateful to Joe for sharing Joan with us for the three weeks. Joan’s visit was truly an encouragement for us both as well as to the many people she was able to interact with. She brought along with her the wheelchair she had used some years ago and gave this beautiful collapsible wheelchair to our Ugandan friend, Livingstone Mugumya. He was so surprised and delighted when we took Joan to meet Livingstone as well as the rest of his workers at MADIPA Workshop (Masaka Disabled Persons Association). Joan was a delightful houseguest as she made herself at home and assisted often when we had many visitors for meals. She was able to have many experiences learning about the ministries which we have been involved in and very supportive. She went back to Athens quite ready to be our Ambassador to let others know about the work we are doing here. During her visit, Bill celebrated his birthday. Joan surprised him with some beautiful posters on the living room wall. She created the posters herself. Bill spent his birthday at the doctor’s clinic with a high fever only to find out that he had malaria. Thankfully he was able to get immediate treatment and within a few days he was better, although somewhat weak. Joan also planned and prepared a wedding for our good friends who live with us in our back compound.

John & Stella’s Wedding: June 6th, 2003. In one week Joan planned a beautiful wedding for our young friends, John & Stella. John has been working here in construction since we arrived in Kako. He had come by himself from a village north of Gulu in northern Uganda and left Stella and their two children back at home. Then recently he brought Stella and the children here to Kako to live as the rebels were burning the houses, killing many people, and abducting many children to serve in their army. It was not safe for John’s family who had been spending the nights sleeping in the bush in case the rebels attacked their home. Also, John and Stella had very little money due to the war which has been happening for the past 17 years so were unable to afford a wedding. John had shared with us how they both felt guilty not being married in God’s eyes and wanted so much to make their lives right before God. Joan suggested that if it were possible, that we could have a wedding at Lake Nabigabo in a wonderful setting with a few of their friends/relatives to attend. Bill was the best man for John and Joan was the matron-of-honor for Stella. Ann and Joan quickly went shopping for a Gomez to wear (traditional ladies dress) and Bill purchased a Kanzoo (traditional men’s attire) for the wedding. We all looked quite smart. Our friend, Rev. Christopher Muwonge, was the guest preacher and assisted the Vicar with the ceremony in the outdoor chapel beside the lake. Everything turned out great, even the reception after the ceremony. After the wedding, we left the next day to take Joan to Kampala where we stayed at our friends home. We drove Joan in our friend, Tonny’s car, to the source of the Nile River where it begins its long journey to the Mediterranean Sea from Lake Victoria in the heart of Africa. We all enjoyed the drive through the tea and sugar cane plantations to Jinga where Uganda’s hydroelectric power dam is located on the Nile River. That evening we drove Joan to Entebbe Airport to catch her flight home to Athens. We were all sad to see her leave.

Livingstone Mugumya: Our young friend, Livingstone, was chosen from among many of the disabled people around this area of Uganda to attend a four month training program in Denmark on “The Rights of the Disabled”. On August 8th we rushed him to Kampala to be at the Danish Embassy for 8 am to meet someone, but there was much confusion with how things had been organized. We had to wait until 2 p.m. to find out what was going to happen and whether he would indeed fly out of Uganda that afternoon. The Embassy staff were making things difficult for him even though he had his passport, etc., but at the Union for Disabled Persons the coordinator for this trip agreed to have Livingstone stay in Kampala to wait until Monday when they would find out whether he will be allowed to travel to Denmark. We came back home immediately. The following Monday Livingstone phoned us from Kampala to tell us that he would be leaving for Denmark that afternoon. Tuesday we received an email from him saying that he had flown on Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Abbaba, then to Rome, Italy, then to Copenhagen, Denmark. The school they are now staying at for four months is by the sea side and he says it is very beautiful. We are so happy for him to have this wonderful opportunity and experience. We do continue a ministry at Livingstone’s workshop weekly in Masaka at MADIPA (Masaka Association for Disabled Persons) and are currently their advisors and advocates for their business. They continue to struggle and need encouragement to continue. Our friend, Joan, provided the funds to have electricity brought into Livingstone’s small home on the outskirts of Masaka and also had the wiring done inside his home. What a difference this is making in his life!

Misanvu School for the Handicapped: We were thrilled that three Lions Clubs in Manitoba, Canada, including our local Gilbert Plains Lions Club donated $200 each to provide metal beds, mattresses, sheets, and blankets for 6 children to be able to have a bed to sleep on in their dormitory at the school. Our own donation increased it to 8 beds. The metal beds were made at MADIPA to give them some business. We had visited Misanvu several times and were appalled at the lack of facilities these children have. Now we just need beds for 7 more children and will see if more Manitoba Lions Clubs can perhaps help these children out. Many of the children are blind or visually impaired. Two weeks ago we were invited to come to the school to officially hand over the beds, finding out that there had been planned a wonderful celebration which included many disabled people who are holding important positions to attend and speak on behalf of disabled people. Some of the local politicians were also invited. We took our friend Livingstone with us to attend the function and he quite enjoyed it. They are all very appreciative to the Lions Clubs in Canada which made the donations and send their thanks to each of these clubs.

Tonny: We have our friend, Tonny, visiting with us presently during his holidays from Makeriere University in Kampala where his home is located. Tonny has been a blessing to us, assisting us with our computer, bringing his family car to provide transport when we need it, and assisting with translation when we go out for ministry programs. He is on break until October, so we put gas into his car when we need transport to go somewhere and assist with maintenance and Tonny drives for us. Our friend, Rachael, who stayed with us for six months is also on break from Makeriere University, but was able to get a position practice teaching in a rural secondary school.

Nicholas Ssunna: Nicholas is one of the many young orphaned children we are assisting. He is 14 years old, blind in one eye with about 30% vision in the other eye, suffers from a mild case of epilepsy, and is mentally delayed. He is unable to read or write in neither Luganda language nor English. He speaks very little English, so we require a translator when we visit Nicholas. At the beginning of this school term in July we placed Nicholas into the boarding school, Kampala School for the Handicapped, where we are hoping that he will learn some type of trade where he will be able to look after himself somehow when he is on his own. His Aunt Margaret comes to our home four mornings each week to assist Ann with the housework. This way we are able to monitor how her three children and herself are eating as they were all without food when we initially found them last October. We are able to pay her a wage, assist her with food supplies, and feed them when they come to our home. We placed her twins in primary school when we found out that they were not attending school. Margaret is a very hard working single mother and we appreciate having her assist us.

Orphans: We continue to assist other orphaned children with their education at the levels of University, Senior Secondary, Primary, Teacher’s College, and Technical training Schools. We provide for boarding, school fees, clothing, medical, dental, and other requirements. There are so many students of all ages who require assistance and we have had to pray that the Lord will place on our hearts which children to assist. Also, there is a limit to how many we can assist according to donations which have come in.

Without people assisting us and walking with us in our ministry, we would be unable to continue. We have also been assisting several elderly widows with medical needs and recently have been helping our neighbour’s daughter who had malaria, typhoid, and has HIV/AIDS. Daisy has been treated for malaria and typhoid and is regaining her strength, but was very ill when we first visited her. We got her into the hospital the next day and got proper treatment for her. Please pray for our work with these people and for further direction and guidance for developing a home for orphaned children. Most elderly people here have little form of support or income to keep them going, unlike the beautiful Care Homes and Seniors Homes back in North America.

We have been looking at buying some land along with our friend, Pastor Yoo, a Korean Pastor who has been in Uganda for six years now. We are looking for land on which to build huts and other structures for Needy Orphaned Children and believe that God will provide. We have been learning much about the different layouts and programs for caring for these children, having toured several different such places in various parts of Uganda. We realize now how we would like to set up such a project which would be best for raising children in more of a family type setting rather than the old institutional style homes which were originally set up years ago. Things have changed and we have seen some marvellous places for children to be raised.

Sunday School Program: We are presently trying to provide assistance with developing a proper Sunday School at our Kako Cathedral and are planning a S.S. Teacher Training weekend at the end of this month August 29th to 31st. We would like to see our program be a model program from which the rest of the parishes throughout the Diocese of West Buganda can learn. There are so many children in and around Kako Hill where we live who need proper S.S. teaching and nurturing so they can grow up to know Jesus as their personal Saviour. Right now there are no materials for S.S. Teachers to use with children of various ages.