Thursday, May 1, 2008

Adventures With Mark

It is a rainy afternoon as I type up my portion of our April newsletter. Not too long ago I was inspired for all of Calgary when I saw my team, the Flames represented all the way in Uganda. As I pulled up to an intersection and waited for one of Kampala’s three working traffic lights to change (an occasional luxury that comes and goes with the power cuts) I saw a young man selling carrots. I could not help but stare as he was wearing a Calgary Flames jersey. I am sure he had no idea about zombonies, ice and pucks, but it made my day. I was disappointed I did not have my camera, but enjoyed my few minutes before the light changed to green.
Sadly to say, my inspiration from this young gentlemen did nothing to help my team, the Big Red Machine, the Calgary Flames make it past the San Jose Sharks in the seventh game of there series. I thought that if they made it past the first round, they just may make it all the way to the finals… well, I guess there’s next year along with all those Oiler and Canuck fans.
As I thought about this teenager I saw selling carrots I realized that he was a good representation of the people in Uganda. Yes, the average age of Uganda’s 31 million people is 15.2 years. This is much lower than the global average age (around 28 years of age). In 2007 alone there were 1.3 million babies born in Uganda. If these numbers continue the country of Uganda will reach a staggering 93 million by 2050.With a current high unemployed work force Uganda will face more challenges as younger people find themselves trying to find work a few years down the road.
As I think about our work here I know we are trying to help build a better future in a small way in the years to come in Uganda. Life, by life we continue to try and mentor, train, and build young lives that will help mold and shape Uganda in a positive way in the future. It is our hope that these young lives we work with will bring ethics and a positive attitude with them into their communities, families and jobs. Yes, providing them with a good education is important, but only one piece to the puzzle. Sometimes it’s good for me to sit down and review our objective and look back at what that has actually looked like for this first term of the year. The term is just now over and I’m encouraged as I realize the students continue to improve their grades, and more importantly behavior incidents continue to decrease as lives and hearts are changing.
Even though my Calgary Flames are out this year, my heart continues to burn with the passion for many young lives here like the boy selling carrots in a jersey he knows probably nothing about. Whether we are in Uganda, Kenya, UK, Canada or the United States I trust that all of us would continue to make a difference where each one of us has been placed. Little by little we can all make a difference – let’s get out there and do just that.

Adventures With Sarah

I just quickly read last month’s letter before typing this and sincerely can’t believe that was a whole month ago! Nothing earth rocking has happened but the daily grind seems to have me in a trance, blurring the last month into what seems to be a week!
From a work perspective I have recently enjoyed helping to write and edit a press release for a concert that our kids are having here in Kampala with Kirk Franklin (Google it if you don’t know of him… he’s adored here). That will happen May 9 and the purpose of it is to raise more funds for the building of the new school. (The ground has been broken and the foundations have been poured but there is much need for more funds to continue building.) So we also put together a brochure to explain the mission of the organization, its history, and where we are going now. It was very exciting to try my best to capture the passion of the choir and to inspire people to partner in the building project. (This will be an elite audience who will have the resources to help lots if we can inspire them!) And Kirk Franklin has graciously committed ALL proceeds to the building of the school. It’s pretty awesome. I may not ever find out how much is raised (sometimes people on he ground are very far removed from any accounting information) but I prayed for God’s help in my small part of the effort and I hope it is successful! And, next week I begin term 2 letters with the kids. It’s a lot of work and I have to do it in Seth’s nap times from home and Mark has to watch him while I do a few days at the school with the kids. I thank God that is only once every term!
On the home front I am having more and more fun with Seth all the time! He’s getting more independent (good and bad)…. Still crashing or ‘bumping’ several times a day. Loves to be outside and play with water, rocks, dirt, and sticks. We’re just beginning to sail on unfamiliar waters with discipline. When he has to come in from outside he has just begun to put up quite the protest. Please pray for us as we do our best to be consistent and firm, establishing healthy respect and yet from loving hearts. It sounds a little nasty but in the daily grind those ‘loving hearts’ can get hidden behind harsh words and impatience (you parents know what I mean). I think I’ll let Seth share about all the new things Seth is doing. It’s so much fun and he’s a very loveable little person! Our little number two is apparently growing (need I say more?) and we’re getting excited to meet this one. Please continue to pray for good health for me and baby.
I pray this finds you all well. We appreciate you all so much! Can’t wait to be back on the continent and seeing as many as possible! Love you lots! Sarah

Adventures With Seth

You know what? I had a birthday party! There was balloons, cake, ice cream, good snacks and a few toys for me (mom and dad said I have enough toys already, especially because I like rocks and dirt the best). Four people came to my party and they all blew bubbles from soap for me and it was so fun! And I had my first chocolate cake! Mom took off all my clothes and then I had my first taste! After my first taste then I put both hands in that cake and it was all over me! (When Mom gave me my bath after she said she was so glad it wasn’t poop!) And I’m getting bigger too…. I can walk really good now and I know lots of words! My favorite new word is ‘no’. Dad says I say it funny with a wrinkled nose. Sometimes I say it even when I mean yes. But now I can say ‘yes’ too. I have lots of friends here.. I really like big people and I like little people too. I like to imitate bigger boys and I play with anybody who will play with me. My favorite people in Uganda are the big uncles. And the boys at the school teach me soccer. I have to go now….I have so much to do. Next time I see you I will give you a high five! Seth