Tuesday, June 15, 2010

News from Uganda

URGENT NEED - and then news

We want to supply reading textbooks for the schools in Uganda. This year, the schools in Texas are getting new textbooks. Libraries of Love can have out-of-adoption books from two school districts. Our schools in Uganda would think it a miracle if they had class sets of books - instead of no reading texts. We have accepted many pallets of texts already and have rented two storage spaces. If you know of anyone that could donate storage until February, then we would be able to take even more. The donor could use the storage as a tax write-off, since we are a nonprofit. Please be praying for us about this, as we need to find space quickly. If you know of a space, please contact Donita at 244-1364 or 699-1364

The team has been amazing. As I wrote earlier, three days of travel and then 12 hours of work the following day to complete our first library. The next two days were the same, and we now have our three newest libraries. Until you see the bare rooms turned into absolutely beautiful libraries, overflowing with books, it is hard to imagine that it can happen in a day. The details that have to be completed, building the bookshelves, sorting thousands of book using the Dewey Decimal system, labeling each shelf, putting up signage, etc. goes like clockwork.

The team has also managed time outside with kids playing sports, reading, and visiting. The appreciation and excitement of the students gives the team the stamina and enthusiasm to complete each day's work.

This is the first year that we have truly faced numerous problems. The airline travel was grueling, followed by missing tools, Wilber having car problems - delaying the arrival of more tools. One volunteer became sick and couldn't travel, another was robbed in Italy last week and had to cancel her trip, another had to have emergency tooth surgery (but did arrive a few days later). Our hotel in Mbale had bottomed out since last year causing us to arrive and depart the same evening. That said ... what an amazing trip it has been. God knew the perfect group we needed. Team members have not complained once. They just took on each task with a smile. I can't say enough positive things about them!

While in Kampala, Wilber gave me a special surprise. Many of you know the story of the 18-year-old guy I met on the bus last year as I traveled from Mbale to Kampala. He was extremely dirty, looking like a street child. He had never sat by a muzungu (white person), so he wanted to sit by me. By the end of the trip, we had joined hands and prayed. Derrick accepted Christ as his savior. Last week, in Kampala, Wilber and I walked into a store - and there was Derrick waiting for me! We spent time together. He is as excited about being a Christian as he was from the beginning. I will go meet his mom and brother next week. What a treat! Derrick went with us to the school in which we were working. I went in the library and then came out to see Derrick and Caleb (a young man from Kansas), holding hands, walking down the hill, and then sitting under a tree to talk. (Holding hands with friends is common here.) I cried!

We had three grand openings Friday with speeches, singing, dancing, dignitaries, etc. Later, we met with all the principals and librarians from the Kampala area, and I was able to share the beginning of Libraries of Love - and also, their part in making the libraries a success.

Saturday, the group spent the afternoon at Sisiyi Falls for a much needed break! Most of the group made it to the top of the falls. It was truly an oasis after a week of hard work. We spent the afternoon with Mercy, a beautiful one-year-old girl that my nephew, Cody, and his wife, Melissa, are adopting. We first saw Mercy last year, soon after she was born. Melissa was with us - and fell in love with her. She is a doll - truly!

Sunday, I was once again reminded of the blessings that pour over you every time you are in Pearl Haven Church. It is simply home! What a service. Those Ugandans can sing and dance, plus Wilberforce is a tremendous speaker! I wish all of you could have been here.

Closing on a funny note: Our 'younger' volunteers and Wilber's nephew, Lawrence, are doing a puppet play in a children's church service we will conduct Sunday afternoon. I had never met Lawrence, so at the hotel Saturday this young man was standing by Wilber. I shook hands and told 'Lawrence' hello. He was very pleasant. A few minutes later, I pulled out a copy of the script for the puppet play and went to 'Lawrence', going over his part, which is the lead. He read through it; I told him he should go over it in the evening and be ready for practice Sunday. He agreed. I then go with Wilber and Sarah to their home, where I'm staying - and met the real Lawrence! I have no clue who the other young man was - but he was nice. I hope he enjoyed the script of Green Eggs and Ham - Christian style!

Something new - one of our young men woke up to a mouse on his chest! Yikes!

Monday the team went on home visits with children that have had school lunches furnished by Bethany Methodist Church in Austin. The next few days will be spent visiting schools that house our previous libraries.

Thank you for your prayers. The journey has been all that we hoped for - and more ... .

God bless,

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