Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Two Day Conference

Our network has been down for most of the time we've been in Uganda this week so I'm going to try to condense what would have been multiple postings, into one posting.

The Ekissa team was excited to worship at Ekissa Central Church on Sunday...although Tom Lancaster (Ekissa team member) was unaware that he would be called on to preach!---that's right...called on the spot to preach!  However, God showed up big and the most beautiful gift of all came at the end of the service when roughly 15 individuals surrendered, accepting Christ as their personal Saviour!

The growth of the church was a pleasant surprise.  "Pastor Henry" has been the Senior Pastor for roughly 18 months now.  By profession, Henry is a much sought after nurse in the village and employed at a local clinic. He shared with me that what he loves about being the pastor and a nurse is that he is able to share the love of Christ while meeting their physical/ medical needs at the same time.

Henry is a young man filled with the gift of connecting with literally anyone.  He has an infections smile, overflowing joy, paired with an extremely charismatic personality.  The love of God radiates through this man and people are simply drawn to him.  Henry has not only been successful in growing the attendance but has developed sincere leadership within the congregation.  He has helped them realize their individual responsibilities of caring for one-another. Our team was encouraged with all that is happening at Ekissa Central Church!


Following the morning service it was a genuine treat to fellowship with the congregation and share lunch together.  During the time of fellowship, Mark (our Ugandan Project Director), Eddie (our construction Superintendent),  Abbey (Director of our orphanage/ children's home), myself and Tom Nelson (mission team member and Ekissa donor) walked the property to determine the placement of the construction of our new orphanage (children's home) and stake it out.  This construction will begin within the next few weeks!  This is a dream come true--so stay tuned.

Sunday afternoon we began our women's and men's conference, taught by Tom & Brenda Lancaster (Founder of Zookeeper's Ministries).  The men's conference focused on the family-specifically 8 principles of marriage, and the women's conference focused on that, but also on the love and grace of God regardless of past mistakes or trauma's. I was blown away to the response (the # of men) of the men's conference! The men were extremely accepting of Tom's teaching.

The women's conference brought me to tears as roughly 25 women responded to the Savior's calling to become their Lord and Savior.  It was absolutely beautiful!  

Tom and Brenda are amazing teachers!  Check out their ministry at www.zmiinternational.org

A Day on the Farm

Ekissa Demonstration Farm in Bweya Village

Ekissa's Dir. of Agriculture, Martin, with a pregnant sow-due in 2 weeks!
The proud mom to these 4  ---------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Ekissa's Director of Agriculture involved in a lil fowl play!

Peppers, rabbit urine & ashes make a natural pesticide!
Bweya's going bananas!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

This morning we were able to return to Bweya to capture a video, interviewing Martin, our Director of Agriculture.  Martin graduated with a degree in Animal Husbandry (basically the science of working with all animals) and handles the day-to-day operations of the Ekissa Demonstration Farm.  He is a leader in farming sustainability, teaching best practices to the students at Ekissa Model School as well as others in the community.  

Individuals in the community have sought opportunity to come to the demonstration farm to learn under the supervision of Martin.  He teaches them to develop and succeed with their own farms by first teaching them best practices in caring for the animals.  The training is quite extensive to include learning about the various breeds, the importance of maintaining clean, disinfected environments to prevent disease and the spreading of such, how to vaccinate and medically care for the animals, the importance of good diets and how to grow that food and provide supplements. 

After gaining such knowledge from their time at the farm with Martin, the trainees purchase offspring’s of our animals to begin their own farm.  Martin continues that education by visiting their respective homes, guiding them in building the pens, following up to ensure the animals are correctly cared for and being available for questions or concerns along the way.  Martin has developed quite an impressive vocational training program, which is providing opportunities for people in the community to sustain themselves and their families.

Not only is Martin blazing a trail with vocational training through teaching new farmers the art of entrepreneurial, he is also involved with economic development through hiring individuals from the community to physically invest in the Ekissa Demonstration Farm.

After our time at the farm capturing the details of Martin’s work, we spent some time at Ekissa’s children’s home, Abbey’s House of Children (AHOC).  Several of the boys are now growing into young men, reaching the age of 17!  It’s mind blowing how quickly time flies as many of them have been with us for 9 years! Abbey continues to do an amazing job raising these young men into self-sustaining, strong Christian leaders.  Merely being in their home watching 8 boys navigate all the responsibilities of maintaining a house and caring for one another in addition to a minimum of 10 hours a day at school and several hours of homework each night, is beyond impressive.  Their level of compassion for each other is unmatched!  It can measured in their sacrifice of not eating bread and their sacrifice in deciding to walk home from Bible study rather than paying the expenses of transportation, in order for a new boy in the home to have the funds to attend school. This sacrifice wasn’t for a week or a month…it was for a solid year! These boys were aware of the financial need and devised this plan on their own. This indeed is the measure of a man of God…a willingness to sacrifice for his “brother”.

Our final visit of the day was with “Baby Blessing”—who is actually 7 years old now!  Blessing is the young baby presented to us who was on the brink of dying…LITERALLY!  He was around 16-18 months, weighing only 11 lbs.  Doctors could not assure of his survival but against all odds and by the grace of God, this young one is thriving and in 1st grade!! He has been living for the past 5 years with a local indigenous family who love him dearly.  It's always such a treat and reminder of God's grace when we are able to visit with this family.

Tomorrow we will begin the women's and men's conference at Ekissa Central Church in Bweya Village.  We are super excited to see all that God will accomplish this week!

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Bounty of Blessings in Bweya!

Friday, September 21, 2018
Mom and I (Sarah) arrived in Uganda late lastnight/ early this morning. We were tired but beyond excited to finally be back.
We grabbed some much-needed sleep before heading to the Ekissa compound this morning.  I’ve been waiting for this moment for months.  Phase I of Ekissa Model School has been completed and filled with children, and now Phase II of the school is nearing completion.  How could 2 ½ years have gone by since I was last in the Pearl of Africa! 
Just prior to leaving for Bweya Village, Mark asked, “What are you expecting to see when you arrive at the land?”…I was unsure of what to expect but filled with anticipation.  Sure, I exchange various forms of communication with our staff in Uganda several times a week.  I know growth and expansions have taken place—I’ve even seen pictures.  However, one thing is for sure…there is nothing like being here and seeing these projects in person! 
Our van turned off the main road and continued down a dry, red-clay easement.  We rounded the curve and what stood in front of me took my breath.  I was in utter disbelieve of all God had done and overwhelmed with emotion…students wearing collared red/ white striped uniform shirts and gray pants/ skirts/ dresses, waved with excitement as they stood on the veranda of the pail yellow painted stucco finished school.  The Ekissa Model School logo image, beautifully painted on the side of this newly constructed school greets every visitor to it’s campus. 
We were ushered into each classroom to greet the children and respective teachers.  So many beautiful, eager smiles filled with a hope for their tomorrow. We didn’t spend a lot of time with the students as today was a day for me to simply take it all in.
As I was coming out of the last classroom, I was introduced to Martin.  Martin is a young man who has received his degree in agriculture and is the individual who runs our small farm.  I had previously been informed that the farm had expanded from simply being a “piggery” (pig farm).  Martin guided me through the farm which now contains 3 pregnant sows,  1 sow that as recently given birth, one boar, 4 piglets, 4 rabbits, a pen filled with chickens, and our first young calf (cow).  Additionally, Martin has planted a small banana plantation, 8 orange trees, among several other fruits and vegetables. It was an amazing sight! This farm is working towards self-sustainability.  Martin informed me that several individuals have approached him after seeing his success, requesting that he train them.  So Martin is not only running the farm, he volunteers to train other young men to begin setting up their own farms.  After teaching them at our farm, he regularly visits the young farmers to remain informed of their progress as well as to ensure the health of their new animals.  This farm is indeed a blessing…not simply to the Ekissa community, but to the community at-large.  I love Martin’s passion for creativity, ingenuity, vocational training, economic development and sustainability!
Our first day was GREAT! I’m emotionally drained at all the goodness and blessings that have been realized today.  I remain humbled at the level of these blessings---my heart is overflowing!
I will try to upload some pics tomorrow as I chose not to take any today.  I simply wanted to be “in the moment” and take it all in.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Goodbye to the kids!

"Goodbyes" are always the hardest!! 

Updates that have finally loaded

The ekissa team have just boarded the plane in Uganda headed home. Internet connection has been terrible. These posts just came through on Sarah's Facebook. Reposting for all the blog followers. There will be more news as soon as their weary bodies get home! Pray for safe travel over the next few days!

Our 1st full day in Uganda was very full! We visited the Ekissa Model School for the 1st time (it opened 5 weeks ago), took 1of our students to a dr appointment, took a boat ride across Lake Victoria, a boda boda ride once we arrived to the other side of the lake and road up to Bethany Village, and are now ending our day. We are grateful to God for all He is doing here. Our donors and a child sponsors would be utterly speechless! Thank you to everyone who supports the educational initiative, supported the water project and those who continue to support our day-to-day operations and daily ministries. May God continue to be honored and praised through your sacrificial gifts.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ekissa Children's Home

Our visit at Ekissa Children's Home/ Abbey House of Children. I love these kids so much! My how they grow in 6 months!!