Thursday, 13 July 2017

July

Another long delay in blog writing here in Uganda.
I apologize again for taking a long time to give an update on what is going on here in Uganda.

It has now been almost two months since being back in Uganda and we have seen a number of positive developments.

We have officially started our new tailoring class. This is a group of ten girls from within the community. Most of them are young single women with children who are living in vulnerable situations.
We again pray that this course will help them improve their lives, as we focus on material, physical, financial and spiritual poverty.
This is our fourth class now, and we have a great team that initiates and runs the class. I don't have to do much work in regards to the tailoring class now because our team of four (Douglas, Agnes, Christine and Beatrice) are very capable in running everything.
This has freed me up in focusing on other areas.
The course will go for a full year and covers areas in tailoring, small business skills, English, Maths, teachings on reproductive health and maternal health, relationships, trauma rehabilitation and more.





We still have a passionate group of young men who mainly get together as a dancing group, but who also do a whole lot more.
This group has come up with the idea of setting aside a Sunday each month to do some sort of outreach .. whether fixing the home of an elderly person, or fetching water for an old grandmother living with her grandchildren, or simply cleaning the main trading center here in Wairaka.
The group have a strong passion to display Christs love to the community and this is something that we really want to encourage here at YSU.
Often when teams from Australia, or other countries, come to Uganda and do all these outreaches, there can sometimes be a tendency for the local people to glorify foreign youth as saintly ... while looking at Ugandan youth as no good or trouble makers.
Although we encourage teams to come to Uganda to experience what ministry is like here, and we enjoy hosting teams and having them interact with our young people, our primary passion is to see the youth of Uganda doing these outreaches, and giving a positive message to the community here that their own youth are full of passion and Christ's love.

I also have been successful in extending my working visa here in Uganda for another two years. We also managed to get Ethan a visa that lasts until he reaches the age of 18.
This was great news for us, as we had tried to get this visa for Ethan before but were knocked back by immigration because I as the father to Ethan, am a foreigner. Their justification was a child belongs to a man, so Agnes' Ugandan citizenship would not count.
We actually know other people in cross cultural marriages, but with whom the father is a Ugandan and the mother is a foreigner ... and Immigration has allowed a long term visa for their children based on the father being a Ugandan.
We challenged this with immigration this time around, and with the help of someone within the system, we managed to get Ethan a long term visa as well, all based on Agnes' Ugandan citizenship!

We also look forward to moving into our new house! The Australian HopeBuilders team has been hard at work down at the property, and are in the middle of finishing off our house! We have appreciated all their hard work, alongside the Ugandan builders who have been working on our house the last few months.
The dream of having a youth center in Wairaka under HopeBuilders gets closer and closer.





I have also seen off Solomon who has started his Ywam DTS in Kampala this week.
It will be sad to not have him around for the next 5 months, and even beyond as he will hopefully progress to bible collage. He has been a valued member of YSU, but we see big potential and a big vision over his life .. and so we look forward to seeing what God will do in his life and so have to let him go and say good bye.

This year has seen a number of young men I have been discipling, going off and looking forward to their future. It can be sad to see them coming of age, as they most often go to far away places to study. What was a regular group over the last few years has now disbanded. This is the second group of youth to have done so. It seems I need to start looking for the next lot of young people to take in and start investing in.

Otherwise Uganda is still rather cold and wet. We have been surprised at how long this wet season has been going for! By now it should be well and truly dry and hot, but most days have a chill in the air and there has been lots of rain.

Lastly, I was able to have my sister and mother come and visit, which was a joy for them and for Ethan as they interacted. Ethan is developing more and more each day, and is able to say a number of words! He is quite fast and you have to keep an eye on him.
Where we live right now is not really child friendly. We have caught him on the road twice now since being back, and he has fallen down some stairs a number of times as well. He has a bruised and black eye and wounds all over his head from a big fall the other day.
This is why we look forward to moving into our enclosed compound which will be more child friendly.




Thank you again for all of you who support us. We love you and could not do what we do without you.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Back in Uganda

Hello everyone.

I know it has been a very long time since my last blog. I guess I have just been enjoying my time away.

As you may know I am back in Uganda after a few weeks in Melbourne and one week in Dubai.
Australia was wonderful, as always. It is always very refreshing to be able to relax! Especially because I had been quite sick and so was Ethan. It was certainly a time of resting up our bodies and our minds, due to all the sickness and stress we had been having over here in Uganda.
I had got malaria and typhoid just before coming to Australia, and Ethan had the same as well. Ethan was so sick the day before we were supposed to leave that we had to end up changing our flights … because Ethan was on an IV drip.

The flight over to Australia was great because Emirates really looked after us, giving us four seats with lots of leg room to share between Agnes Ethan and myself.
Ethan slept most of the way which was helpful for us. And I was even able to watch two great films about faith. Hacksaw ridge and Silence …. Both films are worth seeing, and both are important .. one dealing with the victories of faith and one dealing with the issues of doubt and suffering.
Anyway, I thought it quite an accomplishment that I managed to get some movie time in while we had Ethan!

It was a blessing to watch interact with his Australian family as well. His grandparents and aunties love him so much and Ethan took them very easily.
It was amazing to see Ethan’s development over the month as well. He has learnt new words and actions, and is running around everywhere.
But with the development comes new challenges, because Ethan has well and truly learnt how to throw a tantrum when he does not get what he wants.

It was also a blessing to see many friends and supporters.












The wedding of my sister and now brother in law which we come back for was also a wonderful experience.
I was quite busy for the day being film man, doing the prayer and bible reading, driving the brides maids around and taking care of Ethan. Aggie was a brides maid and Ethan was a page boy.
He made it halfway down the aisle before having to be carried by his JaJa (my mum)
My favorite part of the wedding was my sisters very moving speech, I wish her and Patrick many blessings in their future together.





I also got to spend a lot of time with an old friend of mine. Micky is someone I have not seen in a while, and we have spent a lot of time exploring bass coast together. We came up with a little two part film project together of our time over the last month, one showing each of our perspectives of what that particular coast gives us.



You can check out part one here: https://vimeo.com/216268132

And part two here: https://vimeo.com/217634695

I was having trouble in Australia though, I found myself getting very strong vertigo. Every time I would change position I would feel so dizzy like the world was spinning.
After seeing two different doctors we worked out where it was coming from. It was suspected that it was a sort of hangover from malaria, but after getting a blood test it was shown that I was quite normal and healthy, except for a small infection. The doctor wanted to look in my ears and then went on to say “Ahh, Luke do you happen to be a surfer?”
It seems I have a bad case of surfers ear .. where over the years in the ocean the salt water helps create these boney growths in the ear.
Because of the time in the cold cold water over the last month the growths had become inflamed, which was throwing my balance off.
A few antibiotics and I am back to normal.

Time in dubai with my parents was nice .. lots of eating and drinking and swimming and liesuring!! Before heading back here to Uganda.

Now that we are back we hope to see us moved down to the new YSU property and have the new youth center running.
We want to work on the YSU leadership team, and develop a strong team that can put the YSU vision forward and not have to rely on myself.
So moving into the new youth center, working on leadership structures, obtaining my new working permit, plus getting a few projects up and running, will all be our aims for the rest of the year.

Again I want to thank those who have stood by us and supported us. For those who have contributed finances and prayers … we love you and appreciate all that you have done.


God bless.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Back to Australia

Hey everyone!
Again I am sorry about the big delay in between blog posts, it can get rather tiring here and it is easy to get swept along with everything going on here on the ground.

The last few months have seen us trying to get a bunch of things done before leaving for Australia.

Grace continues to live with us as his leg is still healing! He still has to use crutches to get around, because the part of his bone that was removed in his leg has not yet healed, causing it to be very weak.
It has been a pleasure to have him live with us, and to be able to take him into our family. We know he is very appreciative and he feels right at home (and Ethan loves him)
We believe he will be healed and ready to walk again in about two months, which means he will be able to move out to his own place again.

Grace's little baby was born the other week. This has been a happy occasion despite the circumstances (Grace impregnated a teenage girl of the same age as him at the start of last year, this happened when we were still getting to know him and getting heavily involved in his life)
In most cases of teenage pregnancies here, the boy will deny it was him and leave the young woman to care for the child on her own.
Grace owned up to what he did, and with some guidance and discipleship he wants to face the consequences of his actions.
He met with the family of the girl to apologize, and they were very understanding. At first Grace was worried since they are a very strict Muslim family, but they have been very considerate. They even allow Grace to visit their home to help with his child.
Although Grace is still so young, he has the right attitude of facing up to this huge life challenge. And although he regrets his actions, he see's the child as a gift from God.

I am happy at least to know that there will be one more child here in Uganda growing up with a father who will be around.


For now the child will live with the mother and her family (the mother is only 17 years old, and Grace is 18) but Grace is allowed to make visits to contribute to the life of the child.

Another boy I am very involved with named Solomon has also been very sick. After a three night stay in the hospital, and a colonoscopy and endoscopy, plus a wide range of tests, he was diagnosed with peptic ulcers, alkaline reflux, erosive gastritis, a bacterial infection in his bowls, typhoid, and a polyp in his lower intestine that will have to be removed.
Talk about being sick!!
He is now on his way up and looking forward to joining a Ywam DTS in June.

We have a bunch of young men who are being sponsored who are off to their universities and vocational schools after finishing highschool last year.
This had taken up a lot of time for us. This has involved career guidance, visiting institutions, helping prepare the young men.
But it is great to see a group of guys who I have been involved with for over two years, now heading out to begin life for themselves!

Agnes and I also ran a Wise Choices for Life course with the HopeBuilders team here. This included all staff members, board members and employees of Village of Hope.
Andrew came over from Australia and he was a great help in contributing to the facilitation of the program.
We believe many people learnt a lot, and some of the comments we got after the week long training were very encouraging.

Our tailoring girls also finished their course yesterday! So that meant a happy graduation party, involving games, speeches and a meal.
The girls were also handed their certificates, and they will now have some small capital and a machine to start their own small business.
We believe we have given them everything we can give them in regards to training. They have learnt about Business, Maths, English, Tailoring. But they have also gone through trauma rehabilitation, learning about relationships and reproductive health as well as a lot of spiritual discipleship.

It will be a bit sad to see them go, as we have formed strong relationships with them ... but C.S Lewis once said this: 'The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift. We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves; we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching. Thus a heavy task is laid upon Gift-love. It must work towards its own abdication. We must aim at making ourselves superfluous. The hour when we can say 'They need me me no longer' should be our reward.'

Although not our children, the same principle applies to our tailoring girls. Although we will always have a friendship with them, and they are welcome to visit us, we will not be caring for them in the same way we have over the last year. We expect them to go out and help themselves.

So we thank those of you who have supported the tailoring class and sponsored girls!!
We hope to have another class running by July! So anyone interested in a $50 a month sponsorship for a full year would be most welcome.




Aggie and I are now preparing to head back to Australia for a month to be a part of my sisters wedding.
I really look forward to this time in Australia, and although short, I think I need it.
I always get to this point after a full year, where I feel I am just surviving and getting along each day as it comes.
It is always nice to refresh, get away from the constant demands, and have a think about our aims for the next year.

Please pray for us as we travel, Ethan is a rather energetic little boy who loves running around. Many hours on a plane with him does not seem so appealing!

To finish this blog, here is a picture I took of the milky way galaxy from our front yard at 4.30 am in the morning!!





Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Some good news!

So yesterday we got the results back from Grace's biopsy that he had done.

After Doctors strongly suspecting that grace had a malignant (cancerous) tumor in his leg bone we are very relieved to here that it is non malignant (no cancer)

Basically he has something called Exostosis, which is a bone growing on top of another bone. It can be quite painful and sometimes the pain can be chronic.
It will be something that can heal, but he will have to manage it for the rest of his life.

After reading up some more on Exostosis I have found that it is often mistaken for a malignant bone tumor when the person has an xray. This is exactly what happened with Grace.

So we are all greatly relieved because in Uganda, basically the only treatment for a cancerous bone tumor is amputation of the limb.

Grace has moved into our home since the biopsy, because he was living in a little shack by himself quite far away. He would often move long distances to friends houses to get food. Grace also suffers from anxiety and depression and can get quite down when he is alone.

Since he had a chunk of bone taken out for a biopsy he really needs to keep his leg clean, and rested. Something a young guy is not always the best at.

So having him live with us for this period of time and while he heals has been great for Grace. It has also been a good time for us, just to be able to serve someone in their sickness and take someone in who has no care himself. Focusing on serving another is always beneficial to ones own sanctification. Suddenly little things that irritate me and annoy me, do not seem to important, when considering the context of another's suffering.

Grace does have family, but the situation has left him having to fend for himself often. He has spent a number of years on the street before. We are in contact with the mother .. but the family home situation remains difficult.

It has also been a privilege to see all of the YSU boys and Grace's friends come alongside him and serve him. Whether that be praying for him, washing his clothes for him, sleeping in the hospital to keep him company for the 3 day hospital stay etc.

Many people and a few church communities were praying for Grace. Actually every morning and every night I had been pleading with God and asking for the end result not to be early death or amputation.
We understand that if someone does get such sicknesses (and Aggie and I know quite a few people in our community circle who have experienced death of a loved one or amputation of a limb) this does not mean that God has left them! We can never claim to fully understand God's purposes in every individuals life. Ultimately the blessing of the Gospel is reconciliation to God, forgiveness of sins, eternal security and the breaking in of the Kingdom of God. We may not all experience healing and health in this world .. but we are guaranteed that we will receive it fully in the next.
But we do know that in this case, we asked God for healing, and for health that would allow Grace to continue his life and his passion of dancing. And God has answered 'Yes'.
We thank you to all of you who prayed for Grace.

When pondering on life's different situations, on why some experience hardships and others prosperity, some sickness and some healing, I came across this short paragraph by J.R Miller that was insightful.

There is no haphazard in this world. God leads every one of his children by the right way. He knows where and under what influences each particular life will ripen best. One tree grows best in the sheltered valley, another by the water’s edge, another on the bleak mountain-top swept by storms. There is always adaptation in nature. Every tree or plant is found in the locality where the conditions of its growth exist, and does God give more thought to trees and plants than to his own children? He places us amid the circumstances and experiences in which our life will grow and ripen the best. The peculiar discipline to which we are each subjected is the discipline we each need to bring out in us the beauties and graces of true spiritual character.
The wise gardener knows best where to plant each flower, and so God, the divine Gardener, knows where His people will best grow into what he would have them to be. Some require the fierce storms, some will only thrive spiritually in the shadow of worldly adversity, and some come to ripeness more sweetly under the soft and gentle influences of prosperity, whose beauty rough experiences would mar. He knows what is best for each one.




I want to thank everyone who prayed for Grace. Please continue to do so as his leg still needs a few months to heal before he can really move around on it properly again!

God bless!!




Friday, 10 February 2017

A few YSU clips and a boy who needs prayers.

Hey everyone.
Doing well here! Things have gotten a bit quiet since the school holidays have finished. So this has been a good time to relax a little bit.
We are looking forward to our tailoring girls finishing up their class next month as well.

It is still very very hot here, and although we got about 4 days worth of rain, it has become dry again over the last week.

I have also completed making two little video clips for YSU.

The first one is an overall look at what we do here at YSU and can be watched here:

https://vimeo.com/202352476

The second one focuses on the YSU dancing group and how these boys use dancing to change their lives and the lives of those around them.

https://vimeo.com/203337049

I also would like to request prayer for one of our boys here.
Grace is a young man who we have taken into our lives. He is one of the most regular young men here and he feels very much a part of our family. He is still young, only being 16.
He leads the dancing group and is very involved in our lives and also in YSU.

Without going into too much personal details, Grace has had a very hard life and has had to overcome many obstacles.
He was a street kid for a long time and he has suffered a lot of abandonment.
He has had some ups and downs over the last year, but we have seen him come a long way in his faith and maturity.
We also see so much potential in him, and he is a joy to be around.
We really do love this young man and want to see a bright future for him.

Grace has been complaining about a pain in his leg for a long time now, and since he loves dancing it has only increased with each performance and all the stress he puts on his leg.
We have gone to a number of hospitals, but due to it being a specialized issue that the doctors cannot work out, we keep getting referred.

We have now been to Nile International (the hospital that Agnes and myself go to) which are of a very high quality.
After some x rays it was told to us that Grace has a bone tumor in his leg. The doctors cannot be sure if the tumor is benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
This means Grace will need to go for a biopsy, which he is booked in for on Monday.

This means the doctors will have to put Grace into sugary and break some of his bone to get a sample that can be sent to Kampala for testing.
It will take 10 days to get the results back.

If the tumor is benign it can be treated here in Jinja, and although Grace will not be able to move his leg for quite some time, he will be able to heal and recover.

If the tumor is malignant, Uganda does not have many options in regards to treatment, and usually amputation would be the solution in this case.

Of course the thought of this is terrifying to Grace. Grace often struggles with anxiety, and he has found dancing as a way to cope with that. He also see's his gifting's and callings in dancing (as he is very young still, and cannot see much of a world outside of his passion of dancing)

So an amputation would be incredibly disheartening and traumatizing for him (and us).
Please pray for healing and for a positive test result.
Please pray for Grace, to be able to trust in God's will and hold on to God's promises no matter how dark life gets.
Please pray for financial provision, as this biopsy and treatment will not be cheap.
And please pray for Agnes and myself as we take care of this boy and try to serve him and encourage him. Also that we will have wisdom in knowing the right options (in regards to treatment and hospitals) to pursue.

Thank you for your prayers and God bless.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

2017 so far. Building a house, visa complications, sheltering women and more sickness.

2017 has been eventful so far, and to be honest I have been a bit tired and even looking forward to going back to Australia for a bit (in April)

I did start off the new year in a positive way! I spent the night under the stars around a fire capturing a timelapse with my new camera.
You can check out the timelapse here ...  https://vimeo.com/197738799

We have continued to run our wise choices for life training with the VOH youth, which has been very positive and we have had lots of good feedback from the young people.
We also had a team from Australia come and visit us, and our dancing boys put on a great performance for them. They even spent quite a bit of time contributing towards the building at the property.

The team also brought some 'days for life' packs for our tailoring girls, which consist of washable sanitary packs for poorer women in the villages.

The progression of the building at the property has been great as well! We are now almost at roof hieght.
It has also been a great oppurtunity for some of our young YSU boys to do some labour and make some money so they can help their families during the school holidays.
The boys also feel very proud in contributing towards building the youth center as well.








Every night I pick them and bring them home around 7 pm. And when I drive over the rail way track I always get this scene. So I had to get my camera and take a shot!


I have finally got Ethan's passport back with a visa in it after about 5 months of waiting.
But it didn't come back without a cost!
It turns out the agent/lawyer I was using to acquire Ethan's visa ended up being a complete conman.
For five months I have been dealing with someone who constantly gives excuses and makes up stories and never calls me when promised and never answers his phone.
He kept telling me that the passport was at immigration being processed.
I finally caught onto his 'shady' character when I had been trying to call him for 2 days, yet he never answered my calls.
After another unsuccessful attempt, Agnes told me to quickly try calling from her phone ... since he would not know the number.
Of course he answered straight away and in a surprised voice tried to make some excuse about his phone being lost in his sofa and only just finding it.

I knew I had to go on a rescue mission to his office in Kampala and get all my documents back. Even if I had to finalize the process of the visa myself.

So with my friend Richard, I went to Kampala and to his office. You would not think the place was so dodgy, because they have a very professional looking office with many workers.
When I got there and demanded all my documents the truth came out. Ethan's visa was actually accepted way back at the start of November, and immigration was just waiting for the $100 US fee to be paid.
This was money that I had paid to the agency back in September. But this agent I was dealing with had obviously took the money for himself and didn't have anything to replace it with.
He kept apologizing and asked if I could give him more time while he waits for another job he was doing to pay him .. then he would pay at immigration.
I knew the man's words were dishonest at this stage ... so I told him just to give me all my documents related to my file and I will go to immigration myself.
He then proceeded to pull out my passport which was in his office desk drawer the whole time.

I grabbed all my documents and walked out.
Long story short, I got in contact with one of his former workers who I was dealing with at the start, and who had been very helpful.
This person was very apologetic and helped me out a lot. They explained to me they also had lots of money stolen from them, from this man ... and it seems there are lots of customers who are disgruntled and unhappy with this particular lawyer and his agency.

This former worker linked me up with someone at immigration who was able to help me get the visa in Ethan's passport (of course for a fee).
Two disappointing things I ran into though. Because the visa was approved long ago, but no payment was being made to immigration, immigration had decided that Ethan had overstayed his entry visa, and I would be subject to a fine. I had to pay a decent amount of money to clear this up.
The other disappointing news was that immigration refused to allow us to apply for a Ugandan visa for Ethan, through his mother being a Ugandan citizen.
Instead they said we could only get Ethan a dependent visa through myself as the father.
This means that immigration has said that Ethan could only have a visa to stay in Uganda, as long as his father had one.
This also means that Ethan's visa expires when my visa expires, which is this July. Now this will involve more running around and trying to renew two visa's for Ethan and myself in July.
Their reasoning to this was that they believed a child belonged solely to the man, and so Agnes as a women has no rights to obtain Ethan's visa under her Ugandan citizenship.

Sometimes arguing with their logic is just not worth the time and energy .... sigh.

But Agnes keeps reminding me that I should be grateful and not disappointed. You never know what trouble we could of got into with this conman. And we have Ethan's passport back with a visa in it (no matter if it doesn't last that long)

We have also ran into a very complicated situation with one of our tailoring girls.
One of our girls has been very badly abused by her partner for a long period of time. She has run away from the man, and is sheltering with us.
Without going into the details, we will keep her while she finishes her course, and we have been in contact with the man, and also the local counselors to address the situation.
It is a very sensitive issue that involves many complex cultural understandings and gender imbalances, while we also have the desire to stay true to doing what is right, and to support the victim here.
Please pray for us as we shelter this girl, and deal calmly, sensitively but also firmly with the local community and local men in the community here.

Although gossiping has already started about us (we are stealing people's wives, we are allowing and empowering women to run away from men  etc)
We feel that we don't want to look back on our lives and see that we were always worried about being gossiped about or wrongly spoken badly about, but rather that we did what was right, stood for justice and loved the oppressed.

We also have to be calm in our 'stand for justice', and not fall into 'hating' the oppressor.
All in all a sensitive situation that we would appreciate your prayers for.

Ethan also got very sick the other week. He started burning up in the night, and by the time we took him to the hospital the next morning, his temperature was dangerously high.
They checked him for Malaria and Typhoid, but it seemed that Ethan had another bacterial infection.
This is the fourth time he has had this strong infection since he was born, and so the fourth course of strong antibiotics ... which is worrying.
We pray that Ethan's immune system will be able to recover.
We spent four restless nights with him, as he barely slept and was obviously distressed. He was also burning up for the first two days.
He is now doing much better and has finished his course of medicine.

We got to celebrate his first birthday the other day as well. We invited many children from the community, and their parents, who we are friends with. And it was a fun day for all.











Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 wrap up.

A late Merry Christmas to everyone!!!
We have been quite busy here as it is school holidays and we have youth at our house almost every day.
We have also begun building on the block of land, and a team has just arrived.
Not to mention we also had the Christmas season, so we were quite busy.

Christmas was spent going to church, eating lots of food, sleeping, then waking up and eating more food.

We also had our YSU Christmas break up, which is always a great time for our youth to celebrate, have a good meal and have their own Christmas party.
Since many of our youth may come from broken homes, this is a bit of treat for them, as they may not get to celebrate Christmas from where they come from.
All the tailoring girls dressed themselves up in some special dresses they had made for themselves.










During the celebrations I gave a Christmas message and also a run down of the year.
These were some of our reflections of 2016.

For Aggie and I the thing that stands out the most for us, and had the most impact in our lives, was the birth of Ethan.

We also had the birth of little Ibra one week after Ethan as well, adding onto the number in our house.

We started a new tailoring class, and were able to see young women begin to find confidence in themselves.
We have run Empower Trauma Rehabilitation two times this year, as well our Wise Choices for Life classes, seeing healing in the lives of our young people.

We have a dedicated group of young men, who use their skills like dancing, drama and music to do outreaches into the community. This group is continuously pushing themselves to learn what it is like to be a follower of Christ, especially in their communities and context.

We have seen some very close friends of ours finish their highschool education, and now begin looking at their career opportunities .. including one who is looking at theological training and one with the aim of becoming a doctor.

We have been blessed with a new car which has helped us tremendously here in Uganda.

At the start of the year Agnes was given a partner visa into Australia, and we were able to spend two months visiting Australia over the winter.

We have had many visitors, including friends, family and teams, come and visit us here at YSU.

We also have experienced lots of sickness. We saw the loss of a 3 day old baby who belonged to some friends of ours.
This really shook us, it taught us to sit in silence with those who are suffering. To realize the fragility of life, and to inspire us to pass on more simple knowledge around maternal health so something can be done about these types of situations.

Children in our own household got very sick, with little Ibra almost dying from septicemia when he was just a day old.
I truly believe his healing was a miracle, the little boy was on death's door when we got him to the hospital, and even the doctors told us they couldn't guarantee that the child would survive.
He is healthy now and a smart little boy, his development is on track and so far there does not look like there were any big side effects from the event.

Ethan spent a few days in hospital on a drip with a severe case of malaria and a bacterial infection.

Little Meshach was also raced to the hospital in the middle of the night, in the middle of convulsions due to a high temperature from Malaria.

But God has kept them and healed them, which we are very thankful for.

Agnes and I also copped a bit of sickness this year with compressed discs in the spine, malaria, pleurisy, tonsillitis and more.
But again, we are feeling good right now at the end of the year.

We are also very excited to see the youth center begin construction ... praying we may be able to move in next year!

God has been faithful this year, as He always is. We have seen him move in our lives, through the hard times and the good times. And we look forward to seeing what 2017 will hold.

So an eventful year with lots done. We continue to thank all of your who have stood with us, supported us, donated to us, prayed for us and more.
We could not do what we do here without your help, support and love.
May God bless you all.