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.
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.