Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rays of Hope for Uganda bought a vehicle and is starting a school – humble and exciting beginnings!

My heart is full! The saying is true, 'sometimes when it rains it pours'!
This past week God answered our prayer for a vehicle for Rays of Hope. Francis found a 96 Honda CRV in excellent condition with really low mileage and we were able to purchase it for our long journeys to Kaberamaido. Travel is next to impossible once you get out to the village without a vehicle and we found renting or hiring a car to be too expensive to do time and time again so we 'bit the bullet', so to speak, and have thanked God every day since for the incredible vehicle he brought along our path.
Last week Francis and I traveled to Kaberamaido (and are still here). From a past trip here we discovered that there is a building not quite complete in the village where we own land so decided to ask about the possibility of renting it to begin a school, since it will still be some time before we have the money in place to build our own.
The owner was more than happy to make a contract with us that if we agree to purchase the remaining things for the structure and provide the money needed to also build a latrine (about $3,000 dollars worth of materials and labour) then the building will be ours to use for the next 3 years! We've accepted and are moving forward with that plan in place, hoping to have the building finished in the next two weeks. Our plan is to begin a small school until we have one built ourselves that can accommodate more children and classes.
We have decided, since most of the kids in the village have never been to school, (the closest school is 5 miles away) that we would use the two largest rooms as classrooms, one for pre-school and the other for Primary 1 (Grade 1) and the third, smaller room, as an office. Since we cannot at this point accommodate a lot of grades at one time, next year we plan to transition to making available P1 and P2 classes.
The village parents are very happy and excited about seeing this progress. What parent doesn't want the best for their child?!
Our needs:
As we move forward we are trusting that God will provide for the costs we have need of for the work He has called us to do and we know as well that He may possibly want to use YOU!
Here is a breakdown of some of the costs involved:
$3,000 dollars for the building to be completed for use (and the latrine to be built)
$100 dollars per month to pay 2 teachers a fair salary
$420 dollars – for 6 sets of tables with 2 benches (each set is $70)
$180 dollars- 2 Teachers' desks, 1 office desk and three chairs
School uniforms for the children (includes shirt and shorts, or dresses, socks, and shoes) - approximately $25 dollars per student (we need 60 uniforms)
School supplies ($3 dollars per student) – this includes exercise books, pencils, etc...
Porridge for the students ($50 dollars per month)
Purchase of cups and pots ($50 dollars)

If you, your small group or workplace would like to commit to purchasing any of these items for us please let us know. Tax deductible receipts will be issued for all donations given. Just write a separate note stating what it is meant for.
Though this is somewhat of a costly endevour, we really have God's peace that we are moving in the right direction and need to move forward, trusting that He will provide.
On the topic of 'how the Lord provides', I have to mention just how faithful God has been to provide for my needs month after month. Just this month it seemed as though my financial 'cup' was running dry only to find out that someone sent in enough money for almost 2 more months for me here. Thank you friends, for your faithfulness to God's leading and for blessing me with the encouragement of your support!
Another 'thank you' goes out to those faithful ones selling crafts to help us fundraise! We SO value and appreciate your effort and hard work and a special thank you to the person who has already raised over $1500 dollars for us in the last couple of months and is still enthusiastic to do more to help(you know who you are). Your tireless labour of love for us, and for the people of Uganda does not go unnoticed!
Other answers to prayer and joys I've seen in the last 2 weeks...
'Rays of Hope for Uganda' has received its certificate of registration as a ministry in the Kaberamaido District – We will pick up the certificate this week!
Sonrise Babies Home now also has a children's home! Pray that all the finances come in that are needed to purchase all the furniture so the older children can transition and more babies can be taken in to the babies home.
Bible study continues to grow, with 16 people (and a baby) in attendance last week
Something that brought a smile to my face as well is that Francis and I also had the joy of purchasing his 13 year old brother Mariko a bike. I don't think I've ever seen a kid with a bigger smile than the day that we got Mariko's bike for him. The kid has never before owned anything as nice or as valuable as a bike, and he is delighted! Mariko really deserves it so we were so happy to get it for him! I was more overjoyed for him to have it than if it was for myself!
Amos, a boy I know that I mentioned in my last blog post, now has a sponsor for this year of school! He is SO very grateful to the people who stepped forward to help him. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!
Well, I'm sure I've overwhelmed all my readers, but hopefully it has strengthened your faith and brought some encouragement and joy your way. We continue to ask for your prayers and support. We know that we really can do nothing on our own.
For those who feel led to give to our school project here in Kaberamaido, please make cheques out to 'Rays of Hope for Uganda' and mail to my mom (Joanna Hulowski) at:
RR5 site 23 box 165
Prince Albert, SK, S6V 5R3
Thanks for reading!
Much love,

P.S. Once I return to Jinja I will post some pictures on facebook from Kaberamaido. Please take a look through... I'm sure you'll be touched, just as I have been by the people of Kaberamaido.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some of the children's stories...

Time seems to be speeding up these last weeks, and I have a feeling that it will seem like no time at all and I'll be boarding a plane headed back to Canada.
These last couple of weeks included a few more trips to the hospital for baby Brenda's meds, a lot of computer work helping Damali write updates for the babies at Sonrise Babies Home as well as writing up a few of their stories (some of which i will post below), a couple more bible studies at my house, time spent cuddling little children and a LOT of company at my place.
Things have been good. Life is good.

I think the biggest lesson I am continually impressed with is what true 'community living' looks like. In our bible study this week we were talking about the body of Christ, (1 Cor 12). The part that especially stood out to me is where Paul talks about when part of the body is in pain then all of the body suffers with it. How true that is, how much we need to be feeling the pain of others and be the hand to tend to the wounds that our brothers and sisters may have, and allow them to do the same for us when we're in need. And though we learn when we're 2 years old that it is better to share than to keep things to ourselves... do we really take it to heart? But how much greater to share what we have, whether it be our books, our clothes, our finances, our homes, our lives!

This next week Francis and I are planning to take a trip to Kaberamaido. I will post about all that was accomplished in that time once we return.

As i mentioned above... i wanted to post a few of the stories of kids who have been taken into Sonrise Babies Home so you know what situations some of these kids are coming from. These stories are like so many others, and reflect the lives of children still out there in similar types of situations...

Edrin Baale
Edrin was 2 years old when he came to Sonrise in August, 2009.
A woman with a ministry to prostitutes in Jinja called Damali and informed her of the child's situation. Edrin's mom was a prostitute. She would mistreat him, give him alcohol or sleeping pills at times to keep him quiet and leave him all alone when she went out at night.
Edrin had all the signs of malnourishment when he first arrived at Sonrise; skinny legs, distended stomache, ribs showing, and no hair. Those first days he was with us 'table time' was his most favorite time of day. He would want to eat anything and everything that was put before him. Edrin also would try to sneak food out of the kitchen when no one was looking, most likely a habit he had learned from his previous living situation. The house moms at Sonrise were informed to feed Edrin anytime he wanted to eat, at least until he learned that the food would always be there. It is good to see that Edrin now has moved beyond being a baby merely intent on survival to a little boy who enjoys playing with toy trucks, balls and with the other children at Sonrise.
We learned that Edrin's mom has been living with HIV so we had Edrin tested. Thankfully the little boy's results came back negative.
Edrin has already come so far is such a short time and we are so proud of the little guy.
Edrin's mother recently came to Sonrise to visit him. We are happy she is still showing some interest in knowing her son and hope she will continue to do so.

Catherine and Junior (Catherine and Junior's profile was written by someone else so i can't take credit for it)
Brothers and sisters are a special gift from God and one that should never be taken for granted. Catherine and Junior are sister and brother from the same parents, and in a country like Uganda, this is all too often rare. Catherine is around 4 years old and Junior is around 2. They come from a village where their family is very, very poor. Their mother died sometime after Junior was born, so they were raised by their father. Catherine and Junior’s father and uncle (their father’s brother) were very close and lived next door to each other. Their children grew up together although their uncle’s children were much older. But shortly thereafter, Catherine and Junior’s father died and they were left in the care of their uncle. They were very close to him and even called him “father”. At night, Catherine and Junior slept in a hut by themselves. Because the uncle was gone often and there wasn’t a female caretaker, Catherine and Junior were left alone most of the time with very little adult supervision. Because they were all alone in the hut by themselves, Catherine and Junior always slept huddled together on the mud floor. Rats infested the hut and would eat Junior’s little feet during the night. When he arrived at Sonrise the bottoms of his feet were badly bitten and scarred. Both Catherine and Junior were very malnourished as they had lived off of very little food and no milk at all. Catherine came to Sonrise with only a pair of mismatched shoes and the clothes she was wearing.
God is watching over Catherine and Junior’s precious lives and He loves them. He has never left their side. He was with them throughout their parents deaths’, He was with them in their tiny mud hut, He saw the rats. He saw the neglect. And God has rescued His little children and He brought them to Sonrise Baby Home. Catherine and Junior’s lives are in His hands. From their stories, may God receive the glory.

Gift Nasiyo
Gift was born in October, 2009 to a teenage mother who passed away while giving birth to little Gift. From that time on her grandmother cared for her but was finding it too difficult to do so while still trying to raise her own children, caring for her husband with cancer and having no steady income. A pastor told Damali about the baby and Sonrise agreed to take the little one in. In January, 2010the pastor paid for the transport to bring the baby and her grandmother to Sonrise and Gift was given a new home. When she first arrived, Gift was malnourished and very small, however, over the next few months she steadily gained weight and has grown into quite a content, healthy and happy little baby.

Musa Kayumba
Musa Kayumba was born January 10, 2010.
Sonrise first learned of baby Musa from someone at another orphanage. We were told that his mother had died sometime after giving birth to him and there was no one capable of caring for him in the village where he lived. When we went to the village to get Musa they were in the midst of burial ceremonies for his mother and Musa was, at that time, in the hospital sick with malaria. Musa, though not premature, was a very tiny baby. We discovered that for the first week of Musa's life his aunties in the village had been giving him mostly water to drink, and only a little milk, therefore he lost whatever weight he had had when he was born.
Musa, we have learned, has some other sisters, one who is just 2 years of age.
Since Musa has come to Sonrise he has been doing really well. He has a hearty appetite, has gained a lot of weight and is happy. His father has not yet come to see him but we hope that one day soon he will.

Brenda Sambula
In September, 2009 Damali received a phone call from a woman in the Mbale area telling her of a young baby who was staying with her struggling grandmother and wasn't receiving proper care. Unfortunately, at that time, Sonrise did not have the money or necessities in place to take care of this little one so had to refuse. This little girl by the name of Brenda Sambula had been orphaned when her teenage mother, who was HIV positive, passed away. Brenda's grandmother from that time on had been caring for her.
Months later Damali got back in contact with the lady who had told her of this child and they made the trip to Mbale in January, 2010 to pick up little Brenda.
They found that Brenda's grandmother who had been caring for her had also died and the little one had to go stay instead with another grandmother who was even more poor than the first had been. Little Brenda, just a few months old, most days had to stay on her own all day long while her grandmother would go out to dig in her garden. Her only food for the day often consisted of a piece of posho that would be left at the house with her.
We were told upon picking up little Brenda that she was about a year old, however 3 months after that time, nurses and doctors seem to think that she is closer to 9 or 10 months old.
Baby Brenda was very malnourished and sickly when she first arrived at Sonrise. She had terrible ear infections and a bad cough. We took her to the doctor in January to have her ear infections looked at and for a chest X-Ray to be done. The doctor gave Brenda medicine to treat the ear infections but nothing more was discovered about her health at that time. Again in March we took her to get a second set of X-rays, but again the doctor could not tell us what was wrong with her, and he suggested that she more than likely had HIV. So, prayerfully we took Brenda to be tested for HIV. When we went to pick up Brenda’s test results in April 2010 they came back negative! That same day Brenda saw a doctor, and after looking at her X-rays for one minute the woman was certain that our little baby had TB. Brenda was put on medication right away and got tested as well that same day. Two days later when we got the results we found that she did in fact have TB. Brenda steadily has been in improving since starting her TB medication, she is looking healthier, smiling a lot more and gaining some weight.
Brenda's grandmother came to see her at Sonrise recently (April 2010) and she was so thankful. She has seen an enormous change in Brenda in just a few months time.

These are but a few of the many stories that I can tell. Thanks for reading.
Prayer requests...
Finances for Rays of Hope
Wisdom and favor as we travel to Kaberamaido this next week, to accomplish all that we need to get done and would meet with the people we need to meet with
ROH may also be buying a vehicle to make travel to Kaberamaido easier (we would sell our bike if this is the case). Pray that whatever is best will work out.
Health for the children at Sonrise Babies Home
Wisdom as Damali leads Sonrise Babies Home
Continued blessing on our bible studies Thursday nights and for Ivan who leads the discussion time
Sonrise is also going to begin a children's home so the children can transition from the babies home to the children's home so they don't have to be separated - pray for finances and God's blessing and for Ivan as he heads that up
Pray for me, that God would use me these next 4 months that i am here in whatever way he chooses, and that much would be accomplished
Pray for Francis to be able to get a visa to come to Canada (we would like him to come back with me in September to speak in churches to try to raise some support).
Pray for me, to know what God would have me do next year (return here or stay in Canada for some time)

Also, if there is anyone out there who would like to help a boy I know finish his last year of high school, please let me know. His name is Amos and he has just two semesters left of school but does not have the money to pay for it. I wish i could help him myself but my budget is small and it is impossible for me at this time. He would need $200 dollars for these last two semesters. We would not be able to give a tax receipt for this gift but if God lays it upon your heart please let me know and i will give you the information on how you can help.

Thanks for reading and for praying.
Also, if anyone feels that they would like to support me financially as i finish up these next few months, I or my mom can let you know how to do so.
Thanks so much my friends!!!
Can't wait to see you!
Karen Hulowski