Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ever so thankful!

It has been a few weeks since I last wrote. Since then, a lot has happened! Francis and I returned from Kaberamaido and had our car fixed (a few times) as we had a few problems while in the village, problems which unfortunately ended up costing us a lot of extra money we didn't have.
I met with a tailor and together we designed a couple of school uniforms and he has already begun to work on sewing them for us. We have asked him to sew 70 uniforms as we hope to have a variety of sizes to fit the 60 kids whom we plan to enroll in the school.
I have spent many hours at a local coffee shop uploading pictures to facebook (while enjoying an, unfortunately too rare, latte), and have had the joy of receiving many emails of encouragement and support regarding our project. God has, once again, showed himself to be so faithful to us! There is a story in the bible that came to my mind at bible study the other night about the Israelites crossing the Jordan River while carrying the Ark of the Covenant. From some study years ago I had learned that the Jordan River had very steep banks on either side and had a very strong current that could easily sweep a person away, and YET the Israelites climbed down those banks with that Ark in faith that God would make a way for them to cross it, and He did! The text goes on to say that they all walked across the river on dry ground! That is a little how we've been feeling with this school project. We stepped out in faith, believing this to be God's will, not having the money to complete this starter project, but yet trusting that God would not let us down. Well, God has been proving Himself faithful, as He always is. From the time I arrived back in Jinja He has been opening doors for us. A few people emailing me telling me they want to support us monthly (one person I haven't even met has sent in cheques months in advance to support us for the rest of this year – what an encouragement)! A church decided to support us with some unexpected money and we have found a few more people willing to sell crafts for us to raise money for the ministry, including the bible camp I used to work at!!! Incredible! It seems that every day lately we have had some new encouraging news in regards to support. We are ever so thankful, and believe all of this to be further confirmation that we are moving in the right direction.
Some days Francis and I have discussed just how unlikely this whole thing is. He, an orphan from a village in the middle of nowhere, Uganda, and I, a once shy Saskatchewan girl and her mom coming together to create this ministry. It seems so strange and unlikely even to us at times and we just have to shake our heads... but isn't that just the way that God does things?! He chooses the most unlikely people to do His work. And why? So the world would see His goodness and power! God is great!
Francis and his brother Noel traveled back up to Kaberamaido this week to check on the progress of the school building. We had left Allan (Francis' cousin) in charge of the work. Much to our delight, the building has really progressed so much in the little time that they've been working on it. They have finished plastering the walls, inside and out, pouring the floor and have already put up a fence around the building as well. I am so impressed by how quickly the men have worked (that is an incredible thing, especially in Africa, as often, with the relaxed African way of life, work takes a VERY long time to get completed here), but it is encouraging to see the heart they are all pouring into this project, and their work ethic, I believe is also a testimony to their desire for this school to begin for their children.
Francis and Noel returned a couple of days ago and Francis will be beginning his school exams around the 20th of this month (he is finishing up a business and management course he has been taking the last couple of years).
Today, I took the day and visited the village where Sarah (one of the ladies I buy necklaces from) stays. She had invited me to visit her home and to see her children who could not wait to meet me. I have talked about Sarah before in past blogs but will do so again here. Sarah is 26 years old and has 4 of her own children and also takes care of her brother's child since her brother went missing some time back. The five kids are Brian (11), Emma (9), George (5), Angel (2ish) and Benjamin (under a year). Sarah's husband had gone to Sudan to try to find work some time ago but has not returned. Recently she was told from another friend who returned that her husband was in prison there, though he did not know for what reason. I arrived to find Sarah's small shop to be empty of goods for resale. Empty boxes lined the shelves. She had been so desperate before I met her that she started selling her chairs in her small place and even had to sell the weighing scale from her shop. The necklaces I have been buying from her for Rays of Hope has really helped them, to eat, to put the kids in school and to pay for medicine but she still needs so much more to refill her small store so she could continue on with business there. I told Sarah that we would help her to get back on her feet again by buying her some things to begin selling and then she can help herself continue to restock after she makes a bit of money. She was so happy and instructed her kids to begin to clean and organize the shop to make room for the items to come. Sarah is planning to go shopping tomorrow for bulk items to start with, things like soap, matches, laundry detergent, parafin, etc... I hope to visit her again very soon to see how her shop is running. What a privilege to help such lovely ladies who really have nowhere else to turn. I am thankful God allowed me (and Rays of Hope) to be a part of her answer to prayer!

Prayer requests:
Unity and love within our team of 3 and all other people we work with and for – I believe this to be foundational for any ministry to be successful... without love, it is all for nothing!
Francis' exams at school (that he would do well)
Finances and more people to help support the ministry – there is still much work to be done!
Our vehicle – that it would run smoothly, free from accidents or mechanical problems
Francis' visitor's visa to Canada – he still has to apply and will be doing so shortly (we have been delayed waiting on some letters of invitation from churches to get to Uganda, however, we have them now so please now pray with us for favor as he applies, so he can come to Canada to try to raise more support).
We need a website! - please pray that God brings someone forward who can help us to build one.

Also, if God lays it upon your heart to help us in other ways, by supporting us financially or by helping us to sell crafts, please let me know. My email address is We are praying for more monthly supporters who would be willing to partner with us in this project. Tax deductible receipts will be issued for all donations given.
If you want to donate, please send cheques written out to 'Rays of Hope for Uganda' to my mom at the address below...

Joanna Hulowski
RR5 site 23 box 165
Prince Albert, SK
S6V 5R3

Thank you so much for reading and caring!
Love you all!