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Final Day

Wednesday is our last work day of this mission trip. Tomorrow morning, we load our luggage and head for Jinja, head water of the Nile. It will be good to spend a little time at such a historic location, and we get to overnight there before going on to Entebbe for our flight home on Friday.

When we met for breakfast this morning, there was little expectation about having work to do at the final library visit of our trip. We thought we might even change our plans of how much the “library of the day” really deserved some of the goodies we had for them, because we had heard that BATB even putting in the library in 2013 was a mistake.

We were wrong. The Covenant Primary School Library has been well used! So we spent most of the day getting things back into an orderly status. Mike started on the fiction section, Sue and Mary worked on non-fiction, and Glenna, Marc, and Buzzy tackled the “easy reading” category. It did not take us but a minute or two to decide that such an ill-ordered library could not have happened without extensive use. We also found dozens of current-use cards in the card file that tell us that those books are currently checked out. And many of the books we were re-shelving and re-ordering had evidence of multiple check-outs.

At noon, one of the teachers of the eldest Pre-K class brought her beautiful young charges into the library for a lesson. They did some reading exercises, then Mary showed them how the teacher could read to them while encouraging each student to follow along in her/his own book. It was fun to see this method at work in the hands of a true master. At 2:00 PM, all of the teachers came into the library for a quick encouragement session (read pep rally) about the importance of the library and it being kept as orderly as possible. Mike, Mary, Glenna, Sue, and Buzzy each delivered her/his best “We love reading!” or “God loves an organized library!” speech. Marc passed a sack full of fashionable neck ties around for anyone who wanted one. All of the teachers (male and female) took at least one. Marc was happy to shed of them before our trip home. He even threw in a tie tying lesson at no additional charge.

Returning to Mt. Elgon Hotel for our final night, we got some down time, packed our bags, cleaned up a little (books can be very dirty), and then had a great “last supper” with Ryan and Meghan Kelley, missionaries to Lulwanda Children’s Home. The Kelley’s also brought their delightful children along. They are Audrey (9), Simon (6), and twins Lucy and Nora (3). They are wonderful people, and they have already become part of the Uganda family that we love so much.

So we head west tomorrow, fly the friendly skies on Friday, and land in Houston at 13:05 CDT on Saturday. Please keep us in your prayers for a “safe journey,” or as Ugandans say those words and as they are heard by a Texas hillbilly, “sef juna.”

God bless you for your continued concern for us and for those whom we serve on your behalf.  The “Books are the Beginning” story is being written in libraries and on the hearts of children from the United States to Africa. The best is yet to come! We hope you will join us for the next exciting chapter.

A Day of Meetings and Just Hanging Out

Another full day at Lulwanda Childrens Home gave us an unexpected opportunity to love on some folks (large and small) whom we have come to treasure.

But that is not all we did. Mike had a meeting to attend in the morning, so the rest of the team made themselves busy. Marc and Buzzy policed the compound, picking up scraps of paper, plastic bottles, and whatever else was not a natural feature of the landscape. One of the primary teachers had some girls who came to class late, so the girls became an additional trash patrol for a bit of the morning. We did not get the entire area of LCH looking its best, but it is greatly improved.

Sue, Mary, and Glenna slipped into classrooms and observed some good teaching on the second day of the school term. (The students have been “on holiday” for the last six weeks.)

Mike reports that his meeting went very well. “The best LMC meeting ever.” (LMC means Local Management Committee.) The topic was a proposal that the Grace International Childrens Foundation Board had floated to the LMC. The goal of the proposal is to get the school to be as self-supporting as possible. Of course, we would all love for the school to even make money, but the dynamics of school operations is personnel – personnel – personnel. Unless that can be adjusted, there is little chance of significantly changing the school’s bottom line. The LMC was in agreement, and they gave Mike some good ideas and dreams to take back to the GICF Board.

Lunch was another feast by Mama Christine, and we loved it. It is quite strange that one can taste the love that such a big-hearted cook puts into every meal.

After lunch, there was a meeting of the “Books are the Beginning” team, the school leadership, and the home administrators. The topic was text books. We learned on this trip that many classes have never had text books. There may be a single copy for the teacher, so she/he writes everything on the chalk board so the students can write it out for themselves. It would seem to be an easy decision, because we want these children to have every possible advantage. But there is some doubt that teachers who never had a text book when they were students can find ways to use a textbook. The decision is “still out,” but this blogger suspects that text books will be on a purchase order soon.

The entire team ordered some wonderful Ugandan coffee today, and the hotel has that warm kitchen smell of aromatic coffee. (Don’t you wish it also tasted that good?)

Dinner was at the normal time of 6:30, and we were joined by Trudy Marshall, the Founder and Director of “Libraries of Love.” Trudy is an amazing woman who has established dozens of libraries in sub-Saharan Africa. Being a Texan like the BATB team, Trudy fit right in, and we loved hearing her stories. Trudy has had her entire mission trip team locked into a hotel compound, she has walked through the wilds of Africa to reach a village (and library) that is nine miles from any road, and she lives in one of the slums of Mbale. Trudy is an adventurer (ya’ think?), and it was obvious that she shared Mike and Mary’s passion for changing the children of Africa.

Tomorrow, we make out first stop at “Covenant Primary School,” where BatB built and established a library in 2013.

May God bless you for your concern for the BATB team. We love each of you.

Books and a Tractor Part 2

Today we have two posts.  This comes from Buzzy.

 

What a wonderful Monday in Sunny/Rainy Uganda!

We departed our hotel at 8:30 AM for a drive to Sunrise Primary School of Kerekeren, a village outside of Mbale. It may be about the same distance as our drive to Lulwanda, but the really bad roads into the village region require slow driving. Even at that, one’s insides feel well-blended after the jolting journey.

The school is constructed very much like the one at Lulwanda, though it is much newer and the folks out there are really careful with the school, the grounds, and everything else associated with Sunrise Primary School. The impression is of everything being newly cleaned. Of course, they knew we were coming, so it may have been.

The time at the school began with Marc and Buzzy trying to get the new tractor (donated by a US citizen) attached to a tiller that has never been used. The men at the school claimed that the implement would not fit on the tractor, but Marc and Buzzy were not convinced. So they removed some parts from a disk plow to try to make things work so the farmers at the school could use the tiller. When the parts were removed and transported to the new implement, they would not fit on the implement. Furthermore, there was no drive shaft to link the PTO to the tiller. So our American farm boys had to concede that the Ugandans were right. The implement would not fit on the tractor. Marc spoke to the implement dealer and made it clear what we needed to use the implement. Hopefully, the necessary pieces will arrive soon.

BTW – Even in the remote village of Kerekeren, it was not difficult to make a phone call. Everyone had a cell phone, and more than one of the Uganda men had the implement dealers number at hand. Some time back, we came upon an interesting fact. Are you ready?  Here it is: There are more cell phones than light bulbs in Uganda.

While the tractor men did their work with little effect, the teacher women and Mike worked with four teachers who act as librarians. The topic was using books to teach a lesson. Subtopics included teaching with a set of reading books and teaching with books with illustrations. The four teachers really soaked in the knowledge and then demonstrated their understanding by teaching those lessons to the entire faculty of 14. Each of the four showed good understanding and made the lessons interesting.

During lunch time, Buzzy stepped out on the veranda near the library and played a tune on his harmonica. The students flocked to him like moths to a flame. Soon there were thirty or so students standing around listening to timeless hits like “Midnight in Old Amarillo,” “Panhandle Rag,” and “Amazing Grace.” Then Buzzy asked the students if they could sing a song for him. Some brave soul led out with “I have decided to follow Jesus,” and everyone joined in. Buzzy sang “Amazing Grace” in his lowest bass voice, which brought snickers, gasps, and curious looks. (Buzzy tells us that he is used to such reactions to his singing.) The assembled group talked about the joy of singing and the joy of following Jesus. They ended with another song or two, and it was time for afternoon classes.

The day at Sunrise Primary School ended with a race to the main road in an effort to beat the rain clouds that were coming our way. We did not want to think about what would happen if we were caught on bad roads back in the bush in a rainstorm.

Our summer home of “Mt. Elgon Hotel” was a welcome sight, and the rain began about thirty minutes after we arrived. (It is just at the end of the rainy season here.)

We are so appreciative of your prayers and your support of this wonderful ministry to the least of “the least of these.” As were are often told by our Ugandan friends, “Thank you for loving us.”

Books and a Tractor

Wow!  What a day this has been.  While many of you are celebrating Memorial Day, we had an amazing day at Sunrise Primary School in Kerekeren.  You might remember this is the school we shipped books last year and I was not able to get the books released from customs before I had to leave to come home.  So for all of us this was the first time to see the finished product.  It is amazing!  The children of Lulwanda and the librarians from Sunrise did a wonderful job setting up the books.  Mary, Sue and Glenna spent some time with the librarians teaching them new ways to use the books in the classrooms.  They modeled lessons for the librarians and had them model for the other teachers.  They did a wonderful job.  These children will be exposed to many new things and ideas they would not have been exposed to otherwise.

 Patrick, one of the librarians modeling a lesson for the teachers.

One of the highlights this year is the honor of taking much needed school supplies to the schools we are visiting.  The school supplies were loaded into the van in a way that the ladies could not get out of the van until they were unloaded.  An army of children soon arrived and rescued the ladies.  As we presented the supplies to the Head Teacher and children, their smiles were priceless.  These supplies will last them for the remainder of the school year.  For many children, they cannot afford the basic school supplies.  Each child will now have pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, paper and workbooks in which to learn.  Thank you to all who donated toward this project.  You are making a big difference in children’s lives.

 Staff and children accepting the school supplies

The church and school has been gifted a new tractor to use for their crops.  They have only had the tractor 3 months and are still learning how to use it.  Marc, a farmer, was in his element.  He and Buzzy spent time with the farmers explaining all the many parts of the tractor and how to maintain it.  Marc calls it “Tractor Maintenance 101.”  I think the guys had a great morning.

 Marc and Buzzy showing how to attach one of the implements.

It was a great day.  Tomorrow we return to Lulwanda where Mike has been asked to attend several meetings with the Leadership of Lulwanda.  These will be long, tiring meetings.  Say a prayer for me.

Sunday, A Day of Worship and Rest

Today was a rest day as we recharge and prepare for our 2nd week.  It is always a privilege to visit our host church when we come to Uganda.  For many years we worshiped out with the Lulwanda children at their church at Bueleleo.  Today we visited Mbale Presbyterian Church and our host Pastor Morris Ogenaga.  When you attend an Ugandan church, you must prepare to being there for at least 4 hours.  Now, this is not my first rodeo, so after consulting with the pastor the night before, I thought I had a plan where we would only be for maybe 2 hours.  Good thing I am not a rodeo performer, because I would have been bucked off my horse.  Today and today only, they changed their schedule.  Instead of arriving just for main worship and sermon, we arrived for Sunday School and pre-worship.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a powerful, uplifting experience worshiping with our Ugandan brothers and sisters, but after 4 hours sitting on hard wooden bench, we were worshiped out.  We love our brothers and sisters here in Mbale, when they sing to the Lord, they mean what they are saying, even if we don’t know what they are saying.

After church, it was time to rest from the many parties we have been a part of this week and prepare for tomorrow and Tuesday.  Tomorrow we visit Sunrise Primary School in Kerekeren, a small village outside Mbale.  This school is where we provided a library last year.  Since the team or I was not  around when the books finally were released from customs, we are excited to see the completed library full of books.  We will also bless the school with much needed school supplies.

Mary and I are honored to be traveling with 2 of our favorite couples.  At one time we all lived in Monahans, Texas, although not at the same time.  We have had many laughs and fun memories of past trips.  They bring much needed knowledge and support as I oversee the education component of Lulwanda Children’s Home.

Thank you for hanging in there with us.  We know we have many supporters thinking about us each day.  Until tomorrow, good night one and all.

Mike-Todays Blogster

 

Good Neighbor Day

On this beautiful Saturday, it is apparent that God works all things for good.

After a hectic day of meetings and disappointing discoveries concerning the Uganda education system, we had such a relaxing day today under beautiful clear blue skies. Looking ahead, we knew that the schedule was very light. But issues can arise suddenly in a place like Lulwanda Childrens Home. Everything remained as planned, so we had a chance to spend some quality time with kids and adults that we love.

On the calendar for LCH was the “Good Neighbor” program. That is an event which brings kids from Bulolelo Village and Lulwanda Childrens Home together. (Bulolelo is the village in which Lulwanda is located. In Africa, a village is a group of well-scattered country homes and huts in a given region.) Beginning at 11 AM, the students’ day was filled with Bible lessons, entertainment (including a new dance by the Ballerinas of Lulwanda), good food, and a gift of school supplies from the local church family. The kids had a great time, and the staff of Lulwanda Childrens Home handled every part of the day with ease and class. Special thanks to Daddy Paul, Teacher Betty, and Uncle Joseph. They demonstrated a thorough understanding of the suggestions made at yesterday’s meeting about assemblies in the main hall. Everything moved along smoothly, the amplification level was well-controlled, and the students were respectful of everyone who addressed them. The get-together was concluded by 3:30 PM.

The remainder of the day was filled with Marc helping with the farm chore of bailing hay, Buzzy being entertained and entertaining some of the LCH boys, Sue spending quality time with her young ballet students and with Egulasi Grace, Glenna and Mary continuing to ponder educational improvements at LPS, and Mike having meetings with John Palmer and Administrator Paul. (Sorry, Mike, but someone has to do the hard work.)

On this last day of our scheduled time at LCH, we had bittersweet times with many beloved students and staff members.

Our schedule for tomorrow (Sunday May 27) includes church attendance at Mbale Presbyterian Church. At least some members of the team are already anticipating a well-deserved afternoon nap.

We are grateful for your prayers and for your keeping up with our activities. As one of the preteens at Lulwanda said today, “Thank you for loving God and for loving us.”

To Work We Go, No Party Today

Good day to all from rainy Uganda. We love the pleasantly cool weather, but most Ugandans are looking for a jacket. (It is in the mid-60s.)

Our first duty of the day was to pick up our school supplies order for Lulwanda Primary School. Although Mike had placed the order days earlier, the order was not ready for us when we arrived at the office supply store. The very small storefront barely had room for their limited stock, and there was no place to store our order even if it had been assembled in advance of our arrival. The common statement as we wait for things to happen is, “It’s Africa.” Our understanding of that term is that they have a culture unlike our own. And we have no right to expect that they can understand and adapt to our American standards.

Once the supplies were loaded into the van, we proceeded to Lulwanda to deliver the supplies and to let the children know of some gifts of games and toys. After gathering most of the students into the main hall, Buzzy took charge of the meeting and established an attitude of respect for those speaking. When the large room with dozens of young Africans in it was completely silent (that’s right – completely silent), he turned the meeting over to Teacher Sue. Sue began by presenting a newly published book to the LPS library. Emma Dee, was called on to accept the book for the school. Sue read the title of the book, “Abstract Artists of Lulwanda.” Then she noted that the book was compiled by Nathan Green, who was a member of the BatB team in 2017. (Nathan is a jewelry designer for Tiffany, and while at Lulwanda last year, he taught an art lesson on abstract art.) Sue read the names of each of the students whose art projects are in the book, then she gave the book to Emma Dee, a Lulwanda student whom Nathan sponsors. Emma Dee will convey the book to Edith, the Librarian.

Following that presentation, Sue opened a large suitcase that had lurked around the main hall since the team arrived on Wednesday. Many students had commented on the suitcase, and curiosity had grown. Sue had the suitcase on a large table and opened it to reveal a full load of toys and games. Then she took out each toy or game, read its name, and held it up for all to see. When the suitcase was empty, the table was strewn with new games and toys. Students were told how and when they could use these new items, and the meeting was adjourned. Teacher Betty had agreed to be responsible for the new possessions, so they were boxed and transported to her storage area. By the time the first teachers’ meeting began, Marc Applewhite was already playing the new “Go Fish” game with students who gathered. After lunch, the entire main hall was occupied with students playing new games. It was such a joy to see them loving the things that many of you provided just for them.

The primary job of the team on this beautiful Friday is to meet with teachers to improve outcomes in the areas of Classroom Management and Mathematics. Mike and Mary had organized a full day of activities with the teachers.

The meetings began with Mike and William, Head Teacher at Lulwanda Primary School, having a business breakfast at 7 AM. The next event was a general faculty meeting in the Thrasher Resource Center at 10 AM. Fifteen teachers and staff members attended that meeting. It allowed Head Teacher William the opportunity to focus attention and lend local authority to Mike and the team. Mike spoke briefly about the history of Lulwanda as it relates to Books are the Beginning and Grace International Childrens Foundation. It was important that the new faculty understand the dual roles that Mike plays as the Co-founder of BATB and Board Member and Education Committee Chair of GICF. Mike explained that situation in some detail. It was evident that the teachers were appreciative of that clarification.

Following that history lesson, Mike made a nice transition into an important discussion about classroom management. Mike made clear the GICF expectations for well-managed and carefully administered discipline. Then Teacher Mary led the teachers and theBATB team in a variety of exercises which caused us to think deeply about classroom management and the means to define and attain a respectful culture. While directing us toward logical conclusions, Mary demonstrated best practices and noted how each activity and method of implementation was chosen to ensure successful progress and appropriate classroom behavior that can be carried through every activity. There was plenty to learn from just watching the progress of such a wonderful presentation.

As the meeting progressed, Mary involved various members of the faculty as presenters and leaders in the process of reaching consensus around the topic of classroom management. Master Teacher Mary held the attention of everyone in the room. With that model before them, the teachers who took part as leaders and facilitators also demonstrated significant skill in keeping everyone involved, moving the process forward, and motivating their fellow-teachers. The teachers participated enthusiastically and obviously appreciate the common understanding that resulted from this collaborative exercise.

After lunch, Glenna took charge of the session and related the topic to the special atmosphere of a Christian primary school. Her lesson encouraged all of us to take Christ as our first and only motive for all that we do, including our work at Lulwanda Primary School. She asked, “How can I stand for the cause of Christ and these children if I stand with idols (anything other than our Lord)?” She closed with a beautiful acapella rendition of a contemporary gospel song titled “Blessings.” It was an inspirational climax to a wonderful training session.

In the last hour of the training day, Teachers Sue and Buzzy met with the P4 – P7 (Primary 4 through Primary 7) math teachers. Like most schools around the world, Lulwanda Primary School does not do so well in math. The conversation was revelatory in a variety of ways.

  • The teachers were eager for the help we hoped to offer.
  • We learned that the teachers are functioning with only a single copy of the math text book for each class in most cases.
  • We learned that the P4, P5, P6, and even the P7 leaving exams are written by a government committee.
  • Our Lulwanda teachers had somehow managed to acquire sample tests.
  • They are lacking in the funds needed for the consulting services.

As we discussed these deficiencies, it became clear that the teachers cannot be held to a higher standard unless they are provided with the necessary resources. The BATB Team met over coffee just before dinner and learned that the math program’s needs amount to $10,000 (33,000,000 Uganda Schillings). We are praying for the means to meet the needs of this vital curriculum area at Lulwanda Primary School.

Following the math meeting, Buzzy met with the leadership team of LCH. The topic was better planning for full student body assemblies and more care and concern for the auditory welfare of the students and staff. The main hall is not a good acoustical space, and the music and amplified voices often reach dangerous levels. Furthermore, the assemblies are usually left to the upper level students to plan. The result is poor student behavior, poor planning, and assemblies that stretch up to and beyond three hours in length. Buzzy stressed the importance of the leadership team being fully in charge of those affairs so that respectful behavior, adequate planning, and volume control is assured. We are sure that all concerned will have a much better experience when one hour, well structured, carefully amplified assemblies becomes the rule.

Tonight we dined with the university and secondary school students who make Tendo their home during school holiday. Tendo is a house and surrounding compound that has been leased just for the purpose of providing housing to those students who are too old for the dormitory style housing provided at Lulwanda. The students prepared the entire meal of baked chicken, roasted “Irish” (potatoes), grilled pork, and fresh bananas. They topped that off with ice cream in the flavor of our choice. It was all delicious, and the host students were so nicely dressed and so hospitable that it was easy to forget that they are students. Most are in secondary school and are working hard to qualify for university entrance. Like the “leaving exam” for primary school, the final exam at secondary school is a “high stakes test” that determines the student’s qualification to continue. If the final test is not passed with a sufficient score, university studies are eliminated as an option for that student, though there are multiple trade school and professional certificates that students can work toward.

Wow!  What a full day! God has been good to us as we worked and played at Lulwanda. We spend part of tomorrow (Saturday) back at Lulwanda before bidding them good-bye for this trip.

Another Day, Another Party

Our wonderful six person team of God’s servants had a joyous day playing and working with the staff and students of Lulwanda Childrens Home. The entire day was spent there, and it is hard to believe that there was only one party today. After five years of service to Lulwanda, John and Bobbi Palmer, self-funded […]

Travel, Fun and Parties

The Books are the Beginning mission team (Mike and Mary Thrasher, Mark and Glenna Applewhite, Buzzy and Sue Green) departed from the Houston Airport on the Texas afternoon of May 20. After a brief change of planes in Amsterdam, a one hour stop in Rwanda, spending a night at a nice hotel near the Entebbe airport, and finding an alternate route to eastern Uganda due to a washed out road, we arrived in Mbale, Uganda in the early Uganda evening of May 22. Someone said that Sunday and Monday simply disappeared, as we lost eight hours due to crossing time zones and were in transit during that entire time. But everyone is safe and in good spirits. Please continue to pray for our health. At this writing, the only health issue is that Mike has a slight congestion which seems to be breaking up. Praise the Lord!

As we arrived at Mt. Elgon Hotel, our home for over a dozen Thrasher-led missionary trips to sub-Saharan Africa, we were greeted by Manager Paul and Missionaries Ryan and Meghan Kelley from Lulwanda Childrens Home. Some of our number had never met Ryan and Meghan, relatively new missionaries to Lulwanda Childrens Home. It was the start or continuation of a wonderful relationship as we work together with those two wonderful servants of our Lord. After check-in and a little time to stretch some cramped travel muscles, we proceeded to the restaurant where we were surprised by John and Bobbi Palmer, more missionaries to Lulwanda. They were not there to meet us as much as they were having a night out to celebrate their wedding anniversary and John’s birthday. It was a joyful reunion for all of us to see and touch these dear souls whose work we admire so much.

We arrived at the Lulwanda Childrens Home midmorning on Wednesday, May 23. As is their custom, the children and many adults would hardly let us out of the van before they were hugging, touching, taking our bags, and making us feel so welcome at their home. We were escorted into the main hall of the Childrens Home and were soon the subjects of a huge Welcome Party. The focus of the event was Teacher Mary, who is always a favorite of the large and small residents of that blessed place. This time, their eagerness to see her was heightened by her recovery from the cancer diagnosis which kept her at home for the last two summers. As the party began, both Teacher Betty and Manager Paul reminded the students of their diligence in praying for Mary, one of the founders of the Thrasher Library which is on their campus. That library is the first library established by Books are the Beginning, a feat which has caused others in Africa to seek out the Thrashers in hopes that they can also help with providing these much-needed educational tools for children who have no connection with even the concept of a library.

 

 

Back to the party: Teacher Mary was asked to share about her experiences since last being at Lulwanda Childrens Home. With difficulty, Mary told of her gratitude to God and to the children and adults in Africa and in America who prayed for her recovery. In conclusion, Mary told the gathering that the doctors say she is in remission. But Mary believes she is healed by God through the prayers of the people of God who held her up in those difficult times. Praise the Lord!

Teacher Sue read a letter that Teacher Natalie has asked her to present to the Lulwanda residents. Natalie is still well-loved by everyone at Lulwanda.

 

 

Lunch at Lulwanda is always a special treat. Mama Christine insists on cooking a wonderful meal for her Mzungu visitors. The rice, beans, greens, and pineapple were delicious. Thank you, Mama. We are so grateful for your service to us and to our Lord.

Later that day, it was time for another party. We happened to have arrived on the day of their quarterly celebration of birthdays since the last celebration. The “birthday babies,” including Teachers Mary and Sue, were called to the front of the assembly. From favored seats near the action, they were entertained with lively dancing, skits, games, and a special bag of treats for each of them. Like the first party, the festive event concluded with cake and soda for all in attendance.

If it seems that our day was full of parties and eating, that is a correct assumption. However, time was found for some other things:

  • A quick tour of the new ecologically correct piggery
  • A walk-through of the new high quality cattle that provide more milk and far more desirable progeny
  • A viewing of two new houses being built for the change to home-style living for all primary school students
  • A brief sideline seat at the Lulwanda Football Team’s match (It’s really soccer.)
  • Catching up on the lives of some of our favorite people in the world, the students, missionaries, and employees of Lulwanda Childrens Home.

Tomorrow will find us returning to Lulwanda for more renewal of relationships and delving into ways that Books are the Beginning can better serve the educational needs of the children who have been rescued by the wonderful vision that has brought that place into existence.

 

Time To Go Home

Working in a third world country is challenging.  Over the years I have learned patience is truly a virtue when working in Uganda.  For most of this trip I have tried to remain calm and accept the fact that nothing moves fast here.  There is a lot of waiting.  The shipment of the books for Sunrise Primary School has been my most challenging shipment in the last 10 years.  Expecting a 60 day travel time with 30 days to spare before the team arrives in Uganda, it turns out to be a 90+ day journey.  The books took the scenic, around the world trip to Uganda.  Now, I learned of the delay before I left the U.S. and extended my time by one week.  Should have been 2 weeks.  Delay after delay, problem after problem, government bureaucracy, and time has been spent the last 7 days working to get the books delivered and cleared from customs.  Just when you think it has all worked out, another issue arises.  As I sit here on Thursday night in Uganda, the books remain in the warehouse in Kampala awaiting final clearance.  When will that happen, your guess is as good as mine.  I pray that tomorrow is the day, but after the last 2 days sitting and working on the issue, I don’t hold much hope.  I must fly home on Saturday so I am making all the arrangements to have our Lulwanda librarian, Favour, be in charge of unboxing the books and arranging the library with help from the older Lulwanda girls.  I am giving up control of this project to her for the completion of the library.  I know she will do a great job and put my trust in her to get the library up and going.  As Mary just told me, God is in control.  His plans are not always our plans.  There is a reason why all this has happened and I won’t be around to see it’s completion.  I am Moses, not getting to go into the promised land.  I will return to see it’s completion another time.

Thank you for all your support and prayers during this process.  My strength comes from my family and friends.  As Mary also reminded me, God called me to this ministry.  I must keep the faith and carry on with sharing the love of God and books with children and adults around the world.  Pray for a good nights rest, resolution to the clearing tomorrow and safe passage back to the airport and back home to the U.S.  I am tired physically and mentally.  What stories I will have to tell.