Monday, January 28, 2013

We turned the garage into a bedroom for the boys so they won't be so crowded. Joel is one of the boys that sleeps here.

Moses and John M. being silly

The quarters behind the house. This is where our cook lives and where volunteers will stay.

Richard eating pancakes

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Let the photos begin!

Tom, big David, Ojja John, Moses, little David

Beatrice-Have you ever purchased one of our paper bead coil bracelets?  She is the woman that makes them. 

Steven and Ibra playing checkers

Doris, our cook, in the kitchen behind our house

Steven playing Ludo with Joel on our front porch

The home

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's going on?

So what has been going on with boys?


The boys are getting ready to start school next week.  David, one of the oldest boys at the house, is starting primary 7 this year.  This is probably the most important grade for kids in Uganda because their performance determines whether they will be able to continue on to secondary school.  They have so much to learn to get ready for the national exam called the PLE.  So with this in mind, we are letting David move to the boarding section at school.  This will allow him to study from morning to night and then some.  Hopefully this will also help him to catch up more and really only worry about his studies.  We were talking on the phone yesterday and he was telling me how excited he was for school.

Tom, who was in the village with his uncle, just completed Primary 7.  He passed the test and is going to be able to start secondary school.  Did I mention that he skipped 3 grades?   He is a really smart kid and loves school.  I was afraid that he wouldn't pass or perform poorly because he skipped so many grades but he did well.  He has been staying at the house for the holiday but will return to the village for secondary school.  He will continue to live with his uncle.

Jacob, Davis, Kansiime and Vincent all finished their first term in vocational training.  They are studying to become mechanics.  It was a short program for only 3 months.  It was more of an introductory course.  We had been trying to get them to do an apprenticeship with a garage but it was so expensive and we weren't really sure that they would like it. Davis, being super ambitious, actually found the school and took Steven there to see it.  When they began, the headmistress was sure she wasn't going to like them and that they weren't going to perform well or take anything seriously.  By the end, they had charmed her and she was really impressed with them.  She went on and on to Steven about how good they were and how they took everything so seriously.

Ronald is doing really well these days.  He doesn't get in trouble as much anymore and is setting better examples for the other boys.  He was training at a local gym for boxing.  It was a reward for taking school seriously and being a good example to the other boys.  It kept his spirit up and kept him busy.  He really enjoyed it and will continue if he chooses.  He performed well last year in primary 4 and wanted to skip primary 5.  We are letting him so he will be in primary 6 this year.

Unfortunately, Ibra still is not doing well in school so we pulled him from the boarding section and are making him study from home.  We feel that he is just playing around too much at school and they are not hard enough on him.  So if he wants to return to boarding school, he has to earn the privilege again.

The boys all were able to return to their villages again.  Some have stayed gone most of the school holiday and are really excited for that.  It means those relationships are healing and rebuilding.  Some of the boys returned for the first time and those visits went well.

A friend is in Uganda right now and is staying at the house with the boys.  So expect a bunch of new photos coming soon.  (Check out and like us on Facebook.  The pictures will probably mostly be on there.) She was so kind to skype me yesterday and I got to see the boys for the first time in 10 months.  HOLY GUACAMOLE!  They are not the little boys I left behind.  Not that they were in fact little, but in my mind they were.  They have grown so much.  It is unbelievable.  Now I don't really have a leg to stand on when they want to argue with me over them being men.  It seems that they have become young men since I have been gone.

On a sadder note, we thought Joseph was really making progress.  He was getting in less trouble, listening, being respectful.  He even asked if he could return to school (He refused to go the last 2 terms).  So we were really excited. seems our excitement was premature.  He has taken a turn for the worse and is spiraling out of control again.  He sneaks out of the house and goes back to the slum and stays gone for the night.  He has decided again that he doesn't want to be in school.  And probably if he is spending so much time in the slum, it would be safe to assume that he is using drugs again.  We aren't ready to give up on him but it is really difficult and super frustrating to try and help when he doesn't let us.  I know there are a million things going on with him.  I know he has experienced unimaginable things.  But we don't know what to do anymore.  Prayers for all of us would be much appreciated.

Prayer requests:

  • For Joseph, that his heart would heal and settle, that he would want to be in school, that he would want to stay away from the slum and all of the negative stuff that goes on there, that he would just finally let us in
  • For all of the boys to take school seriously, especially David-he is going to have a lot more freedom, and Ibra so he can catch up and really perform to his potential
  • that all of the boys would continue to rebuild the relationships with their families
  • for Steven and the other staff to have wisdom as to how to best deal with the boys and for patience and renewal of heart and spirit when they are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed
  • to find sponsors for the boys that don't have any and for myself so I can get back to Uganda quickly
Thank you for your prayers and support!  They mean the world to us!

Friday, January 11, 2013


I went for a walk yesterday afternoon in my neighborhood.  I had my route all planned out.  I had taken it many times before.  It was such a sunny day yesterday, I just wanted to get out and enjoy.

So off I went.

About 20 minutes into my walk, I walked past a house with a dog in the front yard.  I had seen the dog many times before but usually there are no problems because it has an electric fence.  So when it leaped and bounded towards me, I didn't think twice.  I greeted it and continued walking.

Then it followed me into the street and ran past me.  It came running back and jumped on me, and then ran away again.  It ran into another house's open garage so I thought maybe I was confused and didn't really know the dog and continued on with my walk.

Then it came chasing after me, in the middle of the road, and ran ahead of me.  I kept calling to it trying to get it to come back, but it refused.  When I got close, it ran farther away.  It would run close, but just far enough out of my reach, and then take off again.

I should mention, it was about a 70-80 pound dog.  It was a good size and full of energy.

At this point, I felt responsible for the dog and getting it home.  So I kept going after it, of course with no luck.  By this time, we were far from its house and my attempts to catch it were not working.  I was frustrated and ready to leave it when a car came whizzing by and made me realize it is going to get hit.

So I kept chasing it.

It came to a house with other dogs and stayed at the fence barking at the other dogs.  The dog behind the fence was a huge rottweiler and I was a tad afraid to approach the fence for fear that my face might be ripped off.  So I stood on the edge calling it.


Then a man approached walking a dog and the dog came bounding towards us.  Still couldn't catch it.  This was at least 15 minutes since I passed its home.

Finally the man got it, and then I offered to walk it home.  I almost fell and broke my neck twice because the dog had NO TRAINING.  I was holding it by its collar and it pulled me the WHOLE WAY!  Then it just stopped in the middle of the street, laid down and would not get back up.

I was so over this stupid dog at that point, I almost left it there.  But a girl came out of her house and offered me a treat to entice the dog back home.  She ensured me it worked for her.  So then the dog was running after my hand, almost ripping it off until we made it to its driveway.  It stopped again so I threw the treat into the driveway and we went chasing after it and stopped in middle of driveway.

I heard voices, so I yelled hello.

No answer.

The dog was not budging from its spot and I was not letting go.  I was steps away from the door.  Finally, I dragged the dog to the door and rang the bell.  The man answered.  I asked if that was his dog.  He asked if she had gotten out.  I said yes and I chased her all the way over there, pointing my finger.  He begins to yell at someone in the house about how the dog doesn't have its collar on, says thanks, and shuts the door in my face.

Today my shoulders and back hurt from dragging and running with that stupid dog hunched over.  Not to mention the crazy contortions I had to do to avoid it tripping me and almost breaking my neck.  My nice walk was ruined.  I was dirty, my shoes were dirty, I was covered in dog hair, and I was kind of annoyed that all I got was a haste thanks and a door shut in my face.

If only that man new what I had to do to save his dog from an untimely death...

I see God a lot these days.  In the normal, boring, basic stuff of life.  After I got home, I started thinking.

I am like that stupid, stupid dog.  Keep running for no apparent reason, even when Someone is trying to help.  Just stay on my own little joyous run through the neighborhood, all the while He is telling me to come back.

I am like that man.  Slamming doors in Someone's face, unaware and ungrateful for all He has really done for me.

And still He chases after me.  Actively pursues me.  Tries to make me understand, He wants a relationship,  He won't give up,  He won't disappoint me,  He won't let me down, He won't hurt me, He will give me a safe place.  Even when I don't appreciate all He has done and scream about all He isn't doing.  Even when I get close enough for Him to embrace, but take off again on my own mission, He keeps chasing.  Even when I am not thankful, He still provides.

I am sure that many times recently God has said, "If she only knew..."

Thankfully, He never gives up.  He keeps chasing...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."    Albert Pike 

Things have been going really slow at the market.  So slow that I actually wasn't even making the booth fee back.  So I have stopped going for a while.  This poses a huge problem since jewelry sales were what was mainly supporting the home.  (Donations that we receive each month cover less than half of what the boys need.)

Thankfully over the last week, we have had 3 people that have committed to donating each month and 2 more that are giving one time gifts!  We are so thankful for their support!

But we are still a far cry from what we need each month.

We need your help.  

Would you consider committing to giving only $10-20 a month? 

This will help us make sure the boys are feed, clothed, educated and have a safe home to live in.  

It will make a huge difference for them. 

All donations are tax deductible.

All donations come with the satisfaction of knowing you have changed a life for the better.  Knowing someone is warm, safe and fed because you cared enough to give. 

Email me at with commitments and questions.  

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  Helen Keller

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Even if

This is one of my favorite songs lately.  It has been on repeat today.

You know how you can listen to a song many times, even sing along, and then all of a sudden you GET it?

I hope that happens for you today.

God is good.  He never changes.  He is always good and working for good in our lives.  I trust that His plan for my life is far superior to mine.

So today, and everyday, I will praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness.  No matter the circumstances or what I want I know, without a doubt, He is working for good in my life.  Because He is the "forever faithful One."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Parable of the Birds

I heard this story for the first time in church today.   I thought it was amazing and wanted to share.


The Parable of the Birds by Louis Cassels

Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn't a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men.

But he didn't believe all that stuff about God becoming man, which churches proclaim at Christmas. Why would God want to do anything like that?

So when his family left to attend midnight services on Christmas Eve, he stayed home.

Shortly after the family drove away snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. Sometime later, as he was reading his newspaper by the fire, he was startled by a thudding sound that was quickly followed by another. Then another.

When he went to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through the window.

"I can't let these poor creatures lie there and freeze," he thought. "But how can I help them?"

Then he remembered the barn. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and boots and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light.

But the birds didn't come in.

"Food will bring them in," he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.

To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction -- except into the warm, lighted barn.

"They find me a strange and terrifying creature," he said to himself, "and I can't seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me."

"If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety."

Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for awhile, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas.

Then he sank to his knees in the snow.   "Now I understand," he whispered. "Now I see why You had to do it."

Louis Cassels was religion editor for United Press International.   His "Parable of the Birds" has been reprinted and rebroadcast on radio many times in the years since it first appeared in the Christmas editions of newspapers across the country in 1959.