Monday, September 29, 2014


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September is almost over and it has been a hectic month for us.  We moved into our new house on the last day of August and that was the beginning the crazy month.  Thankfully, things are settling down.

Excitedly, we moved into our new home on the last day of August.  The boys were so excited.  As the moving truck pulled up to our new gate, their eyes got so big.  Some jumped out of the back of the truck(it was like a really, really big pick-up) and the first words out of their mouths were, “Thank you for finding us a home like this!”  They proceeded to run into the gate and run around the house like it was Christmas morning.  There wasn’t a single boy that wasn’t super happy and grateful for our new home. 

We spent our next day settling in and getting the water situation resolved.  Monday morning came and along with it, insanity.  I had planned to go and visit the local chairperson of our village that day and check in with the police, just to let them know that we were around.  The broker that found the house for us called the chairperson the Thursday before we moved in, but said that he was busy because they had just started the census.  Well, before I could do any of it, the police came for us and basically arrested me and the boys, sans handcuffs.  They demanded that I go to the station, and didn’t give us a choice.  They were angry that I didn’t go to them before we moved in (I didn’t know I had to…) and treated me like we had been living here for months, not 1 day.  They accused me of raising rebels and trying to overthrow the government, along with many other absurd things. 

Once I did get to the station, the craziness didn’t stop there.  They just proceeded to shout at me and refuse to listen to anything I had to say.  I spent the next few days, trying to sort out the craziness.  It almost ended with me deported and in a lot of trouble.  The police even went as far as to seriously tell me to send all of the boys from the house because I shouldn’t have them.  When I explained that they didn’t have anywhere to go, the officer told me to send them back to the streets then.  He told me he didn’t care where I sent them, as long as I didn’t have them. 

As it turns out, everything that we had been doing to get registered as an organization here and everything we were told was wrong.  We only went through 4 offices at the division headquarters, 3 local chair people and many others giving us advice to discover that.  Thankfully, our new local chairperson liked what we are doing and me, so he went to the police on my behalf and helped smooth things over.  If he wouldn’t have been there that day, I am sure you would all be seeing me back in the US and the boys would be on the streets. Amazingly, as angry as they were, they have just left us alone for the last 2 weeks.  I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad, but I am deciding not to disturb the sleeping lion until we have everything together that we need.  The one officer was supposed to come to the house, and hasn’t yet.  Please pray for us that they continue to leave us alone and we can get everything sorted quickly.

One of our biggest needs at the moment, since we have discovered that everything we were doing for the last year to get registered was wrong, is to get registered.  We discovered that our only option for registration is an NGO.  The process can be easy, but it is costly.  We have found a consultant that has done hundreds of registrations, and he has agreed to help us at a reduced rate.  He will write a new constitution for us, go to all of the offices on our behalf for signatures and recommendations, and ensure that the NGO board sees our paperwork and approves it.  We have missed September’s meeting, but we can make November’s.  However, his fee plus the fees for the recommendations totals $700.  If we were to choose a different consultant, it would be twice as much.  If you would like to help us get properly registered, so we can be sure the police won’t bother us anymore, you can use Paypal( or mail a check to LOT2545, 190 Clover Lane, Medford, OR 97501.  Just put in the memo, registration.  Thank you in advance for the prayers and any help that you can give.  You guys are the best!!

In really great news, the boys have started school AND the schools are amazing!!  At first we were a little disheartened because all of the schools were really expensive, but we found 2 primary schools that are relatively new and affordable.  The 2 boys that are in primary 5 are in one school.  There are only about 10 students in their class.  This is a huge improvement to 40-50.  The teacher actually has time to teach them and answer their questions.  The teachers are serious and teach the whole time.  They both come home so tired from school, but they are learning a lot.  I know with the extra attention, they are both going to perform well and really improve on their studies.  I also found a new school for the boys in primary 6.  There are 5 going.  At first, they didn’t want to study with so few students(they also only have 12 students in their class), but now they love it.  They came home after their first day, and told me how good their teacher is and how they are actually learning.  I am not worried any more that they won’t pass the primary leaving exam next year.  Their school is adding primary 7 next year and won’t admit any new students next year.  They are only keeping the students they have now.  It is so great to find a school that cares more about their students performing well, than cramming the classroom full of students to make money. 

We also found a great secondary school for the 3 boys in secondary.  It is a bit far from the house, but the boys love the school so much, they aren’t minding the 30-minute walk.  Their uniform is a suit.  I can’t wait to see how handsome they are in their uniforms.  They are still being made, but I hope they will get them this week.  Make sure you are following us on Instagram (@lot2545) or on Facebook, so you can see their pictures! 

We also found a good vocational training school nearby.  We had 4 boys join and they actually started today.  Two boys are doing Electrical wiring, 1 computer repair, and 1 auto mechanics.  They were so excited this morning to leave.   It is a 2-year program and they will have a certificate when they finish.  The certificate will help them to find a job at the end of their studies. 

One of the boys has also joined night school.  He has his life all mapped out, and I am so proud of him.  He was sort of a mess and making terrible choices with his life.  We would argue all of the time because of his choices, but no matter what I said, nothing changed.  Then all of a sudden, about 3 months ago, he just stopped.  I am sure I prayed and prayed for that day, and by the grace of God, he finally changed.  He saw his mistakes and how they were ruining his life, and he stopped it all.  It wasn’t easy for him, but he did it.  He wants to go to night school so he can get finished with school quicker.  He loves God so much and really wants to be a pastor.  He wants to go to Bible college abroad when he is finished with secondary school.  He dreams of planting a church in Uganda, and helping to run LOT2545 when he is older, and he knows he needs a good, sound education to do that.  Right now, he loves spending his time helping the boys on the street.  It is so cute when they call him uncle.  He hates it though, because he isn’t really much older than them and he says it makes him feel weird.  It is amazing to see him worry about those boys like I used to worry about him.  He gives me hope for a different future for all of the boys.  If he can see his mistakes and change, I know all of them can.  It is a breath of hope in the midst of a chaotic life. 

Thank you for all of the help and prayers that you always send our way.  Things definitely wouldn’t be changing around here with out them.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Prayer requests:
  • ·      Please pray for John.  He just lost his aunt on Friday.  She was one of the last people that he had left in his family and the person he always visited in his village.  He is worried for her 2 boys and who is going to take care of them now.  Please pray for healing for his heart and comfort, and for his cousins.
  • ·      That the needs of registration would be met and the process would be completed quickly and without any problems.  Please also pray that the police would continue to leave us alone.
  • ·      For the boys in school to be serious and study well.  Please pray for their teachers and the schools to continue to care more about the students than about making money.  Please also pray for the teachers to have wisdom and continue to teach well.
  • ·      For the needs of the house to continue to be met each month
  • ·      For the boys to continue to grow and heal emotionally and to leave their bad choices and behaviors behind them.
  • ·      We have to find an additional worker for the house for the requirements of registration.  Please pray that we will find an honest man that will be a good influence on the boys.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sometimes I forget...

I had to go to Jinja, which is about a 2 ½ hour drive from Kampala, in order to extend my visa on Tuesday this week.  I took 2 boys with me, Davis and Vincent.  Davis used to work every day where we lived before and then study at night, so there was never so much extra time for outings with him.  Vincent, is one of the first boys to ever volunteer to escort me and therefore goes with me a lot.

Vincent in an old fishing boat
We had a really great day.  We got my visa extended, no problems.  Then we had lunch at a small restaurant and walked to Lake Victoria.  The only place to see the lake was a fishing dock, but they didn’t mind.  We found a few fisherman around, but it was pretty empty.  There wasn’t really a beach, but the boys found some way to get in the water.  They played with dead fish trying to make it swim (boys will be boys everywhere!), while I shouted for them to put it down.  They wanted their pictures taken.  They played in the water.  It was really a great day.  We laughed.  We had good conversation.  The day was just the break that I needed.

The taxi ride home was long and we were all tired.  We finally made it to the taxi park to take the taxi home.  We hurried and jumped on the taxi.  It was probably about 9 pm by that time.  I think Kampala never sleeps.  There are always so many people, no matter the time.  There are buses that leave to various places late into the night.  There are people selling and trading, trucks of goods arriving, people trying to make the last shillings before heading home.  As we were on the taxi and pulled out of the park (think huge bus depot for taxis that go all over the city and even country), we passed a small crowd gathered around a truck unloading bundles of what I assumed were clothes.  As I watched the people working and wondering how they manage to work so much, a boy from the street passed.  The taxi wasn’t moving so fast because of the congestion, but as we were passing the crowd and the boy, who by the way was doing nothing other than passing with his bag of scrap, one of the men pushed him and slapped him across his face/neck.

As quickly as it happened, the boy moved on and the taxi was out of sight of them.  But it stayed with me.  I wished I would have been outside of the taxi to hug the boy and tell him he was loved and valued.  I wished I was on the street, just so I could ask him how he was and defend him.  I wish I were standing in front of that man so I could tell him what a coward I think he is and ask him what he proved by slapping a child.  But none of those things happened.  I was gone and that boy was left by himself, just like he is every night. 

I wondered how many times he had been hit like that.  I wondered if he had already started to believe everyone when he heard over and over, whether in words or actions, that he was worthless.  I prayed for God to keep him.  I prayed that God would heal his heart and keep him strong.  I prayed that this world wouldn’t break him, but that he would find comfort in the love of a great God that loves him immeasurably more than he could imagine.

After I thought so long about him, my thoughts turned to my boys.  And I wondered how many times that had happened to them.  I didn’t need someone to answer my thoughts, because I already know.  Too many.  Even if it happened once, which I know it was many more, it is too many.  Sometimes I forget where these boys come from, what they have come through.  We laugh and joke, and most days are happy.  I forget that they are broken inside.  I forget that they heard too many times that they were useless.  I forget that they were beaten because they didn’t have homes.  I forget that they aren’t trying to drive me crazy on purpose, but sometimes, they really don’t know what it is to be loved and live in a family.  I forget that they aren’t struggling with being sober because they think it is fun, but because their memories haunt them and they can’t forget.  Sleep doesn’t even give them an escape, instead they see family members murdered over and over, they feel the beatings, the fear of wondering what would happen to them at night, and it is too much. 
Sometimes, I feel like we are coming so far.  There are so many changes.  New lives beginning.  But sometimes there are set backs.  We forget and fall into old habits.  Make bad choices, sometimes of epic proportion.  I get so discouraged and feel like everything is failing.

All because sometimes I forget.  The suffering that they have known.  The pain they endured.  The difficulty of trusting that life will work out in their favor, just once.  Sometimes, I even forget that this life is beyond difficult.  It is messy and crazy, but it is absolutely beautiful and more than worth it. Sometimes, I forget that the pain is just temporary and brighter days are ahead.

***I don’t know if I knew the boy that got beat.  I didn’t see his face, but there are thousands of street kids in Uganda and millions around the world.  They are all suffering the same fate as that boy, the same fate that mine faced.  Please pray for them.  Pray for their hearts to be strong.  Pray for protection.  Pray for food.  Pray for a way off the street. And mostly, pray that this world wouldn’t destroy them, but they would hear God’s voice and believe Him when He tells them that they are loved and worth more than anything in this world.