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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lizzy's Letter from Uganda - Episode 1

Welcome to my first ever blog post!!!

And so far I've had 4 mosquito bites, seen 4 cockroaches round the house, got sunburnt, and had most of one day with no electricity!

Hope everyone back home is happy and well.

I’ve nearly finished my first week, and it has gone so fast! It’s been great though, these last few days I feel like I’m settling in, all the girls are so lovely, and have made me feel so welcome!

Because the girls have been on school holidays, we have spent most of our days down at the boys home, doing activities like discussions, games, aerobics, worship, which have all been fun.

On Sunday we all went to church, which was lovely, Pastor Duncan asked me to come up to the front and say a few words, I didn’t really know what to say! But then they prayed for me which was great. But everyone at church was really friendly also!

Yesterday I had my first day at Nazareth, which is a local orphanage that River of Life supports. Me, Anna, and Thirsa are going to start making more connections with Nazareth, so we can help there a few days a week, help to communicate and play with the children. As soon as we got there the kids were all longing for our attention, and trying to grab our hands. We helped bathe some of them them and put nappies on them, and played with them, they were all so sweet, I’m looking forward to getting to know these lovely children! One of the little girls fell asleep on me when I was giving her a cuddle, and I just can’t stop imagining how much her mum must have suffered to have abandoned her. It's heart-breaking.

Lizzy normally lives in Manchester, and is currently with us for her Gap Year. She has very kindly agreed to post some of her thoughts about life at River of Life on our blog - cheers Lizzy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

School Holidays and Grasshoppers - Anna's African Adventure

Hi everybody!

Right now we are in the middle of the holiday program, spending lots of time at the boys home. I love being able to get to know the boys, getting on well with them, they are lots of fun and I have already heard a few stories. I was suprised at how open they are and love the fact that they feel they can tell me!

I have had many an interesting experience, including a gheko in my room, more than one in fact! I have also tried grasshoppers, bet you you didn't think I'd do that! On Friday, I went to Kisakye and Teddy's school to go and collect their report. They did really well and praying payed off. Kisakye told us that 'praying with Auntie Anna made a miracle.' On arrival at the school, the children were amazed that a white person was there! I had a crowd of amazed children follow me around the school. The girls are now famous I am sure. I also went to Kellen's school to meet her best friend which was equally lovely!

The girls (and staff at that), love galaxy chocolate and are looking forward to another package due to arrive with some more in. Mum has said she will post some more for the girls- thank you so much. Neeedless to say that I have no galaxy left what so ever!

Recently, I made Chapatis with Robinah and Nakawuki which was lots of fun. I always look forward to them and spending time with those two girls was lovely. We chatted and laughed together and I am due to make more with them next time. I can't wait.

Lizzy has arrived and has settled in well. I am enjoying spending time with her and setting up various different programs together. We went to the market with the girls today to buy clothes. It puts things in persepective for me was they rarely get new clothes. I found it hard to deal with the haggling and the overcrowdedness of the place but the girls are all very excited about their new clothes and I am sure I will see many of them in the days to come.

I am a little stuck! The Girls from the girls home, so all of us, have been invited to two parties and I have no party clothes! I have no idea what to wear, at all! Uncle Julius has requested me to sing at his graduation party. Speaking of singing, I sang at church on Sunday. It was very impromptu and have not had to sing and Lugandan songs yet. I can only sing 3 and understand at the moment so I am a tad worried about that.

Anna normally lives in France and is currently staying with us for 4 months on a Gap Year. She's giving us her special flavour on all things River of Life in a series of posts

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Highs and Lows of Anna's African Adventure

Hello everybody!

Things have been eventful to say the least! Loads of amazing and awesome and lovely things have been going on and other things have been less lovely!

Having Ben and Sarah (some visitors from Leeds) here has been SUCH a blessing. We prayed around the girls which was a very powerful moment leading up to quite drastic ending!

People have ben SO encouraging affirming that I am here for a reason. The project director, Aunt Emily said that she was so excited about me being here because God showed her how annointed I was in so many different areas. I shared my testimony with the girls about my experience of God's love and healing and I was told how anointed I was with speaking and teaching. I will actually be running a kid's club whilst the older kids have Youth Group. I am very excited about that! We will be watching clips of the Prince of Eygpt, which I love, but is so rich in things to talk about!

All week we have been praying for protection and sending curses to dry and dusty places! The result was that we have been burgled twice since Sunday. A witch dr has been seen near the girl's home. The two cannot be separate! Aunt Thirsa's laptop was stolen with material for the Kid's Club and the Cell Groups! We ARE however persevearing because we are MORE than conquerors in Christ! However, we are in the middle of a spiritual battle! My main concern is that the girls' will no longer feel secure in the home, which is something they desperately need. Needless to say none of us have slept very much.

I am however still loving being here. The Muzungu's have introduced a new rule that you have to hug us as soon as you enter the door. A rule which has caught on well. The house is now a Manchester United supporting house, which both Sarah and I being, as you can imagine, ardent supporters are very pleased with. Liverpool football shirts and looked down upon and are, I am sad to say, often worn amongst a few of the girls!!!!!!

Anna normally lives in France and is currently staying with us for 4 months on a Gap Year. She's giving us her special flavour on all things River of Life in a series of posts

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sarah's Story - hot running water and grasshoppers!

Hello everybody, I hope that this post finds everyone well! I'm going to try to keep it shorter than my previous posts... So here goes....

I think I told you in my last newsletter that I was looking forward to seeing my Mum and Dad at the beginning of March... Well, they arrived safely, and I had a WONDERFUL time!!!!!!! It was so lovely to show them the places I'm going to, the things I'm doing, to introduce them to all the kids and staff, and to show them why I'm so passionate about this place!!!!! They had a great time, and we even had power nearly the whole time they were here, so we got our quota of 10 or so cups of tea a day every single day!!! We lived in luxury for a week, and stayed in a hotel in Masaka (- we even had hot running water!!! - I felt the most clean I've been since I came to Uganda! - it was fantastic!), and I had a nice rest and felt very refreshed and invigorated after my short break. (- And they brought me lots of chocolate, which did my soul good - hee hee!!!). So it was just great!!!

Other than that, life here has continued in much the same routine - looking after Kitibwa, staff training and staff meetings, activities with the kids in the evenings, youth group, hospital ministry, prayer meetings, and church. I'm really loving everything I'm doing, and have had some fantastic times with the girls over the last month - the girls' home has resounded with laughter on a regular basis, so much so, that the lady who lives above us has come to check if we're ok a few times because of the noise we were making! The hospital ministry (where we go and pray for patients and give out food, etc.) is a particular highlight of my week, as is eating chapati and beans and freshly made passion fruit juice on a Sunday evening!!!!!!

We've had a few visitors over the last couple of weeks, which has been great fun - first off an English guy came to film bits and bobs for a promotional DVD; then an English couple called Ben and Sarah came and helped with the White Eagles Project (they're youth workers in England, and they were absolutely brilliant as they did some staff training and all the evening events with the kids for a week); and last of all a girl called Anna, who is English (but lives in France), has come for 4 months... She's on her year out before Uni, and is helping with the younger kids here and at Nazareth orphanage. We have another girl called Lizzy (from my church in Manchester) coming out in a couple of weeks, also for 4 months, and also on her gap year before Uni - she'll be working with Anna, and they'll both be living here in the girls' home. So the girls' home is getting busy!!! I'm now sharing a room with Thirsa (the Dutch girl I've mentioned before).... And we're all getting excited as we're hoping to have even more visitors coming over the next few months (but not staying in the girls' home, thank goodness!) for various reasons, including "Operation ARK" (Act of Random Kindness) which begins in a few weeks. I'll write about it more in my next e-mail, but Operation ARK involves a week where the youth from the local churches do things to bless the local community, like painting houses, cleaning up rubbish, giving food parcels to the poorest families, etc. It should be AMAZING.... I'll let you know all about it in my next e-mail.

I've also had the privilege(!) of eating grasshoppers this month!!! They are considered a great delicacy over here, and it is currently grasshopper season (so there are loads of huge grasshoppers about), so I had to have a go! (They actually don't taste too bad if you can get the thought out of your head that you're eating a grasshopper!!!!!)

Anyway, I'll end my post here, in the hope of keeping it shorter than my last two!

Sarah is originally from Manchester, UK, and is currently our Girls Home Aunty in the White Eagle Project. She's very kindly agreed to us publishing her newsletters on our blog to give a taste of life as a missionary at River of Life

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day One of Anna's African Adventure

Anna normally lives in France and is currently staying with us for 4 months on a Gap Year. She's giving us her special flavour on all things River of Life in a series of posts

Hello everybody, or should I say wasuze otya which is good morning in Lugandan.

I said my first Lugandan word yesterday: Sula Bulungi: good night. Everyone was very proud of me and pleased to see I was picking their language up, which incidently is beautiful!

It is very exciting that I am able to email you. I cannot ensure that I will be able to reply to you all presonally, but I will do my very best. For the minute, I am loving being here. I have never felt welcomed anywhere like I feel it here. Sunday, when I arrived, I walked into my room to find cards all over the floor which were made for me. They are proudly displayed in my room, on a very fetching handmade Ugandan set of shelves.

My first evening here, I was at the boys home along with all the girls and everyone knew who I was which was just lovely! I was told that everyone has been praying about my time here and I feel part of a family, a loving one at that, which I love! My name now is Aunt Anna. I really do enjoy being her!

So much has happened that I do not really know where to start! Julius, the youth worker-y person is also the assisstant worship pastor at River of Life church and he was hoping that I'd be a singer on a worship team and I am! He has asked me to join the worship team which is very exciting. I cannot wait to learn some Lugandan songs!

Yesterday, I really started to get stuck into River of Life and way of life. I went to the prayer mountain which consists of three prayer huts on a hill/mountain. It is the perfect place to wander, sing, pray. The view is absolutely beautiful. The huts are very strategically places: next to a which doctor's shrine. I remember when I was praying urged to ask God to keep is presence on those huts because of what they represent. They are love and hope next to death and we know that the victory has already been won! We commited my time to God there as well and I am so exciting to see what God will do in me and through me. I know God has changes to make in me too!

Just before going to bed last night, I saw two of the girls polishing their shoes ready for the next morning. So, I popped into their room and chatted with them. I went to bed feeling so happy. Just that little chat with those girls was enough to make me sleep well. We just laughed together, they showed me their things. After being here a whole day and seeing what River of Life does, after that little chat, I just want to be able to provide something of what they need, that something of Anna Thorley that does something- as long as it's what God wants, then I don't mind what it is. I just pray that I will enable God to do that, because He knows best!

Thank you and lots of love xxxxxxxx