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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June WEP Report: Julius and Sarah take the helm for World Cup Fever

Here are June's highlights from the White Eagle Project...

Emily, our Project Director, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy - Samuel Sharma Efatta – and began her 3 months of maternity leave, leaving the White Eagle Project in the capable hands of Julius and Sarah. Their motto for leading the project is “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”!
Uncle Kayima's wife Esther joined the White Eagle Team to help take care of little Kitibwa, who's now 18 months old, while his mum Kellen is back at school. She has two young sons of her own, so they make quite the gang when they’re all crashing around.

Our wonderful visitors, Shelley and Denita from Australia came and spent a lot of time with the White Eagle boys. Their activities ranged from learning to making chapaatis for the evening meal, to teaching the boys new games like Newspaper Hockey, to leading the boys' evening programme with a focus on team-building – taught in a fun and interactive way with tasks and challenges for the boys to complete.

Work began on the farm! (see October 2010 Newsletter for more info about our newly acquired farm) Uncle Kayima has really taken a lead and has worked his socks off and impressed us all. All of the ground was weeded and prepared for planting with beans, maize, matoke, cassava, yams, sugarcane, and a few other crops, all of which will help to feed the White Eagle children when harvested.

A water tank has also been installed at the boys' home which can hold up to 10,000 litres of rain water.

And a real highlight in June was the installation of satellite TV in the boys home which will allow the boys to watch educational programmes, documentaries and sports – Ugandan terrestrial TV is awful! The boys are so excited and happy to be able to watch football in their living room! “Webale, webale nyo Uncle Julio, mukitukolede mwana,” most of the boys exclaimed in Luganda - “thank you, thank you Uncle Julio, you guys have done it for us!” The boys are so happy to have the TV fixed for them. They watched the World Cup using the projector which was really great.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can you do a sponsored event for River of Life Ministries this summer?!

With 4,000 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children on our doorstep, and the vast majority of the people around us living on less than a dollar a day, there is a MASSIVE need to be met. Can you help?!

Cycle, Swim, Run, Walk, Auction, Quiz Night, World Cup BBQ - whatever it is, be inspired by our new Fundraising Pack with ideas to do something this summer that will make a massive difference to some of the poorest people on the planet. Whether you raise £100 or £10,000, every little bit helps to keep the River of Life Ministries running. The target is that between us we raise £20,000 this year from fundraising events, that will help the River of Life Team on the ground continue to reach out to the neediest children, care for the poor and sick, and help put the destitute back on track. Together we can do it! Download your fundraising pack today!

If you want to chat to someone about your plans, please email us

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lizzy’s Letter from Uganda – Episode 4

Hello from the big UG! Hope everyone's well, and happy!

These few weeks have been great,sorry it's been so long since my last blog! Still getting used to the way people live over here, for example the other day me and Anna got in a taxi, and then the taxi man carried on to pile 6 more people into the car! This was a normal 5 seater car, but with 8 people in it! But over here the more people they cram in, the more money the driver gets! But the most scary part was that the taxi driver had someone virtually sitting on his knee, and this stranger was actually steering the taxi!!!!! We couldn’t believe it!

But this week has been really great, I brought high school musical 1,2 and 3 with me, we must have seen them all at least 6 times per film!! We worked out the other day we have seen high school musical 2, 7 times! As this is their fav out of the 3!! Then the day after we talked about how many times we have seen them, the girls decided to watch them all again, which was great! But by the end of the film they all were up dancing around the living room copying all the dance moves and singing at the top of their voices! It was so so lovely, and it so made my day! The girls only have high school musical and another film, so if anyone has any spare films that they don't watch any more the girls would be very happy to watch them!!! they would like Disney and teen ageie films!

…just got interrupted while I was writing from a huge amount of screaming and cheering from the living room! It turns out we finally caught the mouse we have had round the house!! Its so midgey, I don’t want them to kill it but they think im crazy! Its just like my pet hamster back home though!!

Back to this week sorry...

…Our ministry to Nazareth is going well. As the weeks go on we get to know these lovely children more and more. They enjoy playing the games, and doing activities with us which is lovely. There all so sweet in their own little ways!

I went to hospital ministry again this week, we were in the childrens ward, so it wasn’t as shocking as last time. But it was still very sad, all the children were suffering from malaria, and some of them were in quite serious situations. Some of the children were from the villages, and so they had never seen muzungus before, and one gorgeous little girl, Anna bent down to pray for her, and touched her foot, and the little girl just started screaming her head off, so we prayed for peace as well as healing!

On Friday we all us muzungu went to Kampala to go and get Annas and Sarahs visa sorted out! Everything went well! We got to have a little shop around as well, and it so made me happy to not be living in the city, because there were so many muzungu around, that it almost didn't feel like we were in Africa! So it really made me appreciate living where we do, and living with the girls! Also when we got home all the local kids were all happy to see us, and then we went to church and loads of people were there, chatting, and listening to music, and then we went back to the girls home and the girls were all so happy an chatty, and it just made me so happy, I'm really having such a great time, I feel so at home here, I love them all!

If you would like to help fund the new Nazareth Programme run by River of Life, or the Hospital Ministry, please email Rob

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!

Anyone up for a Cycle Challenge?

In 2008 we cycled Manchester to Blackpool. In 2009 we cycled Manchester to Liverpool and back, climbed a couple of mountains and swam the combined total of about a million miles. But we've not managed to do anything quite as impressive as the guys that helped kick this all off back in 2000, when they cycled Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money to build the first section of the Boys Home. Until now...

This is an idea, only an idea at the moment, but it's gathering momentum. We're thinking of organising a Bike Ride - Edinburgh to London. That's 400 miles, which is pretty impressive in itself - but we want to do it non-stop. Yes! That's right non-stop Edinburgh to London. It's madness! The way it would work is that we would cycle in teams of two for four hours at a time, one on the bike the other resting in the support car, on, off, on, off all the way down the East Coast, through Newcastle, York, Scunthorpe, Lincoln and on to London!

And to make it that more exciting, we've got one of the guys, Richard, that did the original bike ride back in 2000 interested. It could be immense - if you're interested in joining us - for all of it or perhaps for some it - drop me a line! It's likely to be sometime in September...

Anna's Adventure - a busy busy week

Let me start off with a funny story! Little Mercy, who is 5, asked to see photographs of – I quote – 'my family and my sponsor!' It was very cute, we all laughed!

This week has been quite a successful one actually! So many lovely things happened. Auntie Juliet invited us to her house, which is pink inside actually of which I approve whole heartedly! Her son was very excited to have bazungu in his house! We saw photos of her wedding to Uncle John. She looked beautiful!

Friday was a very busy day! We drove all the way to Kampala where I am pleased to report that my visa application was accepted first time round! Thirsa had to go back seven times or something ridiculous like that! Kampala was as a matter a fact a scary place! The shops were too, and there were too many bazungu; it no longer felt like I was in Africa! The supermarket was bigger than my local supermarket. Those of you who live in France, picture Auchan or Carrefour and then picture it bigger! Pretty much your worst nightmare, right? When we arrived back in Nyendo, I was so happy. I was home. We arrived at church and everyone was setting things up for the student conference the next day. Everyone was laughing, everyone was happy and everyone was happy to welcome us back! I felt at home again! That evening, I had a practice for the conference the next day so by the end of the day, I was exhausted! We are due to go back on Friday!

However, Saturday went really well. Young people gave their lives to Christ, which is always a success! I felt like an integral part of the church, like I have a place there, a role. By the end of the day, I felt like I could collapse!

Sunday was an awesome. I spent the whole afternoon cooking with the girls. We laughed and laughed and laughed. To be honest, I hadnt laughed like that in a while!

We went to Nazareth yesterday where we cuddled children! They were too tired to do anything else! One of the little lads asked me to teach him though and in lugandan too which I understood without anyone translating for me! I was impressed with myself and encouraged by what he said too.

I have been fasting from lunch time to tea time and have been praying for breakthrough in various areas and am expectant that God will indeed answer those prayers. Testimonies to come. (hopefully...!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Schools Ministry Conference - What is your Destination?

Under the leadership of Richard and Thirsa, River of Life held a Schools Conference on the 19th June entitled "What is your destination?". We hosted a massive 230 students from 8 local schools which was BRILLIANT! The church was absolutely packed for the day. Each school gave a 'creative contribution' as a way of encouraging participation on the conference theme, Pastor Duncan and Richard Waiswa our Schools Ministry Coordinator taught a session each, and our new House Comedian Mr Nicholas 'Nico' Kikomeko - one of the White Eagle Boys - kept the crowds entertained handsomely.

A major part of the one-day conference was to break out into small groups and discuss practical examples of service in communities. This also served to show the students how the planned Schools Cell Groups Ministry can work. On this, Thirsa reports that:

Three of our White eagles have been attending the Cell Group training program faithfully and have done an amazing job in leading a small group at the student conference! For some it was the first time of leading a small group and it was a great opportunity for them to experience and evaluate leading a small group. One of the White Eagles said "some of the students were a bit shy in the beginning, which led me in the trap to started preaching instead of teaching. I really became aware that I did this and in the future I want to be teaching more instead of talking to them and telling them all the answers. Thank you for the opportunity to experience what it is like to lead a small group session, because now I am more aware of what it is like and how I can improve".
The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of successful and unsuccessful destinations in life, to help students discover in which stage in life they are and to encourage and challenge the students to stay on the right track. With many children and young people having very limited horizon because of poverty, it's so important that we help them reach out and try their best to 'fly high'!

A massive thank you to Thirsa and to Waiswa, and to all the team for a fantastic conference!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Miracles in Malawi - Duncan goes on Mission!

Duncan has come back from a Mission to Malawi totally fired up! He spent two weeks there with a team from the Maranatha Community. He's got some amazing tales to tell! Here's one or two of them:
My two weeks trip to Malawi was very successful. I preached to a congregation of 4,000 which pumped me up into overdrive gear and I enjoyed every minute of it! It is the biggest congregation I have ever preached to. At the end a hundred people came forward and gave their lives to our Lord.

We also went to a number of very poor villages. It was strange for me to see poverty in Africa outside my own country, and it gave me a new impetus for continuing to work for the reduction of poverty in the world especially in Africa. In the villages we went about sharing the gospel in word and praying for the sick.

For me the whole thing was very exciting because evangelism is one thing I particularly enjoy, especially in Africa. So, I was buzzing even though it was very hot. On one of the days I prayed for an 83 year old gentleman called Austin (going by his name you would have thought that he was born in Oxford!!). The doctors had told him that they cannot help him anymore and he was one step away from becoming totally blind. I prayed for him and after a number of attempts God divinely completely healed him! Allellujah and glory to God!

In addition to that the Lord restored total strength in Austin’s left leg which was semi-paralysed. Before praying for his leg Austin’s mobility was confined to crawling and sometimes dragging his left leg with a help of walking stick for short distances. After God healed Austin’s leg he walked around the compound even at some speed without the help of stick. Most of the village people were there and witnessed the miracle power working in the life of Austin.

God is able and willing! On the last day all the 13 villages in that area came together with their chiefs. We had a ceremony of thanksgiving to God, and lots of vigorous singing and dancing! At the end we gave material gifts to each one of the villages. The gifts included items such as iron sheets for roofing, footballs and many others. For me the gift I will never forget was a bicycle Ambulance!!!, which was a stretcher attacked to a bicycle. I reckon would have to be a good cyclist like Rob and Timo to get that thing moving especially if the patient is an African mammal which is carrying twin and needs to urgently be taken to hospital for delivery.

There's more, but those are some of the highlights! A massive thank you to Maranatha for inviting Duncan to join them on this trip. Duncan has made good friends with some senior church leaders in Malawi, and we hope to welcome them to Uganda soon, so watch this space.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Praying for a Miracle - Anna's African Adventure

I feel I should start with some good news! Bridget in fact is pretty much fine! The TB is not active but because due to late treatment, she has a lump on her back. Mum had a vision of God pushng her back back into place so I would appreciate prayer for a miracle. Lizzy, Thirsa and I have committed to pray for her. Emotionally, it is getting harder and harder to go to Nazareth. I find myself doing a lot of crying. Many will be saying 'Duh! Your surname is Thorley! That is what you do!' God has really been speaking to me about them and letting me know that He has NOT failed them because he NEVER fails. Yetalemwa! That is He never fails in Lugandan. I believe I actually heard God tell me that. I am learning the value of praising God in all circomtances.

Those children are rejected and hurting and just need God's love so desperately. I didn't know I could love them THIS much! We would appreciate prayer about how we are teaching them. We are still figuring out the right way of doing it. I feel we need to pray the beginning of Ephesians over them and have commited to do that- chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2. Carol, a wonderful worker at Nazareth, said 'thank you for making the children happy', maybe that is our victory.

On Sunday, the worship was so powerful. I loved it. God was there. Before starting the worship we the leadership team sang some prophetic singing which was amazing. I loved that too! God's presence just descended! We sang a song that actually I preffered in Lugandan! The bridge just lifted the worship to a higher level! God is good. Speaking of worship, there is School Conference happening in River of Life church and the River of Life worship team have been asked to lead worship. I would appreciate prayer for the Lugandan. Being on the worship team has enabled me to get to know a girl called Lydia, who is also 19. We get on really well and it so lovely just to be able to chat to her.

Friday, you know is our day off and we enjoyed a lovely day at the pool where the weather could have been better to be honest. I must admit that that was slightly disappointing! Tommorrow we are due to go to Bwala for chicken and chips in triple portions! We are looking forward to it!

I will finish with a funny anecdote. Yesterday, I was in a taxi. They are regularly overcrowded! There were four of in the back and four in the front, which, you guessed, meant that two people were sitting on the driver's seat. However, the driver was sitting sideways on the seat and there was no way his feet could touch the peddles! His hands were not on the stearing wheel either. The passenger was driving. Lizzy and I could not see ahead of us because of all the people in the front!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sarah's Story - Highlights from May

Hello everybody!!! How has everyone been over the last month? - The last month has been good here in Uganda.....

We had the last week and a half of the holiday programme at the beginning of May - Highlights include:
  • Watching High School Musical 1, 2 and 3 (the kids were up on their feet clapping, singing and dancing throughout the movie each time - the atmosphere was electric! - And at the end of the first movie they didn't want to stop, so they just put on some music and carried on singing and dancing for ages - it turned into a full scale party, and was sooooooo much fun!!! I also found it funny watching the films with the kids, because every time anyone kissed during the movie (even a quick peck on the cheek), they would rewind the DVD, then pause it at the point of the kiss/peck on the cheek, and all start clapping, jumping up and down, and whooping at the tops of their voices - it was absolutely hilarious to watch them!!!);
  • Going to the swimming pool with the kids and spending the whole day there in gorgeous sunshine (I love Ugandan weather!);
  • A visit to the farm (the White Eagles dig there in the hope that we'll be able to grow some of our own food to reduce food costs - I went with them one morning and it was absolutely brilliant - the kids had so much fun despite the hard work so the atmosphere was wonderful, and the view was absolutely BEAUTIFUL (Uganda is seriously a beautiful country!!!), and when they'd finished, we all sat down and ate sugar cane, guavas and paw paws freshly picked from the farm - it was a near on perfect morning!!! (- The only thing that stopped it being completely perfect was the amount of very big, very disgusting, and VERY scary looking creepy crawlies and flying things - Yuk!!! - One of the few not so nice things about Uganda!!!) I had a go at digging, but I wasn't at all good at it compared to the kids (who've all grown up doing loads of digging on their families' farms since they were tiny children), so the kids told me (with some pity in their voices, it has to be said) to stop and let them do it, as they would be much quicker and much more effective than me!
  • Aerobics sessions, which were a lot of fun, and which the VERY pregnant Aunt Emily (the Project Director) took a full part in, jumping up and down with as much vigour and energy as anyone else, much to everyone's consternation!!!

The school term is now in full swing, as are all the White Eagle evening activities and staff sessions that I'm involved with. There are loads of visitors here, who are helping out with different activities, which is really wonderful - Anna and Lizzy (the 2 Mazungus on their gap year who are here for 4 months each) have been getting stuck in and are both taking more and more responsibility for leading different things, and doing amazing, and really growing into their roles here! And we've got some Australian girls here for a month too helping out, which is great ...and Thirsa is still here.... So there are 6 of us Mazungus altogether, and we've had some good times swimming, making pancakes, visiting the bakery (my favourite shop in Masaka!!!), and watching DVD's together!!!

We had a staff team-building day a few weeks ago, which involved a meal out (- Roast pork - it made me very happy! ), and playing/having tournaments on the Nintendo Wii and WiiFit - it was SOOOOOOOOO funny seeing the staff get really into it, and we still laugh about it now whenever we talk about it (- especially as one really quiet member of staff got soooooo into it when anyone else played - he was practically off his seat shouting out instructions and advice to them at the top of his voice - everyone ended up watching him instead of the screen because it was so out of character for him, and so funny!).

I've REALLY enjoyed going on the visits to the hospital over the past few weeks - it's SUCH a privilege to pray for people, and I just love it!!!! I'm also really enjoying the time I have (now that the school holidays are over) to pray, study the Bible, and prepare for the evening sessions, etc. - God's teaching me loads, including how to trust in Him when there are tricky situations with the girls (which there are every so often - what with them being teenagers, and teenagers from difficult and abusive backgrounds at that) that are really difficult to handle, and where I don't know what to do - He's teaching me to just follow Him step by step, as He works things out. - So that's cool!

Kitibwa gets cuter by the day!!! He now runs everywhere (-walking is just too slow!), and he has the most gorgeous smile ever! He also understands a lot of what we say, including "No" and "Come here", so is much easier to control!!!! They've just sorted out some day-care arrangements for him in the last day or two, and we all miss him LOADS since he's been out of the house all day (although it's much easier to get on and do our work and prepare for things, admittedly).

...Anyway, that's a round-up of my news over the last month. I hope that everyone is well!!!

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