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Friday, September 30, 2011

Onwards and upwards with River of Life Church

The end of this year marks a 'coming-of-age' for River of Life Church, as we're turning 18! Some of us have been around since 1994, when Pastor Duncan and Aunt Mary responded to the call to leave their work with the homeless in London, and come to Masaka in Uganda to plant a church. Since then we have grown in response to God's call, trying to keep our vision always in sight:
To see the Glory of God cover Uganda and the Earth through Church Revival and Community Transformation in the name of Jesus!
The White Eagles enjoying
the Day of the African Child
Over the years, various activities and ministries have been piloted, established and developed to help us realise this vision, from Schools Ministry (visiting 9 schools a week to run Christian Fellowships) to Street Evangelism, Operation Acts of Random Kindness (social action on the streets) to the White Eagle Project - supporting orphan and vulnerable children, particularly street children through resettlement, quality education, intensive mentoring and ensuring a safe and secure home. There are many more - we currently have 24 separate ministries either fully operating, or in pilot stage.

It's fantastic that, even in the face of grinding poverty, ill-health and the general challenge of living and working in a developing country like Uganda, the River of Life Team are plugging away with courage and determination to help some of the most vulnerable and destitute people of our Community.

Over the last year, the River of Life Board have restructured our work into four distinct departments - 1) Community Outreach, 2) Training and Discipleship, 3) Prayer and Healing and 4) Operations and Mission. We've brought on a new Operations Director, Mr David Nyongesa, who is ensuring we have the capacity and the expertise to do the work we are called to do, and so, as we 'come-of-age', we are excited by what lies ahead.

We've designed a leaflet that introduces you to all the ministries at River of Life Church. Do download it, and share it with your friends, family, church or whoever you please!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sarah's Story - The Last Stand of the Rats

Hellooooo everybody!!! I hope you’re all well!  I’m very well over here.  Let me tell you what’s been happening over the last month and a bit.....

The big event has been the countdown to leaving the Girls’ Home building that we currently rent.  Our contract runs out at the end of September (Friday this week), and it was decided that we would move out when that happened.  At the same time, the project has been building a new children’s home down on the site where the Boys’ Home is situated, and so the race was on to try and get it built and finished in time for us to move into.  For several weeks now, we’ve all been thinking that there was no way that it would possibly be finished on time as we watched progress, but the guy in charge kept on telling us that it definitely would be.... Well, he has had to concede defeat, because (as you’ll be able to see from the photos below, taken yesterday), it is not going to be ready by tomorrow lunchtime!!!  He has now set the expected date of completion at Friday of next week instead, but I’m not convinced that it will be finished by then, either!!!  (It’s nice to know that builders are unrealistic with their time-frames the world over, isn’t it?!?!?!)  So we are moving out of the current Girls’ Home building this Friday, and we’re going to stay somewhere temporarily until the new building is finished, and then we’ll move in.

At the same time, some of our girls are being resettled back home with their relatives.  Hope (16 years) and Isaiah (1 year) have already returned to live with their relatives during the last school holiday, and Judith (17 years) and Teddy (11 years), are going to go home this Friday when we leave the old Girls’ Home building.  Of course, we’ll continue to follow them up, sponsor them, meet with them, and mentor them, once they’ve gone, so I’ll still get to see plenty of “my girls” even after they’ve gone, which is good!!!

.... So it is change all round, come this Friday!!!

This last week has been a week of war on rats!!!  Our current Girls’ Home building is infested with rats, and we’ve tried everything over the past few weeks and months – rat traps, rat glue (VERY sticky glue that you smear on a piece of cardboard, and then put in the favourite spots of the rats with food on, in the hope that they are stupid enough to walk onto it for the food, and that they will then get stuck), rat poison, and just simply trying to hit them on the head with a big stick!  We had practically no success whatsoever... they ate the food from inside the rat trap, and then walked out of it, without it snapping;  they avoided the rat glue, or managed to free themselves if they did stick to it (apart from one very small rat that got stuck – which I then bashed on the head to kill – I’m very proud of how brave I am – it’s the first rat that I’ve personally killed!!!); they aren’t foolish enough to eat the poison-soaked food; and when we try to hit them, they just run and hide under furniture!!!  HOWEVER!  Because we’ve removed nearly all of our furniture from the girls’ home in preparation for leaving this Friday (we had to move it when the boys were off school last Sunday, so that they could help us with all the heavy lifting), we’ve taken away nearly all of the hiding places that the rats would go to, so this week we’ve spent every evening chasing rats round the house with big sticks, and hitting them on the head when possible!!!  (- I say “we”.... actually, it was the girls and Aunt Tinah, because although I was brave enough to kill a small rat stuck to rat glue, I am not brave enough to chase a huge rat around the room, which can jump up at me and bite me!!!)  So far they’ve managed to kill 3 between them, but the war continues, and it’s our nightly entertainment now that our TV has gone!!!  The only place that the rats can hide now is in the top of our cooker, but Teddy has found a long metal skewer, and spends her evenings poking the skewer through some slits in the back of the oven in an attempt to get the rats to run out of the cooker again so that they girls can hit them!!!  The girls are having great fun!!!

I’ve finished my Celebrating Children course now, although I don’t know if I’ve passed my assignments (apparently lots of us have failed and will have to redo them!).  So, for now, there are no more assignments to do, and I can concentrate on putting everything that we learnt into practice, and I can relax more on my days off, which is very nice!

We had a team from Runcorn  visit us last month, and the kids put on a bit of a show to welcome them.  They decided to paint their faces after my cousin sent some face paints out to me, and they had a fabulous time singing and dancing, and we had a fabulous time watching them – they’re very talented!

Anyway, that’s about all of my news!  Have a good October!

Love Sarah