Get Flash

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - my timetable as a volunteer!

After my first week's induction, this is the plan...

Schools Ministry – I am scheduled to visit four different schools during the week as part of this ministry. Two of these are primary and the other two are secondary. I won’t be teaching there as such but I will be leading sessions based on Christianity. In the primary schools, the children worship, pray, learn about passages from the Bible, and recite parts of scripture. I am looking forward to developing sessions for these schools. In the secondary schools they also worship but then there is more of a sermon given, after one of the first sessions I attended four people gave their lives to Christ, which was amazing. Last week I gave my first talk at a secondary school, which was on the parable of the sheep and the goats, I challenged the pupils to be sheep this week! So hopefully they will have some good examples of that when i go next week.

Ball-Line Football Academy – ran by Walu and Tim Crow, Ball-Line is a thriving academy that meets in the Nyendo district of Masaka. The ages range from 8-18 and there are some very promising players there. Last season one of the older teams entered in Division 2 of a National League and gained promotion into Division 1. As well as honing football skills the academy has a passion for seeing young men develop into responsible members of society, by training them in team work and taking part in social action weeks in May. My first session was a eye opener, I will definitely have to work on my touch on the uneven pitches, and my fitness will need improving as the heat can be quite draining. The older boys had a cup match last week, and were 2-0 down at one point, but with some inspired play and great team spirit, they managed to end up winning 3-2!

Hospital Ministry – this takes place on a Monday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm. A group from the church go to Masaka hospital armed with bananas, bread, and the power of prayer. We split up and enter different wards where we give out the bananas and bread to the patients, then talk to them about their illness or disease, and finally with their permission pray for them. This is a really humbling experience as there are people there who seem to have little hope or chance of making a recovery, and are really grateful to receive a simple banana or slice of bread. It leaves you feeling pretty helpless, and all that you can do is turn to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to hold them in His hand. One week six people gave their lives to God which was amazing. As a culture people seem to generally be more open to God here than back in the UK, and through its ministries the River of Life helps a good number start their walk with Christ. Last week we met a man who was handcuffed to the bed as he was a prisoner, he admitted to us that he was a thief and a murderer, but he also said that he wanted to give his life to God, so we prayed with him as he died. Please pray that he accepts the Lord’s grace and that it can work in his life and he can make a positive impact within society.

White Eagle Project – this is certainly one of the most amazing parts of the River of Life Church, for many years now the church has been housing and caring for boys and girls from Masaka, most of whom were mostly street children before they came to the project. The charity puts the White Eagles through school, gives them a home, and encourages them to become active members of the church. I have really enjoyed getting to know all the boys and girls, they all wonderful, and have got involved with the sessions I have led with great enthusiasm. I have tea with I’m down at the project in the evenings, and it is always real Ugandan food cooked by the amazing Moma Kat who helps look after all the boys and girls down there. I am well used to tasting matooke (a savoury banana plant) and beans now, as well as cow peas and also posho (flour and water mixed into a lump)

Digging – the grounds at the visitors house are fertile and can grow many different foods. There is Matooke, beans, cabbages, maize, jack fruit, and there is a section for produce found more in the UK such as carrots and onions. I have a slot now in my timetable to dig, and work the land; getting to use the local tools has been fun, even though my hands are rather blistered now!

Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - Arrival!

Hello from Masaka! The flight out to Entebbe Airport went very smoothly, so smoothly that we even arrived 30 minutes early which was a great. The 3 hour journey then down to Masaka was not quite as smooth, as even though the country has done really well with many of the main roads, when we got into town there were a few canyons to navigate around.

It has been great to begin to settle into the Visitors House, it is a lovely place to be, and I am living with lots of wonderful people. There is Rob and Katherine and their daughter Elena. Rob is one of the leaders of the charity, and he and his family have moved out here long term earlier this year (although they are now on a two month visit to the UK). Then there is Beth, a gap year student who has been working with the church for over a month now. Marije also lives at the guest house; she is a Dutch student who is carrying out research into malnutrition in rural Uganda. Gerald, who along with studying social work at university is the grounds keeper of the Visitors House, he grows lots of lovely fruit and vegetables which we are able to enjoy, as well as lots going down to the White Eagles Project that the church runs. Finally there is Julius, he is from Masaka and has had a big part to play in the River of Life Church over the years, however by the time you read this he will most likely be in Bristol, England, as he has received his Visa and is starting studies at a Bible college there. Please pray for him as he enters a new culture and a new climate (especially a English winter) .

The first week, was in a way a taster week where I got to sample many different aspects of the Church’s life including, playgroup, schools ministry, Ball Line Football Academy, Hospital Ministry, as well as attending my first Sunday service at the River of Life Church. I now have an itinerary that will remain on the whole constant. Most of my time is now split between the Schools Ministry, Ball-Line Football Academy, Hospital Ministry, Church Youth Group, White Eagle evening sessions, Sunday school training/leading, and digging! I'll tell you a little more about each of these in future posts...

Julius' last dinner before flying to the UK

Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The New Girls Home! A sneak preview...

There are over 1,748 orphaned girls, just in our part of Masaka (according to the latest figures available, which, from 2002, are pretty out of date). For 5 years we've been able to give a small number a home, but at the end of September the girls had to move out of the house we were renting.

Over the last few months we've been building a new Girls apartment, to give short-term accommodation whilst we work on resettling them with their families. The aim, of course, was to finish just before the rent ran out, but we missed the deadline by a week or so!

Anyway, it's very nearly complete, and we thought you might like to see some sneak preview pictures before the official opening...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We’re coming of age - help us celebrate!

1st January 2012 marks River of Life Church’s 18th Birthday! Help us mark this wonderful milestone by fundraising for our work now and in 2012!

From recruiting sponsors for the Sponsorship Challenge through to arranging a Fundraising Event, we’re delighted to give you the opportunity to do something a bit different in the next 3 months to help us ‘come of age' in 2012.

We’ve got solid plans to expand our impact in Masaka - to support 300 orphans through the White Eagle Project, protect and purify Nyendo’s community wells, partner with the local hospital for a community-based nutrition and healthcare programme, finish building our Children’s Centre and Church in Nyendo, take part in mission trips to Northern Uganda and continue praying and working for peace and reconciliation, develop the new Prayer Mountain, build up our healing work in the villages through our Roots Ministry...

But none of it is possible without you! We’ll keep you posted to inspire you with ideas, or contact Rob direct on