Get Flash

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - Socks and Pork, it's Christmas!

Hello again! I’m writing this on the 31st December 2011, I hope that this year has been one filled with love for you and your families. I pray that growth has happened through any hardships, and that you have been able to experience God in new and exciting ways. My 2011 has been filled with many different experiences but I will just focus on those of the last month in this letter!

A slightly different month this month - as stated in the last post the White Eagles are on holiday now so we are mainly with them in the day running the holiday program. Also the ministry has started a new sports ministry which goes by the name of SYNERGY SPORTS STRATAGY...I hope you hear a sound effect of thunder rumbling as you read that just like I do!

Also it has been slightly different as it has been Christmas (as I’m sure you were aware) It was a different Christmas in many ways, the church service lasted for three hours, which is the norm here, and I didn’t even get to show off a teddy to the church. However I did get some socks through the post off my mum aka Ros, and nothing says happy Christmas like a pair of socks! After going to hospital for some hospital ministry, some of us ended up at Tim and Sarah Crow’s where we had a lovely meal with BBQ’d pork, roast veg, gravy, stuffing and even some mince pies to finish us off. Like I said it was different but I truly enjoyed my Masaka Christmas.

We also as a Project had some pigs BBQ’d a few days before Christmas. Along with the pork there were sodas and chapattis, all were extremely tasty and everyone went home satisfied. I know some of the people from Culcheth Methodist Church contributed to the buying of the pigs, and I would just like to thank you deeply for that blessing and generosity, and that thanks also comes from all who enjoyed the meal.

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Out in the Community - White Eagles Monthly Report

Welcome to the December 2011 White Eagle Project Report from Emily, Director of Training at River of Life:

1st December: World AIDS Day
We spent November teaching about HIV/AIDS, and so on 1st December, some of our White Eagles came with me to bless some of the people in our community with HIV. Our Project blessed about 8 families, giving them sugar, bread, rice, etc., and our kids went and helped out in some of those families (helping to de-leg and de-wing grasshoppers), and those families were so blessed.

Mini Operation ARK (Acts of Random Kindness)
On 10th December, we did a mini Operation ARK, where we took all of our White Eagles (including our community White Eagles) to Mabeera, and did a few hours of sweeping and clearing to tidy up the area (which was covered in rubbish). Many local children came to help us, and some from the community expressed their thanks to us.

Youth Changers Youth Conference:
Many of our White Eagles attended the first Annual Youth Changers Conference from 12th-16th December. The theme was based on Colossians 1:28: “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Many of our White Eagles were involved in organising the conference, and Sarah and myself preached there during the week.

Parents' Sensitisation Day:
On 17th December, we held our Parents' Sensitisation Day. We carried out workshops on: “Resilience and Thriving” and “Child Abuse and Child Protection”. The day was well attended by the parents/relatives of our residential and our community White Eagles.

Holiday Programme:
We invited our WEP Family kids to attend the Holiday Programme from 5th-10th December, which involved:
  • Life skills (We finished our series on HIV/AIDS with a look at stereotypes and prejudice, a question and answer session, and teaching on other sexually transmitted diseases.)
  • Fellowship led by staff (- We did an interactive prayer session with a focus on the Lord's prayer, and a teaching on bearing fruit in their lives.)
  • Games and sports (We have played netball, football, badminton and volleyball, as well as indoor games, in our games and sports sessions);
  • Group discussions;
  • Opinion forum - we asked the White Eagles to look at a photo, and think of a discussion topic. They decided on 'Why do the rich Western countries take away all the resources from African countries?' We also did a session on looking at things from others' points of view, and discussing co-operation in society, in terms of obeying the speed limit and paying taxes.
  • Music, Dance and Drama - we spent some time going through the nativity drama for the Christmas Day service
  • Letter writing to sponsors
  • Group Revision
  • Computer Training

Uganda Child Rights NGO Network
The Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN) held a meeting for Children's Services organisations in Masaka. They want to establish a group to promote and enforce Child Rights and Child Protection Policies within Masaka, and want to work with local organisations. I shared about what is happening in Nyendo, and UCRNN hope to meet us again next year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - busier December!

December sees the beginning of the big school break and it's all systems go across the River of Life Ministries - so Geoff was even busier this month:

Hospital ministry – this ministry has been continuing throughout the holidays and I have had the chance to go a few times. As ever there were people there in desperate situations, but through my translator we were able to bless patients with bread and bananas, and also talk to them about Jesus and what he means for the world. A few people even took the opportunity to give their lives to God which was amazing. I pray that this relationship is a close and sustained one. We also went on Christmas day to the hospital to give out fruit juice and biscuits. This was a surprisingly joyful occasion as many seemed to really appreciate the gesture and be lifted by an act of love on such a day.

The White Eagle Holiday Program – games and sports, fellowship, life skills, aerobics, music dance and drama, group discussions, revision, dvd watching, these are all part and parcel of the holiday program which is intended to give the White Eagles oppourtunity to relax, have fun, and also learn. All has been just that, and the atmosphere has been good around the home. On occasion, I have thought, ‘is this really doing work that is needed or serving in the best way’ as to be honest, it is mostly relaxing and fun, but recently I thought about what the White Eagles would be doing if there were no project or holiday program. Most of them were street children before they came to the project. So just to be able to have fun in a constructive and positive manner is really worthwhile and we hope that it contributes to them becoming good citizens when they leave, faithful husbands and wives, loving parents, and willing servants of God.

Synergy Sports Strategy – the new sports ministry of River of Life has started very well indeed. Within a couple of football training sessions the numbers were up to around 35/40 which was incredible as we didn’t even advertise much. As it is the holidays we have had four training sessions a week, focusing on technique, fitness, game awareness and a lot of other things which I don’t have when it comes to playing football! Along with this though we also focus on fostering a good team environment, and promoting good values both on and off the pitch. At the end of every session we also have a short talk which focuses on an aspect of football ie team work, which then links into life ie community, which then links into church and the gospel ie fellowship and the body of Christ. The boys/young men that have been coming to the sessions have started to respond to this a bit more which is encouraging and hopefully this input will have a positive impact upon their lives in some way. On Saturdays we also run youth club straight after training and have invited the boys to come along to that as well, a number have responded to this and enjoyed the experience, even coming to the Sunday service the next day, which is very encouraging as the main vision of Synergy - to see young people in Masaka/Neyendo come to Jesus.

Youth club – this has been going well and we have continued on the theme of salt and light. This has been a really good focus for the Youth as it has a lot of application opportunities. We also have had a couple of sessions where we have either played games or relaxed with a dvd; this has been good in introducing some of the boys from Synergy Sports to the group. A few weeks ago I did a session on light and how it casts out darkness. I tried to make the point that darkness is a deprivation of light as where there is light there can be no darkness, and to encourage the youth that if we are all lights for Christ in his world then even the corners that attempt to block the light will be illuminated from many angles, thus casting out darkness... Amen!

The Nyendo Nativity that I wrote and the White Eagles performed seemingly went down well on Christmas day. Instead of shepherds we had grasshopper sellers, instead of Magi we had Pastors, and instead of a donkey (even though there isn’t one in the Christmas story) we had a boda boda motor cycle. The performers rose to the challenge well and all enjoyed watching and performing. Hopefully also it provoked some thought with lines such as... ‘As both the grasshopper sellers and pastors left, they all wondered about the infant king, wondered what his kingdom would look like, and what would happen throughout his lifetime.’

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