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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Witchcraft wisdom!

Whatever you think about Harry Potter, witchcraft is no laughing matter here in Uganda! Pastor Nick is now safely back home in the UK, but before he left, he got a chance to visit some members of our church in their houses, as part of Betty’s community outreach.

The first person that we visited was Florence (seen in a photo below, on the left) who was happy to see us. She served us tea so Nick got a taste of our local Ugandan tealeaves. She then told us a story of how she got saved...

“My name is Florence, I have spent nineteen years in salvation and this is how I joined the journey…. I was married to my lovely and hardworking husband, who bought us a piece of land where we built our simple residence. After some years, he passed away, leaving me with three children. After his death, his family members wanted to take my house, and started doing all kinds of witchcraft. I discussed this with some friends, and they directed me to a witch doctor in a certain village. I set off right away, and as I reached this village, I found a lady by the roadside digging. I asked her whether she knew where this witchdoctor lived. She called me close to her, and warned me that all this woman would do would be to take my money. She explained that only Jesus could help with all the problems that I was facing.

I took her words to heart, and on my way back home, I found a group of Christians doing outreach. I stood and watched. I was convinced that Jesus wanted ME. I moved to the front and accepted Jesus as my Lord. After that I faced a number of oppositions from friends, but in the end I found a church to fellowship with. After some time, I got re-married to a man from River of Life, and that’s how I joined this church. I would like to thank the elders for being so loving and caring, and thank you again for sending my daughter, Veronica, to school.”

It was a narrow escape for Florence, as witchcraft is rife here in Uganda, and leads many people down a dangerous path. We’re really glad to have her with us at River of Life!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

No-one likes an angry woman!

We recently held a teaching session about anger at River of Life Church, inviting women from the local area to join us. We heard about ways to control our anger, how to understand our children better, and the importance of having a healthy relationship with our children. 

We’re really chuffed about this day, because several of our White Eagle staff had just been on a training course called Counselling Skills for Youth Workers – they were brimming with enthusiasm to share the material that has been so practically useful in our Children’s Home.

Leading the session was Auntie Sarah, who used a variety of art and craft activities to teach parents ways of dealing with anger in their children. This involved equipping parents to communicate better with their children, emphasising the need to help their children to express their feelings in a healthy way, and exploring ways of counselling them.

Many of these parents had never had the opportunity to do these kinds of activities in their own childhood, and they were absolutely delighted to learn new strategies. There was a lot of laughter and cheering – anyone listening might well have suspected that the parents were just having a load of fun, rather than discussing a serious issue!

We learnt that behind anger, there may be shame, sadness, anxiety, hurt, jealousness, embarrassment and many other things. An angry child isn’t simply “stubborn” but is often desperate for help. As Sarah said: “Creating a beautiful and healthy relationship with your children is an excellent investment, because you will never know when your child is upset if you aren’t on good terms. Do encourage them to talk about the way they feel – and find time to listen, so you can find out what is happening with your children.”

A message like this is so pertinent to many of the families in our community in Masaka. Many children report leaving their homes to the Streets, due to the lack of understanding between them and their parents. In encouraging strong relationships between parents and children in our surrounding communities, we at River of Life Church hope to see unity within families. And it doesn’t matter where you live or who your children are – we can all learn something from this session. Good work, Auntie Sarah!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Footballers? Or Brainiacs??

At Synergy Sports Strategy, our aim is to use football as a vehicle for helping our young people to they reach their God-given potential: mentoring and discipleship as an important component of what we do. But it doesn’t stop there, as football can also be the gateway to an excellent education!

Thanks to their super-silky football skills, many of our players now have scholarships to primary and secondary schools, and even to University. Blessing Junior School, based in Masaka, is just one of the schools that offers football scholarships, and here are their lucky (or skilly?) recipients. It gives us great joy to see these young people developing both their football talents, as well as their academic studies, because we want to see our players developing into well rounded individuals. It’s an honour to be able to help influence their lives in these different areas.

Watch out Mourinho, because we’ve got some pretty Special Ones of our own… with Synergy Senior team raring to start the next season in Big League (the second tier of football in Uganda), there’s no reason why our players shouldn’t be reaching for the sky! But we’re most proud of those important things that mark our players are different; their moral code, and sense of discipline, allowing them to be a shining light in the murky and corrupt world of football.

As we write, 13 of our boys are preparing to sit for their Primary Leaving Exams (these three smiling faces below are just a sample!), so please do remember them in your prayers. They say: “We are indeed privileged to be part of Synergy. The training can be very tiring, but know that good things come after sweat! The best time we have experienced is when we win matches: as well as making Synergy and our Coach Abbey proud, we also feel happy for having really challenged our opponents. Allow us thank our dear Coach for the great work he has done in us, and those that had the vision of starting this Academy.”

Synergy is such a great investment in kids' futures - it IS football, but it's so much more - so if you want to be part of it, let us know!