Wednesday, October 15, 2008

**I tried to post this with pictures. . .but alas TIA (this is Africa) and no pics will upload!

Does anyone remember Bethesda Int'ls from our KidsLake project in April? We got to visit there on Friday!!!! What a wonderful opportunity for the entire team, but for us especially!

Rapha School and Village is a ministry of Bethesda Int'l run by Arthur Muga. Rapha Village is about 30 minutes from Jinja town into the Bush. This place is AMAZING! Wait until I can post all of the video we took. . You will be amazed! Not only is there a large foster care program, with 60 children living in Rapha Village and 20 more in town, but there is a school, pig farming, agriculture (including pineapples, sweet potatoes, maize / corn and casava) and they are even starting a project to “harvest” water that falls during the rainy season so that they can water their crops during the dry season. It is well run and simply amazing. Sustainable development like what Rapha is doing is THE way to go and is far ahead of most organizations.

It was indescribable to see the school children. Kids, YOU GUYS made it possible for these children to go to school and have new uniforms. (Our April KidsLake project was to provide uniforms and tuition to 120 children at Rapha). The kids say Thank you, Thank You, Thank You! What a treat to see them learning and growing because of YOUR generosity and obedience!!!!!

Next, we headed to the well in progress. Do you remember this? In April, we raised money right here to put a well in this village. Their nearest water source is 4 miles away. . THROUGH the Bush! It is a dangerous journey, especially for small children. Now, because of YOU GUYS who gave, they will have clean water soon! We saw the well being built! They have dug the well deep enough for water and are now bricking the inside to prepare it for use. They will have CLEAN WATER in 3-4 weeks! This village and these children were beyond grateful and excited to have clean water soon. Thank you, Guys! It brought tears to my eyes to see the children in person. To see with my own eyes the need and know that people from halfway across the world had reached out to help and meet that need. Please know that those of you who gave literally SAVED some of these children's lives!

We were then able to check out the foster homes. There were 2 that we checked out. 1 was a 2 room cement building that housed 40 children!! Basically, cement and bunk beds. We then headed into the adobe style hut with 2 small rooms sleeping 10-12 children, with 2 per bed of course. We noticed immediately that there were NO mosquito nets over any of the beds. This is a huge need as children DIE every day from Malaria that can be prevented for $7-10 per net. Thankfully, our friend Chirstine from CA stepped up to the plate. She quietly, without any of us knowing about it, grabbed Daniel (from HopeChest) and headed to a local store to pick up 25 nets. All of the children now have nets to sleep under!!!

Not only was this a wonderful day to see God's Work in action through Arthur and Rapha Village, but it was such a phenomenal experience to see God's people in action LOVING on the precious Ugandan people. Thank you again to everyone who gave in April and thank you to Christine who saw an immediate need and met it! Sigh. . What a joy!


Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

How amazing to see the places you have raised money for and helped tremendously.

Missy said...

I agree with Cassie, this is so great that you are seeing all of this up close and personal. Looking forward to pictures, but we'll wait if we must.
love you,

Vanessa said...

It's so wonderful to see your efforts in action! I know I LOVE seeing the kids and places that I raise money for in Guatemala!!

I have always dreamed of traveling to Africa!!

Melissa said...

I am living vicariously through you...can''t wait to see the pics and videos! I haven't been on a mission trip in a long time and didn't know how much I missed that experience.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It's a blessing to see the good that is being done in a place with so much need.

Kari said...

How wonderful and encouraging to see with your own eyes what was donated and to meet the children also! Love you.

Anonymous said...

Oh how exciting to see all that KidsLake has supported!! I sure wish I was there too! Love you, Christie

Anonymous said...

So exciting for your faithful blog readers to share in this journey with you. I'm so glad you have been able to go and visit the places that you and many, many others have touched through the donations made by Kidslake. Can't wait to hear about the rest of your visit.

Anonymous said...

What about all the kids here in the United States who need help - maybe you guys should be looking into starting at home before travelling a far.

melissa said...

so happy i got the chance to meet you at katie's the other day! hope all is going well -- and your african journey is blessed!
love love love

jena said...

Oh, dear anonymous....

but we do take care of those sweet children right here in our own land. And that is pure joy as well. God cares about each and every person breathing in the world He created. And He selects to send some a little farther away than others. It is a great honor to get to serve where God sends us. Thankfully he puts different callings in our hearts so that we can reach more for His glory!

God bless!

Anonymous said...

Oh Jena
We are definitely not doing enough for the little ones here in the States - just take a look around

S and K said...

can't wait to see the pictures!!

Praying for you all. What and amazing trip!!!

Love ya,

steffany said...

How incredible to actually see what God has done through the incredible contributors.
That rocks!

brooke said...

Brandi, it's so neat to see your passion (that God as given you) for the people of Africa, being used to change lives. I am very inspired by your love for the people of Africa. You have poured many months into raising money. How Great is our God for supplying for these needs!

How is Greg feeling?! I'm praying for a safe trip home and for your transition back to life in Orlando.

annNEE said...

YES!!!!! I hope you have lots of pictures and videos!!!

I CANNOT wait to talk to you when you get back and decompress!!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! praying for clarity as you process all of this in the coming days and months, Little friend.
Godspeed on the trip home.

ps by the way, i'm working through some jealousy over the WOF news!! ;)
lisa e

Dearest Jessica said...

Dear Anonymous,

I totally agree with you that we should be doing more for the kids in the U.S.
Suggestions are always helpful.

I am sure myself and my friend Brandi would love to get on board and support whatever project your currently involved in helping the kids in the U.S.

Personally God has given me a passion for the kids in the U.S. foster system. I am doing nothing for the kids around world, or in Africa for that matter. Besides supporting my friends. If my plan was to simply help the people around he world when I am done with this passion I would never get there, there is way to much work ahead.

The idea of divide and conquer makes the most sense to me.

Anonymous said...

dearest jessica
I am so glad to hear you are helping the children here - there are so many in need and I feel we need to start at home.

auntie katie said...

come home so i an call you on the phone so we can talk because i am just so excited about everything that i am jumping out of my seat!!!!

Jaime said...

Can't wait to hear all about the trip! I will have to take some time to read all your posts today. I have had family in town and have missed my google reader! Praying for a safe return!

Brandi said...

Anonymous who said, "What about all the kids here in the United States who need help - maybe you guys should be looking into starting at home before travelling a far."

I agree with others who have commented after you. . we all work where God places our hearts. If we wait until every child in the US is taken care of. . well, we'll never get to helping any other child. . .and the kids in Africa (whether Uganda where I was, Liberia where I adopted from or Mali, Ethiopia or Kenya where we raised money for) just can't wait.

Many of these children will DIE without our immediate help.

The children for whom we purchase FOOD, Nets or other needs are literally days away from death if God's Church doesn't act. That's why the Lord encourages us to minister in our Body, Community AND world. For many of my friends, God has placed the children of S. America (like my friend Angel) for many China or SE Asia (like what we're doing with this month) and for many right here in the US. For right now, God has placed Africa strongly on my heart. That is why I am serving the children there at this time.

Does that mean that I neglect the children of the US? no! This was my first love and I spent 3 years running an inner-city program. I plan on being involved in foster care when my children are older and right now spend my time supporting, loving, praying for (and hopefully soon babysitting for!) my 3 friends at church who are pursuing Foster Care/Adoption from the state. I have met with each of them looking for ways for our church to partner with the foster system and help in any way we can. They are all just learning the system and watching for ways. . who knows how God will call us to be involved. . my friends are passionate and WILL come up with ways for our Body to serve as they see needs!!

Does that answer the question? I think we should have our eyes open to the children right here in our communities. . .however, just because a child doesn't live within my line of sight, doesn't mean they don't deserve my help. . .these children that no one sees are precious, beautiful and amazing and we are so incredibly blessed to be used by our God in some small way to bless them.

Thank you,