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Special Needs Students

Let me introduce you to several cases I’ve encountered on behalf of Team in Faith, worthy of your consideration and support.

Chris is a 12-year-old boy. He is physically challenged and cannot sit properly without support. He cannot stand nor crawl on his own. Thankfully, he is mentally alert and speaks well. He is capable of learning, given an opportunity.

ACER (Action for Community Empowerment and Rehabilitation), a Team in Faith project, in Kabale, Uganda, conducted an assessment on him and found out that he is suitable to join school. He can feed himself and has potential to learn.

chris and tif

He is interested in joining other children at school. Unfortunately, the demands to support him in school are too many for his parents to meet as they are poor and illiterate. ACER has given him support in terms of a wheelchair, basins and bedding materials. He now lacks school fees and facilitation to pay the caretaker while at school.

His parents, through ACER, are seeking assistance to have him fully supported in school.
ACER has identified one person willing to take care of him and an appropriate school with special needs education facilities has been identified.

The support needed to pay for annual school fees ($180), scholastic materials ($60) and a caretaker ($480) total $720.

Would you make a donation to support Chris’ education? Contributions to support Chris and other projects can be made at teaminfaith.net.

isaiah

Isaiah, 29, above, is blind man supporting three children. At the age of 13, his parents died. At the time of their deaths, Isaiah was in elementary school (Primary Two). He continued to Primary Four but dropped out due to lack of school fees.

In 2004 at the age of 18 Isaiah got married to Jesca Biira and they produced three children named Masika Mackline 10, Muhindo Ednus 8 and Biira Marylyn 6 years respectively. Isaiah and Jesca lived together until 2012 when he got in an accident. Shortly after his accident, Jesca divorced him and went back to her parents leaving Isaiah to look after their three children.

He cannot do any physical work to support his children. His elder brother, a father of 8, is taking care of him plus his children in an environment of absolute poverty. Through ACER Isaiah is appealing to all people of goodwill to help him get his children educated. He is willing to join any school that can suit his physical condition to learn.

ACER identified annual school fees and scholastic materials of $540 for the three children. Contributions are needed and welcome through Team in Faith.

deborah dinka

Deborah Awut, above, is one of the pioneers from Hope & Resurrection Secondary School in South Sudan. While a student, she used to sing to help motivate other young girls who took their education for granted.

She is now at university in Nairobi, Kenya, where she is in her third year seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, majoring in accounting and finance. The fighting in her native country has sent the exchange rate for South Sudan currency soaring making it difficult for her to raise fees for tuition and accommodate.

She has been an excellent student, achieving an Ordinary Diploma in business management at Marist International University. It was then on to the main campus of Catholic University of East Africa where she did Advanced Diploma work in Business Management. Now with two semesters to go and the end in sight, she needs fees for tuition and boarding.

Earlier this year, Team in Faith sent $1000 to partially cover her $3000 bill. With your help we can see Deborah graduate with a degree and a very bright future.

With your tax-deductible contribution, you can help Deborah, Chris and Isaiah toward a better life, a self-sufficient life, and life of accomplishment.

Visit teaminfaith.net and make a donation today.

Webale munonga. Thank you very much.

I Saw Water Flowing

Homily
10 May 2015
Ezek 47:1-12
St. Augustine Chapel, Kabale, Uganda

About a year and a half ago, a pastor friend of mine in California sent me an invitation. He was leading a mission trip to Amman, Jordan, to support Christian workers helping refugees from the violence and destruction in Syria.

In his note to me he said, “come share with me in the suffering of others.”

I accepted his invitation and joined a team of six doctors and pastors to visit and support Syrian refugees who fled to neighbouring Jordan. We met them in small unfurnished apartments, sitting on the floor. We heard their stories of bombs and fighting near their homes and businesses and how they escaped.

It was a powerful experience for me, but God was present, strengthening us and healing them. Most of the refugee families are Muslim but we asked if we could pray for them. Almost all agreed. We called upon the Prince of Peace, Jesus, to help end the horrible destruction being done to their country.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When our time in Jordan ended, and the others went home, Pastor John and I crossed over to Israel. It was my first visit and I was excited about a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

From the border we drove through the Judean countryside. It was a place of refuge for David, who was hiding from Saul. Jesus spent his 40 days in the nearby wilderness.

Before long we got our first glimpse of the Dead Sea, an isolated body of water located between the eastern mountains of Israel and the smaller Judaean hills. The Jordan River is the only major water source flowing into the Dead Sea. There is no outlet.

It lies in a beautiful, stark, valley with no trees or vegetation, like a desert. Its surface is 430 meters below sea level, making it the lowest place on Earth. It is nearly 10 times saltier than the ocean. In Hebrew it is called “Sea of Salt.” The water is a harsh environment in which animals and fish cannot flourish…and that is how it got its name.

In our OT lesson, the prophet Ezekiel writes about the hope of a present God in a barren land. These verses use the imagery of water and describe something of a paradise in a land that was hostile to life.

“I saw water flowing,” he says. “Flowing from the sides of the temple.” At first the water came to his ankles….and as he walked further, the water was up to his waist. Then it was too deep to cross except by swimming.

“And where the water flowed….there was new life.”

Verse 8: He said to me: “this water flows through the land to the east and down in to the Jordan Valley and to the Dead Sea. When it flows into the Dead Sea, it replaces the salt water of that sea with fresh water. Wherever the stream flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish. The stream wiil make the water of the Dead Sea fresh, and wherever it flows, it will bring life.”

This is beautiful imagery of the nature of God. Nourishing us to bear fruit in our season. Even if we sit here and think that life is bleak, these words can lift our spirits.

As we look at our surroundings in Uganda, Kabale District, what do we see? What colors do we see? Primarily green…plants and trees showcasing life.

There are abundant rains to satisfy and sunshine to speed growth. Imagine, then, a life in exile. The promise of the Lord a memory as conquerors now rule.

This is the life and vision of refugees even today, like those from Syria whom I met. The colors of life they see, unfortunately are like the dry, brown, desolate Dead Sea area.

No trees or plants. Just a large body of salty water. A deslote, barren land. Brown and inhospitable.

Can there be a greater contrast? The brown, lifeless land of the desert and Dead Sea or the greenery of Uganda…productive land to cultivate. Plentiful rains and water. Trees with deep roots by streams. The biblical poets and psalmists write about this often. It is what God created for us here in SW Uganda.

Ezekiel’s vision for his people showed promise of a transformation…from death to life….from brown to green…using the symbol of water. Making the impossible possible.

My brothers and sisters, that is what you and I must share…with the lost…with refugees fleeing a war zone with their lives…with our hurting friends and neighbours: that there is a new life, an abundant life of living water in Christ that is theirs for the asking.

It is poetic, actually. Can any of us come up with more beautiful language to describe how our loving Father will restore life in our spirts, souls, our bodies?

Uganda is beautiful land of green hills. But other parts of the world are dry, thirsty, and in conflict.

The news shows us battles in many nations: Birundi, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria.

People caught in the middle of those conflicts are like exiles in their own land. Oh, that the Prince of Peace would descend upon those nations with his living water…rushing from the temple.

And where the water flows, there is new life. That is the promise.
That is the nature of God. His faithfulness can do far more than we can ask or imagine.

Someday, man’s inhumanity to man must fade….swallowed by springs of living water. God’s light will overcome the darkness of our hearts.

The water…rushing from God’s temple to the empty land, transforming the Dead Sea is the hope we need, the hope we have.

The green hills of Uganda, the smiles and songs we see and hear each day show us the peace which passes understanding.

Mukama is in control. He’s got this. Those are the words we must share with our troubled brothers and sisters from Syria….and with our friends and neighbors.

There is new life…abundant life to be had. That is God’s promise to us.

Amen.

Karasandara Welcome

Beautiful students at St. John’s Primary School for Orphans perform welcome song. This is one of my favorite schools to visit. Students are bright-eyed, eager, alert.

Support education projects in Uganda. Donate today at teaminfaith.net

Choose Blessings!

Homily delivered 7 May 2015
St. Augustine’s Chapel, Kabale, Uganda

1 Peter 2: 11-end

A general theme I find in the readings of these morning devotions is of blessings. What must we do to receive blessings from God? How should we treat our neighbors? We’re aware of the rules, the 10 commandments. We strive to lead a godly life.

This reading from first Peter gets right to it: as God’s people in this world, avoid the lusts and the bodily passions which tempt us. How easy will that be for us?

For some of us it will be very difficult. Bodily passions are felt by all. But the writer tells that these passions war against our soul.

Is this who God has called us to be? Fornicators and adulterers? No. We are his chosen people. We have a higher calling than the pagans or heathen…who know no better or who cannot control themselves.

I ask myself in certain situations: Is God’s blessing present in this behavior? Is this who God created me to be? Am I behaving in his image?

We can test ourselves through the fruits of the spirit, which the apostle Paul describes in Galatians 5. They include:

Love
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Humility
Self Control

These are blessings, the fruits, of a healthy life…of healthy relationships, where there is light and life.

In 1 John 1:5 God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. If you are in the Lord, there is no hiding, no secrets, no sneaking around. There is light and life. And freedom.

As God’s chosen people, we are the light of the world. If not us, in this room, then who? We can set an example for others!

Verse 12 today, Your conduct among the heathen should be so good that when they accuse you of being evildoers, they will have to recognize your good deeds and so praise God on the Day of his coming.

At home, a few years ago, a group of neighbours and I would meet on Sunday afternoons to play basketball. A lot of fun and very competitive. Afterwards, we’d sit around and talk. Occasionally the conversation turned to God. Not all my friends are believers, and a couple are very skeptical, or doubtful.

But rather than remain quiet, which I might have done earlier to avoid any confrontation, I stood up, and tried to explain the nature of God, as forgiving and loving—as Jesus—not the church.

I think we’re called to do that. I think we are special people.

15For God wants you to silence the ignorant talk of foolish people by the good things you do. 16Live as free people; do not, however, use your freedom to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves.

This doesn’t mean your lives will be boring. They will be enriched and blessed! Can you handle that?

The world tempts us with great pleasures. God promises us his blessings:

19God will bless you for this, if you endure the pain of undeserved suffering because you are conscious of his will. 20For what credit is there if you endure the beatings you deserve for having done wrong? But if you endure suffering even when you have done right, God will bless you for it. 21It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.

Be strong, my brothers and sisters. Encourage one another. Dont take the easy road. Look for the road less traveled.

24Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. 25You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.

My friends, you have a choice. Choose blessings!

Top 5 Things Not to Pack for Africa

After my fourth trip to Africa, I’ve learned things the hard way. To wit….

5. Clothes. Once you pack your suitcase, go through it again and take half of clothes out. Avoid excess baggage fees

4. Cash. It’s a global economy, stupid, and the dollar is strong. Your debit card can get local currency at ATMs, sparing you trips to FOREX.

3. Electronic gadgets. Do you really think you will find reliable wifi here? Buy an inexpensive basic phone for local, regional calls. Your locked iPhone won’t make calls.

2. Candy bars and other treats. Really? For your snack fix, you can do better with local samosas, mandazi and my favorite, ground nuts.

1. Plans. You may have a task list in mind. Toss it. Spontaneity works best here.

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