Baby Boom

A few months ago we gave out nineteen Maama kits. We are now seeing the healthy Mamas and their babies. So far only two have been girls! We are so thankful we are able to help these mothers. The clinic in our village doesn’t have enough supplies so they are grateful these women are able to come with their own.

“All in all the ladies have been greatful including their husbands, the husbands said that you really helped for mama kits, they said mama kits were so expensive and hard to get yet its so essential. But you save them”

We thank all supporters of The Mandate. You can see the end result of your donations and your prayers. The $10 donated saves the lives of these Mamas and their precious babies! And gives us the chance to spread the gospel while giving out the kits, along with education about the care of themselves during pregnancy and care for their babies. We give them out to 7-9 month expectant mothers. May the Lord bless you as you are a blessing to our ministry.

21 Years

Still going strong! Yesterday (October 14) was our 21st anniversary. We had about five years of seeing each other at our worst before we married. Before we left for Athens Chris pulled out a book I made on our first anniversary where I wrote 365 things I love about you. I can say that after 21 years I still feel the same and even more! We don’t even know half the time what day, month or time it is, especially during covid and not going to the prison on Mondays and church on Sundays. And I’ve always considered our anniversary in May when he asked me to marry him a few days after telling me he could never marry me! 🤣 If my mom hadn’t said something yesterday it would probably have passed right by without us noticing (That was already about 5 pm!). But everyday together is special so the one day isn’t much different!

Tailoring School

Finally since quarantine has been over we were able to start our tailoring class. It is a seven month course, we have started with three girls and one boy. The boy is about sixteen and has no father, his mother is mentally ill so he has been taking care of himself.

They will start out learning the basics and then move on to making school uniforms for students in our village that families struggle to buy. We want to teach them about serving others. They have been given this opportunity so we want them to show gratefulness and know the blessing of giving to others.

After they have more skills down they will have an opportunity to make girls kits and earn a little money which we will encourage them to save some of it to put towards buying their own machine.

The student with the highest marks will receive their own sewing machine and the other students will keep their “tools” to help them get started on their own.

We are so excited to see them learn and grow into responsible adults while learning about Christ from devotions before class every morning.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Happy and Healthy

We have been on lockdown since June, the country is now starting to open back up slowly. But it hasn’t stopped babies coming! It did make it more difficult for some mothers to get to clinics or hospitals. There were three mothers that had their babies at home. They all told us that having the kits took a lot of the fear of having a safe birth. Our small clinic has also told us they are so grateful for our Mama kits because there are always mothers needing things they can’t supply. But they also told us they believe the education about pre- and post-natal care has been very very helpful for mothers.

This month there were nine mothers-to-be ready to get kits. While we were on lockdown we didn’t have them come here so we are very grateful Salima was able to give them out.

We are praying to have our first group of students start tailoring school in September. We almost have the training center ready but in the meantime our instructor and one of our “adopted” girls have been busy sewing for the mama kits. More to come soon with pictures of the work center!

New Babies!

So far this month we’ve had four of the women we gave mama kits give birth! All girls!

There were two others that lost their babies that were stillborn, including a set of twins. We pray for those mothers but they thanked us for all of the other things in their kits that helped them so much.

One mama brought her baby born June 2 to see us last week. She was so tiny. She said she was so thankful to have the mama kit when she went to the hospital as they didn’t supply them.

Baby Katherine

Another had her 9 1/2 pound baby at home by herself! I couldn’t even imagine having to do that and be all alone. She was taken to the Dr the next day and mama and baby are doing fine.

Here are two more of the babies that were brought to show us, one was just born this past week and is our “Ugandan Granddaughter”. Her mother is one of our girls that went to tailoring school and will be teaching at our training center. She has a little time anyway to rest and be with her baby – we are under full lockdown here in Uganda. Takia and baby girl are doing well and at home.

A certain little girl was determined our Takia name her baby after her middle name Noelle. I don’t think they knew how to spell it but named her in R’s honor!

Nowelyn Blessing

And baby born June 7 is called Shemora. Her mother only had a midwife to help her so she was very very thankful to have everything she needed so a safe birth.

Baby Shemora

I thank all mothers who have received the mama kits for bringing their babies so that we could see. And so thankful they are all healthy and Mamas’ are happy! We will be having 25 mothers ready to receive their bags July 1 but since we are on lockdown they will be delivered to them individually.

Everything in the tote bag, including the important Mama kit plus other things a post natal woman needs.
We are thankful to Takia that she got so many tote bags done before she had her baby!

Covid Sewing Class of 2021!

Since we are on lockdown and the training center isn’t finished, the girls are out of school. Raelee is on summer break so they’ve started classes in the apartments. It was so exciting getting our first two sewing machines that were donated by a very sweet and giving man who loves supporting us. Phiona (on the far right in the pictures) is actually the first student. The other two are learning while they are on break. I had hoped we would start classes in May in the training center but covid messed that up! But there is an advantage to being in the apartment for a little while, as you can see our teacher will be having a baby at the end of this month! We pray we will start officially in August and by then the baby is already set up with a babysitter 😁. We are excited to be “God Grandparents” to a baby girl!

Takia (right) is instructor for the tailoring classes. Salima is “headmaster” of the training center! We are proud of all these girls!

Carpenters in the Making

Christian has been very busy trying to get the training center ready, I thought we would have our first class by May. But we don’t have a Lowe’s or Home Depot here so getting the materials for wiring the lights and electricity in the building has been a nightmare. Getting wood the he doesn’t have to plane and recut isn’t possible. So progress has been slow. He’s also been making me cabinet doors and a new cupboard because I had the bright idea when we moved here to have lockers made for our food. But, especially during lockdowns and stocking up they aren’t big enough so they are to go in the training center for the students to each have their own for their supplies.

But, Raelee’s two best friends that are here most of the time are always wanting to help him. One’s dad is in the military and gone most of the time. When you join the military here you are in until you are 65. Sula’s dad isn’t around very much because he has other wives and spends more time gone then being there. So Christian is a father figure for them. When he is trying to work he will have four little hands trying to help with everything and makes it extremely hard for him to get anything done. They can’t do a lot on their own (we thought!) and there isn’t much they can do to help with the training center. We are under quarantine again so they aren’t in school. They are getting too old to want to play house and dolls with Raelee so they always want to be in the barn with him. So Christian put all projects on hold so that they could help him build a dog house. We recently got two Rottweiler puppies after our Dobermans died of cancer. We are tired of them sleeping in the bathroom and when they get full size we need somewhere to lock them in when we have the kids for church or visitors as most people here fear dogs.

The boys were thrilled and actually did a great job even when Christian wasn’t right there. Not that he left them for very long around all the power tools and saw! But he did go to check on some other projects going on and when he came back they had one wall up by themselves. So not only giving his time that he really didn’t have, he’s teaching them early a skill that will give them an advantage when they get older. And an example to be for them. (Personally I think it should have been a little bigger considering these dogs can get close to one hundred pounds! But the boys would gladly build another one!)

In the beginning Christian said “I left them for ten minutes and came back to this. You see what I’m working with?”! He had the flap up at one time and underneath he had yellow safety glasses on!
Very proud of these boys. And I know Christian is because he actually asked to be in a picture! That does NOT happen very often! (And even though she is small Bella sacred people more. But there’s no way she’s going to sleep in a dog house outside. She barks all night anyway when outside. But she alerts us from in the house if there is anything out of the ordinary outside. She’s a brat but a good security dog!

Knowing But Not Seeing

We (The Mandate) support one of our Ugandan daughter’s community ministry. We sent her to college to be a social worker and this past year and a half since she graduated we have been able to support widows, orphans and those that have the most urgent needs. She loves her community and puts her all into helping wherever and whenever needed. Our ministry has really grown and supporting her and mentoring her for the future has been a joy for us.

When we first moved to Uganda we met a very educated Doctor and I was so discouraged, we didn’t know the culture, found we were being taken advantage of and just really didn’t know where to begin or what to do. It was a little embarrassing to fall apart on his office. His words have stayed with me in everything we do here “what are you going to do that will have a lasting effect even after you are gone?” The water wells are definitely something that will last but investing our time in teaching, mentoring, parenting these girls we have will go on long after we have gone. (He also said we are working among a very stubborn people where we live!)

We don’t leave our farm that often to just visit in the village. It’s hard, we want to make relationships but because needs are so great it usually just ends up being people after people asking for money. We know it’s hard but for us as a ministry we want to get to know people and not just be looked at as an ATM. That is why we are so thankful for and why we support Salima. I and our daughter were able to go and visit with the people Salima has been caring for and people along the way so that they can see we are real, we want to be friends and we don’t feel like we are above them. Even after six years we are always learning and today I learned a lot. It was also good for our daughter. Even though she is growing up among the poor she is usually on our compound and hasn’t really seen what real poverty is.

I want to add that I am usually behind the camera, I don’t like to be the center of attention or feel worshipped. It makes me feel that I am better than them. And I don’t. But their customs are to show their gratefulness by taking pictures of us giving the food and things we have. I would rather take a picture with them rather than pictures that highlight what “we are doing for them”. So I try to balance my humility with their customs. Not always easy!

Besides just being widows, which there are sixty two, some have grandchildren that have been orphaned and they care for. One of the things today that got to me the most was a widow that has a granddaughter and grandson that are around twelve and thirteen and the conditions of where they had to sleep. Their entire house was about 12×15’ and the two kids slept at the end of the grandmothers bed on a torn up 4’x4’ piece of foam. We gave them a mattress and blanket and it was like Christmas to them. It was like Christmas for me. No matter how the ones we visited today have to live and do without they have joy. And it is infectious!

This piece of foam is what the two children were sleeping on at the end of their grandmothers bed
She was so happy to have a “real bed” and blanket.

I’m thankful for Salima, now I feel I can get out of our little bubble and get to know people. Which has always been my prayer.

We are under a quarantine again but the past couple weeks there have been more things of God happening than in six years. He is bringing so many good things out of this awful pandemic we find ourselves in.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Bring the Little Children unto Me

Its very sad baby Kamuya has passed away this afternoon. The malnourished baby. It is sad but I rejoice because this baby who has only knew a life of pain and nothingness is now running and dancing on streets of gold.

I am sad that Salima hadn’t discovered him sooner, many times babies or children that aren’t deemed perfect are hidden away. It is just in the past years we’ve been here that there are more and more ministries to help even albino children who are thought to be a curse.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 10:14

Please pray for the mother. She is not all there mentally, was not in any position to care for a baby and her mother can’t watch over her all the time, she’s an adult with a child’s mind and is deaf also. Someone keeps taking advantage of her, she is about to give birth any day now. And the circle goes on. That is the saddest thing here.