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.

Stealing Uganda

Uganda is home to approximately 43 million people and a very young population, with an average age of 15 years old. Think about that for a minute, 43 million people with the average age being 15 to 16 years old. That is what makes such a beautiful country so poor. There are so little opportunities for such young people to earn an income. Little money for many to even earn a basic education, no college or training school and very little hope. They are exactly the ones that are preyed upon because they are easy to persuade- the old adage if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. For the desperate kids though, all they can see is an opportunity of money and employment offered to them.

Because of where Uganda is located and its beauty, it is an important destination for international tourism and trade. The routes for trucks coming and going is a hub here. It is easy for truckers to get people out of the country, especially because many young girls make their living off of the truck drivers and can form a trust with some that are just grooming them to get more girls to traffic. Tourism also doesn’t help. People that come for the sole purpose of taking someone for what they can get out of them. In 2019 laws had to be changed for adoption and”legal” rights over children that actually had families here. It previously was changed to the adoptees staying three years before adoption. In 2019 that was changed to one year. Before there were any laws, a person could come and inside a month take a baby or child back to their country. Many times the families were either ignorant that their children were missing, often the were either given money for a lie other than the fact their children were being adopted by foreigners. Or “brokers” would tell families that the children had an opportunity to go to the best schools here in Uganda, while taking money from (mostly Americans) people that believed they were adopting an orphaned child. And not all adoptions were for loving families. Many were adopted or sold off to groups who used these children as either work or sex slaves.

When we think of human trafficking we often first think of only sex trafficking. While this is highly prevalent, there are almost as many or the same in the trafficking and selling of children and vulnerable people as “slaves”. Used to make money off them by sending them out to work – sometimes not even bad jobs – but keep all of their earnings and their passports so that they have no choice but to depend on their kidnappers and associates.

Recently there was a man who recorded a confession and was later arrested because he said over the last twenty years he had been illegally trafficking children for the equivalent of about $14,000-20,000 USD. Over twenty years that may not sound like a lot to an American but when you consider that many were probably sold for just a few dollars you will then look at it differently in terms of the amount he could have sold off.

The 2020 Police Annual Crime Report indicates that a total of 666 persons were victims of Trafficking in Persons compared to 455 victims in 2019. Of the 666 victims in 2020, 497 were victims of transnational trafficking – many from trucking, import/export “business covers” and the many ads for great paying jobs under excellent conditions as hotel maids, models, mechanics and the like.

It was just in 2009 that the 2009 Anti Trafficking Act criminalised sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed punishments of up to 15 years imprisonment for offenses involving adult victims and up to life imprisonment for those that involved children.

Human trafficking has become a major problem in Uganda. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report from 2020, estimates determined that traffickers are currently exploiting 7,000 to 12,000 children through sex trafficking in Uganda. The report also outlines how human trafficking in Uganda primarily takes the form of forced physical labor and sexual exploitation, both in the male and female population. I personally, see ads all the time on FB or through the newspapers for jobs overseas. Usually “no experience needed” and sound like good jobs. These are mainly in middle eastern countries. It is so sad to make because I know how desperate these young people are.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” 2 Corinthians 11:14

There have been some actions and investigations, not enough, but it takes more manpower and police when you consider how many countries border Uganda and the total of flights coming in and going out each day.

Last month, anti-human trafficking detectives arrested a woman accused of defrauding 200 girls of over Shs 90 million in fake job promises. (Approximately $255,000 USD) She was trying to lure girls from various parts of the country on promises of securing for them jobs in Kampala city. The victims had been exploited under “Alliance in Motion Global Uganda Limited”. The girls told police that they were charged 450,000 each in order to secure jobs that would pay them between Shs 650,000 and Shs 1 million per month. There are many stories of people being asked for large amounts of money that they have to borrow or make in “any way possible” to get the money in hopes of a good paying jobs that will support themselves and more times than not these young girls already have at least one child.

Also in March 30 females all from Burundi were found locked inside a house in Uganda. These people were trafficked here and were going to be given to shady labor exporters to illegally take them to Arab countries”.

There have been many groups of woman and girls stopped either at the Entebbe Airport under suspicious circumstances with tickets or visas that were going to middle eastern countries. Or at the borders of Kenya and Uganda. Since 2018 both countries are trying to work together to stop trafficking at the borders.

I know this isn’t just a Ugandan problem. It is a worldwide problem; it’s the vulnerable, desperate and isolated people that are the most targeted. And though it is happening more and more in the States, third world countries have previously been the biggest targets. Especially a country like ours, Uganda, where the population is mostly teen agers that have babies early and most of young girls only other option is to be married off to the highest bidder to what he will give to her family. So the promises made to them by unscrupulous people sound much better than the other options.

When we go to talk to the girls for Hope for Girls we do talk about the risks of trafficking. One thing we’ve found, even in the educated young ladies is that Americans are all good. I think the reason for this is the times they are in contact with either mission groups or people that come to help and assume all Americans have their best interests in mind.

So it is very easy for an American to sway these young ladies. We tell them that there are people in this world that consider women, girls and sometimes even boys as property. Some people steal girls and women for many reasons, not just sex or slavery but sometimes as drug mules. They lie to get them and by the time they realize they are in trouble it is too late for them to escape. Or they are just taken by force – kidnapped.

We tell them some of the lies people will tell to trick them into coming with them, offering money or other rewards. School fees are something everyone needs because although government schools are available and “free from tuition” many can’t even afford .50 notebooks or $5 uniforms. And in many rural areas the teachers don’t care, or don’t even show up. So many children go to boarding school. So a lie like this would definitely get a child or parents attention and desire.

Another thing we tell them to watch out for is the offer of a ride or food. Promising a job in another place, promising to pay their parents so that they can be taken for a better life or threatening to kill, or worse, a family member.

Anyone is vulnerable and anyone can be a trafficker. We tell them to be safe before taking any offers. Talk first to someone they trust and see if they can check it out. Usually adults are more suspicious and can guide a young person.

We teach a little self defense and tell them if at all possible don’t be put at night alone. My daddy always said “nothing good happens after midnight”! We tell them to implement the buddy system and try and travel in groups. But most importantly watch out for each other.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. John 10:10

Never Early…Never Late

Don’t give up!

If you’ve followed my blog for long you know all about the rabbit project. About four and a half years ago I felt God put it on my heart to raise rabbits to help with all the malnutrition here. The plan was to have a training class, to show how rabbits can be raised easily and inexpensively and they can feed their children and themselves meat every day. Because it was something new I was laughed at and if it wasn’t going to make fast and easy money then most people weren’t interested.

It is such a frustrating thing to see so many children that only have a corn flour porridge everyday, even when the family has chickens and eggs. But they are sold for school fees or to buy the flour so that they can make it stretch. There is no nutritional value in maize flour. And though the focus on education is important, hungry and malnourished children don’t learn as well if they aren’t healthy.

What I would like you to get out of this is, just when you are ready to give up, as I have been, God shows up. That’s the hard part, patience through the times you don’t see things happening in the way you envisioned or even thought was the vision God gave you. I’ve been struggling whether I was mistaken, that maybe the idea was just my own. I spent forty hours a week in the first few years trying to do all “I” could to at least sell some to help keep feeding two hundred to sometimes four hundred rabbits!

Then God gave me the answer and the blessing of seeing my dream of feeding those most vulnerable come true in a big way just as I was ready to give up!

The same Pastor friend that is working on the school for orphans and is already caring for about 134 teenagers and the few small ones found out we raise the rabbits. He was so excited he wanted to start training right then! And we were leaving in two days to see our son for two months! But the excitement he had that there was a way besides chickens and agriculture they could have their own food to feed these children was infectious!

Taking notes and soaking in as much information as they could!

Pastor and a teacher or two and some students started coming in the end of March for two days every week. They went through all the training of feeding and sicknesses, how to recognize and treat. And the fun parts of cleaning the cages and how important that is.

For the last three to four weeks they have built their own cages and are ready for some rabbits! I am so excited for them but I am blessed beyond measure that even though “my plan” didn’t go as I expected and on MY time frame, God knew. And this will be a blessing not only to the kids there at the school but prayerfully to their community once they see that they too can raise rabbits for meat easily and inexpensively.

We are thankful we have been able to bless this school, and these children who have no one else but this man who has been Pastor/Mother/Father to them all. As much as we can whether it is through the Hope for Girls or helping with raising rabbits or their school as they come along, we want to walk with them.

Thank you Lord and Hooray for Pastor Emerson and Global High School! As you have been blessed, you don’t even know the blessings you have given us!

Don’t give up. If you feel God has given you a calling, a project or a ministry just know it’s not always (rarely is!) in our own timing or understanding. But if we are faithful and keep at it unless He tells us to quit the blessings are beyond measure!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Peace I Bring To You

I am thankful that our embassy here has been working with the Ugandan government and airlines – as the airport is closed – to be able to keep bringing in an empty plane to take Americans that want to go back. (There have also been planes taking foreigners to other countries) comments are so rude about Americans either being stupid or “deserters “.

We foreigners have had to make tough decisions when we left our home countries in the first place. We knew we would have to prioritize what we could fly across the world for. Think about that. Prioritize what would be of the utmost importance in going back. Whose sickness or death do we have to choose? Because it’s costly, both financially and emotionally. We know there will be sicknesses, emergencies, fears and troubles our families and friends will go through and we can’t be there for them. We’ve had to count the costs and we had to put it in Gods hands. And He has blessed us and shielded us.

It was not an easy decision to stay here when the virus started. We did pray about it. My parents, sister, son are all in the high risk categories. The other son lives in California. My mother in law works in a nursing home. We cannot live by “what if’s “ because we would be out of our minds with worry – all the time. We have to lift all of them to God – He can do what we can’t.

The Americans that are leaving I’m sure at this point is because of necessity, because maybe their parents or family have nobody else. Maybe they don’t have the faith we have and the assurance we are where we are supposed to be. We don’t have blind faith, we know what the possibilities we could face are. Some may just be panicking but the ones that are saying they are stupid or deserting are with their families in their own country and can’t comprehend what it is like.

Right now we are already getting calls and texts from people who are not in any different situation than they were already but are taking advantage and asking for this asking for that. Yesterday we went out of our way to help the workers by paying them early and paying in cash because we were concerned when transportation was shut down they wouldn’t be able to get to the bank. Or the banks might be shut down by payday. I know I’m not perfect, I know I make mistakes but I am 99% sure as I was counting each workers pay and putting it into an envelope for them I counted three times. Yet we had one (new) worker who has already started to show some problems come back and say I only gave him half. I don’t believe it but I can’t prove it. So next time we will make them all open them in front of us. We gave one worker his and his wife’s in separate envelopes and said make sure she gets hers, it’s not for you. This morning she came to wash and asked Jenifer why she didn’t get paid. Went through the whole conversation we had with her husband and she said “Oh, I just thought that was a gift”. They know. But because they usually get paid on the fifth I don’t doubt on the fifth some will probably try and use the same excuse. “Oh, we thought that was a gift” even though I thought I was very clear I was paying them early and in cash because things are changing day by day and We wanted to make sure they are able to get what they need. And there are some that are truly in need now but we cannot help. Especially when we try to help our community first and we can’t even help all of them.

It is especially important right now for everyone everywhere to turn to God. The panic and the worry will just make things worse. You can worry about a thousand things and nine hundred and ninety nine times out of the thousand won’t come about. Or more times than not the things that do happen aren’t even on your worry list.

We aren’t perfect in anyway when it comes to our Spiritual walk. We make mistakes. We take our eyes off God and start worrying about what “we” should be doing what “we” want to do. We’ve had to learn hard lessons when we didn’t first pray about it. We’ve gone on vacations because we wanted to and nearly died. I’ve looked at my husband at times and said “did you pray before we did this because I didn’t”.

I’ve written in my calendar the timeline of this virus as best as it’s been publicized and I saw that when we were wanting to go on a break – when we were so frustrated and wanted to get away that I reserved hotels and when I tried to buy the plane tickets something (the Holy Spirit) would stop me. The day after I came the closest to buying the tickets Kimuli fell from the tree and would have died if we weren’t here. But i saw it was also at the time the airport here shut down flights coming in and putting travelers under quarantine for 14 days in hotels at the personal cost of $100/day. God was protecting us.

We admitted last week we were looking at too many things lately through our own eyes and our life has been off kilter. So we made the decision to be more intentional in our spiritual life and as soon as we did that and fear left us, frustrations were less, anger was less the above problems started cropping up. That’s what the devil does. Don’t stop. Know it will happen. Keep driving and praying through it. Don’t give up and despair. That’s what the devil wants.

For now we aren’t facing what many around the world are facing. The president of Uganda started in the very beginning of February putting in place many things to protect the country and has been making changes as things progress. There are 44 cases, all in and around the capital and all traced back to the two planes that came in from Dubai two days before they shut the airport down. (Which by the way is where we would have changed planes coming or going) Half the cases came from ones in the mandatory 14 day quarantine in hotels. The others weren’t from high risk countries so they were only put on twelve day home quarantine. They believe they have tracked them all down now and are watching their communities carefully. There is no transportation- hasn’t been public transport for about two weeks now and keeps getting extended. Private cars were allowed to be on the road until people started taking advantage and using them as taxis. The President stopped that. He is trying to keep movement around the country to only emergencies to keep the spread down.

But we do face concern about families and friends. And the people around us. And having discernment as to what to do here.

I know it often sound like just something we say when we say Pray about it or “I’m praying for you”. It shouldn’t be taken lightly or said if you aren’t actually seeking God. If you aren’t seeking God in everything then who or what are you praying to? It’s an everyday, all day living and talking with God.

Matthew 6:33 says – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

He never said it would be easy. He never said we wouldn’t face sickness and tears and sorrow but when we seek Him and know there will be a day when we don’t have to face these things then we can find peace.

We are sincerely praying for the world – through this God is calling everyone to come to Him. He’s shaking the world to turn from their wicked ways and todays world is full of wickedness. He’s not the cause of this but He is the answer.

We are praying for those who don’t know Him to seek Him and He WILL find you. He’s there already. Waiting on you. We are praying for the faithful, stay strong, keep your focus on Him for peace and comfort. But it’s up to you, He doesn’t force anything on us.

I read this post to my husband before I posted – I usually don’t. He can read my blog or not! He said it was good and he felt fine to post. He warned me because I lay my heart open and talk openly about challenges that there will be people who may comment negatively. Be prepared for that. I know this and I haven’t ever had negative comments but it’s why I post on my private life blog and not always on FB. I see many people that only comment to instigate hatred and controversy. If you’ve read any of my posts I believe you will see my faith. And if you don’t agree you are welcome not to follow me. I respect your opinions but it doesn’t mean we should tear others down. Just move on.

We love you and you are all on our hearts always.

Some are new and some are extensions of laws put in place months ago.

Serving the Karamojong People

Christian and a few Pastors from Mustard Seed Fellowship Church were able to go up to Karamojo to meet people in a few different villages. In this one, which was one of the worst, they have no latrines, they believe latrines will make them sterile so they just go wherever, all over inside their “compound”. Then with the rains it is all muddy and mixed together. They have no bore holes so the water they drink usually comes from either water that runs down the mountains and makes puddles that is then mixed with excrement. A lot of the children (even as old as 10-11 walked around in shorts and no pants. The shirts didn’t cover anything). They have a Church and a Pastor who they said seems to really have a love for the people. Please pray for the Karamojong people. And pray with us as we follow God’s leading in how we might be able to help. We also pray that God will lead someone close by that can teach them about hygiene, take the stigma and myth away from latrines and teach them to grow food on such fertile land. It is from the giving hearts like you that enables us to help people who have never seen the outside world and don’t know how to live any differently than they do.

Their house walls are only about 3’ tall. The doors 2 1/2 x 3’. Easier to keep thieves out.

This is a pretty big guy going through their gate of the fence surrounding the village. There are vines intertwined with sticks

Everyone was very humble and thankful for the food that they received.

There was no pushing or shoving or fighting for food and clothing. In the background you can see their church building outside their village fence.

Goodbye Ms. Joyce

Sunday we lost a dear lady that we have loved and who has been a constant at Bible study. Her burial was yesterday. She did t make it to study Sunday because she wasn’t feeling well. She had been fine all week but by the time study was over and Christian was going to go pray with her she passed away. We are going to miss her and we are sad but we can also rejoice that she has gone home to be with her Jesus and has no more aches and pains. My favorite memory of her will be her asking for a job and jiggling when we gave her sugar money for her tea. Please pray for her family, her son lives next to her and cared for her very well, he is really taking it hard. She had many children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

On Being Authentic

I read an article the other day on one of my Facebook groups of expats in Kampala. It was titled something like “The Fraud of Facebook” and went on to tell of a twenty something girl’s summer experience in Uganda. How fraudulent FB was because all she posted was the good times she was having, but not the loneliness and despair she felt after the pic was taken, when she was alone in her room. How she would post pics of her and other Ugandan women dressed in her African clothes but then would eat dinner alone. How she was used for money, proposed to because she was perceived as a wealthy white girl and a ticket of America. Exploited, attempted to be mugged, cheated on prices. At the very end she concluded that maybe FB wasn’t the fraud, maybe it was her own doing because she didn’t post all the struggles and challenges along with the good. Which is the truth. Many of us are frauds when it comes to social media – only posting the highlights of our life, even exaggerating that, but then there are those who use it to post every woe in their lives or to cause turmoil and pain. I have mixed feelings about social media, I get “friended” every week and hit ignore. My purpose in it is to have contact with my close friends and family that live all over, even when I lived in the states we were all separated. Acquaintances and people I don’t even know would ask why I ignore their friend request. I’ve even unfriended people who I felt were just voyeurs, just wanting to have something to talk about when they don’t even really know me. Social media and facebook friends do not necessarily make a relationship.My Mother-in-Law despises FB, too many things are posted without thought to others. I say that isn’t a FB problem, that is a problem of the heart. We are actually pretty private people. If you live next door, in my town and want to be my friend…call me. Let’s do lunch.

All that being said, I understand why the girl was hesitant to put the challenges and struggles out there. The comments after her story were some positive but many from the Ugandan community were pretty ugly. They started saying not every experience or every person in Uganda was like what she experienced. They aren’t but she was only expressing her experience. They also can’t comprehend what a foreigner – especially ones that are perceived automatically to be rich – goes through when in a totally different culture than their own. We have experienced everything that girl experienced. It is lonely, you do feel isolated at times. It has taken us a year and a half to finally feel we have some Ugandan friends. It is not easy, and it would not be easy for them to visit our country either. They would face many of the same things.

I am at times hesitant to tell of all of our struggles. Some are just not anybody’s business. The struggles I have with my husband are private. We are flawed, we’ve been married a long time and we will have disagreements. He has stated he will leave the toilet seat up if he wants to and I have to deal with falling in the cold water in the middle of the night. He lifts it – I can lower it, who’s right and who’s wrong? It’s his right to not do it. But if I post every argument or every thing that drives me crazy, it may color your view and prevent you from seeing the awesome Godly man and husband and father he is. Or I would get emails and prayers for our marriage, encouragement on staying together! And we would be much better served with prayers in other areas. (Even though God knows where the prayers should go!) That is why when I write I try to balance the positive with the negative – I don’t want others thinking negative about a country that has many positive, wonderful people and experiences.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14

I try to post honestly, the craziness and all. I pray that more than anything you can laugh along with us over the little things and rejoice in the things God is doing. I don’t tell about the days I lock my bedroom door, put headphones on and search cheap flights to anywhere! Because it only takes a few minutes before the truth kicks in – 1) you can’t run from yourself and 2) You can’t run from the calling God has on your life. You can try but you will be more miserable than you were in the first place. Or the thoughts that sometimes really go through my mind – the tears I have shed over the baby I hear daily crying out of hunger and neglect. How I’ve yearned to keep him in my home and then the next day wanting to punch the guy in the face because he wants me to finance hair plugs.(Don’t worry – God hasn’t given up on me yet!)  Probably not appropriate to let you into all the craziness of my mind! Just being honest. But I do try to tell you of some of the struggles we face and pray that I also tell of the joys that far outnumber the struggles. My biggest struggle is the balance of daily facing the little problems, helping Christian with the projects and schooling and teaching Raelee and still sharing the gospel everyday. I try to do my venting in my journals or in posts that will never leave the draft folder. I vent to my dear friends that understand it is what it is, and one that grew up in a missionary family and can understand some of the struggles of living in a foreign culture. I keep some things out that are happening at the time so our parents don’t worry. My prayer is we don’t get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget to witness of the love of God to others. for them to know that the reason we are here, the reasoning behind every decision is that we show why – that God sent us here so that they can know His love and His Glory. That the gospel doesn’t get lost in the ministering to others.

Ministering that matters includes love and compassion, a listening ear, prayers , temporal and spiritual support, and teaching by the Spirit.

When Does Serving Stop And Enabling Begin?

Let me start by saying I love my life, I love the place I live and the people I live with. I love God and I love serving Him. I am humbled that He chose me to be a light and help to the people here. And even in the hard times here (which are far out weighed by the good times)there is still joy and many things to be grateful for. We are at seventeen months here and I still pinch myself sometimes because I can’t believe our wonderful, crazy life! But there are struggles and I think one of my biggest ones right now is that line between God’s command to love and serve others or enabling and spoiling others.

I know that so many of the cultural norms can’t be changed just because I wouldn’t do things the same. My ways are not necessarily the best way and their ways are not always the wrong way.  But because I try to live my life by the Word of God and His leading, and I am trying to point people to Him, there are things that I have to try to teach a different way of doing. The struggle right now is with parents who give up all responsibly to their children if we give any kind of assistance. A wise man once told me when I was trying to help a friend get out of the drug life, you hold your hand out so that they can pull themselves up, you don’t hold out your hand and pull them up. That’s what he did with me, and then helped me help myself. And I’ve always remembered that and try to do that with others. Help them to help themselves, give a helping hand but not a handout. It is extremely hard to do that here, and I pray I don’t get to the point that I don’t want to help anyone.

I’m tired, emotionally, of being appointed Mother to too many kids that have a parent who, because we want to HELP them, as soon as we do they totally wash their hands of all responsiblity. And when I try to teach them that this is not right, I offend them and cause hurt feelings. Friends of Mandate are paying for college for an exceptional young lady. Essentially I am just the executor of the money to get her through school. But her mother now won’t take any responsibility in any part of her life now. Even at the college filling out enrollment forms with the mother there, they insisted my and Christians names were put as the parents. I pushed back and said no but it caused major embarrassment and tears. So we did. I’m sure partly, the mother fears if there is financial problems they would come to her for the money, but we have denied them nothing financially. Ever. If there are calls for parents to meet with school officials it is now considered our responsibility, not the parents. Look, I raised two young men, I sacrificed time and energy and everything in me to help them succeed. I am raising a little girl now at my older age, like the saying goes “been there, done that” and really don’t want to do it again! I am not going to another parent\teacher conference lasting six hours, especially when I don’t understand a word of what’s being said!

Chris asked me once when I voiced my aggravation what service means to me. I do believe I was sent here to serve others but what good am I doing if I am perpetuating cultural values that are not beneficial to the culture. How do I help someone when that just leads to them becoming dependent on me? Its a problem here, shirking responsibility for your children, having too many to be able to care for. I cannot be a true mother to 18 kids when half of them actually have a parent. I will be a help to work with them to better their lives, get an education but just as they are unable to do all for their child, I can’t do it all either.

And put on top of that the headaches of raising teenagers. Definitely already lived through that! Trying to teach them that I am here to help them with their education, living expenses don’t include satellite TV and internet! Learning to be responsible for themselves. The two girls that are in college do very, very well with the money they get each month, usually having a little left over each month. The boy we are helping through high school hasn’t done so well with his money and we are working on that. He does not have any good influence and the half-brother he has is definitely not teaching him how to prioritize. The brother lost his job, comes to us begging for money for food yet makes sure his TV and internet stays on. I don’t have much sympathy in that situation – I know what it is like to scrape together grocery money and I can promise you when we went through those times we did not have TV, internet and I didn’t get to have my nails done! I do want better for them, but I want them to learn you have to start with the education and use that to go on to be successful – you don’t start out with all the “stuff” while borrowing money for food.

I never expected when moving here to be mother to so many, to be “Mama Raelee”, it has many joys but also the same pain and aggravation as raising our own kids. The seven orphan children don’t ever give us any problems, and lately their father has been doing what he can to help in feeding them and just being around. He married a woman who won’t have anything to do with the children, even though she lives there. But the next parent/teacher meeting, he WILL be the one going!

I still have one more of my own to raise. Never dreamed I would be this age and raising another child while being a grandmother! But she is such a gift from God and joy to our lives. That does not keep me from waking up in cold sweats thinking about her teenage years!

This morning we are waiting the arrival of the two hundred rabbits, so much excitement here with the workers. They are excited because the will get to see the fruition of the job they have been working so hard on the past month. They are very excited that they found out yesterday they will still be working for the next month or so on another building and plastering our building and the apartments. We have been very proud of them, they have all been giving a part of their pay every week towards medical – without us even asking. And a few have been giving us at least half of their pay to save up. Some want to get solar panels so they can have lights in their homes. We made a deal that when they save half we will match the other. They also pool a part of their money and give that to someone in need in the village. It is so awesome to see how they will work together to accomplish goals and to give part of what they have to help someone else. We have seen so much progress in them in the year and a half we have been here. Sometimes we wonder if we make any kind of difference, if we are a light that shines here for God’s Glory but in the past few months we have seen the fruit of things we have done. Little fruits, but fruit nonetheless, that we will feed and water and watch it grow.

I promise you there will be pictures of the rabbits when they get here – hope you have a very blessed day!