“I wish everyone could experience this for themselves. Words and photos cannot possibly capture what it’s like to be here in the heart of Africa!”
We heard a version of this statement over and over during our recent, 13-day mission trip to Uganda. Every person on the team came back excited, humbled, and determined to do whatever it takes to help the people in Ntandi, a small village near the Congo border. We truly fell in love with the kids, the teachers, and pretty much everyone we met.
Our primary tasks were to deliver and assemble a new hand-powered, adult-sized tricycle for Marriam, interview each child in the Epikos orphanage, build a bridge across the creek that separates the orphanage from the school, and deliver medical supplies to the small medical clinic on campus. Our dental hygienist treated each orphan’s teeth and distributed hundreds of toothbrushes and floss, and our team artist painted a beautiful mural/map of Africa on the outside of a classroom. We also accompanied all 52 orphan children on a field trip to the town of Fort Portal, where they enjoyed a mini-shopping spree, devoured a wonderful meal, and tasted ice cream for the first time in their lives. The team was phenomenal, God protected everyone, and the trip was a great success.
We want you to know three things:
1) Your gifts and prayers are making a difference that cannot be measured. Three hundred children at the primary school (grades 1-7) are eating lunch every school day because of you. The new fence around the ten-acre campus is of the highest quality and provides a sense of security to adults and children alike. The orphan children proudly showed us some letters their sponsors sent and expressed how thankful they are that someone truly loves them. Every donation, every letter, and every prayer changes a life.
2) We have four projects for 2014, which we hope to fully care for by the end of April:
- Continue to feed the 300 children who are attending school but could not afford to eat lunch before people like you stepped up and provided the funds. Thirty-nine dollars feeds ten children every school day for a month. We need a total of 30 sponsors to donate $39 a month for a year.STATUS: Thirty sponsors have already made the commitment!
- Bring Marriam, a 15-year-old crippled girl from the Epikos orphanage, to Vancouver to receive medical treatment and physical therapy. We are delighted that officials at Portland Adventist Medical Center have agreed to treat her at their cost and that one of our families will care for her in their home while she goes through rehab. We expect that her medical visa will be approved shortly and that everyone at Epikos will be able to meet her in person. We need $3,700 for someone to fly to Uganda to accompany her here. STATUS: We have a commitment for all of the funds!
- Continue the orphan sponsorship program for the 52 children in the Epikos orphanage. Sponsorship means providing $30 a year, writing a personal letter six times a year, and praying for each child every day. STATUS: Most of last year’s sponsors want to continue, but we need some new sponsors.
- Provide the funding for Phase One of the new girls’ dormitory at the primary school. Many of the students live in the dorm because their parents do not live in the area. The government has mandated that the girls and boys be housed in a totally separate building and has given the school two years to comply. The total cost of the new dormitory is approximately $35,000. We have pledged to raise $15,000 to build Phase One. STATUS: We have just over $1,000 toward this goal so far.
3) Pastor Sam and I will lead an Epikos Church mission trip to Ntandi, Uganda, next year, and you are invited. The group is limited to 15 people, the cost is approximately $2,500 per person (includes airfare), and the dates are February 22 to March 8, 2015. Pick up a flyer with all of the information at the Uganda table.
We think about Jesus’s appeal in Matthew 25 (vs. 31-40), and we can’t help but respond. We are proud of what we have done together, but there is so much more that we can do. During March and April, we are receiving donations to help build the new girls’ dormitory. Please let us know how you and your family would like to help. Think of some friends who have a heart for the under-resourced, and give them a copy of this report along with a personal note from you. And be sure to pray for the wonderful people in Uganda whom Jesus loves so much. Thank you!
Past Directional Leader
P.S. You can watch our team report on this year’s mission trip:
And you can see of some of the previous projects on the Ntandi campus: