Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Business Workshop

Jon and Debbie (BAM – Business As Missions Team) finished their three-day workshop today called, “How a Good Business Plan Can Double the Chances of Your Business’ Success and Increase the Impact it Will Have For the Kingdom of God”. We talked about how our God is One who plans, and how critical it is for us to have a solid business plan. We showed them why 8 out of 10 businesses fail, and helped them work through all the different sections of a Business Plan. It was a workshop, so they were writing their plan as the workshop progressed.

There were eight young men and women who attended the workshop, 6 of which grew up at GSF. Here in Uganda, you see so many young people who are struggling for one reason or another, often as a result poor choices by them or someone around them. It was such an encouragement for us to see these young adults who are maturing and making good choices, and have a desire to learn and grow and use the skills God has given them to build Godly businesses that have a ministry focus. It was a privilege to step into the middle of the harvest, the result of the many workers like Bob and Carolyn who served so diligently at GSF for many, many years. By the end of the conference it was exciting to see them challenging one another and helping each other with the material. There is such a need here for critical thinking in Uganda because it is not taught in the schools. But these young people received it with excitement and were so appreciative to learn. At the end of the conference, one of the young men said to us, “This does not leave us the same.”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

pic - another try

Heading Home

We are headed to the airport for our long journey home. All praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for health and safety and for feeling like useful clay pots this week. Our deepest gratitude to all of you who have prayed, and sent us here on this journey. We pray that we have encouraged the full time workers here, and have been the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are in such desperate need. We will not leave here the same.  Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Uganda, who despite such difficult circumstances, continue to praise God, for His love and His hope and mostly for His Son, who has raised them up out of the pit, and set their feet on the Rock, and have made their footsteps sure.  To Him be the glory!


Bruce (a Software Quality Assurance Manager) and Steve (a Financial Consultant) went together to teach an iY class at Tom and Sharon’s house. After the kids are finished with their basic high school education at the orphanage, they enter a program called iY, which stands for “Investment Year”. Tom and Sharon have 7 kids living with them who are enrolled in the iY program, ranging in age from 17-24. During the iY year they continue they’re schooling, but are also taught to shop for food and clothes from a set budget. They learn how to cook their own meals and other basic “on your own” life skills. They do Bible study every week and have a retreat time where the emphasis is on how God is their Father.

Steve taught a class on business and planning, and Bruce taught a very basic computer class (how to turn it on and off, how windows work, basic file structures, opening and closing documents, etc.) They were surprised to learn that the kids had a lot of apologetics type questions, and questions about how to witness to their non-Christian friends, so they did an unplanned Q&A session answering many of the questions. As part of the iY curriculum the kids attend three different internships at various businesses or careers that the kids have shown interest in. When the program is finished the young adults either go on to university or some type of vocational training.

Bruce and Steve also were with Randy at Jaja Jennifer’s house. They have a great story about that experience and how God showed Himself in ways only God can, but I’ll wait to let them tell you about it in person.

Later in the week Bruce taught an Excel class to 13 of the staff at the orphanage. They already knew basic Excel for creating tables, but didn’t really know how to use the formulas. Bruce taught them how to create basic formulas and do some conditional formatting of cells so that they can make better use of that tool for their jobs.


It’s hard to summarize all that Randy (Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor) has worked on this week; we’ve all voted him as MVP! He went with Bruce and Steve to a nearby village to work on replacing “Jaja” Jennifer’s Roof. Jennifer is a Grandmother in her 80’s who has taken in many orphans and others in need. He worked with Tom (Tom Batley – Westover supported missionaries here) on a long list of maintenance needs around GSF (the orphanage we are staying at), Tom really hates to see him go. It is so much easier to tackle a project when you have someone working along side you who thinks like you and has a similar work experience. Randy and Tom were surprised to learn that they both served in the Navy and worked on aircraft during their civilian careers.

We brought with us some equipment for the kids with special needs, but some of them didn’t fit right or needed to be modified. Plus there were many things that we didn’t bring, needs we discovered after the PTs had a chance to observe the kids in their environment. Randy was able to create or modify what was available here to fill a lot of needs for the kids. For example, He made a floor table for a little guy who couldn’t eat properly at the picnic table-style tables the kids eat at. Again, it is hard to list everything he helped with, because every time you turned around he was there to help. The servant heart God has given him (along with his height and strength) were a great blessing for all of us on this trip!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Mary Beth (a critical care nurse), Vicki (a nurse and childbirth educator), and Laura (dietitian and lactation consultant) spent the day with Carolyn (Westover supported missionary) Wednesday. They taught at a couple of places, including Carolyn’s crisis pregnancy center, and a school for at-risk girls age 11-15. The girls at the school had either dropped out or never started school and were just beginning school with what amounted to about a 1st grade education. These girls are part of Carolyn’s ministry (one of her many!) called Mail Box, which is similar to our Awana program. They do a series of Bible studies and memorize scripture. The girls are working through a book called “True Love Waits”. Like most girls their age, they are full of questions about their changing body, but way too shy to ask questions. While at the school our team taught on fetal development, good nutrition, and breast feeding. Their emphasis through all the material was the beautiful design of our bodies, even while only a few moments old in the womb, and how God has created everything to work together. I was touched the most by what Carolyn said when we all gathered together to come back to GSF. She said, “I really learned a LOT!” I was surprised because when I met her I thought, “Wow, this lady sure knows a lot!” We are here for a short time and can make a small impact. Workers like Carolyn and her husband, Bob, are here for the long haul, and are making a lasting impact. And if we can help them in some small way do their job more effectively, then it has been well worth the trip!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


We were excited to learn that we brought more stuff with us than any other team so far! I guess it should be no surprise that so far we are doing what American's do best, getting stuff!  :) In addition to gifts and toys, Bibles, and books for the kids, we also brought 2 wheel chairs, a walker, crutches, and many tubs of medical supplies, braces, splints, and other equipment. Rebecca and GR worked with all the kids who have special needs yesterday. They were assessing their needs and matching some of the supplies we brought we the kids who need them. When we left home, I thought, "Wow, we are bringing way too much stuff!" Now, the struggle here is, there are three kids who need this wheel chair, which one do we fit it to?

GR was going to work with Randy and Tom (a missionary here) to try to fabricate some additional equipment or modify what we've brought, to maximize the use. It is such a joy to see how the kids take care of one another and love on each other. But it is also clear that they are missing some of the basic education they need to give the kids with special needs their best quality of life. In addition to fitting equipment Rebecca and GR will be training the care givers on how best to care for these precious ones. They sing the song, "This is the day that the Lord has made" often during their daily worship time. My favorite verse from all the kids:  "We are the people, we are the people that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"