the latest on the land

This past month has held some ups and downs.  But, as January is coming to a close, it’s better to focus on the good and stay hopeful for what is to come.

Sam has been back in Uganda for over a month now.  Although it has not been easy having him so far away, I know that it is a really good thing he is there.  Many things have gotten done that wouldn’t have, otherwise.

Previously, I talked about Sam searching for land (you can read that blog here).  Well, Sam had found 4 acres.  This is double the amount of land he had been seeing, and it was half the price!

Unfortunately, when he went for negotiations with the owner, the situation changed.  The owner was now selling less than 1 acre, and it cost over four times the previous amount.

So, we have left that place and Sam has continued to diligently search for a good location for our school.
We have been so encouraged by those who have financially given to CITY, in order for us to purchase land when we find it.

Please, if you haven’t done so yet, consider partnering with us through a tax-deductible donation to CITY or telling people you know about what we are doing.
It brings us so much joy to see people coming together to support our ministry and the people we serve in Mukono, Uganda.

 

much love!

 

earthquake drills

There are rumors around here of a big earthquake.
The rumors started spreading after the earthquakes we had a couple of weeks ago.
People were saying that we were going to have a big one this past Thursday or Friday.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

But, recently with the shifting of Earth plates and what not, Korea is no longer safe from them.  It has moved into the “ring of fire.”
The shift has put Korea in a place where if a big one happens in Japan, we will feel it here. (Sorry my geological lingo isn’t the best:)

We have practiced earthquake drills at school.  Teachers have specific roles/duties for each announcement and the kids are learning what they need to do.


some of the students doing what they do best, being kids

 

All that to say, we are safe, but please keep us and this place in your prayers.

 

much love!

the overdue school update…

Sometimes, actually, many times, it is difficult for me to find the right words to express what I am thinking or feeling about something.
And, how, across thousands of miles, can I convey to you the progress and amazing changes that have been made at Champions between May of 2014 and when I just went back at the end of July?

I have been asked multiple times about an update on the Hallelujah Project.
For those of you that do not know: when I lived in Uganda, we started to build a new building, that would house a library and additional classrooms for Champions Christian Primary School.  Last July [2014] the Agape Library and three classrooms on the ground floor were officially opened.
But, there is more work to be done.  There is a second story, which is partially finished, that will eventually be more classroom space for this great school.

Going back to Mukono in July, I was not sure of what changes I would see at the school.
Boy was I surprised!
Driving up to the school, I could see differences immediately.
Buildings had been painted, making the school stand out, and also bringing it up a notch (many schools are painted).

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what I saw when we first drove up

 

Not only was the L-shaped building painted, but they also added stairs to help make it more accessible and nicer looking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe stairs and more of the painting

 

They moved the cooking area and made it larger, which is more sufficient for cooking for 400 plus people daily.
And now, they had a couple of play-sets for the kids to enjoy during free times.

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looking down to the kitchen (on the left) and the play-sets

 

There were other changes, such as in what classroom different grade levels were being taught, the staff, and some administrative organization.
Even being told about some of these things before I went back, it was so great to actually see things in person.

And the Hallelujah Project, how was that?
Oh my goodness, it was incredible to see the first story completed and in use.
To walk into a library full of books at a school that previously didn’t have books for their kids.

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the Agape Library

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshelves of National Geographic magazines and other various reading materials.

 

But, the building is not finished.

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the outside of the Hallelujah building

 

Pastor, Maama Frida, and I talked about the completion of the building when I was with them.
As much as I trust that this will be completed, they do too.

In order to finish it, we need to complete a couple sections of the wall, get windows and doors, and top it with a roof.
When the second story is finished, this will add at least three more, much needed, classrooms to this school.

Sometimes it seems daunting, how will this ever be completed?
From where will the money come?
But, looking back and seeing how far we have come and the amazing ways in which God has already provided for this project, I know it will be done.

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some of the nursery kids – their classrooms are on the first floor of the Hallelujah Project

 

Will you join us and help to finish the Hallelujah Project?
We need people to people to continue to partner with us in prayer and with finances.
Let me know if you have any questions!
And, you can click here for more information on how you can financially support.

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surrounded by most of upper primary my last morning there

 

much love!

 

getting ready for school

The rate I had been going with blog posting, some of you have probably expected another blog or two by now.
I’m sorry for the delay.  The last week has not only been busy preparing for school to start on Monday, but I have been sick.  Still not feeling 100%, but I know I will get there eventually:)

In preparing for the new school year to begin, and teach my own classes, I have had the opportunity to shadow the other foreign teachers to see their teaching styles and how they run different classes.  I think it was helpful to do that and to be able to ask them questions about how to handle different aspects of class.

My mornings and early afternoons will be filled with teaching various English subjects to two different 6 year old (Korean age) kindergarten classes.  The rest of my afternoon will be spread between two after school kindergarten classes, and three after school elementary classes.

This week we were preparing for all of those classes.
Making sure we know our schedules and what we’ll be teaching each class.
Do the foreign teachers understand the material?
Then there is preparing the classrooms for the morning kindergarten students – decorations!  After talking with one of my Korean co-teachers, she wanted me to handle much of the decorating because she has been busy, so I found things, printed, and laminated yesterday.

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pile of laminated decorations

 

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our class tree I made – we will place each students’ picture on it

 

There are still a couple more signs I want to make and preparations I need to make to feel ready for Monday; but I am feeling much more ready than I did when I stepped off of the plane a couple of weeks ago!

 

much love!

 

growing and changing

When I moved back from Uganda at the end of December, I knew work on the Hallelujah Project  [the library/classroom building that started being dug April 2013] was not over and would not stop just because I was leaving.

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soon before I left, this is what the building was looking like

 

In fact, Pastor and Maama Frida would send updates on the school and the building, including pictures.
But, there is definitely a difference in being there and being back here in America and communicating through emails and getting updated on the happenings over there.

I think that is another reason why my recent trip back to Mukono was so great.
Besides what I wrote about last week, which you can read here; seeing the progress of the building and the school in person was amazing.

From emails, I knew the school had made changes and progressed since last year.
To see that progression in person and to be able to see the tangible differences was something that cannot be conveyed in an email.
It was great to have conversations with my friends at the school, to meet new teachers, and to see the students.

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upper students gathered during morning assembly

 

As for the Hallelujah Project, seeing that in person, I had no words the first night I saw it (not like that’s a new occurrence for me:)
When I left, as you can see in the picture above, they were going to put a ceiling on the ground floor; now almost all the walls on the second floor are up to ceiling height.
Now, the inside of the ground floor is being plastered and finished, shelves and tables are being built for books.
Oh, and the books have officially arrived!

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starting to plaster the ceiling of the ground floor before I left

 

I keep saying it’s hard to believe how far the building has come and how much has happened with the Hallelujah Project.  I remember what the school used to look like, and seeing all of the changes is really exciting.
Here are a couple of pictures for you to see some of the changes since the building was started!

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much of the area cleared for the building and the retaining wall built

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADavis and I watching as they are starting the slab [or the ground of the ground floor]

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwalls of  the ground floor starting to go up

 

DSC_0330a two story building when I visited at the end of May!

 

much love!

 

ps. if you are interested in helping us see this project continue, you can find out more information about supporting it financially here.  Or you can feel free to contact me if you have any questions, as well:)

home is where the heart is

To be perfectly honest, when I was leaving America for this trip, I was a bit anxious; I had no idea what to expect.  Along with that anxiousness came a great deal of excitement though; and soon after arriving, the anxiousness disappeared.

As soon as I walked out of the airport in Entebbe, Uganda, saw Pastor and Maama Frida’s faces, I knew I was home.
After the two hour drive to Mukono, I entered the house that had been my home for over a year; it was good to be back.  I stayed up with Elizabeth (my mom in the house) and a few other people, talking for a while before heading to bed (my plane had landed just before midnight:)

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laughing with Elizabeth and Nakato – happens quite a bit with these two

 

After spending a couple of long, but good, days in Kampala at a conference with others from the church, I finally went to school on Friday and saw the kids.
Not only did I just get to see the school, but I was able to help in Baby class again!

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filling out numerous books of work for the 54+ students in Baby class [the equivalent of preschool]

 

DSC_0378a few kids eager to have their picture taken on their way to classes 

 

In some ways it felt like I had not been gone for almost five months; which is really an indescribable feeling, I am very thankful to have.
My short time back in Mukono was filled with numerous conversations, hugs, high fives and quality time with great people I consider my friends and family.

I have numerous pictures and stories from my time there, but here are just a few pictures to hold you until I give an update on the Hallelujah Project [library / classrooms we’ve been building].

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goofing around with some of the kids Saturday afternoon

 

DSC_0410their faces may not be in focus – but, Peace and Aggie are radiating happiness as we eat baby mangoes and they tell me to stop taking their pictures:)

 

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my precious little Lytone, so good to see her again!

 

much love!

building up and shipping out

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the Hallelujah Project [the library / classroom building] at Champions Christian Primary School in Mukono, Uganda.
Well, it’s progressing, that’s for sure!

Just this morning I received an email with pictures showing the progress on the second floor of the building.
The second floor will be used for classrooms, once it is complete.

We still need about $20,000 in order to finish the much needed classrooms and roof the building for Champions.
Please click here to find out how you can support.  Or, let me know if you have any questions!

Floor Bethany
working on the walls

 

Floor Bethany in progress.
it’s a little blurry, but the walls are going up!

 

Another exciting piece of news, is that a customs agent has finally been located in Uganda, which means our books can actually be shipped!
Chandler has taken the books to Atlanta, their place of departure; and once everything is worked out, they should be sent within the next 30 days!

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boxes of books, packed and ready to go to Uganda!

 

It has been a long time coming, but this is definitely a huge answer to prayer and so exciting that the books are going to be shipped.

Thank you, for all of your continued prayers and support through this!

 

much love