Saturday, July 18, 2009
Hope 4 Women/Hope 4 Kids Internationl in Uganda
On the third Thursday of each month Hope for Women International holds a conference call with those who are involved or want to become involved in the projects of Hope 4 Women. This past Thursday our conference call included a special treat. Wendy Stokes who is an active promoter of Hope 4 Women is in Uganda for a month with team members traveling with Hope 4 Kids International. She and Pastor Ruth of Uganda were able to call in and update all of us on what they are currently doing in Uganda.
Pastor Ruth gave us an update on the 300 Victory Gardens started by Smile Africa. Each woman who was given seeds & training on growing their gardens is now expected to continue growing each season and will bring 1000 shillings to Smile Africa when she harvests her first crop. That money will be used to start up other women in Gardens. Pastor Ruth tells us the gardens are doing beautifully and we look forward to seeing pictures soon.
She also told us the Bethel Medical Clinic is about finished. They need to hang some doors and finish the flush toilets. The clinic will serve the surrounding community as well as the 420 Karamojong children who come to Smile Africa each day. These children who once roamed the streets hoping to find a rotten potato or something else to eat amongst the trash now receive a nutritious meal daily and are taught the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. They are taught about God's love and to sing and worship. When you arrive on the property they are always ready to greet you in song.
Good Shepherd Lutheran church in Torrance, California held a seven-day bike tour to raise money for a water tower/system at Smile Africa. Their goal was to raise $10,000 toward this project--I'm not sure of the total amount raised but I do know they exceeded their goal. Dave Peters of Good Shepherd has been instrumental in this fundraiser is currently on the ground in Uganda and has been going over the specs of what is all needed to insure the water tower/system serves this community in the best & most efficient way.
Wendy shared of her witnessing the well dedications and brought us all to tears when she told about visiting the place where children found drinking water before we dug a well. They would find standing water covered with sludge--scrape the scum aside and drink the water beneath. In one village 19 babies died in a few month’s time because they didn't have access to clean water. We who only drink bottled water cannot even imagine the filth involved in the drinking sludge water. Pastor Ruth chimed in and said the children sat at the new well drinking clean water all day long.
The hope 4 kids team did a woman's outreach to a village that has been hit by the recent famine. Pastor Ruth said storms came through and washed away homes, etc. Then the hot sun came and scorched the crops. The pastor of that village said watching the people suffer and not being able to help was breaking his spirit. Our team came in and brought joy to the women by painting their nails, giving them lipstick and washing their feet and declaring God’s love. Pastor Ruth said these women—many for the first time in their lives--felt so special and cared for. The team also distributed desperately needed food to the women and others in the community. The pastor, overwhelmed by the love lavished upon his village declared Hope 4 Kids as "Hope for the hopeless"
A small boy was brought to Pastor Ruth a few months ago--his bladder was not formed properly and extends through his abdominal wall, causing urine to constantly leak from his abdomen. He has to wear a dress because of the leakage. An extremely poor widow has taken this boy and his mother into her humble home and has tried desperately to find help for this child. When she brought him to Pastor Ruth she could not turn him away and solicited funds where ever she could to insure this child will get the medical help he needs. The hope 4 kids team came forward to help and hope 4 women donated funds to start his mother in business as well as the faithful widow who reached out to them.
Pastor Ruth told us that the boy's mother is a widow and often the brothers of the deceased husband come in and say the woman is their "inheritance." This woman has been repeatedly raped and beaten by her husband's brothers. Pastor Ruth got the police involved and asked us to pray for this woman's safety as they strive to get help for her little boy and empower her to stand on her own. Pastor Ruth reminded us that widows are despised by society and need someone to protect them from such brutalities.
Wendy reported that Hope 4 Women was able to purchase 15 treadle sewing machines! Seven will go to the graduates of Smile Africa tailoring program. Once a widow or orphan successfully completes the program she is given her own sewing machine to start her own business. The other eight machines will be distributed to surrounding villages where women will gather and learn to sew. Pastor Ruth said she is sending two of the graduates to teach women in the village where the pastor was so discouraged.
We also discussed the upcoming art show we are holding in the Phoenix area in October. So far we have six artists who have committed to donating their work for this fundraiser for hope 4 women. Pastor Ruth and Wendy will be choosing art created by the women of Uganda as well as a couple of Ugandan artists and Wendy will bring those back to the States for our art show.
Wendy also has been teaching our partners and leaders in Uganda a course called "Mission Character". The response has been tremendous. This course consists of 40 Biblical Principles of: self-government, productivity, management and leadership. You can find all the information for this incredible program at http://www.lared.org
Thank you for your support of Hope 4 Kids/Hope 4 Women. Please keep these dear people in your prayers and continue to seek ways to be involved. It takes all of us working together to make a difference in this world. Hold Pastor Ruth and Wendy up in prayer as they continue to tirelessly work through the remainder of July to make a difference in the lives of women and their children.
Our next call will be August 19th so please mark your calendars and tell your friends! We will be giving you updates on what we are doing in Uganda as well in here in the United States.
If you would like to be included in this call contact Rachel@h4ki.org
Consider booking Rachel Eggum Cinader for your next conference, retreat, club meeting, worship service, women's ministry event, etc. Her mixture of humor and compassion makes for a delightful session as she encourages you to seek God's direction and purpose in their lives. Email Rachel: Rachel@h4ki.org