Saturday, June 29, 2013

Africa 2013 Part 6 More Memorable Moments!

A look at the lighter side of our Africa trip!

I LOVE what these schools had to say to their kids...

Billboards were pretty interesting too...

I'm not the only one who ate grasshoppers!

The bathrooms of Africa! :O)

I love you all and will always think of you as my Africa Family!


Africa 2013 Part 5 Some of my Most Memorable Moments

So far, all of my Africa Posts have been quite serious.  It's time to show you the lighter side of Africa!

Getting There is half the fun!  (Not really, especially with flight delays,  airplane food and not showering for about 48 hours!)

This IS the Paris skyline and the Eiffel Tower and this is as close as we got to it!  Even with a 10 hour flight delay, we didn't get to go into the city due to a transportation strike in France!  Seriously!  So, we have officially seen the Eiffel Tower, just from about 30 miles away!!!

This is my seat back TV on our first Kenya Air flight.  This was the coolest thing about that flight!  Turbulence made my water spill on my camera!  After much prayer  and time spent drying out the battery chamber, my camera reluctantly came back to life!!  This is also the plane where I left Caleb's Android tablet!  Had to buy him a new one!!  AND had nothing to read 'till we got back to Paris where I bought a book for the long flight home.

Mmmmmm! Airline Food!

I LOVED these maps more than the inflight movies!  :O)  Check it out; we flew right alongside Italy!

Is this not the most hilarious bathroom, aka "water closet" sign you have ever seen?!
In Kampala, Uganda.

Jackfruit!!!   Spotting Jackfruit is like spotting a Volkswagon Beetle!  You get to hit someone!  Yummy stuff!

A trip to Kampala would NOT be complete without a visit to the Matoke Inn!  The Howley boys were thrilled to show me their room...

...AND their LEGOs!

African culture shock hit us like a ton of bricks after leaving Kampala when we went shopping for the next few day's meals!

Believe it or not, that side of beef made a great stew!

One of the first adventurous things I did, and even surprised myself, was to eat a grasshopper!

It was not bad...kind of like a french fry...only some of its exoskeleton sticks in your teeth!

This is me eating my second one!

The only thing cooler than standing in two hemispheres...

...would be to stand in 4 where the equator and prime meridian intersect.  Too bad that happens in the Atlantic ocean!

Check out this restaurant...

Instead of the hostess asking, "Smoking or non - smoking?"  She would ask, "Northern or Southern Hemisphere?"

This is where the Nile River begins!

AND THIS is what Carla ate at the Paradise Hotel on the Nile!

It tasted better than it looks!

I went for a more tame dish!

Stay tuned for "More Memorable Moments," perhaps later this afternoon!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Africa 2013 Part 4 My African Heroes

My Four Many African Heroes

While in Uganda and Kenya a few weeks ago we met four amazing men who are now at the top of my hero list!  These four men each have a career, a family and a life but have listened to God’s call to spread themselves even thinner into the ministry of caring for orphans.  What blessed me even more were the wives, children and assistants behind each of these amazing men!  Let me introduce each of them to you.

The first ministry we visited in the Rakai district of Uganda is called Hope Child Care Program.

As if he didn’t already have enough to do with running his own construction contracting business and being the head of his own family, Pastor Fred decided to also be “father” to over 500 children! 

I don’t have a picture of Fred, but above are some of the children his ministry is caring for in Rakai.  His ministry allows the children the chance to go to school where they learn so much more than the 3 R’s.  They are also daily learning about Christ and His love for them.  They learn, live, eat and worship together as part of their daily routines.  Notice the difference between the kids at Hope Childcare program in the picture above and those who are not sponsored by American donors in the pic below.

Not only are sponsored children being given a chance to go to school through Fred's ministry, their extended families are benefiting as well through a generous gift recently given through Forgotten Children Worldwide.  Because of this gift, families who currently live in homes like this one:

...will soon have a cinder block home like this one:

Imagine the difference it will make when a family has a concrete floor rather than dirt and a roof over their heads that does not leak!

One last thing to note about Fred’s ministry is to give a big shout out to his assistant Austin.

Austin, the young man in the middle, is the equivalent to Fred’s assistant principal, social worker and counselor all rolled up into one!  He takes it upon himself to visit all of the children in the Hope school if they miss class or he suspects a problem.  He led us all over the countryside to visit some of these precious families.

The next man on my hero list is William.  William also has a family, is pastor of his church and still takes time to care for and love 92 orphans and needy children in and around Kampala, Uganda.

Don’t you just LOVE that man’s smile!  

All of the children in William's ministry live in homes rather than an orphanage.  These kids are cared for in foster family units like a real family.  

William's kids thought they could teach us how to make African paper beads!

Although we were very pleased with our efforts, the kids still did a much better job! (I made the red one by the way!) :O)

Like the kids in Rakai, William's kids are also learning so much more than the 3 R's.  The young man below did a fabulous job teaching us about the plan of salvation using a color book.

Sharing the afternoon with these kids was such a blessing.

They shared songs and dancing with us.  Mid afternoon we all shared a soda and a yummy fried sweet bread treat!

Notice that Mt. Dew is a universal kid favorite!

Not only does William have the support of his immediate family, he has the support of many parents and foster parents as well!

Each of these parents gave up an entire day just to spend it with us and in support of their ministry.  We, as Americans, may be the people responsible for sending sponsorship money, but these are the parents in the day to day trenches raising these kids in Christian homes.


My next Hero is Richard.  This man just does ministry all over the place!  We first met him in Jinja, Uganda.

Like the other pastors, Richard could not be as effective without the support of a great wife and family.  These are just 2 of Richard's daughters!

The first part of Richard's ministry is to find sponsors for kids living in the slums of Kampala and providing them with the funds necessary to attend school.

Here is the neighborhood where many of Richard's kids come from:

This is the "river" of sewage that flows through that slum.

Imagine the hope a parent feels when their child is sponsored and can get the education that otherwise would be education that becomes the key to a better life in the future!

Look how happy these kids were to sing and dance for us!

Another aspect of Richard's ministry is rescuing girls from the sex trafficking trade.  His story of rescuing the girls is absolutely inspiring.  I wrote this story out in another post.  Click the picture below to read about this story of redemption:

The girls went from living a tragic life of slavery to living in freedom through Christ on this beautiful island:

Another big assistant shout out goes to Richard's assistants, Stephen and Jane:

Stephen took the time to introduce to us many children who happen to be sponsored by friends in our hometown.  He runs much of the day to day happenings of the ministry.

 Jane, Richard's social worker (on the right) visits each of the children in the slums every week just to check up on them and their families!

Again, behind every fantastic ministry is a fantastic support team!

My last African hero is Charles.  His ministry is in and around Nairobi, Kenya.  

Again Charles not only has a family, he is also a pastor of this church:

And, he's not just a pastor, he is also a high school principal!

(This is not Charles in the picture, but these are his students.)

And, not only is Charles a pastor and a principal, he also has a huge heart for handicapped children, especially blind children.  This is one of the blind students at his school:

Being handicapped in America can often be very challenging, but in Africa, these kids are shunned and often hidden away from society with little or no chance of ever receiving an education.  Charle's school is revolutionary in Africa just for taking these kids!

Charles has a dream.  His dream is to use some property he owns in the most beautiful hills outside of Nairobi to build a home for blind as well as sighted orphans to grow up together.  In this haven the kids would receive a  Christian home and an education.  Wouldn't this be a beautiful place to live?


This post just wouldn't be complete without praising at least one more of my heroes!

This is Matt:

Matt is the guy in the middle.  Matt is obviously not African!  :O)  But, Matt has a heart for orphans around the globe.  Matt has a heart as big as Africa!

Matt is the founder of Forgotten Children Worldwide.  Matt answered God's call many years ago to begin a ministry to assist orphans and vulnerable children in Jesus' name.  The ministry has grown much over the years from a clothing distribution ministry to child sponsorships and so much more.

To learn more about FCW, click on the picture below:

Thanks for being obedient, Matt!