Monday, June 30, 2014

An Update from the Luckeys


Our family gathered together in South Carolina recently.  It was great to spend time together!  As our family begins to spread out over the US, it was especially nice to have these few days together!

An Update from the Luckeys

You may be wondering what's been happening in the lives of the Luckeys!! Well, simply put, lots! So, allow us a few minutes of your time to bring you up to date on what's been going on over the past couple months. 

Staying in Ada, MI

Back in late April, you may remember that we traveled up from Tennessee, where we had been since we returned from Uganda in mid March. Since our return to Michigan, we have been living in Ada (near Grand Rapids), in the home of a missionary friend from Uganda who is still in Africa. It has been a great blessing for us to have a home base while we have been back in the states, and we are very grateful for our friend's generous offer to let us stay there!

Family Vacation and a Car Accident

We have spent the last two months visiting supporters, sharing with new and old friends about the Afayo Project, traveling to churches, and spending time with family. One of our highlights was a week in South Carolina with all our kids and grandkids, as well as Stacy's sister Stephanie, her husband Bill, and their three wonderful girls! We had a incredible time! Unfortunately, as we travelled from South Carolina down to Florida after our vacation, we were involved in a car accident. There were no injuries, but a lot of damage was done to our minivan. Despite the damage, we were able to drive the car down to Jacksonville. Once in Jacksonville, we brought it in to be repaired, and now, a week after the accident, we are still trying to make a final decision on whether to fix it or scrap it and buy another vehicle. In either case, we plan (hope!) to be back up in Michigan before the Fourth of July holiday.

Back to Uganda, but Future Plans Uncertain

On July 14, Adelynn and I (Mark) will be returning to Uganda with new teammates Bruce and Janine Coker. We will help the Cokers get settled, meet with the Afayo team, and then return to the US in early August. At this point, based on our counselor's recommendation and what we feel is best for our family, it is unlikely we will be able to return to Uganda as a family in the near future. Hopefully, after my return from Uganda we can give you a much better idea of what our future plans are. In the meantime, the work in Naigobya continues, with our very competent team doing a great job in our absence. We will continue to work with our mission board, ECM, to determine how we can continue our involvement with The Afayo Project and with ECM.

Prayers and Financial Support Still Needed!

We are still in need of your prayers and financial support as we move ahead! Though our plans are not certain at this point, it is most definitely our desire to remain involved in the work of ECM and The Afayo Project in the future. We promise to keep you informed as God directs our path!


One step at at time,


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Out of Room



I love the African spirit of making due when resources are limited and space is tight.  The population of St. Paul Primary School has exploded in the past week, reaching 306 children, with more on the way.
The 10' x 12' classroom above had almost 40 kids packed in at the beginning of the week, and eventually grew to a point where the teacher had no place to stand.  Then more kids came, and the class size reached 54!  This same dilemma was repeated in several other classes in the school.  Many teachers I know would have thrown in the towel at that point, waving a white flag all the way to the picket line! But not the staff of St. Paul Primary School!  They did what comes naturally to them - they found a way!


And so the Primary 4 class moved under the Mango tree, desks and all, and continued their studies without a word of complaint!

But while a Mango tree provides wonderful protection from the sun, we can't escape the fact that the rainy season will soon be upon us, and it will be impossible to carry on consistent education without a roof and a clean floor.

How can this problem be solved? Simple: new classrooms!




Through two generous donations, we were able to construct the foundation for the first five classrooms (at least ten will be needed), and begin construction of the first classroom (above).  But one classroom will simply not be enough!  Would you like to help us build a classroom (or two or three!)? St. Paul Primary School has pledged to provide the bricks for each classroom, but more materials are needed. For only $7000 a classroom can be built that will greatly help us provide a quality education for the children in the Naigobya community.  If you'd like to help, please visit our Current Needs page. Designate all gifts for Afayo Classroom Construction.  And remember: you don't have to build an entire classroom!  Any size gift will help the construction move along!

Your gift will help so much in providing a better life, both physically and spiritually, to the children of St. Paul Primary School!  Our teachers are willing to do whatever it takes to help these kids, even moving their classes under a Mango tree!  Now it's up to us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to help them take education at St. Paul's to a the next level!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Harriet the Co-Wife




Meet Harriet

Harriet is the first wife of a village man in Naigobya.  Her co-wife passed away in November while giving birth to her husband’s baby.  The husband placed the newborn baby in Harriet’s arms and said “you take care of my dead wife’s baby.”




What is Harriet to do?  She is a poverty stricken woman, struggling to care of her seven little ones. There is no money for even the necessities of life. Food, firewood for cooking, medical care, school fees, soap, clothing....  Where are these crucial provisions to come from?   This baby means more work for Harriet and even less resources available for her own seven children.





                                       There are many ways that one might respond to this:

I am angry and jealous!

Why wasn’t I good enough for you? 

Why did you have to seek out another wife?

How can I love this baby that was conceived from you and your second wife?

Give the baby to your mother!

How can I take the little that we have away from our malnourished children to care for your dead wife’s baby?

How could you do this to me?



We had the privilege of being able to meet and help Harriet.  She is an amazing woman!  She willingly and lovingly took this baby into her arms, nursing her for 2 months.  When her milk ran dry we stepped in to help.  Afayo was able to purchase formula and bottles for this little baby girl.
We were blessed by Harriet's ability to accept the responsibility to care for this child. It was a privilege to pray for her and encourage her.  Afayo will be keeping up with this family to strengthen them to weather the storm that has come their way.



        Please pray for Harriet and her (now) 8 children.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • When a mother dies in childbirth, it’s very common for the baby to die within the first few months.  The child is given cow’s milk (if they can afford it) which doesn't have the proper nutrition to keep the baby from getting the many diseases that often strike a newborn out in the village.
  • Often the co-wife will reject and mistreat her husband’s other children.
  • A can of formula costs more than most families in Naigobya make in one month.  That would be like the average American spending over $3,000 on ONE can of formula!

We believe that with the help of our Afayo team here on the ground and those of you in America, these orphan babies can have a chance at life.






Would you be interested in helping us purchase or donate much needed formula for babies whose mothers have died?  

A can of formula lasts about 4 days and costs $12 in Uganda.  If you are interested in helping, please click on either button to the left.  Designate your gift for the Afayo Project: Baby Formula.

If you are interested in donating formula please e-mail us at stacy@afayo.org or michelle@afayo.org. We have a container coming out in the next six months, and cans of formula could be easily shipped to Uganda!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Reason to Smile Again!

Two weeks ago we shared with you about Yairei, who suffered from an uncomfortable and disfiguring growth behind his right ear.  He needed to have surgery in a town about an hour away, at a cost of about $100 plus travel costs.   Some of you responded to this need with financial gifts that enabled us to send Yairei for the surgery.

This photo was taken before the surgery:





Thanks to your generosity and prayers, here is Yairei today:





Yairei says THANK YOU for giving him a better life!  He is an active member of our men's Bible study and is grateful to God and his people for the help given!  He has a reason to smile again!


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Ministry Trifecta: Evangelism, Discipleship, and Meeting Physical Needs

Happy New Year!

Recently the Afayo team has been studying the Francis Chan book Multiply.  It's a book about making disciples, who then make disciples, who then make even more disciples.  It is both an encouraging and a terrifying concept!  As we study this challenging material together, our sending organization, Every Child Ministries, has encouraged us to emphasize evangelism as we go about our ministry here in Uganda in 2014.  As we have discussed these critical issues as a team, we have come to realize that there are three necessary ingredients for doing mission work: evangelism, discipleship, and meeting physical needs.  All three present significant challenges in a cultural and economic setting such as eastern Uganda, and it can be difficult to do all three well.  But to be effective ministers of the gospel, we really have no choice!  We must 1) present the good news of Jesus Christ, 2) help those who believe in Christ to grow and live out their faith, and 3) be the hands and feet of Jesus in meeting the physical needs of those around us.

In a very beautiful way, this concept becomes reality as we minister to and live life with our brothers and sisters in Naigobya.  In our weekly men's and women's Bible studies, we regularly share the gospel message with those who attend.  Just yesterday, as we studied the power of the cross and the riches we have in Christ, five men gave their lives to the Lord!  Another man stood up and said "some of us aren't quite ready yet - we need to hear more!"  God is working in the hearts of these men!  That's evangelism and it's at the heart of what we do.  However, it does not and cannot stop there!  Like the other men and women in their Bible studies who already know the Lord, these men need to grow in their faith; they need to be discipled.  Through regular interactions with the Afayo team, these followers of Christ receive teachings that help them to strengthen their walk with God and which encourage them to share their testimonies (and the gospel message) with those around them.  That's discipleship, and is absolutely necessary if the message of Jesus is to transform this community.  But again, even this is not complete if we don't also help to meet the physical needs of those whom the Lord brings before us. Not because evangelism and discipleship are incomplete in and off themselves (a person can be saved even on an empty stomach!), but because we as messengers lack credibility with those we are ministering to when we refuse to help those in need (James 2:16-17).  And if our faith, without actions, is dead, why would anyone really want to listen?  In an attempt to put feet to our faith, the Afayo team has undertaken the task of helping two men from the Bible study receive much needed surgeries, one for a hernia, and another to remove a large growth behind his ear (see photo below). Each surgery costs only about $100!

You might be asking, "is there something I can do to help?"  While our Current Needs page gives you many ideas, I would like to highlight one that is associated closely with our community Bible studies.  Recognizing that very few of the men and women we minister to have Bibles, I decided in late October to challenge the men to attend our weekly Bible study consistently, and promised them a new Bible as incentive!  With over 30 men attending regularly, it has been a challenge for me to find the resources to purchase the Bibles!  But God has provided, and we have been able to give 21 much needed and appreciated Bibles to those who have met the attendance criteria.  In the coming weeks, many more will be awarded a Bible in the men's class, and now that the same incentive has been offered to the women, many will be needed for them as well.  Would you be willing to purchase a Bible (or several!) so that we can get the Good News into the hands of as many people as possible?  A Luganda Bible costs only about $12, but its value is immeasurable as we live and grow together in Naigobya.  If you would like to contribute to this cause, please send your gift to:

Every Child Ministries
PO Box 810
Hebron, IN 46341

Or

Follow this link to the Donate Now site on ECM's web site.

In either case, designate your gift for the Afayo Project and indicate that it should be used to purchase Bibles.

Evangelizing. Discipling. Meeting Physical Needs.  I can't think of a better way to spend my time in the coming year!  How about you?