Sunday, January 31, 2016

Building a Solid Foundation

Together, we are his house, built on the Foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the Cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.       Ephesians 2:20

Building, building, building!  That is what this month has been; Physical building and Spiritual building. 

The 5th classroom has been completed!  A rain collecting water tank system has been installed at the school.  Water will not have to be hauled and carried everyday to the kitchen area.  Cooking for the school and washing hands for lunch has just become a better way for them. The foundation for the next 5 classrooms has been laid and the money for 3 new classrooms on that foundation has been given. 

A giant Thank you goes to many of our friends and church families in West MI.  Because of you, your prayers and financial help, building is happening!  Men of Naigobya are being put to work earning an income for their families. Some are learning new skills for the first time, others are skilled and able to use their gifts on this project!  Approximately 20 men have been digging and preparing the foundation; meticulously laying brick by brick without any modern line lasers, tools, etc.  They are building a foundation for future generations, a place to learn general education such as reading, science and math, a place to learn about God and His love for them, a place where they are taught that their foundation is found and built upon the rock, Jesus Christ.  For these people to see buildings going up and changes happening, it gives them HOPE.  They are not forgotten!  What a true blessing it is to be a part of this work God is doing in Naigobya!  Thank you for being a part of this work with us!

the Foundation for 5 new classrooms
The first Pastor Training class started this month.  Seven men and one woman completed the first part of a yearlong course study.  They met the difficult challenges given and discovered ways to Study Scripture thru: Observation - What does the text say?  Interpretation – What does the text mean? Application – What does the text mean to me?  Most of the students in this class have had very little Bible training, yet most are in positions of pastoring or leading in a church.  So, training like this is a valuable tool that will build a Solid Foundation. 

The Pastoral students were gifted with Study Bibles
Sarah just recieved New Reading Glasses.
She was so Excited to see her sewing Projects CLEARLY! 
Ten Advanced Sewing ladies have been sewing tirelessly, in full gear this whole month.  The women have completed 100 drawstring book bags to be given to students in the higher grades at St. Paul’s when the new school year begins in February.  They will be filled with pencils, paper, and rulers etc. that have been sent from YOU!  Students will be, as we say in Uganda, “Smart.”  They will be so proud to carry their papers in a “Smart” bag made just for them!

Serving the Savior with you!
Bruce & Janine

Friday, January 1, 2016

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks……Counting Blessings........This should be our attitude each and everyday not just during the month of November.  Psalms 107:1 Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good; His love endures forever.

I was asked by one of my sons on Thanksgiving Day the traditional question that is usually asked by family and friends gathered around the Thanksgiving table, “So, what are you thankful for?”  My mind went blank and I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head. “You!” I said, and we both laughed.  But seriously, I started to reflect on the many ways we have been blessed even though this return to Uganda has come with many difficulties and struggles.

Many of you are aware (because we posted on Facebook) that we lost our little friend Benjamin.  It was a very difficult time for all of us here.  It was a loss that hurt deep!  But, we feel so thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to know him, his smile, and his sweetness.  And God, in His wonderful way, has given us strength and a deeper love for each other and our cultural differences.

The school year ended here in November.  We were able to have Christmas parties for the children and the teachers at the school because of the gifts that were on the container.  Each child received a box of crayons, a pad of paper, along with a toy, a stuffed animal or a matchbox car.  To us it might not seem like a big deal, but to these little ones that have never had it, it was major EXCITEMENT and JOY!  One little P1 boy was shaking, with the biggest smile ever seen.  He could barely get out the words “a CAR”!  It was priceless!

We showed the ‘Jesus Film for children’ to 170 children in grades 3 thru 7.  The chapel was filled with children who had never seen a movie before.  All eyes and ears were glued to the screen, taking in every part they saw and heard.  At the close of the movie, the children in the film gave an invitation to pray and receive Jesus.  The chapel was filled with the hum of many of the children repeating the prayer with the movie.  It was obvious God was moving in this building filled with children.  When the movie ended, Bruce and Simon answered questions and then, with every head bowed, they all prayed.  The moment was priceless! 

We are so Thankful for God’s gifts to us! For family and friends who love and pray for us and His ministry!  For safety!  For God’s provisions!  Sewing machines!  Sunshine!  Rain!  When I actually started to list God’s blessings I ran out of space.  I needed more than a page!

We can get so caught up in work, ministry, and the many distractions that are a fact of life.  But, if each morning we reflect on just one of the blessings God has given us, we will have a heart and a notebook filled with what we are Thankful for!