Giving Back

A few weeks ago we took the young men of the Peter House back to their village to help out some young girls in need.  Our ministry had identified two girls who were living on their own.  Their mother has left them for now, but we are praying she will return soon. As they described to me the situation, a 12 year old girl living with her 8 year old sister, I unknowingly drew a picture in my mind.  I imagined two strong girls, mature and looking something like Sidney who is only one year older than them.  I was VERY surprised then I put my eyes on them!  They are tiny… so very small.  They had almost nothing in their little house.  The grass roof was very old and had several leaks, the window was years past working properly and their door would not close all the way.

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Scovia, Stephania, and our friend, Rebecca

Yes, I wanted to cry.  In fact, I did.  I wanted to scream and yell and take the little girls to live with me in my small but dry and safe house. However, their mentor assured me there is a way that is best for these girls.  We decided to invest and make their house safe and dry, to give them the little that they need, and to be there for them while they wait for the mother to return.  We agreed to do whatever it takes!

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The girls’ home ready to be improved.

So, that is what the Peter House did.  We purchased new sticks and grass for the roof, and on a recent Saturday morning, we set out to repair this home.  Upon arrival, the boys quickly removed the old grass and bundled it for the landlord to use elsewhere.  Then, the boys replaced the existing stick infrastructure with new sticks and begun putting on the new grass.  In addition, the boys completely renovated a small “veranda” that is around the outside of the house.  They tore old bricks and mud apart, and built the new brick veranda after transporting new bricks from a brick yard approximately 100 meters away.  Just ask Jason about how hard that was!

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Peter House men bundling the old grass.

 

After almost eight hours divided between two days, the project was nearly completed.  Because of time constraints and not enough supplies, we had to stop working.  However, the roof was finished two days later by the father of a student at TAS. 

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Peter House men working on the new veranda.

As I said before, The Amazima School service club gave these girls some new supplies.  They had been sleeping on a one inch foam mattress, so we purchased for them a new 5 inch twin mattress.  We provided them some new plates, cups and food.  We supplied them with firewood, a small stove and charcoal.  There is no electricity in this home (or a bathroom), so we gave them a kerosene lantern.  It is beyond us how anyone can live in such conditions, but the addition of these new supplies brought smiles to the faces of these young girls.

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Brian and Ronald mixing “cement.”

These young men continue to amaze us day after day.  This is especially true when we go into the villages with them on these service projects.  The boys were greatly concerned with the welfare of these two young girls, and they worked so hard to ensure their home was comfortable and safe.  Several of the young men live very close to where these girls live, and they have promised to go and check on them during the holiday.  In fact, one of the young men volunteered a room at his home for the girls until their mother returns.

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The girls’ home with the new grass roof, new door, and new window.

It has been about three weeks since we performed this service project, and the mother of these young girls has still not returned.  If you have children, think back to when he or she was 12.  Now imagine them alone in the country side in a small hut with no running water or electricity.  Now imagine them with no food.  This is what many children here in Uganda face every day.  It is tragic.  Every day we wrestle with why this happens.  But we have God on our side, so who can be against us?  What we have to do is pray and continue to work to lead the students at TAS in order to change this country one generation at a time.  So that is what we will do.

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In light of eternity,

Jason, Kori, Jackson, and Sidney 

Romans 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If GOD is for us, who can be against us?

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Sidney and some new friends.
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Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care?

“African time” is a phrase around here that we are working hard to overcome. Time is relative and not necessarily viewed as important here. Schedules exist, but they are not necessarily followed, especially for purposes of planning a few days in advance. However, with consistent emphasis and guidance, we are helping these young men realize just how important it is to be on time. As it says in Psalms 90:12, we must learn to number our days in order to gain wisdom.

With that said, we thought we would tell you how we are spending our time.  Our schedule is divided into Weekdays and Weekends.  Weekdays involve a few hours of freetime stuck between various work requirements.  Weekends are a different story and consist of very little down time.  The days are long, and we usually fall into bed each night.  However, the time is rewarding and purposeful.

Weekdays (Monday-Friday)
5:30am – Jason is up making coffee and making sure the guys are starting their morning chores.  Kori and the kids wake up a little later…but not much!
6:45am – Jason/Kori/Simon lead a daily devotional on our veranda with the boys.
7:15am – Send the boys to breakfast (we do NOT have to cook for them…yay!!)
7:15am – Turn our attention to Jackson and Sidney (we DO have to cook for them…yay!); breakfast and getting ready for the day.
8:00am – The Amazima School starts
8:30am – The missionary kid school starts!  Since we arrived we have been teaching our kids math.  Jackson just completed Algebra 1 and has started Geometry.  Sidney just finished Pre-Algebra and has started Algebra 1.  A new teacher from the states starts today, so we are officially retired from teaching (you can probably hear Jackson and Sidney cheering in jubilation).
8:30-9:30 Kori teaches Sidney Algebra

9:30-12:00 We have “free time.”  This time is usually filled with problem solving, planning for the daily devotionals or upcoming school activities; sometimes it includes going into town for food and supplies, sometimes it includes Jason preparing for Sunday Worship, sometimes it includes meetings with our team, and of course, there is always laundry… by hand! We are involved in various capacities at the school as well as at home, including advisors to the Service club, Disciplinary Committee, Chapel Club, and girls’ basketball team. All of these capacities involve various amounts of time throughout the day and week.

12:15 – Jackson and Sidney come home for lunch.  We only have 30 minutes for lunch with them, but it is good to get to see them in the middle of the day.

1:00 – 1:50 Jason is teaching Jackson and two other students Geometry until the new teacher arrives.

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Jackson in Geometry Class

2:00-3:30 Free time again.
3:30pm – Jackson and Sidney come home from school – debrief…How was your day? Homework? What do we need to prepare for tomorrow?
4:10 – Boys get out of school.  Some have after school chores of cleaning classrooms, some have a chance to work with teachers and get extra help, and some play soccer or nap. Every third week we have kitchen help which consists of cleaning beans and rice.  This is technically work, but it is usually very relaxing and a time that we get to have fun and meaningful conversations with the boys!
6:00pm – Dinner (we all eat up at the kitchen together as a big group); Sidney struggles most with this hour of the day ;-). We eat a combination of beans, rice, posho (boiled maize flour), matooke (boiled plantain), lentils, peas, spinach, and greens.  One night per week we get chicken and one night we get meat!  (This is unheard of at almost all Ugandan schools.)
7:00-8:30pm –  “PREPS” study time in the classroom for the students.  Basically, this is a required study hall in which the students finish homework and study.  We supervise “Preps” a few times a month.
8:30pm – Daily wrap up on our veranda with the boys. We are reading a book to them on some nights, some nights we dance and play games, some nights we have birthday celebrations (29 pieces of cake… not a small task), some nights we discuss the bible, help with homework, and some nights we answer all kinds of questions…like explaining to 25 teenage boys why God put Song of Songs in the Bible!

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Cake for a family of 29!

10:00pm – Lights off…well, we hope lights off.  While this is the goal each night, with 25 teenage boys and one teenage girl, this goal is sometimes unachievable.

WEEKEND 

The weekend starts on Friday at 4:10pm and goes until lights out on Sunday night.

Saturday:
8:00-9:00 — Breakfast
9:00-10:30 — Household chores
10:30-12:00 — Campus Chores; As a student body, we clean the campus.  This includes such chores as pulling weeds, picking rocks, shoveling mud, planting trees, etc. We work as a campus to keep it beautiful.

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Kori and a few of the boys cleaning the campus.

12:00-1:00 — Free Time
1:00-2:00 — Lunch
2:00-6:00 — Free Time/Clubs/Practices
6:00-7:00 — Dinner
7:00-9:30 — Entertainment.  Every third Saturday of the month we have a movie night as a whole school. The other Saturdays are planned by our entertainment prefects and might be a dance party, capture the flag, spelling bee, game night, bible trivia competition, science fair etc.
9:30 — In rooms
10:00 — Lights Out!

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Dance Party on the Veranda!

Sunday

8:00-9:00 — Breakfast
10:30-12:00 — Church on campus – Jason leads worship.
12:00-1:00 — Free Time
1:00-2:00 — Lunch
2:00-6:00 — Free Time/Clubs/Practices/homework/studies/football (soccer)
6:00-7:00 — Dinner
7:00-9:30 — Team meetings, room leader meetings, and house meetings all in preparation for the upcoming week.
9:30 — In rooms
10:00 — Lights Out!

Saturdays and Sundays are LONG and FULL. Just imagine if you had 26 teenagers you had to attend to for a weekend. Plus, there is something about the Ugandan sun that zaps your energy, especially when you are 40-ish. Yes, we are tired at the end of each day!

But just like at home, there are moments during each day that just make you smile:  the boys helping each other with homework or washing their laundry; Jackson & Sidney teaching the boys the “Wobble” or the boys teaching Jackson & Sidney how to dance to Ugandan music; the boys singing 10,000 Reasons in the morning; playing Ludo with the kids (Ludo is basically like the game “Sorry”); or shooting baskets with the kids.  Those are the moments that really help us remember why we are here.  Almost every moment is teachable, and certainly every moment is a chance for us to encourage them (including Jackson & Sidney).  Yes, the days are long, but they are most certainly rewarding.

Even here we have to be careful and not let the days slip away.  Please allow us to encourage you to slow down and take a moment to appreciate where God has you right now.  Use your time wisely.  Encourage each other.  Love on your kids…. while you have the chance.

In light of eternity,
Jason, Kori, Jackson and Sidney

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 

 

Where are you fixing your eyes?

He RAN to the gate.  No stopping, no waiting, no wondering if she had come for him.  His eyes were fixed on the gate and he RAN!!

We are having VD and everyone is excited and happy about it.  First of all, to quote a great movie, I don’t think that means what you think it means!!  VD of course means Visitation Day!  It is the weekend in the middle of the term when parents and guardians come for the day to visit their students.  It is like a big day of Parent/Teacher conferences plus lunch and most definitely in Africa …Dancing!!

In the middle of the first term we were as prepared as we could possibly be for our very  first VD!  We had cut all the grass, swept all the sidewalks, cleaned classrooms and dorm rooms.  We were ready and excited.  Every student was anticipating seeing his or her mom, dad, Ja Ja, uncle, or auntie and very, very excited for any siblings that might arrive.  Oh, and did I mention the opportunity this was for getting snacks brought to them!!  Theirs mouths were watering just thinking about it.

So finally VD was here!  Everyone was dressed and pressed!  Every tie was tied, and every shirt was tucked!  And then we waited!  We waited for the bus to arrive that would bring the scholarship guardians.  We waited for any parent or guardian that could get themselves here.  Most came early but some didn’t arrive until almost lunch time.  And then there were the few that no one came to see.

It was very early in the day when we learned from one of our boys that his sister was there instead of his mom because his uncle had passed away a day or two before.  This boy was heart sad.  But he is a leader, and after a little hug and a prayer for strength, he was back to his role as prefect in charge of parent/teacher conferences.  He worked harder than ever that day and kept his head high.

After every one had visited, conferenced, and eaten lunch together, the guardians boarded the bus and made their way back to the village.  We moved down to our dorm/house and relaxed for the night.  Most boys were so excited and eating and eating and eating goodies like avocados, mangos, sugar cane and even bananas.  The true treasure seemed to be if anyone received a bag of sugar or bread!  Those guys were eating like kings that night!  Our one son, whose uncle had died, seemed to withdraw.  He was quiet and sad.  He said he needed to write, so he wrote a story.  He gave it to us that night and it was the sweetest and most heart breaking thing I will treasure forever.

The next morning he pulled me aside and asked if we could talk.  I listened as he explained that he was concerned for his mom and what his uncle’s death would mean to her.  He knew it would change her role in the family.  The uncle was the last man on that side of the family, and now his mom would have even more people to care for.  I listened as he told me all about his family and his concern.  Next, the conversation turned to him and how this would affect him.  He told me since he is in school, he could not do much to help until the holiday.  Then he told me how he was really hoping his mom would come because he needed some “eats” and some coins for toothpaste.  TOOTHPASTE!  This teenage boy was worried because he had run out of toothpaste, and he hoped his mom would bring him the necessary coins to buy it.  I cracked!  I broke the rules.  I could not help it.  I’m a mom for pete’s sake, and this teenage boy was concerned for his personal hygiene!!!  I gave him a 500 shilling coin to buy toothpaste.  You would have thought I gave him $100.  (By the way, lest you think I am so generous, 500 shilling equates to approximately $0.12.)  Then, God intervened!  He showed off!  He provided!  Like He always does if we give him a chance, God proved his love for us in that moment.  My phone rang and they told me that this boy’s mom was at the gate!  She was here!  On Sunday morning she had paid for her own transportation and made the trek from the village.  Mathias RAN to the gate.  No stopping, no waiting, no wondering if she had come for him.  His eyes were fixed on the gate and he RAN!!

He walked back with a spring in his step and a smile on his face.  She had come to see him!  She had come to let him know she loves him and misses him.  And yes, she had brought him some “eats” and some coins.  It was the shortest loan I have ever made with the yummiest interest I have ever earned!  He gave me back my coin, AND he gave me an avocado and a mango!  It was a great day of remembering!  Remembering that we cannot lose hope.  Just like those kids on VD keeping their eyes on the gate, we MUST keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!!  He is coming!  We cannot lose hope by looking around here and getting discouraged by what we see.

This Saturday, July 15, is Visitation Day for the second term.  Will you please pray that parents or guardians will come to visit each and every one of the students?  While we are here every day giving them love, it is so important that these children know their parents or guardians love them, miss them and want to be with them too!

In light of Eternity,

Jason, Kori, Jackson and Sidney

Hebrews 12:1-3  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

We bought a car!!!!

A special “THANK YOU” goes out to our donors who gave so we could afford transportation.

FullSizeRender.jpgNot just any car…. We bought a 1996 Toyota Super Custom HiAce van.  This beauty is a turbo-charged diesel engine with with automatic transmission, only 167,000 kilometers, and “gently” worn shocks and brakes.  It is equipped with dual-zone air-conditioning (that actually works), a CD player, and it holds 8 people comfortably or 10 people uncomfortably.  The front cattle-guard is protection against out-of-control taxis, crazy motorcycles, or even the stray cow that wanders around (none of which are necessarily uncommon here).

A special “THANK YOU” goes out to our donors who gave so we could afford transportation.  When we look at this car, we don’t see the dents or dings, or hear the rattles or smell the smells. Instead, we see a way to get around, a little freedom, and some adventure for our family.  When we look at this car, we see how much we have!

We needed this car to get Jackson and Sidney to and from their youth group each Friday.  Sidney is also part of a girls small group that meets every other week, and she doesn’t want to miss it!  We also needed it to run into town and grab whatever we forgot to pick up on our weekly shopping trip.   Then, there is the day off each week that a car will enable us to get off campus and away from our house for a few hours!

Our friends also needed this car.  In less than one week of ownership, we have loaned this car to several different Ugandan friends.  One drove his daughter to the hospital.  One picked up a visitor so she could attend chapel with us.  Another friend just needed a ride home!  We did not know that this car would so quickly take us deeper with our friends, but it has.  We did not know how nice it would feel be able to get away for a few hours as a family.  We did not know how fun it would be to take some friends with us out to lunch after church on our day off.  We do now!!  It’s a touch of home here in Uganda.

Thank you to everyone who has financially supported us so we could find out what having our own set of wheels in Uganda would feel like!

We have nicknamed it the Mystery Machine!  What do you think?!?! With a little paint, we could easily be confused with the gang from Scooby Doo!Mysery.jpgJason would be Fred, of course, which makes Kori, Daphne and Sidney, Velma.  That leaves Jackson to answer to Shaggy (and if you have seen his hair lately it is a very fitting name!!!)  Now we just need Patches (our dog who is currently under the foster care of Nana and Pop) to move here and we will be in business!!

God is blessing us in so many ways, and we know this vehicle is just one way that we will be able to connect and serve people here in Uganda!

In light of eternity,

Jason, Kori, Jackson, and Sidney

Ephesians 6:19  Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

 

Happy Easter Day!

Easter171.jpgEvery family needs an Easter picture right?  Well, here is ours!  Jason, Kori, Jackson, Sidney, and our 24 sons/brothers.  This Easter weekend and holy week was one unlike any we have ever experienced.  It was an unforgettable weekend for us and for the students of The Amazima School. 

It started off with an emotional night at our house.  We had the perfect set up!  Dinner on the veranda with 24 young men, 4 Caseys, 1 Simon (he is our Ugandan Partner and vital to what we are doing here), and 5 special guests (3 teachers from the school, and 2 other house parents).  We had a full table.  Jason and Simon took turns reading from the Bible and talking about the night that Jesus shared the last supper with his disciples.  The boys were happy to be sharing this special meal at our house and happy to have guests there to share with us…. and happy that we had soda!! 

After dinner, we took care of the dishes and the table and moved into a circle.  At that time, Jason read from John chapter 13.  Then, one by one, all of the adults moved around the circle and began to wash the boys’ feet.  The boys were stunned!  Some sat in quiet disbelief that this was really happening and some cried and begged us to stop!  One of the boys whose feet we washed begged us the whole time to stop and let him wash ours instead.  Before it was over, he was crying and overwhelmed by what had just happened.  He wasn’t the only one moved to tears.  Most of the boys were overcome by emotion and could barely accept what had just happened.  Jason and I moved to the last boy in the circle and we each washed one of his feet.  As we did, he just kept saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry…”  It was a true highlight of our time here. 

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Zach, our friend and another Family Mentor, washing feet.
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Simon, our Family Mentor Partner, washing the feet of one of our boys.

We then proceeded to a time of worship with the other students and faculty.  As we walked up the hill together, I walked hand in hand with the boy who kept asking to wash my feet.  I was able to explain to him that the feet washing ceremony was an expression and a picture of how Jesus loves us and that there is not a single thing we can do to repay Jesus for what he did for us on that cross or to earn our salvation.  Our job is to accept what he has already done; to receive the free gift of love that Jesus poured out with his blood.

Jason had done an excellent job of preparing the students for our special night.  We sang songs about the goodness of our God, our protector… about Jesus our messiah… about how his love endures forever… about how his love covers all of our sin.  A lot of students were raising their hands to heaven and singing their hearts out in praise to our savior. 

The weekend’s festivities continued on Friday.  The school is still under construction, including many new classrooms and the new chapel.  As a result, there are many construction workers on campus.  At lunchtime, those workers gathered together for a special message from the school’s headmaster, Mark Guthrie.  Then, the students served the workers a meal of rice, cabbage, and chicken.  

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On Friday night we watched The Passion of the Christ.  It was as emotional as ever.  Some students were seeing it for the first time, and others were asking not to have to watch it again because it made them too sad.  There was sobbing and crying, and many of us were unable to watch most of the scenes.  So many times we think about what Jesus did for us, but too often we forget the horrible cruelty that Jesus went through.  This movie brought the brutal truth to light for so many of these kids, as well as reminding us again of what our Savior did for us.  It is too much to understand, and there is no way we can repay or do enough to earn what has been done for us.  We went to bed knowing it was Friday, but Sunday was coming! 

CHRIST IS RISEN!!!  CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!!! 

Sunday morning came!  It was truly a celebration.  The boys woke up with energy and vigor, shouting “Happy Easter Day!”  This was truly a day of celebration.  In my opinion, it was much more of a celebration than what the Caseys practiced in the United States.  This was a special day, and I truly believe that no one took it for granted.  Our pastor reminded us that we are not in the land of the living on our way to the land of the dying.  NO! Instead, we are in the land of the dying on our way to the land of the living!!

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Our friend, Daniel, giving the Easter message at church.

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Ronald offering Kori an Easter flower.
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Derick, Sidney, and Joseph
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Sidney… too pretty!

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Because of 12 men who were brave enough to have faith, the whole world is hearing the gospel.  We believe that because of the faith of 72 Ugandan students, Uganda can be a changed country. 

Let faith rise to banish our fear!  May the power of the cross help you to live…

In Light of Eternity,

Jason, Kori, Jackson, & Sidney

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”

Picture time!

After almost seven weeks in Uganda, we are finally getting organized to share some of the activities that have filled our time.  It has been a wonderful start to this mission.  There has been some adjusting.  There has been excitement.  There have been tears.  Most of all, though, there has been joy as we abide in God’s presence and provision.

And now, without further ado, here are some pictures…..

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Jackson kayaking on the Nile River. 
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How about some rafting on the Nile River!!!  Sidney is in the front middle in the light blue shirt and black helmet.  Kori is on the right at the front of the raft in the black helmet. The raft guide spent the whole day trying to get Sidney tossed out of the raft and finally succeeded on the last rapid!  What an experience!

 

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Sidney, Kori, and Jackson outside of one of our favorite supermarkets.
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Heading to the village to meet the families of the students attending The Amazima School.
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Taking a few moments to wash the school “coaster” with our driver, Peter, and some boys from the village.  Are you wondering why you would wash a vehicle that travels everyday on dirt roads?  So are we…
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Our friend, Joseph, climbing a mango tree.
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Need some shoes?  Just head over to the local shoe market.  Thousands of shoes are available.  Our Ugandan friends tell us that most people purchase used shoes because one can more easily know the quality of the shoe and the shoes are already comfortable.
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A typical street scene in Jinja.  You better look both ways before crossing the street!
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After a Christmas break of almost 60 days, Jackson and Sidney finally returned to school.  Here they are with three of their friends.  These five students currently represent the entire Amazima Staff Kid Middle and High Schools.
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A few days before school started, Amazima provided medical and dental screening for the children that receive scholarships from Amazima Ministries.
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No vehicle?  No problem!  Just grab a boda boda, and you can be anywhere in Jinja in no time.  Remember to tell them “mpola mpola” (slow slow).  No, Kori does not like them.
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We had our very first visitor!  Our friend and fellow Ugandan missionary Lianna Scholz came and spent the day with us (she has a car, which came in very handy to get to town)!
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Kori and Jason overlooking the Nile River.
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Jinja Central Market.  Here you can find produce of any kind.  Our normal trip includes the purchase of pineapple, bananas, potatoes, cabbage, green beans, and onions, all of which costs a total of about $4.
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Soccer is a daily activity here.  Can you spot Jackson?
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Amazima held a youth conference prior to school starting.  We were blessed to be a part of it by hosting a small group containing many of the young men that now live here at The Amazima School.  Here the students are participating in a good, old fashioned Bible Sword Drill!
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Jason and our friend from Georgia, Zach (far right), hanging with some Amazima School Students.  These young men live in the dorms connected to our home on campus.
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Basketball brings JOY!  No basketball goals on campus yet, but a local pastor willingly hosted a few pick up games!
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Kori hand washing our laundry…can someone please send a washing machine?
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Huge avocados and small bananas are a regular at our house here in Uganda!
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Swimming and sunburns in January! We spent a day off by going to a local hotel for the day and enjoying their pool.  They had the coldest soft drinks we have found in Uganda!

The adventure to this point has been amazing.  Living in Uganda certainly has its challenges, but the rewards have far outweighed any challenges!

Be sure to follow Amazima Ministries on Facebook and Instagram.

In light of eternity,

The Caseys

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15:11

In a land far far away …

Far is a good word for it.  Far from home.  Far from family and friends.  Far from familiar restaurants and grocery stores.  Far from almost everything we have ever known.  Yet the verse that keeps coming to mind is, “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”

We will attempt to fill you in on all that 1 week in Uganda has been for us.  First, the plane ride.  It’s LONG!  A three hour flight, then a 7.5 hour flight followed by an eight hour flight, all wrapped up with a two hour drive to Jinja.  We will know you love us if you come all that way to visit, and we won’t blame you if it is too far!

We arrived to our home on the school campus on Friday and got the GRAND tour!  Our Head of School shared his vision and his passion with us.  It was overwhelmingly wonderful to learn about the intentionality of every aspect of the school.  The school is built into the terrain of the countryside.  The buildings are constructed in such a way, the sidewalks, the plants they chose, the kitchen set up, and just wait until we can tell you about our chapel!  Tears of joy were rolling down our cheeks as we listened and envisioned all that God is going to do in this very place.  The most exciting aspect is that we get to be a part of it.  Who are we God that you would allow us to be part of this!!!

Our house for the next two years is small but cozy (see picture above).  We are still adjusting to 4 people sharing one sink, one toilet, and one shower, but we are getting there.  The night noises are LOUD and surprising, and that has made sleeping tricky.  We have good screens so we have been sleeping with the windows open and actually getting cool at night!!!  But don’t be fooled by that… it is HOT here!  This is the hot and dry season,  and it is totally hot and dry.  The red dirt is everywhere and on everything.  We came with new shoes that, after one wear outside, look reddish brown inside and out.  We are learning to scrub our feet better than ever in the shower at night!

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(The view outside our front door.  You are looking at the net ball field and the future volleyball court.  They put our house right by all the sports fields!!)

We have been downtown and out to some villages.  Those are completely different experiences.  Downtown you can buy a “cold coke” and a hot or cold coffee!  We ate Chapati for breakfast the other day, and we loved it!  Our name in town or out in the villages is undoubtedly “Mzungu.”  They yell it at us to get our attention.  Hello Mzungu, bye mzungu, followed by smiling and laughing.

The villages are a stark contrast to Jinja town.  There is no running water and people there live in houses made of mud with thatched roofs.  Many people live in a one or two room house.  They sleep on the dirt floor and eat what they are blessed to grow on the small piece of land they own.  They utilize almost every inch of ground to try to grow whatever they can.  Whether that land is in a valley, on the side side of a hill, or in a ditch they plant.  We are in a drought here.  Most people say it has never been this dry.  Their crops looked so bad it made us cry.  They will not have much to eat this season.  Our interpreter told us food prices will be higher than ever and most people will cut out lunch and survive on just one meal until conditions improve.

We have had four power outages in 10 days.  We are doing our laundry by hand!  We are trying our best to adjust to new foods and no car to drive.  We are struggling with phones and technology working like we are accustomed.  Despite all that, we are thankful!  Thankful for family time, new friends, soft beds, fans, cold water, and a God who would let us serve Him in this way.

Today we are missing air conditioning, cookie dough, basketball season, FCA, cheez its, and our families.  We’re sure the list will change daily.

In in light of eternity,

The Caseys

1 Chronicles 17:16 “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”