This boy was sitting in our group of 50 sponsorship candidates in Mbulamuti on Tuesday.
He wouldn't smile for the camera, but his face lit up when I showed him a picture of himself.
Note the bottle of water in his hands. This is an all too common sight.
Wow - no Internet access is a quick reminder of how much I love to use it - even in Uganda! This is Julie, the lone female influence on the trip - and what a trip it has been!
Having been here 9 times before, I knew not to try to predict all of the wonderful things that would touch my heart and trip #10 is no different. The people we have met every day are joyful, loving, Christ-filled reminders of how great our God is.
Nakabango, the village we have partnered with for 6 years through my church, was where we spent all of Sunday. Getting to see 100+ of the kids we sponsor there is always a thrill. They are absolutely precious! The school is thriving and we had some extremely productive meetings late that day.
Monday and Tuesday were spent in Kamuli and Mbulamuti, with a quick visit to Butungala. What a heartbreaking difference in a village that doesn't have a partnering congregation - sicker, dirtier kids - but what a joy to be able strengthen our relationships with those people. Leaving them was hard but we got to give them some good news about new sponsorships for some of their kids and a congregation ready to partner with
Wish I could post some of the pictures I got to take today. Just so many beautiful faces. It was fun to watch Andy, Todd, and Curt interact with the kids; a lot of them don't have many males influences in their lives so receiving attention from those three was priceless.
We continue to hand out bag after bag of candy, bracelets, pencils, t-shirts, and lots and lots of hugs! So blessed to be able to incorporate meetings for Hearts and Hope as we deepen relationships with these wonderful people. Hope to update again tomorrow evening!
We're heading to 2 more remote village today - Mbulamuti and Kamuli.
Saturday and Sunday were amazing when we visited Mafubira and Nakabango - where Messiah Lutheran has been partnering with the village for 6 years. It's amazing to see the transformation that has occurred there and Hearts & Hope was created to replicate that success for other villages.
Mbulamuti is the first new village to have a partnership through Hearts & Hope and Waters Edge in Allen, Texas is excited about the possibilities.
As we travel to stay at this more remote village overnight, we don't expect to be able to connect to the internet, so for updates be sure to check our Facebook and twitter pages. Since these updates are based on text messages, they are short but hopefully they are informative.
Off to another adventure!
Yesterday was 11/11/11 and that means it was Andy's big 4-0!!!
He was fortunate enough to spend it on the 3rd leg of our trip from Amsterdam to Entebbe and hanging out with Julie, Curt, and me. We purchased special team shirts that highlighted "Big Wig's 2011 Birthday Tour." :-)
You can s
Up bright and early and excited for our plans this week. Can't believe that 9 months ago I was here in Uganda for the first time and had just participared in a morning devotion that was themed "Get Off the Bus" (and engage in service).
And now I sit in the same hotel lobby preparing to get off the bus and start a new chapter in Uganda. A lot of planning and work since that day and things are starting to move quickly.
Not sure of exactly what the week has in store for us, but one thing I do know is that we will be blessed by those we meet throughout the week and that we will be in a better position to help in this great cause.
Just got word that our nonprofit status as a 501(c)(3) organization has been approved by the IRS!
This means that any contributions to Hearts & Hope may be tax deductible. Also, if you work for a large company, you may be able to have your company make a matching donation if they have such a program.
We did not think that this was going to be approved until next year, so this is GREAT news!
Excited to think that two trips to Uganda have been scheduled.
The first trip will be a business trip to plan & coordinate the January launch in Mbulamuti and our "corporate partnership" with the village of Kamuli. Our agenda is packed and one thing that we can expect is the unexpected. Mbulamuti is a sister town to the group in Kamuli, so there are a lot of relationships between the two villages that will be helpful
The second trip is in February which will be when a team from Allen, TX will be able to travel over to Mbulamuti to meet the village leaders in person.
We've formally filed with the IRS to be a non-profit organization. Once submitted, the process can take anywhere from 90 to 180 days, so hopefully we'll have it completed by the Fall.
Our vision & mission and operational plans have been drawn up and we're excited to begin this new adventure that will build upon the success that Messiah Lutheran has had in Nakabango, Uganda.
Over the past few months, as Andy, Julie, Chuck, Paul, Curt, Tim, and I have met with each other and others to shape how this non-profit will move forward, a number of key conversations and phrases have stuck in my head:
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, but the encouragement from family, friends, and co-workers has been wonderful.
We thought it would be a great idea to invite everyone who's been to Uganda to support Messiah's mission in Nakabango to a Reunion at Andy's house.
It was amazing how many people were able to join us and reflect on the awesome transformation that Messiah has had on the village of Nakabango. After everyone got to meet and share there experiences from their trips, Julie had a slide show that demonstrated how much had changed in Uganda since the first trip 5 years ago. What was once just a simple field with a small hut where a few families met to worship, there is now a carpentry shop, a sewing center, a well, and a large multi-purpose school/community center. And the children who were educated thanks to child sponsorships from Messiah are now contributing to not only their village, but the surrounding villages like Bufuula where Tim Radkey's Hope Lutheran is now involved.
It's official! Hearts & Hope has been registered as a non-profit within the State of Missouri. After a number of meetings to draft an initial vision, mission plan, and potential operational model, we took the step to register as a formal company. Fortunately, we were able to grab the domain name heartsandhope.org, so we'll have a home on the internet.
Next on the agenda is to visit with the partnering churches who traveled to Uganda with us in January to align with our vision to streamline support efforts in Uganda.
After we return, it will be time to submit our filing to the IRS for 501(c)(3) designation, allowing contributions to Uganda to be tax-deductible.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.