When asked how people can work to bring their communities out of extreme poverty, almost everyone agrees that education holds the key. Whether those communities are in the US or in rural Uganda, everyone agrees that equipping individuals with the knowledge to move forward is imperative.

As we partner with our local leaders, education needs tend to be paramount for what their communities need. We would love for you to partner with us in providing education opportunities, and without your help, we aren’t going to be able to put these students through school. We need you to join us in providing for these students to continue with their studies. Find a full list of our education needs by clicking here. Thank you for what you do, and we can’t wait to see how these students learn and change the world.

The last of our recent volunteer team, Scott and Diana, headed back to the US on Thursday. Before they left Scott and several of the older Home Again and Dorcas Vocational School boys successfully installed the ceiling at Hope Academy.  Thursday morning before we took them to the airport the translucent roofing panels were installed. It is amazing how much light it provided for the hallway!  The classrooms have skylights in the ceiling to provide extra light in the rooms.  Continuing on with the work, the guys are finishing up the last classroom today.

We have thoroughly enjoyed having Scott and Diana here with us.  Diana invested a lot of her time into the secondary-aged girls at Home Again while Scott had been further building the relationships he started last year with the guys at Home Again.  The construction projects were great for the young men to get involved in.  I love to see mentoring being accomplished through projects.  It helps to build confidence in these young men while teaching them a skill at the same time. It’s an awesome thing to see.

Also work continues on with the new latrines for the school, as well as the staff quarters next to the school.

We are in Jinja enjoying a little more time with Nana (Katie’s Mom) before she flies out on Monday.  We have thoroughly enjoyed having her here with us.  Our volunteers play a key role in not only helping needs being met, but also in encouraging the leadership and development of the staff and students they interact with. We are excited for a new volunteer team to come in a little more than a week!

We have gotten to have a good month of volunteers here with us in Kaihura, Uganda. Last Friday we took our team on a trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park to go on a safari. The team had a great time taking in the sites and relaxing after their four-day conference.  After returning from the park and spending one more day in the village the team flew out Monday night and are now safely back in Mississippi.

Even with the team being gone work has not slowed down here.  Our friend Scott, who is here for the second year in a row (this time with his wife, Diana!), has been busy installing a ceiling in the vocational school building that is going to be the new home of Hope Academy.  Work is also underway on a new pit latrine on the school grounds. The next school term is scheduled to begin in February so work is furiously underway to get the building ready in time.

Also, Diana has begun a daily Bible study with the teenage girls at Home Again, as well as, baking lessons for the ladies at Village Art Cafe. We love the way our volunteers jump into helping and serving out of their strengths.

The last day of the youth conference was amazing! Those in attendance were still very excited from receiving their Bibles the day before.  In the morning the team broke into groups as they had the morning before.  This time around the groups were more comfortable asking questions having previously been through one of these small groups sessions.

In the afternoon, Christian, one of our volunteers, spoke to the youth about consecrating their hearts to the Lord.  Each day of the conference had been building upon the previous days message.  The end culminating with the truth that God loves the youth of Kaihura and desires to have a relationship with them and use them to reach their community, but first they must deal with the sin in their lives.  The culture here, as in many places, has allowed so much immorality to go unquestioned that these actions have become “acceptable sins.” After a call for repentance many in attendance came for prayer and rededicated their lives to Christ.

Shortly after the session ended we took a large group to a nearby water source, and with the help of local pastors, we held a baptism.  Over twenty people came to be baptized.  One great story from the baptism is while we were still getting prepared to begin an older lady happen to be walking by.  When she noticed what was beginning she asked if she could be baptized as well.  She said she had always wanted to be baptized, but never had the opportunity.  So, she joined the group and was baptized along with the others.

This was a great conclusion to an amazing four days.  We thank God for the work he has begun in the youth of Kaihura and we look forward to seeing what will come from this.

The Youth Conference has been great, and we wanted to give you an update! After the first session, word got around town and today’s crowd started out much larger than the first session ended.  It’s certainly not about numbers, but we are happy to see people excited to learn from God’s word.  And, for those that just happened to be curious and stop in, we were glad they they were there as well.  God can use curiosity!

We started the day much like the first with music and skits. Several of the children from Home Again performed a song as well.

During the first session today our team talked about rejection and abandonment.  These are major issues that many people deal with all over the world and here in Uganda it is no exception.  With all of the challenges that come with growing up in a developing nation, many of the people here have feelings of rejection and abandonment.  Anna Grace shared her story and talked about how God has a plan for each of us.

Throughout this conference our team will be touching on several topics that are not usually talked about in local churches.  For example, sexual immorality is a major issue here and it often goes unmentioned, as people are scared to bring up the topic.  Our team is calling for the youth to follow God and live according to his word not according to what their society says is acceptable.

Check out the pictures and we will have one more update for you tomorrow!