Bridging the gap

I think one of the most rewarding things about advocating for the Deaf in Uganda is that I get to meet SO many people! I’m naturally very extroverted so I feel this God given talent comes in handy.

There is a school called Broadfording Christian Academy (BCA) here in the US that supports BDI. They’ve done drives for socks, toothbrushes, art supplies, and money for various needs. The kids at BCA have written letters directly to the Deaf kids at BDI. I was given the honor of hand delivering all those letters, and their replies! Both schools have the same amount of pupils in grades 1-5. Both schools have curious children who ask great questions to better understand the world around them. Both sets of children are amazing little people who will grow to do great things!

I love bringing reports of progress and overall information back to the states. I love sharing pictures of everyday life in both cultures so the children can see they aren’t really so different after all.

Recently I’ve been working on a pen pal program so children without sponsors can receive letters of love and encouragement. There are still more kids without sponsors than those with. However God is faithful to help the doors of BDI stay open. We are completely sponsor run/donation operated, but quickly becoming self sustaining. Will you pray we find new sponsors?

From farming, to trade school lessons, we are working toward the goal to be self sufficient. Rabbits were recently added to the chickens, ducks, and pigs we already raise.

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Being a voice to those without one is an honor and responsiblity I never intended to have. Being a bridge between worlds is something I never thought I could be. However, looking back, I see God’s hand in it ALL the way. I see the thread of experiences, training, and drive that brought me to where I am now. I have been forced WAY outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been stretched, broken, and molded in ways I never dreamed were possible. It’s a crazy wild ride, but I’m thankful to be on it! 🎉✝️🎉

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True Healing

Our bodies are absolutely amazing! We are able to withstand terrible injuries and great pain and still live. Women are able to bring forth life knitted within their womb and heal relatively quickly. Something I feel thankful to God when someone says “I feel sick because I have ______ symptom today” because then I get to reply, “I have medicine for that!” The kids at BDI come to tell me they don’t feel well because I’ll pull out my travel lack of 8 “go-to” essential oils and treat them on the spot. I have really become passionate about essential oils over the last two years. I was skeptical at first but soon found I was treating household ailments naturally! I love these oils because long ago God gave us every PLANT which people have been using as medicine for generations all over the world!

“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.” – Genesis 1:29a

I was very blessed to carry donated oils here to Uganda to mix and hand out. I didn’t buy these but it is always an honor to serve as the bridge between communities. Now the matron at the school has rollers for common ailments to treat teachers and students! Thank you all who donated these oils! May God bless your giving hearts. 

The body and the soul are linked together. Spiritual healing came in the form of donated bibles! I had the honor of watching them be distributed. There was joy in the room. People much my elder were receiving the first bible of their ENTIRE lives! Think about that for a moment… It still blows my mind. The bibles were even in their mother tongue for most of the recipients. See how they are covered to help protect them? These bibles are cherished gifts. If you want to help provide a bible, please contact me for details!


Witchcraft is very prevalent in this address so prayer warriors are very much needed. Personal thirst for God’s word and personal relationship creates changed lives though the power of Jesus Christ! Thank you to all who donated. May God abundantly bless your faithful hearts for his children!! You can treat the mind and body but true healing is only possible when all is right with the soul. 

Community

Community. It is something we all treasure. We are designed to need one another. Designed to want relationship and companionship. But what happens when this basic human need gets denied? Time and again here in Africa I hear and see the stories of rejection, neglect, and even abuse of the Deaf community.

Here at Boanerges Deaf Initative the social stigma that comes with being deaf in developing countries is constantly being challenged though! It is challenged as we go to play, communicating and literally skipping with joy as we travel, while everyone we pass just stares. It is challenged when the children are able to read and write English, therefore communicating with the hearing for business and pleasure. It is challenged when the students pass the same national testing as hearing kids and go on to study at secondary schools.

We have our own community consisting of children, teachers, hearing adults who love them, and Deaf adults who love them! This community replaces and helps ease the pain of the rejection felt by the local people and some family members. I believe slowly by slowly schools and organizations like this will alter cultures around the world!

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At the school I can literally see the difference in those children who receive early intervention and early language as opposed to those who were older before gaining access. This doesn’t mean that the children who were older are dumb. Nor does it mean that they can’t overcome the added challenges. It just means that the children who started young have a very obvious advantage. This is yet another reason why the social stigma needs to change and the great need for schools like BDI exists! I feel very privileged to watch these precious youngsters grow, develop, and mature.

I am fascinated in the way language is taught and concepts explained. Last year I was a student. I spent the 3 months here in a seat next to children learning signs, learning teaching techniques, and of course, as my sign name suggests, playing!!! This year, I taught several different subjects on several different days. I loved every minute. I also have an even greater understanding and appreciation of what these teachers are doing day in and day out! Am I a pro? Of course not! I still need help with vocabulary now and then. I also need to work on reading fast finger spelling, but I am determined to master this for next visit!

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My favorite parts so far were:
1) when a student told me I had to stay until December, THEN I could leave.
2) when a student told me they would chain my hands and feet to prevent me from leaving and the giggles that ensued when I pretended to jump from class to class bound hand and foot.
3) when a teacher said I must live here and teach forever.
4) when the kids started lovingly quarreling over which of them were my actual child born of my body. Together we eventually decided… ALL of them!

I love my sign name given by these kids. I love this school. I love these teachers. I love these sweet children. My heart is heavy not yet knowing when I’ll return. However, I am so honored to be part of this tribe. To be accepted into this community!

Normal Day Of Perspectives Challenged

I’m always amazed at what I experience on my trips halfway across the world. New perspectives on God’s word, new people to meet and learn from, but my favorite part is having everything I THOUGHT I knew challenged. I love having my perspectives changed and my core shaken.

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Today started with the lovely sound of rain at dawn. My clothes were hung around inside today because of it. It stopped as I was preparing to leave for BDI. After waiting for a taxi to the main Boda stage I found a driver who knew where I wanted to go. I can navigate to the school fairly well but there are two main routes (and I am directionally challenged) so I prefer to get a Boda man who just knows how to get to the stage near the school. It started raining again! Not just rain, but the kind of rain where the roads fill within seconds and side paths become rivers of sloshy red-brown water. I have never had to stop traveling before and rather ok with getting wet. However, the Boda man put me under a shop roof and we waited with another Boda man all just chatting in broken Lugan-glish. As quickly as it came, it slowed to a drizzle. Next stop, BDI.

Today I taught 3 classes. I enjoyed all of them and I’m getting the hang of the signs as well as explaining in different ways. I had tears from a student in my math class today. Our class ran a little long because they just were not understanding what I needed them to so we did some extra practice. I also need to check drawings / diagrams before I let them finish writing from now on… Rookie mistake. Anyway, she, among others, needed extra help but had to go do a chore. All was made well later when the teachers had gone home but she found everything still on the chalkboard as I tutored other students. She got the concept and really understands now!

Leaving so late meant I hit peak taxi time on a FRIDAY! That means they are more expensive and take forever to catch one that goes to the right place. Especially when navigating through swarms of people. Not exaggerating that I got hit by a taxi door that was too full for me to enter and leaving the stage. A few minutes later I almost got hit by one coming into the stage and pulled another woman toward me because she wasn’t looking, they didn’t beep, and they were going WAY too fast. Welcome to Uganda! 🙂

At night I saw some interesting things on the news. First up, the political corruption, but that is old news to me. The interesting thing was when the reporter said, “there was a spirit who used a daughter as a medium to express outage at the situation.” There was video footage of the demon possessed woman. Can you imagine what would happen if MY country reported this way??? These people all know the spiritual world is just as real as the physical world… Why not some people?

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Another interesting part of news was the reconstruction of an old Muslim school. They reported that religious reform was everyone’s duty. Immediately after that story was a story of a Christian funeral where people were in a large church and the cross quite visibly hung behind the pastor as he spoke. Again, these are stories America would never dare mention for fear of offending someone and for fear of mentioning faith, God, or religion. What would happen if our news reported this way?

The spiritual realm IS real and very active in war. The bible clearly tells is this. Why can’t many people see that? Even Christians? I’m thankful for additional perspectives gained regarding old truths. I’m up for more experiences that shake my own understandings of the world around me!!

https://www.youcaring.com/boanerges-deaf-initiative-460813

Stars and Semuto

It is the dead of the night. All is finally quiet outside except an occasional dog in the distance and the sound of passing vehicles far off on the main road that mimic the sound of wind. Frogs still sing as they did while I watched the meteor shower tonight praying and thinking. A cockroach scampers on the floor. The “great dane” version. I can hear it digging but not see it anywhere.

Once again I praise God for stars. You can always see the splendor of God in all creation.

Psalm 8:3-4
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

My mind shifts to Semuto. Oh how much it has changed in 6 short months! Chickens now scatter the land. Free range for now. This is good in that they can mate freely, hatch babies freely, and eat all the bugs they can find. Good food into the animal will soon make good eggs to be eaten. (When they are separated from males)

The corn stalks we planted are tall and appear to be scattered everywhere. The highest land is now leveled and ready to receive a building when the funds are raised. (To donate visit https://www.youcaring.com/boanerges-deaf-initiative-460813 ) A new entry road allows the house to be more private and the farm area more separate.

This place is kissed by God. The land dedicated for his glory. Prayer protects it from spiritual attack and physical harm. The first 8inches of unfarmed virgin soil is deep brown compost instead of rusty clay red! I love the plans for the land and those precious children who will one day inhabit it. The God who made the stars is here and doing great works in Semuto.

The Start

Flying. It is SO amazing to me how a metal machine can get into the air. My favorite part is the view. I find myself praising God for fluffy clouds that seem as solid as statutes in the sky. We pass them at what feels like a jogging pace but I know instead we travel at several hundred miles per hour. My heart races as I see the red and green of Uganda begin to come into focus. These colors of Christmas make my heart happy and my mind race. I can’t wait to get my feet on Uganda soil. I have longed for my feet to be covered in the rusty brown that never seems to wash completely off my toes. I’m filled with joy knowing I’ll soon hug many friends, dance with Deaf children, and meet new people.

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Now I have been here a few short days and already seen so much. That little girl who feared me last visit fell asleep in my arms the first night back. Already babies have cried at the sight of me as well as crawled up in my lap. I love them all and I’ll work to earn their trust.


This trip I have a travel buddy for a short time. Deaf Child Hope has sent a representative named Courtney. She is here to experience BDI as well as learn about the culture. She will then be going to Ethiopia to experience another Deaf school. Having her here has been wonderful. She’s VERY much like me. I’m going to enjoy having her here.


I hope we can go on the hill with the BDI kids soon. This is still only the start of the journey. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. Check back to see more! Pictures to come!

Inventory

I know it has been quite a while since I have written anything public. My reasons are my own but hey, I wanted to share some of my recent random thoughts!

The weather in our area of the world seems to have finally broken free from winter’s grasp and YARDSALE season has begun once again. I was taking inventory of donated items becoming overwhelmed with thankfulness at the items we have already received!!! I stood there planning out the positioning for the biggest event to date when I realized we made over $2000.00 USD last summer in just a few weeks! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us this year! I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to hold them most of the spring and summer months. As long as we have donations and no rain on a Saturday morning, we will continue to raise funds for BDI! Stay tuned for updates on the efforts of the new year.

I love the people we get to interact with every time we do an event. Some are there strictly to shop. Some ask great questions about BDI and what the $$ is going toward. Some people come back every single week to see how we are doing and what new items we have. Some will pray RIGHT there with us. Some will reveal their hearts to us and ask US to pray right there for THEM! I never thought a yardsale could be used as an outreach but according to the bible, that totally makes sense!

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

I was also recently taking inventory of items that will eventually be physically taken to the Deaf school next time we go there. Toothbrushes and colored pencils from Broadfording Christian Academy, school supplies from a few families, Bibles from a local church, and more jackets from a different church. God has blessed us abundantly with both items to take AND suitcases to take them in!

Soul Inventory. That is a thing. We as followers of Jesus must regularly take inventory of our own souls to be sure the things that reside there are really things that God wants and can use. I check through the files of my heart, rearranging, reorganizing, re-prioritizing, and preparing for whatever work is about to come my way. The Holy Spirit prompts us through the Bible, directly through other believers, and sermons to respond to what is in our souls in the proper ways. (Ephesians 4, Romans 12, and MANY others come to mind)

I am so thankful for prayer! I am thankful for the privilege to serve in this way and for the response of people who make a difference in the lives of people locally and internationally! If it were not for the whole body of Christ serving and moving together, none of this would be possible.

THANK  YOU!

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