Bittersweet

Greetings from Uganda!

Last evening in Uganda our team had the unexpected pleasure of a Rave at our hotel.  The bass was popping and the beat was fresh.  We still had our team devotion during this unexpected party and made the best of it.  The team dynamics are really good.  We are flexible and we laugh a lot together and our unexpected party was another example of this team.  We are grateful that the party ended at a reasonable hour for rest!

Day 3 of training was bittersweet.  It is hard to leave when we are building friendships and they are trusting us and asking great questions in regards to their classes and teaching and even on relationships like marriage.  It also is hard to leave because there is more to share.  We take comfort in knowing God is present here at Suubi and someday distance will not be an issue as we will all be in Heaven.

Music again was a big hit.  Before long Suubi teachers will be making music with recorders and guitars.  It is such a joy to see them taking on this new skill!.

We also had a great discussion with teachers regarding child development.  Students in Uganda attend school from 7:30 am - 5 pm.  (Our American students should be grateful!)  However, it makes for a challenging day when your students are 3 and 4 years of age.  Helping the teachers understand what at 3 and 4 year old can do and should be doing helped to open their eyes in understanding why their students are sleepy and are having trouble with reading and writing.  

One of the best things about today was the Intax Polaroid photos we were able to share with the staff and some children. The wonder on their faces as the photo came out of the camera, and then the expression on their faces as the Polaroid was developing was priceless.  Many of them don’t have a photo of themselves or even have a mirror to see themselves to give them this small gift was just pure joy!

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Our time ended with a celebration of our learning and a team photo in our new t-shirts.  We congratulated, laughed, danced, and took more pictures.  We are happy to have one last day with the teachers as we will take them out to a movie!  This will be the first time for many of them to see a movie in a theatre!!!!  We are so excited to share this new experience with them.  After our movie tomorrow we will begin our long journey home.  It is always bittersweet - leaving something you hold dear to return to something you hold dear.  Our heartstrings are pulled.  We are blessed that we serve a big God!

Prayers for safe travel and being able to rest along the way.  Prayers, too, that travel will be smooth and there would not be any hiccups along our travel.

Thank you very much for your prayers and support of this trip.  There were many times we were grateful to know we have people reading the blog or facebook posts and supporting our trip especially during our times that were frustrating.  Reader, you are appreciated!

With Gratitude and Love,

Team Uganda

Training Day 2

Welcome Friends,

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Day 2 of teacher training was another successful day as we continue to build relationships and community with the Suubi teachers.  Lots of laughter and silliness as we role played with each other in teaching lessons and games.  Music continues to be a favorite as they are learning guitar and recorder as well as new songs.  

The need is great but the hours are few.  We have several team members who’d like to stay for months and it’s not just because of the things they can learn but more because they are really a wonderful group of teachers who are living out their love for Jesus in their teaching each and every day.  It is inspiring and makes you want to come back.

Several team member went on another home visit today and again noted the difference a stable father in the home brings love and care to the family.  

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Deb during teacher training.jpg

It is hard to believe we only have one more day of training.  We look forward to our last day of training but even more forward to take them out for the teacher fun day!!

Today we ended with a gift.  Each staff person received a t-shirt that tomorrow we will wear as a team.  When they saw this gift there were cheers and applause.  I think they liked it :)

We are feeling better today so thank you for your prayers!

Much love,
Team Uganda

Training Day 1

Welcome Friends,

Day 1 of training was successful.  It was a wonderful feeling to be able to connect again with our Ugandan Friends.  

For a team activity , we used the Zoom book by Istvan Banyai.  It is a book with just pictures but each picture shows another detail that the previous picture doesn’t have.  

(Think of a zooming in for detail and out for more on a camera.)  We broke into groups and we discussed as a group what our picture showed.  Then we needed to share our picture with the group without showing them the picture and quietly, once everyone shared, we needed to put our pictures in order to see more detail and tell a story.  It is a challenging activity when you first start because the only detail you have is what was heard as the group.  It was wonderful to see the teacher’s wheels turning and the excitement on their faces as a story was unfolding before them.  

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Photo Story activity.jpg

This lesson not only helped to build our team but also is a great illustration for building on education, and an example of how God sees each and every detail of our lives.  He sees the entire picture even when we are so focused on something so small.

The rest of our training was spent on building the English vocabulary, working with a small group of teachers to allow for questions and music.  And my, oh my, how they LOVE music.  We could possibly have an entire trip on music :)  And really, music is powerful here because how they learn to express themselves without text.  The American and Ugandan teachers are quickly becoming better friends and it is humbling to be part of their school.

Several team members got to visit several homes in Bukeka.  A home of a sponsored child and a home of a child who is not sponsored.  The team members that went noticed a big difference in the homes.  The home with the sponsored child the father was home and engaged his family.  He showed love and care for his wife and children.  The second home was more difficult as the father is not engaged in his family and there is not the love and care from the father to this child’s mother or family.  Dear dads, reading this...know YOU make a difference in your family!

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We’ve had a few tummy issues today with a few team members and ask you to pray for strength and health.

Looking forward to Day 2!

Thank you for praying, reading, and supporting Team Uganda

Suubi, Suubi, Suubi!

 Kalagala Falls

Kalagala Falls

Friends, you are welcome.

This is a common greeting here in Uganda. Meaning that you indeed are welcomed here and we feel it.

 New roof and second story construction

New roof and second story construction

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last 3 days have been splendid! On Friday we finally got to Suubi to see the projects new constructions, tour classrooms and see the students of Suubi.  What a joy it was to see the roof on the new school construction, the completed safe hose, the new playground equipment and the classrooms of Suubi! So much has happened since our visit in 2016!!! It’s is indeed only the splendor of Jesus.  Some of the previous teammates who were on the trip in 2016 were blown away by how much the teachers took what we taught and made it their own.  It was humbling to see how they have brightened class space, incorporated class organization and are reading with expression to students!!!  
We are anxious to begin this year's training and once again collaborating with them.

 New playground

New playground

Towards the end of our day, we got to interact briefly with the students.  The students fought over which Muzungo’s (means white person) hand they’d hold and I think each of us had about 7 children literally grabbing fingers, arms, and elbows. Of course still laughing at our floppy white skin in strange spots and laughing when we tried to pronounce some names.  It was all wonderful!!!

We created a ‘fair’ like event with face painting, parachutes, balls, hula hoops, frisbees and all-time favorite sweets! We were hot and sweaty as we ran under the African sun for 2 hours with these blessed children. Again, only the splendor of Jesus!!!

More Happy.JPG
Happy.JPG

After our fair, we stopped to see the amazing Kalagala Falls.  The water was rushing and is quite high due to all the rain they have had.  It is still an amazing sight! (pictured at the top of this post)

Today, Sunday, Brother Phil brought the message to Suubi Community Church.  He was led by the Spirit and did a fantastic job of sharing God’s design on parenting.  Worship at Suubi did not disappoint.  We were dancing, clapping, jumping and waving our hand in the air for the glory of Jesus!

 Brother Phil, driving. In Uganda.  Yet, all are safe & sound!

Brother Phil, driving. In Uganda.  Yet, all are safe & sound!

 Ronnie & Phil

Ronnie & Phil

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After church, we had time with the teachers to just connect and to get to know them better.  It was a great opportunity to try to hear our voices as we all speak English but have different accents.  There was lots of laughter as we shared our names, families, and favorite food.  We did learn an important lesson when sharing your favorite food.  If your favorite food should happen to be ‘tacos’ it is best to say Mexican food or burrito because ‘taco’ is a bad word in Uganda.  Oops!  Much grace was extended by our Ugandan friends learning the cultural difference between their American friends ;)

 

Would you pray?

 School organization

School organization

  • We have had late nights and struggle to sleep through the night so please continue to pray for sleep and our energy as we head into training week with the teachers.
  • Pray over our training time, that the teachers would feel encouraged and loved.  That our speech would not hinder understanding and the material we present would be Spirit led.
  • We have overall remained healthy (Praise!) a few stomach issues here and there.  Please continue to pray over our health.
  • Another big one - the safe house is up and ready (in part, thanks to Woodlands Student Ministries effort!), however, they need a signature from the village of Bukeka official that allows the space to be a lived-in dormitory.  Pray that they can secure this signature quickly and efficiently and in a way that honors God!   

 

Tonight we received letters from our loved ones and friends from home.  Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.  They mean a lot to know when we are thousands of miles away you care so deeply for us.  Thank you!

 

We will be in touch to let you know how the training is going.

Much love, 

Team Uganda

Arrive √

Hello!

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We have successful arrived in Uganda! Thank you for your prayers.  Minimal turbulence and no sickness.  Praise God.

Overall, good flights, however, we had a small hiccup with our hotel stay in Dubai.  We had thought we were staying at the airport hotel but no reservation was found for our group.  Thankfully, the emergency contact for our trip was able to book us at another hotel and arrange transportation for us upon arrival in Dubai.  We all were grateful to lay flat for al least 5 hours after sitting on a 13 1/2 hour flight.

Tonight was our first cultural event.  We went to Ndere Center to watch tribal dances of Africa.  3 hours of drums, strings, and vocals. We were encouraged to ‘shake our sitting facilities’.  Shaking this means we are relaxed in Uganda.  (See video)

We are anxious to get to Suubi on Friday!

Prayers...

  • Rest as we try and recover from long flights
  • Heath 
  • Humility

 

Thanks for reading and supporting Team Uganda

Prayers Please!

Greetings Dear Reader!

 Ugandan sunset, 2016

Ugandan sunset, 2016

We will leave Wisconsin for Uganda Monday July 9th.  We fly from Chicago to Dubai where we will have an exciting overnight in Dubai.  We will arrive in Uganda on Wednesday July 11th where we will remain until July 19th.  Your support and prayers mean the world to us and here are some specific ways to pray right now for our team.

  • Pray for no flight delays or turbulence.
  • Pray for sleep and peace on this long flight to Dubai (about 11 1/2 hours!)
  • Pray for our minds to rest and trust is God’s plan for this trip; not our own
  • Pray for our team to work together for the good of the Gospel and for Global Hands of  Hope
  • Pray for our speech.  While our Ugandan brothers and sisters speak English we have an  accent to them and they to us.  We desire our speech to be clear, slow, and thoughtful  for understanding
  • Pray for our health.  That we would not be ill and adjust well to other foods.
  • Pray for our humility.  It is not about us be He who is greater in the world!

Thank you!

I know there will be more as we hit the ground so stay tuned!  If you’d like to be added to our team Facebook page for updates and photos please comment below.

Much love and gratitude,

Team Uganda

Meet Our Team!

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Thank you for going on this trip with us by following our journey and praying for us.  

In the picture on the left (from left to right):  Sarah Kolling, Tracy Cronce, Deb Neff, Tina Nelson, Amy Heitzman, Christina Moodie, and Phil Barker.

Get to know each member of the team a bit more below.


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Hi! I am Christina Moodie.

My tribe consists of my husband, Barry, and 2 children, Emmett (4) and Kate (2).

3 words to describe me are creative, motivated, taco enthusiast

My favorite book is Unafraid by Susie Davis.

On a Saturday you can find me hanging out with my family.

On this mission trip to Uganda, I hope to take photos to help the marketing efforts for Global Hands of Hope.


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Hi! I am Deb Neff.

I currently teach kindergarten.

My tribe consists of my husband, 2 married children, and 1 granddaughter.

3 words to describe me are petite, encourager, quiet

My favorite book is Anne of Green Gables and the Bible.

On a Saturday you can find me cleaning the house, doing schoolwork, or biking/geocaching.

On this mission trip to Uganda, I hope to help early childhood teachers understand their role in the development of their students, to strengthen relationships from our first trip, and to help/serve in any way that's needed.


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Hi! I am Tracy Cronce.

I currently teach  K-6 library.

My tribe consists of my husband, Jon, 3 children: Shelby, Tanner, Sadie, and 3 dogs; Roo, Indie, and Cali.

3 words to describe me are determined, compassionate, empathetic

My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

On a Saturday you can find me at home with my family or walking my dogs.

On this mission trip to Uganda, I hope to do God's will.


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Hi! I am Sarah Kolling.

I currently teach as a homebound instructor and substitute teacher for the Stevens Point schools.

My tribe consists of Matt, Peyton, and Maya.

3 words to describe me are creative, fun, compassionate

My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

On a Saturday you can find me lounging with coffee, preferably outside.

On this mission trip to Uganda, I hope to build better relationships and bring encouragement to teachers.


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Hi! I am Amy Heitzman.

I currently teach elementary music.

My tribe consists of me.

3 words to describe me are curious, expressive, analytical 

My favorite book is Lord of the Rings trilogy.

On a Saturday you can find me listening to something (music, audiobook, or podcast) while puttering around the house and yard.

On this mission trip to Uganda, I hope to strengthen relationships with the Suubi staff, meet my sponsored children, and join some music making!


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Hi! I am Phil Barker.

I currently teach landscaping & mechanical skills at Sentry and life & faith skills to high school & college students.

My tribe consists of Teri (my lovely wife of 28 years), my 2 sons Paul & Luke and the smiling Sadie dog. 

3 words to describe me are technical, missions mobilizer, and trainer

My favorite book is Ministering Cross Culturally by Lingenfelter.

On a Saturday you can find me fixing things.

On this mission trip to Uganda I hope to sing & preach loud and see more of Ronnie & Ritah's vision & skills.


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Hi! I am Tina Nelson.

I currently teach piano, violin, and homeschool my three kids.

My tribe consists of my husband, Barry, and three kids, Taber (16), Drew (13) and Emma (13).

3 words to describe me are laughs loudly, smiles easily, and thinks thoroughly.

My favorite book is The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.

On a Saturday you can find me doing laundry.

On this mission trip to Uganda, I hope to help the teachers learn more about how to incorporate  music into their curriculum.  And I hope to learn from them, as well.


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