by Dale Russell
Your Visions of Hope Team just returned from Otino Waa Children’s Village, Northern Uganda. The goal of further connecting our inmate sponsors and artists was totally successful and reporting the accomplishments is now a priority. YOU share in that connection, as many of you invested in the process with both prayer and funding. Many thanks to you!
An important aspect of sharing God’s heart is trusting in faith that he will use you. When you choose to live a life co-laboring with your heavenly Father you get to experience things completely out of your comfort zone. That allows trust and anticipation of great things!
To avoid loading you with too much info, this report will be in two parts, so let’s get started.
Going back to basics means reviewing your original instructions – why go in the first place?
God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless
and a champion of widows.
(= Otino Waa Children’s Village)
God provides homes for those who are deserted.
(Ever felt forgotten or left behind? You and I?)
He leads out the prisoners to prosperity
(For this discussion prosperity = successful relationships.)
100% of the kids and staff at Otino Waa (OTW) now know everything about Visions of Hope (VOH).
We were able to share with all 300 children and over 100 staff and teachers. Many welcomed the re connection, but some were informed for the first time. All the kids met on two occasions to hear the stories from prisoners and then to react verbally or within a ton of notes and letters.
This was a dream team. Having led multiple teams to Uganda in the past, we are convinced a small team (5) invites easy management and strong potential. Each of us had both specific and shared projects. All projects were completed early leaving time for deeper interactions with kids and staff.
100% of our projects were completed. This may sound simple but consider the tasks. We searched out over 50 kids to do video interviews for their inmate sponsors. At the same time, we oversaw a letter writing campaign from kids to inmate sponsors.
An art project that was started by the inmates was finished by the kids. This will be sent back to the inmates shortly.
Inmate art was added to T shirts for the house moms and presented along with crocheted items and jewelry from the ladies at Coffee Creek Correctional.
Bible study was shared with the moms on multiple AM’s highlighting the ways God speaks to us and the other voices that try to influence. A prayer journal was created to give to each mom.
Our long-term connection with Lira Babies Home continued with dropping off clothing and funds. The facility takes in abandoned or orphaned babies and always runs at capacity. Hope is here, despite terrible situations for these children.
There were two outings deep into rural areas (the bush) to bring a bit of food. This area has been devastated by a drought which will kill if it continues. Subsistence agriculture is survival and should meet a family’s requirements with little or no surplus. Starvation is within sight. We saw poverty and hopelessness in the extreme. You have no idea what this really means until you see it firsthand. A miracle is needed.
Without much warning you are put in front of a mic speaking to hundreds of thousands of radio listeners. Think fast and do not spew out buffaloes.
Relationships renewed! We always look forward to this as those who have graduated out of OTW come back to search us out when they find out we are in-country. You never knew who would show up for dinner or appear at OTW.
Some of the younger kids are new to sponsorship, especially an inmate. The best example of this was Rachael, still short on English skills, watching the video from her inmate sponsor. She totally understood the depth of the connection as tears rolled down.
Observe the spiritual depths of the OTW kids. This was so impactful to this team.Consider our own habits. Would I pray and worship all night? Would I voluntarily gather to sing worship just because you love to do it? Do I have an abundance of memorized scripture to use at any given moment? How about the joy of preaching in your teen years? We stand amazed.
Stay tuned for part two. There is so much more.
Oh yes, what about Spewing out Buffaloes? I blessed (?) the team with a daily dose of Ugandan trivia. To be accused of spewing out buffaloes is to say you are speaking improper, inarticulate English. Try that on someone who is thrashing a conversation.
I trust I have not done such a thing to you with this report.
Thanking God for the team, the kids of OTW, our next appointments with inmates and the success you have made real.
The Lord God is my strength.
He will set my feet like the deer.
He will let me walk upon the heights