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I just want to send out a thanksgiving/praise report concerning the Home of Hope Orphanage in Uganda that we are supporting.

This has been a difficult 6 months in that we were faced with a series of enormous unexpected challenges. We lost some of the Ladies of Hope, former prostitutes that the church rescued from the streets, leaving us with several orphans that had no place to go. Then as we were trying to figure out what to do with them, the church lost its lease. Now we not only had a score of unwanted children with no place to put them, but we had no place for the entire church and everything that depended upon it. It was going to get much worse before it got better.

Somehow, through the generosity of a young, 29-year-old businessman, we built a church and then acquired a set of buildings for the orphanage. Without any resources to speak of, the church begged and borrowed enough to get some more land and build a school. Somehow, the school is operating at a loss of a couple thousand dollars a month, but is still running. I guess we’ll tackle that problem later.

How we accomplished all this in a matter of a few months is beyond my limitations of faith. It is easy to say that you should believe God for everything, but it is entirely another thing to be faced with the huge challenges that kept falling on top of us. I thank God that He has enough faith for all of us if we just let Him be in control.

We were still faced with a large monthly expense to keep the orphanage running. The cost to support each child for food, clothing, medical expenses, school fees, and the whole gambit of everyday expenses for a bunch of little kids is over $100 per month. And there are now 26 children. Add to that a meager salary of $900/month for the Director and his wife, and you have $3,500/month to raise.

We had $1,500 coming in every month — $500 from the Maypearl Baptist Church, $500 from the young businessman who had already given so much, and $500 from all the individual sponsors of the children. We were $2,000 short. Every month. So they scrimped, and cut and did without. Meals now became one small portion of food per day. Clothing would have to wait. School fees were postponed. Toys were non-existent. I don’t know how they did it, but somehow they squeezed through, all the time believing that God would come through for them. Me? I didn’t know what God would do. I am not good at begging for money. I’d rather just forget it than ask someone for money for something so obviously in desperate need. I just figured I’d work like the devil and pray like a saint and somehow something would happen.

It did. Wow. A young man heard of what we were trying to do and donated a large sum of money to make up for the shortfall in monthly expenses until we can get established with more sponsorships and be able to stand on our own feet. I don’t know what to say. I’m all choked up. He is not on my Facebook so he won’t get this message, but I pray that somehow God will make him to know just how great this thing that he did was to a bunch of discarded orphans that were considered expendable and a group of desperate, broken women who had been rescued from the life of shame that had been thrust upon them.

We’re still not out of the woods. We will have to figure out a way to get more sponsors – a lot more sponsors. I’m not good at that stuff, but God is. I’m sure He’ll figure something out. I’m content to savor this one victory for right now. This is enough for today; tomorrow will come tomorrow, filled with fresh challenges, new opportunities, and more victories.

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Home of Hope Orphanage is located in Mbarara, Uganda and is part of Noah and Diana Kamanzi’s church group, which also includes the 

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Ladies of Hope, which is the group of ex-prostitutes from which these children have come.  Each of these kids has his or her own heartbreaking story.  Their situation is doubly oppressive because while their mothers were alive, they experienced so much shame and degradation from the men that abused their mothers and the distain they found in the local bars where they grew up, and then they had to face their own hell after their mothers had died.

Their alternative was to run the streets and garbage dumps of the city, always running from the police and the more respectable me

mbers of society. They had to develop a severe defensive mentality from the tender ages of 4 and 5 years old. Prostitution for 10 to 12 year old girls was expected.  Violence, drugs, disease and despair ruled their lives until they met the usual early death.

Let me give you just one example of what these kids are like.  Benon’s mother was a prostitute and died of AIDS. Benon had a 7-year old brother and a 4-year old sister.  He had to leave the house they had been staying in and take his siblings with him to the the dump to find a place to stay. He would then go out to the street corners and sing and dance, making up his own songs and dance moves to get people to throw change so he could get something to eat for his brother and sister.  Benon was 9 years old.

Almost all of their mothers contract AIDS/HIV, and some pass it on to their children, so many die and leave these kids abandoned.  No one wants them.  They are considered the seed of a whore and are therefore defiled and rejected as so much human refuse.  Relatives do not want to share their family’s inheritance with them, grandparents will not take them in, and their fathers are unknown and missing.  It was bad before for them; now it is worse. They are on their own with no place to go and with no hope.

If you have ever gone down into one of these wretched slums in Africa and gotten a whiff of what it means to have no hope, y

ou will shudder from its’ cold desolate grip. No hope.  That’s what these babies have been thrust into.  And it is endemic across Africa.

You can’t help everyone and fix every problem, but you can do something that will make a difference in someone’s life.  Home of Hope is small right now but we expect to be growing in time because so many of the Ladies of Hope are infected with AIDS and will probably die and leave us their children.  We are just beginning and have just purchased a former hostel with 9 rooms.  There is no organization, denomination, or church supporting us.  In fact, it is only a small handful of people who have felt the burden to do something.  I pray that the Lord would touch your heart so that you would join us and help us meet the challenges that face us.

Come visit the website and at least read their stories. The websites will tell you lots more than I can.  The Home of Home is at www.OrphansofHope.com and the Ladies of Hope are at www.LadiesofHope.com.  If you can’t help sponsor someone, maybe you can send us a hundred bucks or so.  Maybe a thousand. It’s all tax deductible.

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I’m sitting here in the cold early morning of the day after Christmas. Everyone is still sleeping; it’s quiet, dark and cold. The sugar plums have all been eaten, so I hope there is something pleasant dancing in their dreams. But I am here alone and wanted to send out this belated greeting to everyone.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Christmas is always magical for children and sometimes tiring for us old folks, but it has always been a special time set apart to honor the Savior. Now, I know that Jesus was not born on Christmas. He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles. (I wrote In_A_Stable last year ). Nevertheless, this is the season we have chosen for Christmas and all its trappings, and regardless how you feel about celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th, I hope it has been good for you.

And I really do hope this New Year will be something momentous in your life.

I don’t subscribe to the false prophets who run around proclaiming to you that this will be “your year of victory”, or blessings, or prosperity, or deliverance, or whatever nonsense they think will get a rise out of you. Your year will be what you make it – either in the Lord or in the flesh. I don’t believe that God is running a lottery for those who do not seek His face. It is not a matter of luck, misdirected hope, cheap grace, or empty faith. The Lord will direct and open paths and opportunities to those who seek Him and choose to bury themselves in His Word and in prayer. You reap what you sow.

On that note, I hope you sow as much as you can this year. If it is true that we are fast approaching a culmination of things for this old world, then we need to consider a New Year’s resolution that spurs us to do things this year that we have been only thinking about up until now. Whether that means something for your family or breaking the constraining bonds of inaction to go out and do something for the Lord, this year may your best and possibly only chance. If not now, when?

“Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” (Ecclesiastes 11:2)

I’m heading back out as soon as I can – not sure where, but I am going. And I could really use your support, but better yet, why don’t you come along? You say you can’t do it, but I’m telling you, yes, you can. You just have to make that first step. New Year’s resolutions only work when you actually act on them.

Do something different this year, something outrageous, something so far out of the box that it breaks all the restraints that are holding you back. Do something dangerous! Do something that requires you to bury yourself in God for your absolute safety and support. Cut everything that is holding you back into the dark folds of mediocrity.

If you don’t step off the ledge, you will never learn how to fly.

Brother Dale

 

BTW – if you are looking for a place to give a year-end tax-deductible donation, why not sponsor one of the orphans that came out of the Ladies of Hope?
Go to http://www.RevivalFire.org/Orphans.htm or Support Us.

 

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Widows and Orphans

I just spent a week or so overlooking the construction of a new church and orphanage in Uganda. As you may know, I have been working closely with Pastor Noah for a few years bringing a message of revival across Africa.  In keeping with that same spirit, his wife Diana began to reach out to the local prostitutes, bringing them into God’s saving grace and teaching them how to sew.  We call them the Ladies of Hope.

A problem arose when some of the ladies had died and left children that nobody wanted.  Almost all of the Ladies of Hope have AIDS, as do their children, and this disease has claimed three of the women.  Another lady was murdered by a former “client” when she would not give in to his demand for sex.  No one wants these “tainted” kids, not even their grandparents, so Noah and his sister have been taking them in. They now have twenty orphans.

This is an open-ended problem that will only keep growing, especially as more and more women are desperately coming in all the time from prostitution. In the midst of our looking for a way to build some kind of orphanage to house these children, the landlord decided to cancel the lease on Noah’s church.  Now we have to build, not only an orphanage, but also a new church and find the land to put in on.

Thankfully, someone has met the challenge and has given enough money to quickly build some buildings to keep this important work going.  We have come to make sure everything is going well. The church should be basically finished enough to move into in a few weeks. They will miss a few services, but at least we have established a place to establish the ongoing presence of God’s people.

Everything seems to be a challenge out here. You can’t just do some simple project without something going wrong.  It’s as if the devil just hangs out waiting to flip things around on you.  Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.  It certainly keeps you diligent.

There is a need for volunteers to watch over the children. Know anybody who wants to give up their luxuries, live in a 3rd world country, struggle for support, leave your friends and social life, but lose your heart in a desperate love for the most precious of God’s creations? The riches you earn here last forever.

Or how about sponsoring a child?  Widows and orphans top the list for God. I’m not sure how the blessing meter ramps up when you take one of these kids under your wing, but I got a strong feeling that $40 a month will pay off in dividends you can’t imagine … and they will pay off for a long, long time.  How about $100 per month?  It really takes more than that to pay for all their needs for a month, but a hundred bucks is a good start.  If the Lord starts dealing with you on this, please contact me and I will help set you up.  We  need your help.

It will be a few more weeks before everything is done.  I’ll try and send some pictures when it is finished.  In the meantime, I am heading to Rwanda before coming home. 

But I’ll tell you all about that later.

 

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