Dear 5th Ward

Dear 5th Ward Members: In the past 50 years, the U.S. and non-government organizations have spent over 1 trillion dollars in African aid. One might think this would have lifted Africa and blessed their lives, but the opposite effect is true. The contributed money has created a sort of welfare state wherein many have become dependent on the free ride and it has weakened the nation. It is very much like a parent who keeps bailing their adult child out of trouble only to find the child is incapable of standing on their own. The Church is very aware of this problem and you might say it is hyper-sensitive to not further enable the people of this country. Our leaders have cautioned us over and over not to invite our friends at home to send shoes or clothing or cash – even though their intentions are most noble. As RaNae and I have seen the extreme poverty here, and gotten up close to circumstances such as our friends who are victims of human trafficking, we can see the possible negative affect of throwing money at the problem. While donating cash to such organizations as Set Her Free Foundation or Mpendo Packer can do some good, the only genuine relief that will last is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need more missionaries, not cash. Just yesterday our mission president was bemoaning the fact that he desperately needs more senior missionaries who are willing to come here and serve. We are losing several senior couples in the next few months with only a few coming to replace them. His concern...
Set Her Free Foundation

Set Her Free Foundation

Slavery is still very much alive in many parts of the world. Human trafficking is a huge problem in Africa. Meet Robinah and see how one courageous woman can take a stand to save one girl at a time from this horrible plague. You may donate to her non-profit foundation and help save another girl. You may buy some of the hand-made goods they produce. Or you can drop to your knees and thank God your daughter is not a victim. Either way, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for courage to take a stand. http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Set-Her-FREE-Foundation.mp4 Want to Help? First, read this document about Charitable Giving. You can help by coming to work on a project or send contributions. You can contact Robinah Nabuganda personally by: Email: m.robinah@gmail.com Phone: 256781608595. You can send your contribution using Moneygram. If you need help or have suggestions, please let us know:...
A Boy and His Mama

A Boy and His Mama

Meet Mwesigwa (means Lord is Faithful) and his loving Mother Justine in this moving testimonial of how happiness can be found in the most challenging of circumstances. See how turning to God and Jesus can lessen pain and suffering and increase inner peace. Wonder at Mwesigua’s ability to forgive and be happy even after a painful life of torture and abuse. http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/A-Boy-and-His-Mama-1.mp4 Mwesigwa is the gardner here where we live. He is 28 years old and a most gentle and remarkable man. As we got acquainted, I grabbed my video gear and interviewed him. His story is very similar to many if not most Ugandans. He is not a member of our Church, but has a powerful testimony of Jesus and God, and faith like a lion. Mwesigwa was born into a very violent and abusive home. He left home at age five to live with a relative who continued to neglect and abuse him until he was 16. He met a man in the village who liked him because he could see that Mwesigwa loved Jesus. He took him home to his village of Gangu, where Mwesigwa was received as a new child (no formal adoption). I have two mothers and two fathers, Mwesigwa explains. My second parents taught me what a parent’s love is about (he tears up). They are the best people in the world. My other parents were not good. Our new friend then asked if we’d like to meet his mother and family in the village. Within a few minutes we three were driving to Gangu, 90 minutes away. Justine Nabaasa is Mwesigwa’s adoptive mother. She has four children of her own...
Summer in the City

Summer in the City

Our first trip into downtown Kampala was an adventure in a true urban jungle. The traffic here is completely indescribable. Unless you have been here and driven on the roads, you simply cannot comprehend it. In the U.S., traffic essentially flows in two directions. But here in Uganda, it is like navigating a raging river after a flood. The big pieces knock the smaller pieces, and the little pieces (called Boda Bodas – motorcycles) flow over and around and through the big pieces. http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Downtown-Kampala-Uganda-1.mp4 After being here a few days, we will never again complain about traffic or roads or rude drivers in the U.S. (at least until we forget). While the people here are very friendly and loving, many turn into Tazmanian devils behind the wheel. There are police everywhere here, but still there are no rules. You enter a line of traffic by nosing your car into it like swinging a club. Eventually someone will give way. The aggression of the taxi drivers (blue and white vans) and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) are beyond any description. It is truly amazing how few bumps and accidents we have seen here. But when an accident happens, it is often serious. We pray for protection daily, and feel its miraculous shielding...
African Service Adventure

African Service Adventure

Neither words nor photos can capture what we have experienced this week. We cannot believe all this change has happened in only 5 days in the field. We will never be the same again. I’m working on a video post of our experience in the bush yesterday (Saturday), but am sending a photo summary here along with a re-cap of an epic rite of passage. http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Mpendo-Packer-1.mp4 We’re beginning to understand what President Chatfield means when he says you cannot explain Africa, you have to experience it.  There is a feeling you get here in this third-world country that is both raw and sacred at the same time. To see the mass of humanity in Kampala and the isolation out in the bush is indescribable indeed. Words fail. Pictures don’t capture it. You have to feel the dirt and the grit and smell the odors and see into the eyes…and be truly humbled as if looking at a mighty redwood tree or standing in a sacred place rather than amid squalor. And, as we had anticipated, the happiness of people who have every reason to be miserable. Maybe that’s why it seems higher than we are. Our visit to a village near Jinja was the most transforming of our week. Just the drive there shook our world. We will never complain about bad roads in America again. You can’t imagine the driving conditions on these roads (if you can call them roads). The experience resembles navigating through a battlefield after a war. I’m not kidding here. There was one section of road today where the skimpy pavement had so eroded that...