Envisioning 2015

January 22, 2015 · 1 comment

in Envisioning

What does an egg drop, picnic in the park, and Communion have to do with each other?

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Pastor Brian speaks about the sacred secular divide in different jobs and how people try to classify certain occupations as ministry or not when they are all part of the Kingdom if done to the Glory of God.

They all represent bringing the family of God together and are some of the more unique aspects of New Hope Uganda Envisioning 2015. NHU Staff members came together from Kasana and Kobwin Children’s Centres and Musana Camps. Envisioning strives to set a unified trajectory for the year and encourage expectant hearts to receive from God throughout the coming months. The 2015 theme “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done” continues in Matthew 6 building upon 2014′s “Hallowed Be Your Name.”

Pastor Brian Watts returned from Canada to challenge staff to search for ways how each of us, as individuals and collectively can participate in the process of bringing and building God’s Kingdom on earth. This does not necessarily translate to an easy life, but rather praying “Your Kingdom Come” acknowledges that in the midst of all the crazy and bad, we can realize that Jesus’ Kingdom has come and He is the King ruling here and now. Yet, in this acknowledgement of God’s Kingdom exists a tension that parts of his Kingdom have not yet come providing us hope for the future when he will bring everything under his dominion.

The Wellington Toss during British cultural night.

The Wellington Toss during British cultural night.

Between the sessions about the theme and practical matters of serving the children in our care, staff drew together to fellowship. Through games together, the group put into action bridging the sacred secular divide that Pastor Watts spoke about demonstrating that even an egg drop can occur to the Glory of God. On Friday afternoon, Uncle Chris divided everyone into their birth months and led an afternoon of games culminating in each team packaging their egg with natural materials gathered from around the site to hopefully survive a drop from the water tower. The majority of the eggs remained intact after meeting the concrete in their varied and creative vessels.

Monday evening brought a picnic in the park with twinkling lights and picnic blankets spread on the grassy primary school field in celebration of British cultural night. Our UK staff outdid themselves preparing country dance lessons, a wellington boot toss, proper tea preparation instructions, how to use cutlery according to British custom, and a visit from the queen – our own Aunt Jill.

The attendees were still delighting over the time of fellowship and relaxing together from the picnic as the final day of Envisioning commenced Tuesday. After visiting more practical matters of serving at this ministry, the staff drew together to close the week and dive back into the first month of 2015 having joined together by taking Communion.

And that is how we want to live – as individuals and a ministry – doing every activity and task to the Glory of God, praying for His Kingdom to come, seeking His will, and engaging in fellowship through the promise of Christ’s death and resurrection. We find hope knowing that God’s Kingdom is here and the completion of it is coming.

Do you follow us on Facebook? Look for photo albums of more pictures from Envisioning 2015 coming soon! Come find us at facebook.com/newhopeugandaministries

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Thank you, Teams!

January 5, 2015 · 0 comments

in NHU

Happy 2015 from all of us at New Hope Uganda! We are thankful for each of your role here – as friends, prayer and financial supports, visitors, sponsors, parents, sons and daughters, and many other capacities.

As we look forward to this year and anticipate many opportunities to grow in relationship together and with God, we want to highlight the impact of our many teams throughout 2014.

• 17 teams visited with a total of 162 people:

- from eight states (WA, SD, ND, UT, IL, AK, KS, CA)

- Four teams from the UK

- Our first ever team from Mexico

- One team from South Africa

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• Three dental teams came, with each site receiving this much-needed specialized care

• Two eye teams served at Musana Camps and Kasana Children’s Centre

• An additional full medical team (including dental and eye care) visited Kobwin and Kasana

• Six different medical outreaches were facilitated in Nakaseke District (where Kasana Children’s Centre is located)

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• Teams also painted two family bandas at Kasana enhancing the location of children’s meals and nightly family devotions

• Additionally, $5,000 in profits from the guesthouse went into ministry operational expenses

• Team members donated over 70 pieces of luggage with medicine and medical supplies, clothes, and sports equipment.

Webale nyo!! (Thank you very much!)

___

If you are interested in serving on a team at New Hope please let us know here.

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If you have liked us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter you’ve begun to see posts about something called “Giving Tuesday.”

Giving Tuesday (referred to on social media as #GivingTuesday) is a campaign for a national day of giving to charities and nonprofit organizations. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is the chance to see beyond the consumerism of the season. The Holidays officially kicked off with Thanksgiving (in the States) and that is where we want to start, too.

Thank you to all our supporters around the world. Everyday as I walk around the site, and see the buildings, textbooks, children playing a game, and many other everyday moments, I am reminded of all of you standing with us. Thank you for your prayers, your interest in the children, and your heart to partner with what God is doing in Uganda.

This year we have a new opportunity to call for your partnership. First, please pray for the right people to be aware of this effort, for God to be glorified in the giving, and that this effort will help our children know God as Father in a deeper way this Christmas. Second, prayerfully give to one of the three areas we are fundraising for as explained below. Third, share this post with your community; we need you all as our ambassadors and champions.

This year we have decided to focus on three areas of fundraising, in total, our goal comes to just under $10,000. All three opportunities directly impact our children. We invite you to participate on #GivingTuesday and see who your gift will reach through New Hope Uganda.

DSC_0318• Christmas Meals: To celebrate a successful year and send our children off for the holidays, New Hope provides special meals. Each meal costs $5 and we have over 600 children on our program. This is a tangible way to love our children.

 

 

 

DSC_0178• Clinic Solar Equipment: The solar equipment at the Kasana Clinic has failed.  New solar panels, batteries, and other equipment is needed to appropriately cool important reagents for laboratory tests and other medical supplies. Total cost for this is $3200. Your gift of any amount helps us toward the goal of providing a higher level of care for our children!

 

 

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• Help provide a way for 35 boys and 35 girls from the community to go experience the Truth and life transformation through teaching and experiences at Musana Camps. Cost for this opportunity is $100 per child. A gift of any amount helps toward this amazing life experience.

 

 

In the US, donate here.  •  In the UK, donate here.  •  In Canada, donate here.

Note: Please designate your gifts for “Giving Tuesday.” If gifts are designated to specific projects we will do our best to put it toward that project. However, if a project is fully funded, we will apply the gift to the next project with greatest need.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, November 19: An update from Kimberly White, the Kasana Children’s Centre nurse, who accompanied Aunt Ketty for evaluation and treatment in Nairobi.
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Ketty is sound asleep a few feet away from me.  She fell quickly asleep.  It won’t be long before sleep finds me.  But, before that happens, I wanted to bring fingers to the keyboard and let you know what happened today at the doctor’s appointment.  It was slated to happen at 2:30 PM, but it was just a few minutes before 5 before we actually saw him.  Ketty and I both sat and people watched, dozed, and chatted.  Our hearts anticipated, but I believe that we both had a strong peace.  Just earlier this morning, Ketty and I sat and reviewed the questions that we wanted to ask.  And we came prepared with CT scans, medical documents, and questions.  We came knowing that not only was Jesus at our side… but we also came with the prayer support of countless others.  We were not alone.  Dr. Abwao, Ketty’s oncologist here in Nairobi, greeted us warmly.  He took time reviewing the paperwork, listening to us talk, and looking at her CT scans.  He was upfront and honest.  The overall sense was that he was hopeful.  Before we left, we talked about the next steps…

His recommendations… 2 weeks of radiation to her brain followed by chemotherapy.  A month after she finishes the radiation, she will have another scan.  At that time… we will know how her body has responded to the treatment.
A plan.  And next steps.  And continued trust in our God.
As I often say, we don’t know how the story ends.  And I would be so blunt to say…. we don’t always understand the different paths that God brings us on.  BUT we do know that He is good.  That He is sovereign.  And He knows what He is doing.  And so, we pull in to Him…. and continue to walk as He leads.  He’s got this and we choose to rest in that.
This afternoon, a bit before Ketty and I saw the doctor, I came across this verse.  And I immediately thought of Ketty.   As I have had the honor to walk with her (as so many have), my own heart has been challenged in HUGE ways.  Ketty’s left side is weak…. and in helping her walk, I support her from the right side.  I love the assurance that these passages bring and even the reminder that He is supporting His Ketty…. and His Kimberly… and His                 .   He’s got us and with Him at our side, we do NOT need to be shaken.  Our tongues can rejoice and we can dwell in hope.  And in His presence, we can be full of gladness.
Acts 2:25-28

25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

And so, this day comes to an end.  We have been given the next steps of the journey and so we walk…. knowing that He is at our side.
And so on that promising note, I bring my fingers to a pause and prepare to go to sleep.  Thank you to the many, many who are journeying along Ketty.  Your words of encouragement and your prayers are a gift to her…. for sure! I read her your messages. But in the meantime, know that she hears your words and her heart is encouraged.
Tomorrow, Ketty will have a marking scan of her brain.  And then… after the doctor reviews the scanning, she will have her first radiation treatment.  #1 of 10.
Update: On Thursday and Friday Aunt Ketty completed her first two radiation treatments. Please continue to pray for strength and peace and rest for both her and Kimberly.

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IY Handover

November 20, 2014 · 0 comments

in Investment Year (IY)

Last week the current Investment Year (IY – learn more here) participants handed over their ceremonial plaque, and with it all the responsibilities, opportunities, and experiences of the IY to the Secondary 4 students who had just recently completed their final exams. During this 9th IY Handover, the 2014 students were celebrated for their hard work and released to the next stages in their education.

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Anthony is congratulated as he receives his certificate from Uncle Jonnes.

 

Aunt Jessica, the Early Adulthood Coordinator,  told one of the students who shared, “Anthony, you are my hero this year concerning IY.” As an IY repeater, Anthony spoke of the confusion he felt the first year and that he saw this second year as a chance to refocus and do the thinking again.

“Trusting God is learned over life … somethings are not learned in just one year. Things learned this year (IY) are only going to stay if we keep learning them over the years.

 

“God lets us fall, but He doesn’t let us go. It’s taken two years to learn that but it will take a lifetime to understand. God will start His work and with God there is no staying and no stopping. It’s just going,” shared Anthony in reflection over his two years in the IY program.

ANthony (1)Well done Anthony and all the IY finishers and congratulations to the S4 students as they begin the Investment Year. Please join us in praying for the IY graduates as they move onto careers, courses, and university studies. Please pray for the hearts and minds of those who will begin the journey next year.

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Parents praying for the IY graduates.

 

 

 

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Less than one month ago we collectively shouted, “HALLELUJAH!” in response to the healing Ketty Okoth received from esophageal cancer. She, her family and the entire New Hope Uganda community, as well as those of you who have stood with us in prayer have enjoyed and celebrated her victory! Indeed, she beat the odds against that onslaught becoming a member of a group of survivors comprising less than 20% of esophageal cancer patients.

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Aunt Ketty overlooking downtown Nairobi before returning to Uganda in July.

Today I write to ask you to again stand with us in prayer and faith. Last week Ketty began experiencing some weakness in her left hand and arm. These symptoms progressed with left shoulder and neck pain followed by weakness in her left leg and an “electrifying” feeling throughout her body. A headache plagued her in increasing measure so on Thursday she was accompanied by her husband and Aunt Gertrude Bakimi to the International Hospital Kampala (IHK). She was admitted that evening after completing blood work and a CT of the head. Results were obtained and reviewed on Friday resulting in what appeared to be swelling and a tumor in the right side of the brain. The final diagnosis made on Saturday between oncologist and neurosurgeon is multiple tumors on both sides of the brain invading both cerebrum and cerebellum. These tumors seem to be of the same type as the esophageal cancer. The surgeon declared them inoperable, and both doctors agreed to refer her back to Nairobi for radiation treatments.

Ketty and Kimberly White, one of our staff nurses, will fly tonight (November 18th) to Nairobi. Their first appointment is tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th at 2:30 p.m with the same oncologist who coordinated her radiation and chemotherapy treatments earlier this year. It is hopeful that radiation to the tumors will sterilize them.

Please be praying for us as this again means Ketty will be separated from her husband and children for an undetermined time. Plans are in the making for both Uncle Okoth and their oldest daughter, Millie, to join her in Nairobi after the initial week or so. But first, Uncle Okoth must complete the process of securing a passport and Millie must finish with her final term exams.

Once Ketty has been evaluated and a treatment plan formulated, we will know more details of this next phase in a journey we thought had come to a close.

We also want to publicly thank the other nurses who work in our clinic who sacrificially postponed some of their leave time to allow Kimberly to be with Ketty for the first week or so in Nairobi. The entire clinic staff have demonstrated a unified effort to care for not only Aunt Ketty these past six months, but gave an extraordinary amount of time to the care for Wizeye Joseph this year. With his passing less than a month ago (he passed on Tuesday, October 22nd and Aunt Ketty was declared cancer free on October 24th–it was an emotional week!) our staff has been working under more demand and stress than usual.

Your prayers are coveted for:

The Okoth family as they desire their wife and mother healed; the children who are in the midst of their final exams and are not wanting to say good-bye to mommy again

Wisdom, strength and stamina for the doctors, nurses, and those of New Hope Uganda making decisions regarding her care and treatment

Necessary facilities for an optimal treatment course

Sufficient and adequate guest house accommodation in Nairobi for the unknown duration of Ketty’s stay

Safe travel for all who will be with her in Nairobi

Complete sterilization of the tumors by the radiation treatments

Thank you for your prayers! Ketty was overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer support and personal messages she received throughout the earlier course of this disease. Please continue your encouragement, prayers, personal messages and words from scripture as all of these tremendously aid her in her faith, peace, joy and healing.

In the words of Ketty’s sending oncologist, we’ll “trust God for another miracle,” and give periodic updates when we have more to share.

- Mary Britton

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Happy Monday from Uganda!

P7_ (2) This Monday and Tuesday our Primary 7 candidates will be taking the Primary Leaving Exam (PLE) which determines their ability to advance to secondary school.
The P7 students from Kasana and Kobwin Children’s Centres have been studying for this exam all year. They will appreciate your prayers as they tackle this milestone.

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At the end of last week, Aunt Ketty and her husband, Okoth Casmil, were in Kampala. They began the day  with a CT scan, followed by her fourth round of chemotherapy, and then a consultation with her oncologist. That consultation started a chain of phone calls as she relayed that news that she was declared cancer free!!!!! Both abdominal and chest CTs were clear!

What a journey! What a faithful God we serve! With Him she has beaten the odds!
Praise God with us as we rejoice and celebrate this victory! There are many times in life to jump, shout, dance and sing–this is DEFINITELY one of them!!!!!!!!
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The Okoth family is all smiles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This picture was taken at the beginning of the journey, just before Aunt Ketty left for Nairobi. This week they are rejoicing that their beloved wife and mom is FREE of cancer!
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Throughout this journey, Aunt Ketty’s youngest son Israel would respond, “Mommy is sick,” when asked how she was. The day following this good news he responded with, “Mommy is fine.” And so she is because our God HEALS!
- Mary Britton

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Today we hear from Kimberly White, one of the Kasana Children’s Centre nurses. Many have been walking with a young man from our secondary school through the diagnosis of a serious medical condition. His condition deteriorated over the past month and Wizeye went to be with Jesus this Tuesday. As is the local custom, he was buried on Wednesday after a memorial service at the Kasana Church which reminded those present of the hope in Christ, even in death. Please join us in praying for his mother and two young siblings and those who knew him at New Hope.

IMG_0698There aren’t a ton of words right now.  The last couple of days have been somehow a blur.  A mixture of immensely rich moments coupled with the intensity of strong emotion.  This morning, I opted out of driving to the other side of New Hope and instead chose to walk.  I was teary in the beginning of the walk, but as I walked the pangs of emotions only intensified.  It was a walk where the tears did the mourning.  I didn’t have a bunch of words.  Just the emotions.  The pain.

It was only yesterday that I held Wizeye’s hand and told him that it was ok to go home.  I assured him that God would take care of his family.  Wizeye told me that he was going.  And a little over an hour later, he did. One minute he was there… the next he was gone.  Gone, but not forgotten.  Gone.  I talked with him one moment as I stretched out his arms.  I stepped away from his bedside to grab a quick bite.  And in those few minutes, he took his last breath.  Gone.  But not totally GONE.

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What remains are the memory of a young man full of grace. I’ve come to know him well over the last year plus.  We have had hard talks and easy ones.  We have laughed and we have cried.  My first memory of him is the time he was brought to the clinic late at night.  He had a huge cut on his head that needing suturing.  The clippers used to shave his head jammed and he was left with a haircut that was absolutely ridiculous.  He could have been angry…. could have been frustrated…. but instead, he was so gracious.  Who would have known that that interaction was the beginning of many.  Countless days, he came in for blood pressure and medication monitoring.  There were doctor visits, urgent trips to the hospital, and multiple opportunities to chat.

Over the last couple of months, his physical condition has deteriorated. It has stretched me… challenged me… and stretched me some more.  Hard questions to be asked and even harder ones to decide.  None have been answered alone.  God has led. And the peace of God has followed.  Wizeye left this world peaceful.  He left it ready.   And truth be told, it has been a day full of tears and many emotions.  But tucked underneath it, is a hope that has foundationally secured the day…. the last couple of weeks..  Wizeye you will be missed.  But we will see you again. For me, I say Sula Bulungi (good night).  But for you, my friend, I say Good Day.  Thank you for walking in faith and for finishing the race so well.

 

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Secondary Photo ResizedIn the Ugandan school system, students take major exams at P7 (the end of primary school education), S4 (the end of “O-level” secondary eduation), and S6 (the end of “A-level” secondary education). Our sons and daughters in S4  and attending our New Hope Academy receive their orientation instructions on tomorrow (Friday, October 10) and begin their strenuous three week examination process on Monday, October 13. The scores our children obtain play a significant role in their future educational options. Ugandan education officials estimate that over 295,000 students will take the S4 exams.

We try to encourage our children to do their very best and at the same time remember that their examination scores do not define who they are in Jesus Christ. Please pray for these students that they will be able to clearly display what they have learned and will be able to leave each exam with complete peace knowing they have given their best effort. At the same time, please pray that our children will see the exams as one part of the plans and purposes of a perfect God for their lives.

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