ketty okothGreetings from Uganda,

One of the great parts of being in family is how that family stands together in times of trouble. In our family we saw that first hand last year as we battled cancer. Our family, both biological and extended, really brought encouragement to our lives.

Yesterday was a time that brought back many memories of last year. We have a dear family working with us here in Kasana who are direct neighbors to us. I am not sure exactly how long they have served with New Hope Uganda, but it has been many years, as we found them here back in 2006. Their names are Ketty and Casmil Okoth and they have seven children.

We have all been praying for the past two weeks as we waited for the test results to return from a growth that has developed in Ketty’s throat. Yesterday the biopsy came back. It is cancer! To be specific, it is Poorly Differentiated Squamous Cell Carcinoma situated in the middle third of her esophagus. We are confident that God, the one who created us all is going to carry them through this. Though we don’t know the outcome exactly, we do know that He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. As a cancer survivor myself I was blessed to be able to stand with the family last night as they brought the news to their children. After the tears and the many words spoken by Okoth, the father, and myself, Ketty herself began to share with the children where her hope is coming from. She spoke boldly to them about their need to trust God and not man. I was inspired by her faith and encouraged as this mother of seven shared with them how Jesus is and always has cared for her despite the trials she has faced in her life. She encouraged them to make Jesus their Lord and Savior especially in this time.

We are praying for God’s hand to work in her life, and we are asking for total healing and strength for them all. But we are also looking to see how we can be sure to get the best medical care for her as possible, thus why I am writing this. Here at New Hope we typically provide medical care for all our staff members though we often don’t have to fight a battle like this one. Financially right now we do not yet know what her treatment is going to cost, but we do know it will be exceptionally large even in African standards. We are looking for a way to cover Ketty’s salary as well as the extensive medical costs she will be facing. We want to look at all of the options which might include surgery and radiation in Kampala or possibly traveling to Kenya or even South Africa.

We are sending this out as a prayer request, that we as God’s global family could stand in prayer on behalf of our sister and her family. Please be in agreement with us for her healing as well as God’s provision. Donations toward this need can be made through New Hope Uganda to the Ketty Okoth Cancer fund. All donations will serve either medical expenses or the upkeep of her salary as we pass through this together. Any excess funds remaining when the battle is finished will go to our emergency medical fund.

In His service,

Geoffrey Britton

To support Aunt Ketty’s journey financially, please visit the Donations page and select your country to get started. Thank you!

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Praise God! We are in the middle of our first Investment Year (IY) internship, and I have so far learned many new things. Currently we are on a study of a book called “Do Hard Things.” The young people who wrote the book are encouraging us to get out of our “comfort zones” and face the world using God as our guide.
I was among those people who wanted to always be in my comfort zone but due to this book I’m ready to move and live in my “uncomfortable zones.”

 
My internship is at Friends Medical Centre with Dr. Ben and he is exposing me to the world of medicine and being a doctor. He does some minor operation at his clinic and he has given me opportunities to watch him work. At first it was scary to see a person being cut on his stomach or feet and stitched up after. But now I’m getting used to it and Dr. Ben is such a helping figure to me.

 
Through this time in IY, I have also learned to respect former New Hope Uganda children whom I grew up seeing as fellow colleagues and now they are staff members. Before I would show on the outside that I respected them but deep in my heart I couldn’t embrace it. At the IY house in Kampala, I have come to know that I have to respect U. Kasule and A. Imma [and all people whether in authority or not] just like any other New Hope Uganda staff. By God’s help and courage, I’m expecting to learn more this year.

Be blessed,

Musisi Jeremiah

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I met Peter last year when he was in my Primary One class (first grade) at Essuubi Eppya Vocational Primary School. He looked so miserable. I gave him a seat right at the front near me. Within some few minutes he would fall asleep and he was seriously snoring, I tried to wake him up to do some exercise but he couldn’t wake-up only to realize that he couldn’t write anything and he was also left handed. I talked to the pre-school teachers that he could be put there but it couldn’t happen because their class was full and he was also too old to be there at 7-years-old.

blog 006All I did was to befriend him and I started holding his hand as I taught him how to scribble and write some letters. This continued for some weeks and he started writing. After school I could go with him to my house where he was picked from in the evening because he comes from about 6km from the Kasana Children’s Centre site. Another student offered to be helping to bring him as he was coming to school. Peter had so many jiggers in the hands and in the legs. His performance wasn’t good; his attendance was irregular most of the times because if the student who walked with him was not in school he wouldn’t come either. This is the situation we were in first and second term.

When term 3 came, the whole first week Peter didn’t appear to school.  Second week he came on Tuesday and again he was very miserable. He said the student who brought him wasn’t coming to school so he couldn’t also come because of the distance. This time I felt my heart was bleeding for this boy. So I just made a decision to try and have him for third term in my house. I talked to Childcare Extension and to my husband whom I praise God responded positively. This time Peter had even more jiggers than ever before and those who saw him got scared. God gave us grace and right now the jiggers are gone, he is happy, and even his performance at the end of the school was much better. He passed three subjects which to me was like a miracle, not only that but above all he gave his life to Christ, he has learned to pray for his life and his family situations.

God is good! He sets the lonely into families. This year Peter is no longer living with us. He is now part of one of the seven family groups at Kasana. He is able to come to school early, he looks smart and healthy. The smile on his face can tell that God is at work in his life. He loves school and playing with his friends. I give the glory back to God!

Ketty Okoth, teacher at Esuubi Eppya Vocational Primary School

Stories like these are possible because of our Sponsors and other supporters. Thank you for investing financially so that people like Aunt Ketty can invest in the lives of children like Peter. Through your prayers, letter writing, and monthly support, these stories of transformation and finding family can happen. Would you consider joining us in bringing the Fatherhood of God to the fatherless? Donate Here.

 

Photo courtesy of Wesley Steeb

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One of the topics you’ll hear being talked about at all levels here at Kasana these days is that of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (or, our abbreviation- BMW). It is a topic we are studying and learning, teaching to our children, teaching the community through Musana FM, and sharing with many people and churches outside of Kasana in the hopes of inspiring a national dialogue on the topic. But why is biblical manhood and womanhood an important topic for a children’s center?

A father present and future

A father present and future

As we continue to work with orphaned and abandoned children, and see countless other organizations in Uganda do the same, we’ve observed that instead of the orphan population decreasing with each generation, it is actually mushrooming. We believe the reason is that while the symptoms are being treated, the root of the problem is seldom addressed.

Fatherlessness, unless it is addressed and healed at the heart level, produces more fatherlessness. Food, clothing, and education are all excellent and needed, but they cannot deal with the deep heart wounds, fears, and belief systems of those broken by abandonment and the loss of parents. Nor can these good things stop broken and wounded people from hurting the next generation or robbing future generations of their parents because of the consequences of their life choices. In addition to the long term devastating effects of the “orphan heart” on a nation, the definitions of manhood and womanhood that each culture carries and often produce more orphaned, abandoned, or at least un-invested-in or uncared for children. Too often children with no parents (or with uninvolved or unequipped parents) wander into adulthood, not sure who they are or what it means to be a real man or woman- but desperate to prove that they are one! So, they look for the clearest cultural definition they can find, and do their best to prove they meet whatever the standard is. The fruit of this is evident everywhere we look.

At all of the New Hope’s sites, the staff believe it is time to stop treating only the symptoms (though we will always do our best to “treat” them as well!), but to also become proactive in addressing the causes. The children we are raising now will not remain children. They are the nation’s future men, women, husbands, wives, and parents. They are Uganda’s future creators of whole, healthy, families, or the future creators of more uncared for children who belong to no one! We must give them a godly definition of manhood and womanhood (and singleness, marriage, fatherhood/motherhood) if we ever hope to break the deadly cycles that surround us!

Future of Uganda

Future of Uganda

And thus our intense study of this topic in the Word of God- what does it mean to be a man or a woman? What was the Creator’s original design? How was the original design marred by sin (and twisted differently in different cultures), and how can Christ’s work on the cross bring redemption? What has God put of His image in each man or woman, and why? How can these truths relate cross-culturally? How can His Word and Spirit bring life and healing to broken lives (including our own!!) and cause this next generation to be life-giving and full of hope?

Needless to say, we have much to learn, and at times, I feel like we’re the blind leading the blind. But, praise God for His Word that gives us all we need for life and godliness, that transcends all cultures, that gives hope and redemption!

Jennie Dangers, Children’s Spiritual Development

 

Photos courtesy of Geoff Britton

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As I stare at the messy, scribbled out, erased-then-rewritten calendar, I find names of some of my students. Students’ names hidden between the harsh Sharpie-black lines. Names of students whom we have journeyed with, cried with, and shared joy with.

Today I am thanking God for my students. Whether the individuals who labor at the piano bench, or those who stretch and discipline their rebellious fingers around the fret board. Those students who endure through the boring areas of music theory or those who sit through worship team practice time and time again. And those who bear it all by opening up their mouth and letting out that joyful noise He has given them.

In what can feel like a dark, obnoxiously noisy world, there are some who desire to break through the shadows with a sound. A sound that lifts High the One who gave them that voice, that talent, that desire.

It is a joy to watch these students grow, to see God’s perfect love transform once fearful hearts, and to be a part of their story.  I thank God for them.

- Hannah Kusler

Youth and Music Ministry Coordinator

Kasana Children’s Centre

 

Photos courtesy of Allison LaBianca and Wesley Steeb

 

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It’s the 27th of January and our eight Investment Year is about to start as the students arrive at our location in Kampala. As they arrive they bring a mixture of feelings from excitement over the year ahead, and all that the students will experience, to feelings of fear due to the responsibility I have to these young people. As I look at them arriving, I quietly whisper thanks to God that the year is dependent on Him and not me and help me to remember that this year.

IY 2014 students

IY 2014 students

There are 33 students this year with 11 of them from ‘Good Shepherd Fold’, an organization near Jinja. We are very excited to be partnering with them this year and look forward to further partnership in the future.
The first couple of weeks of the IY programme, we all spend together to set a foundation for the year ahead. There were over 40 of us squashed into our house; it certainly makes for cozy community. The benefits are that by all living together, we all get to know each and form an IY community, and I was very happy with how the young people mixed and got to know each other.

The training over the two weeks ranged from note taking, worldview, authority of Scripture and how to read the Bible, Money matters, finding your mission and purpose in life, to journaling. It was a busy couple of weeks.
The students are now experiencing life in their first round of internships and will be there until April 17th, be sure to read our next post to discover more about these internships.

Money matters discussion

Money matters discussion

Steve Brown,Early Adulthood Coordinator

‘Investment Year’(I.Y.) is a cutting edge one year programme designed for students who have complete S4 before they go on to any higher/further education and training. It is designed to help young people in Uganda develop the skills, knowledge, and character necessary for success in further education, future careers, and in their personal lives, enabling us to raise up future leaders of Uganda and cultural influencers who will take a stand for righteousness and integrity in the business world, the arts, medicine, the political arena, the church, families, their communities, and in global issues.

 

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Happy New Year to you all. Thank you for your prayers. We praise God for the new science teachers that the Lord has brought to serve together with us in the school as we bring His Fatherhood to the fatherless children in the school. The photo above is of the staff, with the Headmaster at the extreme right. We also want to thank God that we now have a school mother whose role is to help the school administration in caring for the school children, especially the girls.

 

We opened term one on 3 February 2014 with almost all our children back to school by the grace of God. We started straight away with our 35 Senior one students even though their National Primary Examination results were not yet out. We thank God that all the primary seven pupils who joined us even passed very well. The primary seven pupils are normally given interviews at secondary school after their National Primary Living Examinations are done, those who pass the interviews are then issued with admission letters to join senior one as they wait for the term to begin.

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We normally have parade at school every Monday from 7:45 – 8:00am where we sing the National Anthem, the Kasana Anthem, and also commit the day and the week to the hands of God. The photo above shows the students in the parade on Monday (second week of the term) with the first year students enjoying not wearing their uniforms while theirs are being made.

We are calling for all your prayers for the teachers to continue making God known to the children through education.

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Hello and greetings from New Hope Vocational Institute. At NHVI we offer 5 courses as part of our regular ministry and training operation. Over the past years we have trained students in Carpentry and Joinery, Bricklaying and Concrete Practice, Motor Vehicle Technician/ Metal working, Textile Arts (Tailoring), and Catering and Hostel Management.

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Hands-on instruction in tailoring.

We praise God for the work He is doing in the lives of the young men and women attending our school.

Every year we receive applications from interested students from mid-December to the end of January with school beginning in February. This term opened on February 3, 2014 with the rest of New Hope Uganda’s schools. Each year NHVI graduates about 15 students from all its different courses and our total enrollment for the past years has been about 30- 45 students.

Currently, we have 16 students in their second year training and a few first year students. We are registering more interested students.

We would appreciate your prayers for:

  1. Students to have a personal relationship with God.
  2. God’s provision towards our hostel need as we see many people are interested in boarding possibilities. We also see this as an opportunity to reach out to a larger group of young people with the Fatherhood of God through promoting Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
  3. More dedicated and committed staffs and particularly for a tailoring teacher to join our staff.
  4. Community to see the value of vocational education and training and that God would bring the right number for His purpose.
  5. God’s provisions for children towards their training as most of them are struggling to meet their fees.
  6. Vocational textbooks, tools, and equipment for the training.

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NHVI students sharing with their instructor.

It’s amazing to see some of these students share what God is doing in their lives including a group sharing about their past with their instructor.

Our prayer for these young people is that they would come to a true point of knowing God as their Father even through their training here with us.

We really praise God for the opportunity to join in His work here at the Vocational School.

Thank you,

Onyait Sam, Principal NHVI.

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Things are in full swing at the clinic. Just this past week, the primary and secondary schools started a new school year…. and with the beginning of their school years, the popularity of the clinic has also heightened. The kids and staff come in with different needs, different ailments… but all needing attentive care and attention. And so we care. We clean wounds, listen to lungs, and test for malaria. We listen, educate, and pray with.

And the word that sticks out to me personally is the word, “we.” We. We are the staff that make up the clinic. We are a clinical officer, an assistant, and four nurses. We are a team… handpicked and crafted by our God. And I personally celebrate the way in which our God has brought us together…. increasingly so in the last couple of months.

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Clinic staff gathered to prepare and share a meal.

And I believe that one of the people that God used to bring us together was a sweet little girl. It was back in November when we first met her. She was brought to the clinic frail and sick with dangerously low blood levels, pressure wounds, and need for treatment of her sickle cell anemia. Sweet little Suzan….. with her momma at her side. Her voice barely above a whisper…. yet her grace and sweetness spilled from her. Money was tight, uncertainty ever present, and there was an acute awareness that without a miracle, this young girl would die. As she lay on a bed in our sick bay, God did something so sweet. It my opinion, it was on this very day that God brought to culmination something that had been in process for a long time. It was the day, I believe, that we became a genuine team. As a group of individuals desiring to help this young girl and momma, we formed a plan. Each of us had a distinct role…. with a common goal. Together, as a team, we took an impromptu offering…. together, we allowed Jesus to use each of us to be His hands and feet to this girl and her momma.

Before Suzan left that day to go to Kiwoko Hospital for further treatment, we were privy to an amazing miracle. We watched as she gave her heart to Jesus and asked Him into her heart. We knew that no matter what happened physically that this little girl has just experienced the ultimate healing. And so she went. Her journey took her from the local hospital near New Hope to the Mulago Hospital. And added to her illnesses was metastatic cancer. After a month long stay at Mulago Hospital, it become clear that Suzan’s time on this earth was coming to an end.

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The clinic team celebrates their work unity at a shared meal.

Again, it was a time for our team to unite… to work together as a team along with the Special Needs Department to orchestrate her return home. And home she came. Her dad, who had been distant and uninvolved reconnected with little Suzan. And shortly before she went home to her Heavenly Daddy… her earthly daddy accepted Christ into his heart. Sweet Suzan…. we only knew her such a short time… but I really do believe that God used her in sweet and real ways. And I am so thankful. Her life was forever changed and I am confident that our team was also forever changed.

- Kimberly White, Nurse

Kasana Children’s Centre Clinic

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usimon 018 I do hereby write this to share some praise reports with you all our friends and partners of New Hope Uganda and Essubi Eppya Vocational Primary School in particular. The school opened February 3 and 272 out 302 students were present. Sometimes students do not come to school during the first week making this a great turnout!

As usual, the teachers led the assembly and I shared the gospel with the students. Praise God for the fifteen or so students who committed their lives to Christ. Please pray for their spiritual growth.

I also praise God for the good Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) results from last year which all students across Uganda must pass to graduate Primary School. All our 52 candidates who sat for these national exams passed with eight in Division One (the highest pass grade), 42 in Division Two and two in Division Three.usimon 016

As the year commences, would you please join us in prayer:

  1. For the good health of our 26 teachers and 302 children.
  2. For God’s provisions spiritually, financially, socially, and emotionally.
  3. For wisdom for the school leadership and all the teachers to put Christ at the center of their teaching and learning and every activity.
  4. Pray for the accomplishment of our strategic goals for this year as indicated below:

Children will learn understand and demonstrate at least 3 aspects of  Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (BMW)

Achieve and sustain a high quality Christ-centered academic and vocational Education.

Active partnership with the community as we seek opportunities for our boys and girls to promote and demonstrate BMW aspeusimon 017cts.

Thank you,

Katabazi Nicholas Simon

Head Teacher, Essubi Eppya Vocational Primary School

 

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