Sunday, December 15, 2013

Drumroll please….

It's NOT that I don't still LOVE the ministry of

"Orphans kNOw More"

Cuz I do



and I think they are doing an INCREDIBLE job,

raising orphaned and vulnerable children in their homes and families

with so much love and excellent care

under very challenging circumstances,

raising up some incredible young people!

I was able to witness it again in several families on my last trip.

I haven't shared much lately about these beautiful Ugandan families

as my life has been "taken over" by a certain young lady 
(and her 36 children)

who has become my daughter and has stolen my heart 
(and time - hehehe).


I've got to share some really exciting news today

about a young man from one of these OKM families.

Rich and I met him on our first visit to Uganda

and then I started communicating with him via email.

I became his 'auntie' and we developed a beautiful relationship!

You can read about his story that didn't start out so well here.

Over the last 3 years, the Lord has allowed me to be a channel of provision to help him through his university studies.

I was most touched on our first visit when I found out that his adoptive family had taken out a loan to allow him to go to university, as they saw potential in him.

This came at a HUGE cost to them who barely seem to be able to feed all the many mouths in their care.

Incredible couple!

Moses and Peninnah with youngest daughter 

Well, I am very proud to announce:

Drumroll please

 Willy has just graduated with a bachelor's degree in 

Project Planning and Entrepreneurship

and he did it with excellence!

I am so proud of him!

What blesses me even more than his academic performance is his humble and compassionate heart!

He is hard-working, faithful and full of faith, courage and integrity!

Not only did he graduate, but has already started his first business,
through an amazing God-connection and subsequent loan.

He wants to help orphaned and vulnerable children and other people in need with the skills he has acquired. What a heart!!!

Ya know,

the solution to Africa's challenges are the very children who may need help for some time.

one of my beloved grand-sons, as an example

Investing in little - and even not so little -  ones -
2 more of Praise's treasures

who not only get an education,

but a family that gives them a sense of belonging and a set of strong values

and most of all GOD

Can there be any better investment into the future of Africa?!

The story of how Willy's last semester got financed is a tribute to our


Willy was already late and couldn't go back to uni for lack of funds.

For some time he and the family - and I - had been praying much for a breakthrough in finances so that he could finish the studies, to no avail.

It was just about past the cut-off date when I happened to be in the home of a couple in Germany,

during a short trip back home to visit my mother who was unwell.

They randomly put a bunch of Euro-bills into my bag

without my knowledge.

When I got home I saw them, counted them, and it was the EXACT amount that Willy still needed!

I knew instantly that this was for him and sent it off right away.

This couple had NO IDEA about Willy or this need!


Thursday, November 28, 2013


…. I could get her face out of my mind.

I know very well that I cannot possibly help every needy person I meet in Uganda.

But this one

I just keep seeing her so vividly before me

Her smile

Her testimony at church on the first Sunday back after weeks and weeks spent in the hospital 
about how God had saved her life as she had almost died of Aids-related sickness.

She was radiant

and hopeful.


I am told that she is no longer living here.

She is a burden and not welcome anywhere really

as she needs care
(being lame and not able to work with her hands)

and she wants to die
 (she told Praise).



Not Rose!

the wheelchair you can see broke on a recent visit to church

She is young



LOVED by her maker!

He has a HOPE and a FUTURE for her!


Exactly 3 years ago

On my first visit to Uganda

and her fate face also wouldn't let me go

until I put action to my compassion and



to this past visit:

She came RUNNING to me when she saw me from a distance

Hugging me

Bringing me a small gift

And saying OVER and OVER again:

"I am so happy!!
My children are so happy!!"

Radiant, smiling, and ever so grateful!

She is now a seamstress,

has a sewing machine,

a job,

lives in a decent place

Her children are looking great

She's got HOPE

and prospects for a bright future for her and the children.


and grateful for God's provision

that flowed through a couple of people who cared!!!

And for those of you who have been following my blog,

Remember Lydia?

This is her!

Back to Rose:

I'll never forget the last time I saw her.

We dropped her off after church.

She was looking at me with pleading eyes

Asking me if I could please somehow get her crutches

So that she could work in the garden to grow food.

She also told me that she didn't have any food at all……

Now what am I supposed to do with THIS?

Anybody want to pray with me?

I KNOW that God must have a plan that will not only involve Rose being accepted and cared for, 

but also living with dignity!

I don't have an answer.

Will you pray with me for this precious

not forgotten woman that has nobody in this world except for God?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's the big deal about toilets anyways?


(never before knew such a day existed….)


there's a REALLY GOOD reason for it:


that 40% of the people on our planet

don't have a toilet to use?

This is not just an inconvenience.

It is one of the biggest causes of death for children.

Not having access to a toilet causes more children to die 

than AIDS, malaria and measles combined,

and this problem is easily fixable!

All it takes is education and building toilets.

These are the temporary long-drop toilets at Praise's Home - NOT sanitary!
the cubicle on the right is meant to be for showering, but not usable yet
AND - this "toilet" (really only the one in the middle)
is also the only one getting used by all of the 158 students of Praise's school!

If you want to make a donation in honour of World Toilet Day

so that proper toilets can be built at Praise's Home,

email me for details
(email address on the right side bar)


for these little ones!

some of the school kids on morning break

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Something to think about...

Thought provoking quote I read while in Uganda,

next to a picture of an African child:

"If you've come to help me,

You are wasting your time.

But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine,

then let's struggle together."

This is SO true!

We DO need EACH OTHER to enter into our divine destiny

and it's not 'US' helping 'THEM'

but US walking and struggling


like Praise's children expressed so well in their little song.


Sunday, November 10, 2013


Words cannot express what I feel when I look at this photo of a 

mother and daughter


after a LONG time.

Just because somebody cared!

And what a blessing the mother is also for  

 the other children - and Praise!


is all I can say!


Sunday, November 3, 2013


The mother of little S

 - see this post and this post

is already with her now

 - in the village - 

also caring for some of Praise's other little ones!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

When she got mad ...

Ok, I admit it:

 I can't hide my special affection for Praise!
She truly has become a daughter for me that I love more than words can express.

There are more blog posts about my Uganda trip tucked away in my heart 

- waiting to be written - - - 

about other happenings not having to do with Praise and her ministry.

And they ARE coming... at least a few :)

But before moving on, allow me to have a moment of truth - keeping it real on this blog.
Wouldn't want you to think that she's perfect - hahahahaha :)

Living with her for 2 weeks on her home turf has allowed me to get to know her in some ways I had not known her before.

Ok, are you ready?

(and, by the way, I have permission to share this and we've both laughed about it since)

The first time she got really mad was when she felt like the guys who were rescuing us late at night from yet another car breakdown were ripping us off.

no, it wasn't that time

Once again.

...nor this time

no, not this time I said :)


Because they saw a Mzungu (me) sitting in her car.

It really got her blood boiling to have people trying to rip us off,

charging us way more than usual

just because of my white skin.

She was NOT a happy camper and was not going to pay the 



not that time either

... nor this time - remember it was at night?!

Truth be spoken: I DON'T have a photo of 'THAT' time :)

Then, on my last day with the children in the village, I had offered to pay for a special meal.

On the menu:

Rice, meat, matooke (mashed green bananas) and sodas.

After everybody had been served the yummy food,

and Praise saw the portions on the kids' plates

She got mad.

Really mad.

She got on the older children's cases.

About what???

About serving the children too much food.

"That is a REALLY bad thing you've done,



bad thing!"

I was sitting there,


not understanding what they would've done that was SO bad...


And then the explanation came:

"You should have NEVER served everybody SO much food!"



I was trying to calm her down
(without the kids noticing),
thinking to myself:

What did they do so wrong?
The food was there.
And cooked up.
It's not like there's a fridge to keep left-overs.
WHY in the world was it so bad to have served up big portions to the kids???
It was a special-occasion-feast after all?

Then came the answer:

"Who will feed you when your stomachs are all stretched out??!!!"


still happy kiddos that day 

What people get really mad about does show something about them and their world.
Doesn't it?!!!

And that was the day BEFORE Praise found out that the people providing food for the home were going to stop...

(I found out later that she was hoping for the children to eat the left-overs for dinner that day)


I have very different things that I get mad about - - - my kids can tell you about that - hahaha.

And my concern with this daughter of mine is making sure that she actually eats at all.
Like the day I wrote most of this post, I wasn't happy when I found out that she had only had a couple of eggs and a cup of tea all day long...
And by the next day noon - she still hadn't eaten anything else.
And no, she wasn't fasting and praying that time.

OH - life between these worlds!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WOW GOD - the power of 1!

OHHHH - my heart is doing summersaults..... 

I am super-duper excited to share some wonderful news with you:





{did you read:


Just one!  -
obviously with her husbands' approval}


Herself a mother of young children

in a far-away land...

the beautiful little girl in my last post

will soon have her mother by her side!!!!

soon, little one, soon!


I was over the moon when I got the email,

Praise was thrilled

and the mother VERY VERY happy!!!

Little S doesn't know yet,

but OH -

don't under-underestimate what 


can do

to change the world

for ONE person

or two

or more....

'Ya never know....

"... Father to the fatherless, defender of widows..."




Monday, October 28, 2013


Did you know that many children that end up in orphanages in Uganda aren't actually full orphans?

Sadly, many times they end up there because their mothers (or fathers) aren't able to keep them 

for different reasons.

Take S, for example:

One of Praise's gorgeous darlings that stood out to me as being very needy,

always wanting to be carried

wanting attention

and crying whenever attention was diverted to another child.

Unbelievably (yet true)

her mother is alive

yet not able to care for her

as the only job she was able to find was being a maid for a family

{no children allowed}

SOOOO SAD that a child needs to grow up separated from her mother

for a salary of

 NZ$60 (US$50, 35Euro) a month!!!

With which she supports 2 of her children who live with family members.



Such a small amount of money

keeping a little girl separated from her mother who loves her???


Actually gets my blood boiling.

Praise has been able to re-unite quite a lot of children with family members over the years,
and it is her on-going desire to have children grow up with family whenever possible,
but it can be difficult, especially when it includes extra-expenses.

The truth is that Praise really needs a woman/mother to stay with her girls, 
as she is short-staffed.

Wouldn't it be SUCH a blessing if S's mother could come to the village and be that person
and at the same time care for her own daughter?

JUST NZ$60/month for salary....

Boy, would I LOVE to see this happen!!!!

PRAYING for GOD to make a way!!!!

It's just a little money standing in the way - no biggie for HIM!

This girl needs her mother and I bet you the mother needs her girl!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Song about Coming Together to Fight Aids

If you haven't seen it already on Facebook - 
here are some of Praise's treasures singing a song.

These are the words 
(in case you can't understand the accent):

"Brothers and sisters, now is the right time to come together to fight Aids.
Children are crying, children are dying, because of parents that died of Aids.

Let me tell you one story about the children who survived.
The mother died, the father died and then the children remained alone.

No shelter, no food, no clothes and everything.
They started crying and some were dying 
because of parents who died of Aids.

Please parents, will you forgive us, we are still young to live alone.
Now if you die, where shall we be? Please parents, forgive us. "

 It REALLY touched me to hear the children sing this song - - - WOW!

Let's do it! 

Can you hear the children challenging us?!!!

One of Praise's teenagers, who is herself HIV+ 

an AMAZING young girl, 

SUCH a sweetheart

here with her little brother

 has a strong desire/dream to educate women on how NOT to pass on the virus to their children
(which is what happened to her and her brother).

She even shared this in front of a big church on my first Sunday there, 
while Praise and the children were ministering.
It moved me to tears....

She is very courageous and has huge potential!!!
I am praying that her dream will cone about!

I wouldn't want to think what would've happened to her had Praise not taken her on.
She was very very sick in hospital with Aids-related issues last year
and thankfully she survived and is doing much better now
though still fragile.

Here is the song:


Sunday, October 20, 2013


My heart is once again overflowing with thoughts and emotions 

as I am 'digesting' my experiences in Uganda - - -

Ugandan women are AMAZING - so strong, hard-working and resilient - yet full of grace

The best way to sum up what I have been able to experience first-hand once again

 - and observe - 

in the lives of our beautiful brothers and sisters who are

serving HIS little ones in Uganda 

is to quote Paul when he writes:

"We are experiencing all kinds of trouble,
but we aren't crushed.

We are confused,
but we aren't depressed.

We are harassed,
but we aren't abandoned.

We are knocked down,
but we aren't knocked out.

We always carry Jesus' death around in our bodies 
so that Jesus' life can also be seen in our bodies....." (2.Cor.4:8-10)

The daily struggles and challenges,

combined with the very tangible attacks on their safety and lives


... maybe what you'd expect to see in a movie 

but not on a 2-week trip...

New situations coming up just about daily

that could leave those serving perplexed, beaten down and knocked out.



In the midst of the challenges

Jesus' life is seen as well - and there is JOY in the midst of pain!

having fun with the kids trying out Kylie's gift: "Bop-it"

What a special privilege it was to live with/alongside Praise for most of the days
- even some unexpected ones -
that only brought us together again because of a car accident (she is fine)
and the next 3 days to try and get the offender to pay for the damage
(which didn't happen because they must have bribed the police).

Can you see the broken glass? Mirror and window smashed
resulting in a lot of "wet-ness"....

If I was to tell you everything, 

you probably wouldn't believe me....


It is daily reality for her 

and also for the families from the 

"Orphans Know More" network.

Tragedy and death are so common, and so close


God is right in the midst of them

saving, protecting, helping, strengthening, providing.


The only way to make it for them?

Hanging on to JESUS, like Paul continues in verse 17 of 2.Cor.4: 

"Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us 
that is beyond all comprehension.
We don't focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can't be seen.
The things that can be seen don't last, but the things that can't be seen are eternal."

...and passing this dependency on GOD on to the kids...
here kneeling on the dirt-floor during Sunday service



and do whatever I can do to 




speak up

and pray some more!

"Carry each other's burdens

and so you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2

Wanna join me?

with my beloved special treasure that I even got to spend some
"almost-alone-time" with

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Such beautiful children!

Oh - how I LOVE hanging out with these precious children!
Sometimes just observing them blows me away:
The way they care for each other is touching!
Like this little one who is so motherly with the younger ones.
I watched her wipe a runny nose,
bathe a little one,
dress her
put Vaseline on her (they do that here),
wash her shoes
and then carry her around.
(Photo taken the day before)
All completely her own initiative.
Amazingly enough,
the little one
 is more than happy to be mothered by her.
She seems to be used to it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Spontaneous worship

For those not on facebook - this was a spontaneous outbreak of worship from Praise's children.
I didn't ask them to do this just for the camera :)
They were in front of the almost-finished new house.
I am SO enjoying spending time with these children!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A day in the life of Praise

I started this post a few days ago.
Thanks to a mouse waking me up early,
I'm finishing now. YAY!

Wondering WHICH day I should be writing about,
as I could be writing a similar post about each of the days I've been here...
But let me just finish this one:

After being off internet for a few days, here I am, sitting in Praise's (borrowed) car with her next to me, on the side of the road - in the dark - waiting for the mechanic to arrive to get the car to work...

Thank God for 'internet anywhere'!

My thoughts drift back to everything that has happened today

 - a (typical?!) day in the life of Praise:

After a liquid breakfast, devotions and a series of phone calls first thing in the morning, we went to the village to see the children.
On the way, we stopped to buy a photo frame for a photo I brought from NZ for Blair's parents.
Blair (9) was one of the students in Praise's school who sadly got killed by a motorcycle 2 weeks ago, just in front of the school.

I was amazed to see how much things had improved on the property since my last visit - the biggest change being a beautiful new, safe home going up and just about finished, where hopefully rats won't nibble on little children's fingers and toes and also keep them safe in other ways!
The school is to the left.

The new house is being built by International Voice of the Orphan, a connection that happened on my last trip due to a broken off tooth.
IVO has become a tremendous blessing for Praise, paying for their food and helping in many other ways.

Of course, the most delightful part is always seeing the children!
They are absolutely ADORABLE and SO LOVABLE!!!!

Praise showing some of the children Blair's photo

Then, Praise wanted to buy some oil at a nearby 'mini-store' for frying some eggs as we were hungry.
And yes, there are a bunch of chickens now who have started laying about 15-20 eggs every day
(this number should soon increase).
So cool!

Sherry French, this photo is especially for you - THANK YOU SO MUCH for caring!!!!

  That was around 11:30am.

Driving off, we got stopped by an elderly lady who was telling Praise some very exciting news: God had answered her prayers for her children to get married officially. On New Years evening last year, she had come to Praise's church telling her that she wanted to give this Jesus a try. But needed some sign to convince her of his reality: If her husband, who had left her 7 years before was going to come back, she would know that this Jesus was for real and would give him her life.
Well - guess what?

While Praise was in NZ, he DID come back and they both started coming to church.
This lady was SO excited that now her second major request of God is being answered and after thanking Praise profusely, she ended up giving her some money - no small amount for here!
"I cannot thank you enough but take this little bit of money"

WOW! That was a good start!

Off we went, but shortly thereafter we stopped by this grandmother that had literally been close to starvation as she is all alone with no one to help her.
Praise had organized for some food to be brought to her on the week-end - and once again - this lady was thanking Praise over and over for this food. Even in her weakness you could see her happiness.
 She was convinced that she would have starved had she not received this food.

she happily posed for this picture

Next stop - of course - none of these stops planned - we were just going to the store, right?

We turned to visit a man whose wife died last week. She had been on the Parent Teacher Association of Praise's school. We spent a lot of time with this man who was telling us many stories. and so happy about our visit.
As Praise kept stopping at one place after another, she explained to me that she cannot just drive by these people.
 She needs to visit and reach out to them as they are part of her community.

Next stop: Rose, the mother of 2 of Praise's children. Praise took the children in as this woman is very sick with HIV and other related sickness. She has recently spent weeks in the hospital, close to death and suffering severely but thankfully well enough now to be sent 'home'.
As this woman has no family at all, I dare not think what would've happened to her had Praise not found a way to pay for her hospital stay and a person to look after her there
 (which is needed here).
Now, with her actually not having a home, an old lady took her in and is caring for her.

So special to be able to pray with her in person after praying much for her with our family

posted with her permission - she is very grateful for all the people who have been praying for her -
and she needs continued prayers for sure

By the way, I was MOST IMPRESSED by her daughter Monica, 13, who on Sunday publicly shared about her HIV status in front of a large church where Praise and the children were ministering.
She dreams of educating HIV+ women about how not to pass on the virus to their children and started doing that even on Sunday!
What a girl!!!
She's incredible with huge potential!

I found out after the visit that the woman caring for Rose has also been caring for 5 orphaned children and has just had somebody drop off 3 more small abandoned children.
She was begging Praise to take these 3 as already she didn't have enough food to care for the ones she has.

This is the home where all 10 of them are staying

Praise refused as she is not in a position at the moment to take on any more children, but she left her with the money that had just been given to her.

Food for a few days - Mukama jeba sibwe (Praise the Lord!)
Going on the fast track now for the rest of the day, some other happenings:
  • visiting Blair's family and giving them the photo with frame - which will be their only photo of their only son

  • getting into a thunderstorm with heavy rains and flooding on the way to town to get internet.
We were thanking the Lord after we passed this one safely - a bit nerve wrecking

  • Car window failing to go up for quite a while - happens daily

  • visit with Praise's biological mother - which was amazing! I have never been so warmly welcomed by anybody here! Wasn't sure what to expect as you would understand if you knew the story. Blown away!
    Precious moments between 2 mothers to 1 daughter :)
  • On leaving, the car wouldn't start - also nothing too unusual, as this car has about 250 000km and has been needing constant repairs. But this time it was 'just' a flat battery due to lights being left on :)

  • Lastly, after the car got going again, we spent more than 2 hours in heavy traffic until we came to where we were staying the night - by 10pm

  • driving behind a pick-up truck with a bunch of people sitting on a coffin, on their way to a funeral (driving at night as no doubt they had to go somewhere far)

  • Coming across an accident due to the muddy/slippery roads - which was the reason for the more-than-ever-heavy traffic

Oh - and did I mention the traffic?

We're in it daily for hours..... no wonder the days are long and I don't get to blog..
Getting back to where we're staying is rarely before 10pm.

Yesterday, we had more adventures on muddy roads, and a flat tyre that had to get changed twice.

 Don't ask me more.

That's another post (that may or may not ever get written - haha).

AND - YES - we did get to eat our eggs!

blowing on the fire - with posho cooking in the front for the kids' lunch

In closing, let me share this quote I just read which is so appropriate for what I see Praise doing every day -

far beyond 'just' caring for 36 orphaned children:

"The first to help you up are the ones that know how it feels to fall down."

I have never had greater respect for what she is doing and under which circumstances.

My daughter - my hero - my joy!
just before going into the zoo - a wonderful, memorable day with the children

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Never too late!

"I know that God is going to provide." - were just about the last words I spoke to Rich before leaving for Uganda. He was quite concerned about our financial situation, and understandibly so. 
My ticket for Uganda had been provided for miraculously, but there's a lot more to a trip than a ticket and we were short.

So - my eyes just about popped out when I checked my emails in the Dubai airport only to read that somebody was sending us a gift of the exact (minimum) amount of what we were still missing.
Now isn't that A-MAZING??!!!

Talk about stepping out of the boat and then seeing God firm up the water under you. 
Don't know why, but when it comes to provision - at least in our case - God is never late - but rarely early....

Ok, off to bed - and hopefully I'll be able to sleep longer tonight than 3am - cuz tomorrow - we're gonna spend the day at the zoo with some pretty special children - 45 of them... YAY!

By the way, my trip was great and I am VERY HAPPY to be back in 'my' beloved Uganda!
If you're not on facebook, here's a picture taken at the airport right after my arrival.

Need I say more...?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Are you interested to know more?

A friend of mine did an interview with me for her home school about being a foster parent and missionary. If you're interested to read it, head to her blog. There just MIGHT be some things that are new to you :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

JIPPEEEEEE! Going to Uganda again - very soon!!!

In 4 days, I'll be getting on a plane again - direction UGANDA!!!! 
I am SO excited even though frazzled very busy with all the preparations.

I usually keep up my blog during my trips - we'll see about this time.

This time it's gonna be DIFFERENT 
- as I am not only leaving family behind - 
but meeting up with family, too! YAY!!!!

I can't wait to be with Praise again - and her 30+ children, now my grandchildren - WOW!!!! 
Not sure if there'll be any time left for blogging - hahaha...

Praise had a most amazing time in New Zealand and has been back in Uganda now for 3 months.

Here is a link to a 22-min interview that NZ''s Christian Radio Station did with her and another link to a 12-minute interview with Shine TV.

And here is a 5-minute clip done by a 16-year-old girl from Melbourne that Praise met in NZ. She wanted to raise funds for the construction of a kitchen for Praise - and guess what? 
The funds have come in and there WILL be a kitchen soon!!!! WOHOOO!!!!

I'll also visit the Hope In Villages+ project and some other friends.
 It'll be a VERY full 2 1/2 weeks, for sure!

I would appreciate prayers - for myself as well as the family staying behind!
These trips are always a vulnerable time where we all need to rely on GOD more than ever!