The Sperling Jerrry Can
Dear Friends and Family, April, 2007
“More Fat and Sugar” reads the slogan on a loaf of Uganda-made bread. This is one of the many differences we find of between Uganda and Canada. Who would think of telling people that your product has more fat and sugar in the West? Yet, here, where many people are undernourished and underfed, the prospect of getting some extra sugar and fat in their diet is an attractive idea. One of the less humorous differences is the increased amount of corruption within all aspects of Ugandan society. The roads seems almost as bad as they were when I came in 1995 (this may be due to the heavy rains that prevailed well into the dry season and brought much flooding and destruction to roads). Of course, we still see our share of overloaded and under maintained lorries. Although we knew about many of these changes we would face, it is still difficult to actually make these adjustments and live with many of the difficulties that people face on a day to day basis in Uganda.
We have also had a struggle with a lot of sickness in our family which started about a month after arriving. We had gone to Luweero to visit friends and family and as we were packing to come back home we noticed Andrew was breathing very rapidly yet did not have a temperature. We took him to the hospital and discovered he was having an asthma attack (his first). Upon returning back to where we were staying we found that Albert had a very high temperature so we brought him back to the hospital immediately. Since that time we have struggled with some parasites and a very bad chest cold. As well, Isaiah has had pneumonia twice now and is still on treatment.
Kenny and Albert started their first year at school at Hope Land Preschool here at the YWAM base where we are living. They love “Teacher Susan” and “Teacher Janet” who are very good with them. They are the only non-Ugandans in the school but they have many friends already. They have often shed a lot of tears when we drop them off in the morning but they end up really enjoying their time there. Andrew is at a nearby Christian school called JOY primary school (JOY stands for Jesus first, then Others, lastly You.) He is enjoying school and adjusting to the new school environment.
We have had two maids so far but we are hoping that the current young lady, Adrienne, will continue with us as she is quite good with the children. Our first girl, Vicki ended up leaving us abruptly and had quite a problem taking instructions well. The kids all love Adrienne and she has fit in quite well as she is easier to instruct and has a loving heart.
Our work is going well and we enjoy getting to know the various staff, families and children in OKM (Orphans Know More) and Bushfire Children’s Home.
With the OKM ministry we have set out three basic goals in our work with these families: 1) to increase household income 2) to reduce household expenditures 3) to add moral support to the families (through counseling, praying and relating with the families and their children). We have already started with two general programs of introducing improved seed to those families who have gardens and introducing a water purification program that will eliminate the expensive and time-consuming task of boiling drinking water. The families will be submitting brief reports to us soon so that we can start working together on reaching specific plans for accomplishing our three goals. So far, the families have been very receptive and enthusiastic about the help we are offering. The families have many challenges and difficulties they face so we are glad to help them in any way.
With Bushfire Children’s Home we have been working on a long term agriculture plan for their 80 acre piece of land. About 20 acres are plowed and ready for planting now. We want to help Bushfire accomplish their goals of being food self-sufficient and training the children and the surrounding villagers in improved agricultural techniques. Jane will start training some of the staff in housekeeping and hospitality tomorrow as they want to improve their hospitality services as they have many teams they host from the UK and US. We are also introducing some improved farming practices with the oxen that they currently use for plowing the land. I would like to get to the place where the oxen are also used for planting, weeding, and harrowing.
Thanks to some generous supporters we are planning to start building our house this coming month. We have fenced off our land (not without some disputes form our neighbors-to-be) and are ready to bring piped water and start bringing in building materials. Please pray that our neighbors will be receptive to us and that we will bring light and life into the community.
We would love it if you would join in prayer with us in the following areas.
Effectiveness in our work – that God would give us both good ideas and the ability to implement them.
Good Witness – that our lives would be a witness of God’s faithfulness, goodness and righteousness as we minister to Ugandans
Good Relationships – that God would give us the right people to disciple in each of these ministries so that the work we are doing will be multiplied among the Ugandan staff for long term results.
Good health and Safety – that God would protect us and heal us so that we may continue to serve effectively.
Financial Support – that we would have all that we need to continue effectively working here in Jinja.
Family Van – we are in need of a larger vehicle now. Our pick-up is 22 and gives us a reliable but very bouncy ride. We are estimating about CAD$10,000 for an 8-10 passenger 4WD van.
God Bless, Chris and Jane, Andrew, Kenny, Albert and Isaiah