Monday, March 24, 2008

Equip Letter April 08

Dear Friends and Family, March 24, 2008

The heavy rains are upon us and we are into the first growing season of the year. This also means that Chris will be busy with all of the garden work associated with the onset of the rains. We had a very rainy Easter weekend as it rained most of Saturday night and almost all of Easter Sunday. We must have had around 6” or more of rain!
Fortunately there is a few months in between the last rainy season of the year and the first one of the next year. This has given us time to settle in our home and host a number of visitors during the dry season (Jan-Feb).
The boys (L-R) Andrew with Isaiah, Kenny, Albert and Tugume

The boys on a boat ride on Kazinga Channel –QE Park. (L-R Andrew with Isaiah, Kenny, Albert, Tugume)We had a great visit with my parents (Ken and Dawn Sperling) and my cousin Kerri’s parents (Gilbert and Anne Sperling). We had our first real holiday since arriving a year ago. Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Anne stayed with us the first half of January while my parents stayed with my sister and brother-in-law (April and Masiu Fine) until Gilbert and Anne left and then my parents stayed with us about a week. It was great to see my parents again and great for the kids to maintain a relationship with their grandparents

Mom and Dad
Uncle Gilbert and Auntie Anne

We had a great time visiting, seeing local sites like Bujagali Falls, Mabira Forest as well as all of us going on a game drive in Western Uganda at Queen Elizabeth Park. It was a very long drive but also very beautiful with lush tea plantations and views of the lower elevations of the Rwerenzori Mountains. We had a great view at the Safari Lodge and a great day tracking game as we saw lions, elephants, and hyenas all up very close as well as Uganda Kobs, water bucks and countless hippos, crocks, and kingfishers.

We also had a visit from long-time friends, John and Hannah Neudorf from Aldergrove, B.C.. They had come to meet their “son” Paul Nyabenda and his family. They had sponsored Paul for many years at New Hope Uganda and had actually sent a guitar along with me for him back on my first trip to Uganda in 1995. They were thrilled to have time with Paul and Susan and their children and to finally be with their son in person! We are also looking forward to hosting our friends Charity and Adrienne Pilkey as we host Charity’s introduction at our home in April.
Above (top) Chris explaining how to use the improved seed in the seminar, (mid) explaining how we to plant the seed, (bottom) giving out the seed with Fred
We have already conducted our OKM (Orphans Know More) seed give-out which will have included close to 80 families as well as some schools. We conducted the give-out a little different this year as we called many of the families to a central location and gave them the seed after conducting a mini seminar on how to use them. We will now be following up the give-out with visits to every home that we gave seed out to. I really enjoy this work as it takes us to the heart of Ugnadan Agriculture – the village (or peasant) farmer. It is here where we are welcomed through the seed give-out to have input and give encouragement to these hard-working people (many of whom are struggling in one way or another with HIV/AIDS). This has been a dream come true! I am very happy to have such close contact with these farmers; it gives us a chance to share our hope in Christ and to give appropriate advice in their farming.

I have also been very busy setting up a commercial farm for Bushfire. This has been challenging with limited resources and equipment. We are going to start planting maize and ground-nuts this week. We are hoping that the tractor we have hired will not break down (as has already happened on numerous occasions) so that we can plant on time.

Chris speaking during the OKM seed give-outOur family is doing quite well aside from what seems to have been a mild case of measles which affected three of the boys. We have all been malaria free for some time now which we praise God for. The boys are doing well in home school for the most part. We will miss Kerri when she goes in early June. She has fit in very well and has been a very organized teacher.

We are happy to announce that we are expecting another little Sperling in September. Jane has been very sick with the pregnancy (as she usually is) but has gradually improved over the last few weeks. Please pray that she will remain healthy and malaria free during this time.

Also continue to pray that we would get a passport for Jane. It has now been about one year since we have been seeking to renew her passport. We have had a continual run-around and wasted a lot of money coming into the city to meet various officials only to be referred to another person or another section. It seems this has been the same story for other Rwandese who have been born or who have grown up in Uganda. Please pray that she will get her passport soon as we could need to travel at any time.

Chris and Jane on Chris’ birthdayWe want to close by saying “Thanks!” to all of you who have been supporting us and give you a friendly reminder to renew your support if possible for 2008. These monthly donations are the backbone of our support, so we would love it if you would consider taking us on another year. We plan on being here until spring of 2009 when we have to go back as Jane and Andrew’s Permanent Resident cards expire in the summer of ‘09.

Also, we want to give particular thanks to those who contributed to our house – especially my parents (as it has been a bit of an early inheritance) and the Brandsmas. We have built the house in a way that we can rent it out to ex-pats when we are out of the country. It is also a sort of life insurance policy for Jane and the kids (it is in her name) should something ever happen to me. Of course, it also subtracts rent out of our “needs” list when fundraising. The house has already served us well with numerous visitors and having 5 boys the space has been much needed! Thanks again to all of you who helped!

God bless you all,
Chris and Jane, Andrew, Kenny, Albert, Isaiah and Tugume (and ‘lil bump).

Web donations and more info on our work:
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Financial contributions can be sent to:
Equip Canada PO Box 683
Duncan, B.C.
V9L 3Y1

In the US, donations can be sent to:
Equip, Inc.
PO Box 1126, Marion, N.C.
USA, 28752-1126