YES we build physical homes for these destitute families that allows them to survive in their time on this earth BUT those are temporary in the BIG picture…
Our main goal is the one you read under our logo ” BUILDING FAMILY TODAY … AND HOMES FOREVER”…for Widows & Orphans in their distress.
SO HOW DO WE LEAD THE WAY to a FOREVER HOME?
We teach in three specific ways:
We teach the Granny Families through our Granny-coordinator, Pastor Richard Mudde. He visits each of our families in small groups twice a month for Bible study.
We teach the local (never formally trained) ‘Pastors’ through our one year Pastors Enrichment class.
We teach the Explorers Club (from The Mail Box club ) through the local village schools surrounding TWH’s compound in Nasuti.
TWH’s staff Teacher for the village School Program is Paula Mundodo. Presently she has classes totalling over 300 children learning about the kingdom of heaven that belongs to them…their FOREVER Home !
”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Our harvest has been very good and improving potato crops each season but never such large potatoes. Granny Juliette together with TWH Staff workers exclaimed that they have not seen potatoes this size since they were young children! The likely explanation is that traditional methods of farming in Uganda tend to not sow back into the soil…when we teach them to Farm God’s Way we teach them to sow into the land because in farming as in life…we reap what we sow!!
What did we do differently?
This past growing season we decided to add water during the rain/growing season. We didn’t know what outcome adding water after two weeks passed without rain would bring to our harvest. Our compound now stores rain water in a large elevated container that makes irrigation water available as long as the stored water lasts in the container. If it rains we can add more to the storage. We don’t use it so long as rain comes. The store of water is used to moisten with about 1.5 liter to every plant when two weeks pass without rain. We can see that water seems to be valuable. Is it possible when it’s been dry for two weeks that you carry water to the garden to revive your plants. Farming God’s Way to a high standard means you also have mulched your garden. The water you deliver will help so much until the next rain. Try it! We think you will like the results.
And remember to give God thanks and Glory for He has given everything you need.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Praise the LORD for what He has done ~ and will do…
Alfred’s contracted with a man having experience to put a proper grass roof on TWH. That looks to be so! Alfred built a foundation with bricks and cement that is very strong and this roofing contractor is doing his part to put the stick built trussing structure up to support grass roofing material. When the poles are all up and in place grass is put on in bundles, layered and secured. I hope the end product looks so good. But by the quality of the rafters the grass will probably be good too! Now, where does he get the grass? He travels by taxi from Nasuti about 5 hours to the shores of lake Victoria, then by boat to an Island where the grass is growing. He hires local men to cut it, and bundle it, and stack it. They don’t have termites there. We do, so we need to spray our grass as it waits to go up and finally again when it gets to the roof. After the cutting on the island, they heap it on one or more boats (it’s going to take a lot!) and the boat travels over pretty dangerous waters (a storm can kick up any time like one of the great lakes of Michigan). When it arrives they load it onto a truck then to its home in Nasuti. We’re hoping all the grass we need arrives soon as the rafters may be done next week.
The Latrine too is nearly done, a four stall beauty with a real septic system hand dug and hand mixed and poured concrete made right there. With the 4 pit latrine style toilets there are two baths for bathing and changing. What luxury we will make available to our Pastors!
Again, you all, thank you for your generous praying, and your generous giving and praise the Lord over and over for what He has done. We look to what He will do as well!
I meet our teacher, Daniel Isabirye Friday, to talk about things I need to know to facilitate a Pastor Bible Training Program. Marcia and I are so thankful it will be run by Pastor Terry Nester (our missionary Pastor from our church in Jinja) and taught by Pastor Daniel and probably a few others along the way. Pray for men on our staff and those others God has to come, that they will come and be faithful to work diligently and persevere to transform, and become the Shepard of their community God calls them to be.
We’ve signed agreements Monday with two Grannies to receive 3 room homes and latrines.
They are Beatrice (having 4 grandchildren ages 2 1/2 to 14)
and Elizabeth (having with her two grandchildren ages 8 and 10).
Yesterday we approved two more after the interviews. Fatina lives in the smallest straw and broken brick home (9 x 10) with four daughters and her son PLUS her 3 grandchildren (ages 9, 6, and 3). She has a thorn stuck in her eye.
We will get her to an eye doctor and hopefully get her agreement signed next week and start her home and latrine very soon. Please pray for God to be their Husband and their God.
What a blessing it was for the staff and granny-families to have Fred & Heather with them; serving so selflessly…it is bittersweet for us too Fred Thank you SO much for sharing your time there with all of us through this blog…we feel like we’ve been on the back of your boda 🙂 see you again ‘soon OR forever” !!
Fred writes: Today was bittersweet as it was our last day at The Way Home. While today was sweltering and we’re tired and starting to look forward to coming home it will still be hard to leave this place and its wonderful people. This morning Heather sped off on the boda to track down the last three grannies while I stayed behind and spent some time talking to director Russ about how our church might be able to assist him in what God is doing here. Later in the day we had a very special treat as we were able to be present at a granny interview where she was informed that she would be receiving a new home. Her son passed away and left her with three orphaned grandkids and she still has three daughters at home as well. They are all sleeping in the round eight foot diameter hut pictured below. They will soon have a 10′ x 30′ house, a new latrine and three years of training and assistance with their garden. Director Russ shared with them how God has a heart for widows and orphans and that there are people in America who love God and desire to obey Him and invest in the things that He cares about and that is how they are receiving their new home. At the end of our time with them He then also had an opportunity, at the request of one of the Ugandan pastors who will be following up with the family, to share the way of salvation with them. It was astounding to hear the sensitive, culturally relevant way in which he was able to share the Good News – Good News that began 2000 years ago in Palestine and now traveled to east Africa by way of North America. Amazing stuff here.
At the end of the day we were treated by the Ugandan staff here at The Way Home to a traditional Ugandan dinner of mitoke (an un-sweet banana kind of thing cooked like mashed potatoes), greens, rice, potatoes and even some of Tom, one of the turkeys we’ve been watching strut around the yard all week. It was great to sit down and break bread with the builders, farmers and pastors who work so diligently bringing shelter, food and Jesus to the people of Uganda.
Fred writes: Yesterday we attended church at Acacia Community Church in Jinja, an open-air thatched roof church both reaching out to Ugandans and providing a place to worship for mzungu missionaries. And led by a pastor from West Virginia no less – “Can I get an amen!!” We then ate lunch at a little place called The Haven on the Nile river. Last night I had the privilege of executing our first African rat. Sucker was eating our bananas.
Today it was back on the bodas for a barnstorming run to 20 granny homes. We have only three left which we will get to tomorrow morning. One of the highlights was visiting a home where they had spent the very first night in their new home last night. They were walking on air. We went inside with the family and prayed a blessing on the home and that all who live there would know Jesus and look forward to the day when we all have a permanent home with Him. We also visited a home with a shrine behind it where the clan keeps their demons -not just any demons mind you, specialty demons. They give them a little house out back so they can call on them when they need them. Handy, I suppose. The granny there is a Christian but not all of her clan has followed in her footsteps, hence the continued presence of the shrine. Pray for them to see the Light and turn from their old ways.
I have a lot of time to think as I’m riding down the back roads and trails and today I was captured by thoughts about the masses of people I have seen, even out here in the bush. Walking, riding bikes, standing around in the trading centers, carrying jerrycans of water, pushing old bicycles laden with everything from huge bunches of bananas to massive bags of charcoal for their cook stoves, walking to and from school, laying around on their lawns with their babies (it was a scorcher today). I wondered how many of them have heard of Jesus. I couldn’t escape the question, ” If no one tells them, how will they know?” There are so many great things going on here and yet so much still to do and so many lost who need to be found.
Tomorrow we’ll catch up with the last three grannies and then observe an “interview” with a prospective granny home recipient.
Keeping you in the loop through Fred (Langeland) – one of four servant-guests serving at The Way Home this week with Russ: –
Fred writes: Third day on the road today. Began with a beautiful sunrise – see below – and then we saddled up and rode about 1-1/2 hr. to our first stop. Really out there but the ride was beautiful. Tim Johnson rode with us, too. We stopped at only eight granny homes today because of the remote locations. We saw some beautiful babies today but were saddened to see that they were all wearing witchcraft bracelets. Even those who convert to Christianity often maintain their previous practices of black magic and ancestor worship. It’s really hard to see that knowing that they will never know the abundant life in Christ unless they can be led away from the old practices. Many of the Christian pastors here are uneducated and preach a gospel that isn’t really the Gospel. More on what The Way Home Africa is working on to help with that later.
We saw some beautiful gardens today – we were really impressed at one stop where there are three grannies in immediate proximity to each other and they have teamed up to do some major power-gardening. Many hands make light work. Their gardens produce a very abundant harvest and they not only feed their grandchildren, but also can sell enough excess to pay for all of their school fees. This concept really works when it’s applied and worked hard at.
As we visited some gardens that are a few years old it was really neat to see how the soil develops over time using the Farming God’s Way method. The soil here is naturally a gritty red clay. It is not particularly fertile and is even hard on farming implements due to the angular abrasive nature of the grit in it. The Farming God’s Way method of using planting holes instead of tilling the soil, covering the garden with mulch to retain moisture and minimize soil compaction, and returning the spent plants to the soil results in a rich, dark topsoil after only a couple growing seasons. It was very cool to see that the neighbors of the grannies being served by The Way Home Africa / Farming God’s Way partnership are taking notice and beginning to employ the same methods themselves. This is really a game changer for the folks over here.
We had a little excitement on the way back this afternoon. The rainy season is moving in and we were doing our best to skirt a big thunderstorm but just a couple miles from home base we were nailed by a pretty nasty hail storm and had to pull off in a small town and take shelter under a canopy with a large group of local men. They looked at us like we’re freaks but nobody bothered us. We often wave to people as we blast down the back roads and they wave back, give us a big grin and yell “mzungu!”. The Ugandan people are very friendly and helpful.
One of The Way Home’s guest-servants this week, blogs about his second day on the roads to photo journal our granny families with Heather:
OUR SECOND DAY ON THE BACKROADS
Fred writes: We spent another day on the backroads of Uganda visiting with 13 grannies at their homes. We observed several fine gardens being prepared for planting. They’re prepping the planting holes now and will plant the seed in another week or two when the next semi-annual rainy season begins. We also prayed with each one that their garden would produce abundantly. No all of them have gardens – we’ve met a few who are blind and one today wasn’t able to get up from her mat on the floor – but some of them we’ve seen have been astounding. While the grand kids are away at school the grannies work on preparing and maintaining their gardens. The idea is that they will be able to raise enough crop to not only feed their family but also enough extra to sell so they can pay the kids’ school fees. If you can’t pay, you don’t go to school here.
We’re learning many things about how to best to help people in other cultures work their way out of poverty. It’s so easy as westerners to want to just put together a team, write a check, and fix the problem. We can see, though, the dependency problems that creates. As we ride the bodas through the little towns along the way we can hear the kids calling out for money from the mzungus. When we pull into the villages it’s like the circus just pulled into town. People come from all around the village to see what we have brought for them. It’s encouraging to see how The Way Home Africa is working to break that cycle with the people they serve. They’re working hard to fade into the background as they train up more and more Ugandans to do the work on the ground. They’re also willing to apply tough love in situations where the recipients sit back on their hands expecting the work to be done for them.
Well tomorrow it’s back to the bush on our trusty bodas and will be joined on our journey for a day by Tim Johnson. Please continue to pray for us and for the work of The Way Home Africa.
The Way Home’s “Servant’s Retreat” in the discipleship village is filled this week with….well…Servants! Let us share the blog of one of those servants, Fred Langeland, who has come with one of our two senior advocate’s, Heather Osborn to accomplish a very BIG job…photo journaling our, now 60, Granny Families:
Fred writes: Today was an adventure unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We were on dirt bikes literally beating through the African bush. When I talk about Africa I normally hesitate to use words like “bush” and “village.” In one of my classes in Bible college we had a student from Africa and I remember her complaining that Americans all thought everybody in Africa grew up in a grass hut out in the bush. She was from a modern city and found our presumption both ignorant and arrogant. Well, we weren’t in the city today! We visited 17 granny homes, meeting with them, taking photos, and looking at their gardens. We were really in the African bush. We went down roads that weren’t even roads – some of them just a path between villages. If we had lost our leader you never would have seen Heather or me again – there was no way to know where we were or where the next turn would lead. I’d be building our grass huts as you read this.
My being here is an incredible gift and an experience I don’t want to squander on myself. I believe God provided the means for me to be here for a reason. Today in the solitude of my motorcycle helmet I recalled a thought from our devotions last night. The person who shared it didn’t remember where she got it so I can’t cite credit but it goes like this: “In Christian life and witness so much is lost because we are indefinite. The devil is not worried by our pious aspirations. He is troubled when, in obedience to God, for the glory of Christ and in the power of the Spirit, we make firm practical decisions to do specific things for the Lord.” Pious aspirations. Ever have any of those? To be the best wife or husband your spouse could ever dream of. To be the dad that yours wasn’t. To get out of debt. To save for a secure retirement. To have deep conversations with your kids so they don’t make the same mistakes you did. To be a godly man or woman. I’ve certainly had more than my share of them and many of them have ended in my being indefinite. My prayer is that through this experience I’ll move beyond pious aspirations about spreading the gospel to the poor in Africa into practical decisions to do specific things. In obedience to God. For the glory of Christ. In the power of the Spirit.