HOPE

IN T H E WO O D S

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J U N E

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U P D A T E

HOPE

WOODLINGS
Faithful Naomi

Smart Seth

Lovely Lucy
Adventurous Anna-May

Bright Barbara

Beauty full Beatrice

Sweet Savannah Agile Absolom Exceptional Ephraim Caring Keziah

our small community at home.........................
We had a lovely visit recently with Paul Adlington, our leader from the Bear church in London, and Sean Callaghan, a consultant in international development. We used up about 30 hrs in conversation and processing the past, present and the future. It was an emotive, fruitful and extremely beneficial time together.

The New Mission
After all the processing we feel that a new kind of mission is on the table. Its a new season. It’s about ALL that we bring and all that we breathe life into in Uganda and not just about Fin’s work or Lucy’s work. This makes so much sense because when we first committed to come to Africa we felt we really wanted it to be a whole family deal. It is not just about what Fin brings or what Lucy brings. As a family unit we bring so much more. Outlined in the following pages is what we bring. We want to share the vision. Share the mission. Its about being a family, being who we are where we are, that you are supporting. In supporting us through prayer, money, parcels, emails, phone calls and texts, you are sowing into all of that which we are involved in. All this happens because we are here. All this is more of the reason we are here. It’s bigger, it’s deeper and it’s fuller than anyone’s particular job. Each job, each family, each business, each project is being loved by us. Each one makes it whole. Each one makes it mission. Love in action. Hope released.

Reflection and regrets about the past
In 2007 we came to Uganda to serve at Cherish Uganda for 3 years. When that came to an end at the end of 2009 we really felt our time in Uganda was not over. Many of you know the transitions we have been through over the last 2 years. It’s been a fruitful time; we have become clearer on our purpose and yet not been in anything more than a year. As we reflected with Sean and Paul it was with regret and upset that we looked at certain decisions and circumstances. We feel we have made some mistakes. It’s been hard looking back but exciting and hopeful looking forward.

our story and life is full of colour; it’s fruitful...it’s faith in action...
the future, schooling budget pensions, values

Cherish Uganda

JJajja’s Fellowship
Project Trust

the culture the language the people

watoto church family

baking business

Ephraim

Naomi Beatrice Barbra and Absolom

Child sponsorship

purpose in prison

As you can see, our puzzle is not neat around the edges, all sorted or by any means whole. It is how we live; how we sow into life here and its what you support and love about us. Some pieces are bigger than others, intentionally, but all are necessary, meaningful and carry purpose. Read on for fuller explanations of each piece.........

Naomi, Beatrice, Barbra and Absolom
Naomi works with us and lives with us. Naomi’s husband developed severe mental health issues about 6-12mths before she came to work with us in 2007. Sadly his whereabouts are not known any more. He used to stay in a certain area near her village but no one has seen him for a long time. So she was left a single parent with her 3 kids to raise; Beatrice (now 15yrs), Barbra (now 10yrs) and Absolum (now 9yrs). When she first started working with us Naomi’s children lived in the village 4 hrs away. She would maybe see them once every 6-8weeks. We came to Uganda to work with an organisation which was going to help children be part of a family again not keep them apart so we asked, “would you like them to come and live with us?”. She answered “yes”, but “no school fees mummy” we remember her saying to Lucy. We offered to help with school fees so they came to live with their mum and our family in Kampala and there begun the journey of healing, community, friendship, dancing, eating, churching and having fun together. Naomi is part of our story, part of why we are here in Uganda, part of our future, forever. Whether we stay or go we are committed to seeing Naomi build a business that will sustain her and her family. We are committed to supporting her kids through their schooling that finishes here in Uganda after S6 (Senior 6, end of A-Levels). The kids have gotten friends that they will never forget. They have so much fun together. A memorable time is after dinner when they all play in the garden and giggles, screams, crying and laughter all exude around the garden. Its been so lovely doing community with them. We know and love their Mummy and Daddy, aunts, uncles, brothers and cousins as our own. Its been so great being together thus far and we look forward to what the future holds. They are a warm, generous, fun, committed, Godly and creative family to know.

Naomi and Resty, neighbo urs and friends

Beatrice(L) and Barbra(R) with our girl s

Absolum, Seth and Bono.

JJajja’s Fellowship
JJajja, meaning: loved elderly one

JJajja Fredah

After hearing one of Shane Claibourne’s talks Lucy felt inspired to find out some of the issues in our local community to see where we could help others and open our home. Not long after this she happened to meet a lady at a party who turned out to be doing field work studies in our area for her Social Work degree! From conversations they had she discovered that there was little support for the elderly; many were left struggling with very little income and others with no family to help them. After a few meetings with this new friend, Judith, she decided to start a bi-monthly group for the elderly with the objective being to provide a regular social time with snacks and drinks and a focus on income generating projects. They have been meeting now for around 10 months and it’s been lovely to see relationships grow even with a bit of a language barrier! They do say actions speak louder than words! The Jajja’s have been contributing money each time they come to try and save up to start some income generating projects. The other week Lucy organized for a friend to come and speak with them about small business with a view to helping them get some off the ground. He turned out to be one of the JJajja's grandson’s! We’re excited to see how things develop!

JJajja Abas

JJajja Deborah
JJajja Josephine

JJajja Ephraim
During her time of volunteering with African Prisons Project (APP) at the beginning of this year, Lucy met Jjajja Ephraim, a 68-year-old gentleman from Tanzania infected with HIV and suffering the long-term effects of a stroke. Read on to find out more about his story and how he has come to be a part of our family here in Uganda… In the late 1970’s Ephraim came over from Tanzania as a soldier to help in the fight to overthrow Idi Amin. He has remained in Uganda since that time and has no contact with family. He worked as a casual labourer in a village on the outskirts of Kampala. Over the years he became an alcoholic to the point where he was homeless and sleeping in bars or on the streets. It was during this time that a young man, Peter (now a pastor), who was a good friend to Ephraim before he had gone off for his studies, came back to the village. He shared about Jesus with Ephraim and he was totally changed! He stopped drinking straight away and members from the church where Peter came from helped Ephraim by renting him a new home, buying him food etc. Ephraim would give his testimony at church and sometimes preach – people were amazed at his radical transformation! During this season of his life he suffered with some sicknesses. The Senior Pastor’s wife from his church is a Doctor and was running a clinic so she helped him with his health issues. Suffering with high blood pressure, sadly, in 2008/9 he had a stroke. She was unable to give him the care he needed and they had to send him to the government hospital in Kampala, Mulago. Here in Uganda, if you do not have a carer with you in the hospital you will not get bathed, fed or have your sheets changed; this is not a service the hospital provides. With no family able to help Ephraim, the church tried to find someone who would. A young man called Ivan stepped in. During his time in Mulago attending to Ephraim, Ivan met with people from one of the organisations working in the hospital who helped care for those who were there without family/carers. The director of that organisation, Sebastian, became friends with Ivan. He turned out to be friends with the director of APP, Alexander. After a couple of months in Mulago Alexander and Sebastian moved Ephraim to a rented accommodation near to the APP offices and Alexander personally funded Ephraim’s care. and arranged for

In February of this year, 2011, Alexander was left in a very difficult position. He was heading back to the UK and, with no one to take care of Ephraim (Ivan was going back to school), he was forced to send him back to Mulago as a short term solution. He ensured a canteen was paid to deliver him food and that the organisations in Mulago working with those with no carers went in to help with his personal care. In February we started our voluntary 3month period with APP and part of Lucy’s job was to check on the prisoners receiving treatment in Mulago Hospital. Having met Ephraim when he was living near the APP offices she decided to visit him whenever she was in the hospital. Over the two weeks that followed she watched as the Mulago staff got tired of his presence (he is doubly incontinent and therefore, only being changed once a day, there was the issue of smell) and moved him into a side room on the ward. He was lying on a thin wet mattress on the floor, tucked into the furthest corner of the room so that even when somebody came in they wouldn’t even realise he was there. We also discovered that this was the room where dead bodies would be taken at night until the morning when they would be moved to the mortuary. It was a dire situation. Heartbreaking. Finally, we were so troubled by the situation with a conviction to do something about it, Lucy went to Mulago and, with a friend who was working as a Social Worker in the hospital, collected Ephraim and brought him home. Fin meanwhile, was busy with the children preparing Ephraim’s new room. In the 3 months since he first came to stay with us he had a 2-week stay in another hospital due to some breathing difficulties. During this stay we found out he had two debilitating illnesses, toxoplasmosis and tuberculosis (TB). These have come as a result of his HIV. When he came back from hospital his needs completely changed and the level of care needed was much greater. At this point Lucy decided to finish her voluntary period at APP a little earlier than expected. The pressure of juggling all that she was involved with and responsible for, became too great. She also came to realise that, although she has a great deal of compassion for

prisoners, they are not her people group; she has a heart for the elderly and this, for the most part, is where she wants to keep the focus of her work and giving. JJajja has now finished treatment for the toxoplasmosis and has just completed the initial intensive phase of treatment for the TB. We are pleased to say he is doing a lot better. Just recently we managed to connect with Ephraim’s friend, Peter; it was a very special visit (see the photo above). Ephraim was so overjoyed to see him again after so many months. Peter hopes to now mobilise the church members to come and visit with him from time to time, which we know will do wonders! On a practical note, Alexander found a sponsor on his trip back to the UK so we receive £70/month towards the costs of his care. Lucy attends to his personal care and medication but receives help from a neighbour, Aisha, 4 mornings a week. She’s an amazing lady who cared for her own husband for 2 years before he died – she has a very caring heart. Naomi is also a huge help; cooking for him, translating and jollying him along with her good sense of humour and loving words. Despite all his ailments, we see in Ephraim a lovely old man with a soft spirit and a great sense of humour; he is so loveable! The whole experience has been a challenge but it’s also been a joy to serve him and embrace him into our family. It has taught us such huge lessons and kingdom values. We’ll never be the same.

project trust
This is one of the oldest gap year programmes in the UK. Each year they send about 20-25 young people to Uganda to serve in rural projects all around the country, primarily in schools. Due to some good friends leaving the country, we have been offered the job of Country Reps. The job involves meeting and picking the young people from the airport on arrival, delivering them to their first nights accommodation and helping them as they orientate to the country. Their host will then come and pick them up the next day. The job also involves being available if they encounter any problems, helping to sort those problems out together with the admin support team in the UK. All our expenses for hosting them and travelling to visit them if necessary are covered on top of a small salary. We feel many of our gifts will be used in this job; hospitality, mentoring support, friendship, sharing our experiences here, facilitating understanding the culture here and connecting them with Christ through our love in action. Many who come are not Christians. It’s not about converting them at all but through our lives here we hope to transfer the hope we have found in following Jesus. We hope to serve them and support them while they are away from home on their gap year in a foreign land trying to integrate and serve with their host project.

Project Trust was founded in 1967 as an educational charity on the Hebridean Isle of Coll in North West Scotland. Since then we have sent over 5,500 volunteers overseas. Project Trust sends about two hundred volunteers to twenty-five countries annually and is widely respected as one of the most experienced and professional gap year organisations in Britain. “Our main philosophy is to provide young people with an opportunity to understand a community overseas by immersing themselves in it; living and working there for a year. All our projects are vetted for their suitability for volunteers, and none deprive local people of work. We have the expertise and the infrastructure to ensure all volunteers are given a challenging and exciting opportunity to develop themselves, and all the support available to them when they need it. All of our staff are based on Coll, in a wellequipped modern office, and this is where all of our administration takes place. Most of the staff are Project Trust Returned Volunteers, and are desk officers, i.e. responsible for the volunteers in one or more countries in our programme. As a volunteer, you will remain in close contact with your desk officer throughout your year. In addition, we have an extensive network of overseas contacts, all working together to give unrivalled support to our volunteers.” Over five thousand volunteers have spent time abroad with Project, every one of them returning with unique and valuable experiences.

baking business

Our hope has always been to enable Naomi to develop an income stream with the potential to grow into a job that would lead to selfsustainability for her if we did ever have to leave Uganda. With 4 small children and a busy household to run, the timing has not really been right, but recently an opportunity arose. A small coffee shop opened close to our home at the end of last year. Lucy decided to ask them if they would like any baked goods to be supplied. They were very interested, particularly at the mention of delicious brownies! Delighted with the samples, they requested for them to be delivered every week. Lucy has now taught Naomi to bake the brownies, take the phone requests, manage the cash box and cash book and deliver the final product. She is doing very well. This is set to grow as they seek out other cafes who’d like to receive the goods. They hope to branch out into cakes as well - in fact just today they made a delicious Lime and Coconut cake which will be delivered tomorrow to the American Embassy for consumption at their cafe! Perhaps Naomi’s business will bloom before we ever leave - that’s the dream! We’ll have to hire a new house help!

watoto church - south
We love and value being part of a local expression of church. We believe Watoto is that place for us at this time. We have been welcomed, loved and released into this family. We are part of a worshipping community known as Watoto Church South. Watoto Church has 8 other worshipping communities in Uganda. Those who meet Jesus as part of our mission here need a home. Need a family. Need a body to belong to. Watoto is that home, that family, that body. We are growing in sharing our gifts and talents there. Fin is involved in leading the services and looking into developing marriage support for the married couples at church. He also meets regularly with Eddie and others to participate in planning events and discussing matters of the church. Lucy is keen to support the kids work and supporting new mums with young kids by building relationships and sharing experiences as they mother their babies. She has been involved in a recent panel for Mothers day sharing experiences of mothering and family life in Uganda. We want to develop relationships, sow into the local community and serve our local church as part of our mission here in Uganda. Eddie, Martha and Kayla, our pastors at South

cherish uganda
We birthed Cherish with others. It was the reason we came to Uganda. We went there when there was nothing, now a community of hope and love brings life to that area. It’s a beauty full community. We love the kids. We love the people. They love us. We still have a precious bond and relationship. When we go down to visit, the warmth is warmer than the African sun beating down on that land. We feel that part of our life here, part of our mission, is to remain connected. To visit regularly, to share, to love and to be part of the ongoing development of a cherished people. This is a big part of what we bring to Uganda. We look to know how best to remain connected and serve there. We currently visit at least once a month, more if there are special functions. Our church in London, The Bear, is sending a team out this summer to serve there. The connection is strong, the relationship deep and so we consider Cherish a part of our purpose here in Uganda. In supporting us you also continue to sow into Cherish.

child sponsorship
School fees are a pressure for many families here; with an education, the chances of getting a half decent job are on the small side but without one, the chances almost completely diminish. We currently facilitate the sponsorship of 8 children; some sponsors are friends or family who were here and have now left, others have been introduced because of a need we have seen. Their school fees are paid for through us. We are sure other facilitators could be found should we ever leave but for now that happens because we are here. We make the connection.

the culture, the people, the language
We have embraced the culture, we love the people and are learning the language. We can get by. We are not fluent by any means but we believe it shows we are willing to integrate. It shows we care. The life and smiles it brings to all we meet makes it worth remembering the words and phrases we learn each day. Sometimes the police even let us off as they are astonished at the language and of course charm of our interactions with them. This is part of us feeling at home here, contextualizing, becoming part of the community and people in which we are placed for this season. We love the culture here and enjoy the local food, we each have our preferences of course!! We love the people; they are warm, welcoming and generous. It feels right to be here at this time. We love our neighbourhood and the comings and goings of different members of the community. The care for JJajja Ephraim is shared with a lovely lady called mama JoJo (or Aisha). She often comes in with her twins who are close to Seth’s age and they have a blast with the lego. WE value, WE accept, WE appreciate and WE love the culture, people and beauty of Uganda.

purpose in prison
WOW!!! what a time we have had!! We feel learned veterans in the art of waiting. We can finally reveal what the future looks like, lets go back to the future!! After returning from the UK you may remember we committed to volunteering with APP for 3 months which took us to the end of April. We had a challenging, learning and fruitful time volunteering with APP. It was tough at times. Lucy is not volunteering with them anymore, it was just not her vocation. Fin also decided to leave and did not leave so well. It was a very pressured season in which he made the decision. He felt convicted after reflection and processing it with Sean and Paul when they were out here. In mid May Fin went back to reconcile and say sorry for the way in which he left and has since been offered a job 3 days a week working within fund-raising and donor relations on specific projects that APP is doing over the coming months and years. Building relationships and partnerships with individuals, businesses, churches and anyone in Uganda and abroad, who is keen to partner with us financially or with related products and services that support the work we do. With a strong gift of networking and building relationships mixed with a genuine passion for prison work and a staunch belief in the work of APP, we both feel that this is a great proposal for the way forward. We are writing and agreeing a job description as we speak. There is an offer of a local salary to help with our support. The other 2 days a week Fin will pursue other options for prison involvement which have yet to be defined, but will be a mix of supporting Watoto Church as they explore reaching out to prisoners, developing Alpha in Prisons and exploring working with young offenders. We both feel this is a great offer and we are looking to commit to another 3 years here to get stuck into it and feel settled after the somewhat transient but fruitful 2 years we have just had. Thank you so much for being with us. We feel our puzzle is somehow complete. We know this is where we want to be for the foreseeable future. We know that this work is right for Fin. We look forward to developing new relationships and harnessing the potential for local investors both here in Uganda and abroad to reach out to this marginalised people group and provide adequate, dignified and transformational penitentiaries for them to serve their sentences in and come out ready, willing and able to transform, contribute to and develop the society they are part of. In closing, thank you for journeying with us. Please don't stop. As always we are open to dialogue and questions.

Kampiringisa Juvenile Detention Centre

Kigo Men’s Prison

Kasangati Adult Prison

Kampiringisa Juvenile Detention Centre

the future, schooling, budgets, pensions, values
The Future We find it hard when people ask us how long we intend to be here for; we never really felt clearly that it was going to be for a specific period. We have committed to the next 3 years for now. Practically that makes sense as we can get a work permit for that long. We feel that gives us some stability and permission to sow further and deeper into all we are apart of. Having said this we have put in place review times when we will review, with significant others, where we are at and what, if anything, needs to change, be given up, adjusted or added. Our next review would be in the run up to Anna-May’s entry into secondary school. That’s 18mths away, early 2013.

Schooling Currently our 3 girls are in Rainbow International School. They have just announced yet another fee increase of 10%! It is a huge expense and we have been wondering what to do if we do not manage to raise the required amount. We would be open to a form of homeschooling for a year to see how it goes. Ideally we would find a local teacher with some international experience to help with the teaching. With all we have going on we would need to re-evaluate this regularly to make sure that what we are building is being built well. Lucy and Fin would contribute to the extra curriculum education and connect the kids with other social groups for play and learning together. Our Budget Our budget with school, rent, health insurance, groceries, fuel, car, flights home every 18mths-2yrs and all other living expenses is approximately £3200 per month. Our 2 small income streams from Project Trust and APP will contribute approximately £350 a month; as Naomi’s business grows she may also be able to start contributing towards rent and utilities. Our current support is just under £2000. If we did take schooling out then our monthly budget comes down to £2200 per month. If we just took Savannah out of school then it would come down to £2600 per month. We currently do need to top up on our monthly support to even make any of those figures and with inflation at nearly 14% its tight. We are not alone; we do respect that. That is the whole reason we are representing all this as ‘The New Mission’ so one can see the whole picture. Maybe you or someone you know would like to give to a specific part of what we do here. Pension, Savings etc We currently have no pension plan set up and no savings tucked away for a rainy day; wish we kinda did, but we don’t. We are very grateful that we have never been without. We have all we need. The kids have some money tucked away in ISA’s given to them by family members and topped up by us. We are ok with that. We are investing in our kids, family values that mean the future is a family responsibility. We hope that our kids see the value in being with us all the way. This has been hugely inspired by our time in Uganda and Fin’s growing up in Zimbabwe. We see people are looked after in the family setting right up until their death. Yes it can be a challenge and a burden but it is one the family value. That doesn’t mean however that we would ever want to be a financial burden on our kids and would love to work towards preparing ourselves for financial stability in the future.

Values
We value people We value the fruits of the spirit We value our relationship with God and communicating that with others through the multitude of ways he has inspired us to do so. We value our families. We value sharing and being generous with what we have and who we are We value meal times with strangers and friends We value healthy, clear communication

AN N A -M AY
Anna May is growing up into a beauty full girl. She loves reading Narnia and making her own books. She is very creative and has many amazing ideas. She is getting better at going to the dentist. She loves her swimming and often wants to play games in the pool with others. She has a blossoming relationship with her maker that raises all sorts of intriguing questions. She has enjoyed having the puppies around but deep down prefers cats!!

KEZIAH
Keziah loves her swimming also. She recently helped her school win the inter school gala with a few 1st places. She is getting very good at spelling and is working on numbers stuff. She often helps Seth at dinner time get through his dinner with all sorts of games. She has a great memory and loves singing and dancing. She also loves God and often prays for us as a family. She is also a strong monkey bar climber!!

S AVA N N A H
Savannah definitely had more puppy time than anyone else. We often found her in there loving on them and checking they are ok. She loves reading books on the sofa, swimming under water and touching the bottom of the pool, when she can!! She has had child of the week twice since she started school in September last year. She is fond of spaghetti. She is a professional wriggler. She likes to pray often too at the table or at bedtime.

SETH
He has conquered the potty now and is very proud of his achievements and regularly will ask someone to come see what he has done!! He does sleep real well. He loves the milkman who delivers his fresh milk each day. He has loved the puppies which have now all found new homes. He often asks for fireman Sam and Bob the Builder. He loves being outside helping our staff cook, clean, make fires or feed the dogs. He is doing well with his swimming too and enjoys sweetie Friday!!

THANK YOU We are so thank full for your love, emails, texts, phone calls, parcels and friendship. The next phase is part of the story, HIStory, your story. Please be with us as we try and be with you also. We look forward to welcoming visitors in the summer; a youth team from The Bear in London and some of Lucy’s extended family and then, hopefully, Lucy’s mum later in the year. We look forward to any news you have and if you can give anything small or large then please use the links below.

OUR LOVELY NEIGHBOURHOOD KIDS

The Woods P.O.Box 150 Entebbe Uganda

fin: +256 772 725 197 lucy: +256 774 797 539 facebook: we are there skype: woodlings

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