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Deckers Diary

Dear Friends and Family,

on the Mission Field

March 2012

Upon arriving at Abba House, I didnt have many days to settle in as Kids Camp was starting up. The camp went from Sunday afternoon, December 4th to Wednesday of that same week. There were 300 kids under 14 years of age. Pastor Kaaya killed a beef (furnished by House of Friends donors) to feed the many children. I was mostly on dish Kids line up detail, which seemed to be never ending. for Kids Camp Everybody had porridge in the morning, tea and bread at mid-morning, then meat, rice, and cooked cabbage for lunch. Then they had another round of tea and bread for the afternoon snack and then more meat, or beans, and posho (corn flour mush) for supper. I heard, toward the end of the camp, at least one child comment that she did not want to go home because here, they got meat and rice (instead of just beans). I remember telling you while I was in Venezuela that it seemed like, when slaughtering a pig, they ate everything but the squeal. Well, true here too, they ate everything but the moo. Kids Camp went for three days and was followed directly by three more days of Youth Camp. I was surprised to have as many as 250 youths, ages 14-19. We killed another beef, ate more rice, and washed more dishesthe biggest challenge was to clean the beef fat off of the plastic dishes. There were guest ministers for the youth camp who came in from Kampala as well as from other places. I met one very tall fellow that must have been seven feet tall. When I looked into his eyes, there was a deep pool of blue in them. I thought, Wow, his eyes are intriguing; I will remember this one for that blue in his eyes. It wasnt until after meeting three more people who had that beautiful blue pool in their eyes that I realized it was the reflection of my royal blue t-shirt. I felt a little silly and was glad I didnt mention it to anyone, but also I realize again the dark richness of their eyes that reflect even a t-shirt.

Barb Decker Settling Into the Culture

I have been back at Abba House for three months already! December seemed to go slow, but January and February are racing away. I wanted to be here especially to experience Uganda at Christmas time to see what the Ugandan Christmas was like and join the children in the celebration. I arrived to Abba House at 1:30 a.m., a total of 27 hours after I left Kansas City. I ended up bringing four extra bags and still had to put a claim in for one bag that arrived two days later than I did. A couple of the older boys met me at the gate of the compound, and I gave hugs to all that would receive them. December was uncommonly rainy and therefore was quite chilly. I am very glad I brought a vest; I have used it on many occasions. Although December was wet and chilly, January was dry and hot, which I had expected Africa to be. It was hard not to want to plant seeds during the rainy part of December; everything was so green and growing. The dry season, however, is December to March and a time to prepare the ground for the longer rainy (growing) season. Through a cultural difference, I had an interesting answer to prayer: I was noticing the cultural difference in that we keep the dogs in the house and the chickens out; and they keep the dogs out of the house and the chickens in. In January, after eating the basic food with the kids, I was feeling a little lack in my diet. I was praying about how to get a little more protein into my morning diet---which is corn flour porridge. I passed the storeroom where the flour and beans are kept and noticed an egg on the bean sack. I thought, Oh, Lord, you have given me an egg! That continued for a few days, much to my enjoyment at breakfast time.

Christmas Celebration
We splurged a little for Christmas and bought a $45 sack of Irish white potatoes. What a welcome break! Christmas morning breakfast was white potatoes and tea. Then we ate white potatoes for about every meal for the week after Christmas, as well. As the children of the New Life Schools go home for the holiday, so do some of the children in Abba House. I have never been in a childrens home where the children go home to spend time with a relative or friend; sometimes as much as a month. In other childrens homes, time home meant they come back contaminated from the world and with (cont. on page 2)

some new words and rebellious attitudes; but in Africa, it is very important to keep oneself connected to his clan or village. If one loses his connection, he will be like a man without a country. So in Abba House, for Christmas, we had only 16 people here, including workers. We did a make-shift tree decorated in paper chains and our Santas Hat was blue and black instead of red and white. Thank you to all who made a bit of Christmas possible for the kids. Christmas dinner consisted of chapatis (flour tortillas), steamed plantains, boiled white potatoes, rice, stewed chicken, and sauted cabbage-all washed down with soda. There was sufficient food and it was a great treat for all.

uniforms wont be needed for a while. I am reminded of when I was in El Salvador and they wanted me to cut the girls hair. Since I knew only one cutmine, all the little girls had the same short bob cut that I have had for most of my life. I have returned to that haircut, myself. The wind, dust, and lack of water here in Uganda made long hair difficult to maintain.

Many nights we were without lights, through a rationing schedule. The kids still had to study and we also had devotions--by lamplight.

New Year Commitment

New Years Eve we did an all-night bonfire that ended at 3 a.m. (so we could be awake in church). The night consisted of songs, worship and prayer wrapped around a wiener roast, toasted marshmallows, and banana boatsa banana stuffed with chocolate sauce and peanuts and cooked in the coals. As it was the beginning of a new year, we set home priorities and marched around the buildings, claiming them for the Lord. The New Year started out with a commitment of all of the children to read the New Testament through in the year. It would be better, of course, to read through the entire Bible, but with the requirements of school, I have made morning devotionals brief. The seventh graders need to be in class at 6:00 a.m. and the rest of the kids at 7:00 a.m. I also pledged the kids, starting during the Christmas vacation time, to memorize Romans, Chapter 12 the Christian conduct chapter. So far, as of February, ten kids have memorized all 21 verses and 8 more have half of it memorized. Many of the ones who came back from homes have joined the ranks. Even Dorcus, age 4, and Daphine, age 6, can get through verses one and two. I would also like for everyone to memorize 1 Corinthians 13, and some Psalms.

The construction of the dining hall and kitchen has gone no further. The roof is the most costly, due to the wood for the rafters; and we have not come to an agreement for the estimate of the efficiency stove. I am also anxious to get out of the one room I have and get into the two rooms of the missionarys quarters. I hope to get restarted on that soon. The rains have started reclaiming the mud bricks back to the earth. So we have two structures that are awaiting roofs. I continue to thank God for all of you and your faithfulness in giving, not only to me but also to the projects here at Abba House in Entebbe. The exchange of the dollar is down; therefore, the prices of some construction materials will also be down. Lets get started again on these projects that need to be finished. I have great expectations for the dining room. I am hoping it will end some on-going problems with the organization of meals, plates getting lost, and there being enough food for all as well. We have started a prayer chart through which we pray for specific needs on a daily basis. Besides the construction projects we have, one of those needs for Abba House is a vehicle. It would be of great service to the home; we are praying for some sort of flatbed truck. May God bless you all richly, according to His riches in Glory.

School started at the end of January. The seamstress, Josephine, is and has been very busy making the needed school uniforms. For the girls, it seems that she has two sizeslarge and medium, which makes the little girls swim in theirs, but it compensates for their fast growth and new

Shalom, Barb Decker

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Girls are washing their clothes on the front porch/patio on a rainy day.

Children are making Christmas gifts to give one another.

Jackson, Desire, and Joshua building character. They are finding ways they can store water at the home.

I will support Barbara Deckers work on the mission field with House of Friends in the following way. ___ Barbara Decker Mission Support (Monthly) $_________(One Time Gift) $________ ___ Abba House Project ( ) Multi-purpose dining/kitchen $___________ ( ) Missionary Quarters $_________ ___ Mission Trip Expenses to Uganda $_________ ___ Please send more information about House of Friends.
All donations are tax deductible. Please write checks payable to: House of Friends and send to P O Box 228, Alma, MO 64001 Thank you for caring!