A Week Full of Love…

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Here in Northern Uganda, school is done a little bit differently than in America. Here the kids go to school for 3 terms a year; each term is 3 months long and there’s usually about 3 weeks in between the terms. During this break our Child Development Program (CDP) Staff hosts a Center Week for our CDP kids and we shift all of our focus and attention to the children enrolled in the program and dedicate the entire week to discipleship and sharing the love of Christ with each child.

During these 5 days, each precious, treasured child, is taught deeply from the Word of God. This Center Week, our theme was “A Godly Family”, and the members of our staff chose characters from the bible to teach the kids how each person within a family has a purpose and a role and how we choose to behave affects the people around us. Through these teachings we hope to shape and mold the next generation to rise up and become the fathers, mothers, wives, husbands and leaders that God desires them to be and who will bring honor and glory to the Lord and the Light of Christ to this war torn country.

In addition to these discipleship classes, throughout the week the kids played all sorts of games, they attended a medical class where they learned about basic hygiene, malaria prevention, and how to take medication correctly. They also received biblical counseling and each child was able to eat 2 full meals, breakfast and lunch, each day. This may not sound too significant to most, but here, especially with the rains coming so late this year, so many people go hungry and die of starvation. For most of our kids, this would be their reality as well without the support of their sponsors and this program.

Our last day of Center Week was dedicated to the parents of our CDP children, teaching them what it means to be a godly parent and a godly example in their homes and how to raise their kids in the way and knowledge of the Lord. Most of these parents are single moms or grandmothers who are trying to do the job of 2 parents and we were so honored to include them this week and to be able to encourage them. The parents and guardians spent the morning praising and worshiping God together, learning from Pastor Sunday and our CDP Staff, and receiving an in depth counseling session focused on building them up and educating them. We are so grateful that this program also includes the parents and we thank God for allowing us to share the love of Christ with them this week as He continues to use us to impact whole family groups for His glory.

Center Week concluded with a special meal of goat, chicken, rice and cabbage and presentations done by the CDP and missionary children. The CDP kids worked hard all week planning and preparing something very special for their parents. And the missionary kids worked together to prepare a skit that would clearly communicate the Gospel to all those who were in attendance. We simply cannot say enough how proud we are of all of their hard work and dedication. Some people may think there’s not much young children can do for the Kingdom of God, but we were a witness to just how much the Lord can do through willing and obedient hearts, no matter how old they are! As we watched all the kids perform, display and explain the Gospel in different ways, our eyes filled with tears and our hearts swelled with joy!

The last thing the CDP staff did before sending these precious children home at the end of the week, was to hand out beds to all the children who didn’t have one. One facet of this program is called “Home Visits”. Several times a year we visit each child’s home to sit with the families and determine their needs and to pray with them. This past term we discovered many children were sleeping on the ground, in the dirt. What a joy is was to hand out these beds and to know that each of them would have a clean mattress to sleep on that night and not a dirty floor.

There’s really no way to fully express just how blessed we are to be able to pour the love and grace of Christ into these wonderful children! It was an amazing week full of laughter, joy, love and truth. This program takes an incredible amount of work, but it was such a blessing to be a part of it and to serve with this staff of amazing Acholi men and women. Each of them does a phenomenal job and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Their humble, servant hearts are a testament to their love for Christ and their commitment to share and demonstrate the Gospel to the world.

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We are so grateful that God has allowed us to be a part of this program and to be a part of each child’s life. We praise and thank God for those who have chosen to join us in this and sponsor these precious children. Each one of you has made an eternal impact in their lives and God is using you daily to meet the spiritual and physical needs of these kids. We pray you are able to see how much your love is touching and transforming lives here in Northern Uganda and how the Lord is using your sacrifice and generosity to make the Name of Christ known among the Acholi people. Thank you is simply not enough! Currently, we have several children in the program that are in need of a sponsor. If you feel led to participate in what God is doing here to change and transform lives and you are interested in becoming a sponsor of one of our CDP children, please visit http://fourcorners.org/child-development/

“Train up a child in the way he should go: even when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

jamie cdp

A Season of Change…

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The kids have finished their first full year of school here in the bush of Africa, and as you can see in the picture, they are ecstatic to be on summer break! In spite of all the changes they’ve had to endure this year, they did a wonderful job and have persisted very well in all their studies. We’re so proud of how well they’ve adjusted to our new way of life and so thankful for all their hard work and positive attitudes.

Each of us must endure changes from time to time, and how we receive and accept those changes says a lot about our character and our relationship with Christ. If we resist the changes God brings into our lives, if we rebel or flat out refuse to submit to His will, in reality what we are saying is that we don’t trust the Lord and that our way is better than His way. The things that happen in our lives are allowed by the Lord for specific reasons and, if accepted, are for our good and for His glory, even change, no matter how difficult or hard it may be. During the Exodus, the Israelites resisted change and they complained on numerous occasions about their conditions and circumstances, but what they failed to realize was that everything they were enduring was designed to prepare them for a future the Lord had planned for them. A future, where He planned to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, and where He desired to use them to redeem the world. But, the truth was, they didn’t trust God.

When the seasons outside change we don’t question why it is happening. Instead, we embrace it with thanksgiving and excitement. As summer gives way to fall we look forward to cooler temperatures and sports of all kinds. As fall gives way to winter we hold our breath with great anticipation for the celebration of Christmastime shared with family and friends. After this we look forward to spring and summer; warmer days and lazy afternoons spent picnicking and swimming. The point is, we don’t fight these changes, we accept them and even welcome them.

As the seasons of our lives change we need to approach each one with the same excitement and anticipation, even if it’s not a change we truly desire. Let’s keep our eyes focused heavenward and trust the One who holds the whole world in His hands and rest assured that no matter what, God is good and His ways are good. If He has allowed this to happen, He has a good reason for it, and knowing this can help each of us to embrace the change and surrender to it.

This season of our lives is changing…as school comes to a close and the kids have more free time to do ministry work with us, we find ourselves full of excitement. We may not know what tomorrow holds or what God will have for us, but we trust that it will be good and that God will use us for His glory as we continue to serve Him and the Acholi people here. May all of us choose to embrace each day, no matter how it looks, as an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ, even if that day ushers in a season of change.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18