Monday - January 30, 2017

Hello all,

I got to talk to my dad, Les, today and though he sounded less tired he said the whole team is still quite exhausted. We can pray that they are all peacefully sleeping the night away now. 

The update was that they had a great day. Five of them went to dig a well and made it 60 feet. They have not hit water or rock yet. Everywhere is quite dry right now as before a short shower today, it had not rained in 2 months.

The rest of the team went to the school/orphanage where the 170 kids who are living there met them along the driveway with singing and dancing. All walked along the newly Ecyluptus tree lined driveway (the trees are growing well!) up to the school for a tour that included:

  • the contrast of the old dorms to the new completed dorms. The completed dorms have all the bunk beds and mattresses and many mosquito nets. 
  • They also saw the chicken house made of wattle, screening and a metal roof that is housing ~ 135 young laying chickens. They are learning to raise these chickens and then look forward to enjoying their eggs.
  • The tour also included a new girls bathhouse that they school raised money for on their own and built. It gives the girls privacy for a bucket shower with pipes to drain the water. 
  • Finally, they got to the foundation of the new kitchen which was prepared. 

They had a new challenge with building the kitchen. Due to the lack of rain fall, the well at the school could not be used for the mortar. So they took Rev. John's new truck to the local waterhole and made a bucket brigade to collect enough water to mix the mortar. By the end of the work day the corners of the kitchen were already 13 courses high (they build the corners up first, I'm told). 

The women of the team met the women of the area and had a "whooping good time" and came out all smiles. Tomorrow they will work on the sewing project and feminine hygiene program. 

Part of the team also lead the children in the beginnings of a study on the fruit of the Spirit. The kids received kazoos (= a bit of commotion) and learned some new songs about two of the fruits. More will continue throughout the week. 

It is reported that all are well. The quote I received from Randy Herbe was "It is all overwhelming". 

Tomorrows plan is to have some continue with the well digging, ladies sewing project, more kitchen building. Then Wednesday night they plan to sleep at the school and hear some testimonies from alumni that are returning for the event.

Gretchen McMichael

Tuesday - January 31, 2017

I got to speak with my mom (Barb) today.

First thing she said was it was another wonderful day, but they are still exhausted...and some are now also sunburned!

Secondly, a shout out to Mrs 'Potz' Hartzell (sorry if I've got the name wrong) for an excellent job on preparing the sewing kits. Also a huge thank you to all those that helped with all the sewing projects. They spent 5 hours teaching 75 women (only 60 had been expected) how to start sewing and handed out the kits. Barb reported that at least 11 of the ladies seemed to catch on to the training quickly and were able to complete some very nice and neat stitching. (She will bring a sample home) She was encouraged by this and the enthusiasm of all the women to learn. They also spent some time teaching about and handing out the feminine hygiene kits (there was even some modeling that lead to lots of fun giggles!) All the kits were handed out.

Jim, Adam and Lillian (Ugandan woman in charge of accounting for school) started signing up kids for the child sponsorship program. All seemed to enjoy the process and had some good interactions.

The well diggers have made it to 150 feet, but still no water. They had to send for more piping which will let them dig to 200 feet. Please pray they strike water! To give you a sense of how dry it is - instead of us driving through piles of snow, they are driving through 6 inches of dust...and leaving huge "brown powdered sugar clouds" behind them as they go.

It has not been all work -- a solid game of Wiffleball was enjoyed by the men and boys at the school. There were a few standout athletes among the students!

A local pastor who is helping to interpret for the team shared time and a very encouraging devotional with the team in the evening.

Tomorrow many of the above activities will continue with the addition of a team joining the well diggers to help teach on water safety for health. Some are also going to spend the night at the school.

Gretchen McMichael

Friday - February 3, 2017

Hello all,

I got to speak to Les and Barb today. They wanted to let you all know that they can tell you are praying. Just as they feel they are out of energy, or some other roadblock, God provides what is needed to accomplish the task at hand.

- All continue to be healthy with the exception of Adam. His stomach went bad, but he was able to rejoin the group after resting a few hours.

- Seven members of the team did sleep over at the school on Wednesday night.  Jane is now famous at the school as she is the first female white person to sleep over. The got to enjoy time in the bathhouse with a boiling bucket of water to wash with. Then fun with a DJ, music, dancing and outdoor lights. Sounds like quite a party!

- The kitchen is almost completed! They hope to be able to even get started on the roof before leaving.

- Randy Herbe was able to share his testimony with the men of Kabwoya and it was well received. Rev. John followed it with a message and the men have committed to come back for regular times of bible study and testimony.

- Sponsorship information has been set up for 63 kids at the orphanage. It will cost $300 to sponsor them for a year. Many did not know their birthdates or much of their history.

- The well diggers hit water at 180 feet. They have used a 3", 5" and 7" augers. Tomorrow they will try to put in the casing. They had some trouble with poor maintenance of the equipment which caused the engine to seize, but that has been able to be fixed quickly and with lower than expected cost. The team is trying to impress the importance on maintaining the equipment to the local drilling team.

- Some were able to visit the new area where 100 wells are to be dug in the coming year.

- Today they were at the coffee farm and got to celebrate the retirement of the coffee farm manager, Jessica. She has been working there for 17 years. Local dignitaries came to offer praises, there was much singing and dancing and general good time. The team taught the Fruit of the Spirit song to the children - with costumes to assist!

- Tomorrow they head to Kigorobya, northeast of them, to help with the jiggers ministry. The will wash, dry and medicate the children's feet to help kill the jiggers and treat the wounds.

- Sunday the team will break into four groups and visit four different churches.

I should revise an earlier update about the wiffleball game and let you know that the girls learned how to play as well!

Keep lifting them all up to the Lord.


Saturday - February 4, 2017

We visited a refuge camp today where several hundred people have lived for over three years. The children there have jiggers which are a type of dust-born flea that infests their feet. We provided washing and treatment with benzyl-benzoate which will provide some relief. Jigger infestation is debilitating ... looks like leprosy. 

     This is the first sense of extreme poverty with no hope of recovery that I have seen. I was almost unable to function there for quite some time. Our efforts here were not "development" but"relief" efforts. 

    These families are displaced squatters as I understand it. The landowner decided he wanted other uses for his 2000 acres and they all were evicted to live in two very small camps about 500 yards apart. They have stomachs worms, little water, ringworm, malnutrition, no work opportunities, and because of the dry dusty conditions during this season ... jiggers. 

     I have returned to our home base a little early at a loss of what can possibly be done here. 

Monday - February 6, 2017

Hello all,

Yesterday was another good, but tiring day for the team. I just got a little update.

The ladies returned after doing their sewing homework and kept building on it.

Some men had to drive 5 hours to Kampala for a new engine for the well drilling.

Some other team members were at the coffee farm helping with a medical clinic.

Today is their last day at the school.

That is all for now,


Wednesday - February 8, 2017

All OK here. The work is completed satisfactorily on all fronts... even completed a 180 ft deep well yesterday with casing installed! Giant dedication ceremony at the school yesterday for both dormitories and the kitchen with dignitaries and clergy present. This is important politically here in Uganda. Mom is sick with lower digestive tract problems. Jill was sick but is now recovering. please pray for mom on the very long trips we will be making today and tomorrow over difficult and dusty roads in remote areas. I offered to stay with her and avoid some of the traveling but she is determined to forge on.

     We had a wonderful evening of closing devotions last night with all of our Ugandan friends. We have greatly enjoyed the pre-recorded musical accompaniment for our worship songs during the devotional time. We will leave for Paraa lodge and the safari along the banks of the Nile river today. Then and 8-hour drive to Entebbe airport tomorrow. Everyone feels that nearly all of our mission goals have been accomplished, relationships have grown, and god has been honored by our time here. Please thank everyone for their prayers. See you in a few days!


We arrived safely at Paraa safari Lodge which is very nice. We had a river cruise today and saw about 40 elephants, many hippos, crocodiles, etc. Tomorrow is a 6:00 am land safari followed by Nile crossing by ferry and then an 8-hour drive to Entebbe airport. See you soon.