This is Hope. I want to share some photos with you of what God can do with little things.
This is our daughter, Jojo. Last week, she learned to cross her eyes. Jojo is learning many things these days, like how to read English, and how to take care of others. We often see her showing compassion to the poor children in our village, asking us for things to give those who need, like soccer jerseys and food. She loves sharing the toys and stuffed animals her daddy brings. We are so very happy to see her, even if she is small, love others in Jesus name.
This is our friend Chantel, she is fooling around in our sitting room with the knickers that one of our donors sent to us. Last week, she was so happy to receive 8 knickers. Many women here do not even own one pair of underwear. They are too poor to afford them. John the Baptist once said;
“If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.”
Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them be able to put on clean knickers?
Chantel and Dada celebrating together. We got so many pairs of very large underwear, most women could not fit. So we were able to share knickers with the very fat ladies in our church. They became so happy and cried when they received them.
This is Chantel, Dada, Denise, and Jojo in our sitting room picking the soccer jersey they wanted. I love these women so much, more than i can’t tell, because they are so fun to stay and work with.
Chantel is a genocide widow who takes care of 8 children. She had no education and no job. When I started working with her she came to our home in bad condition. She used to eat Posho and a little beans every day. Posho is a cassava root ground to flour and boiled. It is thick and hard to eat. It can also be used to cement bricks in houses!
For most poor people, Posho is the only food they can afford. It stops their stomach from paining, but is hard to digest. Chantel could not go to poop for six months. We started feeding her a balanced diet. I taught her how to eat salads and drink water too. Many Africans do not understand the need to drink water and fear water will make them sick. After we helped her eat and drink in a healthy way she started going again. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them be able to poop!?
This small house is an example at Saint Jude’s Family Projects Farm near Masaka, Uganda. They showed us how anyone can use cassava flour used in making Posho to set the bricks of their home instead of using cement. This saves a lot of money. This house has been standing for five years. Imagine what can happen to the body of those who only eat Posho every day.
I love Dada so much! We bought Dada into our home about three years ago. I met her when she was living on the street and she has become like a daughter to us. Dada grew up with no mother because of her mom being poisoned in the genocide. I have taught Dada many things her mother would have taught her. Being an orphan she missed those lessons; like how to shower, wash her clothes, match her clothes., and take care of her self during her monthly visitors (period).
Dada is like a kid, I have to remind her what I have taught her. She sometimes gets busy and forgets to shower. My husband got her deodorant to help her with her bad smell. It works well, but it failed Dada. The deodorant worked too well. Dada thought she did not have to shower everyday since she had the deodorant. Chantel and I had to teach her to do both – everyday! When she remembers she smells so nice because I also bought for her perfume. She now has more friends and people sit next to her in church. Before I taught her to shower they wouldn’t even hug Dada. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them not go around stinking!?
Denise is a very good girl. She is twenty years old and she has a child that lives with her jaja (grandmother) in her village. A boy pregnanted her in school so she missed her chance to get an education. Denise used to be a stubborn girl, because of hunger and poverty she would abuse her mom and brothers and sisters. We brought her to work with us to learn to make bags and now she has enough to eat. She is so happy because her stomach isn’t making her feel crazy. She uses the money we give her to buy clothes and food for her baby. Her mom, Chantel, is very happy to see Denise changing and becoming good. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them just have a full stomach!?
These are some of the kids in our village. Every time my husband comes, he brings soccer jerseys from some of our wonderful friends in the USA. You can see how happy the kids are to have new clean clothes. Some of the boys have been wearing the same jersey we gave them at Christmas every day up to the day we gave them another one. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them have a clean shirt!?
This is Patience. Her mom is Topista. We helped Topista have a home when she was pregnant with Patience. We tried to train Topista in sewing, but she did not want to work. Many want God to feed them while they sit and pray. They do not want to lift their butts to go work. So we showed Topista from the bible that she had to work, learn to take care of herself, and become able to help others. She said God told her in a dream not to work and that we would be punished if we made her go. So we told her it was time for her to go live somewhere else, that the HOPE+ Africa house is for women who want to learn to work. Since she left she has become like a skeleton for lack of food and Patience was suffering. It broke my heart. Sometimes I would get angry at Topista for not taking care of Patience. Patience would come walking to our house without her mom knowing and we would feed her.
Two weeks ago Topista came and apologized and asked that we give her a job. Apologizing is very hard for Rwandans. She was getting chased away from her home for not paying five months rent. It was a struggle to forgive Topista and to know what God wanted us to do for her. We wanted to help her without hurting her. Last time we made the mistake of letting her live with us too long before we asked her to work. We prayed and decided we would feed her and Patience and allow them to shower and wash clothes at our house. We told her we would watch Patience while she went to find work. Last week, the day of this photo, we were celebrating Topista got a job! Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be saying “NO,” but watching and feeding their kid!?
Jojo is wearing a Wonderbag on her head fooling around for her dad. A friend bought us this bag to help us cook our food. We put the cooking pot in the bag and the food keeps cooking without being on the fire. It helps us save money and the environment. We are now buying less charcoal, which is better for the forest and our breathing. Now that all our friends are seeing that it is working, they want a cooking bag too. We are making plans to learn how to make these bags and teach our women how to make them so they can save money on charcoal. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them learn a way to save money!?
This is Gaju, with our daughter Jojo and her little friend Juju. Friends in the US send us money and we have been helping Gaju afford her medication for HIV. We are counseling her how to keep taking her medication on time and eat properly. She comes from another city and stays with us when she goes to hospital to see the doctor. She has added on weight and is looking so beautiful. The ARVs are really working! Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them have medication and a friend to talk with!?
Jojo took this photo of her Aunt Nalongo. Nalongo is HIV+ and has three daughters. She got married when she was 12 and her husband left her. We have been helping Nalongo learn to work while a HOPE+ Africa donor pays school fees for her kids and other friends help us make sure she has food. We have also taught Nalongo how to be kind to her former husband. She used to (verbally) abuse him seriously by being rude when he would call or try to visit the children. Now she is speaking respectfully to the father and she has made peace with him. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping her to speak respectfully to her ex husband!?
This is my cousin’s daughter, Janet. She is 13 years old. Her mom left her to me when she was 8 months old. Her mom was dying of AIDS and told me I had to take care of her. So HOPE+ Africa sponsors help me help her to go to school. Now she is in Primary 5 (fifth grade). Janet is like me, she did not get to attend school until she was old, so she is behind, but improving. We came to Kisoro this week to check on her and my cousin to make sure Janet had everything she needs for school. Janet told me she wanted to touch my husband’s skin because she thinks it is a strange color and thought it would feel strange. I told my husband and he gave Janet his arm to touch. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be letting them touch you!?
This is our daughter Jojo with her dad and her birth father, Sam. We prayed for four years that Sam would allow Jojo to immigrate to the US with me. Jojo has always lived with me, but in Ugandan culture a kid belongs to the dad, even if the dad does not care for the kid. We had to ask his permission to take her to the US. Yesterday, he gave us a document saying it was okay for us to take her. We prayed for four years for this to happen. Reconciling with Sam is a real miracle from God. Many friends in the US were praying with us and celebrating with us on Facebook. Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be praying for a friend in need on Facebook!?
This is David. He was the former school headmaster of my primary school. I was so happy when we met him in my home village, Kisoro, last week. He helped Compassion International to register kids for their sponsorship program. I was not allowed to go into the program because I was too old, but he found a way to get me a sponsor. When I saw him I was so excited because I had taken long without seeing him. He saved my life! Did you ever think showing someone the love of Jesus would be helping them by breaking the rules!?
Here I am in Compassion International’s sponsorship photo. It was my last year. I was in Senior Three. Even though I was too old and my grades were poor the local directors of Compassion found a way to send me to a Teaching College to learn to become a teacher. From there I became a teacher and that is how I met my husband, Paul, when I was teaching in Rwanda. He walked into my classroom while I was teaching with my baby Jojo on my back. So I went from nobody to somebody, from nowhere to somewhere. I am now helping women like my mom, my aunts, and orphans like me. It was God’s plan!
This is what we do with HOPE+ Africa and together in the family of God. Sometimes we show Jesus’s love by sharing what he gives us to share. When he gives us food we share his food. When we have his breath in us, we pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering. We share his good advice, his encouragement, his forgiveness, his grace, and sometimes we share his love by sharing an extra jacket or… knickers!
Please, I beg you kindly, if you can help us continue, sign up to help us by giving something of what God gives you each month. Small things can make big things happen. Even one dollar can help us make a difference in people’s lives here. $1 buys a bar of soap, or we can buy two cabbages, or 1 kilo of beans, or three kilos of Matoke (cooking bananas), or a kilo of Posho (Paul says “not Posho!?”). We can feed three friends for just $1. How much more can we do with your $20 or $30?
Please give here. Thank you!
If you want to join us you are welcome in our home.
We love you so much, may God bless you!
Hope (and Paul)