The Challenge of Rwemikoma

Back when we first started, the road to Rwemikoma was a three hour, riveted, bumpy dirt road. Not all the teams went there and when they did, most weren’t sure they could make it back. More team members have gotten sick along the way than with any location we have ever traveled. We have had more teams have difficulties dealing with the emotions this place evokes than any other site.

We love this place though. It’s a constant reminder to me that following Jesus is never easy.

The reason some of our children walk over 5 miles to school is that there aren’t many schools around here in deserted western Uganda. Power is still missing in the village.

There aren’t many other schools nearby because conditions are tough here. No one wants to be here.

Yet, there is something about this place that tugs on my heart every time we visit.

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Oh my goodness, the children don’t seem to mind that fewer kids here are sponsored than any school we have.

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They welcome the teams that do come with open arms.

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They welcome Kiconco each and every time she brings another group of “vistas.”

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A few years ago we saw faces like this……saying little outwardly, but inwardly crying for help.

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Why can’t we sponsor more kids here? Because literally these families are so preoccupied with searching for food that they move more often than any school we serve. If food is found in other parts of the country, that is where they go.

Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried to the LORD, and he heard me.

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One of my favorite photos of Rwemikoma is this one above. I think this is what God meant by sharing your bread with the hungry.

 

Nothing at Rwemikoma is ever easy. We drilled wells at most of our schools and of course there was no water to be found at Rwemikoma.

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If you come visit you will meet our water boy biking from the nearest bore hole many kilometers away.

 

Rwemikoma does have one of the most beautiful trees in the world: a Psalm 1 tree.

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We have sat under and seen more teaching about Jesus here than by any other tree in Uganda.

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What is special about Rwemikoma is this place is our school of performing arts. Humble as it may be with some classrooms having no doors and windows (due to the classrooms made of mud or the bricks now too old to hold windows), this place will have two members of PCM Choir Tour #4.

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Joshua will be coming to share Christ. He told me this week when we saw him at Katyazo that if we gave him a chance to preach about Christ in America, that he would be so grateful. Get ready Joshua, your chance is coming.

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Also on PCM Choir 4 will be this guy, Amon. Well known to the teams that have visited Rwemikoma, he surely won’t disappoint Jesus either.

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This place lacks a lot of things and has our highest staff turnover of any site we have due to the primitive conditions. We have seen morale here the lowest for obvious reasons. Motivating a high turnover staff with high turnover children might be the biggest challenge of all, but the praises to Jesus keep coming.

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The foundation of this place is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

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These children have little by our American standards, but they see what God is doing.

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Our kids can see the Spirit inside of them despite their circumstances and we know that is a testimony for all.

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They are growing up helping each other in so many ways.

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They wait in lines for everything they do, but do so without complaining.

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Today, we praise God that food comes more abundantly.

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Every bit of this food is eaten and enjoyed.

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Despite the hardships, these children are thriving. They know one thing…

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Psalm 121:1

From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord

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Webale Yesu for the opportunity to worship with these titans of faith.

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They may be little in stature, but they have much to teach us. They look so smart in their new shoes and uniforms.

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Help us to remember these faces of Rwemikoma

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long after our time at this PCM School.

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We are forever changed by you and the circumstances in which He has allowed you to live your lives.

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We are thankful for the road that is now fully paved to visit you more easily. We are praying that the Lord provide for your needs in a way that can only be described as a miracle.

 

Thank you to those that have visited, sponsored and given to this PCM school. We will never remain the same because of your love.

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Serving Him here in Rwemikoma with you,

Epa and Kiconco

Grandpa Lawrence

Many of you that have traveled to Uganda will recognize the man behind this smile. You may even recognize him from a blog post or two (or three). He was the oldest “student” at the PCM Mbarara School. His name is Lawrence, but he was affectionately known as Grandpa Lawrence to hundreds of children.

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Homeless and living alone, Supermom began to invite Lawrence to eat his meals at the Mbarara school many years back.

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Supermom’s kindness towards Lawrence taught many of us a lesson about love. For Supermom, she saw a man who needed kindness. She saw a man who was hungry. She saw a man who was alone and she simply invited him to come.

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As the oldest “student” at the school, Lawrence also had a precious sponsor who faithfully paid for Lawrence’s meals at the school.

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Lawrence passed away a few weeks ago. Neighbors and relatives gathered to say goodbye.

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Lawrences' sisters giving their eulogy.

 

He will be missed by many children and as we drive around the winding road to the Mbarara campus we know we won’t see him slowly scooting his feet down the road to join the kids to eat. However, we also know that Supermom’s kindness was worth it. Emmy D’s invitations to church on Sunday was worth it. Love is always worth it.

The CowPastor Hits the Streets of Mbarara

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One thing I know for sure…when you find people that love the Lord and have gone all in for Him time after time, you can expect that they will have some pretty amazing friends that influence their lives. We were blessed to get to know one of Pastor Emmy’s closest friends, Pastor Willy, this past November. Willy could have been a cowboy in the wild west but instead this former street kid is serving the Lord in another fashion.

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For the past several years, Willy has been reaching out to the boys that call the streets of Mbarara home. Brian (left) and Ronald (right) are currently Katyazo high school students. They are pictured here on the streets of Mbarara with their peer Arnold.

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Being on the street here is tough. This life of drugs, feeding from the trash piles and illness can make you appear much older than you really are. Arnold has turned his back to the help that was offered and is still on the streets.

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Pastor Willy and his Holy Spirit Church of Fire have been working with these kids for the past few years. He now has boys that have been rehabilitated at his church and a home where 50 boys currently live.

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His success rate so far with the Lord’s help is 70%. Wow, maybe we in America could learn something from the CowPastor.

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These boys are addicted to sniffing gasoline and getting high.

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How they get their start is abandonment by one or both of their parents. They are forced on the streets and have to find food. Their first stop is usually here like this young boy. At dumps like this one, the younger boys will find the older boys and the cycle of drugs and dependence begins.

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Today with the help of the Spirit, we would be reaching out to these boys to break this terrible abuse cycle. Kiconco and Pastor Emmy brought heart felt messages to speak to these boys who had their soda bottles filled with gasoline sniffing away as they listened.

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There is no way we could leave out this couple who work 24/7 for Pastor Willy and his wife Ann.

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Seated on the left with the banana bike shirt is the ever talented Dennis, soon to be well known in America as a member of choir tour #4. If you want to be blessed, just come and hear Dennis worship Jesus.

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Today, as he sat quietly with his wife we got to see inside their hearts as parents to the homeless. Together, the two of them oversee 36 children in a single house that Pastor Willy and his wife bought to minister to these children.

From the heart of Dennis and Rebecca from Parental Care Ministries on Vimeo.

 

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Today, with the help of Jesus, former students a from high school. They have gone from getting high everyday, to giving back now like Ronald and pouring into these same kids. Ronald told us today, “Kiconco, this is my dream come true: seeing my friends getting help. “

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Together with PCM Choir 4 teamer Brian, they spoke to their peers in such a passionate way. They understood their peers, but in the same token, they stood today as an example of how far they have come and what an opportunity the Cow Pastor is providing at the Trust Children’s Home.

 

Today PCM 60 would also bring something new to these boys; a chance to worship with our talented team members.

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All eyes were on the three subjects and the beautiful sounds they were generating.

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The songs reached deep inside everyone hearing them.

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Finally, the time came to bless each of the boys with a loaf of brand new bread, a drink

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and some new clothes.

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Thank you Ronald and Brian for making this ministry opportunity a reality.

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We don’t know where this will lead us yet for PCM involvement. We do know though that the CowPastor is reaching out to us to join him in ministering to these kids that call the streets and town dump home. The Trust Children’s Home needs help with:

  • food ($600 a month)
  • clothes (boys jeans and shirts)
  • shoes
  • basic hygiene items

Willy said the boys at the home need:

  • 11 mattresses ($25 each)
  • mosquito nets ($15 each) for all of the beds

We don’t know what God is about to do here but Kiconco, I and others feel that strong pull of another PCM branch. This branch already has growth and leadership. We are just coming in and providing more help as God provides to something that is already succeeding due to Willy, Ann, Dennis and Rebecca.

We can’t wait for future teams to visit these kids and show them the love of Christ. Who knows what God is going to do here? Until then, we will just walk with those already serving so well and be grateful for this opportunity to make a difference with the street children.

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Thank you Pastor Willy and Pastor Emmy. Your friendship to each other is a blessing to the abandoned and lost children of this world. You show us daily with your actions what serving others that no one else will help looks like. Give us a heart like yours to make a difference to the kids of the streets of Mbarara town.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners

Isaiah 61:1

 

Running with Him until He returns,

Epa and Kiconco