In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:17

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Frolicking in the sun and fond farewells

It’s bizarre to think we only have 20 days left…time has flown by. It has been a busy few weeks, and we have all had great fun. Some team-members are recovering from minor tropical diseases: brucellosis, bilharzia, and a few people have been the victims of intestinal yeast. JC also elbowed a window and needed stitches, Barney has been struggling with emotional limitations (“What do you mean feelings?..I’m hungry”). We are all on good form though and just relaxing today and catching up on our washing, after quite a hectic three days running a Holiday Club at Treasured Kids School.

On Good Friday, (public holiday) a few of us went to the country side for the day. Tom Archdale who is staying in Uganda for a few weeks took us. Tom was on this team two years ago).It was such a beautiful day and so lovely to get to see more of Uganda. We visited two schools, one of which Tom taught at when he was here, Glory for Education. We also walked for about an hour, through the countryside which was great to see more facets of Ugandan life, and visited Kiti Parents School. Tom got ushered into a room where about 150 children were watching an Easter film, and got handed a microphone. I’m not sure who was more surprised...the children or Tom. Both schools were really different to the schools we are all working in this year and it was great to see places where previous teams had obviously had such an impact. At Kiti School, 2 years ago, the team set up a teacher’s prayer meeting which is still going now.

The girls had a lovely weekend away in the Ssese Islands, in early April. They stayed in hotel right on the beachfront, and had lovely relaxed days reading and swimming. Unfortunately on their second day, Charlotte and Katie were both involved in a boda-accident and were badly grazed and cut. Amazingly, (by God’s provision) they managed to catch a ride to a local clinic in the back of a construction truck, and amazingly again, the clinic was open and they managed to get their wounds washed. The journey involved on the way back to the hotel, stopping to fill the truck up with sand, (and Nat and Fitzy sat in the back and covered by black dust), and then stopping to unload it at a building site later, before driving us back to the hotel. Heidi, Charlotte and Katie had to wait the next day until the ferry back to Entebbe, where they visited hospital in Kampala to get a more thorough check-up. Their grazes are healing well now.

Schools updates

Treasured Kids
In the last couple of weeks at Treasured Kids, Fitzy and I finished our Child Fellowship course, on Moses the Prophet, for P1 and P2, and JC finished it for P3 and P4 on Moses the Law-Giver. In the two weeks running up to Easter we led a fellowship lesson on the Cross and one the next week on the resurrection. JC had some Bible-studies with P7 boys. Fitzy had some great Bible-study time with Teacher Lydia and gave her a Bible which she was overjoyed with. (When the headmistress found out she picked it up, danced about the room and excitedly screamed to Fitzy “You have given her the Word of Life!” ) I led some really challenging and encouraging studies with the Headmistress too, who is a great woman and firmly rooted in God’s Word and her knowledge of scripture was really impressive. During the penultimate week of school, all the children were sitting exams, so we just milled about helping with revision, marking papers, and filling out report cards.(A mean task when you an average of 50 children per class!). We said goodbye to the classes we had been teaching in, and gave gifts like alphabet posters, number wall-charts, tell-the time posters and bible flashcards to some classes. The teachers were so happy with the gifts. During my last morning in Kindergarten my top class sang a song in Luganda to me, which was delightful and I had to try hard not to cry. Treasured Kids has been a wonderful place to serve over the last 3 months we have many memories and made many friendships we will not forget.

The term in Seguku has at last wound to an end. For the kids at the Upper School, this meant more exams then usual and the last weeks were spent feverishly preparing for their papers. Katy and Jim were able to teach up until the revision period started after which they were employed marking work and exam papers as well as playing Battleships. Lunchtime football sessions (as well as lower school ones) continued up to the final day of regular term and will definitely be missed by the kids. The Lower School was spared examinations but if anything, that increased the work load for Nat who was suddenly faced with the task of double Child evangelism talks each week. Both schools finished last week and all three Mzungus gave out a prize to every single kid, a toothbrush! The upper school year finished with a pupil-teacher football match (for which other ‘teacher’ from the Crosslinks team were brought in), where, after nearly an hour of toil in the African sun and some tight penalties, the teachers emerged victorious. It was emotional farewell. We have been extremely lucky to be at a place like Kings. We just pray that they teach the gospel correctly still now that we’re gone and don’t lean back towards using the word of God for punishment.

Children’s Corner
We have, at last, finished our time at Children’s Corner. Ash, Charlotte and Phoebe finished well with their different classes, and I managed to complete a year’s syllabus of R.E. for my P5 class in less than 4 weeks. The kids finished term with exams and we helped mark exams. We had an Easter version of ‘secret Santa’ where the teachers exchanged gifts (to the mania of the kids). We also an end of term teachers Vs pupils football match and despite Ash and I both managing to score from defence, we tragically lost on penalties. We have all made some good relationships with the kids and we had the teachers over to our house for dinner which was a good opportunity to chat in a more relaxed situation. We are all very grateful for all the opportunities to share the gospel with the kids in chapel, as well as leading the teachers’ Bible studies. We are all grateful for our time there, and hope that our impact will not be short-lived.

Last week Mikey, Nat, Fitzy, Phoebs and Ella went on youth afternoon, run by Andrew, from Calvary Chapel. They had a great afternoon played pool in Kampala, then walked to “Garden City” (the equivalent of a western shopping mall), and bought pizza, sat on a golf course, shared testimonies, prayed together, before being asked to leave by a golf-course guard. It was a great time to chat to Ugandan brothers and sisters our age, and be encouraged by each other.

Holiday Club at Treasured was a busy, and action-packed three days. Our theme was “Lost and Found” and our 6 team groups were Tigers, Lions, Giraffes, Zebras, Elephants and Monkeys. 6 talks were given on how we are all “lost” in our sin but how Jesus died so that we could be “found”. The story of the prodigal son, Zaccheus, the lost sheep, the two thieves on the cross, and the resurrection were all included. In the middle of the morning we had rotational activities which included sports, games (including “pants”) and writing that day’s memory verse out on cards. It was truly great to be able to explain the gospel to children over the three days, and further our relationships with teachers at the school too. It was fantastic to see children responding in our small-group times too.

With 3 weeks remaining, there is still much going on despite school holidays. This weekend, the team his helping to organise and run the street kids Sports Day, basically 8 hours trying to control 150 excitable young men doing football, dodgeball and tug of war. As we are being assisted by an ex-heavyweight kick boxing champion, the team remains optimistic. Some of us are doing a big painting/mural for Treasured Kids Kindergarten gate and a select few are off gorilla trekking to the south. Hopefully, the whole team will be going on safari before we leave the country, probably at Murchison Falls due to many recommendations from Ugandans and Ex-pats alike. 3 weeks is still a long time. And Ash still has to meet the King of Buganda of course.

“What is my new desert? The name of it is compassion. There is no wilderness so terrible, so beautiful, so arid and so fruitful as the wilderness of compassion. It is the only desert that shall truly flourish like the lily. It shall become like a pool, it shall bud forth and blossom and rejoice with joy. It is in the desert of compassion that the thirsty land turns into springs of water, that the poor possesses all things.” Thomas Merton.

Friday, 24 April 2009


Hi all
Its been a busy week here in Uganda. We have been marking exam papers, writing report cards, and sayign goodbye to teachers and pupils at our schools. (This has involved the presentation of various bizarre African gifts to us including a maternity dress for Phoeb and wall-hanging with a goat on it for Nat).
If you could just pray for a couple of things that are happening over the next few weeks we would really appreciate it:

1. Holiday Clubs starting on Monday 27th-Weds 29th We are expectign anything from 200-400 children. Our theme is @Lost and Found.@ Pray for the 6 speakers form our team doing talks that we would boldly proclaim Jesus's name and that the words we speak would not fall on dull ears. Pray that it wuld be a fun;filled few days and that children would come to a new understanding of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. Pls also pray for all the little details and logistics...that timings, punctuality and games would all work out.

2. Pray for the planning of our Street Children SPorts day on May 09th. That we would be creative and imaginative, and again that all the logistics would work out. Pray that it would be more than just a sports day, but also a day where Children can come to a saving fath in our Redeemer.

For now, that is all. Thank you for all your letters and emails of suppport and encouragement. Jim will probs do a big update for the month, sometime next week.
Love to you all,
Ella x

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Feeling starved of Team Smile Uganda 09 related info? Well chew on this update!

Hi everyone, thanks for your patience. Much has happened and we have had little time to catch our breath. The team is well and has largely settled into the school routine, with large amounts of the evenings spent with lesson and talk prep. But just encase you were wondering exactly what we’ve been up to in the last month, the A-Z of it as it were, well… it’s your lucky day:

Ash had his hair shaved a bit shorter than he would have liked!

Barney gave some great talks to the street kids. He’s also Barack Obama.

Charlotte had her first visit to a slum area.

Dickinson addressed packages are arriving regularly.

Ella loves every little child we come across.

Fitzy revived her hip-hop and ballet skills at …

Ggaba Community Church dance practise: where hip-hop meets traditional dance and Mikey met ballet.

Heidi has got a taste for boda-boda riding (motorbike taxis).

I LOVE KABALAGALA! (Pancake town.)

Jim and JC are growing ‘gap year’ beards, though JC’s is much bigger and better!

Katie is now known as Pig (for no bad reason!)

Largent Rape. Actual name of an American guy we met.

Mikey received a pretty cool African shirt for his birthday last Friday.

Nat was born to dwell in muddy habitats.

Owino Market sellers think Nat is Frank Lampard’s sister.

Phoebe: stay away from dogs.

Queen Elizabeth – “Is she your friend?”

Rolex and Chapatis have become our Sunday lunch regular.

Saturday mornings and Sundays spent at Calvary Chapel. A great place filled with great people, and great teaching.

Talent: does Makindye have it? Soon to take place…

Umpteen requests for our contact details (particularly the girls.)

Volleyball – our favourite way of getting sweaty.

Where are the chickens? (Hoping to get some soon.)

X-treme driving in ‘Squeakers’ (our bus.)

Yet to white-water raft but it’s coming up soon!

Zzzz – sound that fills us with dread (mosquitoes.)

By Charlotte and Ella

So, schools. Much has changed.

Treasured Kids

JC, Fitzy and Ella are enjoying their time at Treasured Kids, especially as relationships with the teachers and children, are developing. JC teaches Maths and RE (and is also a student of P1 Luganda!) Fitzy teaches English, RE and PE. Fitzy and Ella both teach P7 RE. Ella goes to Kindergarten 2/3 mornings a week, teaches English and P7 RE with Fitzy. She loves teaching drawing to Top Class, Kindergarten and enjoys taking P5 English, and is amused at the bizarre statements that arise from poems in the textbook including, “But the police cannot arrest a thief, until he has been investigated, it is not a simple job, my friend.”

JC enjoys rolling his South African ‘r’s while chatting with teachers and children, as well as when teaching. But his highlight of everyday is eating Fitzy’s lukewarm leftovers from lunch.

Fitzy enjoys trying out new Ugandan foods that the teachers bring her, with the exception of posho and beans. She is getting to know the teachers more and rediscovered her love of skipping at breaktime today.

All three of them take Children’s Fellowship on a Tuesday morning and have enjoyed teaching the children about the story of Moses and how God keeps his promises to save his people. These lessons have involved some fairly out there visual aids including, snake puppets, water and ribena (“blood”) and a marigold washing up glove covered in red felt tip pen (lepar’s hand). It has been rewarding to see some of the children engaging with the talks and responding to the application too. The rest of the team, in previous weeks have come together at TK on Wednesday afternoons to teach Games to about 200 children, which has also been mega fun (and mega sweaty!). The school Pastor, Deo, took the three of them around the local area last Friday which was really eye-opening. Historically the area is known for its conflict, gang warfare and witchcraft. The whole community’s water supply is filtered through a graveyard, and the name of the area translates as “Death has struck another one.”, and they also met some locals. It was amazing to see that, by the Grace of God, so much hope and light has been planted into that community by the work of Pastor Deo and the local church. Prayer pointers: +For more patience with the children when teaching (especially with the accent barrier!) +For Teacher Sarah, Lydia and Anthony, each of whom one us us reading the bible with. + For the work of Pastor Deo, that his visions for the growth of the church and God’s people in Lusaze/Kosovo, to be realised.

Children’s Corner Update

Children’s Corner is going well, we have settled in pretty fully by now. We have just adjusted our classes so that we are starting to work with some older children, which we hope to be more productive and rewarding. Ash teaches R.E and English to P4, Mikey is starting the same with P5, while Charlotte and Phoebe have started teaching P6 a bit of everything. We have formed some good relationships with teachers and kids, but we are still consistently challenged.

Mikey is relishing the challenge of teaching a whole year’s worth of R.E. in 6 weeks, and has unintentionally gained the eccentric Teacher Mark (‘a free man in spirit and mind / Mr handsome’ as he describes himself) as a new best friend. He also enjoys corresponding with Ash in the class next door by sending messengers with various banter and Office quotes.

Ash is really grateful for some good evangelistic opportunities and loves playing with a.k.a. scaring, little girls so much that they wee on him. Meanwhile he adapts with bemusement the rubbish found within the R.E text book.

Charlotte has been moved from the wilderness of Year 3 to the calm of Year 6, and is very happy about that. She has also made some motivational posters for the staffroom; and can be found, looking slightly out of place, among the Year 1’s where she learns Luganda twice a week.

Phoebe has fallen into a love-hate relationship with Teacher Susan with more emphasis on the latter. She has enjoyed soda-lunch breaks. She has also liked donuts more than cake. She doesn’t like going to the loo. She likes writing on blackboards and squeezing 4 year old, semi-obese Kimberly’s cheeks.

Things to be praying for are breakthroughs with some of the teachers as we try to promote a more loving way of teaching (definitely without beating). Teacher Mark has some confused views about Jesus as a result of Jehovah’s Witness influence so pray that we could show him that Jesus really is God, and the importance of that. Also pray that the kids would be impacted by the talks we are giving at chapel, and that they would take away a greater understanding of all that Jesus means to them. Finally, pray that we would be of greatest use possible and that we would not get bored or frustrated.


Life around the hill in Seguku continues to amuse, challenge and entertain. Apart from the decidedly hairy bus journey up to the upper school (the bus has succeeded in removing the majority of one corner of the road through excessive wheel spin), our teaching days have become fairly routine. Nat continues to soldier away at the under-resourced nursery for all 4 days whilst Katie divides her time equally, with Jim remaining at the Upper school all week.

The Lower School kids greatly value ‘Teacher Katie and Teacher Natalie’, something clearly seen if one visits at break time to see the games and songs being enjoyed, or if one enquires of the parents of their charges; all of whom that have been canvassed have given out high scores. On the days that Katie heads up the hill, Nat has had to deal with anguished pupils who demand to know where their Teacher Katie is. Nat continues to write and take the Child evangelism talks on Thursdays, although she is still struggling with the somewhat mixed quality of the food at lunch. A highlight of the time so far include the Pasta Friday, where pasta related arts and crafts were created with frenzied delight, by teachers as well as pupils.

However, there still remains little to do on the academic teaching front as there is now a new employee hired to help with literacy and the teachers still seem somewhat reserved about giving out teaching opportunities. Prayer about this would be welcome.

Jim and Katie in the upper school have somewhat different experiences. Katie continues to teach and assist with P3 and 4 English as well as providing sterling support in the teaching of Girls games. She is growing in confidence and becoming more used to taking classes and working with the older kids. Jim is now almost exclusively teaching P6 Science, currently working through all 5 animal kingdoms (all of which have what? Backbones!) and is arguably enjoying the subject matter even more than his pupils. He takes football and volleyball at lunchtimes and in Wednesday morning on the top if the hill, which is generally the highlight of his day. Both get on well with the teachers and kids.

This Thursday saw all 3 members of the King’s team take upper school chapel for the first time, speaking on Moses parting the red sea. In addition to helpfully large key sentence posters, extreme interval exercise sessions and humiliation of the Head Boy and Head Mistress were used to great effect. The talk was well received and we are hoping to do more in the future, as well as maybe organising a teachers bible study group (prayer for both would be appreciated).

Prayers would also be appreciated for helping us on all campuses to remain motivated and useful and for us to make the most of the time we have.

General Life in Uganda

Other highlights have included a trip to Mbera National Forest Reserve, where were walked through a beautiful bit of rainforest for about 2 hours, saw massive butterflies, a few of us were lucky enough to see some monkeys, and we saw a snail the size of a hand span. We stopped at Najemmbe Market to grab some lunch and Mikey almost amputated a seller’s hand that was holding a chilled orange soda. We bought huge bits of fried chicken on sticks, and some chapattis...our favourite snack! Calvary chapel has continued to be a great encouragement and church for us all. The Sunday services are a great time to praise God, meet other Christians and spend time in God’s Word. Both Mikey and Jim have had extremely enjoyable 19th birthdays featuring presents such as ‘Girls Fantasy Moisturiser’, fantastic homemade cards and the majority of one young man’s loose belongings stuffed in one of his own socks… as well as games of pass the parcel and empires.

The Street Kids

Since the last blog entry, we have started working with the street kid ministry at Calvary chapel on the weekends and the experiences shared have been emotionally far ranging, from joy to shock

Street Boy

Those suspicious brown eyes, gazing at me

Behind which flicker, horrors he has seen.

Those dusty brown feet brushing the floor,

Hardened with footsteps he’s been forced to walk.

His bright little brain destroyed by drugs

Those skinny shoulders and resilient shrugs.

Those restless worn hands, those thin scarred arms

That sculpted still face, unnervingly calm.

He asks of his past, the suffering and pain

Why have even his parents forgotten his name?

Why does he feel such perpetual shame?

And so many others feel exactly the same.

This unjust hurt, that he’s bravely embraced

Is more than any child should ever have to face.

His fragile heart, trusting and meek,

Matches that of the Saviour he seeks.

So walk him to the cross and show him the pain,

That Yahweh endured for his life’s gain.

Tell of the hands, nailed by men

Tell of the crown, thorny, bloody and bent

Tell of the arms stretched vulnerably wide

Tell of the spear stabbed in the side.

Tell of the laughing, mocking and jeers

Tell of the rejection he faced from his peers.

But most of all tell of the greatest thing

The love he imparted this King of Kings,

Because then and there, as Christ struggled for breath

He died a perfect man, a sinner’s death.

Now do you see, you precious child?

For your freedom he was defiled

By his wounds, you have been healed

And upon believing the spirit has sealed,

Your soul into his loving care,

A rulership kind, loving just and fair.

So offer him your life, in all its weary ways

Then safe and secure you’ll rest with him,

For all your remaining days.

By Ella

As you can see, emotional stuff. We help out with the kids who come to Calvary Chapel on Saturday and Sunday morning as a group and then 2 of us head out to slums on Mondays to see where these guys are living. These guys range from 8-18 year olds and without help from Calvary, would be literally living on the street corners of Kampala where they would be subject to the elements as well as beatings from older men and the possibility of being rounded up by police, who take them to a juvenile detention centre more akin to Afghan jail, a prospect roundly feared. The are even open to kidnap from the underground spirit an witch doctor movement that use child sacrifice as a means of appeasing their ancestors. No-one will miss a kid from the streets. Solvent addiction is rife in boys as young as 10 and most have been doing it for their entire time on the streets, a fact clearly visible for the first hour of our sessions in the mornings. The Ugandan police and locals treat them with contempt and view them as a waste of space. Well, we can tell you without a shadow of doubt that this view is the wrong one.

It is truly amazing to see kids that have been so badly treated in life with some much joy and trust in their hearts. The Christian kids at church are tough s nails and although most spend a good part of the sessions trying to sleep, they are happy to engage in anything from cards to group games of bang and worship songs. The younger kids love to climb up the larger members of our teams and everyone likes ball games. Some, like Jordan, are from the north of the country, having run away or being stranded and all they want to do is go home. Andrew is an orphan who walked 50km from Entebbe upon the death of his parents and has been here for 4 years. Others aren’t even from Ugandan. One young man told Jim and Charlotte in a mixture of French and English how his Village in the DRC to the east had been attacked by armed men (possibly Lord’s resistance army) and he’d escaped into the forest. He’s been running ever since.

We talk to them, we teach them literacy and numeracy and give the word of god with the help of fantastic people like Andrew, Ruth, Rita and Derrick (who is still at school yet misses lessons to teach the. But its tough when you’ve been through what they’ve been through. When we talk about the hard parts of living a Christian life, we say standing up for ourselves again peer pressure and ridicule for God. They say trying not to steal in order to eat.

Its tough, but immensely rewarding. And for those kids that decide they don’t want to do the street life anymore, there is a house run by Jessica, a young American working with Calvary, when the kids can get away from it all, get clean in both senses, eat and give with god in their house. Until that time, they sleep in dank, dark room in the slums behind a heavy metal door to keep others out.

Prayer for us and them on this part of out Ministry would be greatly appreciated.

So, in the weeks to come, we have our half term holiday to Jinja and Bujagali Falls for white water rafting, bungi jumping and much deserved rest. It is eagerly anticipated. Will update again when the area Makindye deems us worthy to have electricity.

God Bless

Team Smile 09

Monday, 16 February 2009

Schools, Valentines and Life in general

Hey Everyone! Thanks for checking in. We have now finished our first full week of teaching at our school and have managed to maintain good and health and humour in the process. Originally, a fortnight ago, we were at 4 schools across Kampala; Kings Seguku, Joy, Alpha and Omega and Children’s Corner. However, it soon became clear that our plea to Fields of Life (our Schools organizers) to give us school in the nearby vicinity of our house had been answered overzealously, with 2 of the school having no need for our help. Joy and Alpha & Omega were well off institutions with good facilities and a strong teaching force which, in the case of Joy, were well travelled and educated. Its was agreed that we would see out the rest if the week before re-assigning our people to where they could be most useful, be it in our current schools or new ones.
So, the final groups are:

Childrens Corner:
Charlotte, Ash, Mikey and Phoebs

Kings Seguku
Jim, Nat and Katie
And the new school:

Treasure Kids:
Jc, Ella and Fitzy

Our leaders have been working with the street kids and have been slowly figuring out there roles in the week days. I will leave them to explain it in due course. N.b. Barney will now hence forth be know as Barndog, Bunny (because that’s how all Ugandans pronounce his name) or Honey Bunny. This is non-negotiable.
In an effort to help you understand the routine we are growing into, here the description of the schools we are at by some who are at them.

Children's Corner:CC is quite a poor school, located just next to a slum. It has no running water or electricity but other than that it is a vibrant and friendly school. There are about 270 pupils from age 3 to 13, and 11 teachers. The team have mostly been spread over the lower years, from Year 4 downwards, teaching RE and English. The children are lovely, tho some of them are a bit wild (they have been caught wrapping up human poo in paper and throwing it at each other in class...). Lessons are typically Ugandan - lots of repeating by rote then copying from the board so it's hard to know how much the children are taking in. There's certainly a very mixed ability range.Every Wednesday there is an hour long chapel service led and translated by Teacher Ritah, but the talks we prepare ourselves. We are currently doing a series on Moses. There is also a fellowship meeting for the staff every Monday which sadly we cannot make as we aren't in on Monday. The Christian side of school life is definitely active tho.Praise points:- Teacher Ritah seems like a really godly woman and does so much for the child evangelism programme at the school. She encourages us daily and hopefully vice versa.- we are getting to know individual children better, settling in well and starting up some friendships.- we have found the staff loo (finally) and it is slightly better than the pupil ones which we had been using before. This is honestly a real blessing as before we had almost stopped drinking so we could avoid them!Prayer points:- please pray that we might become close friends with the teachers at the school. We haven't hung out with them much yet but I think there are some real opportunities for friendship and evangelism among them.- for the health of the four of us at Children's Corner. Ash has been feeling a bit sick most days and not eating much, Phoebs was wiped out after the first day, and Charlotte threw up on the way there on Friday. Mikey's good tho, and loving the school food.- and finally that we would get better at teaching, both in chapel and in lessons. We've slightly been thrown in at the deep end so it would be good to find our feet and teach the children effectively.
Thank you so much!

Treasure Kids
· Found in a quiet area to the North of Kampala called Kosoro
· Its an open school with no school gate and the school kids mix in the playground with others not at school
· Nakato Sarah: She’s the headmistress, calls Ella her sister. She is also a Nakato “2nd twin girl”. Showed us her house on the first day and her 8 month twin girls.
· JC has taught a couple of maths lessons and both he and Fitzy have taught PE. It’s very difficult trying to control 50/60 kids outside however!
· Ella is based in the kindergarten in the mornings but comes back to the upper school in the afternoons. She and Fitzy have taught RE to the highest years, P7 and greatly enjoyed it.
· The evangelism has been moved to Tuesday break times so now we can help. Yay! Possibility f a teacher’s bible study group too.
Praise: Kindly teachers, Friendly Atmosphere.
Please Pray: That we might be able to get more involved in evangelism and that we can teach more lessons.

Kings is found out to the east of the city on top of a hill with a seriously impressive view! Nat stays in the nursery most days while Jim and Katie help in the upper school but Katie will be going to and fro. It is hard because the nursery is on the other side of the valley from the upper school.
The school itself was originally crammed into the nursery but is now in a half finished double story building with boarding facilities. It s a walled compound with a kitchen , a dirt volleyball court and a dirt football field on various plateaus above it on the hill side. The nursery is built around the Headmistress’ old house and most of the class rooms are made from woven straw panels and corrugated iron roves, some of which leak in the rain and all over which will drown out a teachers voice should with and precipitation. The toilets in both areas are drop pits. Pretty simple.
Nat has so far spent her time teaching basic English to the younger kids as well as doing bible talks and playing games. She finds it rewarding but at times, very frustrating. Before she got there, they had literally nothing to work with. The teachers are slowly teaching her Lugandan and they get along very well.
Katie was thrown straight into the upper school this week coming from A&O but coped admirably, teaching English to P3 and P4. She is still getting used to the food but is forming good friendships with the welcoming staff.
Jim is teaching p6 and P7 science as well as running volleyball and football at lunchtimes. The curriculum is basically GCSE/A level but it is going well.
Basically, both upper and lower have good teachers but they don’t have enough and the resources are spread thinly. The kids want to learn but need more help then they are getting

Praise: Thanks for a great school with intelligent well behaved kids who will let us teach. Also praise for great teachers in both upper and lower schools. Thanks that we are slowly being able to teach better and better.
Prayer: That we can help al the kids understand properly, since although they are taught well, there aren’t enough teachers and some aren’t great at English. That we can work hard on the evangelism front, that we can get more accustomed to doing it and that we can be ready to give a talk to the whole school in the weeks to come.

So, its been a good start. But there is still much time to go, much to be done and we havn’t even started our street kid ministry. Watch this space.

Otherwise, we enjoyed a fantastic candle lit valentines day with a secret santa present scheme and flowers! It was decided that we should dress up which lead to a dinner of mini pizzas attended by many handsomely dressed young men and gorgeous young women (and a more that averagely well dressed bunny…) Much fun had by all!

So now, we’re basically chilling at the American Recreation Association, enjoying some well earned volleyball and swimming related rest.

I’m fresh out of stuff to say.

God Bless!


P.s. Feel free to become followers of the blog or leave comments. We’d love to hear people’s thoughts.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Life in Makindye, Kampala....

Our first two weeks in Uganda
We have struggled to learn Luganda,
But we’ve picked up some words
Phoebs has seen some cool birds,
With binoculars on the veranda

We started at schools on Wednesday,
Some were good, some were only ok,
The teaching is tricky,
But we’re not to be picky
So maybe for us you could pray?

Kampala the city is busy,
Boda rides can make you feel dizzy.
The rain in the air
And the heat everywhere,
Has made the girls hair go all frizzy.

Traipsing through Owino market
With no particular target,
‘Mzungu’ was shouted everywhere,
Lots of people stop and stare,
And ‘Squeakers’ the bus we can’t park it.

The food so far has been good,
Many carbs but lacking in pud.
Matoke and ‘wacky cake’,
G’nut sauce ain’t hard to make,
But posho tastes slightly of wood.

Locals can’t pronounce Barney’s name,
But they are not to blame,
As a result, oh so funny,
It has been changed to ‘Bunny’,
Causing laughter all the same.

Chapel was led by Charlotte and Ash,
During which something happened in a flash:
Assembly in the playground,
A man was arrested and found,
They continued preaching on Moses,
Whilst the man was dragged through on his toeses.

Friendliness and smiles are prevalent,
And to ‘Aunt Daisy’s’ house some were sent
To drink soda and chat,
Some sugar cane we have spat,
Although no disrespect was meant.

In the garden we play volleyball,
Our guards built posts for us all.
We need all our might,
To ignore mozzie bites,
And barter goods at local stalls.

Whilst the boys miss their meat,
The girls’ brownies are treats.
Power cuts in night,
Gave us all a big fright,
But we’ve risen to all of these feats.

We have had a great few days,
And now all of us can say:
Let’s praise our Heavenly Father,
And sing ‘Webale Mukama’
Throughout the rest of our stay.

Nat, Mikey, Charlotte, and Ella.

Prayer Points: Sunday 8th February

PRAISE: 1. For the growth of team relationships and a willingness to serve each other.
2. For our evening sessions and bible studies. For Barney and Heidi. And for all we are learning about our Shepherd. 3. For the beautiful country of Uganda and the warm and friendly people. 4. For our good health.

PLEASE: 1. That we would settle into church and street kid work quickly. 2. For the team going into new schools this week, that we would be bold in our proclamation of faith and that we would show God's love to the children we teach. 3. That we would have more oppurtunities to speak to locals about Christ crucified. Also to know how to use our time effectively.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Its Ok! We're alive!

Hey Everyone! Oli- ot-tee-a! (How are you?, phonetically, in Lugandan). Team Smile 09 and landed in Uganda and is making waves. Everyone is well and spirits are high. Our flight was problem free and we are now, after 5 days, very much used to our new home in the suburbs of Kampala, in Makindye (Maa-chin-de). The girls are in ajoining rooms of two and the boys an in bunk beds. In addition, we have a dining room with a nice large table and chairs, a sitting room with some cushioned bamboo based furniture and a small balcony, the location of many games President/Bin Man and Jim and Phoebs' ongoing attempts to site all species of Ugandan Birds (and the ellusive Velvet Monkey!) Much time is also spent playing volleyball and catching games in the amazing garden.

Kampala, as a city, is a just alittle bit on the crazy side. The roads are packed with minibus taxis and the streets are filled with people, basically all of whom are black africans. We visited on Thursday and went in two groups with two Ugandans from Calvary Chapel Street Kid initiative, Derrick and Andrew (whom I'm sure you will here more about later), undertaking a small challenge to help orientate our selves withe the important surroundings. What quickly became apparent was that no matter wherewe went, we stood out, beinjg the only whites visible and we soon became used to calls of 'Mzungu', local dialect for 'white man'. Its not an offensive term, merely a very general one. The taxi park made the streets of London look like a picnic, it was quite literally crawling with interlinked taxis. You have to be quick and assertive to cross the roads and on no curcumstances should you wait politely for the traffic to let you go. Like Barney.

Owino Market was similarly busy, with large numbers of people selling there wares of western clothes and brands and also food. There is of course, one price for the Ugandan and then another considerably higher one for the Mzungus. It was certainly the busiest and most cramped market any of us had seen before and was often quite intimidating with lots of salesmen trying sell us there wares. It should be noted however that the Ugandan people are incredibly welcoming and polite. In the same market, high fives and fist bumps were shared with shop owners who happened to be wearing England Shirts. Two days afterwards we also played some barefoot beach football against some local kids and although our untested feet were fairly' savaged' we played well and had fun (though we lost horribly).

On the Christian side of things, we have started our Seminars and Bible Overview and attended Calvary Chapel this morning, which treated us to a very different kind of service. Although it is a very Westernised Church, with the sermon taken by 'Pastor Brian' a white american from Southern California, there was none the less an hour of amazing hymn singing, led by the church choir, before the sermon was even begun. Pastor Brian spoke strongly of the need for Christians to love one another, drawing from 2 John 1 7-21 and spoke in a familiar style, even throwing in 80s pop references. It is quite likely that this will be our main church for our time here but we will also try out others. We talked with many of the congregation afterwards and this resulted in our invitiation to two boys, Moses and Sammy, for lunch back at our house. After dinner, Sammy, a street kid with no family, stood up and thanked us so much for our hospitalityand his impressed on us his immense gratitude that a group of Mzungus had shown him any kindness or love, something that he had been without for much of his life. For all of us, it was a special moment and underlined just how much we could be achieved here, even with a simple meal and some compassion. We will hopefully see more of the two of them at Calvary.

So, the week head. Teaching should start mid week and in three near by school. we'll be teaching in 3 groups (2 3s and a 4) and appear to have the chance to teach English, Maths, Social Studies (History, Geography etc) and Sciences. Many ideas and plans have been formulated and the team are excited to get started. We will also take evangelism seesions once a week. On friday eveing and Saturday monring, we'll work with the street kids (or in orphanages) and have Sunday for Church and rest and Monday as a preparation day for the school week. It should be a 9-4 day.

We are all so greatful to God for this chance to come here and do his work. And it looks like we will have the time of our lives in the process. Please try to include us in your prayers as we start out teaching during the week.

God Bless


P.s. we will try to keep the blog as updated as possible. watch this space.

Friday, 23 January 2009


At 21.00 on January 27th the 12 members of the ‘Uganda’ SMILE team will leave London Heathrow to fly to Entebbe airport in Southern Uganda, and from there drive to our home for the next four months in Kampala, the capital city. I am sure that we are all excited about various different things; perhaps for some it will be gorilla trekking in the mountains, maybe for others it will be just experiencing the African way of life, personally I am excited about tasting the sweet Ugandan banana for the first time! But the thing which unites all 12 members of the team and indeed, which is the focus our whole trip, is having the privilege of being able to share the astonishing news about Jesus Christ with the people we meet and spend our time with.

I hope this doesn’t sound patronising, but I’m sure at this point some people reading this blog will be thinking “so what, the whole religion thing is a sideline issue and actually a matter of personal choice, why go to Africa just to tell people about your faith, isn’t that a little pig-headed”, or at the very least some might be nonchalantly thinking that Jesus has nothing to do with them so you skip over the bit about Him. Well actually, the ‘good news’ about Jesus is not just good news for poverty stricken Africans.

No, the reality is quite the opposite: God has told us that He Himself practically and literally demonstrated His vast love for everyone, the whole world, by sending Jesus to earth to die 2000 years ago. He sent his own Son into the world as a rescue for the people of Earth. Jesus was as good as it gets, and didn’t do what we have done; he never ignored God and always followed God’s orders. Jesus died for people who’d rejected and ignored God. So Jesus’ life and although it may seem strange, his death on the cross, involves you and it involves me. He died our death, took our punishment and brought forgiveness. We are going to Uganda to offer Jesus’ message of eternal life and forgiveness to anyone who will listen. That is how important God says His message is.

We will be teaching in 4 different schools in and around Kampala and I am sure we will learn vast amounts from these amazing children. The ages range from babies and toddlers in ‘Children’s Corner’ – a school in the centre of Kampala, to much older children, even teenagers in schools such as ‘Glory for Education’ in the relative countryside of outer Kampala. The teaching consumes the majority of our work in Kampala and we hope to be sharing God’s love, every day we spend in the schools. At the moment the foreseeable plan is for the guys of the group to also help out at a Street Kid’s initiative run by the local church, Calvary Chapel at the weekends. Street children are generally ignored by the public in Kampala so this will be a great opportunity for the guys to bond and make friendships with kids who might never have known affection and care before. Albeit a challenging task, we hope to be motivated by God’s love for us and that we may say with John, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4v19)

So, armed with 50% deet insect repellent, travel towels, medical kits and a whole wealth of other articles, not least clothing (!), we await Tuesday in eager anticipation of beginning our journey to Africa and getting stuck into Ugandan life. This blog will be used for keeping everyone updated on our news and happenings in Kampala and anything of interest which we deem fit for these pages e.g. if we decide to rear chickens or the like.


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Prayer Points, Wednesday 14th January 2009

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18

We dearly hope that you will pray for us whilst we are in Uganda. Below are a few things for which you can pray in particular as we prepare to go:

Practicalities - There are lot of details which we do not know about and will only find out when we get to Kampala. Pray that flights will go smoothly and safely that we may arrive without incident and that we will be well prepared for any situations that may arise.
Team - Pray that we will grow closer in our relationship with Jesus in Uganda. Pray that we might be "unified in the Spirit through the bond of peace", that God's Holy Spirit may continue to work in our lives and that we may bear fruit that glorifies God.
Church in Uganda - Pray that the Church in Uganda may stay faithful to the Word of God and not add or take away anything away from it. Pray that faithful ministers will be raised up and sent forth throughout Uganda and the world, preaching and teaching others from the Word of God.
Mission - Pray that we would remain faithful to the gospel and continue to preach and teach "nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified." That we may consider people's spiritual wellbeing, just as much as their physical wellbeing.
God's Will and Glory - In all things pray that God's will be done, that His Kingdom will come that all His people may glorify and praise God.


@ The main languages spoken are English and Lugandan.
@ Much of the land is fertile and well-watered
@ According to
the census of 2002 Christians made up 84% of Uganda's population, 6.00% were
Mulism, and 4% traditional ethnic and a small minority Baha'i and Hindu.
Uganda is the first country in the world with a massive aids problem to halve
from 25% in 1992 to 8-10% in 2000.
@ Life expectancy for a man is 51 years,
and for a woman, 52.
@ The area of Uganda is 241, 040 sq. miles meanwhile
Britain's is 244, 820 sq. miles. However the population of Uganda stands at 31.9
million, while Britains is almost double that at roughly 61 million.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God and of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5