“Malembe” is a popular greeting in Uganda. For example, if we are greeting a woman, we may say “Malembe, Mama!”even though she is not our mom. Or, “Malembe, Papa!” for a man. So, “Malembe” to you all!
We apologize for not providing an update for some time. It has been such a busy season. As most of you have experienced a fall, and seemingly a sudden and early winter for many across the states, we have been thinking about seasons a lot lately. We are nearing the end of the second rainy season of the year here, and we will soon move into the big, long, and hot dry season. There may only be rain a couple/few times across at least 2, and up to 4 months.
The literal seasons have prompted some Biblical study of life seasons as well. A couple of take-aways and thoughts we are leaning into are to continually seek what we can learn from the current season we are in. Another is that in season and out of season, from one to another, is that we are to be consistent and continue to faithfully do the work that is required in that current season. It has also been a neat time to reflect on past seasons, think about and remember what God was teaching us in those seasons, and how He used those seasons to prepare us for current ones. And, it’s then fun to wonder what future seasons might look like, and what we are learning now that better prepares us for them. Of course it is only the Lord who establishes our steps, so for now, we strive to focus and work at what He has called us to do in this season, seek to know what He is teaching us now, and enjoy and have grateful hearts for the special place He has us in, working with a special group of children and staff. We are thankful.
Since arriving in Uganda again this fall, there has been much going on:
The 5th and 6th houses are complete, and we are just waiting on furniture for the next two families to move in (a house mom, 5 girls, and 5 boys in each house)! There will only be two more houses built after this, and then all of the children who live at Lulwanda full-time will be living in a house with a smaller family, instead of a dorm-style situation where 30-40 kids are in one dorm along with 1-2 house moms. The only children who don’t live there full-time are those who are either 18 years or older now, or those who attend secondary schools for the majority of the year. Secondary Schools are boarding schools and are the norm in Uganda for children who are high-school aged. More news on that subject in coming months 🙂
We are thrilled that we have found a strong, Christian counselor and psychologist in Mbale. They work at one of the hospitals in town, and are paid by another ministry here, called Jenga. A handful of our kids visit them weekly, but they recently did a few days of training for all of our house moms and social workers at Lulwanda. We are grateful for the tools, additional understanding, and Biblical truths that were poured into the staff, so that they are better equipped to love, guide, and disciple the children at Lulwanda.
We said goodbye to Hillary Jackson. She originally came to Mbale to teach at the missionary school that our children attend. Because of her passions, and all of her energy, she took on the responsibility during her second year in Uganda to also help at the Lulwanda Primary School (equivalent to grades 1-7 in the states). She was a great help to the teachers and students. She grew up on a dairy farm outside of Columbus, Ohio, so she also had much knowledge to assist the Lulwanda farmers, especially in regards to our dairy cows. The children (both the four Kelley kids and the Lulwanda children) always had so much fun with her, as she was always up for having fun, getting dirty, and putting together fun and creative projects!.
The children who attended Vacation Bible School this summer at Sharon Baptist Church in McDonough, GA raised money for us to purchase instruments for Lulwanda. With all that was raised, we were able to purchase an acoustic guitar, a bass guitar, a set of (5) traditional African drums, microphones, and a great sound/speaker system. We are excited that the children will have the opportunity to learn more about music with these instruments and equipment! Thank you, children of Sharon Baptist!
Thank you for your prayers and love, Ryan and Megan