Letter from Mugisha Isaac

I always love receiving letters from Mugisha, my boy with the barely there smile.

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Mugisha Isaac is 6 and lives in Uganda.

The letter uses the My Typical Week template, which I enjoyed. He typically gets up at 7:00am and in the morning he bathes, smears himself, and gets dressed. He goes to school on weekdays and in the evening he washes utensils. His favorite day of the week is Monday because it is the start of the week at school. “Receive warm christian greetings from Isaac. He thanks you so much for the letters you always send him. Isaac went on to thank you for praying for him and said that he and his family members always pray for you. He went on to say his friends and family members send you greetings. Isaac concluded by saying you continue to pray for him so that he continues to perform well at school and also to have good health.”

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The letter is very sweet, and I always love hearing when they are written in the kids’ words when a tutor is helping to write. I just love the drawing! And I’m glad that he loves school so much.

Letter from the Country Director of Uganda

I am sharing the Country Director letter from Uganda this week. I correspond with Mugisha there.

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“Dear Alisa, I am Lenny Mugisha; I have been the country director of Compassion Uganda for two years, and I have worked with Compassion International for seven years. Compassion has operated in Uganda for the past 36 years. We currently have more than 340 child development centers serving 93,500 children in the most impoverished areas within our reach across the country.

Thank you for loving, praying and caring for Mugisha Isaac. We appreciate your continued support.

These have been years of great achievement in the lives of children. Children have accepted Jesus as their Savior, acquired income-generating and life skills, studied, and graduated. They receive health care, education opportunities, and a safe environment to play in and relate to their peers.

Many children and families here lack food and clean water, decent shelter, clothing and health care. They face obstacles like child marriage, child trafficking, physical abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS, and more. In 2017, our plan is to work closely with church partners to register more children from highly impoverished areas in unreached communities, minister to them early enough, and help them finish well to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.

One child suffered from malaria from the age of 3. Each time he fell sick, his grandmother carried him to a local government hospital. Sometimes there wasn’t even a doctor or nurse available to see the child. Often he was discharged with nothing but a prescription for the grandmother to buy medicine – but she couldn’t afford it. The malaria attacks intensified, and the boy contracted epilepsy. His grandmother stopped him from going to school because she feared what would happen. Her grandson lost weight and became weak.

Four months after registering with Compassion, the boy lost consciousness because of malaria. His grandmother rushed him to a different hospital, where the sponsorship program enabled him to go. The child received treatment, since the drugs were available, and he recovered faster than usual. In addition to medical intervention, he received food support that helped restore his health. This child could have been dead by now, but he isn’t. Instead, he plays and dreams and attends school without fear. Because of the Compassion center, his life was saved.

In addition to implementing Compassion’s programs, church partners respond to their communities’ needs through evangelism, discipleship, savings programs, vocational training, special events, and ministry to those in need. Other churches also mobilize community-development programs, such as building water sources and roads and health and parenting education. The church usually spearheads such ventures due to its good reputation in the community.

Children who receive letters from their sponsors know they have a friend who loves them and cares about them. They look forward to writing to their sponsors. Children who do not receive letters feel that their sponsors do not love them, and they go back home sad. Children value and believe each message their sponsor writes to them, and their attitude toward life is positively influenced by what their sponsors say. They feel valued, especially when their sponsor wishes them a happy birthday. They are encouraged to work hard at school. They look at their sponsors as role models. Please write to your child as often as you can.

Please pray for the children in the program in Uganda who have not yet got sponsors, and for each child in the program to be released from all forms of poverty. We love you and pray for you always.

Once again, thank you so much for investing in the life of Mugisha. May the Lord bless you abundantly.

Faithfully, Lenny Mugisha”

Photos of Nicholas and Shadia Receiving their Gifts

The weekend after I sent the donations for Nicholas and Shadia, for which I got receipts and found that Joy keeps very meticulous records, I received lots of pictures of them receiving their gifts! I was almost in tears to see the joy of this family, who has so little and who has been through so much, receiving simple things but things that are so needed. I was glad for the opportunity to send money instead of a package, as I didn’t have to worry about high international shipping fees and I knew I could trust Joy to purchase the right sizes and items for them. She promised me lots of pictures to make me feel like I was there with them, and she certainly did send lots!

Here are just some of them with items they received:

Joy told me how happy the children and their mother were. Along with toys for the kids, they also got clothing, shoes, and underwear. And the family got food, which was very needed. Seeing the beautiful smiles on their faces made my heart so full. I now love and care so very much about this family on the other side of the world that I very likely will never meet. But we are connected through prayer, though letters, and through God.

Letter from Mugisha Isaac!

I received another letter from Mugisha Isaac recently!

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Isaac is 6 and lives in Uganda.

The letter used the How I Have Fun template. His favorite activity is playing, and he loves to play football (soccer). He usually plays with his friends and siblings. The letter says “Calvary greetings from Isaac. He thanks you for continuously praying for him and says he enjoyed the story in the letter. He also says he will also try to make a difference even now as he grows up and later on as an adult. He continued to thank you for supporting him. He concluded by saying you pray for him to keep with good health and also continue to perform well in class.”

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Introducing Nicholas and Shadia

I have developed such a passion for Uganda. This country and its beautiful people have definitely made its way into my heart. So when I heard of the small organization, Living Life in Abundance Ministry, run by an incredibly kind and generous woman named Joy who lives in Uganda and knows these families and their needs, I contacted her to ask for a correspondent. I told her I didn’t have any requests, and I’d be happy to have any child. She assigned me Nicholas, who is 3 years old. He and his sister live with their mother. They recently lost their father to HIV/AIDS. His first picture with his sad face and torn shirt broke my heart, but then I saw his smile, and I was happy that I could hopefully give him a little more to smile about. I sent off a letter and a couple weeks later, I sent a donation to Joy so that she could purchase gifts for him, whatever he and his family needed.

Well, when I had contacted Joy to ask for a correspondent, I had first contacted the wrong email address. Several weeks later, though, she replied to my first email asking if I still wanted a correspondent. I replied that I was assigned Nicholas, but would be happy to have another one if there were more children in need. I was thrilled to be assigned his sister, Shadia, so that I can love on this whole family even more! I quickly sent another donation so Shadia wouldn’t be left out with gifts. Shadia is 4 years old. I’m grateful God had planned this “unplanned addition” all along!

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Photo Friday!

On this Photo Friday, I have some new photos of Ramya from last week’s tutoring session to share. I sponsor Ramya through United with Hope and she lives in India. I love being able to see new photos of her weekly!

She is on the right in the picture below.

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I also got a new photo of Nusura and her pretty smile, along with more information about her! Nusura is my correspondent (“penpal”) through Revive a Rural African Child in Uganda.

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Seven siblings, wow! I love her big dreams of wanting to be a nurse and completing college. We also have the same favorite color. It’s heartbreaking to think of her crying for food, something I’ve never had to experience. But that is why I’m a sponsor. The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth; it’s enough. I want to help others have enough like I do.

Introducing a New Correspondent

I have a beautiful new correspondent child, but not through Compassion. Like I had talked about smaller organizations when I shared about The Bridge of Hope, I also discovered another smaller organization: Revive a Rural African Child. This Christian organization is run voluntarily by one man with a huge heart for the children of Uganda. Eddy runs Revive a Rural African Child, and he cares for the children and has started the Visionary Learning Center, a place for children to study and learn that is run by teachers and volunteers. They are in the process of building a library. What is different about RRAC is that there is no sponsoring of children; only penpals. I was definitely intrigued how this worked.

You can sign up to be a penpal to a maximum of two children, and you send the letters directly to Uganda. You can also send packages. Since you aren’t sponsoring the child financially, only corresponding, you should be committed to writing regularly before signing up. While there is no monthly sponsorship commitment, there is obviously a cost for Eddy to send out mail to us, as well as to pick up each package at the post office that he receives, so there is a way to donate. But there is no set amount, and you can give what you have to give when you have extra to give if you want to; there is no requirement or obligation. Now, keep in mind that if you are used to corresponding with children through an organization like Compassion, RRAC is obviously different, because it’s run by one person and not hundreds. Eddy is very busy with the children, as he should be. He is fantastic, though, at providing updates on the work he is doing, and posts photos and videos with explanations several times a day! As a new supporter of this ministry, I love getting to learn about all the wonderful things they are doing and learning! Just look at the Facebook page to see some examples!

If you would like to be a penpal or find out more, there is a Facebook group to join: Revive a Rural African Child Penpals, that is separate from the main page. Some lovely ladies volunteer their time to help run the group and match penpals and children. They just posted a very informative FAQ post, that explains a lot!

After learning all of this, I decided to sign up to be a penpal. I figured I’d start with one child for now, and then add another in the future. Since there isn’t anything to go by but a list of names/gender/ages, I trusted that God would lead me to the right name. My new penpal is Nusura, and she is 6 years old. My heart melted when Eddy sent me this picture!

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I just love this photo with this beautiful smiling girl holding this sweet note! I can’t wait to get to know her better!

I sent her a letter as quickly as I could, although I’m sure it will take some time to arrive in Uganda. Eddy lets us know and takes pictures when he receives anything. Nervous about sending a package on my own, I thought I’d try sending one through Amazon Global. It took quite awhile to find something that would actually ship to Uganda- many things don’t, even in Amazon Global- a fact that you don’t find out until you’re partway through checkout. But finally I was able to send something through. It’s one of my favorite kids books ever “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes”. My students loooove Pete the Cat, so I figured she would too. It’s just something small, but it’s a start to see how it goes through. And I was able to send a gift message with it.

I spotted Nusura in a picture posted to the Facebook page recently of some of the kids receiving school supplies. Look at that smile!

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