Ministry of Margaret Nelson
Uganda, Africa

January 22, 2005

Kids' Club Schools

Today my heart was filled with joy as I saw physical evidence of God's hand bringing ministry dreams to pass. In just about 3 years, the New Life Kids' Club orphan project has grown from a handful of kids getting help with a few shillings out of the personal pocket of Pastor David Kasule, to a highly respected community ministry helping some 300 orphans go to school, in 2 different branches.

The dream has evolved over this past year into a more practical and less limited plan, to build a school and pay teachers, rather than paying school fees for kids going to all kinds of sometimes substandard schools. By bringing in other, paying students, and with the government's help from Uganda's Universal Primary Education program, such a school could serve many more children in the community, and provide quality Christian education, for many more children than just paying orphans' fees could ever do. But as with many golden opportunities in Uganda, there is a lack of capital that hinders the starting process. So we have been praying that God would make a way to start 2 primary schools, for our 2 NLKC branches, by February 2005. The school year in Uganda starts in February and ends in late November.

Early in 2004, God had provided for pastor David to buy 3 acres of prime land near Luweero. Without knowing David's plans for this acreage, the town clerk had been heard to say, "There should be a school on this land." Meantime, Pastor Ronald Lubowa, who has the other branch of the Kids' Club, the Mamuli Kids' Club, had located an abandoned school in Kasana, part of Luweero town, which he could rent. So again, we were praying for a way to start this school by February.

In December, an elderly friend of mine, Lucy Lyon, passed away. I never got to know Lucy like I wanted to, because I met her after I moved to Uganda, when she lived in Yakima, Washington. She had a lifetime love of missions, and had supported missionaries, often by visiting them on the field. My one regret was that by the time I met her, she was too old to travel to Uganda to visit me, because in her younger years, she would have. In honor of her love for missions, her family decided right away that they would make a donation to the New Life Kids' Club in their mother's memory. We have been so grateful and so blessed that in the light of tsunami disasters and many other screaming world needs, they chose to support our tiny Kids' Club ministry!

Two weeks ago, their donation arrived, and the work on the "Kids' Club Academy" began! David hired a work crew of inmates from the local prison, which does hard labor at low prices to support itself. In 3 days time, these men have cleared most of the heavily wooded 3 acres, leaving only the tall trees. The wood that has been cut will be made into charcoal which can be used by the school for cooking, or sold for more income for the project. The pits for the latrines are being dug, and then the foundation for the temporary school structure will be next. February is fast coming upon us, but a good thing is that the first day of school is never set in stone. We have kids coming and asking to register to attend this school before the walls are even up!

Today I went to Kasana to view the school that Pastor Ronald has now rented, thanks to his part of the donation. He pointed out to me the carpenters who are busy making benches for the school. There are 2 nice buildings with enough classes to house pre-school to grade 5 for now, as well as an office and possibly a small medical clinic. Out front is a shiny, new little sign that proudly says, "Kasana Kids' Club School." The place was a beehive of activity. As Ronald proudly showed me around, I saw kids coming to register for classes, dressed in Easter-type finery. I got the tour of the buildings and then we sat down with cokes and cupcakes to rejoice in what God is doing, and to talk and plan.

The Kasana Kids' Club school will have about 40 orphans and 160 non-orphan, paying students. The Kids' Club Academy will have about 150 orphans and 450 non-orphan, paying students. Both schools have plans to increase the number of grades and enrollments over time, with Ronald eventually buying land and building his own school.

Proceeds from the Lyon donation will also trickle down to help the embryonic plans of Pastor Ezira towards his planned orphan project and school. In his village there is only one school for his family's kids to attend, one which does not teach well, and where sexual assaults of older children on younger children are all too common. His 7 year old niece was assaulted by a 15 year old boy, but the teachers have shown no concern.

But as God leads, guides, and funds us, we know that Ezira also will soon see his dream coming true for a Kabanyi Kids' Club and then its school to be built. I believe we are only on the edge of what God is planning to do, reaching and teaching kids - - and adults! -- for Jesus Christ!

Pray for us as we move on into this new phase of community ministry! Pray for wisdom and guidance, and ongoing favor with local authorities. Right now some Town Council people are maneuvering for bribes, and David is planning to go over their heads to the Mayor, who is very anti-corruption. Pray for funding to come as needed. Pray for the honesty and integrity of all the teachers and staff that we hire, and that the financial aspects of running a school will go smoothly. And of course, pray for Ezira and his desire to join this work in his village, and for safety of the kids in the present school until other arrangements can be made for them.

Thank you and God bless you as you pray for us. You're part of our team!

Margaret Nelson