Ministry of Margaret Nelson
Uganda, Africa

August 08, 2006

New Life Academy

Upon returning to Uganda, after 3 months in the USA, I have been blessed to see the progress of our primary orphan school, New Life Academy. We have a steadily growing enrollment with over 200 children at the end of our 2nd term -- the school year here goes from February through early December. Of that number, about 52% are orphans, who attend school for free.

During my absence both the school and Pastor David Kasule’s church moved from their original building (an old fish factory) onto 4 acres of land purchased several years ago. One of several buildings had been started and then delayed for a year by corruption of local officials. Many of our supplies were destroyed by termites during that wait, but when the time came, God made a way for us to replace them at half price. So moving onto the land after all this time has been a big victory. As the property was only recently cleared of brush and trees, the school grounds are rough. So a beautification project is about to begin.

During the current school break (one month) a foundation will be dug for a second building to be erected as God provides funding. Adjoining the property is a government-owned house. Because the local government authorities are impressed with the development Pastor David has initiated through his church and s chool/orphan ministry, they are talking of giving him that house to use as part of the school!

New Life Academy was selected as one of the more progressive local schools for our headmaster to attend a conference on the introduction of computers into Ugandan schools. There is no electricity to our school yet, although there is a nearby power line. However, due to the ongoing energy crisis in Uganda, which leaves the country without electricity over half the time, David has investigated solar power instead. The government is making it much easier to purchase solar units through decreased pricing, tax breaks, and payment installments.

We have mostly Muslim teachers in New Life Academy. They teach the government curriculum and Pastor David and our headmaster teach Bible classes and prayer during morning parade and at the end of each day. They are teaching many Bible stories which help the kids to develop good morals, such as the story of Daniel and how he decided as a very young man not to pollute his ways. Because we have a high number of Muslim children as well, on Fridays the NLA van takes them to the mosque so they can worship there as well. This has brought us great favor among our Muslim community.

The general school system here only tests the children once each term, as they have to meet government criteria to pass on to the next term. At the end of the year is a comprehensive exam that they must pass to move on to the next grade level. There is great test anxiety as a result, compounded by the fact that if their school fees have not yet been paid in full, they often get sent home and can’t write the exams til payment is made. NLA has initiated other means of collecting school fees in more timely manners so most of our paying children are already paid up befo re exam time. And every Friday the school does quizzes and debates. The quizzes are helping the kids learn how to test with less anxiety, and the debates how to use the knowledge they’ve been gaining. The plan is to enter our kids into debates with other schools as well, on a competitive basis, to stimulate them further. Along this line as well, arrangements will be made for our teachers to spend an occasional day at other schools to be able to observe other teaching methods.

Thanks to the team from New Life Center in Everett, Washington, who did a teachers’ seminar a year ago, Ruth Kyeyune, from Kampala Foursquare Church, has come and done further seminars with the materials left by the team. A 2- week seminar was done just before the start of the school year, in January. The plan is to do week-long seminars during the month-long school breaks between the 3 terms. Next school year we want to invite teachers from other Luweero schools as well, to extend this wonderful education to the community as well.

The beginnings of an agriculture project have been started by the planting of a school garden. The children are being taught better farming techniques, and the garden helps to feed the children. Eventually we hope to be able to sell produce to help support the school. Soon we are going to plant a tree nursery, and with the help of our agriculture teacher and the local Agriculture Extension, we will teach the children the value and management of trees and reforestation.

Please pray for these things:

Please join us in prayer for these things, and for the children that we’re raising up for the Lord. We want to see them strong, moral, and contributing members of Ugandan society, raised up as leaders for the Lord!

And, in addition, I’d like to share with you future visions for New Life Academy that need prayer and God’s provision to be accomplished.

Margaret Nelson