I have now been back from Uganda for nearly 4 weeks. And I can’t wait to be back there again. Here in Spain I am working to generate the money that we need to continue offering health, hope, education, futures, employment and dignity to the people that God loves so much in Uganda. And I am doing this by selling expensive property, in an area that is all about image, to people who don’t need it: the properties that I sell here are rarely if ever first homes. It’s a funny old world!
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There was a time when a sale, and the associated commission, was my raison d’etre: my reason for being. But by far the greatest joys I have had in the last four weeks have been things that cost me money or cost me nothing. The delight of sharing my life here in Spain with my amazing wife Hildah. The joy of seeing vegetables growing in the gardens planted with the help of St. Mark’s church in Newton, Wigan and knowing that the vegetables that grow there are feeding the children we educate and ensuring they get the vitamins they need to be able to study successfully.

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The delight, wonder and amazement that through us, in the strength of our God and because of the generosity of a Christian from Wigan, we have built our third classroom block and that through the kindness of a stranger 5,000 miles away another 60 children have classrooms in which they are studying. Because as Nelson Mandela said, ‘The only weapon that we have against poverty is education.’

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My greatest joy this week was not selling a €480,000 house. My greatest joy this week was being part of Broad’s story. Broad is an orphan from the lake who has been sponsored by a Christian couple from Stockport. They met him when they were in Uganda and they wanted to help him. They also met us and we have been the channel through which they have kept close to Broad and paid his school fees.

Broad is one of the successes. He passed his ‘O’ levels very well and Peter and Anne his sponsors committed to paying his ‘A’ level tuition and sent a year’s money in advance.
And then a wonderful thing happened. Broad’s ‘O’ level results were so good that he was offered a place at Kabale Nursing School to study to become a nurse – a qualification that absolutely guarantees employment in Uganda. Local children, and particularly local double orphan children don’t get offered places at this school and certyainly couldn’t afford it even if they did. The tuition is more expensive, there is a costly book and equipment requirement, and they have to ‘live in’ for the two year intensive course. I met with Broad and it was clear that he didn’t believe that there was any chance that this dream could come true. I looked at him and told him that God had a plan for his life. And I knew that J1010 was a part of this plan and so I gave Broad the extra money that was needed on top of the money that his sponsors had already paid. And this week I received this message from Patrick who is helping Broad in his first days as a trainee nurse:
Jon, Broad reported today successfully to the Institute. It was a busy day as there were many parents who had brought their sons and daughters. It took us the whole day to get things done. We began by shopping, then banking, and up at school for registration. We had to pass through six offices of which all had to sign on a given form. It was not an enjoyable exercise. Everything on the list was a must to have it and so we had to get all. I paid cash of 1,600,000 for tuition. Thank you again for the effort to provide for him, I left him when he had joined others in the hostel with a big smile.

Whilst these particular photos don’t show the smile too much (!) I’m content with the report of it. Here are some more photos of children beaming with joy at the unlikely miracle God has worked in their lives through ordinary people:

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Our God is not far-off, remote and disinterested in the lives of his children. He has directly intervened in the lives of Michelle, Broad, and all the better fed kids in the new classrooms in Kigazi. He has done this, in part, through the kindness and generosity of strangers. And for that He and I are very, very grateful. Thank you.