It may be an age thing but I am very underwhelmed by the whole ‘new year’ thing. But, back here in Uganda, I am very overwhelmed by the new life thing that God is doing.

2016 was a tough year and, as usual, I am highly disappointed by the stuff that I didn’t get done in 2016. Before I returned here 2 weeks ago I would have looked only at the things that I haven’t achieved, and to my shame, I would have ignored the things that God has done, is doing, and will do.

I could get excited about the 1000 patients a month that are stil getting treatment in the Medical Centre or the 350 kids we are educating from nursery through to Primary Five. And both those things are important and praise-worthy.

But as always it is the difference that God has made in the lives of the most neglected of the children that we care for that makes me smile and almost shout for joy. I haven’t yet visited the medical centre, and the nursery and primary schools are closed for the holidays. But I have visited Stidia, Dennis, Cleophas and their Grandmother in Kitumba; and the family that we care for in Kahama; and I spent the weekend and New Year with Michelle, the little girl with cerebral palsy that we have guardianship of.

And in every case I have been shown that God does indeed give more than we could ask or imagine. Their progress is so much better than this particular Jesus-loving cynic could ever have expected! A particularly thrilling thing (for me) is that my Michelle has pretty much stopped dribbling! The ceaseless, jumper-soaking, slightly smelly, and less than flattering, stream of saliva that coursed spring-like from the corner of her mouth to her whole front is no more. And I have learned how to say ‘swallow your saliva’ in Rukiga! A small improvement to some but really life-changing for Michelle and her carers. img_20161230_181304img_20161230_174504

The original state in which we found the children in Kahama and Kitumba was so desperate that I made the decision to take the children from both households out of the home and away from their completely dysfunctional families. Stidia, Dennis and Cleophas have been spending time at home with their Grandmother during the holidays for some time now but things like food and diet have been a concern whilst they are there. Whilst we are still providing additional support to the family in school holidays, Grandmother and Stidia are managing food much better and have created some additional income. They all looked happy and healthy, were delighted with gifts and letters from their sponsors and Stidia’s English has improved massively.dscn6050

And I never thought that Catherine, Alex, Liberty, Akampurira and Brian would be able to spend a day, let alone a holiday, with their troubled parents. But God…..!

The children had asked whether they could spend the holidays with Mum and Dad – for the first time in 2 years. I visited unannounced to deliver a card and presents from a sponsor and I was so happy for the family. The house is clean, the kids look well, the micro-loan that we provided for a small farming project has been repaid and they now have their own small crops. And Dad was sober. dscn6044

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Both these families and little Michelle had been abandoned by friends, family and government. Their problems were so severe that at least five of them would be dead if God hadn’t intervened. Now the drunk are sober, the lame can walk, the homeless are housed, all the children are in full-time education…..and strangers come up to me and say ‘Thank you for what you have done for this family.’

And I say, as always, ‘Don’t thank me, thank Jesus.’ And I mean it. Thank you Jesus.