Thursday, July 9, 2015

Created To LOVE.

A selfie with some of the beauties in the orphanage.

Grace and peace to you all in the marvelous name of our Risen Savior and Lord Jesus Christ! Greetings from Michigan!
We just want to start by thanking everyone who prayed for us to have safe travels back to the States; we made it safely and were given a VIP welcome by the Mom and the Aunt who attracted a lot of attention at the waiting lounge because they were fully dressed in the Ugandan traditional outfits! We are trying to adjust and then get going again. As most of you already know, we are back because Ruudy's Green Card only allows him to be out of the country for a certain time and so, we hope we will be able to complete his citizenship process before we return. We are also back to do more fund raising since the need keeps increasing and the costs keep going higher and higher. But we will tell you more about these later and when we meet one on one. For  now, we would like to share with you what God has been doing in us and through us in the country of Uganda:

A student sharing in class.

A student relaxing on our swing.

June has been our busiest month yet this year ministry-wise. We had two classes for the pastors and church leaders that were well attended. However, we added in a third class for the married couples and we called it "Marriage God's Way Class". We were booked to capacity and had to turn down many other interested couples. This class was facilitated mainly by our team mates' Australian friend whom the Lord has set aside and called into ministry to the marrieds. We were all challenged by the new revelations about marriage and it was great seeing couples open up and share love publicly in a culture while love in marriage is left for the bedroom only. There was forgiveness and rekindling of love flames afresh and our eyes were opened into the importance of having more marriage seminars due to the great need for truth in many marriages. Though we were tired physically and emotionally because of all the organization and preparations for all these classes, we were encouraged by the results and rejoiced at what the Lord had done!

Prayers in Ruudy's small group

Ruudy one on one
A new ministry for Ruudy has been unraveling this past month. He has been teaching with passion these last months and every one in the team is just very happy to see him be immersed into the ministry and speak the much needed truth to his fellow Ugandans passionately. In response, these pastors and church leaders have started coming forward to seek for advise and counseling from Ruudy, something that took him by surprise! The focus of the school is in the heart and not the head knowledge as most schools do and we are starting to see the fruits of our labor. Just in June alone, over 6 students have contacted Ruudy and opened up about their own personal struggles with sin and their past. Usually, when someone tells you "there's something I want to talk to you about", you think they want to tell you about their financial needs and they want your support. We have heard this many times and that's what we thought when they would ask to speak with Ruudy in private. But it turned out they want to talk with him about their personal stuff, struggles and addictions and Ruudy has been sharing with them the truth from the Bible about their situations. Ruudy has gone through the transformation of the heart program as well as Freedom in Christ for himself, but had not known that, the Lord would bring others to him who would need the same teachings. Please pray for wisdom for Ruudy and we are thinking that may be he should do some kind of pastoral counseling course so that he will be in the best possible situation to help some of the students like these ones. We are excited that the students trust us and see us as people who can help them beyond the classroom with things that they are personally struggling with, praise God!

Oscar needs a home.

Beckie and the kids at the orphanage.
We have also had some great time with the kids in the orphanage. There's no better way of feeling loved and giving out love than going to the orphanage and be swarmed by all these smiling and laughing kids. Each time we go there, we have to be prepared to be dirty, to laugh our lungs out, to smile and to be ministered to. The kids are full of life and energy and it has been great to just go there and dance with them, hold the little babies and lull them to sleep, pray for the sick ones and allow them to touch us, pray for us and minister to us too. You can never go in there and come out the same way. We are always glad when they find families here in the States and are able to go home to a loving family. Last month, one of the kids whose paper work had taken over a year and half was finally able to go home with his mom and all of us were joyous because the Lord had answered our prayers in His Time! If you know of a christian home looking to adopt from Uganda, let them know that there are still some very cute kids waiting for their parents to show up and take them home. We are glad that Michigan is adopting many kids from Uganda and hopefully more kids will keep coming.

Huge crowd of Students listening to the purity message in Soroti.

Back in Soroti, the purity clubs and child sponsorship program has been and is still running very well. More and more kids are making the right decisions to abstain from sex until marriage and more people are responding to the call to sponsor a child. We have had a family in Chicago sponsoring two of our kids last month, a friend of ours in Chicago was also able to lead a fundraising effort to buy a bicycle for one of our kids who used to walk 9 miles per day to go to the vocational school because we could only afford to pay for his tuition. Saturday Bible Study and Sports programs are on going and our volunteers are doing a great job coordinating and running all these activities with our minimal supervision.

Humble beginnings. Our house in Soroti and Gabriel with neighborhood kids.

Staying with Soroti, we thank God that finally we were able to move the boys who stay with us and who we are supporting for over three years now to our new little house in our land! It has been hard for us to keep renting the house in Soroti for the boys to live in as well as our house in Jinja. With our little resources, we started constructing a small house in our land so that these young people will continue to have a place they can call home and we can get relieved from paying rent in Soroti. Though the house is not completely finished, we had to move in and already, it looks like a ministry to the neighboring kids is in the pipeline thanks to our volunteer Gabriel who seems to be a magnet with the kids; they all love him and keep following him each time they see him. We were surprised to see kids come into our compound from different direction looking for Gabriel when we visited! We are very glad with the humble beginnings such as these ones.

Challenges and Prayer Requests:

We have also had some challenges and challenging situations this month. Just last week on monday, we lost a very very dear friend and sister in the Lord and founder with us of Loveworld Community Development Initiative. She was one of Ruudy's greatest friends and a family sister. She worked for us tirelessly during our wedding. She loved every child like her own even though she has none of her own and was known for her generosity not only in church, but to anyone who was in need. We were particularly saddened because our pastor had urged us to go see her that sunday but we thought we would go see her the next day on monday only to be called on monday at 8 in the morning that she has passed on to glory! We dashed to the hospital to see her body in the morgue and were glad to be of help to her family during that trying time. She was only 41, not married and had contracted HIV/AIDS from the only boy friend she had and that caused her death! This is why we passionately love teaching teens about sexual abstinence and she has been doing this together with us. She was very fierce when it came to sharing the gospel and she shared it with everyone she knew including politicians and government officials, no wonder there were over 10,000 people in her burial and over 200 received Christ during her burial. Even in death, she led many to Christ through her exemplary life. What was amazing was also the fact that she knew her time had come and she told her mother God had told her she was going home that day. She loudly confessed all her sins and asked for forgiveness from God and everyone, she also loudly forgave those who had wronged her, she named everyone she owed money and asked her friend to help her pay off these debts and then she passed on. It was great that she knew she had run and completed her race here on earth and was ready to pass on to glory.

R.I.P Hellen.

The other big challenge we are faced with is the need to raise more funds. The ministry has grown because there's great need for discipleship and what we are doing. Someone once made a comment that "Christianity in Uganda is miles and miles wide, but only an inch deep" and we totally agree. But, we know that even one heart changed by Christ in the village can begin a serious transformation of the entire community. So there's great need for discipleship and training and not just discipleship that pumps only head knowledge, but one that focuses on the hearts of men and women. Because of this great need, we had to start a second class so that we could have two classes running every month. This has stretched our faith and our meagre finances to the limit. To be able to continue running these two classes well, we need to raise an extra $5,000 per month. Right now our average total monthly income for both ministry and personal is $2,300! It's a walk of faith and we are glad that the Lord has kept us running smoothly thus far. This means we need to find new supporters to partner with us and in case you know someone who could be interested in partnering with us in what we are doing, let us know or if you also have a fundraising idea you could share with us, let us know or still, if you have a gift in organizing fundraising events, also let us know and we can get in touch. To our current supporters, we say thank you very much for your continuous financial support and all these kingdom changes we are seeing in Uganda are because you made it possible for us to be there!

Also, because of the expansion taking place in our ministry, we currently have a ministry one time need of $3,000 to help renovate and repair the classroom and dormitory block so that we can have more class room space and sleeping dorms. If you feel called to help us meet this one time need, please call us and let us know.

Yet another challenge we faced was the breaking in of our home and the theft of our iPad, which we use for taking ministry pictures and keeping people to date across the world. It was discouraging as it happened in our house, while we were there at only 8pm. The thief cut a hole in our locked screen door so he could unlatch the door, and grab the iPad which was nearby, while we were in other rooms. The entire previous week, every evening we had been having a time of worship together as a family, because Beckie had heard God put it on her heart that for this week don't bring your prayer requests, but just worship me. The night this iPad was stolen was the last night of this set aside week, and we thank God that we could still come to him that evening after everything that had happened and keep worshipping Him, it reminded us that no matter the circumstance, keep our eyes fixed on Him, not on what's happening around us.

We still need prayers for Ruudy's citizenship issues. The congressional office is helping us follow up the case and hopefully, we should be able to hear back from the responsible government agency about Ruudy's interview appointment date soon. We would like this process to conclude soon so that we can concentrate in serving the Lord in Uganda without any distractions.

Finally, we would love to meet up and share with you personally more about what God is doing in Uganda while we are here. Please let us know if you would like to meet us and we can schedule some time to meet you. Thank you very much for standing with us and know that we daily mention you in prayer to our loving Father and we hope Father has been good and gracious to you. Remain in his loving kindness and peace. Blessings.
Ruudy and Beckie Olupot.