We are here! We are in Uganda! On Sunday we were all still very reserved in our level of expectation to actually leave the war-torn nation of South Sudan together with no hiccups. We are talking 80 children and five adults leaving on a day that there is no security or immigration or even any other personnel working at the airport. There are many road checks from where the children have been staying, all along the way. There were still so many opportunities to be turned back yet again. I was in Juba alone, just in case something didn’t go well and I had to storm yet another government office pleading for help. We had received full permission from the highest level of government so there was nothing illegal about our move. But we had been stopped so many times before that we were still unsure. The entire team was in Yei and about to go through the Red Sea and I was at the other end of my phone in Juba.
The charter planes were supposed to land at 9:00 am. The time came and went. Then 10:00 am came and went. I am becoming frantic. Finally the first plane touched down at 10:30 am! I received a text, “The first plane is off!” I am crying, literally crying in relief. For the next four hours we counted off the planes coming and going four times. Finally at 2:30 pm I received the last text from our missionary in charge on that end, “The last plane, we are off!” Twenty minutes later I received a video on FB Messenger from YWAM Arua of that last plane touching down in Arua, Uganda, and again I cried tears of relief and thanksgiving, and I headed to the Juba airport to catch my flight to Uganda!
I tell you, the last four months have been heart stopping, hair splitting, fasting, worshipping, crying, months of a relentless pursuit of justice for these amazing Kingdom kids. They have lived through so much terror and trauma from this ongoing civil war and many cried, laughed, hugged, and looked around in shock when we were once again reunited on this side yesterday. This was the first time that we were all together since the first week of September. It was the best ever reunion. We give God all the glory. It was His arm that saved us. No bribes changed hands. God moved upon the hearts of those who had the power to stop us or free us. Our Redeemer lives and He rescued us from serious peril. He is our Father and watches over us and brings us out into a good place and we praise His name forever!
We immediately took the children to their boarding school, which is right next to the guesthouse where we are staying until our compound is finished being built. They walked into their new school dorms and saw their individual footlockers filled with all new supplies, their new beds and linens and towels and bath buckets. It was like Christmas! Most of our kids have been sleeping on the floor for these months with no beds to call their own. You can imagine having their first night in a bed that was finally all their own. Today they looked happy and rested. In two or three weeks they will begin their summer holidays and will transfer all their things to our brand new compound.
YWAM Arua you have been a Godsend, and amazing family, opening your doors and hearts to all of our children as they have passed through your home and camped there as a brief respite on their way to their new home here in Luweero. You are our heroes and we could not have done anything on this side as smoothly without you. What a team we make!
So many people are flooding me with requests of how to help us. Our needs are still huge. The children need clothes and shoes and reading books and games and all things to make their home life once again as it was, a place of love and learning and joy. Our compound is a bit out of town so we need a vehicle. The nearest hospital is 15 kilometers down a dirt road. There are no taxis for hire here so a vehicle is a huge need. The children begin school again in late January and we need to get all our kids sponsored for their boarding school fees. Christmas is coming and we want them to have a few small presents under the mango tree. We need dishes and now must pay rent. We will be purchasing 40 triple-decker bunk beds. The list goes on.
I will also be registering with the nation of Uganda so we will be Iris South Sudan and Uganda. I will have to pay many registration fees in this process and we need work permits and will have to buy every child a student visa and many other things.
If you want to partner with us and sponsor a child on a monthly basis and receive letters and pictures from that child, please follow the process below and THEN email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can match you with an amazing kingdom kid to partner with in His service. If you would just like to make a ONE-TIME blessing, please follow the steps below. We are just happy that so many want to help!!!!
Giving Through Iris Global:
1. Go online to http://www.irisglobal.org
2. Click the “GIVE” tab
3. You will see GIVING CENTER in very large letters. Under this heading you will see the following:
**NEW** Click here to designate your gift to a specific base or missionary.
4. Go to “BASES” and select IRIS SOUTH SUDAN
5. Now continue to fill out all appropriate information.
Bless you!!!! We love our great big family so much!