Primary School Improvements (By Sarah)

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As you know, we’ve been working hard on a paint project at the school. We’re brightening up the entrance-way to the school and making it more inviting. This also goes a long way to helping elevate the professionalism of the school. This is really important in Uganda. Parents here choose which school to send their children too based on its reputation and prestige.
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Things like a smart-looking entrance and the knowledge that international teachers visit raise people’s impression of the school. RIM’s partner church opened Hephzibah International Primary School less than two years ago. It is their desire to fill the school with students because that’s one of the most effective ways to reach community families for Christ so we’re thrilled to be a part of activities (painting and teaching) that make that Kingdom reality!
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I’ve attached pictures of our paint project. There are more, but these are some of the best ones. The teachers are so excited about it, and we know it will have a huge impact on the professionalism of the school!  So that is super cool! The entire project should be finished on Tuesday!!
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Anyway, thanks so much for loving and supporting us. We booked our trip to Kampala tonight and we are all SOOO JAZZED about it. We’ll be spending two days in the city. During that time, we plan to visit another school to gather ideas to bring back to Hephzibah. We’ll also be printing and binding a teacher training manual for the teachers we’ve been working with and buying gifts for our students. Then on Friday, we’ll have a final celebration with the students and teachers at Hephzibah to remember all that the Lord has done in the last few weeks.
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Over the weekend, we’ll spend some more time with the church, and then Sunday night we head out to our safari destination.
Love you guys!! Thanks for all your prayers!
Sarah
(RIM Project Director)

Hephzibah International Primary School (By Tiffany)

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Before coming on this mission trip I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought that I would be spending all my time with children – teaching them, sharing the Gospel with them, and playing with them. Little did I know that God had something totally different in mind. When we arrived in Uganda, we were told that we would be helping out in a school. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “this is totally my element! I’m so excited!”

Later, we were told that we were also going to lead a staff development for the teachers. Being one of two teachers on this team I was signed up to take on this task alongside our trip leader, Sarah. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be much help in this area because I had only just finished my first year of teaching. But after a week of helping Sarah facilitate the staff development, I’m taking on a completely different attitude.

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I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with the teachers at Hephzibah International Primary School. I’m very thankful for what I’ve been learning from Sarah. And I’m very thankful for what I’m learning from the Ugandan teachers as well. There are things from them that I’m definitely going to use in my classroom back in California!

“Bravo…ba ba ba…ba ba ba…for Uganda!”

Rain Dance (By Kristen)

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Today was our free day. We started the day by sleeping in and eating French toast for breakfast. Then we planned to go to Lake Victoria. While we were waiting to go out, it started to rain…actually, it started to POUR.

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Instead of pouting that we couldn’t go to the lake because of the weather, we immediately ran to find the kids! We danced, we ran, we sang, we jumped in puddles, we splashed, and we even filled buckets full of water to dump on each other.

 

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What a great start to a day out with the Mulonde family!! Sure do love these kiddos!!

 

 

Celebrity Teachers (By Malorie)

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“Muzungu.”

This is the title we have been given by all Ugandans. It literally translates to “white person.” Imagine being on the street by a shop and having someone literally address you as the name of your race! This is one of the hilarious culture differences we have experienced here in Uganda…

Truth be told, white people are a bit of a novelty here, especially at the school. Students are so surprised to see muzungus, that they don’t know how to act.  Think back to when you were in school and had a substitute teacher… You were never on your best behavior then, right? Discipline was impossible to enforce and everyone in the class knew it was basically a free day. Now imagine having a celebrity as your substitute teacher. You would be way too excited to sit still in your seat and listen to them teach about your lesson for the day. Instead, you would want to take pictures with them, hug them, learn about their life that’s so different from yours, and marvel in the fact that they are sitting there with you. While we are nothing more than some young girls coming to serve the Lord through teaching them, the kids only see us as celebrity substitute teachers taking over their classes.

Translation? CHAOS.

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I have had the privilege of teaching both Top and Middle class, and it has been interesting. My class contains a total of 12 of the most adorable 4-6 year-old children I have ever meet in my life. They are full of a love for life, curiosity about the unknown, and limitless energy. I’ll be honest, it has been a challenge to teach these sweet babies, but it has been so rewarding at the same time. Watching them grasp a concept, such as the spelling of the suffix: -ing, or watching their eyes light up when they spell a word correctly has been incredible.  But as rewarding as these little moments are, the most rewarding of all is every morning when we step into the school yard and they all sprint towards us yelling, “Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!” It truly makes all the chaos worth it. 

Getting to love on these beautiful children and teach them in the few minutes of focus they allow us brings so much joy to all of our hearts. They show us the meaning of being joyful in all circumstances, they remind us what it looks like to love without limits, and they inspire us with their curiosity and creativity.

Teaching these children is an experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives as it will remind us to live our lives like these sweet children do.

How God Strengthens Us (By Chloe)

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What a life we live my friends!!!! I have loved my time in Uganda. The Lord is revealing Himself and WOW! He has a funny sense of humor! On Tuesday night, I woke up not feeling well, and the best leader and second Mom EVER, Sarah, stepped in and sat with me the whole time (praise Jesus for Sarah!!!!). Even though I didn’t feel well, we talked and laughed… mainly at this little life we live!
When the morning sun peeked through the windows, I still felt pretty rough so we decided to head to the doctor. This required us to venture into Kampala, the big city nearby. The adventure began, and we soon learned that the hospitals here are nothing like the hospitals at home.
Sarah said it best – “Clinics in Uganda are like petting zoos.”  You go in one door, come out, and then go in another door, hear some rules, sign some papers, and then you sit in what feels like a play pen and wait! Once we saw the doctor, we learned that I had an easily treatable bacterial infection. Praise the Lord for medicine! Our doctor must have thought Sarah and I were insane cause we hugged him after I started feeling better.
All in all, even though being sick away from home is challenging, Sarah and I had a wonderful day in Kampala. As we waited, Sarah pointed me to Philippians 4, which talks about suffering and how we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!!!! I’m so thankful that Sarah had the knowledge to guide my thoughts, and also for her keeping a hand on my back while I was sick and making me laugh while the doctors ran tests. I really learned a lot through this experience.
I’m so thankful for God curing me and also for bringing me to this wonderful country to serve!