Girls Home (Chiang Kham)

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The final week or so of the trip, our Thailand team is living at a girls home in Chiang Kham, a rural area about 5 hours to the east of Chiangmai. About 100 Thai girls live there and are parented by a pastor and his wife.

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Most of these girls all come from families where they’re at high risk for trafficking, being sold to forced labor, abandonment or neglect. Living at the girls home keeps them safe and allows them to finish their education through 12th grade so that they can escape from the poverty cycle.

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Wednesday we spent the afternoon at Faikwang High School with 100 students. We did English activities and shared about God’s love. Thursday we spent time with all the students at the primary school.

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That afternoon, we started a sidewalk cleaning project. The sidewalks were really mossy and slick, so that afternoon we bought a bunch of cleaning supplies and went to work.

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Wednesday and Thursday night were great group times, with lots of games, activities, praying and singing.

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On Friday, we continued on with the deslick the sidewalk project, along with starting work with the rice fields.

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Friday night we had a dance night with the girls at HOB, including line dances, us performing our dance, and the high schoool girls performing a dance for us.

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Saturday was a big rice field day for everyone, and we finished!!

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Saturday evening was a ministry night with the HOB girls. We performed a drama, explained it, and Katey gave her testimony. Then we got in our groups and prayed for each person individually, followed by ice cream for everyone!

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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!”

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.

The Need to Teach Teachers

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Ugandan School ChildrenThis week our team has worked hard at the Ugandan school, and they have one more day of classes before the weekend.

Playground at Uganda School

Sarah and Tiffany have facilitated a professional development program for the school teachers and an administrator. They’ve worked hard to teach principles of classroom management and how to build relationships with students. They’ve also tried to share techniques for effectively teaching different subjects. The teachers have thoroughly engaged in the process and have expresses appreciation for how much they’re learning.

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Meanwhile, the other girls have been running classes for all the students. They alternate between teaching them what the Ugandan teachers have planned for the day (acting as substitutes during the teacher development program), and running actual English camps.

Games in Ugandan Classroom

During the English camps, our girls use all sorts of games, songs and hand motions to help students learn and remember. They also help to correct pronunciation and grammar that has been learned incorrectly. It’s a huge value add for the school to have American English speakers to help!

Teaching English Camps in Uganda

As you can imagine, each day brings something new in Uganda. For every great ministry moment, there’s also a surprise or a challenge. For example, what do you do when a little boy brings his goat to school??

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Keep praying for our team, they have Friday and Monday in the school, and then they’ll return the following Friday for a big celebration.

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During the middle of next week, the team will be involved in some additional ministries in Kampala (the big city, about an hour away).

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Here’s a fun picture from one of their earlier trips into town…

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And also an update on the painting project the girls have been working on at the school!

Ugandan Community Development Project

Finally, what post would be complete without a picture of Tiffany holding a sweet little baby?!

Ugandan Baby with Missionary

Teaching in Uganda

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Today was a really great day at the school! We love the Mulonde family (the pastor), especially their sweet sweet Kiddos. We got to have another great day of staff development for the teachers while the rest of our girls hosted English camp, playing games, singing lots of songs, and even continuing where teachers left off in their lessons.

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After a lunch of beans and rice (yum!), we returned to the school to begin a work project painting the school’s entrance/office. We got all of the priming done, which was a miracle with all of our sweet little helpers so close by, watching our every move and amazed at the white paint we were applying to their walls. All the teachers could say was “wow!” We know this is a HUGE project in their eyes and gives a lot of clout for the school in this community, so it is an exciting task for us as a team to undertake!

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The girls are troopers! We have often had to change our expectations, and all the travel/different environment had been rough on our stomachs. Please join us in praying for health and strength and hearts dependent on Christ for all of our needs. We are having a blast, but it definitely isn’t an easy trip, and we covet your partnership in prayer for strength in our efforts. Love all of you to Entebbe and back and around the world twice! ❤️#teamUganda

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This young man gave his life to Christ!

…we don’t have internet, but will try to get new pictures to you in the next day or so