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We started devotionals at 0800 today due to no schools being on the agenda. Maggie and her team decided that we would go visit her father at his house, stop by the Gold Heart Foundation office, and then attend the soccer match.

We arrived at the home of Samuel, Maggie’s father. This is the place where Maggie grew up. Samuel worked for the government throughout Maggie’s childhood. We sat in the front yard and enjoyed conversation with Samuel. Unfortunately, the man is suffering from cancer, but his spirit is well. The group was able to lay hands on Samuel and pray for him. After the prayer, Samuel gave us a tour of his farm. We saw pigs, chickens, goats, and a couple of turkeys. On his land he grows avocado trees, vanilla bean plants, coffee bean plants and more. Living on the property is Maggie’s grandmother, she is 110 years old. 110! She even sang a song for us, what an honor it was for us to be there.

Next to the farm was another home being built. For some unknown reason, this team from America has had a fascination with latrines on this trip. Latrines are outdoor bathrooms, better known as outhouses in America. We wondered how deep these holes were underneath the latrine. Well were we in luck, we had one right before our eyes being dug! The hole is 50 feet deep and dug by hand. There is a 6 foot by 3 foot hole with little holes dug in the side of the hole that act as steps. We were fortunate enough to have the man that dug the hold show us how he got up and down the hole. Amazing! Backhoes aren’t an option. We started talking about how strong that man must be. Nuper demanded a picture of me flexing with the hole digger, what a hoot! We left Maggie’s childhood home and headed to the Golden Heart Foundation office.

We showed up to the office and we saw two similar looking buildings. One building had a sign on it that said, “Engbers Home.” The home was built by Dennis and Meshak, and they did a wonderful job! Why does it say “Engbers home?” Well, let me tell you.

Bryce Engbers has served as my mentor for a number of years, and last July he came to Uganda for the first time with Nuper and Mission Uganda. Bryce had his heart tugged on by some children here and felt called to provide a place for some very needy children. So Bryce and Maggie talked. If you give Maggie your vision, she goes into action. A home was built, funded by Bryce. He also agreed to pay for schooling and provide for three children, who are siblings, through college. And today, we got to the see the results of Bryce’s generosity and vision. We met Jeffrey and Ruth at the house, they were not in school because it was Saturday. You talk about an emotional experience, Bruce—who is Bryce’s brother—starts bawling. The tears start flowing, and Uncle Bruce is hugging his niece and nephew for the first time. 

Maggie surprised Dawn with a birthday cake! We sat in the Engbers House with the team, children and the house matron for cake and fellowship. We got a tour of the home, which has multiple bedrooms. At full capacity, the house will be able to hold 24 kids. Right now it has 3. David, goes to boarding school about a mile away and stays there. This boarding school is where the girl I met yesterday, Nabatanzyunia, is where she would attend if everything works out. It is also where her siblings would go to school during the day if they were to come there. 

After cake, we stepped into Maggie’s office building where she shared a vision with us. The land where the office and home are located, is on a piece of property that was given to Golden Heart Foundation by Maggie’s grandmother after she died. Maggie’s grandmother believed in the Christian hearts that Dennis and Maggie possess and knew they would use it for good. Having spent a week with Maggie, Dennis, and their team, I concur with Grandma.

The vision Golden Heart Foundation has for the property would make Maggie’s grandma proud. Maggie and Dennis have developed a vision complete with artist renditions of a boarding school for orphans. They have the school plotted out on the property already. The school will be able to house 1,000 children and again, will be a place for orphans. Children with no mother or father. Wow! What an amazing vision! What I have witnessed with these two so far this week, if they ask God to provide for their Christ-centered vision, He will. 

Dennis took me to the back of the property. He showed me a county owned road that will be the entrance of the school. Picture this, a hiking trail through the woods. This is the county road. It basically doesn’t exist. The markers are there to tell you it’s a county road, but it really isn’t one. Dennis said one of the first things he is going to do is rent a bulldozer from the county and plow the road himself. It’s about 200-300 yards of road. Dennis told me it will cost him about $300 to make it happen. 

We finished up with some native Ugandan fruit, Jack fruit. I tried it, and I have the pictures to prove it. Let me tell you all something. My wife was worried about me coming on this trip. She told me, “you are not cut out to do missionary work. You are a picky eater and you can’t sleep anywhere other than your own bed.” The sad truth is, she’s right! But nobody on the mission team can figure out what Tricia is talking about, I’m like a human garbage disposal over here.  

We proceeded to stop by David’s school. This is Bryce’s oldest boy he adopted over here. David got very emotional when he saw us sitting in the lunchroom waiting for him. He gave us all hugs. I’m not sure who was crying more, all of us in the group, Bruce, or David.

What a heartwarming moment!

This kid and his siblings had their life dramatically changed by a pig farmer from Iowa. Bryce, thank you for blessing us by blessing those kids. It’s amazing to me how much Christ is at the center of these schools we are visiting. They talk about Jesus, sing about Him, and they know Him. This is in contrast to our schools in America. Our visit was short, because we had to get going to the soccer match. When we entered the gate into the school, a security guard wielding a PR-24 baton met us. Before we left I showed the security guards my PR-24 moves. This baton was used by law enforcement in America for many years. They guys were smiling and nodding their heads, but they were probably laughing at me. 

The soccer match went well. The winning team won 1-0. These players are amazing because the field conditions they are playing on are horrible. Let me paint you a word picture. The field is a cow pasture, there is trash on it. The lay of the field is anything but flat. Some of them have two foot hills on them. Professionals would have a hard time controlling the ball on these fields. During the match, Pappy, aka Bruce, had a little boy dancing with him on the stage, and he had some moves! The kid, not Pappy. The boy eventually snuggled into Bruce on the stage and fell asleep in his arms. After the match, Maggie had the crowd singing happy birthday to Dawn. She then shared the gospel with them, getting a good response from the crowd. The cow was crazy again. Meshak had to tie one of the rear legs to a rope to better control the cow. I don’t think any American trophy has provided a scene that looks like the running of the bulls.

The drive home. The driving is mass chaos around here. We narrowly miss bota botas, we narrowly miss people, and we narrowly miss cars. No big deal to Josephat the bus driver. There was one time a lady got pinned in between our bus and a car. No big deal. We narrowly missed a motorcycle today as we turned, we couldn’t slip a piece of paper between the bus and the bota bota. In Bruce’s words, it was tighter than a two-day tick. I wouldn’t survive driving in this country. We came home and ate goat! Good stuff! The men prepared a little for their sermon and went to bed. 

One reason the day was amazing was because God laid three little kids on the heart of a pig farmer from Iowa. His fruit is being enjoyed by those kids and is planting seeds for a great harvest that is yet to come. 

Aaron G