"And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b-18

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Blessed to be able to serve!

Below is a link to few some pictures of some of the work God has blessed us to be a part of. It is hard to believe our journey here is quickly coming to an end. We have church tomorrow & have one more day of ministry in a very impoverished village on Monday. While we are anxious to see our family and friends at home, it will be very hard to leave our  friends here, they have left such a sweet thumbprint on our hearts. We pray the God's light has shown through us into the lives of those we have ministered to.

We do have some desperate prayer needs we would like to share with you:

Martha - young daughter of our friend and driver, with malaria and pneumonia

Aaron - young boy with abdominal abscess, liver & spleen complications, & severe glaucoma, from which he is losing his sight

Bernard - 8 month old boy in Nzigu village with hydrocephalus is great need of medical treatment

Uganda July 2014 Pics

Friday, July 11, 2014

Morning ya'll.....evening here ;)

July 11, 2014

The high for today was in the low to mid 90’s with a slight breeze and extremely comfortable in the shade of a beautiful, full Acacia tree.  Evening temperature is in the low 70s providing a comfortable sleeping temperature for those enjoying serving the Lord in Africa. We had a wonderful day full of adventure.  After a delicious breakfast and morning devotion we set out for a morning of African style evangelism (i.e. hut-to-hut). We divided into 4 teams to cover some of the area around the local missionary church. Each team had very different experiences. Testimonies were given, questions were asked and answered, and there was rejoicing for salvations. Rhonda and I, decided to see if we could get a Bible club going. With 2 to 3 children present I started reading from a Bible story book and before we knew it we had 17 children gathered. We went from one story to another and then gave out stickers – we had great fun!  

Upon returning to our host missionary family’s home, we enjoyed homemade chicken salad sandwiches for lunch and then we all headed to the children’s hospital. We found our good friend Florence (head nurse for the hospital), she gave us a small tour of the new section where we distributed beanie babies. The hospital visit and handing out the beanie babies has become a tradition that we’ve carried on for several years now.  Though there have been some recent renovations the suffering and crowded conditions have not changed.

By the end of the day we had searched through all our trunks to find story ideas and craft materials for over 200 children that we expect to work with tomorrow.  We thank God for getting us one step further out of our comfort zone and allowing us to serve Him. We have made our plans for tomorrow, but we never truly know what tomorrow holds.

We would like to request prayer for Martha who is the daughter of Andrew (our long time friend and driver). She has malaria and pneumonia.


Well, I had a very interesting day, I was assigned to go out knocking on doors to spread the gospel today.  This was way out of my comfort zone after living a very sheltered life in my Christian growth in the states.  We had another Missionary with her daughter and an Interpreter from the local Church to go with me.  We stopped at 5 different homes talking with them about Jesus.  We had 7 young men and one young girl to pray the salvation prayer with us.  We hope they will come to services on Sunday and learn more about Jesus , his life, what He wants us to do with our lives, and  to show others how to live.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"You are WELCOME"

 July 9, 2014

Here goes the team’s last day in Gulu. I believe I can speak for all of us, when I say that we all have enjoyed the children these last 4 days.  Seeing their faces glow like the sun and their learning expanded day-by- day makes the lost luggage, the long hours of drive worth the wild. Today was a rather eventful day to say the least. We started out with our daily breakfast and devotion. This morning’s devotion was lead by Cindy, and was one of great reflection. We talked about how at times we try to put God in a box, and rather than allowing the Spirit of God to lead, we try to lead with our minds. We all concluded that God’s ways are much higher than our ways, and daily we must seek to know His plan even when it doesn’t make sense to our finite minds. He knows best and our faith should be fueled on His perfect plan for our lives.

After breakfast we quickly reported to our designated classes. The look on the student’s faces was simply breath taking. As soon as we stand on the first step, their eyes are directed towards us. They wait for us to enter and they all say in concert,”You are welcome”. They were all ready and eager for whatever activities we prepared for the day. We went over bible stories, namely the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. As we reenacted the birth of Jesus, the K2 and K3’s face lit with such amazement as they watched Susan deliver “Baby Jesus” from under Tameka’s dress. Can you say birthing 101 is in full effect? The children continue to laugh even minutes into the rest of the story.  In addition, we revisited some of the classes on hygiene. It is amazing how much their minds absorb. It just confirms that our desire and availability to allow God to pour in their hearts and minds through us will never be lost. We are preparing the next generation to have an advantage.  Just as the Bible says, as children of God we must renew our minds daily. That is applicable in the spiritual as well as the physical realm. These children have a chance for a brighter tomorrow.

Evening approached and a heavy downpour came. Jenny and Elizabeth expressed that the rain hadn’t fell that much in some time. After the rain cleared, everyone gather at the pavilion for the student’s special Acholi dance. They looked like little men and women as they performed with such confidence and pride. The dancing was followed by a science lesson demo on the qualities of air, then the P4 class singing a farwell song to us. Each of the team members was then given the opportunity to express appreciation for the students, teachers and staff’s welcome.  We definitely look forward to all God has in store for the months and years to come.

We concluded the evening with Deborah’s delicious chicken and dumpling. We sat around and watched “Journey to Jamma” and “The Perfect Game”, two great movies to end our last night in Gulu. Nothing can compare to the laughs, love and the peace of God resting upon us these last few days. We are truly blessed and we are grateful to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us all in every way. Just as God led the children of Israel with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, He will surely continue to guide and protect us for the duration of our journey.    ---Tameka

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

5 Short Term Missionaries + 3 Resident Missionaries + 2 National Missionaries + 400 students + 18 Teachers = a fun day of VBS!!!!!!

July 8, 2014

Last night we had a wonderful time of praise & worship with a visiting team headed to Far Reaching Ministries in South Sudan. After a time of prayer & singing we had communion. What a special time it was on the eve of our VBS.

Today we had our first full day of Vacation Bible School (VBS) ----- boy did we have fun…I think the kids did too J After our crazy intro of the chicken dance at morning assembly we loaded up our supplies & headed to our respective class rooms. There were Bible Stories, games, songs, crafts, snacks & health education for all. 

Here are some highlights:

·         Susan “supervised” as Tameka washed 102 pairs of hands as she taught the K2 & K3 classes proper hand hygiene…she was a little wrinkly by the end.

·         Deborah was very happy to find that the P2 class, which she had last year as P1, had matured so much…especially since there are 50 of them.

·         Cindy’s class got to dig for “treasures” in the sand bucket while learning about “digging” for all the treasures God has for us in His word.

·        Rhonda was so encouraged to see the excitement of the children as they worked the “simple” games of a floor puzzle & memory matching game while learning about being a part of the team – the body of Christ.

One of the greatest highlights of the day was the 68 children in P5 – P7 who made commitments today to be Health Mentors. We had met with them yesterday & did some intense health education. At the end of the classes we talked with them about becoming a “Health Mentor”. While the word “mentor” was new to them we explained that if they choose to they would be responsible to not only maintain good personal hygiene and first aid, but would be responsible for watching out for the younger children. These responsibilities would include helping to educate them, as well as, reinforcing good personal hygiene by the younger ones.  

It is not uncommon in a society, such as here, that there is a lack of knowledge in things that we in America take for granted. When you live in a mud hut in the dirt, have to walk miles for water that is usually not safe or clean, and your parents are struggling just to survive simple things like proper personal hygiene and first aid are not a priority. By educating the children to take responsibility for themselves and others we prayerfully hope to instill a sense of empowerment that they do have control over, at least, part of their lives, and they can make a positive impact on not only their future but the future of others. They were very proud to receive their “SOG Health Mentor / Matthew 25:20” dog tag necklaces and their Certificate of Completion for the teaching.

It was very encouraging to us that so many of the P5 – P7 children remembered the teaching they had received yesterday. Some of whom have already put their new knowledge to work.

Tomorrow is another day of VBS fun with some amazing, bright eyed, eager, beautiful children!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

God;s Divine Timing

Uganda Newsletter #2                                                                                    July 6, 2014

Tameka here: We started our journey early this morning from Entebbe in route to Gulu. We arose and loaded all of our trunks; that we are so grateful to have finally picked up from Entebbe Airport yesterday.  Prior to pulling on our journey, we took a few minutes to thank God for His divine timing, and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. We took our first stop at a local cafĂ©, which was totally warranted since some of us are professional coffee drinkers.

So we arrived, and as the newest member of the team, I (Tameka), describe Gulu as a breath of fresh air. We met the newest members of Sanctuary of Grace (SOG): Teresa, Jenny and Elizabeth. We then quickly began unpacking supplies for VBS and got settled in our spaces (preferable bunks). Before long it was time for dinner. The Coggins were so grateful for the smallest things like parmesan cheese and ranch dressing. It was quite the finishing touch to our delicious spaghetti dinner. We sat around the table like a big happy family and began telling of how we all came to meet. In that very moment we all realized that nothing can compare to God’s divine timing.

The Bible says “obedience is better than sacrifice” and we as children of God, should always incline our ear to the heart of God. This is when we can firsthand experience God’s perfect will and not just His permissive will.  God’s timing is always perfect no matter how inconveniencing we find it at times. He reassures us of His promise, His guarantee that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and His timing is not our timing. We look forward to all that He has in store here at SOG and are marveled of all He has allowed to happen. Tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities.

Rhonda here: how Blessed we all feel to be serving within Gods will for us. He knows just who to bring together to make a complete “team” with each bringing the special gifts that He has nurtured within them.  No matter how many times I’ve been before with Cindy, Susan, & Debra each time, to include this one, is filled with new Blessings.  There is always so much to write about, but I want to share what I wrote today in my journal as we took the 8 hr bus ride from Entebbe to Gulu (awesome experience within itself).  Each page in my journal has a “Thought for the Day” & a scripture to go with it.  My scripture today (06 Jul) is from Mark 1:15 (NIV), “The right time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Change your hearts and lives and believe the Good News!” It is the “Thought for the Day” that got me thinking, it reads: Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.  I wrote…”absolutely, especially if you travel as a missionary to a 3rd world county where there is extensive poverty that is increased by an enormous lack of clean water & health care & education.  It’s more of a reality when you’re physically staring at it, when you’re shaking its hand, when your sharing the Love of Christ with it. Really, what is 1,000 of miles & money when you’re serving God? All you have means nothing if you are not serving God. How far would you walk to church carrying your own chair to sit in simply to hear God’s message & be part of the body of Christ? Oh, the walk is in the heat of noon, on red dirt roads/paths, & without shoes. Do you really mean “use me God”

Saturday, July 5, 2014

TRUST, FLEXIBILITY, & THANKFULNESS.....That is the name of the game.

Thank you Lord!!!! First off everyone arrived safe & sound & everyone is doing well. It never ceases to amaze me how God can bring a group of people together, some of whom we have never met before arriving in Uganda, and everyone works together like they have known each other for years :)

Again we say...Thank you Lord!!!! ...since arriving late Thursday night we have been stretched, flexed, and the sifted...all we can say is we are so thankful that God is control. We arrived minus over half of our trunks, which translated into having less than half of the ministry supplies needed for Gulu. We were told they would be in on July 6 & would be delivered to us in Gulu in about 2 more days....For those of you who have been to Uganda you can certainly understand our concern. Time here has a whole different meaning & what you think, and are told, should take an hour or so, can easily turn into several hours to days.Prayers were sent out that everything would arrive the night of July 4th & we would be able to get them the morning of July 5 & head to Gulu - having missed only one day of ministry activities. We headed to Jinja to rest, wait on our trunk, & were able to catch up with some friends. Prayers answered - the trunks arrived & we headed to Entebbe this morning to get them & head to Gulu....well at least that was the plan. As things turned out by the time we had them it was too late to get on the road & head to Gulu....change of plans again....we are staying in Entebbe for the night & will leave early in the morning.

What does all this mean???? Well in short it means that God certainly has a reason we were not to be driving to Gulu yesterday or today. Do we know why???? No, and we may never. But there is one thing we are sure of...He IS in control. We came to serve as He directed us & we will continue to follow His direction....regardless of the "schedule" we thought we would have.

Please continue to pray for us - safety, good health, and for the ministry work God has in store for us.

We are so thankful to be here & be available for whatever He has in store for us!
Cindy, Susan, Rhonda, Deborah, & Tameka

PS Internet has been very unreliable so we will post when we can.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The journey begins....

By this time tomorrow 3 team members will be on our way to Uganda from the US, 1 team member will be getting ready to leave Tanzania to meet up with us in Uganda & 1 other team member will be leaving Korea to join the team...Can't wait for the team to be together! So excited to see what God has in store for us this year. The focus will be on children's ministry with 350+ children for VBS at one location & ???? number of children for Bible Club at another location. We had originally planned on also having a medical clinic in a remote village, but due to new requirements for visiting nurses we have had to cancel the clinic.... disappointing, but we trust the Lord will reveal a better plan for us. Looking forward jumping into the next 2 weeks of ministry work & watching God do some amazing things in our lives & those of whom we are going to share HIS love with!