Update from the Field

By Liz Wann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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Our Executive Director, Doug Hayes, was recently in Uganda. Here are some photos from his recent trip:

Alf Lohmann showing off his hand-made bee hives. We're almost ready to begin bee-keeping as one piece of the sustainability puzzle at our Children's Homes.

David Mayinja addressing some of our sponsored kids.

Doug and Roselyn.

One of the Lohmann girls with a goat. We have pigs giving birth, goats giving birth... so many ways to achieve sustainability at out Children's Homes, Lord willing!

 

 

 

Putting a Roof over their Heads

By Liz Wann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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Where do our sponsored children live?

Most of Covenant Mercies’ sponsored children have been taken in by an extended family member. Yet the Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles who put a roof over our children’s heads are often already struggling to provide for their own immediate families. This is where Covenant Mercies comes in with basic nutritional, medical, and educational support.

We believe it is important to keep these family relationships intact. Yet we have special cases where some children have no family to care for them. As a solution Covenant Mercies purchased 50 acres of land outside Nagongera for the construction of orphans homes.

Currently, we have five homes in operation serving 40 children, with a long-term plan to build at least eight on this land. Each home has running water and a working toilet; rare amenities in the area.  Members of our indigenous partner church serve as “family parents” to eight children in each home.

Introducing the Lohmann Family

What does the Lohmann family have to do with Covenant Mercies Children's Homes? Well, Alf Lohmann (along with his wife, Ruth, and four daughters) is helping with sustainability projects for the homes. Some possibilities of building sustainability include: fish farming, raising chickens and goats, growing food crops, preserving the food, and more.

You can read more about the Lohmann family's work here.

Click here to find out how you can sponsor a child in one of our homes.

 

A Beautiful Work in Maundo

By Ruth Lohmann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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Uganda has been my home now for a mere four weeks. I came here with no expectations or pre-conceived notions of what Uganda might be like. The only thing I knew was everything would be harder and everything would take more time. I was not viewing this as negative -- just different. But I also knew God called us here to serve the Covenant Mercies Orphan Sponsorship Program; he would equip me and my family with the strength, wisdom, and ability we needed. He truly has been faithful as we have transitioned here to Covenant Mercies children’s homes in Maundo village.

I would not say it has been a hard or easy transition.  It’s been a natural transition -- it has felt like home to me since the moment I stepped off the plane. I love the people. I love the country. We have all we could possibly need! It is very simple and uncomplicated living, but absolutely perfect for us. Everything about Uganda is raw and exposed. Earthy, dusty and beautiful. The weather feels like the beach. Days are hot and very bearable. Evenings and mornings are cool and crisp. Everyday feels a bit like camping. Everything is harder and requires more work. But there is something about this kind of living that feels natural -- the way it’s supposed to be. I feel like I was made to be here.

Maundo is a very rural area of Uganda. It has long dirt roads covered with potholes caused by the rains. Little charming brick and straw huts are scattered off the roads. Half clothed, chubby little children rapidly scurry out of well manicured huts as you drive by, shouting out ‘muzungu’ and waving energetically. Everywhere you look you see a vast changing sky, peculiar and breathtaking rock formations, and fields upon fields planted with cassava shrubs, sugar cane, rice, and sweet potatoes. The roads are filled with people walking, riding bikes, driving motorcycles, and some using vans or cars for transportation.

Some of the challenges we have faced since moving here have been maintaining consistent water, power, and internet access. When we have no water from the water tower, we need to fill buckets from a large holding tank outside our home which catches rain water . We use this for cooking, washing clothes, bathing, flushing toilets, and cleaning. I am very thankful we have a back-up water source so close to our home. I have learned to wash my clothes by hand, which has not been all that difficult. Before our gas stove was hooked up, I was learning to cook over a charcoal fire. Making sure the girls are bug sprayed up and tucked carefully in bed under their mosquito netting at night has become a routine we fell quite easily into. It’s hard for me to call these minor inconveniences challenges though, because it’s something we just have to figure out or just need to get done -- and we do it.

Learning to shop in the open markets has been interesting, different, and fun. And frankly, I love it. I'm learning the art of bargaining; learning what is good and what is not. They use this soap called omo for washing clothes, cars, hands, and pretty much anything else. I can also find a wonderful, but small, assortment of seasonal fruits and vegetables, copious amounts of dried fish, live poultry, sheep, goats, cows, and small selections of beans, rice, and flour. Clothes, baskets, water jugs, fabrics, flip flops, mats and pretty much anything essential for Ugandan living is found in the markets on market days.  They don't have much variety, but they usually have what we need.

The girls are adjusting well. They are just beginning to want to play outside. At first they were scared from the attention they received from the other children on the compound, but now that the novelty of white children has worn off a bit the girls are becoming more comfortable. They are enjoying the property and the many beautiful, large trees they can climb. They are also fascinated with all the animals that roam freely. The baby calves are their favorite. But they sure do love to pick up the baby piglets just so they can hear their obnoxious squealing. They are even making some friends with the girls around here, which is exciting to say the least.

Alf has been amazing in trying to make this adjustment as pain-free as possible. He has worked hard to keep water easily accessible, and has been constantly working to create some sort of power for refrigeration, light, and internet access. He makes sure all our electric devices are charged and the cords are meticulously wrapped and put away. Presently, he is working on our third bedroom, making it into a guest room and outfitting it with bookshelves, so I can have some sort of order to my homeschooling supplies. He has also been involving some of the older orphan boys in his work. They are enthusiastic about anything Alf asks them to do. The boys even scoured the property to find rocks for me, because they knew I wanted them for my flower garden.

I’ve now had the benefit of seeing the faces of the orphaned children, and hearing testimonies from caretakers of how this program has helped them. I’ve handed out school supplies on distribution day to the children in the program, and talked with people in the local community who are thankful we are here. I have listened at night to beautiful voices singing worship songs to God as the house parents lead their children in family worship (of course African style with drums and all.)  There is a beautiful work taking place here and we are all participating in it.

We are thrilled, and consider it a privilege, to be involved with the Ugandan people over this next season.  God has sanctioned us to play this small, but unique role, in caring for the children in Maundo homes, and we are grateful for the opportunity. We are also thankful we’re not alone in this, but have the love, care, and support of our local church, family, and friends back at home.  This is the beginning of a crazy fun adventure. One we are happy to be a part of!

No Turning Back—Lohmann Funding Update

By Ruth Lohmann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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Read Moving to Uganda Part 1 and Part 2

 

Have you ever pursued something so rigorously or wanted something so badly that you throw everything into obtaining it? But no matter how hard you work to get it, you just can’t seem to get it? Doors close, windows slam, storms come...everything seems to block you from that particular thing.

As my family has been preparing to move to Uganda to serve in Covenant Mercies’ program there -- it has been the complete opposite experience. It’s almost as if we are being carried along through this process -- pushed gently in the direction we are to go in. The wheels are moving forward and I get those butterflies in my stomach. There is no turning back. Joy. Fear. Both pleasantly combined with the sweet reality of faith and trust in an all-powerful loving God and His plan.

Over eighty-five thousand dollars has been raised for this project so far. This funding was sacrificially given by my church family Covenant Fellowship, close friends from Brandywine Grace church, family and friends, and a generous donor who helped Covenant Mercies kick the whole project off with a $10,000 matching gift. I have been utterly astounded by the enthusiastic response from everyone concerning this project! And because of everyone’s support we are able to relocate as early as mid-July!

We were in need of a renter for our home. My church prayed one Sunday and by that Wednesday we had three applications submitted. We had to choose an applicant. We did, and they are moving in July 1st, having signed a two year lease.

So now I’m in the process of packing up my house, closing down credit cards, shutting off utilities, doctor appointments, inoculations, dentist exams, wrapping up my homeschooling year while planning next year’s, consolidating my life and my family’s life into a few bags, spending time with family and friends who we won’t see for two years, and still attempting to run a household that’s in serious transition.

It’s easy for me to lose sight of God and get weighed down by details, especially when so much has to get done. But all along I see God’s faithfulness. I see Him hovering over the small details of my life- the small details of this project.  As a need arises or some pressing issue demands my attention, I find the ability and strength I need from Him, for that particular task He has set before me. And once again I am gently carried and nudged forward by a loving God who has a plan.

“And your ears will hear the word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”  Isaiah 30:21

 

Click here if you’d like to donate toward our Long-term Mission fund, through which the Lohmanns are raising their support as they prepare to relocate to Uganda.

Benefit Concert for the Lohmanns

By Liz Wann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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A few months ago Ruth Lohmann wrote a blog post about her families upcoming move to Uganda, Part 1 and Part 2. The Lohmanns are still in the process of raising funds and need our prayers and support.

A perfect way for you to support the Lohmanns and the work they will be doing for Covenant Mercies is on June 9th. Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA will be hosting a benefit concert at 7:00 PM. The concert will feature electronic, folk-pop singer Angela Sheik with Mark Giacobbe.

Suggested minimum donation is $5 and refreshments will be available. Come enjoy music while you show support for the Lohmanns and Covenant Mercies.

Moving to Uganda - Part 2

By Ruth Lohmann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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This story is a continuation from yesterday. You can catch up here and read Part 1.

 

By the time the decision was confirmed, the Lord had completed some very hard work in my heart. I never liked living in the in-between or in a place of fear and doubt, but this is how it was for a year. Most of the doubts and fears that had inundated my mind were silenced and were faced head on during this waiting period. The Lord was so good and kind to prepare me for the work he is calling us to.

The work my husband, Alf, will be doing is very exciting. Covenant Mercies has about forty acres and five orphan homes in Maundo. He will help with the administration of the Sponsorship program and oversee the spiritual care of the children in the program. He will also be responsible for discipling the family parents and staff by holding Bible studies and small group meetings on a weekly basis.

Alf will also assist with the building of sustainability into the Children’s homes. Some possibilities of building sustainability will include: fish farming, raising chickens and goats, growing food crops, preserving the food, and more.

I am thankful that I get to serve the Lord with my family in Africa. I don’t think living in Uganda is going to be easy, but I do think it will be perfect for us, because it is the road God has chosen for us to go down.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt. 16:25

Moving to Uganda - Part 1

By Ruth Lohmann
Lohmann Family Updates Orphan Sponsorship Uganda
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In a couple months, my husband, four young daughters, and I will move to a little village in Uganda called Maundo. I doubt you would find it on a Ugandan map. When I found out moving there was a possibility for my family, I had feelings of utter joy and excitement, shortly followed by fears and doubts.

This was something I always wanted to do - help the orphans and the widows. I have talked about missions, the oppressed, and the orphans for as long as I can remember.

The seeds of this desire were planted on the mission field at the very beginning of my life; I spent the first three years of my life at an orphanage with my family in Reynosa, Mexico.  Now the opportunity I’ve dreamed about for many years has fallen into my lap.

While the move was still in the possibility stage, doubt began weaseling its way into my thoughts like an unwanted friend. Fear snuggled into my arms, close to my heart like a sick child, and the voices started to come:

“But I have four daughters and there is so much disease and sickness…This place is in the middle of nowhere… I finally, for the first time in 23 years, feel a part of my church… I have great neighbors and a lovely home… My husband would be giving up an incredible position that provides well for our family… All my extended family, which I love dearly, lives close by…"

Where was God in my thinking? Where was the One I fettered my heart to twelve years ago? As I began to lay down each fear and doubt, the noise lessened, and the still small voice of truth could be heard faintly again. I started to remember my God.

I was surprised and angry at myself for the feelings I was wrestling through. I really had to fight for faith...

Part 2 >>