Jo's february newsletter
Happy New Year! Well, I know it’s not exactly the start of the year but this is my first Newsletter of 2010! For those of you living in the UK I do hope you are bearing up with the cold weather and continued snow!! Here in Uganda we are in the midst of the dry season good and proper meaning it’s hot hot hot! JENGA continues to grow and somehow the pace of life always seems so fast within our organisation despite us living and working in Africa where the rapid speed of life is not the most notable quality .
January started off busy as we returned to work after our Christmas break. We welcomed Amanda to Mbale to conduct an internal review of JENGA. She’s an experienced accountant and organisational auditor from New Zealand, living in the UK.
She was immensely helpful as she gave us an extremely thorough MOT! She has done the same for JENGA UK and our internal structural health is looking much better due to her invaluable input. We look forward to welcoming her back in Mbale soon where I know she will be a huge blessing to us. ‘Internal systems’ don’t sound very glamourous compared to the frontline activities of development and mission work in poor communities but it is essential as we develop, especially at such a fast rate. We are fully believing in great financial blessing and significant growth to meet the great vision God has given us and we are sure He cannot release this until we are organised & ready internally to handle it.
2010 is going to be another very exciting year as JENGA’s major Income Generation Activity; a Grain Storage Project, gets fully underway. We have funding for this to commence and it will be based in our 3 key communities as a way to safely hold produce when it is harvested in abundance and store it for such a time when the crops are few and prices are higher. A simple but hugely effective means to start a business, feed hungry people, and reinvest into the community.
In addition this year we are planning for another shipping container to be sent out here packed full of clothes, shoes, scholastic resources, IT equipment and plenty of other items that will seriously bless the communities, schools and churches where JENGA work.
JENGA Women’s Christmas Party
In December we held our usual annual parties for the members of our Women’s Ministry in Mooni and Namatala. We hosted about 800 women to celebrate all they had learned over the previous year and the unity and benefits of belonging to such a group. Many of our women are from very disadvantaged and poor backgrounds, many are widowed and others have HIV. I shared a word of encouragement; reminding them that they are not forgotten but God, their Father in heaven knows them and loves them. He calls them by name and they have great worth and value in His sight. This is a message that cannot be overemphasied when you hear the struggle in the lives of many of these women.
Each one of our 10 women’s groups received a sewing machine and the women were absolutely delighted and were not quiet in expressing it!! Following on from a visit in August by a team from St. Helen’s Church, Hastings who ran a Craft Workshop for the Women’s leaders; funds had been generously given to provide for a machine for each group. There was very loud and exuberant celebration as the machines were given out. This will make a huge impact in their lives; faciliating them to learn a new skill, make their own clothes and potentially generate their own income. An incredible gift and a fine example of sustainable development.
There’s so many projects, programmes and partnerships within JENGA and the communities where we work, and countless ways you can be involved. Please see www.jengauganda.org for details. We send out regular JENGA News & Prayer Updates which is a new initiative (this is different to this which is my personal newsletter). These are great, presenting current news in an informative and jazzy manner and you can find these on our website. Or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list for one or both of these updates and we’ll email to you directly.
On a personal note
This year has not started well for my family as very tragically my cousin was killed in a car crash on Sunday 3rd January. I really wanted to be at home to support my family and stand with them so I visited the UK for 2 weeks to attend Matt’s funeral. He is greatly missed and has left a huge void. I would appreciate your prayers for his immediate family especially. Many thanks.
My plans for 2010
Thank you for supporting JENGA in countless ways, whether you subscribe to a Christian faith or not, as you are truly impacting many lives for good. I can hardly believe I have lived here for 4½ years and it has been an incredible joy and privledge developing wonderful relationships, learning so much about Ugandan culture and probably more about myself and of course serving Jesus by serving people in need ? I will be taking an extended sabbatical from Africa later in the year and I’ll share more details about this in my next newsletter. With thanks and love, Jo
I’ll close with a great quote to inspire, challenge and stir us to action in a needy world.
“I'm only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do that something I can do.” Helen Keller