Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

  As most of you are aware, for the past two summers I have been blessed with the chance to spend time at Good Shepherd's Fold Children's home in Jinja, Uganda.  During my time there this summer I was given the opportunity to work alongside someone who was starting a ministry in Uganda just for people with disabilities.  In Uganda, people with disabilities are severely marginalized. Many of the children I worked with this summer were abandoned by family members who felt they were a curse to the family.  After talking with her about her mission and ministry and many prayerful nights, I have been accepted as a short term missionary with Africa Inland Missions (AIM). 

Starting in August 2013, I will be working with the rehabilitation center Acheru:Afaayo located in Kabembe, Uganda. Acheru: Afaayo (meaning "He Cares") is a temporary home to children with many different physical disabilities.  During their treatment, children come to live at Acheru. Many children who come for treatment miss many days, weeks, months, and even years of schooling. My primary job at Acheru will be to provide each and everyone of these precious children an education during their stay.  Our goal is to keep them caught up in schooling, so they can return back to the same grade as when they left.  

I am so excited to be heading back to Uganda to serve. It has become such a special place in my heart. I have been so blessed to be apart of such an amazing community in Uganda before, and I can't wait to be apart of this special community at Acheru. In order for this experience to take place I will need to raise funds for the year ($25,000). The money raised will go towards work permits, visas, room and board, food, transportation, and any additional needs I will have when working at Acheru. Many of you have supported me over the past few years and it has meant so much to be a witness to your love and support. I would love for you to pray about continuing to support me through this year through prayer or financially. If you feel you would like to support me financially please send checks to: Emily Watkins 207 S. Elam Ave Greensboro, NC 27403. You can make checks payable to Africa Inland Missions, including my name in the memo line. All denotations are tax-deductible and must be turned in by June of 2013. 

Thank you for you all your support whether financially or prayerfully. I can't wait to see what it is the Lord has in store for me this next year. If you would like to hear more about my time in Uganda you can follow my blog at: 

In Christ,

Jeremiah 29:11

Gayla and Me
Solomon, Nico, Betty, and Micah. 

A typical K3 (preschool) class. 40 something kids to 1 teacher and 1 assistant.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How it all got started...

Two years ago I was sitting in church when a friend of mine had mentioned that she was wanting to bring a team to Uganda, Africa to volunteer our time at a children's home. At the sound of Africa my ears perked up! She continued on saying that our main goal would be working with the special needs kids. With just those few words I knew I was going to be a part of that team.

A couple months later 12 of us flew into Uganda. We spent about two weeks at Good Shepard's Fold Babies and Children's Home. Within two weeks I knew I was not done with Uganda. I had absolutely fallen in love with the people, the country, and everything about it. The kids especially. These special kids grabbed my heart. At the end of the two weeks I sat down and talked about options on how I could come back, and with that, less than a year later I was on the plane again heading back to GSF for two months.

During those two months I spent my time working with the occupational therapist. I learned so many different things from him, and was able to share some of my own ideas and thoughts. I worked with the teachers to help incorporate more of the kids with special needs into the classes,I taught the sweetest group of 6-7 year olds for Sunday school, and I spent a lot of time getting to know the kids living there. Again I could feel the tug of my heart telling me that I was still not done with Uganda. It was this time around that I was introduced to a girl who has started a ministry just for people with disabilities. As much as my heart wanted to stay at GSF I knew that the kids at GSF had so much going for them, and that there were so many other kids who did not have as much. In Uganda people with disabilities are severely marginalized. Many people believe that people with disabilities are cursed and are often abandoned. I felt that God was leading me away from GSF, my comfort zone, and pushing me into a new area.

After many months of prayer, applications, and interviews I was accepted as a short term missionary with Africa Inland Missions (AIM). Starting in August 2013 I will be working at Acheru Rehabilitation Center. I will be just about an hour and a half away from GSF so I will be able to visit often! At Acheru I will be working with the teacher that is already there. We will be teaching the students while they are living at Acheru. I am so excited to see what I will learn from this experience. As hard as it is to leave, I am so excited to be back in a country where I often feel like I'm at home. I'm so excited to come home every day with stained feet from the red dirt roads, to hear "Mzungu" screamed from little voices as I walk down the road, to taste the sweet sweet taste of fresh pineapple, and to see the bright smiles of precious kids. 
One of the kids I worked with-Kenny

A lovely family who opened their home to us

My House 4A boys! 

One of the village babies from the feeding program

My sweet sweet Sunday school group

The house mothers who I shared my summer with.