"About time for an update!"I hear you say.
The thing is, life happens, and when we pause it to send an update to you, you receive it when life is happening to you! We end up wondering, "Is it worth putting life on hold to do an update?!" We think it is. At least it helps us see where we have been and it has been quite a journey in the last few months. We have loved discovering Father in the details and introducing him to others along the way.
We are really grateful for you who respond in so many ways and keep in touch with us. It means a great deal to have your support when life is happening thick and fast. One particular thick and fast week included a broken ankle, a snake in our house, a fire in another and armed soldiers and Chinese surveyors invading to reveal their plan to build a highspeed rail link through Mto Moyoni's garden!
That weekend we hosted our third youth school reunion. Twenty five young people gathered and Father lavished his love on us all! He spoke to us about our weakness being such a wonderful container for his all surpassing greatness. The world, and the church-invaded-by-the-world, speaks so much about the power and authority of mighty men of God. We have discovered the unfathomable love revealed by God who took the form of a servant, emptying himself in a horrific death at the hands of 'mighty men'. He reminds us to consider our calling that not many of us are wise or strong and that he chose us to confound the wisdom of this upside-down world. In embracing our humanity, our weakness and our extreme trust in him alone, giants were slain that weekend and many sons entered further into glorious freedom! What a wonderful call!
The next part of the journey for us ... investing in our family and the guesthouse, knowing it can give us a steadier income flow. Again(!!) we want to do all we can to finish it. We do feel connected to the vision of Mto Moyoni and see that the experience we have gained for the guesthouse, in running this facility, is rich. A hospitality environment, with 19 staff, entering a new stage of its maturity having been establish for 10 years, Mto has been a great training ground. We continue to pray about our ongoing involvement.
And finally, growing our family ... we are so happy to tell you that we are expecting a baby girl in November :-) Robin is coming to the 25th healthy week of pregnancy and we are getting ready! We have stepped in again to watch over Mto Moyoni for the remainder of this month, and then we head back to Entebbe to get ready for our new family addition and finally attack the guesthouse once more!
Much love, us
David & Robin Stearns, Zemba Children's Foundation
Mto Moyoni - River in the Heart Since February, while the founders took a break, we have been
overseeing a retreat centre, close to the source of the Nile
Ingrid returned from her travels in June and Winette was here too, in July. It was so good to see them both and to share time with the Galpins from Fatherheart Ministries, New Zealand. Together, we hosted 45 deaf leaders from 9 Africa countries for anA-School.
It was amazing to see the participants let go of the very strong identity they had built around their disability and see their hearts grasp something new. In coming home to Father, they realised their true identity in him - an outbreak of life and freedom.
Ingrid's return was short lived because she broke her ankle and had to go back to Holland for an operation. The same day Ingrid fell, Chinese surveyors invaded Mto
with armed guards, demanding entry to survey the land. We learned the Ugandan government has proposed a high speed rail link from Kampala to Nairobi with a bridge across the Nile, straight through Mto Moyoni! They say the decision will be made by 16th August whether to issue a compulsory purchase order on Mto.
That same week we also had a cobra slithering through our house and an electrical fire in one of the cottages that smouldered out to nothing. Maybe the high speed railway plans will do the same.
We were shaken, but not stirred by this cocktail of events!
Simplifying the work with babies in the community
Our shift of focus in 2012 to keep vulnerable families together has meant that for almost two years AcaciaTree has had no resident babies. This is one reason we have decided to vacate our rented AcaciaTree property. Another, is that the changing economy means a worthwhile profit can really only be made from larger scale pig and chicken farming, so we have also decided to close the farm project for
now. Sadly, we say goodbye to some great staff. Desire is going back to the village to build relationships with her newly discovered family. Mega and Andrew are both looking for new jobs. We plan to continue supporting Blessed in her passion for the community outreach.
In simplifying our approach and reducing overheads, we will be able to direct available funds to make a bigger difference in vulnerable lives. This ensures that the community work to support families will continue and enable Robin's personal support to be reinstated after 3 years. Meeting the base costs of only $1,000 a month has meant putting other project costs first.
The Zemba Board believes it right to address these issues now by closing the residential aspect of the work, along with its farm, to make a significant difference where it really is felt.
We are so thankful for partnerships - partnership with our supporters around the world and partnership with our passionate Ugandan colleagues. We count both as great friends.