Dear Friends,

After many attempts at a newsletter while on the road, here is our latest!

Since you last heard from us we have clocked up a lot of miles. It began with a road-trip to Oklahoma and then David hopped over to Uganda for two months. On his return we visied friends in Michigan, California and Oregon, while the girls enjoyed their grandparents in Texas and time with their cousins at summer camp. Then, after David took an unexpected trip back to the UK (a work opportunity), the entire family made a 2,200 mile round trip to Georgia. And back in time for a family wedding. Phew! These miles enabled us to visit friends, some who serve on our board, some already known to all of us and some new to each of us! It has been so good. Sarah Bella's summer highlight was a gift of real cowboy boots and Rayah's was seeing friends - after all, her name means joyful friend!

Lots of memories have been forged. We have had many conversations engaging us in a new way with our work and call as a family. As a couple, we had a great time in Austin with Fatherheart Ministries. The adventure it was to get there, a miracle in itself, illustrated how much we are loved. We came away renewed in the rest of surrendering to his good care. The Father sent his son to restore us to the life of his original plan. To live in unity and agreement with him is the fulness of life he promises. We desire to carry that message in all we do. It is the message Uganda needs and is critical as we work in family strengthening. To attend only to material needs is to ignore what we were all made for.

We have had to extend our stay in the US in order to complete the process of obtaining American citizenship for Rayah & Sarah. This is an important step in strengthening our own family, though it keeps us away from Uganda. Two nationalities, instead of three, will reduce the need for visas and simplify travel for us. As a family, we are still dependent on the support of others. We are amazed and humbled by each step God enables us to take and enjoy. We are blessed!

Read on to find out how things continue in Uganda. We miss being with Blessed and Andrew as they enjoy the first months with their son, Liam, who was born on the 4th of July. We had great news about Tendo's resettlement with his mum and grandma, but now face the reality that sometimes resettlement is not straightforward. Please continue to support us in our aim to see kids happy and safe in strengthened families.

We couldn't do it with out you!

David & Robin Stearns, Zemba Children's Foundation
Halima and the twins ...

These are some of the children benefiting from Zemba's work in the community. There are over twenty families in our program at present, with other families waiting for help. We continue to work alongside other organisations that offer business training and start-up capital. Our aim is to see families strengthened and kids rehabilitated so that they stand strong without us, and become families that work with us. Together we can then assist other vulnerable families where children are at risk. We are considering a family sponsorship program to fund this. If you are interested in sponsoring a family strong, please let us know.
Let me know more about sponsoring a FAMILY STRONG
resettlement ...

Tendo was referred to Zemba in May for intensive foster care. He made a great recovery, but sadly his resettlement has faltered.

Sylvia is fourteen. After being defiled by a 31 year old, HIV positive man, Sylvia gave birth to Tendo. This young mother is both mentally and physically disabled. “When my mother found out I was pregnant, she whipped me,” Sylvia recalls.

Sylvia, who also suffers from epilepsy, relies on her mother for constant care. Looking after Tendo in his early months was a real struggle for the family. Advised not to breast feed, Sylvia fed Tendo cassava porridge and he quickly began to suffer from malnutrition. The cassava root has no nutritional value and is used in some slimming products.

Tendo's vulnerability soon became very evident to the family and their neighbours.
Premature baby clothes swamped his tiny frame when local authorities placed Tendo with us in May. At four months old, he weighed just under 6lbs (2.7kg). His rapid progress on good nutrition showed both in weight gain and in his cheerfulness. His mum and auntie enjoyed visiting and seeing Tendo's dramatic turnaround. Quickly progressing to new born clothes, he was healthy and strong when he went home with his mum and grandma after three months.

Sadly, things have not gone as we had hoped. Tendo is back in Zemba's care. Blessed and Andrew will foster him while we find the best solution for both Sylvia and Tendo. This is a sensitive situation and we really appreciate your support.

Blessed & Andrew announced the birth of their son Liam
Andrew writes: "Liam has started to talk and Joshua said he called him 'BAABA' meaning elder brother. He never wore newborn clothes! Now he puts on 3-6 months! He used to breathe like Malaika because he had got some infection at birth. He breast feeds a lot which makes Blessed to drink jugs and jugs of porridge. He is quite a boy. He complains a lot whenever he gets hungry. He sleeps well, though he likes being held to a chest. At 3 weeks he started kicking and moving his head left and right. He likes bathing and when we get him out of the basin he cries."
Despite being a new dad, Andrew expanded our poultry business by adding 50 more chickens to our 100 strong hen house. These are a new variety, said to be good for both eggs and meat. We want to start producing rich, yellow yolked eggs with these new hens. These yield a higher profit. Developing this part of the local income generation is important for our sustainability model and for family strengthening. We want to identify families that can be strengthened through running small scale poultry projects, to bring a good source of protein and potentially cash from sales, into their homes.
Zemba is far from self-sufficient
We still rely heavily on gifts to our non-profit.

Despite seeing a fall in income, and that for many months it is been tough to meet all the expenses, we have seen amazing favour and provision both as an organisation and as a family. Robin has foregone a salary for most of the past year to make that possible. Living in the UK and US (both more expensive than Uganda!) without regular income for us both, has been a new challenge.

The guesthouse (small hotel) we are building will provide another income stream as well as a good source of employment and core business for developing others. We cannot progress to completion until we return to Uganda and have had to ring-fence money designated for it. The construction of the guesthouse is independently funded and does not benefit from funds given to Zemba, though Zemba will be a big beneficiary in the future.
Up, up and away ... amazing favour, provision and great blessings in kind!

Thanks to an old friend of David's, now a new friend of Robin's, we were able to fly around the country, paying only the tax on our flights. In Michigan, we were with the Fryes for the official court adoption of Grace, who was just 4 days old when Zemba received her. It was so good to see how Grace and her brother EJ (also in Zemba's care as a baby) have become a part of their extended family and how loved they are.
We love Dale and Sarah, the first friends we made as a couple. They were introduced to us by Anna and Gabe Kalmbacher. They too live in Holland, Michigan. We caught up with them and their daughter Julia, who was also briefly in our care as a baby. Anna is involved with a organisation that advocates for children in Uganda. We are blessed to have such affirming friends who love Uganda.
From Michigan to Austin for a week, then we flew to LA and made more old friends new! Driving up the coast, through the Californian Redwoods, we enjoyed the incredible beauty all the way to Oregon and Shawn & Courtney Zimmerman. They had become friends while living in Uganda and had adopted Ava, one of Robin's early charges back in New Hope days. Yet more wonderful people! It was good to see these families doing so well.

We don't advocate for or against international adoption and we are not an adoption agency or an orphanage! We do celebrate when adoption is done well, in the best interests of the children. In these cases international adoption was considered to be the best option.

Robin was badly affected by poisoned oak in the last part of the trip and became one big 'itch' for over a month, despite 3 steroid shots! We were blessed far beyond what we could afford with all these travel opportunities and great hospitality. We have been so encouraged as we have engaged with friends and family. Seeing the members of our non-profit board was also a very important part of the trips. We feel supported as our family's call to Uganda continues to unfold.
Every child that comes into ZEMBA care has a unique background that influences how we offer support. We hear many single mothers in Uganda say, “I have no food for my children, no house, no blanket and I am dying.’’ Malnutrition is a common result of poverty in our community - poverty you can see and can touch and that is not just material! We integrate nutritional treatment and prevention of acute malnutrition into basic health services so that we can reach more children. We aim to strengthen families to care for them practically and introduced to them the love of the Father who inspires, guides and provides for all we do.
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.
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