• sarah@healingeyes.org

Author Archives: nikki

A day in Africa

A day in Africa is a day like no other. It’s mixed with many highs and lows. There’s an odd satisfaction one experiences here when accomplishing a task that in America would be so simple to do. For example…

  • Going to the grocery store is twice as difficult in Uganda than it is in Michigan.
  • Going to children’s homes is an ordeal. It involves parking the car and then walking far distances on dirt paths thru a blazing hot desert.  All so I can just share a report card and remind parents to buy school supplies. In Michigan this task would only entail a simple phone call.

Sigh…I’m tired and missing home. The simple conveniences of

  • Driving my car in a familiar city.
  • Fitting in and being unnoticed by people.
  • Sitting on the couch with my husband.

In Uganda, I’m being pulled in all directions. I’m visiting politicians , signing papers, designing a future school building, leading widows in a start-up tailoring program, and caring for kids that aren’t my own.
It’s all moving faster than usual in Uganda and I can’t help but think it’s God pushing me to hold up my end of the bargain. He’s calling me to actually build a school in a foreign country! Imagine that….too impossible and frightening for me to swallow whole..so I’m taking it in bites, one piece at a time.

nikki

The Tailoring Program has Begun

It was fun and encouraging today to welcome two widows into the new tailoring program we are testing out in Uganda!! Our tailoring teacher is a much needed blessing to the project. I’m excited to see where this takes Healing Eyes and the lives of the widows we impact. The sewing machines were donated to us by a ladies group in Michigan and I can already see how God is opening new relationships by starting this project. Thank you for supporting our widows!

 

nikki

Uganda Update 1/18/17

It’s been a sad night here in Africa. Donald just left to fly back to America. He has a 6 hour drive at night, and then a 3 hour wait at the airport – all before his 20+ hours of flying. Pray he makes it to the airport with no car accidents… Traveling at night is dangerous in Uganda with the over loaded semi trucks that often tip over. (NOTE: He did make it with no car accidents…thanks for your prayers!!)
Tears were shed and this night will be a sad and lonely one. At least I have the 4 kids and jaja Margaret to keep me company. God will comfort.

There is a lot to do here and there are many sacrifices to be made for complete strangers and new friends. I received a letter from the man caring for our pigs today. It was so uplifting. He wrote, Aunt Sarah don’t be discouraged here and that often people will be against our work but the few that understand want us here. He wrote he is praying for my health and wished me to not be discouraged. It was as nice surprise and I will treasure his message, especially right now as I am a stranger in a foreign land. Oh he also wrote that it must be God’s doing sending me here since not many would come here and he’s glad I did. This letter was not only an encouragement in the fact that we are beginning to build relationships and some of the villagers really value our ministry, but it also felt like God was speaking through it to just encourage me and Healing Eyes in general in the work we are doing.

I still have a list of things to do. Many won’t be simple, like finding a way to pay for our new head teacher and the petrol and another girl I want to place in boarding school. This one girl pulls at my heart because she is 13 and is at this age where men will begin tempting her with sexual favors for something as small as pretty shoes and clothes. She is extra vulnerable to choosing the wrong path, and unfortunately these situations are very prevalent here. So I desire to remove her from these influences by placing her at a boarding school I found until we can build our school. Her name is Monica, and she currently lives with her grandfather who is very old. Her parents are gone. It’s difficult to pick and choose, but right now if I can find someone too partner with us for $35 a month it would change her life dramatically.

Why do I do this? Choose a lonely path for people who don’t know right from wrong and struggle with following Jesus? Who will cheat me at any chance? Because God said help the orphans, there will always be poor but it’s what we do today that honors God and makes Him smile.

nikki

Dush, Shrubs, School Supplies

We’ve been traveling miles down dusty roads. The roads here are incredibly dusty because it’s the dry season. Translation?.. no rain in over 3 months plus the hot African Sun equals dust on dust on dust. Today we went all day without food, save a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. Due to the busyness of the day, I forgot to stop and drink any water, a regrettable mistake. However, the day was very fruitful! We bought school supplies for 5 children who will be starting boarding school. It was quite a feat to accomplish in Mbale. A town where everything is bartered for and sold at different shops lining the unsanitary roads. The smell of sweat and burning trash overwhelms the senses.

I’ve come to realize, you either love, hate, or endure this country. I am undecided as of yet if its love or sheer determination to succeed that keeps us going. Either way it is a mission that stands before us, a very insurmountable and overwhelming endeavor God has placed on our lap.

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We have been trying to find a way to mark the new land. Originally, we thought a fence was the best idea but that idea has since been defeated. The cost of materials is far too high. God is good, He showed us a better idea that is far more appealing! We will plant a hedge around the border of the land and watch it grow over the year. There is a wonderful landscaper in Mbale who will sell us the plant. Without hesitation, we put a deposit on them. When the rainy season starts in April, we hope to plant.

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…and so ends another long day in Africa.

nikki

Uganda Update 1/9/17

Wow what a day in Africa!

We finally received one of our missing pieces of luggage via a taxi and then boda boda delivery guy! We are still waiting on one more suitcase.

Today we visited our pigs and to our surprise the second pig gave birth to 6 piglets!! We can’t tell you how excited we are to see the initial success with this “farming” venture.

Thanks to a generous friend in Michigan, we were able to purchase a bike to help with carrying water back to the pigs. Those taking care of the pigs were very happy to receive the bike for this project because the local borehole is far away and now they can carry 5 Jerry cans full of water!

Lastly we visited the home of one of our sponsored kids and talked with his mother about sending him to boarding school. We informed her on what she needed to buy for her son. We believe the only way he will see the importance of education is if his whole family is involved and bought into the process. We asked her to buy the supplies he needs so it’s more of a team effort in hopes that receiving this education can spark a brighter future.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Donald and I are healthy and starting to get over jet lag:)

Here are a few pictures from our first days in Uganda!

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nikki

Break My Heart Backstory

It seems a lot of hearts are breaking/reeling after the election. Some feel helpless, some are confused, some are excited, and some are heart broken. Whatever you’re feeling, I can tell you that we serve a God who is bigger than any election. He’s higher than all kingdoms and rulers. Psalm 22:7 says, “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him.”

With that in mind, I wanted to share a little back story on Healing Eyes. Last week I asked you to really seek out/find out what breaks your heart. Well, Healing Eyes was started because a heart was broken. Sarah, the founder of Healing Eyes, began this journey because God broke her heart for widows and for orphans. This was an incredibly painful journey that she was/is on. Sarah allowed her own heart to be broken for the widows and orphans in a small village in Uganda. She took her own grief and heartache and started Healing Eyes. She prayed for guidance and direction and found the exact spot that God was calling Healing Eyes too.

While I was in Kenya with Sarah, I had the opportunity to witness God’s leading in Healing Eyes and see how Sarah was wholeheartedly on board and open to the Lord’s leading. During that time, God broke my heart for the African people and he specifically showed me an avenue to help by partnering with Sarah and Healing Eyes.

It’s scary to quit your job and start a non-profit from scratch! It’s a lot of work to drum up volunteers and money for these widows and orphans. It’s much easier to numb our hearts to the pain in the world and not allow God to break our hearts for people half way across the world, but I ask that you allow God to break your heart. Talks with your family. Talk with your friends. Talk with your co-workers and let this season of giving come to life by being apart of something bigger than yourself!

  • Nikki
nikki

Break My Heart

We pray for God to give us his eyes. We pray for Him to give us His heart. Lord break our heart for what breaks yours. Lord use me. I wonder how often do we really allow our heart to be broken? How often does that brokenness evoke action? God works through His people. In a sermon I was recently listening to, the pastor was talking about Isaiah’s first encounter with God. Up until this time, Isaiah knew God. Isaiah talked of God, and Isaiah prophesied, but Isaiah hadn’t come face to face with God. He hadn’t seen God. It was after this encounter that Isaiah was given a vision. When God gives us a vision, that transpires all previous knowledge. It goes against the flow. Often it seems impossible. He destroys our ideas and dreams and replaces them with His ideas and dreams that are inconceivable but so so beautiful. Sometimes the Lord calls us to be the visionary, but sometimes he calls us to simply partner with someone who is already a visionary.

Uganda Africa is an incredible place. It’s full of hard-working, joyful, inquisitive people. There’s a lot of beauty to be found, but in the same glimpse there’s a lot of heartache. We’ve entered the month of Thanksgiving. It’s during this month that I urge you to begin praying about what breaks your heart. What is God trying to show you and how can you get involved? Be on the lookout for a series of upcoming blogs on this topic of a heart like Christ’s.

Healingeyes was founded because God broke Sarah’s heart for the widows and orphans near Mbale. What is God breaking your heart for? When he reveals His vision to you, will you act? Maybe God is asking you to partner with Healingeyes in helping these widows and orphans, maybe he’s asking you to do something totally different. I ask that you seek the Lord and follow His leading. I’d love to hear how God is working in your life, and what your heart breaks for!

Nikki

nikki

The Land is Purchased

The land is officially ours! Thanks to many prayers, donations, and the Lord, Healing Eyes has officially purchased soil in Uganda that will house a primary school, library, and clinic. It’s been an incredibly difficult but rewarding journey of trusting the Lord. I can honestly say that the only way we were able to finally purchase this land was because it is the Lord’s will.  We faced much opposition but the survey stones have been laid and the land is now ours!

Donald placing the survey stones!

Donald laying the survey stones!

Sarah and Jon laying the stone!

Sarah and Jon laying the stone!

Following the purchase and laying of survey stones, we let loose back at the school. We introduced some new games to the kids. Although none of them had ever heard of football or duck duck goose, the kids loved it! Later, kids began to come up to Sarah and show her their wounds. Sarah has become quite the medic. Countless children came to Sarah, pointing out wounds and thanks to the medical supplies brought by Donald, it was no trouble to bandage up all of the kids. Hopefully we will be able to use antibiotics soon too, but we aren’t a clinic… yet 🙂
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It was another jam-packed, but joy-filled day, and God continually provides strength to get the job done. Praise God for answered prayers, and pray for continued direction and energy.

 

nikki

African Widows

Sometimes I can’t take photos of what I experience and often my words can’t even express the logic here but I’ll do my best. Widows here have it bad!

I was visiting a young widow who lost her husband unexpectedly last week in the nearby village since one of her children attends the school we are partnering with. It happened to be the day the clan family was gathering to discuss her future. What I learned was sickening and as I am here longer and longer I am seeing why the culture is the way it is and why change is so hard here.

The men were meeting to discuss who would care for the widow. At first that sounds rather nice of the clan but this is the hard truth of it. The man who will be chosen can have the option to marry her if she accepts but most likely because of the fear of AIDS neither will agree. This then leaves the widow the right to stay on the land but the man will not feed her or the children. So what does she have for options?

The clan woman can meet and persuade her to find a man who she can sleep with for food, exchange sex to survive. Now this widow is a Christian, which means she might not go for this option. If she doesn’t choose this path she could return to her native village and hope someone will care for her with a little food, however, she might not bring her 4 children with. Now another choice is find someone to marry, however again this is difficult because Christians fear AIDS and non-believers do not care about getting AIDS and would rather just not know. This means she fears marrying again. Now if she does find a man that man most likely will not take her 4 children and so those children now will be abandoned to perhaps a clan aunt or grandmother but this doesn’t mean they will be fed.

So if you’re a young widow here you have pretty bad odds of surviving…Starve, have sex, or marry and leave your children.

 

Another sickening reality here is if you’re a young girl reaching age 14 or 15 and you have grown up with no help and little food you will begin ‘playing sex’ with older men in order to get enough money to buy a simple thing like menstruation pads and/or a bit of food. These girls will not care about getting AIDS because no one here wants to get tested and fears the stigma that attaches to it. If you are a widow and your husband dies from AIDS they will try to hide it by turning to alcohol before the man dies so that people will say he died from drinking.

nikki

Feeling Outnumbered

Helpless in Africa or just beginning to realize the terrible fact that we are out numbered my kids and drunkards.
Now I just need to hide out from my enemies a bit longer and kick butt tomorrow in the village with fixing huts lol. Yesterday at the destroyed home of agatha there was one guy and 15 kids standing on the fallen tree. I stood there thinking ok let’s fix this house now. But realized oh we need men and oh they are all drinking alcohol down the road and my only guy is half blind and I’m a small lady. So God what miracle will you work for me this week?

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