This is our last night in Masaka. Tomorrow we drive all the way back to Jinja, and then after a one-night stop, on to Mbale.

[From Gail]

Every time we come to Uganda, I try to take some time to visit my friend Irene. She is the Director of Prison Fellowship Ministry in Uganda. She does a fine job visiting prisons around the country and seeing what the inmates need. One very big need is for people to care of the children of the mothers who have committed crimes and are imprisoned sometimes for many years. Most often the children are left alone with no explanation as to where their mother disappeared to – there is little organized social service in Uganda to do this. The police come, arrest the mother, and no one looks to see whether there are children in the house or at school.

Irene herself has 20 children that she has taken in over the years, and she houses and feeds them and sends them for schooling at her own expense. That is a big undertaking, but God has given her the heart for these children. It is a big task to raise funds for schooling for so many, and she struggles each semester. I enjoy seeing the kids when I visit if they are home from school (they all board at their schools), and during this trip it is a school holiday, so I did see them and we had a great time.

Irene and I planned the time for my visit this trip, and with the children home, she asked me to prepare a morning Bible study to share with them. I, of course, said I would. BUT, this is a bit out of my comfort zone. There is a variety of ages among the kids, so how do I make it interesting for all?

My lesson included professional artwork!

It happened that, before we left for this trip, my grandson Micah (age 16) and I were in my backyard at home, and I asked him for some help with this subject. I asked him, “What verses do you find helpful when you’re stressed or worried or afraid about something?” We talked a bit, and he suggested some useful verses. I was so grateful. I began to ask God for further guidance, and the verses Micah gave me about the armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-18 really stuck with me. I am so proud of my grandson who is able to challenge me with scripture! Now, how to make it apply across the ages of the children was the challenge.

I began to get some ideas, and the ideas required cardboard boxes and markers. When I got to Irene’s house with my three boxes (we buy many boxes of water bottles while we are here in Uganda), I told her my ideas. She got a strange look on her face. Irene told me that on Thursday morning 100 children from her village where we were staying were invited to come and have a meeting. Would I be willing to do this Bible study for all of them? Yikes! I am not a children’s teacher, but I said yes. After all, God had given me the idea through Micah, and I had prepared the lesson.

100 village children showed up for the show.

I needed someone to help me design the armor because I was having trouble. Paddy, a young man about Micah’s age among the children at Irene’s house, jumped in and did a wonderful job with every piece of the armor. He knew of ways to attach the pieces that I never would have thought of. It looked terrific!

Thursday morning came, a tent and 100 chairs came, and then so did the 100 children. I was quite nervous. There was a local school master and his teacher wife who came and translated and corralled the kids. They were such a big help! I had a volunteer from among the children, Ian, and Paddy dressed him. Then we demonstrated the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness, the “shin-guards” that cover the feet with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, the Helmet of Salvation, the Shield of Faith, and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

My model dressed in the spiritual armor. (Unfortunately, the children broke the sword playing with it.)

We broke into age groups and discussed the meaning for us and how to apply this armor every day. Then all the kids drew their own version of the armor to take home and ponder. I was very proud of the oldest group (high school age) who took the assignment seriously and did a great job creating pictures of their own versions of the armor.

Although I’ve know Irene for the last four year (we actually met on the plane to Uganda one trip when I was going to meet Bob), she’s never actually seen me teach anything. I’ve only done games and interactions with the children in her home. But she was observing this training time of the children in the village. When I was done, she expressed surprise at what I had done and how I did it. So I guess the Holy Spirit must have taken over because, though I love children, working with large groups of children is not really my thing. I tend to feel more confident one to one. We’ll have to see where this leads the next time I come.

I was grateful for the unexpected blessing. Thank you Micah, Irene and Paddy – and Ian – I couldn’t have done it without you.

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