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Programme update March 2008

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13 – 16th March Collin and team training in IDP Camp Tororo
19th March Fiona Lex and family arrive for holiday
21 -23rd March Alex and team to Gulu.
28th March – 16th April Kenyan INDA team visit Gulu
14/18 April KEST Preaching conference. Final session.
24th April ? Alex to Le Pelgrim in Belgium
13 – 16th May Uganda Youth Forum National Conference in Kampala
23rd May – 10th July Ian in UK and Belgium
29th July – 15th August Christians in Schools Team (CIST) visit Uganda and work with YEA team.

The following news is based on a conversation with Ian this afternoon – apologies that this will be summarised by me rather than reports direct from the team this time!

Collin and YEA team have visited the temporary IDP camp for the Kenyans based just over the border in Tororo on a number of occasions over the last few weeks. They were invited by World Vision to help organise youth activities in the camp. Teachers and youth workers from within the camp were gathered together to form a youth team and a Youth Information Tent has been set up. The YEA team have undertaken a mixture of training in youthwork, lifeskills, Sunday School training, and health education, with a view to this being self-sustaining in the future. The situation in Kenya seems to be settling and it is hoped that the displaced people will be able to return soon.

Alex and the YEA team will be going to Gulu over the Easter weekend to take on the work that the Kenya INDA team were to have done and that could not be postponed.
Now that the Kenyan security issues have eased, from 28th March to 16th April the Kenya INDA team will go to Gulu to work mainly in the IDP camps with the young people and children.
There are 40 Kenyan high school leavers in the INDA team headed up by Pastor Kip. They will be spending 2 days at the Kampala YEA HQ (Ian and Collin’s home) en route to Gulu for orientation, staying in a mixture of accommodation in the house, tents in the compound and friends houses locally. Annette, one of the YEA team who has recently finished her education and wants to study to be a hotel manager, is responsible for the catering – Ian comments it is like preparing for an army exercise – 40 is a large team!
Christopher in Gulu has found a vacant house with a compound for their accommodation whilst there. They will be self-catering – again with Annette’s help. The Kenyan team are self-funding so on a very restricted budget.
They will return to the YEA HQ for two days for debrief at the end of their time in Gulu.

Collin has been in discussion with the BUU for some while as they invited YEA to provide training for their youth teams. Training is now set to go ahead in various parts of the country.

BMS Action Teams – BMS have been restricting where their youth action teams can work in Uganda and it has been suggested that Ian may visit BMS HQ in Didcot whilst in the UK to update the BMS on the current security situation in Uganda.

Ian is now booked onto a SN Brussels flight on 23rd May arriving in Heathrow 10.10am. He will get on a train and be in Bognor in time for a late lunch.

He is flying back on 10th July at “some unearthly hour in the morning”, from Heathrow, connecting in Brussels like last year. It is hoped that Zach can book on the same flight so that they can fly together. It is also hoped that Alex will return from Belgium to Uganda and meet up with them on the flight from Belgium.

Ian will be spending some time with his family, some time in Bognor Regis and also in Belgium plus other visits where possible. He needs the use of a car between 18th June and 1st July, so if you can help provide this, please see me.

They are quite frustrated about this at the moment as they have been very near to completion for some time but have met with delays. As they have now spent the funds raised they plan to make a list of specific things for a final fundraising event to complete the equipping of the campsite. However, it could be open for small groups almost immediately.

The current vehicle has recently been serviced and the bodywork attended to so it is prepared for work again!
The possible second vehicle is now in the line of containers that have been backing up at Mombassa port unable to move due to the recent Kenyan conflict. Silver has the documents and is waiting for a call to go to the border to meet the container so that it can enter Uganda. On arrival in Kampala, it will initially go into a Bonded Warehouse where Silver can inspect it. If this vehicle is not thought to be suitable for them, they will immediately search for another one as the money has now been raised so they can act quickly if something comes up.

The internet and email situation have been “horrendous” and they have been once more emailing from internet cafes. However, this morning Ian discovered that the problem may not be their computer or modem as MTN has had a serious problem for a week. He is now hopeful that once the service provider has rectified their problem, all will be connected and working again.

General cost of living has stabilised now to about 10% above what it was before the Kenyan troubles. Fuel is available now and down in price too but not back to normal and is very expensive upcountry. However, electricity is now three times more expensive than before and is apparently the most expensive in Africa.

They are experiencing big thunderstorms in the night at the moment with lightening and heavy downpours of rain from about 2am all through the night. This makes sleeping difficult when you have a tin roof! It is fine during the day and everything is green again.

As mentioned last month, the invitations and opportunities for the YEA ministry continue to grow. More leaders are emerging to take additional responsibility and the volunteer team is growing. Much of the day to day work is funded by the monthly budget we send over, funds raised by the volunteers and supporters in Uganda, and contributions from the churches they visit. In addition, our Belgium partners are regularly contributing to the work. However, there is still need to support the volunteers by sponsoring them for the bigger trips. We give thanks that the immediate needs have now been covered by gifts over the last month but continue to pray for regular donations for future work.

We praise God for the generous giving that has enabled us to raise the money that is expected to be required for a second vehicle.

PLEASE PRAY for Alex’s preparation and financial provision to spend time in Belgium. His application for a Shengen visa can take 4 – 6 weeks to process and he is unable to book a flight until his visa is granted. The Shengen visa also stipulates a specific health insurance that is expensive. They are meeting with Pastor Andrew of KBC this week.
Pray too for wisdom in planning, safety in travelling, and health and strength for all the teams.

Thelma Edwards, 16th March 2008.