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When I went to Uganda last January it was because I was compelled to go.  I was working on a document for a school I had never seen, and I knew if I was going to develop and write a plan of some sort, I had to see the school first. I took a step out and traveled across the globe to check out Greater Hope Primary School.  I did a day of training with 8 or so teachers, but mostly I got familiar with the surroundings of what it is like to be in a refugee camp.  Thinking my role would be that of a writer developing an educational model that would work in the camps, I took notes so I could remember when I got home. I didn’t expect to be asked to come back to do a teacher conference a few months later, but my newly opened eyes insisted I go back. What I saw that first trip opened my heart up in a new way to these teachers who are trying to do what I would deem an impossible task.  I was inspired by those who endure enormous hardships and still go teach every day. They know that education is the key for the students they teach and for their country, whenever they are able to return to it.

I figured if they could do what they do every day, the least I could do was some training for them, so I agreed to go back.  In the meantime, I talked to my friend Karin (another WR mom) who had done many teacher trainings at the university level all over Africa.  She jumped onboard and having her experience was God ordained.  The conference hosted 35 teachers from four different refugee schools with an international team of 8 teacher trainers.  When we finished, the teachers asked if we could come each time their students were on break to do more training.  They are hungry for the knowledge I have taken for granted my whole career.  The need is so huge and their hearts so sincere that I couldn’t say no.  Now I am working with both the Greater Hope Initiative and Advancing Leaders International- ALI (Karin’s organization) to do another conference. I leave in two weeks. There will be 50 teachers this time representing more schools in the camp, and 4 of us going to train them along with the Ugandan trainers. The small seed that was planted is growing, and turning into an ongoing relationship with the teachers.

God reminded me of a dream I had some years ago, and all the feelings from it flooded back to me. When I had the dream, I knew nothing of the crisis in South Sudan or the refugee camps in Uganda. Then he reminded me of a word a pastor gave me 30 years ago. The man stopped mid-sermon and said, “God sees your heart for Africa and orphans. He is going to change children’s lives there through you.”  I told him I didn’t have a heart for Africa, and I didn’t know anyone there.  After asking me a few more questions, he simply said, “Hold onto this.” I thought he was crazy and had totally missed it.  Shows how much I know.  I also came across an old journal from college where I wrote down a prayer.  I had been to a boys’ home for orphans as part of a class assignment, I told the Lord I felt a call to work with orphans and that I would do what he asked of me. A simple prayer, written when my heart was stirred, that I had forgotten.  Each of these things has been confirmation that I am following what he has had planned for me for a long, long time.

I am excited to be going back again, and since I have finally seen a bigger picture (that it will be an ongoing effort) I am in need of a ministry care team to come alongside me.  I want people who are stirred in heart by what we are doing and feel the desire to participate.  The team will be teachers who may not be able to go, but want to pour into the teachers we train. It will be educators who are looking for a mission. It will be business people who want to support the vision. It will be friends and family members who want to encourage with words. It will be intercessors who want to cover us in prayer.  If you feel the desire to be a part of my ministry care team, please email me at michellegunnin@adventures.org.  I’d love, love, love to have a conversation with you.

In the meantime, here is the budget for this upcoming trip that leaves in two weeks, if you would like to help contact me and I will happily receive your gift and let you know where to send it.  🙂

Budget for Trip

Personal expenses I incur each time I go- (These are not covered by my job.)

Shots/malaria meds- $500

Visa-$50

Airfair- $2,000 (international flights as well as in country hopper flight)

Lodging in Entebbe – $150

Slumberland hotel in Arua for 13 days- $170

Food- $150

Split expenses

Ground transportation to camps-$700  (split by our team)

Supplies/books-  $400

Computer for school- $600

Teaching supplies for teachers (list so far)

Action Packer- (plastic foot locker that we leave there for storage)

Ziploc Bags

String/rope

Clothes pins

Envelopes

Index cards

Word/picture flashcards

Word/picture bingo

Leveled books

Tickets (behavior management system)

Card stock

Tape

Markers

Crayons

Posters/charts for literacy- comprehension, fluency, chunking, vocabulary (Frayer method) Word families

Chart paper for story telling/writing

Poetry books/nursery rhymes

abc songs…player to play them

Library pockets

If you have any of these supplies you’d like to donate, let me know.  We purchase many of these things in country in order to help their economy and get items they are familiar with, so if you want to supply the cash we use to purchase items I will be happy to receive it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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