Day 1: Traveled from Rubuguri to Kihiihi
Day 2: Traveled from Kihiihi to Queen Elizabeth and the Game Drive
Day 3: Traveled to Lake Edward
Day 4: Traveled to Katwe to see Salt Mining
Day 5: Traveled to Lake Bunyonyi, the deepest lake in Uganda and children's games
*The following is the report from Pastor Gerald Tugume
The first day for the Batwa Children's Christmas trip was on December 19, 2016. Two buses drove to the Seeds of Hope School and orphanage for the Batwa children and picked up 136 Seeds of Hope Children. We then proceeded to drive to Kanungu District, Kihiihi Town, the town near by the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The journey started promptly at 11:00am and we arrived at 4:00 pm to Kihiihi at the travelers lodge where the children slept as they were exhausted from the trip.
It was an interesting traveling moment with the children as they experienced the first drive since they were born. Many children became so much emotional towards the drive as they were filled with fear; other children vomited a lot and became sick on the way as we were still traveling. Before the trip we were vey much ready and prepared with pain killers and we had enough in our first aid box.
During the travel to Kanungu just on that first day, the children experienced so much as they had never traveled out of the village. It actually was a visionary trip for the children. This trip opened the minds of the children. As we were traveling I heard the children shouting out different things:
I want to by a truck like that!
I will build a house like this!
I will drive a car like this!
And there were so many other stories! This trip from the very beginning, even before reaching our destination, the children were excited, open minded and already dreaming big! An interesting part of the travel, some of the children did not know that there were other villages or other people in other places. They thought the earth was only them and only Rubuguri. Now these children are thinking beyond Rubuguri which is an interesting part of life! To God be the glory!
First Day Evening Devotions:
The Forerunner of the Lord, Malachi 4:5-6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the heats of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with the curse.
Prayer: Dear Father, I thank You and Your servants who prepare for what is to come. Make me into such a servant. In Jesus name. Amen
The children woke up at 5:00am, ate a good breakfast and at exactly 6:00am they were already in the bus traveling to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a game drive. This was the greatest adventure that the children enjoyed.
Before we even entered the park gate, the children were already viewing many different types of animals. They were so excited screaming and shouting as they saw many birds and animals and different trees and things they have never seen with their eyes.
After paying at the gate, we had a guide take us on the game drive. During the game drive we saw thousands of animals and birds and different creations. Oh! How I love the Jesus of all creations!
During the game drive we drove many times around the park looking for climbing lions and we could not find them for about three hours. After we stopped the vehicles and decided to pray because the children really wanted to see the climbing lions. As we were still praying, closing our eyes, the game ranger who was guiding us spoke in a low voice, "They are up in the tree." So we were praying under the tree and they were up the tree, but before we started praying we had moved all over the park and we had not seen anything like a climbing lion, but during the prayers God brought the lions up the tree where we were praying from and even before we finished praying, the children and the teachers were already screaming and shouting:
I can see one!
I can see two!
We did not finish to pray because everyone was already seeing the lions climbing in the tree. We saw five climbing lions! I must say that this was the most important and exciting moment of the day as climbing lions are the most special animals to witness in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. After seeing the lions we went on driving through the park. The teachers were teaching the children different things about the trees, birds and the many different animals.
At exactly 1:00pm, we had our packed lunch. So we sat at the Queen Elizabeth offices and the children ate their lunch which was a variety of fruits, vegetables, eggs, water, bread, and sodas. We really had a good packed lunch!
After lunch we went for the second chance game drive still seeing and viewing different types of animals and many other things in Queen Elizabeth. What I must say is that we got the best time and the best moment seeing the best of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The children saw all the animals found in the park with the exception of only a few like the leopards.
At exactly 3:45pm we drove back to Kihiihi town where we were sleeping. The children took a hot shower and rested. We had evening devotions at 6:30pm. During the evening devotions the children sounded to have loved God the more because of the greatest opportunities He had give them to see what He created. The children thanked God for such a great Christmas gift and some children said they testified,
Thank you God because I am not an animal!
This was said because they saw lions eating buffalo so they were scared and and asked themselves if they were animals, would they be eaten by lions everyday?
Second Day Evening Devotions
Rejoice Highly Favored One, Luke 1:26-28
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to Virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of DAVID. The virgin's name was Mary and having come in the angel said to her, REJOICE, HIGHLY FAVORED ONE, THE LORD IS WITH YOU: BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN.
Prayer: Lord, you have awesome things to say to each and every one of us. Things that You want us to bear and give birth to. Help us to listen, obey, bear and do all that you desire. In Jesus name. Amen.
The third day of the trip we went to Lake Edward, the lake around Queen Elizabeth National Park, to learn about fishing and boating. The children enjoyed boat riding for the first time and also caught some fish. After the boat ride and catching the fish, we enjoyed eating deep fried fish at Lake Edward.
After the Lake Edward trip, the buses took the children to the new land to see the land and praying over the land. We spent some good time at the new land and also the children sat at the land and felt the peace of the Lord while at the new land.
We went back to the lodge at 6:00pm and the whole day trip was amazing. New things, greater adventures, and experiencing the love of God.
Third Day Evening Devotions
Mary's Yes, Luke 1:34-38
Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have not any man," and the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the highest will overshadow you, therefore, also that the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Prayer: God in heaven, I thank You that Mary said "YES." She was willing to let it be according to Your Word. Help me to live my life according to Your Word. In Jesus name. Amen.
At the fourth day the children traveled to Lake Katwa, near Kasese. to see the salt mining process. It was so exciting as the children learned a lot of things not only at the lake with mining, but even while still traveling a lot of adventures and lessons. It was not only exciting and enjoyable, but it's also helpful to the children in their educational performances. After the salt mining we drove back to Kihihi where the children were sleeping because of the distance we had to travel.
Fourth Day Evening Devotions
Mary's Joy, Luke 1: 46-49
And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name."
Prayer: Lord help me to praise, worship and rejoice before You and Your counsel and Your promises, which You have promised to fulfill. Blessed be the name of the Lord, in Jesus name. Amen.
It was on Friday December 23 when the children of Seeds of Hope took off from Kihiihi, Queen Elizabeth to Bunyonyi, the deepest and most touristic lake in Uganda and east Africa. Lake Bunyonyi is located right in Kabala District Uganda. The meaning of Bunyonyi is many small birds. At this lake there are so many small birds so the lake was named after the number of many birds that are found around it. We arrived at Lake Bunyonyi at midday and had lunch. After lunch the children started playing with other children. Friday was a children's day at Lake Bunyonii and there were many bouncing houses, swings, skipping ropes, and many games for the children. I was so excited for this moment for the children since they have never seen these games for children. They enjoyed so much and made many friends. They relaxed and enjoyed all the things so much up into the evening. Then we took off to Rubuguri where we arrived late evening. A Christmas party had been prepared for them on the morning of Saturday, December 24.
Fifth Day Evening Devotions
To Bethlehem, Luke 2: 1-5
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
Prayer: Thank You Father for working in even in the most adverse and uncomfortable circumstances so that your good and perfect will is fulfilled and the world is blessed. In Jesus name.
The trip was the most important gift ever a parent can give a child! These children's lives have been totally transformed. The visions are just so big. They are now thinking of becoming greater men and women of God.
Message from the Children
Thank you to all our sponsors, our dear parents, who gave through Hope Ministries Uganda:USA. Thank you so much for making this happen in our lives. What our ears have never heard and how our eyes have never seen, you made it possible for us. We promise never to let you down. May the Lord richly bless you!