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I See Heaven

This post is from Emily Ryan who has been serving with us in Uganda for the past 18 months. While she has been here, Emily has been involved in nearly every aspect of our ministry and currently focuses her efforts on reuniting children with their families through our resettlement program.

“I see heaven invading this place. I see angels praising your holy name, and I sing praises, I sing praises. I give you all of the honor Jesus.

I see glory falling in this place. I see hope restored and healing of all disease and I sing praises, I sing praises. I give all the glory Jesus.

We give you praise and all of the honor. You are our God, the one we live for. We give you praise, all of the glory, God. “

Last Tuesday night I received a call from one of our social workers. 108 children were expected to arrive at M1 that night. 108; the population of M1 was going to increase by 30%, in a matter of minutes. 108 children coming from the streets – maybe with clothes on, most likely without shoes, and definitely hungry.

Our staff at M1 were preparing; they needed money for food, clothes, blankets, and mattresses so the children didn’t have to sleep on the cold, hard cement floors. Hours later, 43 children climbed out of a pick-up truck (we are still expecting the others any day). Terrified, lonely, away from their moms, cold, and hungry.

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Children’s Rights and Gospel Hope

When you look at Sixty Feet and the work we do on the ground in Uganda, it may seem overwhelming. We work in so many different areas of ministry throughout the country, but our focus is simple: immediate needs and long term restoration. One of the ways that we provide hope and restoration is through recreational games and events at the centers that we serve. These typically include games from a great organization called Right to Play. These games and activities teach children about their basic rights according to the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Child. Uganda has signed this statement by the UN that expresses the rights that every child should have; from the right to protection in a family to the right to development and education.

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As part of our recreational ministry, we recently hosted a 5K race for the children at M1 along with a team from Sixty Feet USA. This was an event that the children anticipated and talked about during the weeks leading up to it. Even the staff at M1 participated and enjoy these large group events. It gives a chance for children and staff to have fun together and build meaningful relationships.

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Sixty Feet Appoints New Operations Director

Sixty Feet has been continually blessed with high quality men and women who love God and desire to serve him in extraordinary ways. When we began searching for a new Operations Director to take the place of our good friends, the Ferrells, we knew God would bring the right person at the right time. So we are pleased to let you know that once again God has provided for our needs by sending us John and Debbie Houchens.

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John brings more than 20 years of non-profit leadership to the position of Operations Director. Most recently, as Senior Vice President for International Operations for Walk Thru the Bible, John led a team of 12 international partners responsible for recruitment and training of live event instructors and distribution of Walk Thru the Bible resources in more than 100 countries worldwide. Experience in program and marketing, in both domestic and international contexts, made him a great choice for Sixty Feet.

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Soap and Restoration in Jesus Name

A few days ago, the children and staff at M1 piled into the dining hall to learn a new skill: liquid soap-making.

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The atmosphere is changing in this place where children used to wander idly and needs were profound. Now that basic needs are being met – including food security, medical care, and counseling – we are able to pursue the vision of long-term restoration. We are able to ask the question “How do we help these children thrive once they leave M1?” We are able to link arms with gifted, passionate individuals who desire to share their gifts with these children.

One of those individuals is named Agnes. She teaches soap-making and candle-making to groups of different sizes and demographics, and we invited her to lead a training class at M1.

We were unsure what the response from the children would be, but it did not take long to gauge their interest. As Agnes began teaching, there was an overwhelming request for some way to take notes.

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The Owens in Uganda

We started out normal enough. Just a daddy, a mommy, a little girl, and a baby boy. Dan was a corporate software executive. I stayed at home with our little ones. Life was good and busy and our plates were full.

If someone had told us back in 2006, at the time this picture was taken, what our lives and our family would look like in 2014, we’d never have believed them. In our defense, this is a rather drastic difference: