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Let the People Rejoice

“You have increased the nation, O LORD. You have increased the nation. You are glorified; You have exalted all the borders of the land.” Isaiah 26:15

Three months ago, we began boldly praying that the Lord would transform the prisons where we work. We specifically prayed for M1: a place where children are left to grow-up in prison. We pleased with God that M1 would instead be a place where children encounter God.

We started small. There was a team of 3 Ugandans discipling children. There were few children wanting to listen, someone was always talking to a friend, another was sleeping, and others were playing cards. It was a tough audience.

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And then last month during discipleship, the kids did not want to go to lunch. They were hungry for God. They wanted Him more than the little food they get everyday. Eleven children asked repeatedly to be baptized. They confessed Christ and believed in His grace and power to raise us from the dead.

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At the same time, we hired two new social workers to care for, advocate for, parent, and teach, the 35 young children at M1, some as young as two years old. And the social workers had a dream: they wanted the sleeping area to be a place of peace, protection, and love. These children had been sleeping on the floor for almost one year and we all longed to get them into beds.

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We reached out to donors and the response made us weep.

One person posted on facebook: “This is ridiculous! My kids are dumping out their piggy banks and I am going to auction off one of my paintings. Bidding starts now; we have to get these kids off the floor!”

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Five Year Anniversary

This month marks the 5th anniversary of Sixty Feet, so we thought we would take a moment to look back and remind ourselves of all the great things God has done and allowed all of us to be a part of.

When we first set foot inside M1 five years ago, we had no idea what to expect or what we were getting ourselves into. We knew it was a place overflowing with needs, but were uncertain how to address them. One thing we were sure of was that God was calling us to step out in faith and respond. Here’s a post I wrote 5 years ago regarding the urgency that we felt: https://www.sixtyfeet.org/2010/04/13/pray-as-you-go/

After that first visit in 2010, and many, many more, we knew God was up to something big. Over these last 5 years, he has been more than faithful and has provided more than we could have ever asked or imagined. We are confident he will continue for many years to come.

The following are just a few of the many highlights from the past 5 years.

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Joining The Celebration

Life for me has been a million miles from easy. I was born into an extremely poor family in Northern Uganda which has suffered for decades from periods of war and famine. I was just a few years old when that man with the smile dressed up so nicely came and convinced my desperate mother that he would provide for me a future that only existed in her dreams, dreams which had nearly faded completely away. I cried when we drove away.

It was only a few hours later that the man with the smile lost his smile. It was only a few days later that he dropped me off to another man who beat me and forced me to sit in the blistering sun on the dangerous streets of Kampala with my hands together, open, as if I was catching drops of invisible water.

At night I longed for my mom. In the morning I longed to escape. At noontime I just wanted food. In the afternoon I dreamed of water, real water falling into my hands and all over my body. In the evening I longed to die. But they provided me with just enough to keep me alive to collect coins for another day.

A few months later a big truck came by with bold letters written on the side. A man in a uniform stepped out, picked me up, opened the back door, and placed me inside.

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Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

“The world waits for a miracle. The heart longs for a little bit of hope. Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel. He is the song for the suffering. He is Messiah. “
– Lauren Daigle

During this advent season, we wait in anticipation for the God who promises to come and wipe away every tear, defeat death, mourning, crying, and pain. But, just as Israel was waiting for their King, we too are waiting for Jesus to come again. Because, one step into M1 and we know that, while He is shining and while there is hope and joy and love, His promise of restoration is not complete.

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Recycled Fun

OwensThis post is written by Shelly Owens, who together with her husband, Dan, and 5 children, moved to Kampala back in August of this year.

One thing that has really struck Dan and me in the time we’ve been living in Uganda: nothing here is wasted.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as environmentally-conscious recyclers. We burn energy efficient lightbulbs, we build low-flow toilets and showers in our houses, and we recycle our morning cereal boxes. But let me tell you… in this regard, us Americans have nothing on the Ugandans. They are light years ahead of us.

Literally nothing in this culture is wasted. An item is used and re-used and re-used and re-used for its original purpose far beyond the point that most Americans would consider it trash. When something really is worn out beyond usage, rather than throwing it away, its function changes. Basically, it’s recycled into something else.

Avocado pits become soccer balls. Old magazine pages become necklaces. Milk cartons become toy cars. Car and motorcycle gears become dumbells. Scrap metal becomes a roof for a family’s home. Nothing is wasted.

Recently, Dan and I had to replace the tires on our family’s car. We contacted Daniel, who works as the SixtyFeet transportation coordinator, and asked for his help. He came the next morning to pick up our car and promptly returned it that afternoon with four shiny new tires. There was only one problem: