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Light Broke In

This post was written by Maggie Utsey, one of our international staff who has been serving with us in Uganda for the better part of the year. Her heart and primary focus has been to work with the Karamojong children who frequently find themselves in the facilities where we work after the police round them up off the streets of Kampala where they often are begging or are lost.

This week has revealed to us the Lord’s faithfulness in a new depth of light.

He is the God of breakthrough.

Yes after yes, open door after open door, lifts our eyes to the Giver of good things as He paves the way for children to return home.

Some of the mamas and babies we have been working with this year have returned home to Karamoja after years of being displaced in the city. They are starting businesses and finding joy in their empowerment. They are rising above what people said about them, grabbing hold of the promise God has for their lives.

Their children, once on the street and once living in government facilities, are happy, healthy, and schooling. They spend time each week with our Karamojong staff member, who teaches them their language and culture, as many of them were infants when separated from their mothers and have learned Luganda as their first language. They dance and sing in Luganda and Nga’Karimojong, and bridges are being built between tribes who were historically taught to distrust each other. Parents are reunited with children and relationships grow.

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Counseling Programs Expand

This post is from Katharine Wright who has been serving with us in Uganda for the past 7 months assisting our counseling staff as they expand their services and provide more comprehensive care to the children we serve.

“When I started working for 60 Feet 7 months ago, it was days like last Friday that I hoped to see. Friday was a day of celebration! Some days working here are hard, and progress is slow, but the hard days are necessary for us to learn and for the good days to be even more amazing. On Friday the hard work paid off as we celebrated not one, but two graduations of counseling classes at M1.

As a counseling team we believe that one of our purposes is to create a safe space for children to share. We want to build good relationships and let the children know they are individuals, that they matter that they are not just a number or a problem that needs to be ‘fixed. Along the way we want to equip them for the future and we do this by providing education sessions to develop life skills.

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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.