Archive for the ‘Embrace Uganda California Based Trip.’ Category

Here are a couple news stories about Patrick. His surgery is scheduled for tomorrow (05/15). We would appreciate your prayers for tomorrow.




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Patrick and Jane

Patrick and Jane

Patrick (18) was orphaned as a young child. He grew up in the village of Kaihura in Western Uganda. In 2007, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. Two years later, he arrives at Raleigh/Durham International Airport in anticipation of corrective surgery.

Cardiologists and Surgeons from UNC Chapel Hill, in collaboration with physicians from DC Children’s Hospital have been working for several years to establish a Pediatric Heart program at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Under the leadership of Drs Craig Sable and Keith Kocis hundreds of children have been evaluated. Every fall, a team travels to Kampala and several surgical procedures are performed.
In 2008, Patrick was examined by these physicians and diagnosed with two defects (pulmonary stenosis and atrial septal defect) which have significantly affected his heart’s function. Without corrective surgery, he would likely die prematurely of complications. The required procedure was deemed too risky to be done in Uganda at this time, and the work began to try to bring Patrick to the US for surgery. In partnership with other organizations, UNC Healthcare has accepted Patrick to receive the surgery that he needs. It is scheduled for May 18th, 2009.

Patrick and Friends

Patrick and Friends

To learn more about the UNC Uganda Heart program, click here:

Gift of Life International has connected over 10,000 children in 30+ years to hospitals worldwide for medical procedures. In 2008, they committed to helping 30 children from Uganda through the “Our Hearts Are In Uganda” Project. They have been flown to 25 hospitals in 13 nations. Patrick is one of these children. For more information about GOLI,
Visit http://www.giftoflifeinternational.org/pages/uganda.php . This year, a group of students of UNCW in Wilmington, NC created a fundraising event involving skateboarding, music and art and partnered with GOLI specifically to raise funds to benefit Patrick’s journey and medical care. They were able to raise $6,000. Chris Kluesener and four of his co-workers in the “Live For Life 2009” event came and visited with Patrick, shooting hoops, passing a soccer ball and learning about Uganda. Contact Chris at chris@thrustclothing.com

Samaritan’s Purse has partnered with UNC, GOLI and Embrace Uganda to bring Patrick here. They have been on the ground in Uganda for many years, providing staff and support to help children like Patrick. They facilitated his initial evaluation at Mulago Hospital. They have provided assistance with coordination of airline travel for all of the children in the Children’s Heart Project, and are supporting host families with logistical support and interpreters. Learn more at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

A great big THANK YOU to all of the above organizations… THANK YOU also to individuals who have given to Embrace Uganda to help make this possible. As Embrace Uganda, we are able to contribute more than $10,000 to this effort to bringing healing to Patrick. This would not be possible without the commitment and the love of people who continuously put others before themselves.

Please use the Prayer Card as a reminder to pray for Patrick each day.

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The management is issuing a statement of new policy: All extra-church tithing will now go only to people who are going on a mission trip in a developing country. Because here’s the deal, folks. We’re going to come home, and yes, we’re going to be obnoxious and make each and every one of you look at the pictures and videos and hear the endless stories. But you still won’t get it until you go. If every American was required to spend two weeks in a developing country, the world’s wealth would be redistributed in no time at all, and it would be without coercion. It would be the result of brokenhearted people rushing to open their wallets so that this child could get a badly-needed medication…so that this young adolescent girl could have a bar of soap and smell the way she longs to smell…so that this man can get a simple hernia repair. I will never, ever again take a hot shower in my home without thinking of the sweet kids here who heat water for us over an outdoor fire so that we can have a sponge bath. I will never, ever again grumble that dishes have to be loaded into the dishwasher. I’ve watched too many of the people here on their knees for an hour washing our dishes. I will never, ever again use my washing machine without thinking of this place.

Gotta go. Generator’s about to go. Ella, thank you so much for sending us a message!!! Erica, your note was so very, very tender for us. Thank you for keeping my plants alive. Carrie is worried to death about her cat—is he still alive?

Teri Reisser

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It is Sunday night, and my “pregnancy” (the seed planted in my heart) is making me sick, as most pregnancies do in the beginning. I told Faith that I am 57 and probably my nausea isn’t due to pregnancy, but she assures me I am having a wonderful African baby growing in me. And Faith’s favorite phrase goes: “Mmmm…we’ll see. 🙂

Church today in Faith’s church was…indescribable. Picture perhaps 1000 square feet crammed to overflowing with what was probably 300 bodies, counting all the little children. The smallest children (30-40?) sit on the floor up front, on the side, all completely crammed together and you don’t even now they’re there until you pop your head up and actually SEE then. Either they have had the fear of God put in them to behave for the visiting muzungos, or there is zero ADD in Uganda! 🙂

While there are most certainly cultural customs we do not comprehend, I am finding that the Ugandans we have come to know and love this week have sophisticated wits and they love to joke and laugh.

Finally finishing at the clinic on Friday (Paul saw 16 patients, every single one which was extremely complicated, without benefit of electrical lighting, x-ray, diagnostic tools. Paul’s exam room/office is a 4×8 foot room with a desk, three chairs and exam table. The exam table blanket stays on all week without change, with people with malaria, yellow fever, denges, HIV and yellow fever crawl up and down. Paul is doing internal exams on men and women by the light of an open window (not much HIPPA observed here, I’m afraid).

The chores that must be done to keep this compound functional is endless. Sweet Margaret (Faith’s niece) is up no matter how early I get up and seems to be the last to bed each night. When electricity come to Kaihura next year, I am quite determined to do whatever it takes to get a proper washer and dryer installed, as well as a dishwasher. These kids are out in the dark every night until the late hours, washing dishes and endless pots and pans and chopping wood for the endless need for wool in the kitchen, One boy had time for a small time to do a little home improvement project. Tomorrow we want to paint Faith’s bedroom because it will please her greatly. That’s all the reason I need!

Sweating with illness right now. Will let someone else blog,

Ella, my sweet princess, and Zion, my young prince, Grammy is bringing you home something very interesting that you will love so much!


Terri Reisser

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I’m happy to say we have power and I’m excited to connect with all my friends and family back home!

By the way, Crystal says “Hi” to all her family and loved ones in Texas and to all her friends at MPH Entertainment- Get ready, she shot over 15 hours of footage!

This experience has been beyond my wildest dreams. This quote from Louise Hay sums up what I’m feeling at this moment:

“We all live on the same planet, we walk on the same earth, we breathe the same air, everyone is connected to this one life, differences of opinion are wonderful, colorful varieties of expression, but let us always remember…. Love is stronger than all those differences.”

I have never experienced people that loved life and God as much as these villagers that have so little. When we arrived at our first orphanage, children just ran up to the car. I looked down as I felt a little hand slide into mine. I also realize more than ever that this trip is about the people that got us here so the team could work. Support from home provided 33 bags to bring with us containing over a ton of medical/dental equipment, shoes, school/art supplies, clothes, soaps, socks and soccer balls. Using and distributing these supplies has brought so much joy to all involved!

To see the medical and dental clinic in action has truly been a miracle – Dr. Marcello successfully performed oral surgery on a patient in need that tested the limits of the resources available. Dr. Ann has been so loving and careful of pain for each of her patients before the extractions. One little girl just started to cry and shake just looking at the instruments, my job was to hug and hold hands but at times I would just cry as well (trying my best to act like I was not). Vivian and Denise have also been instrumental assisting in the medical clinic. (Vivian says hi to her daughter April!! And she has been sharing everything in the girls room!!)

Dr. Paul and his wife Teri saw patient after patient, some with aliments that have lasted for years. The most touching moment was seeing how humble Dr. Paul was and how inadequate he felt for the task at hand. His daughter Carrie encouraged him and helped give him a second life for the task at hand when she reminded him how amazing he was and what a hero his is to her each and every day.
Patients walk for miles and sit all day to have a visit with one of the doctors and often the medication or x-ray would be the cost of a latté back home.

The best part of each day is when I get to spend time with the children. I believe that through the eyes of a child you can discover your own soul and that has definitely been the case for me. It has been great to see Trevor in action with the Vocational School (kids from 15-20) as he has been having them act out verses in the Bible which has been hilarious to watch. But with everything we prepared or brought… our best day was when it was pouring down rain. We raced into the school, the drums came out, singing and dancing started and for over an hour we had a jam session filled with praise and worship that was one of the best days in my life.

We did go into the village to see the progress of the home that was being built for the widow. It was heart ranching to see the existing conditions in which she lived with her 5 children. The entire village came out to thank us and prepared a meal that we had to eat in order to avoid offense. Our hosts provided plates in excess of what most of us would consume in a day. It was one of those African moments that you just wished would be over before it started. But our team got it all down… we did have one casualty who finished his food despite a slight case of fever and chills (and kept his food down until we returned home).

There has also been a pastor’s conference going on through the leadership of Will, Tom and Kevin. The translators are amazing actors and the sermons have been more enjoyable and meaningful than anything I’ve experienced in the United States!

Will and Sandy have been our fearless leaders through it all and have really helped to connect us, keep us laughing and realizing we are here to love. Under their leadership, anything is possible!

I want to thank all of you again that took the time to prepare things for our team to bring and sharing your resources to support this trip. All of you have made a difference and in your own way have “The Worlds Children in your Arms”. However unfortunate the circumstances here… the genuine love in the hearts of the people here, the spirit and faith in God is something that will leave a lasting impact on me forever. I miss you all and will look forward to sharing more on my return. This may be my last and only entry as this is quite a challenge to get info out to you all!

Lots of Love!


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I came to Uganda and became infected. It is incurable.

Working in the medical clinic, Paul and I have been exposed to malaria, HIV, typhoid and TB, but it is none of these diseases I am talking about. I have been incurably infected with Uganda.

My heart has been broken in two and repentance like I have never experienced in my entire life is gushing out. Repentance for taking for granted the food I eat every day and the soft bed and the hot shower and the frappacinos I simply can’t live without. Repentance for complaining about…just about anything in my life. Repentance for being in denial about the fact that millions of children in the world go to bed every night without adequate nutrition, clean water, or a mama to soothe them into slumber.

We are able to blog from Faith’s home only because of the combination of a generator and a solar panel. Sometimes the computer just simply cuts off because the combo isn’t working, so I will make this short for now. But my heart is so fully intoxicated with the experiences of the last week that I could sit here and write for hours and still feel unsatisfied that I had been able to begin to convey what is going on here.

Ugandans have names. And faces. And stories. Really, really hard stories. And yet they have a faith and joy that puts me to profound shame. They are not just another “developing country” that we can vaguely continue to not think about. I am filled both with joy and fury. With both peace and sorrow. I will never be the same.

Ella and Zion, Papa and I miss you SO MUCH!!! There are so many children here who have seen your pictures and wish they could meet you. I am so proud to tell them you are my grandbabies! Chad and Erica, thank you for the text messages. You are precious to us and we wish you were here with us to experience this, because I don’t know how in the world we are going to able to adequately convey this to anyone back home. Oh, and Chad: they clap on the 1 & 3 here! I have the videos to prove it!

Much love,


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After about a week, the mission is proceeding well. We are encouraged by the Lord and the grace of the inhabitants of Kaihura!

Reports of the Pastors’ conference in Kampala have been very positive. Attendance was excellent as Uganda’s spiritual leaders received instruction on the principles of discipleship. Cross-generational miracles soon to follow!

Unfortunately, the pastors’ vehicle broke down on the journey from the capital to Kaihura. We are glad to report that our prayers for the pastors’ safety were answered and the recovery of their vehicle was facilitated by Faith’s phone call to a friend in the town of Jinja, near the site of the delay.

The team’s work in Kaihura has been received with exceeding warmth by the villagers. The team is consistently met with the famous Ugandan greeting, “you’re welcome,” and an embrace. The team’s talents; medical, creative, nurturing, spiritual, educational and administrative have all been well-employed. Team members are also learning new skills including communicating a tiny bit in Rotoro, the native language of this region, and carpentry involving a machete (no kidding).

The impact of the medical clinic and school supplies on the village as well as the grace of the residents of Kaihura on the missionaries has exceeded our hopes. Please pray for the Lord’s continued protection and encouragement of this mission.

Trever Murphy

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