Friday, November 18, 2016

Bridge of Hope

For those of you who have followed my blog for some time, you may remember this post I did almost two years ago after Cash and I hosted two boys from Uganda. We were heartbroken when they left, and we have thought about them daily since they have been gone. Last year about this time we learned the organization they were with was having issues and ultimately was dissolving. We had no idea what the boys were going through or if they were getting to go to school or what.

Cash texted what we thought was their choir leader Henry's number. He even got a few responses. Later on we found out this was not Henry we were communicating with.

So for about 6 months we were crushed and thought we would never know what the boys were doing or how they were being taken care of. We had to hope in the Lord that He had His mighty hand on it.

This summer I received an email from our priest that said the previous organization was referring a new organization to the sponsors. The new organization, Bridge of Hope African Ministries, would take over sponsorship of all the former Asante choir children and several other children in the villages. I immediately got online to search this new organization and could not believe my eyes when I saw Henry--the former Asante choir director--was the founder of BOHAM! I emailed the address listed for the organization and in no time heard back from Henry. He could not believe we had found him!

What we did not know last year and during this entire time of waiting to know what was happening was that Henry had started BOHAM even before Asante dissolved. He felt the Lord calling Him to do this bigger work. In the interim Asante dissolved and would ultimately recommend BOHAM, but they could not give any church or sponsorship information to BOHAM. Henry had taken in most of the choir children, in particular one of the boys we hosted--Eric. He asked Eric if he remembered Cash and I, and Eric responded, "Uncle, how could you even ask me that? Of course I do!" He told Eric he wanted so deeply to find us but was unsure how he was going to.

Once we had gotten back in touch with Henry this summer, we learned the boys were doing well and would still be going to school this fall. Henry even offered for us to skype with Eric, but it was in the midst of our initial doctor's appointments with Ann Louise so time just fell away from us. By the time we had picked ourselves back up, Eric had already left for the fall term of boarding school.

Henry emailed that he would be in the States from October-December, so I worked with our priest to get him scheduled to come to Midland and speak at our church. I am still in shock that after all this time and all the distance we were able to host Henry for nearly a week. He was a light in our house during that time, always singing whether he was working in his room or in the shower. Always singing.

We were able to give him a good West Texas welcome starting with Friday night football.

Midland High vs. Odessa High
On Saturday morning members of the clergy, missions team, and vestry came over for brunch to meet Henry and get to know more in depth the ministry he has started in such a needed place in the world.

Henry explaining BOHAM and life in Uganda to members of the Vestry
Later that day Cash took him to the gun range, because we live in Texas and Henry wanted to get the whole Texas feel. He shared that only a select few can have guns in Uganda, so this was pretty big for him to get to go to the gun range. They shot rifles, pistols, and the AR. I think they both had a good time!

gun range
On Sunday he spoke at both church services and shared his story. At 3 years old he lost both parents and was taken in by his grandmother. She was put in touch with an orphanage who connected Henry to the Afriacan Children's Choir. He toured with them until he was 7. Afterwards he was able to go to school and ultimately graduate from college. When you listen to his story and how he vowed to God to give back after what others had done for him, you cannot help but feel as if you need to do something. Our church and the people in it were amazing to BOHAM. They really stepped up and let God do the rest.

getting sponsors for all the kids!
That night he got to share his experience and ministry with my in-laws. They had met the boys a couple years ago and were excited to be back in touch with such an awesome ministry. I could sit and listen to Henry share his experience and watch their expressions every day. It is truly something incredible to get to be a part of, even for just a short time.

sharing with the in-laws
Little Henry loved Uganda Henry being in our home. When Uganda Henry would start singing in the back bedroom, Little Henry would crawl as fast as he could with his head down trying to get to his room before I scooped him up. He loved when Uganda Henry would pick him up and play with him. I loved sitting back and watching two worlds come together. Perhaps the most incredible part of the entire week to me was thinking of how God orchestrated such different lives to be a part of the same thing. Cash and I growing up in the States have no real comprehension for what Henry has seen and done in his life. But God allowed us a moment of time into that life where we could give what we had--a house, a few meals, a friendship.

the Henrys
Already we are missing our friend and the joy he brought into our days. We cannot wait to visit him in his homeland (one day--when I am finally not pregnant! ha) and see all of the children. Our hearts have forever been torched with a love for the people of Uganda.

If you would like to hear more about Henry's story, the mission of BOHAM, or how you can sponsor a child please visit their website: You will never regret opening your heart to such a precious man and ministry.

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