A home for the Batte family

Every year I pick something near and dear to my heart to raise funds for on my birthday.  Well, this Mama couldn't be more dear to me.  Her name is Faith and her daughters are Blessing and Ruthie Grace. 


In January 2016 Faith told me she was expecting her 2nd baby.  This was nothing short of a miracle.  Years ago Faith was told she would never conceive.  After 5 years of trying, she finally conceived but lost her baby at 26 weeks.  Her heart was broken.  In June 2014, her first daughter Blessing was born.  In January, when Faith shared with me that she was expecting again, she asked me if when I returned to Uganda I would "come with a name" for the child she was carrying.  I was so humbled.  Would you believe that Ruthie Grace was born the very day we arrived in Uganda to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary?


Her husband is Batte and he is an amazing, Godly man. 

This is not a hand out, it's a hand UP.  I love this family dearly and would love to bless them on my birthday with funds to go toward their home.   

How much you ask?  It would take approximately $2000 To finish their home.  This won't be something where you donate funds and never hear anything about it.  Nope.  I will share pictures with you along the way and you will get to see for yourself how you've blessed this family. 

Will you join me?  There is no better gift you can give me AND it's tax

deductible.  To donate, click on the donate button below.  Select "building projects" and you are on your way.


Thank you so much for your continued love, prayers and support for my Ugandan family.  To learn more about our ministry in Uganda, visit www.converge28.org,

In Christ,



Join us!

We are excited to announce our January 2017 trip to Uganda.  God never stops amazing us with the way He speaks to each heart that makes the journey.  You may be thinking a certain skill set is needed but we can tell you that the only thing required is a heart open to how God may be knitting you together with His ministry in this beautiful land.  You will find the most hospitable, warm and loving hosts you can imagine to greet you every day. From home cooked meals to evenings spent in conversation, time at Mama Jesca's house is usually a big highlight of anyone's trip!

What will we DO you ask?  Our time will mostly be spent in two rural villages - Bibbo and Nakibole (pronounced like Nochibowlee).  God has faithfully met needs of these communities as a whole with school and church buildings as well as many HIV+ families individually.  Our ministry is committed to providing proper sanitation to families in need through our pit latrine projects and buckets of love program. These opportunities allow us to meet with our families and understand their current needs and more importantly be the hands and feet of Christ.  In Bibbo, you will get to visit the school that is currently receiving it's third much needed building.  This school is a lifeline to an education that would otherwise be unattainable because of finances and distance.  Having the opportunity to learn helps end the cycle of poverty for many of these families.  We have many sponsors of students at this school specifically to help ease the financial burden.  Just this past summer a well was built on property too.  Come on the trip and learn how access to education and water has changed this village! 

Our deep desire and prayer is to have partners in this ministry.  Many hands make for light work.  What I have personally seen from my visits is that God moves in individuals to meet the exact need He wants met.    His intention in our relationship with Him is to relate to one another in a gentle, compassionate love.  Maybe God is tugging at you to come with us. We would love to give you more details. You can also read more about our program here.

The estimated dates for our trip will be January 18-25 and the approximate cost will be $2500.00 which includes your airfare, visa cost and all in country expenses.  Both of these are estimates based on best cost for departure date.  $2500 is the max the trip will cost.  All donations toward your trip expenses are tax deductible.

For a trip application or more information, please email info@gendauganda.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

To know Martin is to love Martin....

Friends of Martin,

Many of you have come to know and love our Ugandan friend, Martin.  He has driven many of our teams to and from the airport, out to the village and everywhere in between.  He seems to always be laughing or answering all our Mizungu questions.  You may or may not know that he is in charge of the farms for True Vine Ministries that help generate income and feed the children at Victor's school.  Martin has been continuing his university education and spent a year in Israel studying new agricultural techniques. 

Martin has been chosen as a select few to study in Australia for the next 2 years.  As part of the program, his tuition, room and board is paid for but he has to raise funds for his airfare.  He has saved enough to put $500 towards the cost but time is running out.  The first group leaves just next month and the last group is due to leave in September.  He needs $2700 to complete the fee.  That's 27 of us giving $100 or 54 of us giving $50. 

An exciting part of helping Martin learn in Australia?

He has agreed that upon his return to Uganda, he will help teach our Genda Uganda families how to farm more efficiently and with the goal of bigger yields of crops.  This will help lead our families to better food resources for themselves but also to sell at market to buy more livestock or pay school fees for children.  And it is an exciting opportunity for Martin to share the gift God has given him. 

If you would like to donate you can follow the link below, choose "Families of Hope" and include "Martin" in the notes.  Thank you for helping not only Martin but ultimately our Families of Hope program!!!



Will you join us?

Of the multiple trips my husband and I have traveled to Uganda none have been together.  God has used each trip to stir us towards His will and glory.  Each trip He has revealed ways we need to walk in obedience to Him. He uses each trip to open our eyes to just how big His grace is to all who love Him. He uses every trip to crush my fear and deepen my trust and reliance on Him.  Most importantly, He shows us how relational He is and how relational we ought to be - because He created us to be in relationship with Him and one another.  This is the only qualification you need.  He supplies the rest when you say yes to going.

The personal rewards God has abundantly gifted us through saying yes far out way the obstacles I always seem to think occur with a trip like this. For example, on my last trip I accompanied the medical missions team.  I have no skills to help heal the sick outside of prayer and really struggled with my place on the team.  However, that trip allowed 2 opportunities.  First, one of the children we support was sick when we arrived.  I was able to take her to the clinic and have one of our team members diagnose her.  She had a terrible cavity that was causing infections and we were able to tell the dad who promptly got her tooth removed (yes, it was THAT bad).   Later in the trip we made time to visit this same family at their home in the village. It was there we learned this family has been supporting 2 orphaned boys and an uncle, niece and nephew as well as their own 4 children.  I quickly got a better understanding of why they could not afford school fees.  Even better, by visiting their home, we saw they had no bathroom facilities, which is quite common in the rural village. This month will change that as they receive a pit latrine through generous donations to our Families of Hope program.

What will you encounter? There are the same types of broken people living in dire and fragile circumstances as here with the exception of the good safety nets we have.  But don't be fooled, joy abounds in those who have encountered Jesus. They are great teachers on learning to find joy not in circumstances but in God.

What will your Ugandan days look like?  Our goal is to share our lives as married couples with couples in the village.  So often you will see the women in church but necessarily their husbands.  These men, especially, need to hear encouragement from other men.  We simply want to let them know that we understand the roles they play as husband and wife and how God has shown up in our lives to help us fulfill those roles.  We will also meet physical needs by helping build a pit latrine and handing out life sustaining items through our Buckets of Love.

God has stirred a desire in Garrett and I to travel to Uganda together for a couples trip in early June 2016 and we would love for you to experience this trip with us.  Please feel free to email me at sarah@gendauganda.org for more information or to request a trip application.

In Christ,



Sarah is our Families of Hope Liason and Garrett is on the board for Converge|2:8, the parent organization of Genda Uganda



This Tuesday is Giving Tuesday and we have some really fun ways for you to give that will bless lives in Uganda.

Our first way is to purchase a Bucket of Love.  For just $30, you can make a huge difference in the lives of an HIV+ family in Uganda.  USAID found that households supplied with soap are 42% less likely to fall ill.  Our Buckets of Love aims to supply our families with soap and other items needed for proper nutrition like rice, beans, salt, sugar and cooking oil.  These buckets cost as little as $30 and are supplied by our own Families of Hope merchants, mothers who own stores and sell goods to supply their children’s school fees and feed their families.    This gives you the ability to help multiple families in our program.

To purchase a bucket, simply click on the donate button below and select "Families of Hope".  In notes, write "Bucket of Love".

The other way is by helping to furnish Village of Grace.  The home is just about finished and we expect the boys will be able to move in by Christmas!!!  How awesome is that?  But, they need some household items.  $1800 worth of goods is needed to furnish their home and I believe we can do this!  Here are the needs:

Kitchen cabinets $300

Kitchen stoves and accessories $250

Dinning set (Table and 8 chairs) $300

Living area furniture  $300

Living area table $80

7 beds $750

Mattresses and pillows for 7 beds $225

21 sets of bed sheets $300

Blankets for 7 beds $100

Fridge $300

Kitchenware $150

Curtains and curtain rods $150

Food items for the first 3 months $180

If you would like to make a donation towards the furnishings for Village of Grace, please click on the donate button below and select "Village of Grace".

Thank you so much for your continued prayers, love and support!

Buckets of Love this Christmas

What is a Bucket of Love?  Well, it's exactly what it says...it's a bucket filled with love.  Honestly, something that we accidentally stumbled upon.  2 of our staff members were in Uganda and wanted to gift their sister with things they really needed.  With the help of Mama Jesca, they shopped at local shops (run by women in our program) and filled the bucket with all the essentials...soap, sugar, salt, cooking oil, toothbrushes, cups, rice, beans, school supplies for children, etc.  We try to tailor the buckets to the individual families needs.

Did you know that when an HIV+ family has access to proper sanitation and soap, it reduces illnesses by 42%?  Did you know that for most families living in poverty that soap is a luxury?

We don't want any family we work with to ever go without these basic necessities.  Ever.

This Christmas, would you consider giving a Bucket of Love to one of our precious families?  These buckets will be delivered in early 2016 when 2 teams from Grace covenant church visit Uganda on mission trips.  Each bucket costs $25.

In return, you will receive this lovely Christmas card that was created using original artwork from the Kigongo boys. 

Additionally, if you want to give a bucket in lieu of a gift to a friend or family member, we will send you a card that says "A Bucket of Love was given in your honor to a needy family in Uganda".

To donate, simply click on the donate button, select "Families of Hope" in the drop down box and put "Bucket of Love" in comments.

Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers for all the families in Uganda.

Would you help us build a well?

Tuesday, July 14

Lugazi, Uganda

I am awakened in the early dawn by sounds on the roof above us- what? animals?  Walking outside to enjoy the sunrise, I am overwhelmed (and deeply embarrassed) when I see what is happening— we Americans, in Uganda on a medical mission, have used up all the water, and our generous hosts are replenishing the rooftop tank. By hand. Climbing up a ladder onto our roof.  They use Jerry-cans, the ubiquitous yellow plastic jugs we see on the heads and in the arms of women and children everywhere we go.

Our neighborhood well is 1.5 miles away, down the hillside on a rutted dirt road, past the prison.  It also serves the school, church, mosque, and every family who can send a child down into the pit you see in the photos below.  A Jerry can of water holds 20 liters (5.3 gals ) of water and weighs about 40 lbs. It takes 65 pumps at the borehole to fill a can.

Can you imagine the amount of time and work it takes to supply a family with water? And the vast majority of water gatherers are children and women. People in Africa spend a billion hours walking to water each year, and we saw them everywhere…in the morning, after school (at the same time we’d be driving our kids to soccer). There is so much to this statistic, and I don't want to proselytize, but perhaps the images below willgive you some idea of what it’s like. 

And here’s the biggest statistic for me right now— that morning, as I chatted with Pastor Stephen, I asked what it would cost to build a well at this small farm and worship center, a well that could serve his neighborhood for years to come…

The astonishing answer? $3500.

Yes, that’s all.  Want to help me build it? I know it will get done because Pastor Stephen and his family have a strong and accountable relationship with the people of the ministry I worked with to provide our medical mission. I’m not sending this email out to very many people, but if we get more than $3500 I will use any extra contributions for another project that we can finish (one of these, depending on the dollar amount: anti-parasite medicines for a school or the clinic, a goat or cow for a family living with HIV, or even a second well).

I’ll keep you updated!

To donate, just click on the link below and select "Families of Hope" and in comments type "well project".

With love,


5 years....

5 years ago today John and I were walking through the lobby of Grace when we met a man from Uganda.  Some could say it was a chance meeting....but we know it was a Divine appointment.  His name was Richard.  He noticed a necklace I was wearing and asked where I got the beads.  They were paper beads from Uganda.  He informed me that his father had a ministry in Uganda with women who made the beads.  After service, we exchanged emails.  Several weeks later, I received an email from him saying "when you come to Uganda you may stay at the home of my parents".  I very politely thanked him and said I wouldn't be coming to Uganda anytime soon.

6 months later, myself and my dear friend did what no one would ever recommend we do.....we got on a plane to go to a foreign country to stay with people we'd never met. 

Our lives would never be the same.  Of course...at the time, I really believed I was only there to buy beads.

God was planning something much bigger than any of us could ever imagine.  3 months after that trip, John and I started praying about adoption.  Around the same time, True Vine ministries in Uganda was praying about the need for a medical center.  In February 2012, we received a referral for our son Joseph.  In March 2012, Richard contacted us and asked if we thought funds could be raised to build a medical clinic.  In May 2012, Richard came to Austin and within one week, $40,000 was raised to build St. John medical clinic.  On memorial day, 2012 we received word that we had a court date on July 5th, 2012 in Uganda for our son Joseph.  And as the Lord would have it, ground was broken on St. John medical clinic on July 13th, 2012 while we were there.

St. John medical clinic opened it's doors in April 2013.

If the story stopped there....It would be an amazing story and God would have been glorified.  But, it didn't stop there.  God was far from finished.

Since then, everything that has transpired has been nothing short of miraculous.  Not one person can take the credit because God alone orchestrated events and stirred in hearts that no one can explain.

Funds were raised to build Bibbo school....TWICE.  And what I mean by that is that when the school was finished....families flocked to it and they quickly outgrew the first building.  Plans were drawn up for a second building and God built that one too!  Bibbo church was also built.

Was God finished?  No.  Not by a long shot.  City of the Lord church was also built.  The church was previously a 20x20 brick structure that felt like it was going to collapse on us during a rain storm.  The pastor had a budget to build the church and it was going to take them 14 years to do it.

Here is the City of the Lord church today. 

And let me tell you....worship in that church is an amazing, beautiful experience.

Posted by Dawn Patterson on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Surely God was finished right?  Nope.  Not even close.  Not by a long shot.  He is in the business of miracles after all.

In September 2013, God provided the funds to build True Vine church.  Never in my life have I witnessed gratitude like I saw the day Pastor Stephen found out the funds had been received to  build the church.

In April 2015, True Vine church was finished as well as construction of The Timothy Center...a pastoral training center.

In April 2015, construction began on a borehole for Nakibole. 

As of February 2015, 3 pit latrines have been built for HIV+ families. 

As of April 2015, 90 HIV+ mamas have been able to start small businesses through the HOPE+ sisterhood and almost 60 children are now being sponsored allowing them to receive an education.

As of April 2015, Village of Grace reached it's 1/2 way mark!  The Kigongo boys are SO close to having a home to call their own!

And we KNOW God isn't finished.

This month, John will travel to Uganda with Jason Huddleston, the senior pastor from First Baptist church.  Together they will teach a 3 day workshop to Pastors on how to read and understand your bible and how to prepare a sermon.  They will also be teaching at several Pastor and marriage conferences.

In July, a team will be traveling to Uganda for our very first medical mission trip.  The Lord has graciously blessed us with 4 doctors, 5 nurses, 3 paramedics, 1 EMT and a videographer.  Free medical care will be given to 750-1000 patients but more importantly, Jesus will be shared!!

Please consider joining us on the amazing adventure God has called us to.  We would be delighted to have you partner with us financially, spiritually and physically.  We can not wait to see what the Lord has in store for the next 5 years.

In Christ,


Kindergarten prayers

This sweet mama, Monica, has invited me into her life, and it has been nothing short of beautiful.

I thought the bond we had through short letters and pictures was fortified through quiet prayers across the ocean, 

but I had no idea what physically holding her in my arms would do to my heart and the growth it would have on my outward relationship with our Father in heaven.

Before I left for Uganda, I had been feeling selfish for longing to go for many reasons, especially because I felt as though I had nothing tangible to offer to the ministry and I just knew if I was put on the spot to give some epic speech, or, worse case scenario, was expected to give a prayer graced with intelligent and eloquent vocabulary, my thoughts would leave me and the words wouldn’t have come. To be honest, I was kind of terrified of this. I didn’t want to be vulnerable enough to have people judge my thoughts and prayers and “tarnish” my relationship with God.

But there in my Monica’s arms, time stood still as she openly welcomed and praised our Father. There, on her dirt floor, His love and grace entangled us as we wept tears of joy on each other’s shoulders. And by wept, I mean our bodies literally jostled up and down and boohooing could be heard through muddled prayers.

 This. This is why I had come. To grow. To love. To be loved and to be grown with. This is what I had been longing for, and I had refused to notice it because I had been so terrified of it. To be vulnerable with others in the relationship we jointly shared with our Creator. To allow others into the safe relationship I had with my Father that I had grown to covet and hide away too tightly.

She prayed praises to our Father and blessings over me, and I continued to weep as the impact hit hard, real hard. Why on earth had I been so terrified of my kindergarten prayers being heard by others? This was beautiful and powerful. Her heart was there on the line for all to see, but it was just her and I wrapped up in the Father. I later prayed over her, something I had only done for others a handful of times. I’m not even sure exactly what I managed to squeak out to God, but I was not going to miss this door of growth that my Monica had so lovingly held opened for me.

There is no going back now. I will love my Father outwardly, confidently, and humbly as my elementary words flow out because God held me there on the dirt floor of Uganda and showed me the beauty of what I was missing out on.

And boy do I love this woman:

I could never repay this gift of confidence that she gave me through her joy-filled tears, but with your help, I would love to bless her and her beautiful family with a milking cow. Monica and her husband, William, are still raising their youngest five children along with one of their grandchildren.

 What a blessing a milking cow would be to so many cute little bellies! Would you consider donating? I could really put the pressure on by telling you that my birthday is next week, and donations towards this new found cow love of mine would bring a huge smile to my face! ;) ;)

To donate, use the button below and select "Families of Hope" and put "a cow for Monica" in the comments.  Thank you ♥

So, how much does a milking cow cost?  It varies.  You can get a newborn calf for as little as $100 to a full grown milking cow for $800.  However many funds are raised will determine what we are able to purchase :)

Written by Chelsie Reading