On The Ground with the Servant Team

“Now that I’m here again, I am seeing more of what I saw during our Spring trip: people are so loving and gentle. Their humanity and service to us is completely humbling. We realize we won’t be able to give more than what we’ll receive.”

– Quote from Clark Blakeman, on being back in East Africa with the Lahash Servant Team.

The Lahash Servant team with Mama Susan and family in Kampala, Uganda

Now that the Servant Team has settled in Adjumani, Uganda, the transition to the realities of everyday life on the ground has set it.  Daily routine, loss of Western conveniences, adjusting to new living conditions, and blending family dynamics is just part of the learning curve that is living halfway across the globe.  For Clark, Cathy, and Sarah Blakeman, and Rick and Haley Baker, Adjumani is now their home for the better part of a year.  Working on various projects at Amazing Grace Children’s Home, and with the community in Adjumani, the Team will be involved with everything from the physical labor of building the new Amazing Grace family-style homes, to teaching the local people about developing their own natural gifts and talents, to the teaching and implementing of permaculture techniques called “Aquaponics,” to bridging the gaps between our brothers and sisters in Uganda and America.  In other words, they have their work cut out.

The team works to build the latrine for the new family-style homes at Amazing Grace

Each member of the Servant Team will be able to bring their own specific abilities to the various projects they will work on.  That was an important facet of making the decision to go, says the Blakemans.  “[We were all] part of the processing and decision-making. Part of the decision was based on the fact that each of us would have our own significant ways to contribute that corresponded with our gift and passions,” says Cathy.  Clark, the Team lead, will be training local leaders based on the “ABCD” Community Development programs he teaches in the States.  Cathy serves as Team logistics, coordinating travel, group budget, and Sarah’s schooling.  Sarah will bring her love of art by teaching art and creative classes for the kids, as well as coordinating creative media advocacy with the Lahash Media Team.  As for the Bakers, Rick will be assembling a team to create an Aquaponics and permaculture site with active, working sites around the communities.  Haley will be using her gifts to conduct a thorough analysis of IWASSRU and Children’s Homes, providing input to Mama Susan Tabia and her Board with suggestions for houseparents for the new homes.  She will then provide training techniques for the parents in child care, hygiene, cooking, scheduling, and administration.

The new family-style home buildings at Amazing Grace Children's Home

For now, the adjustment to a new way of life is still taking place.  “Just bought all of the furniture for our new place in Uganda!” wrote Rick on his Facebook page.  “It will all be done being made in 1.5 weeks. It is being made under a tree in the middle of town.”  Air conditioning, reliable internet, toilets, running water, and, of course, good Portland coffee are just a few of the things that will fade into the past, but will be replaced by amazing hospitality, beautiful, smiling faces, the dignity and strength of the local community, and the unfolding promise of God’s grace and provision.

We encourage you to reach out and contact the Servant Team and let them know of the vast support they have here in the States!  Send them your thoughts, prayers, and encouragements. You can keep in touch through the Lahash blog, but you can also find them all on Facebook (search for their names) — they’ve all been updating with fantastic pictures and stories.  Your support is appreciated!

The Lahash Servant Team (minus Clark, who is taking the photo) sitting down to a meal

Clark sums up the time so far with a verse from Proverbs: “‘In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.’  We have had so many changes already. It’s going to be quite the year!”