Catching Up With the Servant Team

It’s been about 10 months since the Lahash Servant Team headed out to Amazing Grace Children’s Home in Uganda, and with Clark and Cathy Blakeman back in the States and Rick and Haley Baker in the final stretch of their year there, we wanted to share what the team has been up to.

There have been both large and small projects – from Building Hope and the Well Project to the Playground Project and new slackline. But according to Haley Baker,

“our biggest accomplishment has been saying ‘yes’ to this story that God invited us to be part of. We have learned so much from this community and know that this year is shaping the rest of our lives!”

The project to build a well for Amazing Grace was a difficult task that turned out great in the end. Clark says of the project, “We discovered that the rock layer was about 60 meters deep! We could never have drilled through that using our pulley and hammering pipes. The completed well is not as abundant as the survey indicated but it is ample for the needs of Amazing Grace and it is just a few steps across the compound from the kitchen. I believe that not having to walk so far to haul water saves the kids about 3 hours of work each day.”

A garden is also a new addition for Amazing Grace, and it’s already bearing its produce, which which will be a great help in providing solid nutrition for the kids. “Probably one of my favorite activities lately is going to the garden with the littles,” says Haley. “They love to show me all the zucchini, acorn squash and pumpkins that are growing. They love to pick veggies and help cut and sort them. Lately, the kids at Amazing Grace have been eating greens, okra, eggplant, and zucchini throughout the week.”

Another exciting thing happening at Amazing Grace is the Poultry Project. Clark and Rick became friends with a local man named Wani James. They began working with him to develop a project that would improve nutrition for the children’s diet and generate income. They have fenced about a half acre area and built four chicken houses that has a capacity of about 400 chickens, with a few ducks thrown in, too. To date there are 150 chickens and the children have begun enjoying eggs for breakfast occasionally.

Traveling and conferences are also a part of life for the Servant Team. Rick attended a conference hosted by Global Opportunities. “He was able to reconnect with Business-as-Missions people that he admires and respects a lot,” Haley says. “A huge benefit was that he attended the conference with Lahash’s East African Director, Edwin Angote.”

Clark also taught classes on Asset Based Community Development during his time in Uganda. He lead trainings to equip local leaders to identify the needs and assets already existing in their own community. The classes provide valuable and important insight about how to use the tools, resources, and abilities of the other people in your community to create and maintain lasting change.

So what’s next for the servant team? Prayer about what God wants next for them! Haley says, “Our biggest prayer needs are for life after the ‘servant team year.’ We have a lot of ideas and dreams and will be spending the next several months exploring our options and what is next. We also need prayer to finish our time well, and for transition back into the states!” The Blakeman’s already have plans to return to our friends in East Africa. Says Clark,

“I think we were surprised by how much we did not want to come home. Our love for the kids, staff, and life of Amazing Grace was way beyond what we were prepared for. Our lives are changed!”