Thank You God for our Pavers!!!!!
The area around where the children gather to eat was continually getting flooded. Everytime it rains, it becomes a real mess at the meal shed. I know this seems small, but we see all improvements (no matter how small) as a gift from our Heavenly Father!
Thank You God for our Pavers!!!!!
We had an incredible day of hanging out with these young adults. We played games, had great interaction, had some insightful words from our leader, Jacques Masiko, and then served them all a lunch filled with love. These students are the pride and joy of ACV; some of them are returning to school and some are making this week their first day at University. Let me introduce to you the ACV University Students - - -
This is her third year at University. She is studying to obtain a degree in Management Science at Kyambogo University, Been home babysiting the cousin who was operated on. So spending a lot of time with him and cooking for her cousin. She is hoping to become CPA looking forward to being an accountant in Kibuli.
BA. Economics. Third year. She has just accomplished her Internship for one a half months ministry of public service. She is enjoying her time at Kyambogo University and is looking forward to her future. Before joining Campus it was hard when Compassion moved out of ACV, but God brought someone who gave us a future. He brought me a sponsor who loves me and helps provide for me. I am the only one in my family who has reached the university level. But God has been faithful and provided for all that I have needed.
She was sick from the first two weeks of the holiday. Then after that her mother fell sick for much of the holiday. She returned a week ago from the village and ready to go to school next week. She is doing Finance and Accounting and adding CPA this semester. She attends Uganda Mytrs University Nkozi and is going for the second year. She felt so bad about the fact that she couldn’t afford university. But I thank God that my tuition is always paid in time. I am soon reaching my academic goals.
Joshua Richard Mirondo
Third year at Uganda Christian University. expected graduation date is July 2017. Public Administration and Management. Has been interning at Uganda Redcross Society for fifty working days. In Mustard Seed Worship team at Uganda Christian University; so that’s where he has spent most of his time. Looking forward to a Masters of Theology with Development. The tuition is paid on time, I used to be so stressed thinking about how the tuition would be paid. It also motivates me because I pay before the deadlines asked. Thank you Jesus for providing for me through the donors of ACV.
New Students Entering Into First Year
Joan Nalwadda Balli
She will be joining campus life at Uganda Christian University. She will be studying Accounting and Finance at UCU. She is so grateful to God for all He has provided for her all her life. She is an orphan but has not been left without a Father and a family who loves her.
Ibra has been at ACV as a cook for the last four months. with Joan, Faridah and Annet. Uganda Techonology and information institute. to do ICT a certificate in IT for nine months then diploma for two years. Then join a Bachelor’s in telecommunications engineering. also thinking of a masters in Theology and wants to work with MTN telecommunications company.
PRAYER REQUESTS FROM YOUR ACV UNIVERSITY KIDS:
* Afraid of University life – please pray for their fear and uneasiness
* Continued monthly upkeep and financial needs
* That they would get the roommates that God has chosen for them
* That they would make good Godly choices as they are out on their own
* Protection and safety
These are the clothes that were brought by the team that came in May/June which were given to us by BARGAINS THRIFT SHOP. Bargain’s is a thrift store that loves donating and giving back to their community and to those around the world. A great big thank you to Bargain’s Thrift Store for your generous donation of clothes to the orphans of ACV. We sorted the clothes according to sizes. Afterwards, we started calling kids according to their years, the young ones came first and they were all happy and excited to receive new clothes. Many of their clothes had gotten old and tattered. Receiving new clothes gave a reason for them to rejoice and be grateful to God for what He has brought to them. This also made them to have smile on their faces because they know that there are people overseas who think about them and love them. These kids really do appreciate everything you do in their lives. It brings such deep joy to them. They tried all of the clothes to see that they fit and they all fit them perfectly. They were all showing what they have got and how their new clothes looked on them. The kids thanked mummy Sandi for allowing to bring them clothes. One of the young kids also hugged her as a sign of appreciation. The most amazing part about the whole event was the story that was told to the kids. It was explained to them that we were bringing about how we got these clothes to Uganda. And about the company that chose to donate the clothes. After donating the clothes they confirmed that they would love to send more clothes each time the team comes to Uganda. This was good news to the kids and they were excited at the prospect that they will be getting some new clothes for them from this same store once and a while. The kids where so grateful after looking so sharp in their new clothes which they had just received. It was a great moment and the kids at ACV hold you in their hearts. This is a blessing to all the kids. We gave out other clothes to our church members and the community since we don't have kids at ACV who are 18 months and below. We decided that it was best to share and give away what God gave us with other people out there.
We thank this shop that donated all these clothes to the kids and may God bless you.
By: Nalwadda Joan a kid at ACV
18 years old
June 4, 2016
A new van was purchased from a car lot in town. Choosing the best van was by the grace of GOD because there was a variety to choose from and GOD showed up and gave us wisdom. We purchased a 2003 Toyota Alphard. It’s a cool one for sure and the interior is just great, we all love it. It is an eight sitter including the driver, air conditioned, with cup holders on every sit, hooks for hanging shopping bags and a lot of space in the trunk. It is a perfect van for ACV. Our current van was on its last leg and would break down almost everyday it would hit the road. The old van was a 1996 Toyota Haice; it was really in a terrible condition and would not even transport the kids and staff of ACV reliably. ACV owned the old van for 13 years (2003-2016) and you gave them a new hope of a new van, which is now efficient and working in a perfect way. All the kids were excited to see the new van and next morning a group of them were standing right by it’s side, a very big thank you was said to mummy Sandi and daddy Tom. And we send our heartfelt gratefulness to everyone who donated because the kids do not know you by name – but the Lord does. We pray He will reward you in abundance. ACV is thankful and loves you so much.
Sebandeke Moses,16 yrs old
A child from ACV since 2006
June 4, 2016
After Octavio Victoria visited his sponsored child for the first time this week, he became very burdened with wanting his child to have a BIBLE. For the last few days of his trip, he kept reminding all of us that we needed to go purchase a Bible and bring it to Tony. We were finally able to do so. He bought an Adventure Bible made just for kids his age. Then, on our way to the airport to see Octavio off, we stopped at Tony’s home and presented him with his brand new FIRST EVER Bible. This was not just a gift for one child but it will be a Bible that the entire family will be using to read and learn the Word of God. Thank you Octavio for having such a heart for God’s Word. You have changed the life of this child and his entire household by putting God’s Word in their hands.
May 31, 2016
Today was a day that Octavio Victoria will soon not forget. He is stepping on the red clay dirt of Ugandan soil. As we drive down the dusty road, his excitement builds. For the very first time, he is going to meet his sponsored child who lives in the community surrounding Agape Children’s Village. We reached the home and were greeted by the grandmother and the older sister. His sponsored child, Tony, was off fetching water for the family. When he returned there was a joyous meeting. Hugs were many, gifts were given to him and to other children in the family. After we spent some time and were heading out, Octavio began to encourage his young sponsored son to know that he teaches every child in household to know and love the Word of God. He exhorted Tony to be a lover and a doer of God’s Word. We then prayed for the family and asked for God to meet every need that they have. And we trust that He will do so.
May 29, 2016
Sunday morning service started at 10am with powerful worship led by Kizza, our resident music director. We were blessed by a special gift - - the ACV Children’s Choir led worship for the Sunday service. What a great treat for everyone who was there. These kids are spirit-filled and passionate about Jesus. And it shows through their songs. The teaching was done by Jacques Masiko as he took us through the 4th chapter of Nehemiah. What a spectacular reminder of the need to be building the walls that have been broken down in our lives – and that God is in the business of healing that which has been broken. The service ended with great celebration as we headed out around back of the sanctuary for the Baptism. We had never been a part of the Agape Chapel baptism event. We felt so blessed to be here during this time as people are making a public declaration of their love for Jesus. We were overjoyed to watch several ACV kids choose to be obedient to the call to be baptized. We also witnessed a muslim woman being baptized. She gave her life to Christ last Tuesday at the Baptism Class. But one particular man really excited The Balli’s. This man, whose name is Kassim, accepted Christ as his personal savior over a month ago when Pastor Tom taught on a Sunday morning service.
One month ago . . .the story goes, there was a man who came to church for his first time. He was alone, and lonely. It was his first time in a Christian church. When asked for visitors to raise their hands to be acknowledged, he raised his hand. The visitors were then asked to come to the front and give their name and where they are from. This man, Kassim, went up front, took the mic and said, “I am a muslim. Someone told me that Jesus is alive. And I came here today to church to find out if it is true.” He then slowly returned to his seat. At the end of the service, when Pastor Tom Balli gave the alter call, the first person to raise their hand and then jump to their feet was this muslim man. Praise be to God!!!
Fast forward to today, and Tom and Sandi are here witnessing a transformed life. A man who was once lost in the muslim religion is now set free. He is being baptized today. Praise You Jesus!!!! Jesus, thank you for love for all and your desire that NONE should perish but that all should come to everlasting life.
May 26, 2016
Tom and Sandi Balli, and Octavio Victoria arrived in Uganda. Our flight here was great. And Jesus set us next to the exact people he wanted us to be with. God had seat assignments for us that were not our own. We all got separated but He had a plan. We had some great conversations with people who were interested in hearing more about Agape Children’s Village and Jesus! Our hearts were full from how good God is! We arrived late Thursday evening and headed to the motel for a good night sleep. We caught up with our friends, Jacques & Cecila Masiko. We enjoyed good fellowship with them. On Friday, mid afternoon we headed into the village. And, of course, the van broke down on our way in. Thank you Jesus for our donor who has given us the funds to purchase a NEW VAN. We will be purchasing it soon. As we arrived at ACV, celebration pursued with music and dancing! We were well received and very loved on. Happy to be home with our friends.
We are so proud of one of our own. On Friday, April 15th we celebrated and honored our graduate, Amongin Esther and attended her graduation ceremony. She has graduated from her program at the YMCA College. She was awarded a certificate in Early Childhood Development. After the graduation, we hosted a party in her honor. There was much food and fun to be had. We had many speeches that celebrated her and all of her accomplishments. Esther gave special thanks to her life long sponsor, Cynthia Peyton from California. Esther acknowledges that she has stood by her and supported her through her life. She knows that she would not be where she is without the financial support of Cynthia and her family. It has also become apparent to Esther that without her sponsors prayer support she would be lost. Cynthia Peyton, thank you for all you have done for your sponsored daughter. She loves you and appreciates you. ESTHER, CONGRATULATIONS FROM YOUR ACV FAMILY. WE ARE SO PROUD OF ALL YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED!!!
Esther has already obtained a job at a school. She is now employed at Tendo Learning Center as a teacher. Her future is bright!
This was the first-time in twelve years that we were able to take the staff of ACV away for a three-day retreat. We were able to go away for a time of refreshing and relaxing.
The theme for the retreat was “Moving Forward”, from Isaiah 43:18-19
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
It was an incredible time for the staff to get away together and spend time with the Lord. We spent many hours in worship, prayer and being taught the Word of God from some incredible Bible teachers. God showed up and blessed each and every one of us. This retreat was made possible because someone on the other side of the world (in the United States) sent money for the staff to be able to get away. Thank you Jesus for refreshing our souls. We are rejuvenated in our calling and ready to serve Your precious children once again.
VD!!! This is the word that is heard in boarding school on only one Sunday morning in a term. As the church bells ring in a far distance, the excitement begins in the bowels. Anticipation in the students begins raging from within. It’s that desire to see people from home. And guess what? The students are more than ready to eat food from home, a recipe that mom has prepared. Students get benches and sit at the gate until their parent shows up. And Yes, Its VD . . . Visitation Day!
The parents, and siblings get to see their kids at school and as well check on the academic records of the students who are in school for three months. The three months are referred to as terms. In each academic year we have three terms. This makes the VD spectacular because there is only one in every term. What a joy to have someone come to visit you at school. We pray together, have a meal together, hug one another and look forward to meeting back home on the holiday. “I love you, study hard” are the best refreshing words a child hears as their family departs. This is the bitter-sweet time but the visit is worth it. Then, off the visitor’s leave and the car becomes smaller and smaller as it gets out of the gate till it’s out of vision. Oh, the memories that remain from Visitation Day!
Written by: Manager Kibaya
In November this past year, ACV has branched out and created an additional ministry that is outside the compound of the orphanage. We reached out beyond our boarders. We went out to our community. We started a Community Child Sponsorship Program. Because of faithful sponsors, we were able to bring sacks of food and necessities to the families of the sponsored children. We brought to each family: sugar, salt, flour, soap, posho. The families were definitely not expecting our visit and were humbled by the wonderful gifts provided by their child’s sponsor. We love that God is taking us places that we have never been before . . . thank you Jesus!!!
May God bless your giving heart.
A regular visitor to the children of Agape, Chelsie Balli has been visiting this place for over 12 years. She is loved and cherished by the kids and staff alike. Chelsie arrived for a short two week visit on February 9th. During her stay she was in spending time loving on the children of ACV. She came to be intentional about reminding these kids that they are loved and valuable. She also came with the purpose of being with her parents, Tom & Sandi (who are missionaries at ACV).
We all want to say - - thank you Chelsie for taking your time off work and sacrificing your resources to come to Uganda to be with us.
Having the team from The Bridge in California proved to be a drink of cold water to our thirsty souls. We were all so blessed to have them here for two weeks. There was so much that we were able to do together.
Here are some highlights of a few of the many outreaches this team was able to accomplish:
A community-wide children’s program
(This program was done out on an open soccer pitch in the middle of Bukerere.
The team, with the help of ACV youth, were able to do some songs, dance, games, crafts, and a very impactful Bible lesson taught by Pastor Aaron Cronen. At this event there where over 500 children and many received Christ for the first time.
Hosted a fun filled day for the kids at ACV.
We rented two very large bouncy houses, a large swimming pool, and a face painter. The kids spent the afternoon playing and being kids. It was such a great site to behold.
Four different children’s programs (games, songs, dance, craft, Bible lesson) in the east of Uganda . . . Iganga.
This was a blessing as we were able to go out in to the villages and bring the gospel. We saw many kids give their lives to Jesus and make Him their best friend.
Pastor’s Conference in Iganga
Over 150 pastor’s came and were encouraged and taught through the powerful teaching of God’s Word. This was a huge blessing to these pastor’s. We believe God did an amazing work at this conference and we have created lasting relationships)
Marriage Conference at Agape Chapel
- Pastor Tom and Sandi Balli, Pastor Aaron & Breanna Cronen, and Pastor Jacques and Cecilia Masiko taught a one-day marraige conference. It was was too much fun - God showed up. The theme for the retreat was "Spirit-filled Marriages". Lord, let us all have spirit-filled marriages.
The night before the team left they held a celebration for the all of the Agape family. They ordered Kentucky Fried Chicken (who knew KFC came to Uganda), made mashed potatoes, rolls, peas, and soda. It was a feast!! They had organized games, worshipped together, and gave testimonies of God’s goodness. The ending concluded with the team blessing each and every child and staff member with an ACV shirt. Wow! What a huge blessing. But wait . . . the night was not over . . . this was the night that the bikes got presented to the kids. You would of thought that we gave them the world. This team will be missed for all them have done and given to this place and to the people their ministered to.
The team arrived and we are so excited to update you on all that has been going on!
Here is our week in a recap.
Wednesday January 28th:
The team arrived safely after 31 hours of traveling! We made it here with all but one of our totes! We were thrilled to finally see Uganda!
Thursday January 29th:
The team did their shopping for the week and we headed out to ACV. We were very excited to get to ACV. For some of us this is their first time meeting the children at ACV. For others we call it home and were excited to be back.
Friday January 30th:
Our trip is packed full of ministry and today was the start of it all.
We spent the day walking the local community passing out flyers and inviting the local kids to our day camp we would be holding in the town soccer field the next day. We also invited the youth to an outdoor movie night we would be having on Monday night. AS the team and some of the older kids in ACV walked through the community we had the ACV van strapped with speakers driving around broadcasting our events. This was an incredible experience as we got to meet families and connect with new friends. We saw a new aspect of the community that we have never seen. Our prayer was that we would see a great turn out for our kids event the next day. We were told that we should expect two hundred kids. We were excited about the thought of having that many. We spent the evening prepping our craft (salvation bracelets) and our games. WE went to bed with great anticipation of what God would do the next day.
Saturday January 31th:
We arrived at the soccer field in the center of town at nine am to get everything ready for our event. The sound system was getting set u and we had rented a flat bed truck to do music on. But we were on Ugandan time and started an hour late. As our event started we saw our group grow. We began with 150 kids but ended with 500 kids. This number didn’t include the families and other kids who sat and watched on the sides on the field. AS the group grew we had to send people to grab more supplies from our house. We used all of our weeks VBS supplies on our first VBS event. The night before we had prepped two hundred bagged bracelets and fifty cut bracelets but not bagged or prepped. As we saw the kids coming we ran to our tote and started bagging the extra fifty. We kept bagging and bagging and bagging and without cutting anymore bracelets we were able to bag 500 bracelets!! The only explanation for that is GOD MULTIPLIED!! We saw a miracle and every single kid was able to hear the salvation message and make a bracelet. We also had exactly five hundred bags of fruit snacks but when we left we had 50 left over. This day will forever be in our minds as a day we saw God show up! There was no denying He was there. The older ACV kids also helped us with this event and it was a blessing to have some extra hands as our little team couldn’t have handled the five hundred ids by ourselves. This day we saw kids make Jesus their best friend and lives were changed forever!
Sunday February 1st:
We enjoyed attending the church service at Agape Chapel. Right after church we hosted a marriage conference where we got to minister to 40 couples. Our theme for the conference was a Spirit Filled Marriage. This was a great time for all who attended.
The staff during morning devotions are lifting up the team that is coming next week. Each staff member has committed to pray for one team member. We are spending time covering them in prayer. We are all so excited to receive this team. Much prayer and preparation are happening around here at ACV. You are all welcome HOME!!!!
Jacques Masiko, Pastor Tom & Sandi, Patrick, Moses and Joanne have taken a trip out east. Our trip was two-fold: first, we went to visit the Jjaja (grandfather) to Moses and Joanne. The second purpose of this journey was to get things set up and prepared for the team that is coming at the end of this month. We made it to the village of Budaka late afternoon after travelling for several hours. We were received with open arms, lots of hugs, and much food. These people were so gracious, warm and full of hospitality. We were first served tea and bread and then were introduced to all of their relatives: aunties, uncles, cousins, etc. We were also able to visit the gravesite of their deceased mother (who passed away three years ago). It was a very good time spent with these people. We also got to bring a bag of sweets for the kids on the compound. Moses and Joanne passed them out to each of the children and as you can see from the photos - - EVERYONE WAS ENJOYING!!!! As we left they blessed us with a branch of matoke (bananas), two live chickens and a bag of rice (see photos). Also, in return the kids came with many gifts to bless their grandfather with (sugar, salt, soap, cooking oil, maize flour, toothpaste, bread). We were all so incredible blessed by the interaction and fellowship that we shared with each other. Thank you Jesus for the honor and privilege to be able to love people in your name and to experience Your love in return from the people of Budaka.
Happy New Year from The Balli's and the staff at ACV. We hope that the end of this year finds you grateful for ALL that the good Lord has done for you this past year. As you face 2016, may you will be filled with hope and excitement for the adventure that awaits you. Remember that the God of the universe wants to write your life story. And when He does, you mustn’t expect a mediocre tale.
A supporter of ACV decided that a good way to give gifts to the ones she loved for Christmas was to give to those at ACV. She cleverly worked out the details before Christmas, then surprised her friends with a Bike being donated in their name to the kids at Agape. She had so many friends that she ended up purchasing four brand new bikes for orphanage. The kids went crazy – the thought of having a bike for them to ride was something that of a pipe dream. They are now enjoying the fun of being a kid. Also, this same loving woman, had still yet even more friends that she wanted to buy Christmas gifts. For this next group of friends, she wrapped for them the announcement that she had bought a pair of shoes for each and every child at ACV in their name. Every single child went back to school with a new pair of school shoes. Glory be to a living God who takes good care of HIS kids. (These bikes would be given out when all the kids return from holidays in their villages. The team from The Bridge will be here to present them to the kids)
Everyone had a great time celebrating the Christmas holiday. We were invited to the festivities at the Masiko’s home. It brought great joy to be able to celebrate with the Masiko clan. And for those of you from CCLA, we even got to be with Joshua & Katie. Photos below from church at Agape Chapel on the 27th with the Masiko’s. On the 26th of December, we celebrated Christmas within our home (House 3 at ACV). We brought the Balli Christmas traditions to Uganda. We woke up and started the day with a good, big breakfast. Then as a family, we worshipped the Lord together in song, had one of the kids (Joanne) read the Christmas story out of Luke 2, spent some good time in prayer. We also each talked about what God has done for us this year and what we are grateful for that He has done. It was a wonderful time of focusing on our Savior. Then we had a time of opening a few gifts each. Below you will see Moses and Kibaya as they led us in some worship. And Joanne reading the Christmas story, and some of the kids opening gifts.
There was a bus of 67 people that travelle/d from Agape Chapel, ACV and the surrounding community to Monica & Joshua’s wedding. Tom and I took a van of 9 people and went up to Mbarara on Thursday. We had a fantastic time swimming and enjoying the area. The kids really took advantage of the swimming pool. The wedding and reception on Saturday was full of so much joy, love and laughter. We were so privileged to be a part of the wonderful union. See photos & videos of the special day.
At the church service today, the Agape Kids Choir were given the opportunity to perform at the Christmas Cantata. They performed so well. They worked very hard at memorizing their dance moves, songs, and their parts in the play. Some participated in a traditional African dance: while others did more of a modern dance. We also were blessed to have the kids sing several songs during the service. Some of the kids also participated with church members to perform a Christmas play. Everything they did turned out spectacular. This was a marvelous day.
The ACV family attended Monica and Joshua’s “Introduction”. The tradition of the Introduction Day is one that is very exciting for everyone. This event happens a week or so before the wedding. The purpose of the Introduction is to formally introduce the groom and his family to the bride’s family. So many wonderful traditions in this culture. As you can see from the photos, it is an extensive event. There is almost as much work that is put into this day as the wedding and reception. The day takes a lot of preparation and work. The cooking of the food takes many many hands and several days to prepare. The items are brought from the groom’s family to present to the bride and her family. See photos of all the work, preparation, decorations and fun time that was had by all who attended.
Side Note: Monica is getting married on December 19th. For those of you who don’t know who Monica is, I wanted to give you some insight. Monica is the daughter to one of the mother’s who has been here at ACV from the beginning (Mama Grace). Monica has been working on staff here at ACV and at Agape Chapel for the past four years. At ACV, she has been in charge of sponsor/child communications. We have been so very grateful for her faithful work here on the grounds of Agape Children’s Village. We are so excited and are rejoicing with her at the upcoming wedding ceremony.