For such a time as this
I wish to thank all those who were praying for me/us during the trip to Uganda.
I had been very nervous about making this trip as it was the first time without Marian, the first time since the crisis in Uganda following the loss of US support and it was the first visit for my brother-in-law, Steve. We went as two widowers, survivors of ladies much loved in Uganda.
It was indeed a very emotional time meeting up with so many who loved Marian and Ruth. However we can say we experienced God’s grace and strength. It was a busy schedule including officially opening the buildings in memory of our wives, supplying year 4 students with Bibles, speaking on radio about our experiences of bereavement and lessons learned, participating in church service and Steve leading a pastors conference for a day.
The staff of the schools are persevering in the difficult circumstances. They have committed to continue with whatever wages can be paid. The admin staff are currently working on a purely voluntary basis whilst trying to earn money on the side to keep themselves. This is by doing things such as renting a small plot of land to grow produce which can then be sold. It was impacting to us to see such commitment and hard work. As a ministry they are working hard at achieving greater levels of self sustainability. We are seeking to facilitate this as much as we can.
We have returned home emotionally and physically tired but encouraged whilst very aware of the continuing massive challenge we face together.
Thank you again,
Next week Nigel and Steve (his brother-in-law) will be going out to Uganda. Below is a piece that Steve has written about their upcoming trip.
Please pray for us. This will be very emotional trip for both of us, but especially for Nigel. Nigel and Marian Whitaker led teams to Mbarara from 2009 onwards and founded Parental Care Ministries UK to support the precious ministry of Pastor Emmanuel and Sarah Nnyanzi, caring for orphans, educating children and supporting a network of rural churches. Marian died in June 2018, just nine months after Ruth Chilcraft, Nigel’s sister, went to her eternal home. This will be Nigel’s first visit since. We are going primarily to open the two buildings built with funds raised at their funerals to commemorate these two godly women who were greatly loved in Uganda.
This is our schedule.
Dear friends of PCM,
We realise that an update is well overdue and so this is where things stand at the moment.
Chris Spree from the UK, along with the head of PCM Switzerland, Markus, spent a week in Uganda last Autumn. This proved to be a productive and informative visit and Chris was able to give a full report.
It is very clear that PCM Uganda continues to face massive challenges. The debt has been reduced significantly through the sale of assets. This has helped in the short term but cannot solve the issue of massive underfunding following the pull out of the USA. There remains a significant debt problem.
The board that was in place in Uganda was put in place by the USA and, following their withdrawal, several of the board also pulled out. They have since put in place a provisional board that is working with pastor Emmy and us in the UK and Switzerland.
There are policies being put into place to seek to reduce costs and increase local income. They are desperately trying to keep all the schools, the clinic and the baby home open but realise that some may have to be let go. The teachers have all agreed to a reduced wage to try and play their part.
As Chris and Markus discussed the need for an improved structure with the leadership in Uganda, we were also aware that we also need to become more structured in the UK. As a result, several committed and capable people met as a new management team for PCM UK. We are praying over what the Lord wants of us as PCM UK. We realise we are not the answer to all the challenges, but know that we do have a part to play.
I am planning a visit to Uganda in April together with my brother-in-law Steve. This is primarily a relational visit when we plan official openings of the buildings that have been funded and built in memory of Marian and my sister. There is the question of a regular team later in the year, depending on any expressed interest and available leadership.
Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement in these testing days.
On behalf of PCM UK
When we took the first team to Uganda in 2009 and by 2010 realised we needed to either stop going or be ready to commit for as long as we could, we had NO IDEA what they journey ahead would look like.
We were on holiday enjoying the amazing scenery of the West Coast of Scotland when the call came that Nigel's sister's health had deteriorated rapidly and we needed to make our way to Milton Keynes asap as she had been given just a few days to live.
It's amazing how quickly you can get back to your campsite and throw everything in the car and be on your way to try and cover the 600 miles in time.
Just before crossing the border into England the unbelievable happened. Ruth had passed away and we would be too late to see her.
This has been so hard for Nigel to accept. He wanted to see her, to thank her for being a great sister, and also to thank her for visiting Uganda with us three times and for all the different things she had done to help in the support of Pastor Emmy and Mama Sarah's ministry.
As we have gone over this scenario several times wondering if we could in fact have done anything differently, which we don't really think we could, we have realised how comforting it has been to know that our relationship with Ruth was such that we had no issues to sort out, no apologies to make, no forgiveness to request. This is really very healing in itself.
We miss her terribly. We can hardly think of going to Uganda next year and her not be with us as planned and yet we know she has been saved the trials of chemo, and who knows except God, what else. She is already in a better place and we are grateful for all the memories we have, and all that she has done.
We hope her memory in Uganda will continue on with the building of the classroom for the reception class at Kyehimba as outlined on the home page.
Why on earth would that be a heading for a blog to do
with raising funds for people in Uganda?
Well, we have needed a new toilet seat for at least a year. Many times I have apologised to visitors and explained that it’s an awkward size, Nigel’s busy, we keep forgetting……
or whatever the latest excuse is that comes to mind.
The fact is, it has not been very high on our priority list.
I mean we have used many and varied shapes and sizes of toilets around the world….. so who needs a toilet seat anyway??
BUT, on Thursday we have three guests (not just any guests, but American guests) coming to stay with us so all of a sudden it's jumped the queue on our list and lo and behold one almost the right size is on its way.
In thinking about this I realised it is often the case when we are wondering about inviting a widow for a meal, giving a single parent a break, attending a church, sponsoring a child, or whatever. We go along our busy lives muttering under our breath about these things and why we can't do them until.....what?!
A long-standing friend of mine used to talk to me regularly over about 30 years of how she knew God was calling her to be a missionary but this or that was causing her to delay progressing further in that direction. She died at the age of 55, never having fulfilled that calling or experienced the joys and challenges of taking the risk of faith.
So, as Pastor Emmy comes to visit us again soon and we will be reminded of all the challenges he faces day in and day out, and all the sacrificial actions that have been made for PCM to be where it is today, will I be ready to move forward on more than the purchase of a toilet seat?
On Friday, 24th March I became a Granny for the first time. Nathan,
"Gift of God" was born to our son and daughter-in-law, Colin and Csilla.
They have both been on teams to Uganda and hope one day to return.
In the meantime they have other priorities that are the reality of life.
Other "realities of life" have hit us recently at PCM. Ill health, changes in personal circumstances and death, have all impacted us in recent months resulting in a considerable decrease in giving. This has coincided with a slowing down of new donors and sponsors coming on board.
The teachers and ancilliary staff continue to need a salary for the fantastic and sacrificial work they are doing, text books are still required, and food needs to be purchased.
What is our response to these things? We pray and we inform.
There is tremendous blessing in being part of this ministry in Uganda and if you are able to give, even £5.00 a month, it will add up and we will be able to continue seeing the schools prosper.
One day we will see some of the fruit in transformed lives and fulfilling careers rather than the poverty that stalks otherwise.
Well, I'm on a sharp learning curve again hoping to have a website that is informative and will inspire you to find out more.
I've decided to do it around photographs where possible, believing a photo can sometimes say so much more than words. . This may mean less text, but hopefully enough to draw you in to ask us whatever you would like to know.
The website is a work in progress and over the next few days and weeks hopefully more will be added.
Constructive comments are welcome!