Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Making Progress: 17 Days

We are just a little over 2 weeks out before we move our family to Uganda.  Add to that the normal busyness of the holiday season and you can imagine what things have been like around here.  We are making progress though, even if it isn't at the speed at which I hoped. 

Last weekend we had our big yard sale to get rid of everything we can't take with us.  We will be allowed 18 - 50lb bags.  We are hoping to fill a lot of those with just medical supplies for the clinic.  So that leaves us with a lot to get rid of.  All we hope to leave behind is a hope chest full of our memorable items.  The rest will be sold or given away.  I have to admit, it is a very freeing feeling.  There have definitely been some hard things to part with..... the wagon that has pulled all of children around for years.....the dishes that we were given at our wedding, that we have used every day since....... a collection of African artifacts and giraffes that my dad helped me gather.  I did keep a couple of those things for memory purposes. 

I just keep reminding myself of Matthew 6:19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

I know in time I won't even think of these things that we are parting with, and likely not even the things that we keep behind.  It is still definitely a big part of the process though, saying goodbye to things.  Maybe it is just a step in preparation for the hardest part yet to come.  Saying goodbye to our family and friends.  Or my sweet dog, Jax, that I have had for almost 13yrs. (longer than I have known Jason!)  Through all of the hard things though, God keeps reassuring us with a peace that passes all understanding.  A heavenly comfort in knowing that we are in His will.  We do appreciate your prayers though, so very much.
(from Kari)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Healing Faith Benefit

I have sat down numerous times this week to write this blog update, however the words just will not come to me.  Kari and I are in such awe of the outpouring of support for the Healing Faith Benefit.  How do begin to express gratitude for all the time, effort, energy and preparation that went into planning. There are not words to describe how blessed we are by all the miracles that God performed to make this event happen. 

The event was a huge success due to the hard work and dedication of the volunteers!  Kari and I would like to thank everyone for the enormous amount of support we received.  We are truly humbled and awe struck at the outpouring of support from our friends, family and supporters.  We were truly excited to get to share the journey that God has placed our family on and the work he has called us to in Africa. 

Kari said from the beginning, we should all think big and not to put limitations on God.  We are always told to “think outside the box.”  Well our box runneth over.  We get so caught up in our daily lives and our planning that we sometimes put boundaries on God and what we think God can accomplish.  We let the limitations of our own lives spill over into our spiritual lives and doubt begins to creep in.  He has no limitations and is bigger than we can even imagine.  “I can do all things through He who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13

God moved in such a big way!  We could truly see His hand in every aspect of the evening from the planning stages right down the last detail and last auction item of the night.  It was an amazing evening surrounded by friends new and old alike and family who believe in what we are doing.  The night went by so quickly and much of it was a blur.  Again, we would like to thank everyone involved.  We are truly blessed to have such an amazing support system.  We are more confident than ever and know this is truly our calling to serve in Africa.  Sometimes we let doubt creep into our minds, especially with all that needs to be done before we leave.  After the tremendous display of love and support for Healing Faith, all that doubt has washed away.  We need to listen to what He is calling us so clearly to do and too often we forget to sit still and listen to what God is telling us.  Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

                                                      Have you been still and listened today?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If a child cries out in in the darkness...

If a child cries from hunger in the darkness and nobody hears it, does it make a noise?

If you were going about your daily life and saw a child starving and alone on the streets, what would you do?  How many of us would turn the other way or act as though you didn't see it? I hope that the answer is none.  But did you know that it is happening right now? There are children starving and alone on the streets in Uganda. I believe the issue lies within the context of the sentence “If we saw a child starving and alone on the streets.”  We get so caught up in our daily lives that we don't see what is right in front of us. We don't want to admit there are children dying from something as simple as food and clean water. Some many of us want to turn a blind eye to the problem.  We often act like if we don't see the problem then is does not exist.  

I have heard many people say “It is not our problem” or “we have so many needy people here in the United States.”  My answer has always been, it is your problem and what are you doing to help them.  What will help  solve this world wide problem?  The answer is simple, YOU will.  The only way to fix a problem is to attack it head-on, admit there is a problem and find a solution.  You may turn a blind eye to the problems overseas, but there a problems right here to address.  If you do not want to be involved somewhere else, get involved here at home.  Help someone in need.  God did not call all of us to go overseas and serve, but He did command us to “Love one another” Galatians 5:13 “By love, serve one another”

What are we doing in our daily lives to serve one another?

As we prepare for this journey I have been in absolute awe of how God has provided.  As I am typing now, there is a group of volunteers who are spending hours upon hours of planning to prepare for the Healing Faith Benefit.  I have been humbled by the outpouring of support through time, energy and talents spent planning and organizing to make this event a reality.  God has surrounded us with people who believe in what we are doing and believe in making this world a better place.  It has been an emotional roller coaster as the reality of leaving in 61 days has set in. There have been stressors affecting our lives and doubt trying to sneak in.  However, we know that this is the enemy trying to disrupt the good work that is being done by so many.  I had one individual tell me that he was going to line all the hungry people up here in Bryan/ College Station to wave goodbye when we leave to serve in Africa.  My response, “Good, then you will know right where they are all so that YOU can make a difference in their lives.”  God did not call all of us to serve overseas, but he did call all of us to be missionaries in some capacity. We are following a calling to serve His people in Uganda. We cannot let the doubt and discouragements of a few overpower the outpouring of support that we are receiving from so many.  Thank you to all the effort and support that has been put into the Healing Faith Benefit and to the mission in general.

So, I ask again, if you see a child in need...Will you help?  Will you answer their cries? 

You can help us, help one by supporting Healing Faith. The Benefit on 11/11/11 is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the ministry and what you can do to directly help those in need in Uganda.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Winds of Change

With the winds of fall finally arriving it brings about change.  Change is everywhere, a change in the weather, a change in wardrobe and a change in the season.  Excitement is in the air!  It is time for pumpkins and scarecrows now; soon it will be turkey and pumpkin pie, and then the Christmas season.  This is such an exhilarating time of year. 

This fall the winds of change are bringing so much more change to our family.  I realize that we have less than 70 days until our departure.  70 days!  How do you minimize your life into three 50lb bags each?  How do you make all the arrangements to leave the country with four kids all under the age of seven?  How do you visit all the family and friends before it is time to go? How do you…?  The list goes on and on.  We know that it can only be done with His help.  So we ask you for your prayers for our preparation and for patience during this time of change.

Healing Faith has exciting news about collaborating with a wonderful Ugandan family to assist with a clinic for the local village. Our first big project for Healing Faith is to come into the already existing clinic and work side by side with Lufafa providing medical care to those in need. God has already been working miracles in this building; they currently serve a large area and large population. This amazing man has been providing medical care to those in the community, while attending school to further his nursing education.
However, the clinic is in desperate need of basic supplies. Medical supplies that are required to provide care to those in need, simple ones that we take for granted every day.  Healing Faith will be taking over as many medical supplies as possible on our first trip.  There will always be a huge need for more.  In addition construction was forced to stop due to a lack of funding while Lufafa continues his education. He is supporting his family and running this clinic for the area all on his own.  Our goal is to raise enough support to resume construction on the structure that is in progress and to help supply the medical needs of the clinic. The new building will provide much needed space to be able to better serve the needs of this every growing community.  Our hope is that the benefit, being held on 11/11/11, will help to accomplish these goals. We hope and pray that you will consider attending the benefit or donating to the cause of making this clinic a reality.  The benefit will be an exciting night to learn more about Healing Faith, the people of Uganda and to learn how you can help play a role in supporting those in need.

Current building project

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Child-like Faith

It is amazing to me the faith that our young children have. I have been both proud as a parent and moved as an individual to see how this journey that God has put us on has made an impact on our children. This past week we went to he post office to get our passports taken care of for the whole family. While we were filling out paperwork another family with a little girl about the same age as Hadlee came and waited in line. Hadlee began talking to the family and telling them "We are going to Africa to help the people." As I listened from nearby I heard the other mother asking many questions. The mother asked where we were going and Karson told them Uganda. She asked how long will you be there to which Karson replied "forever." I did not hear the rest of their conversation but I watched as Karson, Everett and Hadlee shared with this family of complete strangers all about our journey to Africa and what we have been called to do. Karson gave the family an information card with our family photo on one side and information about Healing Faith on the other. As we left the post office that day Kari and I never had the opportunity to speak to the family, we only smiled as we walked by. I was amazed at the boldness and the conviction of our children telling this family about our move to Africa. However, the story does not end there. That evening we received an email from the woman at the post office.  Her email stated: "The precious Segner children spoke to my heart in the post office today as they applied for their passports. May God keep you safe on the adventure!" A woman that Kari and I did not have the opportunity to speak with was moved by our children ages 6, 4, and 3 enough to make a gracious and substantial donation to our ministry. Kari and I were both in such awe and so touched that we were speechless. I think that is the problem, we were speechless. At times we both struggle with being bold in our faith and sharing with everyone we encounter the story of Healing Faith. Not our children! They will talk to anyone and everyone that will listen and will share with them our story. I think Kari and I both learned a lesson that day in child-like faith from our own children.

Hadlee moved us on her own this week. She has been talking non-stop about her sister that lives in Africa.  She has decided that when we move to Uganda that she will find a sister. Kari and Hadlee were looking at some photos online from a mission team that is currently in Uganda when they saw a picture of a little Ugandan girl in a skirt. Kari continued to flip through the pictures when Hadlee said "wait I think that was my sister in that skirt." Hadlee did not see a little girl that looked different than her, she just saw a little girl she thought should be her sister. At what age does this change? At what age do we "see" the world differently? I was amazed at her child-like faith only knowing she wants a sister. 

This past week was an amazing reminder, a renewal as to why we are following God's call. With the to do list growing longer and longer the stress level is staring to rise. This past week was a renewal of that child-like faith thanks to a chance encounter at the post office and a lesson learned from a 3 year old little girl who is looking for her sister in Africa. 

What do you need to do to renew that child like faith?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Less than 5 months Now

Matthew 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."    It feels this simple to us.

I thought I was semi-prepared for the craziness that life would become before the big move, but I never could have imagined this.  I guess updating the blog has fallen under the "can wait" category.  So I apologize for the slack in posts!

Life Past: So we made it back from the road trip and it was incredible.  Just over 3000miles total with stops in 5 states.  The kids were such troopers and to say that we were encouraged by all the support for Healing Faith, would be an understatement.  We are truly blessed with such amazing and supportive friends and I know we couldn't be making this move without them.  I will post some pictures from the trip at the end of this post.

Life Present:  Currently we are gearing up for a big event during Aggie Week, here in College Station.  It is the M.O.V.E. event and is being hosted by Imani Tumaini Upendo.  You can read more about it here http://imani-africa.com/?page_id=392.  And if you live in the area, we still need volunteers and would be grateful for your help.  There are applications at the above link.  Healing Faith is going to have the opportunity to share at the event about what God is calling us to do in Uganda and I hope you can make it.

-We are also steadily checking off items on our to do list and adding about 5x that everyday! God keeps sending us sweet reminders of why we are doing this and we are just extremely thankful for this time with our family and friends before we move.  We know the time to leave will be here before we realize it.  Some of the big To-Dos right now that we would love for you to pray with us about are

      *figuring out what to do with the house.  Do we try to sell?  Do we rent?  How in the world do I get it presentable, either way, with 4 young kids running crazy in it?

      *we are starting home schooling with Karson this fall.  We are both very excited about this.  I am really looking forward to the time we will have together.  We have chosen an incredible curriculum for him in Sonlight and so luckily not much rests on me!  Haha.  This really is something we are both looking forward to so please pray we can adjust our schedules to this change.

     *Time management!  Jason will still have a full time job and currently two part time jobs, up until we move.  That coupled with my full time job of having 4 kids at home and now teaching too, makes it hard to find time to do all the necessary things we need to do to prepare to move.   We know we are extremely blessed to have the opportunity to work and get financial matters in order before we move, but it is a juggling act.  I know it is possible, we just really could use prayer.

Life Future: Our departure date for Uganda will most likely be around the 2nd or 3rd of January.  We are hoping to travel with the kids to Jinja before our training starts at New Hope on the 9th.  We have been blessed with an incredible intern, Rachael Ruiz, that will be with us during those 5months to help with the kids.  Please be praying for her that she will be able to raise the necessary funds and prepare for her time in Uganda.

-There are big things happening concerning the future ministry that Healing Faith will be doing.  I don't want to go into too many details before things are more concrete, but please be praying for Healing Faith and our future.  We daily are seeking God's guidance and His will for the ministry.  There are big decisions to be made and we truly appreciate you going before the Lord on our behalf.

-October 28th we will be holding a fundraising dinner and auction for Healing Faith.  Please pray that things will fall into place for this.  We think this could possibly take care of a huge portion of our upfront costs (roughly $17-18,000).  Please pray that God will be preparing the hearts of those that are to help, those that will donate items for the auction, those that will attend and learn about Healing Faith, just all aspects of the event.

- These are a few of many upcoming things. I do hope to update the blog more frequently and please know that you can always send us email at healingfaithuganda@yahoo.com if you have any questions.  We want to be an open book for others who might be considering life in the mission field and what our experience has been like in preparing.  There are just too many details to list, but please feel free to ask.

Matthew 9:37 "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Jason and I are resting in peace in this verse that no matter how crazy life may become for us these next few months, we rest in assurance that this is God's will for our lives.  No, this is not and will not be an easy road.  Yes, we are deeply saddened about the family and friends that we will be leaving behind.  But making this decision has been the most confident thing we have ever done and that confidence could only come from God.  Thank you for your continued support and prayer.

I have decided if I ever hope to get this posted, pictures will have to wait.  Hopefully there will be some soon!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mile 1300

We have officially made it 1300 miles and we are at the half-way point of our trip.
We are on the Tennessee leg of our journey. We have been through McKinney and Greenville, Texas,  Bentonville, Arkansas, St Louis, Missouri and have stopped in Nolensville, Tennessee. The journey has been amazing. We have had the opportunity to see old friends and family and meet some amazing new people.  God has provided the opportunity to share our heart and what He is doing in our lives through Healing Faith. It was amazing to see Kari back home in her church in Greenville. Aldersgate was such a cornerstone of her faith and helped mold her into the person she it today.  Seeing her share her passion with her home church was a great experience for me.  It has been amazing to watch each other grow and mature through this process and to see the path God has laid before us.
The kids are doing really well and have been real troopers in the car.    For those of you who have stock in McDonald’s…you’re welcome.  We have hit lots of “Mr. Donalds” as Hadlee calls it, along the way to allow the kids to run of some of their energy on the indoor playgrounds. We have seen some amazing parts of the country and still have some beautiful scenery ahead of us. We still have a long way to go, but it is exciting to see what God has in store.

Thank you for all the prayers and support and we need to power of prayer to continue for us to get the word out about Healing Faith and our passion as well as continued safe passage.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Things continue to move forward with our move to Uganda… and we have exciting news regarding our ministry! Donations to the ministry are now tax deductible! Very soon we will have a Healing Faith website which will allow for online donations and will tell the story of our family and our journey to Uganda.  You can also read about what God is doing in our lives through Imani Tumaini Upendo, Swahili for Faith, Hope, Love at www.imani-africa.com. Imani is a non-profit organization that is partnering with us to make this vision of serving in Africa a reality.  Follow the link Imani Family to read the story of our family.

We embark on a fundraising road trip in July with the whole family.  We have a specific prayer request that God would grant our children unusual patience as we will be on the road for two weeks and traveling about 2600 miles.  We will be traveling through the Dallas area, , Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, East Texas and back home.  Whew, it makes we tired just thinking about it.  We are excited to go on the road to share the story of  what God has placed on our hearts.  We ask for prayers of safety while traveling.  We also pray that God is preparing the minds and hearts of those we are going to share our story with.  We also pray that those that are called to donate to and partner with  our mission will begin to do so as we have many costs upcoming while still here in the states to make the move for our family of six possible and to begin the work God has called us to do in Uganda.

Kari is currently enrolled in a midwife training program in which she will gain valuable knowledge and training in order to assist the women of Uganda with bringing their babies into the world.  This came as an unexpected turn during Kari’s trips to Uganda. One thing she found was that she was drawn to help the women of Uganda. After hearing horror story after horror story of how some of the women were treated or in some cases not treated during their deliveries, Kari felt called to help.  After delivering five children of her own she could not imagine the conditions in which these women were delivering their babies.  We would ask that you pray for Kari during this task, specifically that she would have the time and quiet environment to study.  This can be a huge challenge with all four kiddos at home.

Please pray that our fund raising trip would be a success and God would open doors, hearts and minds. We are excited to share our story with anyone who will listen.  We are thankful each day as God continues to move in our lives in preparation for our journey to Uganda. Our  prayer is that those who have like minds would prayerfully consider supporting our ministry and allowing us to work together as the body of Christ, your support would allow us to be the “hands and feet” of Christ to do His work with the children of Uganda. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lemon Aid Results

Thank you to everyone for your support with Karson's lemonade stand.  The kids had such a great time and Karson was BEYOND excited about the money that he raised.  With a generous donation from Daniel Stark Attorneys, Karson was able to raise over $250 for the kids in Uganda.  While the boys were counting the money, Everett was so excited that he exclaimed that he would go empty his piggy bank so they would have even more money for the o-fans (orphans).  I feel so blessed to have them as my kids.
Special Thank You To:
Rachel and Jennifer for working so hard on selling the necklaces!
Mackenzie and Hildi for doing an awesome job on helping Karson with his stand!
Jenny for hosting the event and letting us crash it!
The Klimas, The Goodwyn's and Sandy for going out of your way to stop by!
And Jessica for always being there to document things for us!

Here are some pics for those that couldn't make it! (Thank you Jessica Klima Photography!)
The Whole Gang with Imani's Rachel (l) and Jenny (r)

Service with a Smile

One of his helpers, Hildi

Hadlee, Pierce and cousin Isaac chillin' in the shade

Free yogurt from Project Yogurt, always a plus!

Winner of the 5k - Everett!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit more about our oldest son, Karson, who is 6 years old.  One of the most amazing things for us regarding our upcoming move to Africa, has been to see the understanding that our kids have had about what we are doing.

This was recently evident in Karson and I wanted to share how proud I am of him.  Our city is doing a Lemonade Day this coming Sunday.  It is a chance for kids in the area to begin to learn about business skills and to make a little money by having a lemonade stand.  Jason and I were talking about Karson's stand and explaining that he might want to consider giving a portion of his profits to a charity to help others.  He thought about that and then told us that he wanted to give all the money he makes to the kids in Africa.  When I asked him why, to make sure that he really understood what he was doing, he responded with "To help them.  Help the kids in Africa because a lot don't have clothes, or places to sleep, stuff like that."  That simple answer made me so proud of him.  To realize that there are kids that have so much less than we do and to want to do something about it.

So needless to say, as crazy as this week already is, I am giving my all to help Karson's booth be a success.  If you live in the Bryan/College Station area, we would love to have you stop by and try his lemonade.  We decided to give it a pineapple twist in honor of all the yummy pineapple we get to eat in Uganda.  We will be located at the Can you Beat the Heat 5k Run at Texas A&M University, Lot 50 from 2-5pm, Sunday May 1st.  And the 5k is actually raising money for another incredible ministry in Africa so it is a perfect place!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Imani Tumaini Upendo

Translated as Faith Hope Love in Swahili.  That is the name of the amazing organization that will be our backbone for our journey to Uganda.  Truly an answered prayer.  As I briefly mentioned in our last post, Jason and I had been praying for someone that God was calling to partner with us in this service for Him.  Someone to handle all of the day to day operations of the ministry that we would not be able to efficiently and effectively handle from Africa.  God answered that prayer for us in the form of Rachel, Jenny and Kaylene.  I encourage you to read more about them and the ministry on their website http://imani-africa.com/.

Having them support us will be huge.  We will still be praying for monthly supporters or even one time donations to help us in our ministry, but at the same time, they will be sharing our story, bringing awareness to what we are trying to do and all around taking care of so many details that Jason and I just won't have the time to do.  We are so thankful for them and excited that God has placed them in our lives.  One of the best things about it all is now your donations to us will be tax deductible.  All of the donations can be handled through Imani, they will even have a monthly automatic option set up soon.  They will also be fundraising, planning big events and helping get the word out there.  They will be partnering with other great ministries that are helping the children of Africa as well, so it will be a great place that you can find out about incredible individuals who are working hard for God all over Africa.

Just wanted to share!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Moving Forward!

This post is very exciting for me to write.  First off, let me apologize for the long gap since my last post.  We just had many things that needed to be sorted out as a family before we were ready to share them with the world.  But we are ready and so excited!


Officially!  Jason and I feel so strongly that this is the direction that God is taking our family and we are excited to share that news with you all.  Our plan is in January 2012 to pack up the family and head to New Hope Uganda http://newhopeuganda.org/ in Luwero, Uganda for five months of extensive training and preparation for our life in the mission field.  In May of that year, we hope to move to Jinja, Uganda and start our lives as missionaries there.  We have many hopes and plans of what we would like to do, but most of all we want to be open to serving God however He is leading us at that time.  As for now, our hopes are to open a small clinic with the main goal of helping children and pregnant women.  There are many other details involved that I won't go into at this point since we are still figuring many of them out, but we wanted to share the general plan with you all.

Obviously these next eight months are going to be busy for us all.  Aside from figuring out our support and how we will begin this life that we have been called to, we also need to dwindle down all of our belongings to what can be taken on an airplane with us, sell our house, figure out a home schooling program that will work for us, start said program in Sept so we can all adjust to it before the move, and a million other things that seem to find their way onto my To Do list daily.  Please pray for us during this time.  The enemy has not wasted a single moment in attacking us.  Whether it just be in the form of sickness in the family or just trying to constantly discourage us or fill us with fears that we cannot possibly do this, Satan is working overtime in the Segner household for sure!

Some specific prayer requests for right now:
1. Support for our ministry - not only has God clearly called us to Uganda, but we felt strongly that He was calling us in a way that was not with a large mission organization.  We are not against large organizations, we just felt that God had a different way for us.  However, that has left us on our own (well not technically on our own, but I will get to that soon!) to raise the support that we will need to make this possible.  I STRONGLY believe in the power of prayer.  I feel that God is already working now on the hearts of those that are meant to help us in this mission.  That He has already placed the right people in our lives to make this possible.  To burden others with the work and help that is needed with the children of Uganda.  I have such a peace that the funds that are needed will come so please join us in prayer for that need.
2. Home Schooling for the kids - As I mentioned we want to begin this in the fall instead of sending the kids to school for just one semester.  Since this will be an adjustment both for them and for myself, we feel this routine will be easier to figure out when it isn't coupled with trying to figure out life in Africa as well.  Please pray for wisdom in choosing the right program for our family.
3. An intern to travel with us for the 5 months that we are at New Hope - I know that God already has the perfect person in place for us for this important position.  Please pray that person will be revealed to us.  We will be in need of someone that can stay with the kids and help them with school, during the day, while Jason and I are in training.  Someone that has a huge love for the Lord and His children.  If you know of someone that could fill this position for us, please let us know.

HUGE Praise Report!
As proof of the amazing power of prayer, God has already answered one of ours in a big way.  Being that we weren't going with a large mission organization, or even a small one for that matter, I had specifically been praying that God would lay it on the heart of someone to partner with us, in a way.  To be the person stateside that could take care of all the details that we would not have time to deal with considering the work we will be doing once in Africa.  And knowing, even if we had the time, neither Jason nor myself are really gifted in that area to handle it all.  That prayer was answered in the form of Imani Tumaini Upendo Ministries. A non profit that has been formed by friends of ours with the goal of "supporting ministiries who are living with, loving on, and caring for the children of Africa". This ministry will be helping us raise the funds that we need to move to Uganda.  They will also, starting next summer, be organizing short term mission teams to come and visit us, help serve alongside with us, and bring us much needed supplies.  We are SO very excited to see where this partnership with Imani will lead.  To find out more visit http://imani-africa.com/.  Also, you can now donate to our ministry and that donation is completely tax deductible.  For right now, we can only accept checks made out to Imani Tumaini Upendo with the Segners in the memo line.  Soon we will be able to accept donations online too.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Cost of True Worship

Lately I have been struggling with telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Not that I am just going around lying, but I feel like I have somewhat started sugarcoating some of my feelings, and I am not sure why.

Deciding to embark on the journey that Jason and I have, we have obviously been asked a lot of 'Why' questions.  From friends, definitely from family and even from people I hardly know.

It isn't that we don't have a good answer or don't want to talk about it.  I DO!  In fact, there is hardly anything I would rather talk about more at the moment.  So please, keep asking.  I feel like there is this fire burning within me and all I want to do is set anything ablaze that I can with it.  I want to scream it from the rooftops.  So why don't I?

I think I am mostly worried about other people's discomfort.  That me voicing what is happening in our lives will make them feel like I am judging theirs.  I am not.

It is just that Jason and I finally see that worship is not true worship if there is no cost.  Service is not true service without sacrifice.  These are our feelings.  This is why we want to follow God's calling of our lives to Uganda.  Not because it will be a vacation, or easy.  But because we clearly hear Him and are finally listening.  What we have He has given us and we are willing to let go of those things to serve Him in this way.  The way that He has called us.  To help the orphans and the widows.  To make disciples of all nations.  To hopefully let Jesus shine through us to lead more people to His kingdom.

We are not trying to deny our children things here, but realize that the true gift that we can give them is not a material possession, but the gift of a close, intimate relationship with God.  A life of total surrender to and for Him, and a life focused on the eternal rather than the earthly.  We realize this may not be popular opinion, but it is our responsibility to do for them what we feel is best.  As Christians, how are we to go wrong by serving Him?

God gave me such an awesome reminder of all of this today in II Samuel.  King David had done wrong against God and wanted to make a peace offering to God.  One of his servants wanted to give him the supplies for this offering, but King David insisted on paying him for them.  He said, 2 Samuel 24:24 "No, I insist on paying you for it.  I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

I believe that worship that costs us nothing is not true worship at all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Uganda Elections Today

Please keep Uganda in your prayers today.  Presidential elections are underway.  Pray for peace and for fairness for the people of Uganda.  Thank you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Uganda

I am so excited to officially share with everyone that I, (Kari) will be returning to Uganda in just over two weeks.  I will be spending the week at Canaan Children's Home.  I am once again traveling with Visiting Orphans.  In addition to working on some murals to brighten the children's rooms and loving on the kids at Canaan, I am also hoping this will be an opportunity to see what the future holds for my family in Uganda.  I will be meeting with other missionaries in the area to discuss all types of things, such as schooling, cost of living, ministries, etc.  I am also hoping to get the chance to look into what our housing options could be.

Here are some prayer requests that I would love to have you praying with us for:
- clear vision on where we go from here
- safety for Kari while traveling
- continued development of the relationships with those in Uganda.
- strength for Jason and my mom, Bonta, while taking care of the little ones for the week while I am gone.
- support, understanding, and trust from our friends and family. We are daily seeking God's will for our lives and we feel such a peace about these decisions that we are making.  Decisions that are definitely not always the easiest to make and not always the most popular, but ones that we whole heartedly feel God calling us to make.

Things you can do to help:
1. We are gathering used cell phones to take with us.  If you have any old ones that you no longer need, I would love to take them off of your hands for you.  Even the most basic, really old models can be sold in Uganda for $10+ dollars and we want to bless Canaan's with that money.  Chargers are a plus, but not a must.  Because I am leaving in such a short period of time, I will most likely only be able to gather from those people in the College Station area.  I have been told, that even if the phone is a little banged up, as long as it works, it can still turn a profit for the children's home.  Thank you so much!

2. We are hoping to bless the children's home with new mattresses.  Some of the ones that the kids are currently using are in very, very poor shape.  I have a feeling that there are many animals in the US that have better sleeping arrangements.  The mattresses cost $30 each.  If this is an area that you feel you can help at all in, please let me know.  You can donate through my paypal on this page or by check written to Visiting Orphans and mailed to me. (email me, k_penrose@yahoo.com for address)  You guys are the best and I know I can count on you for your support with this.

So I'll leave you with some of the sweet, sweet faces that I will soon get to hold and kiss!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pastor Isaac of Canaan Children's Home

I wanted to share some VERY exciting news.  I will be returning to Canaan Children Home in March.  I will have more details to come, but please keep me in your prayers regarding this trip and everything that it encompasses for our family!

I spoke about Pastor Isaac that started CCH with his wife, Rebecca.  He has one of the most amazing testimonies I have ever heard and I wanted to share it with you.  To be able to hear this story in person was an unbelievable experience for me.  To see the joy in his words, even when talking about such tragedy.  Joy that clearly comes from the Lord.  I know it is lengthy, but I hope you will take a moment to read.  Enjoy!

Pastor Isaac with Kari and Jason at Canaan

"Canaan Children’s Home was born after the Lord gave me a vision when in a dangerous time and that was the time when IDI AMIN was the ruler of Uganda. He closed all spiritual Christian churches in Uganda and he persecuted the Church openly. Most of our churches were burnt down and many of our pastors killed. I was one of the pastors, who were persecuted but narrowly escaped by the Grace of God, because I was invaded three times because I was the District Overseer and my name was on the death list.

On this third time, I was found at home with my family and they started shooting at us, looted my household property, bound me with ropes and I was put on their truck and taken to Kampala where they had a special place for killing people.  On that truck I found five more pastors whom I knew and we became six. We were kept in a room at the house which was called the Nile Mansion and the room was stinking with human blood.

When we arrived there we found when they had just killed some pastors including Bishop Jana Luwum of the Anglican Church in Uganda. We were told to stay in that room for three days. On the third day, the soldiers came in and asked us to denounce Christianity and become Muslims so that we can save our lives.  Because of torture and hunger, four of the pastors accepted to be Muslim and were circumcised and eventually set free. 

The other pastors and I persisted and after 3 hours we were told to get ready for death. We were taken outside with our faces blindfolded, our hands held backwards and were shot at. My fellow pastor called John died instantly. I was shot in the right hand and the soldier thought that I had died, and then we were left there. They never knew that I was alive so that is how I miraculously escaped death. After that about 25 of us were thrown on the back of a truck and the driver was commanded to take us to a pit dug in Kampiringisa Forest on Masaka Road, then we were dumped in the pit as dead bodies. Late in that evening, I heard a voice calling, "Isaac, I have saved your life so that you may save the lives of my fatherless children".

In that state, I got a vision in which a lot of children were coming to me and these children were hungry and malnourished. In fact they were like naked, moving skeletons and the voice went on to say, "Isaac, I will be the father of those children through you." Immediately I felt strength in my life and stood up but failed; so I crawled on my knees from the dead bodies. I really cannot tell how, but I found myself in the home of a herdsman who was looking after his master’s cows. I asked him to help me because I had come from a dangerous situation. He welcomed me and nursed my wound. He was my Good Samaritan and early in the morning I was taken on a bicycle to a place where I received first aid and that man paid the bill. I recovered after 5 days of treatment in that clinic. I requested my Good Samaritan to go and see my home but when he went there he found everything looted and my house burnt to ashes. My wife had gone to hide at her parent’s home with our children whom we had at that time: James and Samuel. I found myself homeless and I had nowhere to go. So many pastors were escaping into the neighboring country Kenya. I also got an idea of escaping too and the Lord made it possible for me to go into Kenya by train. Within one week I had found my fellow pastors who were already in Nairobi and they took me to the hospital where I was totally healed.

We spent 9 months in Kenya praying that God may give us a God fearing President and God did hear that prayer. The government was overthrown in 1997; we started making arrangements to return to Uganda. The Spirit led me to go back to my Church at Buziika even after my home had been burnt down. I insisted that I go back to that place. I thank the Lord for the brethren in Kenya had contributed some money to help me build a small house to live in. The brethren at Buziika helped with putting up the small house.

In 1982, I had almost forgotten about the vision and the words of the Lord in the forest, but one day a lady came to our church with two children and told us that the Lord had led her to come to our church. She stayed for three days and the fourth day she abandoned the children and escaped leaving the children behind. After 2 days that is when we remembered the vision of becoming the Father to the fatherless. (The two girls are now married.) In 1986, a widower came to us and asked us to help him with his 2 sons because he was sick and old, within a few days the old man died and the children remained with us: one was 4 years old and the other one was 8 years old. We stayed with them and took them to school until they became adults and self-reliant. 

In 1996 this was the year we found that a home was necessary because of the many children who continued to come to our church with the problem of orphans increasing and abandoned children continued to rise. I remembered the vision in its full light and great conviction came to me to help these children. My wife and I rented 2 rooms near our house for those orphans. We started that home with four children by July 1997 we had received 8 more aged between 4-13 years. We tried our best to clothe and feed them and meet their health needs. To our surprise children continued to come and we could not stop them. By 1998, we had 24 children on roll and I was obliged to open another home at one of our local churches in the village called Seeta. We helped them with the little finances we could get from god. The most difficult problem has been the education of these children but the Lord has been so good, we trusted his providing hand.

1999 Canaan home became a registered Ministry with an orphanage of 30 children and that year was the year when our Ministry was low in finances and we found that we needed some real partners to give us a hand in this work of promoting the vision that God gave me. "

Monday, January 24, 2011

Serving His Children

Today I wanted to take a moment to tell you about an amazing ministry led by an incredible woman of God, Renee Bach.  http://www.servinghischildren.org  

At the age of 18, Renee went to Uganda on a calling to serve God there.  At the age of 19 or 20 she started the ministry Serving His Children.  In addition to a feeding program for children in the area, she has started a malnutrition rehabilitation program.  She takes the children that have been cast aside by hospitals and doctors and said to have no chance of survival.  Sometimes already given up on by their own mothers, she takes these little ones and loves them and tenderly nurses them back to health.  Sometimes this means getting up every hour, 24hrs a day, to feed the small amounts that their bellies can handle.  I was so excited to catch a glimpse of the day to day of the ministry while we were in Jinja.
Here is Renee (left) and a good friend, Shanna that comes whenever she can to help out.

The little boy they are holding was a child that had just come to their ministry a couple of days before we got there.  His name was Andrew and he was four years old.  Unfortunately, he got to their door too late and he passed away the day after we left.  This completely broke my heart.  To know that this little boy had to suffer and die in such a way.  Not from an incurable disease, but from starvation.  NO child should have to suffer like that.  I know he is with our Lord now, and in pain no longer.  Sweet, sweet rest Andrew.

I hope that Renee's story can be an inspiration to us all that we all have something we can offer these sweet children.  Whether it is to be extraordinarily brave like Renee and move to a foreign country at the age of 18 or to be one of the many people that God is calling to support people like Renee.  WE ALL HAVE A PART TO PLAY.  And I hope the images of these precious children will help you realize that we can't deny that any longer.  If you would like to support Renee's ministry, Serving His Children, you can find a link here  http://www.servinghischildren.org  

These three images are of 18 month olds that are the size of newborns.  They are improving daily under SHC's care.

This little boy is Robert.  He has an amazing story that you can read more about here http://servinghischildreninuganda.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html  He has come so far under Renee's care and is showing amazing signs of recovery.

And finally, this is Betty, who captured my heart while we were there.  Betty is 14yrs old and also suffers from CP.  She has done so well under the program that she is almost to a point where her mom can take her home.  The great thing about Renee's program is not only do they nurse the children back to health, but they also use the time with the mothers to teach them about nutrition and how to grow food so that the children will not end up back in these conditions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canaan Children's Home

So I have SO much that I want to share.  Trying to decide where to start I figured I should start with Canaan's just in case you only read this one entry and decide I am a terrible writer and give up on me.  I will forever be changed by the children that I met at Canaan's and by Pastor Isaac and his wife, Rebecca.
(the precious children of Canaan's)

Canaan Children's Home is a ministry started in 1996 by Pastor Isaac and his wife.  Isaac has the MOST incredible testimony and life story that I have ever heard.  There seriously could be a major Hollywood movie made of it, but they are the most humble couple you will meet.  He received a clear vision from God to father the fatherless and Canaan's is the result.  In total, they care for 120 children with the help of some incredible servants of God.  They feed them, shelter them and educate them.  They depend heavily on sponsorship for the children.
This is Frank.  He is the newest part of our family, by way of sponsorship.  He is 2yrs old and has been at CCH for about 6m.  I am amazed that my friend was able to get these smiley pictures of him because usually anytime he saw one of us Mzungu's (white people) he started crying and ran to one of the two people that he trusted in this world.  
At first I thought it was just us, because we were white, but he pretty much has the same reaction to all the staff.  He broke my heart.  To be so young and already so afraid of the world.  
I made it my mission for the week to earn his trust and I made big progress in the world of Frank.  When we were leaving he had Chris, a 13yr old boy that he constantly clung to, to find me so he could wave goodbye to me and shake my hand.  That little gesture meant the world to me.  
Of course, maybe he was smiling so much at me because I was finally going to be leaving him the heck alone, but I like to think it is because he truly began to like me.
Either way Frank will forever be a part of the Segner household and we will remember him daily in our prayers and support him the best that we can.  

There are still many children that need sponsorship.  I can vouch that your money will be going to an incredible ministry to support some amazing young kids.  For more information please visit their website at http://canaanchildrenshome.org/

Pastor Isaac truly does have an amazing story and I hope to find a way to share more of it, but you can see a short video about him and CCH here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUHtADSpmF0&feature=player_embedded 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back from Africa

There are a million things I would like to say, but my heart can't bring me to say any right now.  It has been hard to process all that has happened over these last two weeks.  Coming home has been the hardest because our children here need us 100%, and at the same time my heart is broken for the children we left in Uganda.  It aches especially for a little boy named Allan that I love like he was my own.

I promise that I will blog more soon.  I hope you will read the stories and I hope that you will be effected by what we experienced.

I feel like I am pretty recovered from my jet lag so I hopefully won't just want to crash after we get the kids to bed and will be able to write about our journey.  I have so much that I want to share with you all.  So many injustices that I want to scream from the rooftop in hopes of being able to make a change.  And all the while I hear the enemies little voice in the back of my head asking "What can one person do? What difference can you really make?"  But I see the enemies lies and I KNOW that a change can be made.  Even if it is just for one child.

I don't know the exact plans that God has for our family, but I know that Jason and I will never be the same.....and I don't want to be.  I want to ache for Allan.  I want to be broken over the little boy that we met one day and he died the next.  I want all these feelings so that I never become dull to the reality of this world again.  So that I will always be praying for and looking for my part in serving God and His children.  I have hope for them and I just pray that they have hope too.