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Dr. Paul Friesen with Pastor Wilberforce Okumu at Pearl Haven Christian Center
Healing Body and Soul
Dear Friends,

As I write this, Virginia and I are at 40,000 feet, 12 hours into our 17-hour flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Dulles airport in Washington, D.C.  We are returning physically tired but emotionally and spiritually energized by our 3 weeks in Uganda.

The first week and a half, we had the experience of a lifetime as our whole immediate family converged (over a period of 3 days and 3 different flights!) in Entebbe for a family reunion focused around Derek and Julie's life and ministry in Africa.  There aren't words to describe how rich our time together was and how meaningful it was to immerse ourselves in their world-at the hospital, at their church, in their neighborhood, and with their missionary community.  Virginia and I spent our last week in Uganda doing marriage and family ministry in a variety of strategic venues. Virginia has written about our experiences with words and photos on her Facebook page (and her entries have been reposted on the H.I.M. Facebook page as well as on the H.I.M. blog site if you wish a more detailed account.

While we were in Uganda we partnered with two ministries in particular that are doing an incredible work for the Kingdom, bringing healing to bodies and souls.

CURE Children's Hospital
The first is the CURE Children's Hospital in Mbale, Uganda, where Derek serves as the Executive Director and Julie serves as the Doctor of Physical Therapy.  Here hundreds of children are literally physically saved from the ravages of neurological conditions (primarily hydrocephalus, spina bifida, and tumors).  Many "mamas" find Christ as they are loved, cared for, and taught the scriptures while their babies are treated at the hospital. 

Kari and Ana Garcia visit a mama and her baby at CURE Children's Hospital
One baby we visited had a huge head due to hydrocephalus, which is fatal if not treated. We were back at the hospital a few days later and could not find that baby.  After inquiring with the nurses, they directed us to the child and mama. The baby was barely recognizable due to the greatly reduced swelling of the head-only three days after surgery!  A full recovery is expected with few noticeable effects of the hydrocephalous. 

From a viewing room off the "theater" (operating room), we were able to observe the beginning of what ended up being a 12-hour surgery on a blind 14-year-old girl with a benign but fast-growing brain tumor.  We found out a few days later that due to the surgery and intercessory prayer, the tumor was completely removed and the girl was regaining her eyesight.

Pearl Haven Christian Center

The second ministry we partnered with is Pearl Haven Christian Center.  This is Derek and Julie's home church that Virginia and I have attended while in Mbale, and where we have led seminars for singles and marrieds, as well as taught from the pulpit on Sundays.  This last week we spoke at a couples' date night, which was packed out.  A woman told us that last year when we spoke, she and her husband were in a very bad place following an affair he had had.  She shared that they were stuck back then, because she refused to forgive him (though he was repentant and committed to fidelity), but that she was really challenged when we taught on love and respect, headship and submission from Genesis 3:16 (explaining the ongoing affects of the curse) and Ephesians 5. God spoke to her that evening and she chose to forgive her husband and to work on her attitude towards him, exchanging disrespect for respect and defiance for submission.  She had a huge smile on her face as she related that their marriage had been transformed by God's Word. This year, they attended the couples' date night together at which we challenged couples to pray together daily, with the man initiating the prayer on odd days and the woman on even.  Several days after the date night, she told us joyfully: "The marriage night was very good and my husband has been leading us in prayer on the odd days." God is at work.

Easter Convention at Pearl Haven
While attending Pearl Haven Christian Center on Easter Sunday (one of the most incredible 3-hour Easter services we have ever attended), one of the church leaders reported on the progress of their building fund.  They have been building a 2,000-person sanctuary since 2003.  Pastor Wilberforce Okumu believes that their congregation  should take responsibility for raising the funds (hence a project that has been ongoing for 12 years.)  They have done a huge amount of work over the 6 years that we have been partnering with them and are now working on putting a roof on the sanctuary, currently just bamboo poles and a tarp.  The total cost for the roof will be slightly over $100,000.  The church leadership reported that the week before they had collected from the congregation $15,000 in pledges and gifts for this year.  This may not seem a lot to many of us, but given that the average ANNUAL income in Uganda is $300 and a well-paid Ugandan may make $1,200 annually, it is HUGE.  They hope to have the roof built in time for next year's Easter celebration and a marriage crusade that they have asked us to speak at in May 2016.

Will you partner with us?

Virginia and I both independently felt the Lord leading us to financially help these two incredible ministries and we would be thrilled if the H.I.M. family would join us. Here is our proposal: for the rest of April and all of May we will collect "Uganda" donations through H.I.M.  These gifts are all tax-deductible and 100% of the donations will go to the work in Uganda: half to CURE and half to Pearl Haven Christian Center (unless specifically designated otherwise).

You may make checks out to H.I.M. or donate through our website, designating UGANDA.
Thanks for taking the time to read about these ministries and considering joining us in this work.  I am very excited to see the response as God provides for these ministries.  We have passed this idea by Derek and have his approval, but it will be a complete surprise from Heaven for Pastor Wilberforce.

Thanks so much for your prayerful consideration of this opportunity to change lives for eternity. 

Home Improvement Ministries  - 213 Burlington Road, Suite 101-B, Bedford, MA 01730

The mission of Home Improvement Ministries (H.I.M.) is to equip, encourage, and bring hope to churches,
families, and marriages as they seek to establish and live out biblical designs for relationships.
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