Iris Ministries Uganda Base Is Official

Written by Carolyn Figlioli

We are finally here! We are now an official Iris Ministries Uganda Base! We have moved into our new home in the same town of Luwero, in a village called Seeta, in an even smaller village called Kanyogoga which means the cold place. It really is colder as we are near a more water saturated place and at a slightly higher elevation. It took us three days to move everything, hiring a large cattle truck and using our trusty Land Crusier and our big blue bus, making so many trips, I wondered how we had amassed so much stuff. It looked so overwhelming at first but once all hands were on deck, we got quite organized over the following three days. Even though we had just two water taps and two outdoor latrines and no kitchen, we came anyway. Our water finally got piped to our office and dorms and the kids are experiencing their first real showers and flushing toilets!

We have also finished our solar power hookups for lights and power. We have so much light inside, and outside security poles that it looks light a football stadium at night – haha! We have a makeshift kitchen where our cooks are under heavy plastic/rubbery tents setting our large pots on big rocks over wood fires. Somehow the food tastes better here, the water is sweeter and our sleep is more wonderful. God has given us our home which no one can chase us away from. We praise Him!

It is very quiet here as we are further away from town, almost 5 kilometers and all of our neighbors are quiet and so nice. This week we invited the village elders (the chief, or Local Chairman and his counselors). They too are so happy we are here and have said that now their community can grow as we are bringing development. Many of our construction workers are from this village, on purpose. We are still waiting for the kitchen and dining room to be completed, maybe another two weeks at most. My house is going up quick and they have started working on our two houses for the warden and a missionary. We just need funding for one more house for our newlywed missionaries and their baby who are arriving hopefully this month.

Our kids went right to the fields and started digging their mini farms. They have not been able to do this in almost five years, since we fled South Sudan’s civil war. They are growing sweet potatoes, maize, and ground nuts. We are living fully off the grid having our own solar power and our own solar water system pumped right from our underground spring. There is no city water or electricity here so there is either darkness and a community waterhole or funding our own source. God again has provided for all our needs. I am just so amazed because last year we didn’t even have enough to start a building much less an entire compound and now we are here.

In the midst of all this craziness, one of our older boys had surgery on his leg. He had it amputated while we were still in South Sudan because of a car accident. This current surgery was to smooth out a bone that was pinching his flesh. He did well and should hopefully be back in his prosthesis in another three weeks.

While everyone in America went back to school last week, the children and college students of Uganda are still sitting at home. Some of our children have not been to school since March of 2020 and there is no end in sight. The President has stated that schools will not reopen until all teachers and students over 12 are fully “poked”. An almost impossible task because most do not want to be poked. And so, we sit and wait. We plan to keep hiring teachers to teach our children but no one can advance. Homeschool is not recognized here.

All of our boys and girls who are over the age of eighteen are now living in their own homes, two separate ones, with an adult to monitor them. So, we now have three bases basically to support. The older boys house and older girls house are rentals and we deliver charcoal and firewood and food to their houses each week. It is impossible to just go out and get a job like teens do in America. There are no jobs. Most businesses are family owned and they pay rent for their space to sell things and also live in that space. It is so difficult right now trying to keep everyone motivated. We now have to move around between three bases daily to keep everyone encouraged and feeling loved. Our ministering staff is very small so we are always busy.

Without faith it is impossible to see God. We see Him every single day in how He moves in our lives and how He connects us with others. I never doubted that this day would come. I held onto faith. Many give up too soon when they don’t see the sprout coming out of the soil. They even try to dig it up to see if it is still there, just to make sure that prophesy was right. When you are planting carrots, you water, you wait and you have faith that carrots will come. We believe God for everything. There is no way humanly possible that I myself could make all of these blessings happen. I just trust God and I walk in faith. I don’t sit in faith, I walk in faith, believing that God will respond when the time is right. I could write a book about how the timing was perfect for us to even move this very year. It was confirmed so many times.

I encourage everyone, walk in faith, believe God, keep watering and sowing, and the harvest always comes. We love all of you so much!