Epikos helps support a Christian school and orphanage in Ntandi, Uganda. Ntandi is a village in western Uganda in a zero-income area near the Congo border and in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountians. An Epikos family built an orphanage from the ground up. It provides a home for 68 children whose parents died from war, malaria, AIDS, or other diseases. The home is led locally by Christian staff who provide safe shelter, healthy meals, parental love, and Christian teaching. We often refer to the children as the sons and daughters of Epikos rather than using the term “orphans“. The children attend either Ntandi Intergrated Primary School or Three Angels High School, which are adjacent to the campus of our sons’ and daughters’ home.
Sons and Daughter’s Sponsorship Program
If you’ve agreed to sponsor an orphan, here’s the commitment:
-Pray for your child by name every day.
-Send four letters each year (details below).
-Give $40 for your child to get a new pair of shoes and enable him to buy paper, a stamp, and an envelope to write back to you.
The child also will be able to buy a toothbrush, deodorant, or some other necessity. Please do not put the $40 inside the letter; place it in a giving envelope with your name and marked “Uganda Orphan“, or you may give online using the “Uganda Orphan“ button. The $40 is due by January 31 each year. For more information contact Brenda Hudson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-679-8993.
Many details of Marriam’s past remain unclear, at this time. We do know that both of her parents died on the same day, when she was only three years old, and that she hasn’t walked since about the age of five. Some sources say that she was drugged by a relative that broke both of her legs so that she could beg for money in order to survive, and others believe that she was handicapped as the result of disease. Whatever the circumstance, she has suffered greatly, and really needs medical intervention in order to overcome her unfortunate incapacitation. See a video of her trip to the US.
OUR UGANDA RESTORATION TEAM
Ron Gladden (team leader): email@example.com; 360-624-7271
Brenda Hudson (orphan and meal sponsorships): firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-679-8993
Mike Davis (long-term life plan for orphans): email@example.com; 503-720-4708
Ron Rehling (fundraising and mission trips): firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-647-5937
We are limiting the number of participants to 10. You may reserve your place with a nonrefundable deposit of $200. If you follow through with your plans, the deposit will become part of your $1,200. If your plans change, the $200 will go to a project at the Ntandi campus.
Parents who wish to take their children should be aware of the following: We strongly recommend that you bring only children under 16 on your second trip to Uganda. The parent is fully responsible for the child’s expenses and wellbeing.
A mission trip to Uganda is a life-changing experience. You will encounter extreme poverty and conditions that you can hardly believe you are seeing. The hotels and food are very different than what you are used to. The hotels will have western-style toilets, but you will sometimes use a hole in the dirt. You might see some strange-looking bugs, and you will sleep under a mosquito net.
You also will meet wonderful people in sometimes-desperate situations who hope that someone cares about them and loves them. You will leave part of your heart in a country eleven time zones away and return home knowing that you made a tangible difference in the lives of some very precious people.
Before making the huge commitment of time and finances, we recommend that you pray for God’s leading and that you talk with someone who has been to Ntandi who can help you decide whether you can be sufficiently adaptable for two weeks.
If you have questions, would like more information, or you’re ready to sign up, contact Ron at email@example.com or 360-624-7271.
Many of the students at the Ntandi campus live in the dormitory because their parents do not live in the area. The government has mandated that the girls and boys be housed in totally separate buildings. In 2014, we raised $15,000 to build the first phase of the girls’ dormitory.
We also continued the Orphans Sponsorship Program so each of the orphans have a prayer partner and friend. Additionally, 30 sponsors committed to donating $39 a month to provide food every school day for a year to the 300 children who cannot afford to eat.
Finally, we committed to bring Marriam, a 16-year-old crippled girl, to Vancouver to receive medical treatment and physical therapy to help her walk. (Marriam arrived on June 2, 2015!)
by Ron Gladden | March 18, 2014
“I wish everyone could experience this for themselves. Words and photos cannot possibly capture what it’s like to be here in the heart of Africa!”
We heard a version of this statement over and over during our recent, 13-day mission trip to Uganda. Every person on the team came back excited, humbled, and determined to do whatever it takes to help the people in Ntandi, a small village near the Congo border. We truly fell in love with the kids, the teachers, and pretty much everyone we met.
Our primary tasks were to deliver and assemble a new hand-powered, adult-sized tricycle for Marriam, interview each child in the Epikos orphanage, build a bridge across the creek that separates the orphanage from the school, and deliver medical supplies to the small medical clinic on campus. Our dental hygienist treated each orphan’s teeth and distributed hundreds of toothbrushes and floss, and our team artist painted a beautiful mural/map of Africa on the outside of a classroom. We also accompanied all 52 orphan children on a field trip to the town of Fort Portal, where they enjoyed a mini-shopping spree, devoured a wonderful meal, and tasted ice cream for the first time in their lives. The team was phenomenal, God protected everyone, and the trip was a great success.
We want you to know three things:
1) Your gifts and prayers are making a difference that cannot be measured. Three hundred children at the primary school (grades 1-7) are eating lunch every school day because of you. The new fence around the ten-acre campus is of the highest quality and provides a sense of security to adults and children alike. The orphan children proudly showed us some letters their sponsors sent and expressed how thankful they are that someone truly loves them. Every donation, every letter, and every prayer changes a life.
2) We have four projects for 2014, which we hope to fully care for by the end of April:
- Continue to feed the 300 children who are attending school but could not afford to eat lunch before people like you stepped up and provided the funds. Thirty-nine dollars feeds ten children every school day for a month. We need a total of 30 sponsors to donate $39 a month for a year.STATUS: Thirty sponsors have already made the commitment!
- Bring Marriam,a 15-year-old crippled girl from the Epikos orphanage, to Vancouver to receive medical treatment and physical therapy. We are delighted that officials at Portland Adventist Medical Center have agreed to treat her at their cost and that one of our families will care for her in their home while she goes through rehab. We expect that her medical visa will be approved shortly and that everyone at Epikos will be able to meet her in person. We need $3,700 for someone to fly to Uganda to accompany her here. STATUS: We have a commitment for all of the funds!
- Continue the orphan sponsorship program for the 52 children in the Epikos orphanage.Sponsorship means providing $30 a year, writing a personal letter six times a year, and praying for each child every day. STATUS: Most of last year’s sponsors want to continue, but we need some new sponsors.
- Provide the funding for Phase One of the new girls’ dormitory at the primary school. Many of the students live in the dorm because their parents do not live in the area. The government has mandated that the girls and boys be housed in a totally separate building and has given the school two years to comply. The total cost of the new dormitory is approximately $35,000. We have pledged to raise $15,000 to build Phase One. STATUS: We have just over $1,000 toward this goal so far.
3) Pastor Sam and I will lead an Epikos Church mission trip to Ntandi, Uganda, next year, and you are invited. The group is limited to 15 people, the cost is approximately $2,500 per person (includes airfare), and the dates are February 22 to March 8, 2015. Pick up a flyer with all of the information at the Uganda table.
We think about Jesus’s appeal in Matthew 25 (vs. 31-40), and we can’t help but respond. We are proud of what we have done together, but there is so much more that we can do. During March and April, we are receiving donations to help build the new girls’ dormitory. Please let us know how you and your family would like to help. Think of some friends who have a heart for the under-resourced, and give them a copy of this report along with a personal note from you. And be sure to pray for the wonderful people in Uganda whom Jesus loves so much. Thank you!
2014 Mission Trip
by Elizabeth Eck | January 13, 2014
A new year has begun, and a new team has formed to embark upon another exciting mission trip to the school and orphanage in Ntandi, Uganda! Just like last year, the 2014 mission trip will take place for the first two weeks of February.
This year, the Uganda Mission Team plans to complete interviews with the orphans, so that we can learn more about their backgrounds, as well as how to best meet their needs. We are also taking all 52 orphans on a field trip to Fort Portal, a nearby village, so that they can go shopping and spend the Christmas money that their sponsors generously donated to them! Then, we will treat them all with a nice picnic dinner.
We are very excited that a dental hygienist is traveling with us! Chelsea plans to clean the orphans teeth, as long as sterilization needs can be met. She will teach the orphans, as well as all 650 students, how to properly brush and floss their teeth.
We are also delivering a tricycle to Marriam, the orphan girl that needs surgery in order to walk again (for more information about her, please see her story below). This special tricycle is pedaled by her arms, so that she can ride it between buildings at the school complex. We will build a bridge while there, so that she can travel along a smooth path. This amazing vehicle will do wonders to improve her mobility!
Finally, we plan to interview the teachers and headmaster, and observe in the classrooms, in order to learn more about specific educational needs that the school has. We are anxious to help improve classroom materials as best as we can, so that the students have more resources to develop literacy, as well as other creative skills. Previous teams have noted that books and art supplies are in short supply there, which likely creates challenges for the teachers to help students with crafts and reading.
Do you want to help the 2014 Mission Team, and the students in Ntandi? If so, between now and January 30th, please bring the following items to the weekend gathering at Epikos, and drop them off at Guest Services:
- TOOTHBRUSHES AND DENTAL FLOSS. If you want to take this a step further, please ask your dentist if she or he would be willing to donate some supplies to us!
- SPORTS BRAS, for teen girls
- LIGHTWEIGHT, PAPERBACK CHILDREN’S BOOKS. You can find some at the dollar store!
- MATCHBOX CARS. These will be gifts for the orphan boys, as someone has already made beautiful dolls for all of the girls..
- COLORED PENCILS & PADS OF PLAIN PAPER
- CALENDARS (please look for ones that have vibrant photos)
- MEN’S AND WOMEN’S WATCHES. Along with calendars, these will be gifts for the caregivers and teachers. Many of them work for nothing but room and board, in order to help this impoverished school.
Thank you so much for your willingness to team up with Epikos Church in order to help the Mission Catalyst Orphanage in Uganda!
by Elizabeth Eck | October 18, 2013
Many details of Marriam’s past remain unclear, at this time. We do know that both of her parents died on the same day, when she was only three years old, and that she hasn’t walked since about the age of five. Some sources say that she was drugged by a relative that broke both of her legs so that she could beg for money in order to survive, and others believe that she was handicapped as the result of disease. Whatever the circumstance, she has suffered greatly, and really needs medical intervention in order to overcome her unfortunate incapacitation.
As a young child, Marriam crawled around the streets, begging for food, until someone finally rescued her and brought her to an orphanage in Kampala. She eventually transferred to the boarding school in Ntandi, where she continues to reside. Her physical condition has greatly hindered her success in school; she is only in second grade right now, even at a high school age. The officials at her school tell us that, in her current condition, she may not thrive at all without the help of a private tutor.
Up until just a couple of years ago, Marriam’s mobility largely consisted of scooting around the dirt floors while holding a pair of flip flops, to protect her hands from blisters. She was eventually taken to a doctor in Kampala that fitted her for braces and crutches, which finally allowed her the ability to move around in a vertical position, for the first time in years. That was helpful for her; however, she still needs orthopedic surgery, and also probably physical therapy, to permanently fix her legs and finally help her walk again.
At this time, we prayerfully continue to engage in the hopeful search of finding an orthopedic surgeon to assist us on our mission trip to Uganda this February. It is very important that Marriam is formally diagnosed by a medical professional that can help advise us of all available treatment options, before we make any further decisions, either abroad or on African soil. Do you know of anyone that is willing to help us help her? If so, then please encourage them to contact us soon!
Let’s find a miracle for Marriam!
New Addition to the Dining Hall
by Elizabeth Eck | September 14, 2013
A couple of years ago, the school cafeteria in Ntandi, Uganda consisted of a tin shack with an open fire that was used to cook for all of the students. The children sat on the ground to eat their meals, beneath the trees, for minimal shelter from the hot sun or pouring rain (depending on the season). Last year, Epikos Church built a dining hall at the school. It provided tables and chairs in an indoor setting for the students to sit, along with more stoves for cooking. Then, earlier this year, we raised money to provide lunches for over half the students, who can’t afford to buy lunch.
Now, we continue to progress in our efforts in feeding the children there. Last month, we ordered a new stove to send to the dining hall! We went through a local company (Cottage Grove, Oregon) that makes energy efficient stoves for third-world countries. The reviews on the stove are excellent, and we believe that it will save them a great deal of time as well as money. We are looking forward to testing out how this stove works for them, and if it is as successful as we expect, we will consider buying more of them. Thank you for being a part of our mission to feed the children in Ntandi!
An Exciting Announcement!
by Elizabeth Eck | August 12, 2013
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the response letters from the orphans we’re sponsoring in Uganda finally arrived in our mailbox this morning!!! They will be waiting for you at Guest Services this Saturday, so please stop by to pick them up from Liz!
If you have not already turned in your second letter and $5, please do so as soon as possible! We are only waiting on a few more.
Thank you for sponsoring an orphan at Epikos Church! We hope that you will be blessed to read their response letters, and understand the difference that you’re making in their lives!
Coming Soon: Orphan Response Letters
by Elizabeth Eck | July 30, 2013
Teacher Elijah is handing out the first letters to orphans from their sponsors at Epikos Church in the photo below. Guess what? We should be receiving our letters back from the orphans, any day now!!! The school in Ntandi, Uganda just informed us that their responses to our first letters were sent in late June, and should shorty arrive in our mailbox. Who’s excited to hear back from their little guy or gal overseas? Just look at some of those bare feet, awaiting new shoes!
The Orphans and their Shoes
by Elizabeth Eck | July 26, 2013
If you are sponsoring an orphan at Epikos, you are making a great difference in the life of an impoverished child in Uganda! Here are some of the orphans in Ntandi with their new shoes, which they bought with the money we sent them this past spring. We are hoping to receive letters back from them sometime soon!
The Beginning of Mission Catalyst Orphanage
by Elizabeth Eck | July 20, 2013
“Who is John Williams?”
Look Who’s Excited to Get New Shoes!
by Elizabeth Eck | July 13, 2013
This is the orphan that I’m sponsoring, Geofrey! Look at how excited he is to receive the money we sent for a much-needed pair of new shoes!! Would you like to sponsor an orphan and make a difference in their lives? There are two new ones that are awaiting sponsors! Contact us for more information.
by Elizabeth Eck | July 7, 2013
Are you struggling with orphan letter writer’s block? If so, we hope that this letter writing guide will provide some inspiration for you! Don’t forget that the letters and $5 are due at the service this Saturday, July 13th. Thank you for taking the time to bless your orphan from overseas!