A Week On the Island – Part 2

MONDAY, FEB 12TH, 2018

The boys and I enjoy our school days on the island; especially during the week each month when the Vroege family joins us! Lessons are interspersed with going to the shore to collect food for rabbits and goats and a lunch of posho and beans with SHIM members. (“Posho” is fine-ground maize-corn boiled until it is almost as thick as play-doh.)  The kids study science, history, geography, etc together. This year we are “Exploring Countries and Cultures.” FUN!

Serious Farmers foraging food for their animals

Our lives as well as our house are chalk-full every waking minute from sun-up to after sun-down here on the island! We have many visitors all throughout the day, who of course do not call ahead. They just show up on our door step or peer in the windows, “Kodi, Kodi!” (like “knock, knock”) I think every meal this whole week we had people showing up while we were sitting down to eat as a family! Mostly they don’t come in the house any more without permission, which is a big improvement from when we first came. We are interacting with people- whether SHIM members or villagers, continuously throughout the day from shortly after we wake up until we go to bed at night.

Stella, Ronnie, and Yasha Kakaire

Today was made special when the SHIM boat arrived, carrying the Vroege family (minus their mom Stephanie who is visiting the States), Mama O, Imaculate, Pr. Grace, and Ronnie, Stella and Yasha Kakaire. Ronnie was mobbed by his friends, the “footballers” (soccer players) of the island who had been waiting eagerly for his coaching in life and sports. At dinner he shared, “I am so amazed how these boys open up to talk to me about their lives. I learned that for some, their only meal is lunch at school. It’s an honor to sit as they share things they’ve never been able to discuss before.”

Ronnie’s footballers team up for VICTORY!

For instance, he learned that Asuman Babi, whom we have sponsored for years, is actually an orphan, living with his aunt. We never knew that. His Aunt has always called him her “son.” During their conversation, Asuman asked Ronnie to pray with him to receive Christ. “Will Jesus actually want me?” the teenager wanted to know. I can imagine the tears in Jesus’ eyes as He looked at His nail-pierced hands and reached down to embrace Asuman and welcome him into the Family!



Four days every month are devoted to Pastor’s Training School (PTS). About 25 pastors and church leaders come from nearby islands to attend. Pr. Grace, Pr. Fred and Immaculate, are former students who are now helping teach. While Andy was gone, Justus and Gert-Jan Vroege took over the leadership. “There are several things they are doing now that are better than before I left!” Andy exclaimed. “It is exciting to see the affection and attentiveness these students have for their teachers.” Bob Peterson and Robert Wafula also contribute so much to the class whenever they come.

Pr. Grace told of several students who decided to remain on the islands, despite the drought and poverty, only to continue their Bible training. Mama O walked the mile over the rocks on several days, just to impart wisdom to some church leaders struggling with their own marriage and family relationships.

Pastors’ Training School

The Smith and Vroege families are very happy that PTS is currently

“Upon my word; it’s Robin Hood!”

just on the other side of our island. It is so nice to have the Daddies home every evening and morning! That gives Andy and Gert-Jan the joy of helping the boys with their animal projects and with learning to shoot bows and arrows!

This evening we invited Lingira Living Hope Secondary School teachers and all SHIM members for popcorn and tea at our house. We actually met in our yard since our mud brick house of approximately 20’ x 20’ is a bit small for several dozen! The circle of chairs in our yard kept growing larger and I wondered whether I had made enough. By the time the last person passed through our house, the last chapati and remaining popcorn disappeared! We enjoy such evenings as opportunities to encourage and appreciate our teachers and staff. Their dedication is changing the islands!

Every dinner during the week is shared by whoever is on SHIM base. Thanks to Peace, we enjoy a great meal together and then have time for testimonies, prayer requests, and worship. Nearly everyday this week we heard of someone who had given their heart to Jesus through the ministry of various SHIM members. Even the kids get the chance to share praises and prayer requests.

Sarah and Jovian enjoy their meal!




Mealtime brings smiles!







(Click for Part 1.)

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A Week On The Island — Part 1

So many people have asked, “What’s a normal week like for you?”

Our first answer is, “Uuhhh; what’s a normal week?” So this last week, I tried to catch some of the happenings with photos. If you would like a glimpse of life on the island, this is for you!


SUNDAY, FEB 11TH, 2018

As we sat in church from 9:30-1:30pm, I often wished you could have been seated next to us on the hard benches. Your heart would have rejoiced as Pr. Brainerd quoted the story of David and Goliath (all of 1 Sam 17) in Luganda. He explained how David was despised because of his size, his status, and even his skills – or tools. I hadn’t thought of that one before. Then he encouraged the church and the new students to rely on what they have experienced of God’s faithfulness and to use the skills God has given them, no matter how juvenile they may seem to others. Certainly, children and “villagers” are most despised here.

Prossy practicing with “Little Angels” for Sunday’s service.

Maybe that thought is what made my heart rejoice all the more with the special choirs. Shalifa, a young teenage girl in 4th grade from a Muslim family, led a choir of kindergarten age children, “Little Angels.” These children, often neglected and abused in the community, sang and danced vigorously as the church cheered them on. Shalifa and her agemates were up next. As I looked at these bright-eyed little ladies, I thanked God for Prossy, Peace, and Ruthie, who pour love and affirmation into their lives, praying they will escape the clutches of the fishermen, and of their own mothers, who often push them into using their developing bodies to gain money or “sugar” for their family. Even the adult choir brought happy tears to my eyes as I watched some of my friends from the village, who used to be so shame-faced and reserved, now singing in English!

                           Lingira Living Hope student choir “The Anointed Choir”

As this was the first Sunday of the school year, many new students introduced themselves. Two of those chose to start the new year as a New Creation in Christ Jesus! Amen! Speaking of students, the two who led the service, Jimmy (Price) and Martin, were full of enthusiasm and zeal. Martin has finished Highschool, but came back to help until God opens a door for him for further education.

“When the enemy comes in like a flood, they Spirit of the Lord raises up a standard against him.”


After church we had lunch with Ruthie, then we disguised a detailed inventory of the SHIM island base as a “Family Hike.” As this was Andy’s first free afternoon on the island since we came back from America, we were able to check which projects had been done in our absence, and what now needed to be done. We also did a preliminary review of the Dairy Goat Program. While I made dinner completely from scratch (that’s almost the only way you can do any cooking here!) Andy met with the base manager and one of the village boys who requested permission to use some of the SHIM land for gardening. We finished and were able to eat by about 7 or 7:30pm. Afterwards, the boys washed their very dirty feet and legs…playing and working bare-footed on the island all day does amazing things to skin-tone from the knees down!


Don’t go away yet! The week has just begun – keep on reading! 

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