March Visit to Uganda

kla_morningI was given the opportunity in March to fly to Uganda to create a short film for the African Children’s Choir.

I was excited to work with a great organization, and blessed to have the opportunity to return to our home and connect with friends face to face. Unfortunately I only had 7 days to accomplish everything!

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Filming at the African Children’s Choir school.

The African Children’s Choir is an organization assisting impoverished youth to attain a quality education they would not otherwise be afforded. The film shows where a choir member, Peace, used to live and how participating in the choir and attending their school has changed her life. Peace’s story is told alongside the story of Elsa, who was part of the very first choir back in 1983, and because of the opportunities through the Choir is now working to impact change in Uganda.

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Posing with the star of the show, Peace.

Peace and Elsa are amazing individuals who did a great job articulating their story and inviting all of us to join in the work of educating the future change makers in Uganda!

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Click this image to watch the 5 minute film!

While in Kampala for the week, I grabbed every opportunity to meet with friends and catch up. When I wrapped up filming, I picked up our car and began the 5 hour journey to Mbarara early Sunday morning. I rolled into town just as Church was starting and enjoyed gathering with good friends again.

After the service I drove an hour south to the refugee settlement to greet the women Betsy has been working with. It was encouraging to see them face to face and I was able to share a short video of Betsy greeting them and reinforcing that we are working to return and continue partnering with them.

A few hours later I drove back up to Mbarara to fellowship with close friends and spend the night at our house. It was fun to be in our home again and see it was being well taken care of. Every plant seemed to be twice the size, grass had finally grown, and some small bushes turned out to be fruit bearing!

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Boys at the African Children’s Choir school playing football.

The next day, Monday, I drove the 5 hours back to Kampala and caught my flight out that night. Getting on the plane, I was completely exhausted.

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Being goofy with a bunch of the African Children’s Choir kids.

I feel overwhelmingly blessed with the opportunity of being back in Uganda, even for a brief time. The entire trip was a refreshing reminder that this was the location and work God has for us and we can’t wait to return!

Below are a few of my favorite shots from the trip. Click to enlarge.

African Children’s Choir

A few weeks ago while visiting family in Phoenix, AZ we had the chance to meet up with the kids of Choir 42 of the African Childrens Choir.  We got to know them while we were in Uganda as Micah stayed with them for three days and filmed an intro video for their tour.

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We stopped in to see them before the show and they loved seeing Porter again.

All the children come from impoverished and at-risk situations and few would ever have a chance at an education.  The organization takes them on a world tour and raise sponsorship for themselves and thousands of other children across Africa to receive scholarships for free or subsidized education.  It’s a fantastic organization and the kids are truly amazing young people!

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Here is the video I created to intro their performance.  It was filmed at or around the children’s actual homes to help the audience get a better understanding of where the kids come from.  The score was written and performed by a former choir member specifically for this video.

Check out their tour schedule and see if they are coming to a city near you!

In Memory of Grandma Lois

Grandma1On January 7th my grandma Lois Scott passed away. Thankfully we had the opportunity to go back to Michigan this past week for the services to celebrate her beautiful life. She truly lived every day for the Lord and her final deep burning passion was to know that her family and friends, people she loved dearly, had accepted God as their Lord and Savior. We know when she passed she was met by the words “well done, good and faithful servant.”

God is so gracious. My grandma was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in early December while we were still in Grand Rapids. We were able to go directly to the hospital and spend the afternoon with her only a day after she was diagnosed. We had an entire week left in Michigan before coming to Arizona which gave us precious time with her.  My grandma prayed for me my whole life, that I would have a relationship with God. She never ceased as a woman of prayer. She has left an incredible legacy for our family.

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After Micah and I got married she liked to remind me that ALL of her friends had great grandchildren and she didn’t have ANY. We were overjoyed with the arrival of Porter in 2013, but he was born in Uganda so family didn’t get to meet him until we returned. This past June upon arriving to the US, we brought Porter to the cottage at Big Star Lake where grandma finally met her first great grandchild. The moment was so sweet, locked in my memory forever. Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.53.07 PMFast forward to December in the hospital, I asked grandma to pray over Porter knowing the warrior that she is. Porter sat on her lap and she prayed over him and his life, one of the most beautiful pictures.

I am unbelievably grateful for the time in December with my grandma. To share Porter with her. And to say “see you in heaven.”

14 MOMENTS OF 2014

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This past year was filled with many great moments and a few hard ones. Here are 14 of the most memorable ones:

1) Felt God leading us to pursue Business as Mission with a missions organization

2) Applied to World Venture

3) Our media bag was stolen from our car that contained our cameras & computer

4) Began moms group in the refugee settlement

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5) Betsy got malaria (and survived!)

6) We returned to the United States

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7) Our Uganda home was broken into and both dogs were poisoned

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8) We were appointed with World Venture

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9) Visited with family who met Porter for the first time

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10) Porter turned 1

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11) Attended two trainings through World Venture in Colorado and began partner development

12) Two successful Designed4 photo auctions to replace our stolen equipment

13) Began substitute teaching & freelance video work while in the States

14) Celebrated Christmas with Family

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Looking back we can see God’s faithfulness in leading us to partner with World Venture for long-term impact in Uganda. We are hoping to find temporary housing in Grand Rapids while we are here in the states for the next few months working and building our team.  Let us know if you know of any options!

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Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 7.11.28 PMAs we trust in God’s timing, we look forward to returning to our work and home in Uganda in 2015!

Wishing you an incredible New Year!