Ever since I have been serving here in East Africa there is one thing you can always depend on no matter where you go, or so I thought until this week. No matter where you go there are always more children than you know what to do with. Even at the events being held for adults, still the children come from everywhere. This has been true for the conferences we’ve been doing. There is never enough room for the adults much less the children in these churches that hold these events.

At each conference I always set aside time for the children to enjoy something special. A family from my home church, Will and Bernadette Campbell and their children made their Christmas project something I could use here for the children. They purchased some Veggie Tale videos and it has been such a joy for the children to watch them. I wish I could capture in words what its like to listen to them laugh, really laugh.

Each week there is no where left in the church for the children to sit, that is until this week. I had noticed the low number of children once I arrived there, but it wasn’t until I had movie time for them did I realize just how few there really were. There were less than 25 children and that is just not normal. Last week there were over 150 and thats about the average everywhere I go.

This week I stayed in the center of an area where sugar cane is grown everywhere. The roads and huts/houses all bunt up to the edges of the sugar cane fields. The sugar cane fields cause the mosquitos to be worse and my heart ached as I learned that 3/4 of all the children born in this region die from Malaria before they are 5 years old. They do not have access to any medical faculities because the distance is great. Most often they have no money to take their children to a doctor and when they do the journey is so far that the doctors can’t save the childrens lives.

This is a picture of the children from this week and I say they are miracle children, malaria has not claimed their lives yet.

Sweet Bush Children

But when I look at this picture and see so many of them who are still under 5 years old…I realize that some of these very children will also die.

So much heartache in this land called Africa. There are times like this week when I feel so helpless. Not only does this region suffer from such a high number of Malaria deaths, it is also an area where there have been no wells bored. They told me that most of the people there at that church have to travel 3 hours one way to get fresh water. I didn’t learn about this until the last day of the conference and I realized the gift that had been given to everyone who attended. The Pastor told me that it was their youth who traveled daily to bring the water needed for the conference. So with that said, I refuse to write this week about not having a toilet and a shower because a teenager walked 6 hours daily to get the water I was given to bathe with. I was blessed to have what I had.

Although there were emotional challenges throughout the week, I truly enjoyed staying with my host family for this conference.

My host family this week…Michael and Isabella

Their home was very different than any I’ve stayed in thus far. The husband has been employed for 26 years with the local sugar mill and has been able to give his family a better quality of life than their surrounding neighbors. It was this couple who gave the land where the church we held the conference in was built.

The church was decorated for our conference….

God continues to bless our efforts at each of the conferences. I can honestly say not a day goes by that I myself am not challenged by the questions the participants are asking. What a joy it is to be challenged and have the opportunity to talk about the Lord and share our journeys and learn together what God wants from our lives.

35 years ago the Lord entrusted me with a beautiful baby girl….from the moment I knew she was coming into our family….I loved her and today that love has grown 35 years stronger. She has always made us laugh and God has grown her into a beautiful Godly woman. I love you my sweet Dana! Happy Birthday!

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa