Thursday, December 14, 2017

Digging our Ditches

If I could sum up FNC Academy's 2017 year into one simple phrase it would be this..."We have dug our ditches".  2nd Kings, chapter 3 tells a story of three kings who decide to unite forces, and go to battle against the Moabites for tax reasons.  King Joram, convinces his fellow kings to take a route through the desert of Edom.  For seven days King Joram, King Jehoshaphat, and the King of Edom march their respective armies until one day, things become a bit tight.  By this time, the men and all involved were tired and weary, with little to no water remaining.

I can imagine the complaining, the bickering, and thought of giving up...until one of the King's has a brilliant idea to call out to a man of God within the camp, Elisha.  For me, this is where the story gets interesting.  King Joram and Elisha weren't exactly best friends.  In fact, Scripture states that both sides couldn't stand the site of each other, but each respecting one another's positions.  Elisha is called upon, and graciously meets with the Kings.  Elisha isn't at all surprised to hear the predicament and sarcasm seems to come to the table, demanding if he's to hear from the Lord, they will need to accommodate him with a musician.  So they do.  Elisha then hears what God's plan for the armies to not only survive, but thrive.

Verse 16 begins with God's exact instructions..."This is what the Lord says: Make this valley full of ditches..."  Now I don't know about you, but that's the last thing I want to tell men or Kings who are tired, weary and wondering if they were going to live to see the next day.  If one continues to read the story, you'll find not only did God fill the ditches over night with water, saving the lives of thousands, but He also provided the means to defeat the Moabites...which was something the Kings didn't even ask for!

When the staff of FNC read through this story earlier in the year, the phrase, "digging our ditches" became a thread throughout our daily walk.  For about a year now, we have come to the realization, the compound space at FNC was and continues to be tight.  We've shifted classrooms around, leased additional compounds, built onto what we had, looked for other opportunities to expand, and after all this, we continue to be challenged with enough space.  For me, I really thought 2017 was going to be the year we purchased land, and began the planning and fundraising needed to expand what God has and continues to do at FNC.

Instead, God turned our attention to a greater need; making FNC's foundation secure...and that meant, "digging our ditches," being ready for the blessings we believe await us in 2018.  So how did God help us to dig our ditches this past year... For starters, we are now officially a recognized international school in Uganda.  With the help of Vestar, our beloved attorney and now a teacher at FNC, God continues to use him for His glory.  Secondly, our staff as a whole, the FNC board of directors, alongside the covering of our stateside team, are hand in hand and solid in ways we've never been before.  I couldn't be more proud of the entire team!  Thirdly, God has helped us see some of the immediate needs of some of our students, particularly with some of our girls.  And with that, the FNC's girls home was founded this year...for those of you who helped us with this, the dividends are endless.  Finally, a green space for our kids to play is now being used...they had their first play time on it just two weeks back!

I really don't have the time to give you all the highlights, but just be sure, there are so many more...

With that said, all of us at FNC want to thank you for continuing to love on us as you do.  Your prayers and support allow us to continue to pour into the lives of our little school and community the wholistic Hope of Jesus Christ.  As the digging continues, our prayer and hope is to see God fill these ditches with His blessings.  And with that, we believe He will.              

Monday, August 28, 2017


For four years now, FNC has had it's eye on a particular empty plot just next to our current campus.  Not to build on, because it's to small of an area, but for a play ground and a green space for our students to run freely and safely!  Well, after four years, God heard His children. We were introduced to the owner of the plot, and just a few days later reached an agreement to lease the space from him.  The picture below shows the ground being levelled.  Our plan is to plant fresh grass and put up a proper fence around the area, thus having a secure place for our children to play!

Cleaning and leveling the future FNCA play ground

On another note, God has been speaking to our hearts about the hurts and challenges some of our students face at home.  And for that, we have tried to do our best to listen, learn, and act accordingly.  One of the many challenges comes from the homes of which some of our FNC girls stay.  I want to be sensitive about discussing this topic so allow me to just say, some of our girls are at serious risk.  In short, we as leaders and staff of FNC have felt a strong conviction to begin a girls home for our most serious cases.  Now, there's so much that goes into taking on this kind of burden, such as a proper place to house the girls, training up some of our staff to listen to and council, how to handle with care those who have dealt with direct or indirect trauma, and of course providing around the clock care.  At this moment we have 3 girls whose home lives have been compromised in some way, and a fourth who is homeless.  In the caption below, though it looks small, the home has 4 bedrooms, a sitting room, dinning room, and two bathrooms...and the best part, it's just a few hundred yards from FNCA!

Humble beginnings of FNC's Girl's Home

We are sharing this exciting news for a couple of reasons.  First, we wanted to share in the joy and evidence of God's ever moving hand here.  Second, for your prayers and support in the two efforts, especially our new girls home.  In our best calculations, it's going to take around $4000 to do the necessary work on both projects (this includes rent for the year for both properties).  FNC's upfront costs are a bit much, but so worth the investment.  Garage sales and or thrift stores are a bit scarce in the third world.  So with the help of some of our parents skills, such as carpentry, sewing etc, and of course some careful shopping, we feel confident to meet the challenge as the home is to be opened Friday, September 1st!  Prayers are needed and welcomed as God continues to expand FNC's territory.  Would you also consider a one time donation to help us love on these girls and provide the much needed play space for our students here?  If you feel inclined to join us, please place the word, "Girl's Home or Play Space" in the memo of you check.  FNC continues to receive online giving as well for you convenience.  Just go to our DONATE page here on this site.  Lastly, thank you for continuing to love on us here at FNC!  

FNC's Girl's Home first four girls with House Mom Phionah

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Over the past month, FNC has been blessed with receiving two groups, both which loved and served us.  Each group contained a "first" for FNC as well:

1.  Group #1 brought Martha Blakely, Wendy's sister to come see and experience FNC!
2.  Group #2 began what we hope to be many more student trips!  

Here are a few of the pics from each trip....

Group #1: Martha Blakely, Mark & Ashley Gregory, Lisa & Gene Jinkens, and Ethan & Christie Sefton.

FNCA students receiving water bottles!
FNC United Cheerleaders

FNC United team huddle
Students loving life!

Home Visits
Gene & Lisa with their sponsored student Miracle

Martha having some fun with our little ones

Painting the BBall court
Ashley teaching our young ladies about LIFE

Martha helping Shamilla with her brand new arm and leg braces!

Old friends re-unite

Emma getting to help lead worship on Sunday morning
Preparation for the best guacamole in town! 

Jordan directing traffic in the construction of our new stairs!
The Source!

Love these ladies!
Saying Goodbyes

So much accomplished with this group!  Love you all!
Pastor Ethan, giving us a last word of encouragement

Group #2: Students... Jayden, Evan, Abbie, Sophie, Makayla, Delayshia, Kendra, and Grant
Leaders...Chaka Batley & Josh Baily

Nile Time!
Dance pic #1
Because we're cool like that...
Makayla loving on our children
Some extra work while posing
Dr. Chaka!
Why not???
Musical Chairs...

And the chair survived!
Group wedding photo

Students absolutely killed it when it came to the food here!  Well done!

Guys Table...
Wedding Dance off!
Don't even have words...

Large Group Pic

Well done Chaka!

Cookies for all!!!

Smiles all around

Receiving cookies!
Love these guys

Goodbye hugs

Last words of encouragement...


Our newest Bride and Groom...Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Nebeta

A bit blurry but such a great shot!

Roof Top @ Terrace

Crazy Taxi ride...we love and miss you all so much!

Friday, June 16, 2017


In the last update, I shared what God had laid upon our hearts for the future of FNC Academy.  For this particular newsletter, I want to lay out our primary challenge, a way forward, and a way you can be a part of what God is doing here.  That said, it's probably the most risk taking post I've ever laid out for people to read.  It's a big ask, and to be frank, I'm afraid to fail.  But at this point, it's a risk I think we have to take to get the word out.  Someone once told me, if you don't ask, you'll never know...So here we go. 

1.  FNC Academy's current challenge...SPACE

I can write about this all day long, but I believe this one simple picture speaks for itself...and not all of the 22 kindergarten children fit into the photo.  Now while one might believe this to be an overcrowded classroom, which in some ways it is, it fails in comparison to the average student per classroom in Uganda.  Here is the simple fact, FNC needs more space.  We need a home which will provide an environment of sustaining Hope.  Currently, we rent two compounds which sit adjacent to the one another.  Both compounds are full.  And on top of that, we have been warned against building any other structures on the premises.  We have scanned the surrounding community for other compounds to rent.  The responses we have received go something like this: not available, we want this much money (which is entirely out of line), or the compound needs serious renovation, which we've learned isn't a wise investment.  While renting an additional compound is possible, it isn't a permanent or long sustaining solution.   

2.  FNC Academy's Plan of Action...PURCHASE LAND

This piece of land is 17.5 acres and sits along the Nile river.  It has very good access, 2 functioning water bore holes plus a natural spring and power near by.  Fruit trees and room for farming are in abundance.  The cost: $350,000. To give you a bit of perspective in regards to the cost of land in Kampala, one acre can go for as much as 1 billion Ugandan shillings, which at the current rate is the equivalent to $350,000.  Other pieces go for a little less, others more...location is king worldwide.  For those in the real estate world, there isn't a bubble happening here.  Land which was purchased 5-7 years back has now doubled in value. 

3.  Provide Sustainable Hope: BUILD THE HOME FOR FNCA

The picture up, is one of the existing structures on the proposed's small, but it's at least a starting point.  Though complex in detail, FNC's plan for building can be explained in a few sentences.  First, we have no intentions of abandoning our original children and community, just to expand and build on what we have.  Which means at 4th grade, students will enter our second campus, which will be a boarding school and will be able to facilitate around 425 students.  Oh, how I'm hearing the questions and or doubts fly... trust me, I'm one of the first ones to be in line!  Maybe instead, would you join me in prayer, for God to provide a way, the courage, and provision to complete this most daunting task.

4.  How you can help...PARTNERSHIP

Years ago, Wendy and I asked a few friends to join in on an experiment called Joy Club.  Since that day, God has continued to expand our little idea into His great plan.  There's an African proverb which says, "If you want to go fast, go at it alone.  If you want to go far, go at it together."  So far, together, we have raised 1/3 of the money for the land.  Our first ask is to those who would want to partner with us to secure the land.  We need to raise roughly $230,000 over the next 120 moving a mountain in some ways, but a mountain which can be moved if God wills it.  Now there's hundreds of ways to break this down.  Below is just one of many ways: 

1  $50,000 gift   =$50,000
2  $25,000 gifts =$50,000
5  $10,000 gifts =$50,000
10 $5,000 gifts  =$50,000
15 $1,000 gifts  =$15,000
20 $500 gifts     =$10,000
30 $100 gifts     =$3,000
40 $50 gifts       =$2,000
50 $25 gifts       =$1,250

183 gifts totaling- $231,250

In regards to what FNC Academy will do in the interim for providing the space needed until we can begin to move our students a few grades at a time, we most likely will need to rent an additional compound.  Though not a long term solution, it will at least buy us the time as we move forward with the project.

For questions about the project, please email me
The best way to check to The Kissing Well, NFP...PO box 344, Vermont, IL 61484, and be sure to include in the memo FNC LAND.  If God want's it to be, it will be...and if He has a different plan, we are all for that.