When we head back to the states it is always about Family, Friends, Food, Fun and Fund-raising. We found ourselves enjoying some great food, hanging out with people that we love, connecting with our current partners and sharing the Cherish story. Some of those are with people who have never heard of what God is doing here and with others it was like having a reunion. Our time stateside was truly one of the most soul-filling times back for us. We were together as a family for the first time since Bo and Aviaja were married in January 2015. It was incredible to all be in the same place laughing, playing, talking and dreaming together. Skype is great, but nothing compares to bringing three continents together in the same room for over two weeks. We also spent time with extended family in Texas and California and had some of our best connection times with them. At the same time, we were “home”, we missed “home” in Uganda. We live in this strange state of having two homes, whereas whenever we are in one home we long for the other one and vice-versa. On our return, we were greeted by many of the kids and staff rushing the gate as we drove in. It was a sweet welcome home from an amazing time of being home.
On another note, we are really excited to let you know about our new high school plans. As our kids have started to grow into high school age, we quickly realized that moving from us being the primary influence, to sending them off to boarding schools where we weren’t, was becoming a challenge. A significant challenge for them spiritually as well as to their health. So, this past year we rented a house near Cherish and started a high school with 15 students. Since then we have purchased 40 acres in the Rakai district, which has the highest prevalency rate of HIV amongst high school students in Uganda. Our dream is a 600-student high school, drawing from students in all of East Africa, focusing on children with HIV – the only one of its kind in the world. We have once again partnered with eMi and planning started in February of this year. It looks to be a 10-year process with 6 different phases. Phase one will set-up initial infrastructure, build the future library building, which will be the academic building for the first group of kids on site and then the first dorm. This first phase will cost approx. $350,000. Be looking for more to come on this exciting new life-changing adventure. We are so excited to see what God is going to do with this arm of our ministry.
Brent and Leah Phillips