Group looks to raise funds for water well in Uganda PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 January 2009 00:00

One of Taylor Apsley’s fondest memories of her trip to Uganda was the
interaction she had with the local children. At the time of the
mission trip in June, Taylor was 14 years old. She is now 15 and a
freshman at Liberal High School.
Courtesy photo

Life-giving water
Group looks to raise funds for water well in Uganda
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader

Three members of the First Baptist Church of Liberal were involved in
a Global Family Rescue mission trip to Uganda in June. On. Jan. 17, a
Winter Wonderland Ball will take place at the National Guard Armory.
What do these two events have in common? Plenty.
In June of 2008, Chris and Debbie Miller along with Taylor Apsley of
the First Baptist Church in Liberal got on a plane and went to
Uganda. Their goal was to join missionaries from GFR to help local
individuals improve their quality of life, one village at a time.
“When we first went over there, we went with an organization called
Global Family Rescue,” Chris said. “What they do is they work with
the people in Uganda, initially they had started working in Rwanda.
“We went to three different areas in Uganda,” he explained. “We went
to Busia, near the Kenya border right on the shores of Lake Victoria.
From there we went to Campala, the capitol, of Uganda. The first
Sunday we were there, we went to a village called Namyoya.”
While Chris, Debbie and Taylor were in Namyoya, a church and a house
were in the process of being built in the village.
“That is where we worked,” Chris recalled. “We helped paint the
church and work on the house.”
For an entire family, the average wage in Uganda is $3. Due to
monetary issues alone, the people of Uganda need help. To make
matters worse, a complete generation has been lost to AIDS and war.
In fact, in the Fort Portal area, where Chris, Debbie and Taylor were
working, 80 percent of the population had contracted HIV or AIDS.
“They basically have grandmothers taking care of grandchildren,”
Chris said. “People ask, ‘well don’t they understand how to stop
AIDS?’ Part of the problem is education, they just aren’t informed.
Unfortunately a way that a lot of the women can support themselves is
through prostitution.
“A lot of it is the kids are born with AIDS,” he added. “So you have
this whole generation that you have just lost.”
Debbie added that the mothers are now being taught that babies can be
infected with HIV or AIDS via breast milk.
“They are trying to get them to not nurse their babies, that way they
don’t get it,” she explained, “But if you can’t afford to buy
formula, how else can you feed your baby?”
According to Chris and Debbie, AIDS is a very prominent problem in
Uganda and has become a very difficult cycle to break.
Debbie explained that AIDS isn’t the only health issue in Uganda,
many others are prevalent due to unclean water.
“There is a lot of elephantitus over there from not having clean
water to bathe with or drink,” she said. “Malaria also comes from the
water.
“So that is really why our first concern is water,” she added. “They
could do so much more and be so much more healthy with clean water.”
Chris stated that a good water well in Uganda can supply water for
approximately 300 to 500 families.
“People will come from five miles away to get clean water,” he said.
“That’s what our fund-raising effort is for.”
According to Chris, $4,000 to $5,000 is more than likely enough money
to refurbish the particular well. He stated that it takes $10,000 to
$15,000 to build an entirely new well. And Chris and Debbie along
with other sponsors, have a very nice fund-raiser planned for the
community.
Of her trip, Debbie shared that her fondest memory is the ambition
the children showed just to get to go to school. She was amazed at
the love they had for education.
“The most amazing thing was when I would see kids walking to school
along this dirt road at 7 o’clock in the morning,” she said with a
smile. “Little bitty kids walking barefoot, five miles to school.
They wanted to go so badly that they were willing to do that.”
Chris was very touched by the children as well. He was touched by the
welcome they were given despite the residents of the villages having
no money. Another memory that brought tears to his eyes was his
opportunity to give a hug to an individual with AIDS. Those infected
with the disease are shunned there, he said.
“I think the most miraculous thing was the attitude of the people,”
he said. “Here are these people that have nothing and we would come
to their villages and they would come out and greet us with a huge
ceremony and gifts.”
This is not the first time the Miller’s, along with Apsley, have
given of their time to do mission work. For the past three summers,
the three have found a need and travelled to meet that need.
“Over the past three years, we went down to Franklinton, La. after
the hurricane to rebuild some houses down there,” Chris said. “Then
last summer we went to Greensburg and helped rebuild some houses over
there and this summer we went to Uganda”
Chris and Debbie both have been proud of Taylor’s dedication to
helping others at such a young age.
“Taylor has been on all three of these mission trips,” he said. “She
is such a neat girls.”
Of the trip to Uganda, Taylor stated that the young children greatly
touched her heart. To have to face such adversity, she was amazed at
the smiles and love they offered to those helping them.
“Getting to know the kids was amazing and there was a language
barrier, you couldn’t really communicate with them but you still
found ways to carry on a conversation,” she explained. “I think the
kids are what really made an impact on me there because I just
learned so much from them.”
What broke the heart of the now 15-year-old Liberal High School
freshman were the homeless and sick that she would see as she passed
them on the street.
“Seeing the homeless people in Campala was so hard,” she said. “Some
of them we bent and broken and you didn’t know what to do. You just
wanted to help.”
At the time of the trip, Taylor was only 14. Although she was a bit
afraid to go so far from home, she knew the cause was well worth the
trip. Taylor also experienced her first flight in an airplane as she
travelled with the Miller’s to Uganda.
“Being 14 and going over there, it was kind of exciting and scary at
the same time, not scary because I thought something bad would
happen, but I was going to be away from home for two weeks,” she
laughed. “I enjoyed it a lot. I am definitely ready to go back. This
was my first time to leave the states and not just travel to Colorado
or Texas.”
How can citizens of Liberal help? Not everyone can take a trip to
Uganda, however there are families to be sponsored. Chris and Debbie
urge those wanting to help by sponsoring a family call the First
Baptist Church 624-1641 or e-mail Chris at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Liberal and the surrounding area also have a very unique opportunity
to help support the much needed repair of water wells in Uganda.
This is where the WinterWonderland Ball comes into play. From 8 p.m.
to midnight on Jan. 17, music will be played from the ’40s to 2008.
Chris, Debbie and Taylor to dress up in their finest in order to
continue to help those in Uganda. Tickets are on sale for $10. For
more information, call 624-5956 or 655-4154.
 
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