Mingara first had the pleasure of meeting the Watoto Choir when they made an impromptu visit to us last year. 30 kids excited to see the water and swim for the first time, we gave them access to our pool, it was utter chaos but in the best possible way, 30 kids who couldn’t swim.  We don’t think our Mingara Aquatics lifeguards have ever worked so hard in their life, but to see the smiles on these kids’ faces is absolutely infectious. To thank us for the visit they came and sang for us in the foyer, and we were in love!  The Choir recently performed at Mingara’s Community Dinner 2018 and were recipients of some charitable funding from Mingara. As it happened one of the student’s sponsors from Canada happened to be in Australia at the same time. They quickly altered their itinerary to meet the now 12-year-old girl that they have sponsored since she was three.
Here are their stories.

About Sarah

Sarah and her family lived in a “Displaced Person’s Camp” on the outskirts of Gulu in Northern Uganda. Sadly her father died in an accident and her mother passed away from HIV/AIDS. Local concerned authorities requested that the Watoto Child Car Ministries take Sarah into their care in a Watoto Village.
A loving housemother welcomed Sarah into her home and she instantly had brothers and sisters who became her beloved companions. It is in this home that Sarah feels secure. She does her share of the chores.
Sarah attends the local Watoto School in her local village. Her favourite subject is maths and she would love to become a teacher.
She attends the Watoto Church with her family on Sundays and is thankful for the blessings she receives as a part of the Watoto Ministries community.

Her sponsor family

An email from her Sponsor Family – the Shymkiw family.
Here is a picture of our sponsored child Sarah

I am also sending the letter we received from her just several days after we had booked our trip to come to Brisbane and area to attend our son’s wedding. We absolutely believe it is a divine appointment. And truly felt like we were given a gift!  Wow, what timing.
Our family – Terry age 60, Michele age 56, and our daughter Mikaela, age 16 will all be on the trip to Australia. We have two older grown children, Jen and Joshua. Terry is a steam engineer for Parmalat Canada.  I (Michelle) work for Renfrew Educational Services , which is a private school for children who have special needs, especially Autism.  My role is a driver and we transport the children with small buses that are specially outfitted for their needs.  I love my job.
Our daughter Mikaela is in grade 11 attending High School. She enjoys swim club and taking care of our two small dogs.

Finding out about Watoto

We were attending our local church Midpark Church and the Watoto Children’s Choir had come to perform their concert and to tell us about the need for more sponsors for the children of Uganda who are now orphaned because of AIDS and other issues in their country. The Watoto plan of providing a home and a mother for these children was a wonderful concept and something we wanted to be a part of.  We had the desire to help with this need and to be a small part of this wonderful outreach.
We were provided with pictures of children and with some information about them.  Our daughter Mikaela was very young then and we decided as a family to have her look at these pictures and stories of the children and see who she connected with and this is how we sponsored Sarah.  I am not sure of the exact age of Sarah at that time, but believe she may have been 3 years old.
Sarah will be 12 this October.  Sarah has written letters over the years and has always expressed a thankfulness to God for what he has been doing in her life.

She has been a blessing in our lives as she has shared her heart of gratitude and her joy comes through in her writing.  She enjoys math, dance, and of course singing and praising Jesus.
To quote Sarah “ God is at work in you “ and “God had plans for you and me”.
Isn’t that wisdom!

The Watoto Children’s Choir

The Choir is made up of 33 children, all orphaned in Uganda and taken in by the Watoto orphanage, these children are on a life-changing adventure to Australia to help spread the message of love and hope. The Watoto orphanage provides opportunities for thousands of children and helps build schools, medical facilities and community centres. To date, the Watoto Village has provided care for over 4000 orphans, providing education, with many of them moving on to become doctors, lawyers, farmers and teachers.
Mingara was delighted to host the meeting of Sarah and the Shymkiw family. Here are a few pics of their meeting and the performance of the Choir. If you would like to see more of Mingara’s Community Dinner 2018 you can find more here.