This post is a little different from what I normally do but I’m excited to share it with you. Recently I was asked to consider writing a series of true, short stories about God’s miracles which have occurred over the past few years in the starting and growing of Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya. I prayed, got advice, and yes, worried even though I know I’m not supposed to. It’s an important project and I wanted to be sure I was the one for the challenge. Now, I was praying for a “neon sign” that would flash a message that it was God’s plan for me to write these stories, instead I received a soft whisper that said; “Just write and I’ll take care of the rest.” This “want to get it right all the time girl” has a hard time stepping into the unknown but “just write” is what I did. I hope you enjoy this and the stories to come. I pray they bless you as they have me.
Seeds of Living Hope
This is the first in a series of miraculous true stories about Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya. Stories that share the divine inspiration and dedication to helping students of poverty, who once had no hope, reach their full potential.
“Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Matthew 13:8 NLT
What happens when, called by God, one teacher sells everything she can and begins on a journey that takes her to the other side of the world to plant seeds of hope? I invite you to join her in this adventure and witness the miracles of God, the obedience of a woman, and the lives that are changed along the way. Maybe just maybe…. one of those lives will be yours!
Marilyn Uhl had been a teacher for several years in the small rural towns of Seneca Rocks and Circleville, West Virginia. From there she became a Masseuse for the many workers in the poultry industry of Virginia. But it was in 2006 Marilyn found herself in Tennessee as the teacher/principal of a high school for the behaviorally disabled. Unable to function in the public school system her students had drug addictions, mental health issues, and criminal records. It was a bleak, stressful, and challenging job.
Being an avid gardener, Marilyn could often be found working the problems of the day away in the soil of her flower beds. Helping something grow and bloom was just what she needed. As she worked in the dirt she also worked on an idea. What if she could pass on her love for gardening to others? She turned to Rotary International, a service organization, known for their dedication to mission trips. She joined the club and drafted her plan for a gardening mission trip, her mission. Rotary International provided half the funding she needed and Marilyn worked tirelessly to raise the other half. When she was done she had the money she needed, 15,000 packs of donated seeds, gardening tools, and was awarded the “Outstanding Project Award”. What started as the seed of a dream had been planted, grew, and bloomed!
In 2007 Marilyn and all of her seeds arrived in Uganda at a Pentecostal orphanage. The orphanage was made up of several small cottages where children and their guardian lived. For two months Marilyn worked side by side with those children and adults until they’d planted a garden at each cottage. She then reached out into the community to help them plant gardens, too. Before saying goodbye to her budding gardeners and always the teacher, Marilyn also taught them how to collect and save seeds for the next year’s crops.
Summer had come to an end and school began as it always had before but this year something had changed in Marilyn. Time passed and early one winter morning Marilyn sat at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee working on her lesson plans. Her old dog Jesse slept beside her in his basket. Suddenly, without warning the quiet of the room was engulfed by what seemed to be a voice…. God’s voice! In that miraculous moment He revealed three things to Marilyn: “They went to bed hungry.”, “Go.”, and “I will provide.” Stunned, she sat frozen, straining to hear more, but silence had once again settled on the kitchen. Dazed and shaking, Marilyn called her school and told them that she wouldn’t be in. Hanging up, she sat staring not sure what to think or do next. She was not idle for long as a prompting had her opening her closet doors. At once she began sorting and organizing, all the while trying to make sense of what had just occurred. By the end of the day two loads, the first of many to come, were packed and ready to take to the thrift store. She returned to school, life moved on, but Marilyn knew God had planted another seed. She never stopped thinking about the words she’d heard, especially “They went to bed hungry.” Something told her “they” were the children in Africa and her desire to go to them intensified. God’s seed had “fallen on fertile soil” and in “thirty, sixty, and even a hundred” ways life as Marilyn had known it was about to change dramatically!
Copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya