Sunday, October 20, 2013

It happened.

It was Thursday, and it was the best day I have had in a long time. It was a beautiful day spending time with my fiancé, running into old familiar faces in the neighborhood, learning Luganda with a friend who is more like family, meeting a new friend and getting to take beautiful Vanessa to meet a physical therapist.

 Vanessa is a sweet seven year old girl who is suffering from cerebral palsy. One day Godfrey (my fiancĂ©) was out in town running some errands when he stopped in for some lunch at a little hole in the wall restaurant…this phrase is much more literal here in Uganda! His attention was drawn to behind the counter where Vanessa was laying on her inch thick “mattress” unable to speak or move due to her deformities. Her mother told Godfrey that she was a single mother raising five children including Vanessa, four who are biologically hers and one niece who lost both of her parents. Her husband left her after Vanessa, the last born, became sick. Here in Uganda witchcraft is still very prevalent and people can see having something like cerebral palsy as a curse, being bewitched. This is why Vanessa’s father abandoned his family. Godfrey called me at work to tell me about this girl (Vanessa) he thought I needed to meet. When Godfrey calls me at work I know it’s something serious. The last time he called me at work it was to tell me about the perfect house he had found for Suubi House, two weeks later we moved in! So, I knew it was something to be taken seriously.

A few weeks prior to Godfrey meeting Vanessa we had gotten the news that a friend from home was going to sponsor “the banana boy,” Charles. We went to the place he was living to tell him the great news but he was nowhere to be found. The “aunt” told us she had sent him back to the village and she had no way of getting in touch with them. We asked for a phone number and she replied with “no one there has a phone.” This was clearly a lie because everyone, from the city to the deepest village in Uganda, has a phone. We tried many attempts at getting the information from her but she wouldn’t budge. What could we do? I was happy to know that at least now Charles was living with a family member and wasn’t being forced to walk miles upon miles each day to sell bananas to make this woman a few dollars a month. But we were left with all of Charles’ sponsorship money… so what now?

It was my turn to meet Vanessa. We hopped on bodas (motorcycle taxis) to head to the small restaurant where Vanessa lives with her mom and siblings. I was greeted by mom, Florence, with a huge smile on her beautiful round face. They lead me into the one-roomed building and behind the counter was Vanessa. I think she was confused as to why all her siblings and mom had crowded into the house with such excitement but she also greeted us with a smile. She lied in her usual position on the floor, one arm stretched out unwilling to bend and legs crossed over one another unwilling to straighten. Momma Florence told me the story. They had been to hospital after hospital but without money no treatment could take place. She showed me pictures of Vanessa when she was younger and the difference was astonishing. She used to look like a normal healthy little girl. She was so desperately in need of medical treatment and physical therapy. I remembered the money that was left after things with Charles had fallen through and immediately knew what it should be used for.

It’s Thursday and the day has come for Vanessa, her mom and I to meet with a physical therapist to work on a plan for Vanessa’s treatment. Dr. Peter walks into the small clinic and sits down with us to examine Vanessa. Because she lies in the same position everyday with no physical or mental stimulation her condition continues to worsen. “If it continues like this she will be brain dead very soon,” these words from Dr .Peter hit me like a ton a bricks. Momma Florence is working so hard to provide for her family but comes up short every time. How can she pay for rent, food, school fees and medical bills when she is the only one working and also make enough time in the day to spend time giving Vanessa the care and attention that will determine life or death? We left the clinic after arranging that he will meet Vanessa at our house on Thursday evenings to get her started with some physical therapy.

After my long beautiful Thursday I came home tired and joyful, filled to the brim with hope. And then it happened. One of those moments when you realize every situation you’ve been through, every struggle you’ve endured makes sense, that God has been working out His will in your life when you couldn’t see or understand it ,that His grace is sufficient and His mercy really is new every morning.  Clarity. Finally, after all this time in Uganda, after every project I had tried and failed at, after so many nights filled with tears over the fact that there was an undeniable purpose for me being in Uganda but never fulfilling it, finally I had clarity. Suubi House is meant for the hopeless children and families affected by disease and disability.

There are many others just like Vanessa, children in desperate need for someone to pick them off the floor and play with them, to exercise not only their muscles but also their brains. They need to breathe fresh air, listen to music, splash in water and play with friends. Some may have loving families and others might have families who think they are cursed, but they all need HOPE (suubi). Suubi House will be a day program where these kids come to get the care and attention they need and a place where parents can get training on how to better care for their children. We will play with them, sing with them, fill our bellies with them, learn and grow with them and pray with them. In the evenings Suubi House will still be used as a community house to hold things like youth group, discipleship programs and worship nights.

There have been days where I look back at the time I have spent in Uganda and wonder if anything has progressed, have we really gotten anywhere? God has been moving and working in ways I never understood but I can now see how far we have really come. Please pray with me as God continues to work all things together for His glory. There are still many difficulties to walk through before this can become a reality but as they say here, God is good all the time, and all the time that is his nature! January 2014 is our goal date to start this program J

Prayer requests:
Financial provision- in order to make this happen I will need to quit my job at the international school. This will mean I have NO personal support. My God is a big God!
Volunteers- we can’t do this thing alone. Please pray that God brings the perfect people to come alongside and work with us at Suubi House.
HOPE- pray that God would continue filling us with His hope that never disappoints.

Much Love,

Sarah Mae Bowman

Sunday, July 15, 2012


It started out like a normal day.  I woke up, took tea, and got ready for my day. I was set to meet with my friend Courtney and her mom to show them around the local hospital that I volunteer at some days. We went into the children's burn ward, the area I help out in. As usual there were many children, maybe fifteen, some with minor burns but most with severe burns covering large amounts of their body. We went to the toy cabinet and pulled out all the favorites... blocks, cars, and balloons! The ones who could move came down on the mats and played with us and the others who were confined to their beds had fun playing balloon volleyball. After about an hour and a half we packed up and tried to sneak into labor and delivery but couldn't get past the very last road block...but we did hear a babies first cry! We split ways after our visit and I headed into town to get some much needed (wanted) American food. I walked down to catch a taxi past the many street kids that I had made friends with a few weeks ago but there was something different today. I walked past a young boy with a nasty wound on his bottom lip who was heavily crying as I approached my taxi. I looked to the taxi and back at the boy and my feet wouldn't move me into the taxi. I knelt down to the boy and gave him the remaining soda I had been carrying with me, which stopped his crying for a few minutes. I proceeded to ask the men waiting at the taxi stage what was going on with this little boy, who was clearly not one of the normal children seen in the area that had been hardened by life on the streets. The few men who were seated told me that the mother was there earlier but left the child hours ago to get water. She had left a plastic bag behind filled with the young boys clothes, pain medicine, and pictures of a man the boy identified as "daddy." My mind raced to figure out what needed to happen. Was I supposed to sit and wait for the mom to return, take him to the police, or even walk away from a situation that seem to be beyond my knowledge? All the men around me were convinced that this woman had come planned to abandon her child leaving traces so that maybe someone could find the father. After fourty-five minutes of waiting around I boarded a taxi with the boy on my lap and his only belongings headed to the police station. He (Patrick) was calm until we reached the police station and all hell broke loose. I can't even imagine what was going through his mind. With the little breath I had left after carrying the screaming five year old in my arms I explained to the police what had happened. They weren't even shocked. This was the fourth abandoned child that they were dealing with just that one day at that one station. They started the process of taking the report and began getting the phone numbers for organizations who would take the child. They told me that most of them were overbooked and probably wouldn't have room for this sick child. When I asked where he would go they joked, but in all seriousness, that he should go home with me. Fourty minutes into reporting I got a call on my phone, it was the mother who had returned to the place she had left her child four hours ago. She rushed to the police station to pick her child. In walked a young girl, twenty one years old, desperate and hopeless. She began to explain that she had gone to pick something in Namuwongo, a slum area of Kampala. In my ears I heard something much different. The slum areas are known for having a high rate of prostitution, which is a quick way for a desperate, jobless mothers like Robinah to get a few bucks. Before leaving the overworked police station with no support, counseling, or any resources I told Robinah not to get desperate and wrote my phone number on a piece of paper. I told her that we were friends now and she could call me for help. I also had her number saved in my phone. We parted ways... and what more was I to do but pray and check up on her the next day to plan a visit? Saturday comes and I give Robinah a call to see if she reached home and how her and Patrick were doing but her number was out of service. "Why God?", I thought to myself. I had this opportunity and she had thrown it away, my best friend even said she would sponsor the boy! It is now Sunday. I sat down at church this morning and my phone begins to ring, "Hello, my name is Robinah," are the beautiful words I hear on the other end of the line. This week I will go visit them. 

Please pray for Robinah to find the hope and strength that she needs to take care of precious little Patrick. I am going to look into finding a school for Patrick and a vocational school for Robinah where she can continue to learn hairdressing so please pray for provision in this area as well. 

"Your presence is all I need 
It's all I want, all I seek 
Without it, without it there's no meaning "

With all my love,
Sarah Mae Bowman

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Last Saturday after meeting with some friends I walked my normal route to catch a taxi home. It is a place in town that is heavily populated with mzungus (white people) because it is just down the road from the local mall, a place where you can find nice American food. There is a certain spot on the street where many people beg from. As a Westerner in Uganda I hear shouts requesting money almost daily but on this certain day I just couldn't walk by without stopping. A young lady holding a baby boy called out to me and after walking a few steps past them something in me forced me to stop. I went over to talk to this woman. Her name was Sarah. As they say here in Uganda, she is my namesake. She was in a wheelchair and she informed me that she was paralyzed from the waist down, which happened to her after an encounter with a witch doctor. Her baby is a sweet seven month old boy named Moses. We only talked a few minutes about where she stayed, how she was surviving, and if she had a church or organization supporting her. I left without giving her anything. It is a hard situation being here in a place with so much need. We tend to just want to hand out material goods, but in the long run this does absolutely nothing to help. She needs a job. A way to support herself and her son.

So, it's five days later and I still can't get Sarah and her son Moses out of my head. I decide on buying some rice, beans and baby food to take to her. My bank account is soon nearing $0 so spending $9 on her was harder than what it would have been before. But with some encouragement from the book "Kisses From Katie," I am reminded of the verse in Matthew 19 where Jesus tells the man "Go sell your possessions, give to the poor and come follow me." He didn't tell him to save any for himself, just to give. So, I went down to the shop bought a kilo of rice, a kilo of beans, than proceeded to the supermarket to buy some baby cereal for Moses. I hopped in a taxi praying that I would find Sarah to give her these few small items. Little did I know what God had in store for me. When I arrived to the spot that I had met Sarah before I couldn't spot her. Instead, I met two young street girls. I asked them if they knew where she was and one of them told me in her very broken English, "wait". While she was off to find Sarah I talked with the other girl who told me her name was Rachel and her friend was Sharon. They were twelve and thirteen years old, both coming from a single parent family, both sent by their unemployed mothers to beg on the street. Rachel and I talked for a few minutes, not so smoothly because her English was limited and so is my Luganda, smiling big smiles when neither of us could understand what the other was saying! Soon enough Sharon came back with Sarah, Moses, and John, who is  a boy of twelve years who lives on the streets with no family to claim him, and helps push Sarah's wheelchair as they both beg. Sarah accepted my small gift with big gratitude. We hang out and talk for a while as she tells me more about the life she has lived in her short nineteen years. She tells me she would like to work in a salon! A lady came around selling food for roughly $1 per plate, and I couldn't let her pass without asking my new friends Rachel and Sharon if they were hungry...of course they were. I bought two plates of food and I was happy to help fill their tummies. But, what happens when fifteen other street kids see that the mzungu has bought food? They flood the scene! So, with fifteen other hungry children around me what am I to do? I bought four more big plates of food and told them all to share. I spent a couple hours with these precious kids in their "home," the streets of Kampala. I than met a handsome, intelligent old man name Jock. He is bound to a wheelchair, since childhood, due to polio. He lost all four of his children to HIV/AIDS and is now left trying to support sixteen grandchildren. He was a successful man with a business degree who used to work for the government and even helped run a non-profit that was dedicated to teaching about the horrible disease that took his beloved children. When funds ran out and a job was nowhere to be found he was left with no option but that of begging on the streets. He told me how he would love to work, even if  it was just as a shoemaker. He longs to provide for his grandchildren and live his sunset years with dignity. What could I possibly do for all of these people? How could I send Sarah to vocational school to learn skills she needs to work in a salon? How can I help Jock provide for his family and allow him to live without the embarrassment of being a beggar? How can I send loads of kids to school, feed them, and get them the medical attention they deserve? In all honesty, I have no idea but by faith. It is too much for me but is not too much for HIM. I am not here to make their lives more American. They aren't asking for big houses or cute clothes...they just want a chance. And I think they deserve that. So for now I will do all I know how to do...give even when I don't have much to give, pray when my prayers seem insufficient, and love. 

If you want to help you can give online at : until July 4th or

Send a check to:
Kathy or Sarah Bowman
933 Grand Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Thank you for your love and support!

With all my love,
Sarah Mae Bowman

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Vision: Changed and Rearranged.

The six month mark for my time back in Uganda is shortly approaching. As the time has passed God has been changing and rearranging the vision that I came with. Maybe you know that is was my heart to start a non-profit called Suubi House, a house in the village that works as a community center. A place where people could come for training that would equip them to enhance their lives, where bible studies would be held, monthly medical clinics would take place, and family meals would be eaten together. The vision came to me after my first visit to Uganda where I found that my family nickname, Suubi, meant HOPE in the local language. I truly believe the word has been spoken over me for a purpose. With a little too much excitement and not enough prayerful thought, I took the vision into my own hands and started trying to make it work in the way I thought was best… but God never ceases to have his perfect way.

Six months later I find myself with not so much to show for Suubi House. I tried to fundraise, nothing came of it. God had a different plan. He opened the doors for a job! Yes, a missionary with a job…it happens. I will be working at an international school here in Kampala that will allow me to have the proper visa to stay in the country and continue loving on this community as well as earning all my living expenses. Although the path to Suubi House has changed, the vision is still very much alive. I will be paid a housing allowance with my new job so the plan is to make my house “Suubi House.” I think that was God’s plan all along. That maybe it wasn’t supposed to be “Suubi House” but Subbi’s House. A place where hope is found. Not in me, but in the only source that hope is found…HIM.

With the new job and housing allowance that I will receive I have begun the search for a new place to stay.  I could easily use the whole of the allowance and find a beautiful Americanized place to stay, but that doesn’t sit well with me. My plan is to use about half and save some for ministry. On my search I walked up the road and something pulled at me to go to a gate. I entered into a huge compound with trees that wrap around the entire place and a big old house that sits in the middle. The house consists of four bedrooms, a sitting room, dining room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. Now, to you this place would absolutely look like an African dump with its’ busted windows, dirty walls, and cracked cement. To me this is Suubi’s house! With a little bit of hard work and elbow grease this place will be beautiful. I can see bible studies being held out in the yard under the trees, Jajas coming to drink tea on the front porch, English classes happening in the living room, and tutoring after school! Did I mention it is right across the street from an elementary school and high school? Perfect, right?  I have bargained with the renter and it will only cost about $160 dollars per month but needs some work to be done that would cost roughly $500. So here I am again humbly pouring out my heart to you and asking for your help.  I will be covering the costs of rent each month but I need your help with money for renovations and anything else you can give toward ministry purposes. Like I said, all my living expenses will be paid for by my work so %100 of what you give will go towards the ministry God has put before me.

If you can partner with me financially you can send a check to

Sarah Bowman
933 Grand Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008

and give online.

Please continue to pray for me and this adventure I am on!

God is good, all the time.

With all my love,
Sarah Bowman

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where is my instructional booklet?

"Faithfulness to Jesus means that I must step out even when and where I can't see anything (Matthew 14:29). But faithfulness to my own ideas means that I first clear the way mentally. Faith, however, is not intellectual  understanding; faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can't see the way ahead." -Oswald Chambers

As I read this passage from my devotional the other night it struck me hard, right to the core of my being. What a difficult thing to do? Forget about the cares of this world and genuinely trust in Jesus when you can't see the way ahead. No five year plan mapped out of exactly how your life is going to work out. Not knowing how you will pay your bills, or trying to live up to the expectations of the ones you love, or figuring out how to live the comfortable life you grew up living. 

In the verse Oswald included Jesus has just walked on water and is calling out to Peter, "come."  Peter steps out of the boat, not knowing the way ahead of him, and begins to walk on water. The verses following say that Peter than saw the wind and became afraid making him begin to sink. Jesus than literally says to him "you of little faith, why did you doubt?" I am currently in a situation very similar. I heard Jesus' voice clearly saying "come." So, I came here to Uganda and began the processes of starting Suubi House. Now comes the wind, or shall I say the cares of the world? Not knowing the way ahead of me. Out here walking on water with no instructional booklet. I am not qualified, I have no money, I don't even know what my next step is. But my choice is simple, either trust God or sink. I choose to trust. Not because it is easy or because I am good at it, because honestly I am horrible at it --but because I know that the truth is God is for me and will never leave me or forsake me. I wonder what Peter would have felt if he hadn't doubted and reached Jesus, rather than hearing him say "you of little faith"? I encourage you (and myself) to daily trust Jesus in whatever situation you are in, allowing him to prove himself good and faithful---because he is. 

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that Christ's power  may rest on me -2 Corinthians 12:9

I am believing that HIS power would be made perfect in my weakness. Though I don't know the way ahead, he does! He has called me to come, so here I am.

If you want to read about Suubi House you can like our Facebook page here:

Also, if you would like to contribute you can do so here:

With all my love,
Sarah Mae Bowman

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Vision...

Hello Friends and Family,

I wanted to share the vision that God has given me for my purpose here in Uganda, please take a few minutes and read about what God is doing...

Ever since I can remember my family has been calling me Suubi (pronounced Sue-Bee). In English it means nothing, it's simply just a silly nickname. When I came to Uganda last year I kept seeing this word Suubi posted all around this city. It was posted on walls, on the back windows of cars, on billboards and of course my mind was wondering. I looked around at my Ugandan friends and asked one the question that was on my mind, "What does Suubi mean?" In Luganda, the language most people speak here in Uganda, it means "Hope." It's as if this word has been spoken over me my entire life for a purpose. God has given me the vision of the Suubi House, a house for hope. Let me paint a picture for you of what the Suubi House will be....

Have you ever been to a house where the door is always open for visitors, there is always plenty of food on the table for whoever might be hungry, all the neighborhood kids are playing tag in the front and back yards, and the parents are sitting in the living room fellowshipping over a cup of tea as they bounce the giggling babies on their knee? It's a safe place. Somewhere that you can grow, and learn, and play. This is the vision of the Suubi House.

It will be a house where the whole neighborhood can come together for a home cooked meal, whether they can afford one at their own home or not. There will be weekly classes to enrich the lives of all the local community members. English class, sewing class, computer class...just to mention a few. There will be quarterly medical clinics for anyone and everyone who has a medical need that isn't being met. We will have tutoring for students and bible studies for as many people can fit in the room. Everything is free. The meals are free, the classes are free, the medical attention is free. The only thing we would ask of one who comes and take advantage of all that is offered at the Suubi House is that they return the favor and help out at one of our bi-monthly community projects, such as cleaning out a local well or building a house for a family in need.

This is the vision, a dream, or perhaps a calling. It hasn't happened yet but God is always faithful to complete the good work that he has started. I need help,a lot of it, to make this vision a reality. After researching I have figured that the cost to run a place, at the start, would only cost roughly $1000 a month. This includes rent, water bill, electric bill, food, and all household items needed. To fully furnish a house would cost roughly $700 once. This would include furnishings for a living room, dining room, two bedrooms with four beds each, bedding, mosquito nets, and kitchen utensils.

Please take the time to pray and thoughtfully consider giving towards the Suubi House. Let's bring hope to a community through Christ. Let's take the time to help enrich the lives of others. Let's listen to the stories of each others heart aches. Let's listen to the stories of each others joyful moments. Let's be a community who cares for one another, whether that means feeding someone when they can't afford a meal, helping them get medical attention they have never had before, or just by providing a safe place for children to play.

If you have a church group, business, sports team, or anyone who would be interested in sponsoring the Suubi House please pass along the info. The more partners we have the better!

Thank you for taking the time to read. Please pray for the work that God wants to do here in the beautiful "Pearl of Africa," Uganda.

If you are able to give you can send checks to

Sarah Bowman
933 Grand Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008

I cannot thank you enough for your support! If you have ideas or concerns please send them my way!

 May the God of hope (suubi) fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope (suubi) by the power of the Holy Spirit.
                                                                             Romans 15:13

With all my love,
Sarah Mae Bowman

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Time for the return.

Since returning home not a moment has gone by that I don't think of the people I met, places I saw, and moments I experienced during my time in Uganda. I have spent the last four months working more than I ever have before to earn the money I need to get back to the place God has called me to. Now it's time for the return. Seven weeks from today I will be on a plane headed back to see the people and places I fell in love with. I have been very proud of myself for doing it all by myself, but God never ceases to teach me something....this time the lesson is humility. I am realizing there is no way I can do this by myself. Not last time, not this time, and not the next time! Number one, I need HIM, and he is always faithful! I also need you. Although, I have earned the money for my plane ticket, housing, food, and transportation for about six months, I am not going to Uganda to just eat and sleep :) So please take a second to read about a few of the things I need funding for!

:Meet Mathias:: 

Mathias is a little boy who lives in the village of Zirobwe! He is such a strong, sweet little dude  who became one of my best friends during our stays in the village. Mathias has huge sores, unlike anything I have ever seen, all over his legs. The closest hospital is about an hour away and I would love to take him to see a doctor so he can receive the care and medical attention he deserves. Cost- (incl. transport, dr. visit, medicine)$50, can you help?

::Meet my favorite little neighbors::
These little guys and girls are who I spent every night with outside my house! The joy that I have received from each one of these precious ones is unmatched. This picture is from when my friend Amy and I thought a day at the pool would be a nice treat for our new best friends. This was the first time for every single one of them to go swimming...praise God there was a kiddie pool! To us here in America, spending a day at the pool is no big deal, but to these children it was a memory they will NEVER forget. I would love to take them again. 
Cost- $15

::Meet Silverstar and family::

This is Silverstar (the child I sponsor through Empower A Child) with his sisters and grandma in front of their home in the village of Zirobwe. I would love to provide a few necessities to the family to help them out. Things they could use would be bags of rice, beans, new water cans, and new mattresses. Cost- $50 to $75.

::Meet Raphael and his soccer team::
This is Raphael and some of the boys on his soccer team. Raphael has a beautiful wife and three beautiful children. He is the pastor of a church in a suburb of Kampala. Along with his fathering and pastoring roles, Raphael coaches a soccer team for boys in his community. This team is doing much more than training good soccer players, it is building up the character, confidence, and the future of these boys. As you can see they are playing with bare feet. I would love to provide shoes for the boys and a nice treat Raphael for all the great work he is doing.
Cost- $50 to $100 

These are just a few of the things I would like to do during my upcoming trip to Uganda. Please let me know if you can help in any way! Thank you so much for your time, support, and prayers. I appreciate YOU.

With all my love,
Sarah Mae Bowman