Category Archives: Partnership

F2tF – Update (Monday)

Yesterday our team arrived in the village of Namuganga to walk the perimeter of the land for Father 2 the Fatherless.  The site is gorgeous and it was wonderful to begin to dream as we were swarmed by village kids that wanted to see what we were doing.  Here is our team before the walk getting hearing about the vision of F2tF.


As we were walking, we got towards the lower end of the site and there was a big crowd of people.  I wasn’t connecting what it was but at the bottom was a moving sight:


Here stands Jja-jja – “granny” along with a whole host of kiddos that have come to draw water for their families.  There was a HUGE line of people that had come to fill jerry-cans full of water to bring to their families.  Water quality test results aren’t back yet but it’s no doubt cleaner than the brown water that is drawn from their old hand-dug pit.  It was so moving and I was just thankful that my job lets me be a part of doing something like this.  Praise God!  Thankful too to our partner church Cornerstone E-Free that was part of raising funds for this well.P1050797

P.S. – please continue to pray for David – his flight has been delayed or rerouted 3 times and he is supposed to arrive today. Pray the Lord will get him here safely and help us all to acclimate him well.


Well Drilling this Week!

Hey Folks,

This will be a quick one but we shared last month in pretty good detail about Jeff’s project trip coming up (now in just over 2 weeks!) to serve Father to the Fatherless (F2F).  If you didn’t see the previous blog post check this out.

As we shared before, F2F needs to put in a well in order to serve the needs of their ministry as well as to provide a better water source to the community at large.  By putting in the well before our team arrives, this will allow us to know the capacity of the site.  For example, if they want to build homes for 300 orphans but there is only enough water for 100 people, then we have a big problem!  So before we put in the effort to make a Master Plan for them, we are grateful that we will have this information so that we can plan appropriately.

Living Water is a partner ministry of EMI’s and is going to be putting in the well this week.  I spoke with them Monday and they are on the site and are drilling the well as we speak.  There is a lot to it – finding (with guesswork and prayer) where you hope is the best place to put the well, digging the hole (perhaps more than once), casing the hole with PVC piping so that it’s stable, and then testing the hole to determine how much water output there will be.  This process can take several days.

Please pray that the well will go in smoothly, that they can put in a safe and effective well that will be a blessing to the ministry and the community that desperately needs a clean water source.  I will send an update once they have finished.

Father to the Fatherless

For the past few months, I (Jeff) have been busy prepping for an exciting project – my first team lead – called Father to the Fatherless.  Our blogging has not been consistent enough and so I feel like there is too much to share as God has been doing some amazing things through this already.


The Ministry – Father 2 the Fatherless (F2F) is a ministry started by a Ugandan man named Mathias along with his American wife Jolene.  Mathias grew up as a street child and was rescued out of it by missionaries.  Now, they wants to bring hope to children the same way that Mathias did and envision a place of children’s homes, a primary school, a ministry center.  Learn more about the ministry here:

Land shot

The Project – F2F has a little over 80 acres of land near Mityana Uganda that I was able to visit this spring.  The above picture shows a good view of the land – scattered trees, a lot of grass, and some pretty good sloping hillsides. F2F needs professionals to show them how to use their land well so that they can see their vision come to reality.  You can see details on the ministry and the project on EMI’s recruiting web page here.

The Team – for the past few months, that recruiting page has spurred a number of e-mails and dialogues with people from all over.  While the team is still coming under formation, it looks like we will gave a group of 9 including 4 volunteers from the US, 2 interns, a long term volunteer engineer, and my co-leader, a staff architect.  If you see this and are (or know of) and electrical engineer, Master Planner, or Landscape Architect, please drop me a line!  We have a really exciting group of people and it has been energizing to see the way that the Lord is stirring the hearts of the various people of the team.


The Well – The land of F2F has a hand dug well (shown above) on it which is the current source of water for the village around it.  People come from a kilometer or more to get water from this pit using 5 gallon jugs which they haul back to their homes for laundry, bathing, and drinking.  F2F knew that a well was a critical need both for their ministry as well as the community. F2F has been raising the $9000 that they need to drill the well.  We were excited to learn that they were able to raise the full funds for this project!  One of our partner churches Cornerstone E-Free in Saint Louis contributed significantly as part of their Vacation Bible School as they learned about “Living Water”.  We were thrilled to be a part of seeing this 3 way partnership come together.  Now they will be putting in the well before our team arrives so that we will have the data to do our master planning.  Pray for the Lord’s guidance in the well placement so that they can get the water that they need so that F2F can provide Living Water to the community!

More details will be forthcoming, but it is an incredible blessing to be a part of seeing this ministry’s vision come to reality.

Cherish Uganda!

In September of 2012, I (Jeff) was given 3 different projects that I would be managing at EMI – one of which was a medical clinic about an hour away in Entebbe, Uganda.  Little did I know at that time how much this “little” project would truly capture our family’s hearts and minds.  This is the land at my first visit… ???????????????????????????????

Cherish Uganda is a Christian ministry that focuses on children with HIV/AIDS.  Cherish began when a lady on a short term mission saw a dying child with AIDS in a hospital.  The hospital told her that they had medicine, but that they couldn’t administer it to the child without someone to care for her long term (because the meds are extremely time sensitive).  As she prayed, the Lord told her, “you can help this child if you want to”.  Thus began Cherish.  Now about 7 years old, they currently care for ~45 children (several shown below) in home-style facilities and have a school for 170 children all of whom have or are affected by HIV/AIDS. P1030652

As Cherish sought out advice from their neighbors, they realized that a medical clinic that could reach out to the community was one of the greatest needs in the area. While the rate of HIV/AIDS across Uganda is something on the order of 7-8% (very high compared to the US!), in the fishing community around Cherish, the infection rates are on the order of 23%!  They need specialized care and they need education and training that will enable them to live healthy and empowered lives.  Most of all, they need to know a God who cherishes them and offers peace and restoration. Learn more about the details of the hospital here.

EMI’s office put together an in-house team consisting of Jeff as the project leader and 2 interns – an architect named Ellen and an engineer named David (shown below).  Our goal was to develop a master plan of 3 phases (I – outpatient clinic and training center, II – extra services like X-Ray and physical therapy, III – inpatient ward) with full detailed design on the first phase.  By the end of the project, multiple hands played their various parts including other staff, visiting electrical engineer and landscape architect, and another intern named Belinda.  Beginning work in early September, the project carried through until April, when we were able to send off our full published set of drawings to print and present them to Cherish.


Seeing drawings may or may not get you excited but for those interested, here are some sample sheets:

Architectural Floor Plan

Architectural Floor Plan

Architectural Elevations

Architectural Elevations

Architectural Master Plan

Architectural Master Plan

Structural Framing Plan

Structural Framing Plan

Landscape Master Plan

Landscape Master Plan

Much to our joy, Cherish was able to raise the full funds for phase I by April and so we were able to immediate turn the drawings into the municipality for permit.  That review process is currently happening at the time of this writing and so your prayers are appreciated!

EMI has been asked to oversee the construction management as well.  It is wonderful to be able to continue our relationship with Cherish to bring this project all the way form start to finish!  This past Sunday, Cherish hosted a ground breaking ceremony which was a special time for our whole family and many others.  As the project manager, I was honored and humbled to be a part of celebrating the beginning of construction and to dedicate the land and the project to the greater glory of God.


One cannot step foot on their campus without seeing that God is clearly working mightily through the ministry of Cherish.  The privilege of using what God has given me to be a part of something so powerful is a joy beyond words.  This is why came to Uganda.  We give thanks to all of our partners who are holding us up in prayer and giving generously so that we can be here.  We give thanks to God for giving each of us an opportunity to play a part in seeing His Kingdom go forward.

Kilimanjaro Recap

Hello All!

After a few days of rest, recovery for swollen and blistered feet, and sorting through very deep inboxes at home and work, I am just now getting a real opportunity to provide some updates on my time at Kilimanjaro with EMI.


Kilimanjaro is an incredible place – the climb went through rainforests, heath and moorland zones (picture if you can “the Scottish highlands meet Super Mario World”), an alpine desert – where volcanic ash is mixed with sharp foreboding rock, and a stunning glacier at the top.  When you throw in species of plants that grow nowhere else in the world, it really did feel like we had entered another world.


Much of our climb was a slow ascent around the perimeter (we started on the western edge and summited from the southeast).  The time gave us some incredible views of this gorgeous piece of God’s creation.  This also was precious time to acclimatize (we spent several days around 13,000ft above sea level) and prepare ourselves for summit day.

Kili mountain

Our team of 14 got along great.  Including 4 East Africa staff, 2 East Africa interns, 2 other EMI folks from the US office, and 6 volunteers with varying histories with our ministry.  Among them was my college buddy David – my tent-mate for the week.  I was so blessed to have this long time friend with me and loved ggetting to have some solid time with him.   Thankfully he is NOT an engineer so that helped the humor vary significantly!  It was powerful to start each day with Psalms or scriptures about mountains and to reflect together on what the Lord was teaching us in this “mountaintop experience” over dinner.  As Jen mentioned in her earlier post, we were so excited to have all 14 of us successfully summit early in the morning of the 27th!


The outfitter that we worked with was incredible.  Each climber had a porter carrying a 15kg duffle bag for them so that we could have different layers for the varying terrain / climate.  They set up tents for us (usually by the time we got to camp) and had hot meals 3 times a day.  Watching the porters (and the cooks, and the guides) was extremely humbling as these men worked so hard to give us every opportunity to succeed.  Someone asked how it felt to conquer Kilimanjaro – I can only really remark that it was only possible through the aid of these amazing folks.


I don’t have a total from our team together yet, but I can say that I have personally received sponsorships over $6,000 from partners like you!  Including a tremendous effort by First Baptist Jasper, GA along with many incredibly generous individuals, I want to send out a strong THANK YOU! with more personal notes soon to follow.  During summit day especially, I felt a huge motivation by the “cloud of witnesses” that were praying and standing behind me in this climb.

For those coming into this late, the purpose of the climb is to raise funds for the ministry that we are a part of: Engineering Ministries International, which hopes to build a new office in the immediate future in partnership with a like-minded organization, Mission Aviation Fellowship.  You can see more details on the fundraiser here.  While the climb is over, EMI would still be grateful for your consideration to contribute to this effort.  If you are still interested, you can do so at:  Give to account 1528 – Kilimanjaro Climb.

I will share more in a different post, but the Lord also used this time in my own life in powerful ways.  As I had been praying beforehand, I truly “met the Lord on the mountain” and experienced His presence in some very tangible ways.  For those that were praying in this regard, thank you!

Kilimanjaro Update

T Minus 5 days and counting!

On Saturday 21st of January, I will be meeting up with a group of 14 climbers in Tanzania to begin the ascent of Africa’s tallest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro!

How do you feel?  As prepared as I can be I suppose.  I was blessed to geta good load of new clothes, equipment, food, etc.  In terms of exercise, I’ve been diligent in getting out several times a week strengthening my legs, doing cardio, etc.  I must admit that the pictures of the peak look a bit intimidating – it’s a REALLY tall mountain!

Why are you doing this?  For almost a year, our family has been working in Uganda with Engineering Ministries International.  Eith EMI, I have designed schools, an HIV/AIDS medical clinic, and missionary housing among others.  Our office is busting at the seams and as we look to continue to grow into the future, we need a more permanent facility that will allow us to better serve Uganda and the surrounding nations of East Africa.  We have an incredible opportunity to build a joint office with Mission Aviation Fellowship, a like-minded organization that is helping the Gospel to advance in the region in powerful ways.  The Kilimanjaro Climb is a fundraiser trying to raise up funds for this facility.  You can also see the longer version here.

How is fundraising going?  To date, I have personally raised a little over $3000.  A matching gift offer up to $15,000 has come in and if you can give, your gift will be matched for twice the impact.  You can make your tax deductible donation online at:
Under Categories and Funds, Click Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb – 1528 and then be sure to write “Austin” in the box “Other Category and/or Volunteer’s Name”.
Contributions are welcome anytime but especially helpful before the climb on January 21.

How can we pray for you?  Pray for stamina, that blisters, altitude sickness, dehydration will stay away.  Pray that our team can work well together and grow as an EMI community.  Pray also that the Lord would raise up the funds we need for the office.  You can see the schedule of our climb so that you can pray more specifically for the climb elements below.
What’s the schedule?

January 19:    Travel to Tanzania and spend the night at a hotel in Arusha.

January 20:  Rest time.  Sort gear / organize.  Pre-trek meeting with the climbing team.


7,742’~2,360m ∙ 3 mi~4.8 km ∙ 3-4 hrs
After a restful night at the hotel, we begin our trek from western side checking in at the Londorossi gate with a starting altitude of 7,742’~2,360m.  The trail with gently ascend through the montane forest until we reach camp. Tonight’s camp is nestled in the Kilimanjaro rain forest at the Mti Mkubwa which in Swahili means Big Tree.

January 22:     MTI MKUBWA to SHIRA CAMP

11,500’~3,505m ∙ 4.5 mi~7.3 km ∙ 6-8 hrs
Departing the rain forest, we enter the heath and moorland zone. In the afternoon we follow the Shira ridge the vast high altitude desert plateau where the first views of Mt Kilimanjaro open on the horizon and the landscape is a magnificent contrast from the departed rain forest.

January 23:   SHIRA CAMP to MOIR CAMP

13,650’~3,818m ∙ 6.3 mi~10.1 km ∙ 6-8 hrs
Full day exploration of the Shira plateau. Trek east toward Kibo’s glaciated peak with the option to visit the ancient collapsed Shira cone, the oldest of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes.  We arrive at Moir Camp situated in a huge gorge at the end of a dormant lava flow.


12,950’~3,916m ∙ 6.2 mi~10 km ∙ 5-7 hrs
Today we take an acclimatization trek to the Lava Tower at 15,000’~4,500m.  Following our rest at the tower, we decend upon the enormous Senecio forest reaching waterfall prior to finishing at Barranco Camp.  Tonight’s camp is in the shadow of the massive Barranco wall with the breeze often carrying clouds from the Barranco Valley.

13,200’ ~ 4,630m ∙ 2.2 mi~3.5 km ∙ 3-5 hrs
Today the group conquers the great Barranco Valley and up the Barranco wall; continue the trek on the South Circuit path through the Karanga Valley.  We camp tonight at Karanga Camp.

15,200’~4,630m ∙ 3.4 mi~5.4 km ∙ 3-5 hrs
Slowly trek to Barafu Camp. from Barafu you will have excellent views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Barufu Camp is situated on an exposed ridge providing majestic sunsets ushering in the summit night.  We acclimatize and make necessary preparation for the summit day ahead.

January 27:   BARAFU to SUMMIT to MWEKA CAMP
19,340’~5,895m ∙  13 mi~21 km ∙ 12-14 hrs
Tonight is the night!  A midnight start to conquer the highest point in Africa.  This section of the route is considered one of the steepest on the non-technical paths of Kilimanjaro. It is a 6-7 hour hike to Stella Point in order to see the sunrise. From Stella Point it is a 1 hour to Uhuru Peak and the rooftop of Africa.  We then descend down to Mweka Camp for dinner and celebration.

January 28:   MWEKA CAMP to Exit
Mweka Gate 5,400’~1,620m ∙  3.7 mi~5.9 km ∙ 3-4 hrs
A morning walking to Mweka gate.  At the bottom, we transfer to our hotel for a very welcomed shower! Overnight stay in Arusha.

January 29:     Return back to Kampala Uganda with many stories to tell!


Kili – an iconic mountain.  Projecting above safari lands with its snow covered cap, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in all of Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.  Engineering Ministries International’s East Africa office has given me the opportunity of a lifetime – to climb Kili as part of our “Build Africa Together” campaign.  And I need your help…

This coming January, I will set out on an 8-day trek to the top of Kilimanjaro.  On the way, I’ll hike through rainforest, alpine desert, and glacier. Lord willing, I will reach the summit at 19,341 feet under the light of a full moon.  Why?

The Need:  eMi initially launched its East Africa office in 2003.  With a long term presence, we have been heavily involved here to the point where over a quarter of eMi’s 1000+ projects worldwide have been located in our region.  In my short time with eMi, I have had my hand in a safe-house for abused women and children, a school dormitory for orphaned and vulnerable children, and an HIV/AIDS medical clinic, among several others.

Over the past several years, eMi has been growing dramatically.  Our office
has quadrupled in size in just 3 years!   We have more staff, volunteers, and interns working toward our common mission.   With that, we have been able to increase the scope of our work and the pure number of ministries we serve – ministries who are providing shelter, food, medical care, education, nurture, and the love of Christ.  We have also expanded into construction with a growing team that I am blessed to be a part of. As we look forward, we want to mobilize disaster relief teams, operate a workshop for developing sustainable building technologies that work here in East Africa, and become a locally known organization in the area of professional development and discipleship of design professionals and construction related craftsmen.  This just is not possible in our current location!

The solution is an incredible opportunity.   We are in the final stages of forming a partnership between Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and eMi East Africa to build a joint office facility.  This partnership puts together two
likeminded organizations to better serve hundreds of ministries and churches
throughout East Africa.  The planned joint office and workshop become an
ideal space for accommodating our expanding staff and growing initiatives
and puts us in the path of people we serve.

Additionally, this partnership is an opportunity to maximize value through  sharing of resources.  This will result in the reduction of overhead costs while at the same time giving us more space and stronger infrastructure to greatly increase what we can do.  All of that represents significant savings that can be reinvested toward the mission.

Our mission is more than building orphan homes, hospitals, and schools.  It is more than encouraging and helping fellow ministries and Christians minister more effectively.   It is ultimately about playing a small but strategic role in  seeing the Gospel transform a region.

The Climb: While eMi East Africa’s campaign has several facets, we trust that our biggest fundraiser will come through this effort to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  On January 21st-28th, I will be part of a team of people including co-workers, a college buddy named David Hoskinson, and other friends of eMi to hike to the highest point in Africa.  We will be climbing the Lemosho route which you can learn about here.

While Kilimanjaro does not require ropes and other technical equipment, its extreme elevation makes it a substantial undertaking.  I started an exercise and diet routine back in April when the idea of climbing Kili first came up and have lost 25 pounds so far in preparation.  While early morning walks up and down our nearby hill can be hard, they’ve been a critical part of my getting ready for this undertaking.  Still, this will be something well past my experience and I crave your prayers and support.

Your Part to Play: The Lord has been incredibly faithful in our continued  provision while working with eMi and He has used many of you in making that happen.  Thank you!  While we continue to rely on our pledged financial partners for our ongoing needs, we believe this is a big deal for our office and so we are asking that any special gifts this year be directed towards the  campaign.

In order to cover the cost of eMi’s contribution to the facility, the overall campaign is seeking to raise $175,000.   Each climber has been asked to set their own fundraising goal, but I am trusting God for at least $8,000 in contributions to eMi for this climb.  Would you prayerfully consider being a part of meeting that goal?

Tax-deductible donations can be made in two ways:

Online:    Under categories and Funds, Click Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb – 1528 and then be sure to write “Austin” in the box “Other Category and/or Volunteer’s Name”.

By Check: made out to Engineering Ministries International along with a response card which you can find here: Austin Response Card.  Checks can be mailed to:
Engineering Ministries International
130 E. Kiowa St. Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Thank you for your partnership with us.