Refuge 127

Posts Categorized / Mission Trips

Guest Blogger: Heather Austumian

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We met Heather during out last trip to Uganda. Needless to say she wasn’t as excited to be there as we were. LOL   Heather was ready to go the minute we got to the hotel.  We gathered for a prayer meeting on the second night but Heather went straight to her room.  She called her husband crying and was going to beg Josh to go home.  She prayed and God spoke to her and said she was there for a reason and to be patient. I asked Heather when did her feelings change and she told me “It changed when I laid eyes on that first child.”


Mission work will do that to you. It takes you to the edge of yourself and then turns your world upside down in a completely wonderful way. By the end of the trip, Heather couldn’t wait to go back. She was in love with the people, the country, and the children.


Heather was given the opportunity to go this August on a medical mission to the orphanage. Here’s her story in your words.


To be able to visit Uganda twice in one year is a privilege and a blessing.  This trip, I was able to travel with my son Michael who is a Junior at Purdue University.  This trip impacted him much like it did me the first time I went.  Our lives were changed.
With the help of the area physician, Dr. Masalo, as well as Dr. Sydney, we were able to do complete head to toe assessments on all of the children from Hope Refuge School.  Among the illnesses we treated were Malaria, ringworm, bacterial infections, fungal infections and intestinal worms.  Every child received treatment for intestinal worms.  Some also received needed vaccinations.
Seeing the familiar faces and all the smiles made the 5 hour trip on the very bumpy roads worth it.  Knowing that I was a part of perhaps saving a child’s life is all the thanks I will ever need.  It’s through the support of Refuge 127 and Helping Hands that we are able to help these children.  We ARE making a difference!












Bishop Wayabire

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Refuge helps the Hope Refuge School and Orphanage in Uganda, Africa pastored by Bishop Wayabire. We helped to finish a few of their buildings there so far and they decided to use our organization’s name in their school name, what an honor for us. Well Pastor Wayabire came to the U.S. to spend about 8 days with us very recently. It was such an honor to be able to show him all of the things that we are doing here to help him in Africa. While he was here to visit, he went to Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and was able to meet and speak with the CEO of the hospital about the extreme need for medical equipment in Africa. He was also able to visit the eye doctor to get help with some vision problems he was having and, LuLu Thompson, a member of our Advisory Board is an eye doctor so she was able to help him with what he needed.

We were able to set up a meet and greet so he could meet some of the people in the area that were going to attend the next missions trip to Africa in January and some that are eager to go in the future. He was also able to attend the garage sale that we held which in the beginning confused him a little but he was so appreciative of people donating their things to be sold to help him and the children in Africa. We asked him on numerous occasions while he was here how his trip was going and he always answered us with excitement that he had a great time and was always eager to thank us for the work that we’re doing for the orphanage. We cannot thank everyone enough for the help that you all give to us. We would not be where we are today without the help of each and everyone of you.

That Face

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That face.  The girl with the beautiful pink flowy skirt with her hands raised high and running in excitement.  It’s that face, full of joy, that I can’t get out of my mind.  When I close my eyes to pray, I see it.  When I hear the word Uganda, I see it.  When I think of the things that God is doing for these children, I see it. 
When Mandy and Shay first showed me their pictures from the trip, I made them stop when we came across this picture.  For me, it summed up the entire mission.  The joy that is in her just leaps out!  You can’t help but be moved by her.
I have so many questions – what’s her name?  How old is she?  What’s her story?  What are her dreams, her fears, her hopes? To me, she represents what this mission is about.  She represents the 1500 children that live at the orphanage.  She represents the burden of God …to visit and help and care for the orphan.
Before Mandy and Shay went to Uganda, I had this vision of them visiting these sad, depressed children but oh was I wrong.  Yes there is sadness at times and yes they live is deep material poverty but I’ve learned how rich they are.  These children, dispite their pasts, are full of joy and have a love for God and people that I’ve never heard of.  Mandy and Shay explained how happy they were for the simplest things.  The stories are so life changing that I found myself seeing this life I live in a whole new perspective.  God is my provider, the lifter of my head.  He is my sustainer and the joy of my heart!  She is the face of his burden and my burden!
I pray that God allows me to meet that face one day.  I hope that I can hug her and explain how she’s affected my life and that I too will experience, every day, the joy of the Lord that this little girl carries with her daily. -Lacey

Refuge School

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I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:2
This is the scripture that gave birthed the name of this ministry.  We pray the children have the revelation that God wants to be their refuge.  He wants to take care of them, heal them and take what the devil meant for bad and use it for good.
 …to visit and help and care for the orphans… James 1:27 amp

This is our mission.  It is a simple command God gave to us.  We ignore this command.  We come up with excuses to not follow this command.  We skim over this passage along with the hundreds of others that command us to take care of the fatherless, the orphan.  It is God’s burden. I pray God birth’s in you this day his burden for the orphan.

4 Buildings Completed!

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The orphanage in Mbale has been given 6 acres of land as a donation by a villager in that town.  The goal of Bishop Wayabire is to build 25 buildings.  These buildings would house the children with beds, have their school with their classrooms and medical facilities.  A church in Indiana paid for a well there that gives clean water to 5000 people.  The money we raised by your amazing donations has finished the 1st 4 buildings!  Only 21 to go.

James 127

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In the bible, God’s word tells us in James 127 to “take care of the orphan.”  There are times in our lives that we have all felt the agony of being orphaned.  Maybe a family member died,  maybe a friend moved, maybe a job ended and we experience a pain and grief that almost kills us.  But for most of us, this season of life ends at some point, or something else comes along and fills that void.  For the orphan, this pain, this void will be with them until the day they die, unless….. Unless the love of God is birthed inside their heart and they allow Jesus Christ to become their everlasting father.  His word says in Psalm 68:5 that He will be a “father to the fatherless…”  My heart and soul beats for the orphan that cries themselves to sleep, that ask “why” everyday, that long for someone to tell them the words “I love you” and truly mean it.  I desire to see the orphan allow God to hold them in His arms and wrap them in His love and kindness! – Mama Shay

T-shirts for Africa

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Mandy and Shay have the oppurtunity to go on a mission trip to Uganda. They will be holding a children’s cruisade for approx. 1000 orphans.  The money they are raising is also going to buying food for the orphans, digging clean water wells, and helping to finish a roofing project.

If you are interested in buying a t-shirt, please email Mandy at  They are $15 a piece and we have Large and X-Large remaining.
All proceeds go to the orphans of Uganda, Africa

Please let us know soon because Mandy and Shay are leaving for their mission trip on January 8!


Welcome to the Refuge Ministries first ever post on our new blog!  We are so excited to have this up and running so that we can share the wonderful things God is doing through this ministry.  For the past five years, God have opened so many doors to allow us to minister to the children of the Juvenile Justice Facility here in Thibodaux.  This facility is home to children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.  Since 2008, we have taught weekly bible studies, been able to throw many “fun days,” bring the children to church, put a bible in their hands (sometimes for the first time), and love them unconditionally.  Through the support of so many, these children have been able to experience the true love of God.

Please follow us by subscribing to this blog.  We will use this blog to keep you up to date with the events that are occuring within this ministry.  God is taking us to new places and we want you to join us!

Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

The Refuge Team