Stanfield couple reaches out to Ugandan kids

Scott and Kelly Zielke of Stanfield and Judy Weidert of Athena will return to Uganda this summer to provide support at the Otino Waa Children's Village.

A Stanfield couple is returning to East Africa this summer to help support an orphanage in Lira, Uganda.

Scott and Kelly Zielke learned about the needs of Otino Waa Children’s Village during a missionary trip in 2013 with other members of the Stanfield Baptist Church.

The Zielkes have been active in church and outreach through Bible studies and leading worship music over the years. However, Scott said participating in the mission trip further impressed on his heart about the importance of reaching out.

“When I learned more and more about the orphanage, it seemed to be the right thing to do,” he said. “It wasn’t just another Bible study, it was actually going out and doing something.”

The couple invites the community to attend a concert fundraiser to support efforts to create a chicken farm for the orphanage. In addition to providing eggs for the children’s nourishment, extra eggs can be sold for revenue to help sustain their ability to purchase additional chickens.

Bob and Carol Higgins of Bend, founders of the orphanage, also will share during the event. In addition, artwork created by inmates incarcerated in several Oregon prisons will be available for purchase through Visions of Hope. The nonprofit organization raises money to help support the children and widowed house-mothers at Otino Waa.

Kelly said rather than looking to adopt the children out, the mission of the orphanage is to provide the children with the tools to survive and thrive.

“The focus is to make them future leaders in their own country by educating them and giving them the skills to be self-sufficient,” Kelly said.

The Zielkes, along with Judy Weidert of the Athena First Christian Church, will head to Uganda in June 23 through July 7. The group also plans to take books to help stock the library at the children’s village. People may help support that effort by donating new or slightly used books that would be appropriate for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade.

In addition to their village dialect, Kelly said the children can speak and read English. All types of books are needed, including educational books, biographies, craft books and other publications that the kids can read for enjoyment.

The Zielkes are excited about returning to Uganda to provide support. Scott said they found the people in the village very hospitable and appreciative of their missionary efforts.

“When we’d go into a shop or business, they would say, ‘You are most welcome here.’ We heard that phrase a lot,” Scott said. “I don’t think it’s something they said to just say, I think they really meant it.”

The fundraising event features a band of local musicians, including Kelly Zielke (vocalist/songwriter), Scott Zielke (rhythm guitar), Nicolas Pando (drummer), Paul Eaker (bass), Mark Douglass (keyboard) and vocalists Denise Eaker and Maria Hurty. The concert is Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Stanfield Baptist Church, 310 E. Wheeler Ave.

For more information, call Scott or Kelly Zielke at 541-571-8153. For more about the children’s village, visit www.otinowaa.org.

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