Cherish Uganda, Growth, and Cole

Cherish Uganda

Have you ever been faced with devastating news about your health or medical condition? Have you heard a shocking update from a friend or family member that they have terminal cancer or some other incurable disease? It rocks you to the core and quickly reminds us that our true home is not on this earth- and that our true hope is not in what we can see.9138_footer

There is a small fishing village in the central Wakiso District of Uganda. It is home to Cherish Uganda which dreams of changing the stories of children living with HIV by offering them hope.


The clinic offered Cherish staff and the medical mission team an opportunity to serve the greater community.



Though cases of HIV/AIDS in Uganda have decreased in recent years, the disease still runs rampant among fishermen, commercial sex workers and other trades. Fishermen in particular are three to four times more likely to have HIV/AIDS than the average population. The impact on children is especially hard. About one million children in Uganda have been orphaned as a result of the disease and treated as outcasts- they are unable to connect with the rest of their community.


Dr. Clara finishes an exam


Cherish seeks to change this social stigma. EMI has been working with Cherish to design a master plan and the first phase of the Hope Hospital. The goal is to have accessible healthcare and disease prevention education in the surrounding community so that they can provide some of the best healthcare in Uganda.

The aim is to show these children the love of Jesus in a very real and practical way. They often arrive in pretty bad shape. They need medical attention, clothes, and food – as well as schooling and a loving home. Dr. Clara Komuhangi, the Health Center physician and director, says, “The fact that they are living with HIV attracts more stigma than one could deal with in a lifetime. However, they are as full of life as any child I have ever seen.” Cherish immediately places them in a family style home with a mom, auntie and “brothers or sisters”. The medical needs of each child are assessed and they are started on ART (anti-retroviral therapy) to slow down the progression of HIV.


The Cherish Outpatient Health Center

Cherish CEO Brent Phillips says, “When the history of Cherish is written and we talk about the key partnerships that enabled us to fulfill the vision laid out before us by God, EMI will be on that list, if not at the top.” As EMI continues this partnership, offering appropriate and sustainable design, the story of this fishing village is being changed. God is writing a new story through the efforts of Dr. Clara and the Cherish team.


Dr. Clara Komuhangi is the Health Center physician and director


Growth is Good… but not easy

Constant change seems to be the norm for me at EMI over the past 3 years. Things are never boring as I try to keep up with all the exciting improvements we are implementing as we steer the boat in a more impactful direction. We now have 11 offices around the world and to be honest it feels a little unwieldy. It reminds me a little bit of being a teenager when your body grows so fast that you become clumsy, tripping over yourself unnecessarily. Thankfully many of us on the leadership team are quick to recognize this and are taking action to adjust to these growing pains.

Not only is EMI changing but the approach of missions is ever evolving to better influence those we want to reach. Combine that with the culture of giving in the US ever being in flux and it seems like we are trying to hit a moving target. Should EMI become a for profit business? No, that seems like an overreaction.

Will I and others still be able to raise support for our positions in 5 or 10 years? We hope donors will see the impact our work does and want to continue contributing to our efforts. These are just a sample of the many factors we are taking into account as we try to steer the EMI ship.

These are exciting times because I truly believe that EMI is more effective in our mission than we have ever been. Honestly, it’s just a little stressful for us as leadership to try and keep ahead of all this good growth. We can definitely use your prayer in all of this.


I’m not sure if this is every parent’s experience but we feel the first year of a child’s life is rough. Consistent sleep is something that is tossed out the window, routine sessions of crying when you have no idea what he wants, and on and on.

But Cole is currently 20 months old and NOW we are into the good stuff! It’s like right after he turned 1 year old, he just pops with personality showing his love for being outside, wanting to show compassion to other kids when they are crying and awkwardly trying to give a hug, or just trying to keep up with his brothers. Cole does take the award for being our first son to receive stitches after he got cut on his forehead falling onto a brick fire place. Things are back to being fun (but of course always hectic) at the Reinhardt house.









Traveling to Nicaragua



I (Jason) am heading to Nicaragua next week to assist in setting up our new EMI Office for future impact in Central America. This is the third location that we’ve planted an office in Central America.

Our first location was in Guatemala, but with it having one of the highest violent crime rates in Central America it made it difficult for EMI missionary families. Imagine feeling imprisoned in your own home, where you couldn’t leave the walls surrounding your house until your husband returned home from work to escort you to the store.  As the violence continued to increase, including a staff member being at gun point during an attempted carjacking, it became clear that an EMI office needed to move for the safety of its staff and families.

The second location was in Costa Rica where it was much easier for staff families to raise their children. In the end, however, EMI decided that there weren’t as many local ministry needs.  Many of the physically poor were still an airplane ride away since Costa Rica was so economically stable.

Three years ago, Jason, Jalina and Blake served the EMI Costa Rica Office before it closed down to be relaunched in Nicaragua. While Jason assisted the EMI Project Leaders there, Jalina served in a local orphanage with Blake only 9 weeks old.

This led to the decision to finally move the office to Nicaragua where there was safety for family livability, a multitude of local ministries to serve with our design, and a growing number of Christian design professionals which we hope to help disciple professionally and spiritually.

The office has just opened and already their first project has been a success. In Nicaragua’s desperate poverty, the handicapped are especially disadvantaged. David (pictured) is one of 115 disabled kids receiving Christ-centered therapy, professional services and lots of love at the center.  But there are many more on the waiting list.  It’s time to build!  EMI designed their first priority; an arena for the Equine Therapy program.  Using horses as part of therapy has proven to be a huge success in the lives of these kids; physically, relationally and emotionally.


David came to the ministry (God’s Treasures) at only 8 years old, never before having had any opportunity for education. Now, using the skills and confidence he has been given, David is about to graduate from the 10th grade! His family and teachers have been trained by the dedicated staff at God’s Treasures.  In spite of his overwhelming physical disabilities, David is finding a very real hope for his future!


It is always a privilege to work at EMI where we are able to make a true impact in the lives of people like David through the work of God’s Treasure. It is as if we can witness the act of God’s love at work on the broken hearted.

Reinhardt Boys Update

Life in the Reinhardt house is full of joy and commotion as our 3 active boys like to keep us busy and entertained.

Drew is enjoying school and is already starting to learn how to read.  He is a diligent student and we are proud of him as he perseveres through his struggles to learn things like rhyming due to his auditory delay.  The school decided to put him back in speech therapy language group.  Drew is also memorizing Bible verses at Awana’s which again won’t be easy for him but we are encouraged by all the effort he is putting forth.

Drew is looking good on his first day of school and he is getting the hang of soccer in his first season of play. 

We just celebrated Blake’s 3rd birthday and boy was he excited.  His favorite part- the birthday cake!  This kid is a sugar fiend.  After a failed first attempt at potty training a year ago, we are trying again with quite a big success.  Blake likes to show off his ‘accomplishments’ too.

We were surprised to find that Cole was slow to learn how to crawl, and even now insists on pulling one of his legs in sideways- we call it his limp crawl. However, all Cole wants to do is walk.  He was pulling himself up at 8 months and is ‘cruising’ the couches.  He is doing whatever he can to keep up with his older brothers.  Sadly he still wakes up at least twice a night to nurse which means Jalina is still sleep deprived.


Thanks for All You Do
Your partnership with our work at EMI has a tremendous impact on our family and on the people throughout the world that are touched by our ministry. Thank You!

Being Restored and David’s Story

Wow, it’s amazing how fast time flies. So much is happening and changing here at EMI and I’m really excited about where we are going.


Last month Staff from all of EMI’s offices came together for our World Staff Conference. This includes our current offices in Uganda, India, US, Canada, and UK.  In addition, EMI is growing fast as we are expanded our presence into Nicaragua, Senegal, Cambodia, and South Africa!  I’m heading to Nicaragua next month to assist in setting them up for future impact in Central America- more on that in a couple weeks.

It was 5 years ago that EMI last had a World Staff Conference and since then our numbers have grown tremendously. Take a look at all the Staff and families who gathered at the conference to discuss where God is leading our organization next.


Jalina and the boys were also able to attend and even got to go hill tubing in the middle of summer. It was a surprisingly fast ride especially when the attendant spun us in circles.

At the conference we revealed…

EMI’s new logountitledEMI’s new vision statement:
“People restored by God and the world restored through design”

EMI’s new mission statement:
“To develop people, design structures, and construct facilities which serve communities and the Church”

In addition, we talked through our core values: Design, Discipleship, and Diversity. I’ll talk in more detail about diversity and discipleship in my future updates, but let me start with Design.  EMI works within the local context to design and construct culturally-appropriate facilities that are sustainable, affordable, and transformational.

You might be thinking, “So what?”. Well EMI has found that a foreigner coming in and giving a ministry technical plans from purely a Westerner perspective actually doesn’t help in the long run.  By involving local architects and engineers from that country, we learn about how construction is actually accomplished in that region and how the ministry will use the facility.  This means our designs are more likely to be built and serve the ministry and the poor around them more effectively- allowing the design to have more impact.  If you want to hear a story of how a simple EMI design in Uganda can translate into transformation in people’s lives… keep reading.

David’s Story

Not only are lives being touched in tandem with the design and work of EMI, but the buildings themselves create a place that people can call home- sometimes for the very first time. After spending most of his life looking for a home, David Muyanja had a vision of a beautiful place.  Later that vision was fulfilled at the ‘Field of Dreams’ site at Show Mercy International in Uganda.  Let me explain…

11017_headIt was 2009 when Show Mercy International (SMI) first asked an EMI team to come to their site near Kaliiti Village to design their ‘Field of Dreams’ site as they began their ministry in Uganda. Five years later, Show Mercy directors Mike and Lori Salley invited EMI back again to design the next phase of their work: a primary school that will eventually grow into a boarding school for 300 children.

While most of the EMI architects, engineers, and surveyors were figuring out the technical design for the new site, some of the team talked to several of the young people SMI has hired as staff. Each of these people had a story of how their lives have been transformed by God through the love shown by people at Show Mercy. The story of one of the staff in particular, David, really impacted the team. They got to know him as they included him in some of the tasks the project team was working on in the field.

David’s first memory is of living on the streets of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. He has no parents and no family that he knows of, no relatives to care for him or take an interest in his life. Looking back at that time, he said that he has no idea how he survived. He believes that it must have been God’s mercy and grace alone. Street children like him don’t usually live for long as injury, hunger, and disease take their toll. They simply disappear and there is no one to ask questions. Orphaned and abandoned children like David are seen in nearly all the AIDS-ravaged countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is to help children like him that Show Mercy began their ministry in Uganda.

IMG_6517When David was eight, he started doing cleaning jobs and helping in a local church to earn some money. He was allowed to sleep in the church building at night. Later, a family took him in for a time as a house boy and he was able to earn food by doing odd jobs. But there were problems in the house and he didn’t always get fed. He longed to belong somewhere and his eyes filled with tears as he shared how lonely he felt.

When he was 17, a visitor named Sonia came to the church and began to take an interest in him. She talked to him about his life and asked him if he would like to have somewhere new to live. That night as he slept he had a vision of a beautiful place. Not long after this, Sonia brought him to the Show Mercy site where he received prayer and encouragement. Seeing the site reminded David of the vision and knew he had found his home.


Something about the landscape and beauty of the ‘Field of Dreams’ site reminded David of the vision he had and gave him peace about making this his new home.

David has been employed as a groundskeeper at ‘Field of Dreams’ since November 2012. Show Mercy has provided work, support, and care for him as a full-time staff member. Being loved, feeling useful, and given self-esteem, David feels he has received more than a job here – even more than a fresh start on life. Here he feels he has finally found a home. He has found long-term hope for his future too. In fact, David is trying to save up enough money to buy land and build his own house someday. And, when he gets married, he hopes to care for his own children with a sort of love he never received himself: The love he found at Show Mercy.

Uganda’s 4 Teams for 4 Projects

In our recent project season our Uganda office became a hub of EMI activity as you can see from the picture. There were four EMI teams working on four different projects in Uganda.  The Uganda office felt like a revolving door of ready servants ready to pull their weight for Kingdom purposes.  The saying “many hands make light work” is evident as you view the activity below.  Instead of giving specifics about each trip, we present some of unique features from the collective teams, showing how ministry is taking place around the routine services that EMI conducts.

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(Left) Civil engineer John Larson pours water from a jerry can into a test pit on the Chayah Ministries site. This percolation test shows how quickly the soil will absorb water. This information is used to design the septic drain field.



(Right) Nathan and Moses, both Ugandans, check the data being gathered by the survey equipment.  Both are former students of the EMI Survey Practicum, held in Uganda each year.  Now they are using what they learned to serve local ministries with this vital design resource.  EMI is proud to be empowering local design professionals.

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The volunteer team attends a design orientation at EMI’s new office in Kajjansi. They received information on typical do’s and don’ts for design in East Africa and interacted with the EMI Uganda team.

5- feature-12_15-7The EMI USA team visited Africa Bible University, where students are given a solid foundation in Biblical studies. ABU also trains their students in business, education, and communications. Here, Collins Kayongo works with a student in the “Distinctives of Christian Media” course.

6- IMG_20150520_094608837Prior to the teams arriving I helped conduct a land survey of the Africa Bible University paving the way for the project team to jump directly into the design of future construction at the university.

7- feature-12_15-8John Grosser joined this EMI team as a way to complete the work begun by his son Phillip. Phillip died in an accident during his EMI internship in 2007. When John gave his closing remarks at our presentation, it was clear this was more than the simple donation of an electrical design. He felt fully engaged in helping a ministry spread the Gospel.

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EMI volunteers stay very busy during the project trip. But not too busy to put down the pencils, close the laptops, and take time to talk with the people the design work is ultimately for.


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EMI Uganda project leader Sarah Dunn shows a developing site plan to one of the boys who will benefit from the design. The EMI team had a patio work space and the children enjoyed coming to talk to the volunteers and watch the plans for their future home take shape.


We don’t always do it perfectly, but we are constantly reminded it is the people not the structure that we are building into.

Overall, the opportunities for service in Uganda seems never ending, but the energy at EMI to meet those needs with love is contagious.




Announcing: Cole Jaxon Reinhardt


Cole Jaxon Reinhardt

Cole Jaxon Reinhardt

“Not again,” is what I thought as Jalina told me that her amniotic fluid was low and the doctors wanted her to stay overnight at the hospital 6 weeks before her due date. This was almost exactly the same time that Jalina was admitted into the hospital and had to IMG_0486have an emergency c-section with Drew four years ago. I fearfully imagined what it would be like if Jalina had to stay at the hospital on bedrest while I watched Drew and Blake for 6 weeks. Thankfully after a night of IVs and monitoring, Jalina’s amniotic fluid elevated to a healthy level and she was released the next day. Whew!

The rest of the pregnancy went very smoothly until DSC_0365one week before the due date when her fluid level was so low that the machine couldn’t get a reading at all. The doctor decided to induce. I received a phone call from Jalina saying I needed to leave work to come to the hospital. Jalina desired to have a natural birth without any medicine or intervention. We joked that all it took was for the doctor to tell Jalina that she was going to be induced for her body to jump start into labor.  Soon afterwards, she started dilating just fast enough to satisfy the doctors so they didn’t need to induce or give pain medicine. It started getting later in the evening and the doctor said there was another mother down the hall who was neck and neck with Jalina’s progression. The doctor didn’t want to be taking care of the other patient while Jalina was giving birth and again recommended we try to move on the delivery. We decided we’d wait and the timing worked out wonderfully. Jalina was an all-star through the 10 hours of laboring and the nurses kept saying how amazed they were at how well she was handling the pain without any medication.


Cole Jaxon Reinhardt was born on December 22nd, 2015 at 8:47pm at St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs, CO. He weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long. Cole too amazed us at how well he slept through the first night, and we are hoping that is a good sign for the future.

DSC_0384We did decide to return to the States for the birth in accordance with the Ugandan doctors’ and staff of EMI’s recommendation. I will work from the EMI office here in Colorado Springs for the time being, but we will reevaluate our ministry location after we first get a handle on being parents of three children.

A special thanks goes out to Nana and Papa who came to assist with IMG_0535this busy season and watched Drew and Blake while Jalina was in the hospital. They brought them to see Cole for the first time the next morning and Drew and Blake were very sweet to him.  We are blessed to welcome Cole into this world and especially into the Reinhardt Family.  Jalina was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve just in time for us to have Christmas morning all together.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement and we appreciate your prayers for us and our now bigger family.

Uganda– Year in Review

IMG_0165“I haven’t felt this alive in years!” 2015 has been a landmark year for our family as we moved to Uganda and jumped in with both feet trying to make an impact in the lives in others while being changed in the process. In looking back in this year, here’s how each of us were touched.

Drew and Blake
This year, our boys spent as much time with Ugandan children as they did with other Western missionary families. Our Ugandan neighbors had three boys who would play with Drew and Blake at every available opportunity. In addition, we decided as a family that Drew and Blake would have Ugandan sponsor children from Compassion that they could connect with. Our hope is that this lasting friendship, with someone who has little more than their basic needs met, would remind them to see how they can befriend and help others less fortunate than themselves.


We met their sponsor friends, Charles and Innocent, for the first time in a mall in Kampala.   For Charles and Innocent, it was their first time being out of their village and in a city, a mall, or a play area. Probably even their first time riding in a car. As you can see from the pictures, the 4 boys got along fabulously and hopefully made memories that will last a lifetime.


I have been tremendously proud of the way Jalina invested her time and energy into serving the mothers and pregnant women in the slums of Namuwongo. She went to the places that most of us would try to avoid and quite literally got her hands dirty sharing the love of Christ. These women have next to nothing and it is heart breaking. I remember one time Jalina coming home and awkwardly wanting to thank me for not beating her like so many husbands in the slums do; for not kicking her and the children out of the house, or not controlling her by forcing her to stay in the house. Many of these women are desperate and while we can’t fix a systemic economic and cultural problem, Jalina has been able to breathe words of eternal life to those that may experience very little comfort in this world. Just by coming to their meager homes, listening to their story and praying for God to touch them she is powerfully showing love.


Pregnancy Update
Jalina is now 39 weeks pregnant and has surpassed the 34 week mark when she had Drew. She is feeling well, but was being closely monitored by weekly ultrasounds and doctor appointments.  Jalina already had an overnight stay in the hospital for IV fluids and fetal monitoring due to low amniotic fluid levels.  We are praying for a healthy delivery.





This past year has challenged me to invest in individuals even if that means sacrificing progress towards a big picture goal. Christ instructed Christians to make disciples and that takes individual attention, but previously I have found myself too frantic doing other good work to have time for people’s “mundane” lives… and I’ve missed it. By inconveniencing my schedule, ministry opportunities have reveal themselves to me. For example, I’ve been able to make time for my neighbor Wassuwa as he came over sometimes at 7am while I was eating breakfast looking for help with his financial troubles and someone to be there for him. Wassuwa told me he views me as his best friend and asked me to be his honored guest at this wedding- I was blown away. Additionally, investing in Semei at work was the highlight of my time at the office. And then there’s Martin, who I’ll have to also tell you about in a future update. All of these relationships had a profound impact on me and my understanding of discipleship. In 2016, I hope to invest in people while simultaneously doing good work through EMI’s mission.



Living in Uganda has been a wonderful adventure, informative experience, and a great opportunity to serve those in need more directly. We’d encourage everyone to give it a try.

Thank you for giving so we can minister with EMI.
You can donate either online at:

Or send a check to:
130 East Kiowa, Suite 200,
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(Indicate account #: 2050)

For God’s Glory,
Jason & Jalina, Drew, Blake, and baby boy #3



Discipleship and Office Move

Who doesn’t love an underdog success story? I was recently asked how someone living in Uganda with very little would have a chance to climb out of the grips of poverty. I immediately thought of Semei, a staff member here in Uganda’s EMI office and someone with whom I have worked closely since I moved here.

Semei’s mother passed away when he was one year old. His father had multiple wives and had left Semei and his sisters when he was very young. Semei remembers being only about 8 years old when there was civil war in Uganda and he and his siblings were on the run due to the violence that surrounded them. Survival was more of a concern than school or even rising above their social status. But in 1993, Semei had his first important break. His aunt’s employer had a friend whose family was looking for some help in their home. Semei’s Aunt recommended him to help out at their house.

The first year working with the Casebows, Semei saved all his money for school fees. He served the family with diligence and they grew to truly care for him. They paid all his school dues for four years under the condition he would come every holiday time to work with them. After that, they recommended Semei to Cornerstone high school which sponsored Semei through the rest of school and even gave him a loan for University.

It was because of Semei’s trustworthiness and diligence at work that caused people to want to partner with him on his way to success.

IMG_9141After graduating from university the director of Cornerstone recommended to the director of EMI eight potential individuals from Cornerstone who could help with EMI’s staffing need- and Semei was chosen. This month Semei has celebrated 10 years with EMI!

Since my time here I too have partnered with Semei in his professional growth. We talk and pray through the professional and personal issues that arise in his life and it’s one of my favorite times at work. EMI continues to emphasize the transformation of people and not just the design and construction of the ministry buildings. Discipleship was one of Jesus’ primary approaches to ministry, and we at EMI are striving to learn how to do that well in our context.

Sadly, most of Semei’s seven siblings have passed away (only two remain) due to tragedies or HIV, but Semei stands as a shining light showing that great things can come from difficult beginnings. God loves to display his redemptive power through the obedience of His faithful people. As more lives are touched in this way, I see the trajectory of the country of Uganda also rising from the ashes that took place under Idi Amin’s time in the 1970s. Good things are happening here, and I’m glad I can be a small part of it.

Semei is married to Winnie and they have two children of their own: Mercy and Michael. After Semei’s brother passed away, he and Winnie kindly choose to also adopt his two nieces, Allen and Agnes, so they don’t have to go through the difficult beginnings that he experienced.

Finally, Semei and I share an affinity for New Hope Uganda, which is the ministry that the Casebow family and his Aunt’s employer worked for. You see that was the ministry for which I led my second EMI project trip back in 2005- when I first thought about moving to Uganda!   It is a small world indeed.


Jason at the construction site

Office Move
At the end of August, EMI accomplished one of its long standing goals, which was to design and construct our own building. We’ve provided designed buildings for over 1,000 ministries in the past, but finally we were able to do that for a building that we can own ourselves here in Uganda. It is an accomplishment we are quite proud of after all this time.

Here are some pictures of the office build progress over the past year.

I was put in charge of the packing day and loading up the furniture on move day. I’m pleased to announce that it was a success. And for the record, the head of that statue was already missing… honestly!