Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Well, it's almost 1 in the morning here and so it's officially 2009 while back in the states, there's still a few hours left of 2008. As I'm sitting here hearing the fireworks booming, dogs howling, and people yelling I just can't believe what 2008 has contained for me personally. I moved into the Pirolo house which held more memories than I can ever begin to express, began some of the best friendships of my life, lost a very good friend, graduated college, visited amazing friends in far away places, and moved to Uganda. I can't believe it all happened in a year! I am so amazed that in a life full of change and chaos, God is always faithful and consistent.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm so excited...

and I just can't hide it! I get to go on a little road trip to Moroto tomorrow! It was decided just today and I'm so stoked. I've been getting super stir crazy and so going to basically the Kenyan border after driving for about 9 hours is going to be a huge adventure! Don't worry, there will be plenty of details when I get back. Please just keep praying for our trip there. Jess and Bev have never even been to that part of Uganda, so it should be interesting.

Coffee dates with the girls

One of my favorite things to do in ABQ was have coffee dates with the girls of the youth group. We could just sit and talk and not just do small talk, but really get to spill about what all is going on in our lives and I would be able to counsel and pray with them (I miss those times and those girls so much!). One cool thing though is that today I was able to do that Africa style. I went with three of the girls and we walked into to town and I took them to Flavours where they experience mocha's and cappuccino's for the first time. We were able to laugh and also dive into some serious subjects as well and it was just cool getting to hang out with them in a more casual environment. It had been a tough day, but then that kind of put a positive spin to it. God is good...all the time!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

oh man!

Yesterday (well, today for all you in the states) was the day that my best friend since I was in 1st grade got married. Kelsey and I met in Mrs. Lucero's 1st grade class when she didn't bring glue and I had some to share and the rest is history. After that we were inseparable, we even braided our hair together and actually went out in public like that along with wearing our "best friend" t-shirts. We've gone on trips, had tee parties, and countless sleep overs and as we grew up although she moved to Arizona and I stayed in NM, we still got together whenever she was in town. Most friends come and go, but Kels is going to be one that I will cherish forever. Looking at pictures from her wedding, I saw friends from high school and my whole past came flooding back to me, it's crazy to think about how much stays the same, yet changes at the same time over four years. This is really the first big thing that I'm sad I missed by not being there, but I realize still that God's timing is perfect and it really comes down to what I need to be obedient in. Anyways, I love ya Kels, and congratulations!

4 months

Wow! I'm now at the 4 month mark that I've been away from home. In some ways it's blown by so fast, in other ways it seems to have crept along. I thank you all for your love and prayers, God has truly blessed me while being here and answered those prayers. Please continue praying for what God is using me to do here, and that I would work in His strength, not my own.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Boxing Day

Have you ever heard of Boxing Day? Well, I had always seen it on the calendar but never had the slightest clue about what it was. But because I have no learned something new and I love you all and therefore want to enlighten you, I'll let you in on what it is all about. It's a British Holiday where because you got new things for Christmas, you go through you closets and take out old things and put it in boxes and give them to the poor. I thought that was actually kind of a cool holiday, of course we're not necessarily celebrating it like that (I don't know if anyone really does that anymore on that day) but because Uganda is a British protectorate, they celebrate it by closing everything down and so I'm going to be able to hopefully enjoy a day full of nothing.

Christmas Day


Today is the first Christmas day I've spent away from my family. It started out a little bit more difficult than I would like, just because the internet wasn't working and so I felt more disconnected than I normally do. We had an outdoor service which was held under tarps where we all watched the Christmas performance the kids put on. Then we got ready for our Christmas lunch/dinner which was about 30 ugandans and missionaries eating food ranging from posho to potato salad and cranberries. After hanging out for a bit, we opened up some presents (I got hooked up with a new phone), I was able to talk to my family over Skype and opened presents and it was awesome just getting to see them, and I can't believe how blessed I am by having such a great family! Now we're all just sitting around watching Miracle on 34th Street unwinding from a crazy week.


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Outdoor Christmas Eve


Last night we held Christmas Eve outside. It was awesome! I loved it so much! Who knew that you could hold an outdoor service where you have to remember to put on the sunscreen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

It's unreal to think that it's Christmas eve. Right now I'm sipping coffee listening to Christmas music, looking at a house filled with tinsel, thinking of what other presents I still need to get (I know, way to wait until the last minute), and still in shock that today is Christmas eve. I love Christmas, like really really love Christmas. Well...I guess it's the "organic" Christmas if that makes any sense. I don't like the materialism or the obsession over presents, but I love the whole thought that ideally all these people are filled with joy and getting to spend time with family as they celebrate the love of God. I guess it's the thought of what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be like that I love so much.

My trip to prison

Today I was able to spend the day in prison with a bunch of the kids who were doing a Christmas performance. They were at a prison across the lake yesterday and then today they presented twice (once to those who will die in prison, and another time to those who are just waiting for their sentence to be over). It was seriously unreal and I really wish that they had allowed cameras, but I will do my best to give you an idea of what it was like. Imagine a courtyard in the middle of a three-story building that had bars all around it, and then a couple hundred prisoners in yellow and white uniforms sitting on a bunch of blankets on the floor or just standing. Then imagine about 30 kids ranging from the ages of 9-20 singing Christmas songs, a rap group from Kampala laying it out in front of everyone that Jesus is the Son of God, and then one of our pastors saying that "religion is man's attempt to reach God, salvation is God's attempt to reach us" (all going at different times of course). And in the midst of that, you can hear the Muslims in another area chanting their prayers. It was unlike any experience I have ever had and I'm just so blessed that I was able to see God at work in a place like that.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas shopping

So before I got my carepackages, I went with Bev, Keith, and Ellen to Kampala to get some Christmas presents for the people here. It was actually a lot of fun despite my humongous dislike of shopping and I just found it quite comical that at one point we looked at a little thermometer that said it was over 100 degrees...100 degrees in December!!!!

It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie breakdown


Ok, so I just gone another couple of care packages and one of them was filled with Christmas presents from different family and friends. I am so so blessed by each person in my life. I may or may not have cried fairly hard after getting my box that had a couple of presents I know what they are without even opening them and then I was directed on the tag to open one before Christmas and I opened it and it was the Jim Carrey version of the Grinch and boy, when I opened that, I was finished! One tradition I have is that my brothers and I all sleep in the same bed watching the Grinch and then while we're waiting for the go-ahead from my parents in the morning we watch it again. Right now I'm just sitting on the floor of my office with a couple of kleenexes and trying to make it look like I haven't been sobbing. I truly am so blessed by the love that surrounds me, and thank God for how He has blessed me so much with my amazing family and friends!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

little adventures

Today I was able to have a pretty chill day complete with a little jaunt into town with Ellen to open her eyes to the glory of my favorite coffee shop, youth group where I was able to sit with Aryana on my lap and just crack up at how smart she is, and Ryan taking me and all the kids in his SUV sort of thing on a little trip just around our part of town, there about ten of us crammed in there, but the kids loved it and it was fun to hear how excited they were.

I also sent out my newsletter, so if you didn't get one but wish to receive one, please let me know.

There is no place like home for the holidays

today Jesse was playing a bunch of Christmas songs, and I thought I was doing ok today on the homesickness front, but I guess I was wrong. Just look at these lyrics, and can you blame me for getting a little sad after hearing it?

Oh there's no place like home
For the holidays, 'cause no matter
How far away you roam
If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays, you can't beat
Home, sweet home
For the holidays, you can't beat
Home, sweet home


I guess the bottom line is though that God has brought me here for this time for a purpose and the pain of missing everyone and everything is not even remotely close to the pain and sacrifice He endured for me on the cross. I just have to continually keep it all in perspective, and drawing closer to Him through all of this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

youth conference

Today we went to a youth conference that lasted the whole day, and therefore I'm pretty much exhausted. It was "interesting" but it was really the best day getting to know a lot of the students. I was able to bond with the girls just with eating posho and rice with them and then the boys definitely confirmed that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach because I gave them some cookies and it was like all of a sudden they were my best friends. It was really an awesome day, and I'm just so glad I had this opportunity.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Marathon


Phew! so we made four different cookies and it was seriously an all day thing, but it was awesome! Towers of gingerbread and sugar cookies (which were quite possible THE best ones I've ever had) will now be a part of my African Christmas memories.

don't judge


I've concluded that I'm not a very clean cook, but at least I'm a good one (or at least I hope I am). Today I'm on a Christmas cookie marathon with Ellen and so far we've made chocolate chip pecan cookies, and then dough for sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and an almond cookie. On top of that, we've already watched Rudolph and the Grinch and now Home Alone is coming up next.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

break time

I just had my Eschatology exam which means I don't have class for two weeks! I love school, but my brain needs a break.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It is finished


I'm done with my Old Testament outlines!!!! It was intense and probably took years off my life, but it was totally worth it and I'm done! (If you're of the environmental persuasion, you may want to not look at the picture or try and think of how much paper I had to use to do this).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Staff Christmas Party


So who can say that their staff Christmas party involved getting on a boat and crossing Lake Victoria to go swimming with about 80 Ugandans? I loved it! Today we started out with having lunch at the compound where there was massive amounts of local food, coca cola products and then headed down to the lake where we all got on boats and rode accross Lake Victoria to a resort that has 3 pools and we all swam. It was pure mayhem, but it was awesome seeing even the conservative mom's getting in the water. There were about 100 of us once you count the "mzungu's" and it was such a cool time to meet everyone's kids and see them all outside of work. I loved it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby girl


One of the highlights to my life here are the kids. Little Aryanna is not yet 2 and she's seriously the most precious little girl! She's got the most adorable little voice too that seriously melts your heart whenever you hear it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

36 down 3 to go

Ok, I've got only 3 more books left to outline, but one of them is Ezekiel, and I've been putting that bad boy off for some time. My goal is to hopefully get through Daniel tonight, Ezekiel tomorrow, and Hosea on Monday. I'm such a procrastinator, it's ridiculous, but this is seriously the way I work. I know it's not the best way, but hey, it's been working so far right? Well, I should stop procrastinating and keep on truckin' just thought I'd give y'all a little news brief as to the Outline status as I know you're all on the edge of your seats trying to see if I finish on time :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

getting there


I only have about 100 verses left in outlines, so I'm thinking I may make it. As I'm working on them, I'm looking out the window right now and the moon is amazing!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm really trying

Right now Jess and Bev are decorating the tree to Christmas music, I hear the kids practicing for the Christmas play outside, and I'm seeing posts that it's snowing in Albuquerque, but I look outside and it's about 80 degrees with blue sky and I just can't quite get in the Christmas spirit. I guess it's a good thing that Christmas isn't all about the warm-fuzzies you feel at this time of year (if it was I'd be in trouble) but about remembering truly the love God has for us and what it meant for Him to come and put on skin in order to suffer and die for us wretched sinners.

My afternoons


So since the kids are now on "Holiday" until February, every day I get to hear "Kelli, come and play with us" in their awesome accents. So I go and get my special bag that I use for when I play with them that has all their little drawing books in there along with crayons, pens, pencils, and of course all of the sun glasses and I typically toss my camera in there too. I then go out to meet them and we spend time drawing and coloring and just playing and lately they've been asking me to teach them how to draw (hence the picture) I'm not good like my daddy is, but what I do know, I'm trying to teach them and they're actually pretty good little artists.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A slight feeling of defeat

So again, you're able to hear a little of my candor with this blog. I just got done with a kind of difficult Sunday as I had studied for my teaching and was prepared to teach both the girls Bible study and the kids, when I get to the place where I normally teach, I found out the girls from my Bible study were asked to be a part of the Christmas program and therefore were not able to come and then the kids were busy being kids and playing. So right now I'm kind of feeling a little down just because of the time I spent preparing and nothing happened, but oh well, I guess I should just realize that God's still in it and not to grow weary and such is life when you're doing ministry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ROUS?


Dogs are glorious creatures. This morning Bev called me outside to look at something and there on the ground was a huge rat! Thank goodness it was a dead one - hence the dogs being glorious part. At night I can hear them running around in our attic and it sounds like someone is bowling up there, but I had no clue they would be this big!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm not gonna cry, I'm not gonna cry, I'm not gonna cry...

I cannot believe how blessed I am! I just got done talking with a TON of people from my Calvary ABQ family over skype. It was absolutely amazing! They truly are my 2nd family, they have loved me over the years and supported me and prayed for me and I'm so so thankful for them!

You are so beautiful to me

Tonight we had communion as we have it every month, but I don't know there was just something about it tonight that got me. I was looking at the church where there were about 50 people and Ryan was playing "You are so beautiful to me" and Stephen and Aaron were handing out the elements and it was just so cool and how I couldn't help but think that just a few months ago I was having communion in a church where there were 1,500 people and the communion was served in little pre-packed cups. No matter who or where you are, if He is your Savior, we're all one body.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Outlines, Outlines, and More Outlines

I wish I could give some exciting story, but for the past couple of days, I've been working on outlines ever moment I can (or at least try to). They are due in exactly 2 weeks and I'm now in the book of Job, so hopefully I'll be able to swing it and get them done in time. I'm finding that I have a very short attention span, which I always kind of new, but I always attributed it to impatience, but I'm thinking it's just that a lot of times I'm really a 5 year old trapped in a 22 year old body. Please pray that I get these done on time and that I'll be a good girl and have some discipline and be productive during those "down" times.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sundays!

Sundays are always nice and busy for me. This is kind of how it's been going the past couple of weeks: wake up at around 6:30, run worship slides and attend service for the 8:00 service, run slides for 10:15 service then hang out at the house, work on finishing touches on my teachings and devotional booklets, teach the younger kids for about 30 minutes (this week we talked about Jesus walking on water and Peter taking His eyes off of Him and how you can get saved just like Peter was), teach the girl's Bible study (this week we went over John 3:1-21) then from there it was time for Chinese. I love it though because it's kind of like what my whole week builds up to.

The Bible study with the younger kids has become one of my highlights to my week, to really think about things through their eyes is a challenge, but a good one. I have about 7 kids who come who are mainly kids of the staff members. They range in age from 7-10 and they're just so awesome! They each take a turn reading a verse as we just read through a normal NIV Bible that they have for those who come to church and then I kind of break it down for them and then give some illustrations and try to keep their attention while teaching them the spiritual truth behind it. I never in a million years would think I would be teaching kids anything, and so it's just been so cool how God has opened this door, knowing I did NOTHING to begin this, they just asked me about three weeks ago for me to teach them from the Bible and so that's what I did. Just pray for me that I would be able to teach in a way that helps them to grow but is still at their level and that they can understand it. My main hope is that I would just give them a passion to read their Bibles and learn more about who God truly is.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My BFRM

So for those of you who don't know, I have a friend named Jillian. We went to high school together, were roommates, I was in her wedding and we even worked together... needless to say we're pretty good friends. Well, she and her husband Christian just got a Mac and so they were able to rock the iChat with me tonight and I was able to see their precious little baby Anaya who is only 6 weeks old and I just loved it so so much! I have to admit there are times that I feel so out of the loop and hate that I'm missing so many huge events in the lives of the people I love, but God has truly blessed me with the ability to stay connected to many of them, including my BFRMCW (Best Friend Room Mate Co-Worker) - who I must say is still the coolest person I know.

Giving it a try

Right now I'm in youth group and today we did something we've never done before, we've divided the younger kids from the older ones in hopes of teaching them at their own level. Richard is teaching the youngin's (10-13 year olds) and Ryan is teaching the older kids (14-20). Hopefully it works out ok.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ooh another care package!

I'm so spoiled! My girls at Calvary hooked me up with two big boxes filled with amazingness! I got my first one about two weeks ago, and the second one today and this time I got Captain Crunch! Oh my goodness I totally had it for my dinner tonight!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

And it begins....

Jess started playing Christmas music this morning, and I love it! We're listening to Alan Jackson sing "Have yourself a merry little Christmas" I just can't believe it's that time of the year. I love it so much!

My ode to Ocean Spray


So I already mentioned this in my last blog but I think a little more time needs to be spent on this... it's a subject that's very close to my heart: the joy that Ocean Spray cranberries bring to my soul. Some people grew up with fresh cranberry sauce, but for me, it's not a holiday without that glorious can-shapped (or those times when you try and make them look fresh) gelatinous mass on a plate. Normally you can't get cans of this beautiful product here, but the people whose house we went to planned ahead and had some people from the States send it to them. That is truly another thing I'm VERY thankful for.

My Ugandan Thanksgiving


Today was actually a pretty cool day. I had class this morning and then we headed over to Jim and Dianne Claire's house for thanksgiving with about 40 other missionaries and ten army guys who are stationed here. It was absolutely beautiful as we were overlooking the Nile, yeah, that's right the Nile and it was about 90 degrees. We had all the Thanksgiving necessities: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and even Ocean Spray cranberries. Afterwards, Jim, Diane, Kieth, Ellen, Jess, Bev, Ryan, and I just sat around a fire outside and had such a nice time talking. It truly was an awesome day considering it was my first holiday away from home. I'm so thankful that God has given these experiences that I know I'll never forget and how much He's taught me. Our God is such a great and amazing God and the greatest thing is how He put Himself in skin in order to die for our sins and endure that pain for us, so just to get on a little spiritual soap box, don't forget to thank God today in the midst of all the food, as every breath, every heart beat is a gift from Him. Oh yeah, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

winter?


It's always funny hearing from people about how cold it is right now back in the states, when here it's starting to get into the dry season and it's ridiculously hot all the time averaging between 80 and 90 degrees, this picture shows what our weather is like pretty much all the time. Most of the time it's awesome, but I really love the snow and the brisk fall days, but oh well.

Not my calling


I'm thinking cake decorating isn't quite my calling, but oh well. I made this cake for little Bev, she turned 8 on Saturday. It's a chocolate cake with oreo pieces in it, it doesn't look too pretty, but hopefully it will taste ok.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I need discipline!

I have about 3 weeks left before my outlines are due of the Old Testament and I'm only on 2 Kings, it always seems like something "more important" comes up. Please pray that I get them all done, this is going to not be a very pretty 3 weeks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The other end

I'm seeing pictures of people in Montana and ABQ doing stuff with OCC shoeboxes, and I totally used to rock those little shopping sprees, it's funny though being somewhere where come a couple months from now we'll be receiving about 1,800 of them to give out to a couple of our villages. Wow, I never thought I'd be on the receiving end (well, kind of) of those little green and red boxes of wall-mart goodness.

Unexpected opportunities


Today was a neat day because I was able to have an impromptu Bible study with three of the boys who live here on the compound: Dennis, Moses, and Benji. They're such cool boys, and I taught on 1 timothy 4:12 with a little 1 Corinthians 13 thrown in there basically just because I didn't have anything prepared so I taught what I've taught before. Then after that I was able to spend some time with Anna as she was the only girl who came for the Bible study since they are all going through exams. She's awesome and I love getting to spend time with her, because it was just her I ended up not teaching on John and just teaching on James 5 with highlights about who Elijah was and then we just were able to talk a little bit about life. I'm so humbled God has allowed me to spend time with the kids and students that He has as many of them haven't really clicked with others and now He's allowing me to minister to them. I'm so humbled and amazed that at how He uses us no matter how imperfect we are.

Oh yeah, the picture is of me heading off to prepare my place for the Bible study, they typically sit on that mat and listen to the teaching.

Fancy Fancy


Last night we had what is called a fancy fancy which is a night full of games, food, and a teaching. It was awesome! We had about 100 kids show up and we had dancing, singing, shouting, and eating contests not to mention a water balloon fight which of course lasted about ten seconds even though it took me all day to fill them up. We also had a teaching by another missionary here and it was just one of the most beautiful days and it was just neat to see them all come out for this event. The four of us who put it on were all beat and talking about just how little we wanted to wake up this morning. It's funny to think that back in ABQ, we would have had at least ten people putting on this event with weeks of planning, not so down here. All in all though, it was an awesome event.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday night maddness

Tonight I went to a birthday party for a fellow missionary, it was for girls only and we were told to wear our PJ's. I have to admit I was hesitant at first because I really don't like rockin' girl-only things because I'm pretty much the opposite of girly, but I decided kind of last minute to go, and it was a little chica crazy for parts, but I did enjoy some sweet fellowship (and I'm not just throwing that in there, it truly was building up and encouraging each other). I do think my teeth may rot out though due to my high sugar intake.
One thing that was cool was to see the those in the missionary community, I'm kind of the baby of the bunch, but there are some who have been on the field before I was born, that's just insane to think about! To think that they were here before there was e-mail, skype, or text messaging, I can't even imagine what life would be like if I didn't have those things, and I'm just so thankful God has given me those glorious tools to stay connected.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've got the blues...

I just rekindled some of my childhood. I was craving mac n' cheese and found out we had some Kraft macaroni and cheese powder so I made me some mac n' cheese with some cut up hot dogs and raspberry lemonade, I'm such a happy camper right now!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finished!

Wow! So the class we've been going through for the past month or so in SOM is the Old Testament Survey class where we basically read through the book and then Jesse touches on some important things we should know about it, so after this morning's class I will have officially gone through the entire Bible (since I've already rocked the New Testament). This truly has been something I've always wanted to do, but never got the chance to, ok, I guess the better excuse would be that I was kind of afraid to. God's word has so much and now reading through the Old Testament God has opened my eyes to so many things that He also shows in the New Testament, it's like it's all finally tied together. If you've never read through the whole Bible, I highly suggest that you do, His word "is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword". Getting to read about His love, His grace, His mercy, and probably above all else His greatness and holiness is just unreal. Learning from Him through reading His word and allowing Him to pour into you through it is THE most important thing you could pretty much do, so to quote the folks from Faith Comes by Hearing, "You've Got the Time".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Keep walking


I loved today because first I walked to the taxi park with Suzanne (the girl I met last Sunday) and then went to her house which is in Bugembe which is a lot further than I thought we even had to take a taxi/shuttle thing, which I might I add I took by myself back to Jinja. While I was there, I was able to meet Suzanne's mom and little boy and it was just an amazing experience that I will never forget. I wish I could give you a picture, but it wasn't really appropriate. Then I walked up to Jinja Modern to visit Linda again which was good times and youth group was fun as always where I spent some fun time teaching little Bev how to Salsa dance just a little bit. So all in all another good day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nice shades


Part of the before mentioned blog was a bunch of sunglasses because the kids love wearing mine and so for the sake of my sunglasses still remaining in tact and so they don't have to share mine all the time, there's now almost enough for each one of them. They loved it so much and they were so excited, it was so cute!

the glory of care packages


Today I got an awesome care package from some of the lovely ladies at Calvary who are pretty much amazing.

a little break from the norm


Today I was able to take care of Naziwa (Harriet). She has Malaria, but on top of that, she's got sickle cell anemia and a bone disease. She's the most precious little thing, she's 7 and is so smart, but is in so much pain, so today in before school and in between classes I was able to spend some time taking care of her. We played on my computer and she fell asleep on my lap and then we watched some Shrek and ate some glorious gold fish crackers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's funny how God works sometimes

In life, there are certain struggles we all face, but I've found that when I'm dealing with a certain issue, God is faithful to bring one of my girls or someone else who is seeking counsel on a similar problem and that while I share with them and encourage them in how to handle something and God's sovereignty in it all, He is reminding me of those things as well. It reminds me of how Nathan confronted David about Bathsheba through giving him a story to truly make it hit David, that's what God does with me. I don't really get it, until I have to share it with someone else.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

morning sounds

So I try and think of all that is different here that I kind of don't realize and right now I've just woken up before anyone back in the states has gone to bed under my mosquito net and I woke up to hearing security guards running and chanting like the army does, birds chirping, and roosters crowing. It's funny how different even just the morning sounds are, but it's fun because every morning it's kind of like I wake up and just get to go "yup, I'm in Africa alright."

up and running

So we've been having some issues with our internet lately, but hopefully it's back to working again. I made another video blog so hopefully I can post that soon. These past couple of days have been pretty good, just continued encouragement about how God is using me here. Today, I went to Jinja Modern which is a high school and visited Joy, Joyce, and Linda. They asked me to come and teach and so I may be doing that soon too. I then just kind of hung out in town for a little bit and got myself a coffee and walked home. I love these girls here so much! And I just pray that God gives me the words to minister to them as effectively as possible.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just another day in paradise

ok, so I don't know if "paradise" is the right word, but yesterday was probably the biggest day I've every had ministry wise and I'm just so amazed at the opportunities God had for me. The first thing that happened was some of my girls asked me to go to their school on Wednesday and hang out with them, so I'm excited about that and am curious to see what all that may include. Then on Friday, I had a cool witnessing opportunity with Bev and met this one girl named Suzanne who was 24 and I invited her to come to church, and she actually came yesterday! I was so excited! I ended up talking with her after service for a while and she said she had been praying for God to bring someone into her life to encourage her in her walk, and she actually got diagnosed with HIV about a month ago and has a 3 year old son and all sorts of other stuff. I was just amazing to think that God is answering someone's pray with me. I seriously feel like David when he said, "who am I God that you allow me to be a part of this?" Then this guys came up to me who I think had Polio and he told me that he volunteered at a place where people with disabilities are able to learn different trades and told me how he could tell that I'm disabled (I guess I can't hide it as well as I thought) and wanted me to come and speak to the people there. Then I walked with one of my girls Brenda to a school called PMM which is about 5 km away in the middle of the day (needless to say I've got a nice sunburn right now) and we visited a Carol, who lives there and were able to encourage her a little bit. I took a pichi pichi home and went straight to teaching at the Bible study. The rest of the night consisted of having a couple of egg rolls at the Chinese restaurant, watched Elf and going to bed at about 10. I'm wiped, but am truly in awe of what God is doing and I'm just so humbled that He has allowed me to be used by Him in the capacity that He has.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Indian Food and Youth Group


Today consisted of me having some different food, youth group and an intense movie. I'm getting a little more comfortable with Indian food, and I must say it's quite an acquired taste. It was good though, and hopefully soon I'll be obsessed with it like many people I know. As with every Saturday, we rocked youth group, it's neat starting to get more of an idea of how the kids think and where they're at in their walks. One of my most favorite things is just to sit back and watch them. Tonight my highlight was watching Dennis (one of the boys living on the compound) getting into one of the worship songs. He's about 12 or so and is so quiet, but he was having so much fun with the motions and everything. Oh yeah, after youth group I also watched Ghost in the Darkness which was quite an interesting thing due to the lack of my enjoyment in having things jump out and the others who were there with me I think were watching me for my reaction than they were the movie. Right now I'm getting ready to go to bed hearing a rain storm just starting and there's seriously nothing like the sound of an African thunder storm or the smell for that matter (we have a sewage plant and a tannery very close to us and so there are times when the smell can become a little intense.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My little buddy


Aryanna is quite possibly the cutest little girl with the cutest little voice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Dinner Experience

Tonight I had dinner at the home of JB (our local teaching pastor). He and his wife, Grace, are so cute and their four kids (Peace, Bev, Kenny, and Aryanna) are seriously part of why I wanted to come back to Uganda so badly. We had a traditional Ugandan dinner of posho (kind of like mashed potatoes), rice, stew with a little meat, and cabbage. Oh man was it good! I cleaned my plate and I honestly never really do that. It was awesome just getting to sit and hang out with them a little bit and of course spend some time with the kids too. Aryanna fell asleep on my lap as she was being shy from the others who were there visiting as well. I seriously love that family so much! It was a great night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A small fraction

I've been praying lately that God would give me more compassion towards people and to see people and situations through His eyes, and this morning during prayer I really had that prayer answered. Every Tuesday, the ladies (both local and missionaries) come together for prayer. As we were going around the circle, it was my turn to pray and all of a sudden I just started crying, it was so weird because I had no idea the issues I was praying about were hurting me so much, but I guess they were and it was so cool, yet mind blowing. It got me thinking about the hurt I have of seeing Christians not acting very Christ-like is not even remotely a fraction of what God goes through when His kids aren't living in a godly way. After that, it was kind of one of those things like "God, I honestly truly never want to sin against You, if what I do causes You anything like the pain I was feeling". If you have truly accepted Jesus as your Savior, you should be free from the sinful lifestyle of your past, but we still sin because that's who we are and that's part of being human, but we shouldn't allow our freedom in knowing that God forgives us of that sin to make us go crazy, we should realize that out of the indescribable love God has for us, we should be seeking to please Him with every breath, every thought, every word.

Monday, November 3, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things


One of my vices here is my crazy ice cream sundaes I've been making. I get about a half scoop of ice cream, a crushed up oreo, very little banana, chocolate syrup, and some walnuts. It's pretty much heaven. Oh...so good!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oy Vey!

What a day! It started off with a rain storm this morning and the 8 o’clock service only had compound people for the first half and it was raining really hard that it kept a lot of people away today. One sad thing that happened was a dead little boy was brought here so our guys brought him to town to help his mom take care of his body, that was just so sobering and something that you just kind of realized would never happen in America. My afternoon was spent finishing up making devotionals for the girls in order to try and get them to read their Bibles every day. I then taught the girls (only 3 came) in John 2:1-11. Instead of our usual Sunday night Chinese, we went to the missionary fellowship that happens once a month, there were about 50 people there from different denominations and I was able to meet a couple of new friends and spread my social wings a little bit more. It was a really good day, and it's just kind of crazy what all has taken place both ministry wise and personally.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Crazy day!



Today was another crazy day. Starting out with meeting with two girls who go and do street evangelism, then working on my newsletter, went to town, had some coffee and studied for tomorrow, walked back (the pictures are showing what part of the walk looks like), hung out with the kids, sweated out my life because the power was out so no fans were going, had an "interesting" youth group due to the lack of power, counseled with a student, had dinner, and now it's only 8:30 and I'm ready for bed.

I love technology!

video

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween a la Uganda


Ok, so no matter what your convictions are about Halloween, everyone knows that October 31st can at least be a fun day to dress up. So we did just that. We went to a costume birthday party for a missionary here and it was awesome! We ate food, including Thai, Indian, and a quiche. Played, Pictionary, the girls totally won (and I may or may not have showed off my oober competitive side) and roasted marshmallows over a candle. It was a lot of fun. Oh, and just letting you know, my costume was a tourist so I rocked a t-shirt that said "mzungu" (what westerners are referred to by the locals), a backpack, cameras, my hair braided in a way that was only meant for Africans, and of course a bottle of Pepto Bismol (a must for anyone traveling to Africa).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sometimes...


It blows my mind when I realize I'm in Africa. Africa! I mean, what the heck!? I never in a million years would I have thought I would be living here. I don't know it's just one of those things that kind of hit me even again today. Wow!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two months

wow! As I was typing in "two months" for the title of this blog, my computer had remembered when I had typed "two weeks...and SOM". So it's now been officially two months that I've been here and it's unreal to think what all has happened in that time. I miss everyone back home greatly but more and more God's grace is just blowing my mind in so many ways that I can't even begin to tell you. From ministry opportunities and beginning to see the girls grow to what God's doing in my life personally I am just in awe of all that has taken place in a mere 2 months! It's funny so often we think of God's timing when we think of something that takes a while and how it's for just a brief moment, but God is also not restricted to our time line when it comes to short periods of time as well. I mean, who would have thought that as I was boarding the plane and saying goodbye to everyone that in just two months that God would do such a work in my life. He truly is a great God and I'm so undeserving of this grace that He has bestowed on me. Don't get me wrong, I have greatly missed everyone back home and there have been some VERY difficult times, but that's life and the benefits far outweigh the costs. Thank you all for your continual prayers and encouragement, it means so much!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That was SOOO awesome!


Tonight I had an experience that I'll honestly never forget. I went to a Diwali celebration at a Hindu temple with Don and Danielle Pierce and their 3 girls. I realized just how sheltered I am culturally, but honestly I'm realizing it's not just me, it's all Americans. I had to really try and make a conscious effort to not be overwhelmed by how sad I was at how lost these people were. Seeing little kids bowing down to pray to these false gods was just unreal. Diwali is kind of like their new year/kind of Christmas (without Jesus of course) where they celebrate the good overcoming the bad in every person. I'm so thankful though for the opportunity I had to go and see this with fellow believers it definitely gave me a whole new respect for the dedication of people of other faiths, but as Don and I were talking, it's so sad that these people are so passionate and dedicated to serving their false gods and yet we're serving the one true God and we lack that passion, something's wrong with that picture.

Along with this blog is a picture of the Pierce girls (Gabriella, Victoria, and Kaitlyn) in the temple. Behind us is a kind of shrine to their gods and they walk around it and then come and pray before them. There's also a mat before them that people were making their offerings on.

Ahhh...Tuesdays


I have to admit I rather enjoy Tuesdays. I only have class in the mornings and then everyone else has other ministries in the afternoon so I get to kind of go and do whatever, today I went to Flavours and I've come to the conclusion that it might just become my new Tuesday routine especially since the iced vanilla late I had today was amazing and rivals anything I've had in the States.

Monday, October 27, 2008

another video

here is another one for you too

video

Just a little clip

Ok, here is a clip from my teaching this past sunday, I really hope it works out. There have been only about 5 or 6 girls the past two weeks because the others are practicing for our Christmas performance. This week we were going through the end of John chapter 1.

s video

Saturday, October 25, 2008

my new favorite place


I’m in what will probably my new favorite place. It’s called Flavours and it’s a kind of hip coffee shop where I can actually get something like an iced mocha. I’ve also heard rumors that their brownies are pretty much amazing. Oh my! This iced mocha is heaven! This place better be around for a while!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I've come to the conclusion that...

my stomach and I need to have a serious conversation about how we need to get along better. It just hasn't been very happy with me these past couple of days, I don't know if it's stress or what, but it hasn't been fun. If you think about it, please pray for me, it's not horrible, but just a little on the un-enjoyable side.

ehhh..

today was just kind of one of those days where nothing big or exciting happened. God's been testing me a lot though lately and so life's been a little on the challenging side, but He's also been faithful to minister to me so much through it all. I just pray I remember these lessons.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

the little things...


This orange was seriously THE most difficult orange I've ever had to peel, but so totally worth it. Oranges can only be bought in Kampala and so I haven't had one in over two months, it's weird those little things that you kind of realize you've missed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My room



ok, so today I don't have school so I decided to clean my room to the point where I could take a picture of it to show you. Due to it's quaint size, I took one of just my bed and then of kind of my dresser/bed (i.e. my whole room). I love it though, because it's mine and having a queen size bed is glorious!

Another adventure


Adventure number two: I ventured out today again, this time to Indulge which is a king fancy (by African standards) sandwich shop. I also went to the grocery store where I got myself my own little umbrella. I have to admit I’m enjoying my newest sense of freedom. Because the walk was a little on the long side, I put in one of my ear buds and listened to a teaching on 1 Samuel. As I’m writing this I’m sitting at a rather cute little table with a mineral water with a quite enjoyable sandwich before me listening to some sweet music.

On my way walking home from this joyous time, it started to rain, and then rain some more and then rain a whole lot more. And I was soaked and then ran into Danielle and we walked about a half a mile or so in the pouring rain and by the time we got to the church we were seriously soaked to the bone. It was a fun memory though.

my room



ok, so today I don't have school so I decided to clean my room to the point where I could take a picture of it to show you. Due to it's quaint size, I took one of just my bed and then of kind of my dresser/bed (i.e. my whole room). I love it though, because it's mine and having a queen size bed is glorious!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ewww!

I'm watching this wildlife video right now and it's so cool yet so unbelievably gross. We're watching one on caves and the footage is unreal, I've never seen this stuff before and they just showed one cave where the ground was entirely covered by cockroaches and it's just so wrong! Just thought I'd share with you some of our entertainment here.

gotta love it


Right now I'm sitting in my office that's nice and dark because it's raining and I honestly just don't want to turn the lights on right now. I'm hearing the thunder and the soft rain and little kids playing in the distance. I love times like these.

spreading my wings just a little bit

Today I was able to hang out at Ozzie’s restaurant where I enjoyed a cheese burger (I’ve had only once) and fries (I haven’t had since I’ve been here) and was kind of on my own for the first time. I have to admit I felt like such a little kid and I know I had to be careful as I was walking around so as to not look as deer in the headlights as I felt. I have to admit it was nice to have a little change in scenery and sit there and watch everyone pass by kind of hidden listening to the Glorious Unseen and rockin’ my outlines. I decided that instead of getting a ride on a bike (boda boda) or scooter (pichi pichi) I would walk home. It was just so amazing! At one point as I was heading down the hill to my house, I could look out and see Lake Victoria and it was just so cool!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phew!

Yesterday I taught on John 1:14-34 and this morning I taught the devo on Ephesians 4:1. It's amazing how God is able to speak through us in the way that He does, I never feel prepared enough for a teaching, but they both seemed to go ok. I have to admit I was quite nervous for this morning's devo because I'm used to teaching high school students, but put me in front of my peers and my teacher, and boy howdy was it nerve racking! Needless to say, me, my NIV study Bible, my NASB key word study Bible, Libronix, and Blueletterbible.com have become quite good friends over this past week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

worthy of the calling?

I'm preparing for my devo that I'm teaching tomorrow in SOM, and I'm rockin' Ephesians 4:1 for my text, honestly because it just humbles me. "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Today as I was teaching the Bible study (actually it seriously was all God this time), and now reading and thinking about this text, I am honestly just amazed at how we truly are encouraged by Paul to "live a life worthy of the calling", I mean, wow! How can you live up to that? But then again I guess that's where God's grace comes in knowing that there is absolutely no way in my own power that I could be worthy, it's only by His power and His work in my life that allows that, I just hope I will do that some day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

His grace is sufficient

So with the passage I quoted a couple of blogs ago in 2 Corinthians 12, today I truly was shown how "His grace is sufficient" and "His power is perfected in weakness". I was pretty much at my lowest point so far this afternoon and He brought to mind some of His promises, I went to youth group and it's funny how fast God can work, getting to talk to the girls from Bible study again just showed how God was using me here and that it's by no means because of me or my skills, but by His grace alone, which is exactly what He continues to show me because I tend to forget pretty easily. Needless to say, my knee is still hurting really bad, but He has truly ministered to me and I have definitely learned how His grace truly is sufficient. Thank you all for your prayers, and I just thank God that He's in such control.

breakfast time


Just sitting down to some toast, coffee, and grapefruit (which I picked fresh off a tree - well on the ground under the tree).

Friday, October 17, 2008

my "thorn"


In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks of the thorn in his flesh, well for those of you who know me, you know that my thorn is my left knee. God truly does allow me to remain humble with showing that "His grace is sufficient" and "when I am weak, then I am strong". This incredibly awkward picture is of me doing a routine that I'm very accustomed to do, elevate and ice my knee.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

the newest addition...


To my office. the hard wooden chairs just weren't very conducive to my studying so I went and bought an office chair. Where would I find such a chair you ask...at a grocery store of course, no seriously that's where I got it.

bummer


Today one of the girls from my Bible study, Sarah, left to go to University in Kampala. Things here work very differently especially with school. She was seriously one of the stronger girls and she and I would actually get to talk quite a bit, I'm bummed she's leaving, but please pray for her to stay strong and not be deceived by other doctrines but to truly follow God in Spirit and in Truth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15

Well as today draws to a close, I just thought I'd offer a little re-cap in order for you to get an idea of how life is here, although the past three days I've been off of school, but will start back to my normal routine tomorrow. Because school was canceled, I slept in until 6:30, it never seems to fail that I just wake up at that time no matter what I do, I guess it's a good thing though, it gets my day started. Anyways, moving on...I had my quiet time and read in the first two chapters of Colosssians and it was pretty awesome all that God has in His word and even if you've read something several times He allows you to see new things each time. I then proceeded to my breakfast of toast, yogurt, and coffee (with french vanilla creamer courtesy of yesterday's care package). After that, it was outline time and that was what most of my day consisted of, other than helping Bev with her computer. I was able to finish the book of Numbers and start Deuteronomy and because I've been a slacker lately I have calculated that I need to be getting 12 chapters done a day if I'm to finish the Old Testament by December 16th. After an invigorating day of outlining, we had the mid-week service where Jess is teaching through Genesis and it was a little stressful because our projector wasn't wanting to work, so the slides I made during the day for worship actually didn't end up going up and the people kind of had to figure out the music for themselves, although I did enjoy getting to worship instead of having to push the buttons, it was humbling going through the "what ifs" of how I could have maybe prevented the situation from going down the way it did. After service I was able to talk to Sarah, one of the girls from my Bible study, she's going to University tomorrow and I'm really bummed. She's coming by tomorrow during my SOM break to say goodbye, but she was seriously one I've been able to get to know and so it's kind of bitter sweet. After that, dinner time finally happened at around 7:30 where the six of us had chicken catchetore (sp?) and then Jess, Bev, Ryan and I watched Shrek 2. I had attempted to study for my exam tomorrow on Joshua, Judges and Ruth but with a movie like Shrek 2 playing, there's just no hope for that. Now it's getting close to 10 and I'm lying in bed surrounded by a mosquito net with my fan blowing full blast as I am procrastinating studying some more.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My first care package!!!!



Oh my goodness, I'm so excited! My first care package arrived today. It's from my momma and it may have taken it about 6 weeks to get here, but I'm just happy I got it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Exhausted


I've realized not really any of my pictures lately show me, so here's one to show that I'm still alive. No, I wasn't going for a Blair Witch feel, it's just that it's my bed time and my lights are off except for the light from my computer. As you can see, I'm a bit beat from the past couple of days, but it's exhausted in a good way knowing that I've been truly about His work, and not my own, He is truly such a great God!

Day tirp to Kampala




Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday I don't have school because Jesse (my teacher) will be at a conference so some of us ladies made a jaunt to Kampala. Leaving at 8 this morning, Bev,two Baptist missionaries (JoAnne and Sandy), and myself made the two hour car ride to Kampala in order to get the process for my working permit started. After being shipped around to different people at the immigration office, which actually went more smoothly than anyone expected, we set out to accomplish the other tasks we had on our list for the day. While waiting for something for Joanne, we went and had tea (I actually was a rebel and had coffee) at a food court of sorts. There were so many people bustling about on the streets. We then went to the bank and it seriously was unreal! They don't really have a set of rules of order, it's kind of every man for himself as they all crowd at a window and hopefully you get the things you came for in a timely manner, so the next time you're in line at the bank standing in a lovely line waiting patiently for the teller to call you, just be thankful you're not in Uganda. After that, we went to a mall, and it actually was really legit they even had a grocery store in there where I was able to buy sliced turkey. Now, my problem is that I'm the total opposite of a shopper and so I was pretty much over the whole experience in a few minutes, but a couple of the ladies are normal females and could spend the day shopping, so needless to say, it was a little painful, but it was still good times. After other errands, we started making our trek back home. It seriously was a day full of traveling and errands, we didn't get back into Jinja until about 6, but it was a productive day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An african sunset


Finally here's one of the African sunsets behind a couple of big momma billboards.

Sunday night routine


One glorious thing about Jinja, is that they have one Chinese restaurant, Ling Ling's, and it's actually quite good. Every Sunday after all of our ministries we head over there for some good food, just the six of us. One of the highlights of my week are those beautiful little spring rolls.

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