Saturday, January 31, 2009

My 2nd Fancy Fancy


Tonight we had a fancy fancy, it was my second one here and it actually went really well. W kept the same general format as last time so it was a lot less hectic and I think we will keep running more and more like a well oiled machine. It began with us playing some other crazy games like I've been doing.

This time the games we played were extreme hot potato and toe bobbing. Extreme hot potato consisted of them passing two balls back and forth and then when the music stopped whoever was holding the ball had a choice to either eat a cookie for one point, two green olives for five points, or a sardine in tomato sauce for thirty. It was disgusting and awesome! And we totally had a girl throw up...I know I'm a terrible person for taking joy in that, but you can thank years of youth ministry for that. Then with toe bobbing we had four bowls of oil and then some crackers and these four big guys who volunteered to play had to use their feet to take the crackers out of the bowl. It was fantastic!

I also had my first big time teaching experience, I taught on Jeremiah 1:4-8 and I think it went ok, I have a lot to learn still, but that's to be expected. All in all, it seemed to go pretty well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

5 months

Wow! Ok it's now been five months and there seems to be such a big difference between 4 months and five months (other than 30 days). It's like the difference between a kid turning 14 and then when they turn 15, 14 - they're still kind of seen as a kid, but 15...watch out. God has blessed me with some awesome friends here already; soon I'll be moving into my very own little apartment, it will still be on the compound, but it will be my very own that I get to decorate and everything!; I have also gotten to the point where I can drive here. It's kind of one of those things where I feel like I could sing "Mommy wow! I'm a big kid now!" I'm now about 1/4 of the way through my commitment and I can't wait to see what else God is going to do!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday night teaching


Here's a picture of Jess teaching to kind of show you what it all looks like. So now between the worship video and this you maybe are getting a good idea of how we kind of roll for service.

worship

I finally was a good girl and tried to capture worship here, this is Wednesday night service so there's not as many people as Sundays, but there was just something about tonight that it sounded so cool. video

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life goes on

These past couple of days I'm realizing that I shouldn't be surprised that life continues back home even though I am gone. Ministry moves on, people get married, friends have babies, friends go through difficult times and I'm not able to be there for them. It kills me to not be able to be there, but through it all, God continues to show me that this is still where He wants me. It's funny though, there's not a whole lot that can prepare you for this feeling of missing out on the life you were so accustomed to being a part of.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Silent night


Right now I'm absolutely loving how this night is working out. I'm sitting in our living room, Jess is working on our broken projector, Ryan's working on his newsletter, Bev's working on her teaching for tomorrow, Ryan has Jon Foreman playing, I'm drinking tea, working on outlines, and chatting with my momma and brother and it's just a nice peaceful night. We don't get many of these and so it's cool that we're all being productive but in a relaxing way and I don't know it's just a cool night.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sad Only in Africa Moment

Ok, I realize this is a sad entry, but I want to give you an idea of how children can be treated here. So this morning there was a little girl who was 2 1/2 years old who was dropped off at the front of the church by a boda (a bike taxi) and the boda driver just said he had been paid to take the little girl and drop her off for us to take care of. The little girl had to have a colostomy put in, but they failed to put a bad there...so you can only imagine what the poor thing had to go through. JB and Lillian took her to the hospital but they wouldn't take her, and called around and finally they found an orphanage that would take her. It's crazy to think that people just abandon their kids (2 1/2 years old!) because they're not "perfect" or hard to take care of. I know I'm probably totally oblivious and situations like that probably take place in America too, but it just really blew my mind to think about.

The Too-Lit Family


So if you ever read about JB, Grace, Peace, (little) Bev, Kenny, or Aryanna, this is their whole family. I love each one of them so much and today was JB's birthday and he wanted to have a picture of his family so I took it (too bad that Grace and Bev didn't like to smile or look at the camera).

The glory of it all


Today I went to this place called The Gately where I was finally able to have the Pad Thai I've been craving so much. It was beautiful! That along with an orange fanta and lounging on a big cushy couch overlooking Lake Victoria made for an awesome lunch!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

tasty procrastination

Today I got absolutely nothing done that I should have, but it was still an awesome day! Because Jess and Bev were out of town and Keith and Ellen were going to be away Ryan and I had our friend Judy over and I had fun getting to cook for the three of us. I never get to cook here because by cultural and legal requirements we are supposed to have locals do that sort of stuff for us. I took full advantage of it and so I spent the day in the kitchen making Monterey Chicken (like what they serve at Chile's), garlic mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, and Cinnamon apples and then for dessert I made a sour cream coffee cake. They don't have mixes here, so it was all from scratch and I honestly had a blast doing it and I'm just relieved that the night didn't end up with us having to go eat out because the food was terrible. We then drank coffee, watched a movie, played scrabble, and just hung out until my J (Jacob Vigil) called me via Skype and I talked to him for a bit. It was a great, laid back day!

This is my little holla out to him- that guy is seriously such an awesome kid! He's 16 and calls me on skype from time to time and we just get to talk not for too long, but long enough and because he's one of the funniest guys I know I never stop smiling (for example, today he was playing peak-a-boo by hiding from the camera). I know it sounds like little things get me way too excited, but it never fails to make my day when even after being away for almost 5 months now that he and I can still talk like nothing has changed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A new visual

Tonight I watched part of the Anthony Hopkins version of Peter and Paul and it seriously made me get a whole new view on what all could have transpired during those first years of the early church. I mean to think about the conversations that Peter and Paul must have had, the stories Peter must have had to tell, it just made them so much more relatable thinking that they really were just normal people who had nothing special about them except that most of them didn't really think before they spoke and had a lot of interpersonal problems. I love how God works and uses all of us "foolish things". But yeah, it's just unreal to really sit and think about what that must have been like, to experience ministry like that and then facing that persecution and being put to death...wow!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A piece of history

As many of you are all doing right now as I'm writing this, I'm also watching the inauguration. It's just crazy watching CNN and they're talking about people around the world watching this and I'm just thinking "hey, that's me!" We were all gathering around our tv watching the whole thing and it's just unreal to be here and see it all take place even though I'm 8000 miles away.

I have to admit I'm here as a missionary and I should be living a life that is seeking to please God, but I fell so short when it came to my attitude toward Obama. One thing He calls us to do is to love others and as it says in Romans 13, our governing authorities are God's servants and we are to respect them. God can put people in power and He can take them out. As much as I may not agree with some certain aspects of Obama's policies, he is still our president and as this election was bathed in prayer, we know that this part of God's plan for our country and our world. I was admittedly one who listened to those rumors about him wanting to change the national anthem or placing his hand on the Qur'an, but in 1 and 2 Timothy it speaks of avoiding chatter - those things that have no validity. No matter what your political affiliation please pray for our president and his family that he would lead with wisdom.

Thank you mr. maytag


Well today I had a definite first for my life: I hand washed my clothes. And no, it wasn't just one or two things, it was ALL my laundry. We had a power "incident" that fried our washer and therefore as we are waiting for it to be repaired, I became somewhat desperate and therefore decided to be ambitious and wash my own clothes. The Ugandans do it all the time, and so I thought I would see just how it was to do it all, not just a couple things in my sink, but the full shabang. So now, after many pieces of brightly colored clothes, blisters on my fingers, a nice sunburn, buckets of water, and clothes pins, I have now officially had my first do-it-yourself laundry experience. And all I have to say is praise God for whoever invented the washing machine!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday madness

As always, my Sunday was a crazy one, but it's nice to be busy, for those of you who know me, being busy is what I thrive off of. I woke up today knowing it was going to be a doozy because I had the services to do worship slides at, three teachings to prepare, and other miscellaneous things I have for the Bible studies that I teach like a week by week breakdown of reading through the Bible in a year for the older girls and then coloring pages for the kids. It's always interesting how there are always changes and challenges in ministry. God always sends us unexpected situations. My Bible study with the kids kind of keeps evolving and now there are three more kids coming that weren't coming originally. I know some of you may judge me a little bit for using a reference to the show Friends but I kind of feel like Phoebe when she was singing for the kids at the library and the kids came to find her asking for "the lady who tells the truth". We have an awesome Sunday School here, mine is just to compliment what they're already learning but it still makes me laugh that I'm teaching kids. Right now I just got done breaking the routine of going to Ling Ling and just made some breakfast for dinner so I could work on my teaching for school for tomorrow and then we're also having a test over the Gospels. So to quote the magician man from Frosty the Snowman (don't ask how I know this) things are busy, busy, busy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

new fave


my Aryanna pic for the week

end of the madness

Well, we are done with the youth conference. After all of the kids had left Ryan and I seriously went to the main house and passed out eating popcorn and watching Madagascar. It seemed to be a fairly good conference, so we'll just see how much kids remember about it weeks down the road.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crazy youth conference

Today we had an absolutely insane day. We hosted a youth conference here with the theme "a generation that seeks God's face". We had 3 different speakers, small group time, worship, lunch, some crazy games (a la Weekend style - for you Calvary folk), and a concert. I was in organizational heaven, but of course because it was my first one to really help organize there are a lot of things that I really feel I could have done better, but next time I won't be in school and I've also hopefully learned from some of my mistakes so it will hopefully go better. I'll post pictures soon, but just think of about 100 kids from around Uganda here on our compound and you can start to imagine what we've gone through. I just pray that it really will change some of these kids and encourage them to seek Him more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our "special" dvd's

So here there's a pretty amazing bootleg dvd market. You can find shops on main street selling copies of movies that are still in movie theaters because why... they were most likely shot in the movie theater (seriously in some copies you can see the silhouette of people getting up) or they are just some how ripped off a random copy. The other night, we actually had kind of a fun and unusual DVD experience where we were watching Madagascar 2 (so good!) and all of the sudden it switches to some eastern european/slavic language, it was hilarious! So needless to say it's pretty entertaining whenever we get local copies of movies. Just thought you'd all enjoy another "only in Africa" experiences.

crazy times

The other night (Sunday) we were at dinner and Bev and Jess get a phone call that there was a smell of burning and the power was out at the compound. Come to find out that a large wire that goes over our yard caught fire and because it was severed and so all the electricity that would normally go through that went into the homes and so about 430 volts went into the outlets and now poor Jess and Bev are having to figure out how to fix what was the power company's fault. Right now we're suffering from a projector bulb that's fried, a washer, a refrigerator and then a few other things that they're having to replace. There's never a dull moment here, but it's a bummer having to pay for others mistakes...literally. Please just keep this in prayer that everything will be resolved and that it wouldn't cost too much.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I dare you to move

There's this Switchfoot song called "Dare You to Move" and it's so true. I encourage you all not to just live vicariously through me as you read these blogs, but realize that you have your very own mission field right where you're at, you seriously don't have to go to Uganda to be a part of His work. Never think for one minute that the way God is using you is any less important than what God is doing with me here. Take those steps of faith, talk to that person God's been calling you to talk to for some time, share with your mom who doesn't know the love of Christ that He loves her more than she'll ever fully comprehend, whoever it may be in your life that God has laid it on your heart to speak to be it a family member, friend, or the cashier at the grocery store. We're simply called to "move".

Friday, January 9, 2009

It was a very good day!

So today was an absolutely awesome day full of many little blessings. It started off with finding out that they have some booths in the market that sell big sun glasses (I know, it's a sad thing to get excited about) but that's just become part of the American girl persona that I am able to maintain here. I was able to go this afternoon and get some cool big white ones that I'm pretty stoked about.

I was also able to finally get in 5 packages that I've been waiting on (one of them was shipped in October, the rest were sent before Thanksgiving). And now for a little bit of a glimpse into what our post office is like and how things work there: The packages area is in the back where they have stacks of papers and random letters and then boxes and bags of boxes everywhere. You go in there after receiving a slip that says for you to get your package (unless you're like me who violated this rule and would just go back there all the time, in case my packages were there but they had failed to give me a slip - I kind of got in trouble about this about 2 weeks ago). Today, however, I went to check my boxes and after my rebuking that I had received didn't want to face the guy in the back again, I was almost thinking they were holding my boxes hostage, well I was there checking my box and there was nothing in there and all of a sudden I hear from inside "number 2244?"and I cringed and said yes, he had heard me because I was talking to Ryan (isn't that scary even people at the post office can recognize me by my voice?) Well, I went back there praying that he would be nice, and he actually had four boxes for me! After helping him find my boxes and then waiting patiently for him to write everything down, and paying about $10 for the taxes associated with them, I was a happy camper. Then later I get a phone call (he now has my number to call me in case I get packages in the future :) ) saying I have one more!

Anyways, I was able to open all those boxes and for those of you who contributed, thank you from the bottom of my heart, the candy, brownie mix, movies, coffee, etc... and presents for the kids (stay tuned for more pictures of when I hand those out) is such a huge blessing, I really don't think how much it means to me that you all did that. All in all...all those little things added up to a pretty amazing day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A new perspective

I was blessed grewing up in an environment where I was able to hear some of the most amazing teachings from men who were so strong in their faith and who taught doctrinally solid and technically refined sermons where they've even mastered the art of being able to turn their notes without you even noticing. Well, being here, I'm getting a new perspective on pastors and church as a whole, in a good way. In order to be a great pastor, you don't have to have a fancy leather bound binder and color coded notes, you could just have a half sheet of paper (length wise) outline and if it runs over, there is a little bit of scotch tape holding the last part to the back of the front of the outline (it's hard to explain, but I hope you get the picture). Jess has become one pastor who I have come to respect more than most people I've met in my life. He gets up there, teaches from his Bible that is duct taped together on his half-page outline and teaches things I've never even thought of before. Jess is only a part of the perspective change though. I realize that it's part of the American culture and there's a difference between Africa and America (no, duh ;) ) but I grew up with nice bulletins, special programs that run the worship slides, cordless microphones, bright lights, fancy graphics, etc... but it's been so cool to be here and experience church in a very humble way. The cat hangs out in the part we actually refer to as the church, the computers we have are dusty and one of them is older than I am I think, but still does the trick, the benches are wood benches with cushions tied onto them, there are wall-mounted fans because there's no such thing as air conditioning, worship is a mixture of Ryan and locals who are just really learning how to play their instruments, and the Bibles that the people use when they come have pages falling out of them, but all that to say, the people still come and are fed verse upon verse line upon line. It's definitely eye opening to see how God works even when the conditions don't seem "satisfactory".

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A little soap box

Right now I'm watching a certain channel which shall go unnamed. I know this may be a little controversial, but this is seriously something I wish I could scream out on the rooftops that Christianity is not based off of having money, being healthy, having the warm-fuzzies, or jumping around shouting out random things, it's about bringing glory to HIM. It's about being sanctified, being changed in order to show not how great our faith is, but how amazing our God is. Nowhere in scripture do you find (in its true context) that you will have a nice sum in your bank account and live a hunkey dorey life without problems.

James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (notice that it's not being healthy, wealthy, or wise). Matthew 5:11,"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." 2 Timothy 3:12, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." and finally 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Ok, phew! I'm done now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to school

After a 2 week break, we are now back to school. In these next two months, we're set to cover New Testament survey, Principles of Preaching, Apologetics, Church History, Ethics (and I think there's a couple more). Today we dove into Matthew and I just love that no matter how many times I've read a certain book in the Bible, God brings out new things each time I read it. His Word is jam packed with so much, it's just amazing. One thing that's been blowing my mind lately is that I can't help but think of how Jesus came to be that example of what it means to live a life that's pleasing to Him. All those words that are written in red, aren't just random thoughts He had and thinks it would be swell if we tried to do them, what He spoke is what He did. He led by example, He loved His enemies, He was obedient, He was a servant, and many more things, He didn't just talk the talk, He walked the Walk, and I'm just so humbled that I can be (quoting Hudson Taylor) "The little servant of an illustrious master".

My Oil Paint Incident

I don't know why but since I've gotten here, I've really wanted to tap into my artistic side. I've always liked to draw but here it's gone up to a whole new level and for Christmas my parents sent me oil paints and all that goes along with using them (brushes, canvass, etc...) so I decided that today would be the day to take those paints for a test drive (or I guess paint).

So my picture didn't turn out too bad, I had my door to my office closed, my classical music going, and the artistic juices flowing, so even though my painting wasn't amazing, it was still fun. My painting was a scene of several different fields in the sunset with the back of me looking at it, kind of based off the verse "the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few".

Now for the incident report. As I had stayed somewhat clean during the painting process, I was rather pleased with myself, but of course pride comes before the fall. As I was cleaning off my brushes I found that it took some effort to get the paint out, but being the smart one that I am, continued to try and clean off the plate that I used for the paint, and about 30 seconds later my hands were covered in black paint (as all the colors mixed together make black - in case you didn't know ;)) I ended up having to go to Jess and ask for paint thinner and after a few laughs and a picture that he took of what I did (which for the sake of my pride I'm not going to post) he came with WD40 and some strong soap. I seriously felt like I was about 3 years old and had just gone crazy with paint and I now had to be cleaned up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sobering...

So tonight we had our monthly missionary fellowship where the missionaries of the Jinja area get together from all sorts of denominations to just eat food, hear a devo, and talk to people. It's cool to hear that most of them experience a lot of the same trials and discouragements that I am going through and they've been on the field a whole heck of a lot longer than I have.

I was able to spend some time talking to this one girl who runs an AIDS orphanage with her husband. They have 33 kids there and they all have AIDS or are HIV positive. I am just blown away by that because there's so much involved with HIV/AIDS that to have 33 kids who get severely sick frequently and not only that but have had to deal with parents dying or deserting them and also coping with the fact that they have basically been told they're going to die a lot sooner than they though. I have been in Uganda about 4 months and have kind of realized that AIDS is kind of like termites or bed bugs because it's under the surface and you have no idea that it's really there or that there's a problem until you do a little digging. Please pray for these kids, especially this one girl named Lydia, she's 15 and absolutely one of the coolest girls I've ever met in my life, it's one of those things, there's just something special about her and to think that she has AIDS really blows my mind.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Miroto Pictures

If you want to see more pictures, you may want to check this out.
Uganda - Moroto Trip

My Miroto Adventure Part 4

After traveling a while and getting food in Siroti, we decided we may have to stay in Mbale (the place where the AIDS mountain is) because it's dangerous to drive in the dark on Ugandan roads. It's actually a pretty legit little town and we stayed at this pretty nice hotel where we were able to actually have a legit shower an I had my own room and it was so quiet. We had dinner and I had pork chops and applesauce and an orange fanta and it was absolutely amazing. Of course, it's kind of hard to enjoy food when you realize how much people are starving just a few hours away. That night I was able to just rest in my room and then we woke up to have breakfast and hit the road after just a wee bit of car trouble. We finally got back to Jinja at around 10:30 in the morning on Wednesday. I am amazed at how much I was able to experience on such a short trip, I learned so much about ministry and different cultures and I just thank God that I was able to have that experience.

My Miroto Adventure Part 3

Well, I made it through the night and got up, had my quiet time, and then ate breakfast. We headed down to the pastors house and spoke with some ex-prisoners about how to change people's perceptions of them now that they are out of prison. I wish I had gotten to take a picture, but I hope I will always have this snapshot in my mind:

There were about 20 or so prisoners sitting on mats on the ground under a tree and then we were sitting on chairs. Behind the prisoners there was an old African tree and a line of cattle walking there were also a couple of ladies walking with bushels of straw on their head and also some soldiers with automatic rifles walking by. In the midst of all that, there were tons of white butterflies flying around. It was just such an amazing memory.

After taking care of a couple things, I was able to take part in something that I pray I will never forget. We were able to go into a Kiramajong village which was surrounded by two fences (one is thorns and one is sticks) and they have really short doorways in order to keep people out.
The little kids loved the camera and that's where these pictures are from. It was so cool! Of course afterwards looking at the pictures I was able to really see in their eyes their hunger and it's just so sad!

My Miroto Adventure Part 2

Once we made it to Moroto, we met up with Noah who was a former School of Ministry student and he brought us to this pastor’s house where we had some big momma cokes that they have there because that’s where the second tallest man ever was born. We then went to the prison where we were able to speak with the Officer in Charge (who Jesse knew from Jinja) and Jesse was able to kind of witness to one of the head hanchos who was “religious” but didn’t have that saving relationship with Christ. Jesse then was able to teach about 100 or so prisoners and we also gave them some uniforms because some of them were still wearing torn old clothes.

After the prison, we went and had some local food at the pastor’s house- it was very good and not nearly as sketchy as I thought it was going to be. We then went to our hotel or “guest house”, now by Moroto standards or really most African standards it wasn’t too bad at all, but by spoiled city girl standards, it was “interesting” to say the least – hence the documentation of the spider. They also just had a big bucket of water and a basin in your room for you to bathe in if you so desired. I have to admit all the Dateline specials I’ve seen highlighting the sketchy things that can be in hotel rooms has tainted me for life and therefore it was a night full of prayer and me constantly saying to myself “God is bigger than big terrible spiders”.




We took tea (or in my case, I took coffee) at the guest house and then we went to Noah’s for another big momma soda and one of the best chipates (kind of like a tortilla) I’ve ever had . Jess, Bev, and I were exhausted so as we decided it was time to head back to get some sleep. Going outside, I saw more stars than I’ve ever seen in my life, it was unbelievable! I love looking at the stars more than really anything in the world and I was just in awe! It was seriously like a blanket of stars, you could even see the outlines of the constellations, not just the three stars you can normally see, but all the little ones that make up the whole thing. It was truly amazing!

After getting back to the guest house and spraying about half a can of Doom (bug killer) I read a little bit and then went to bed. It was an awesome day.

My Miroto Adventure Part 1

As I was re-capping the first day of my trip in my journal, I was laying in a bed that iwas absolutely terrified to sleep in and had just killed one of the scariest spiders I had ever seen and it was super fast and therefore after I killed it, I felt rather accomplished.

Monday (day one of the adventure) was seriously one for the books. It started out with me waking up at 5 and we were on the road by 6:20. I had my coffee in hand and was ready to go. It was a cool first couple of hours as we drove to Mbale where I was able to see Mt. Elgon which is the mountain where AIDS and the Ebola virus began. Then we drove into uncharted territory for all of us and drove through the middle of nowhere (aka the land of Karamaja). We really realized we were potentially lost as we were crossing riverbeds and driving for long distances and seeing a lot of villages of huts in the distance.
But we were going by the map, so we kept on trucking and while we were driving I perfected the art of drinking a fanta while being tossed about in the car. We finally found our way to Moroto which looked so much like the foot hills of Albuquerque, it wasn't even funny.

The Kiramajong are a group of people who wear the blankets kind of in a toga like fashion or as a kind of skirt and big earrings and their entire life is concentrated around raising cattle which is their determination of wealth. They are primarily located along the Kenya border and are actually the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to the tribes in Uganda. They are known for attacking and robbing people, but as always is the story with a few rotten apples which spoil the reputation of a fascinating group of people. One thing that's difficult is they are going through a huge drought and therefore they are starving. There are UN compounds, World Health Organization, and Food Security programs all over there. Seeing little kids with bloated bellies and really realizing that they are literally starving is just unreal to think about.

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