Friday, April 30, 2010


I went running again this morning. When I left the house at quarter after 6 the barometer said 100% humidity and the thermometer said 75 degrees. And that was at least 20 minutes before the actual sunrise with just a little light on the horizon. It’s going to be a warm one today.

Put the garden in today. I had put several rows in the first week we arrived but there was a lot of abo (for those of you that ate at a Ugandan dinner we put on it is the dark green plant in the peanut sauce) already planted. Well, yesterday the abo was harvested so today I have more room. I put in peas, bush beans, squash, tomatoes, green peppers, cilantro, lettuce and cucumbers. The neighbors seem to think it was very funny to see an amusugut digging.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I spent a little time at the hospital this afternoon with Helen- she is the city’s only hospice/ palliative care nurse. She says she used to spend a few days working in the hospital and a few days travelling out to those who can’t come in to her. She uses a bike like almost everyone else here but some of the rides she took are quite long over some pretty bad trails. She says she has been a nurse for 38 years and she has a heart for those who are at the end of their lives but just doesn’t feel able to get to those who could use her help anymore. Here in Uganda there is very little care given to those who don’t contribute to society- so those that are elderly or handicapped or too sick to work anymore are really cast aside. And life here is hard. Everything requires significant effort like getting food, making meals, washing, even getting water. So if there is no one who will help those that can’t help themselves their quality of life is very poor. Helen was sharing with me the need that she sees but that she doesn’t know how to meet it. There is little (none?) money for her to purchase medications and get out to those who need it. She works everyday at the hospital and as she was talking about her responsibilities here I don’t even see how she has time to go even if she still felt able. I would love to help her but I want to work with her. Will you join me in praying for this ministry and if this is something I should get involved with? And then how and what I should do?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

possible ministry opportunities

Met lots of people today some with possible ministries that I can plug into. TASO was one (they do HIV/Aids work here but I can’t remember what the letters in their name stand for). I spent a little time at the hospital and hoped to get a tour but I have to get some “clearance” first so maybe next week. They have two hours each week when the nurses get together. 8am to9am Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. I’m planning on joining them next week if possible.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I want to share a story with you. We went to church today with our neighbor, well, actually the “house help” (servant?) of our neighbor. Her name is Ruth. We have gotten to know her through the fence and Beckie noticed that her English is excellent. Upon asking her about it we heard that she was in nursing school far up in northern Uganda and had actually taken her finals but before she had gotten her papers to graduate the school was attacked by rebels and everything was burned. The students all fled. Her village was attacked later and she was raped and got pregnant. In order to support herself and the child she was forced to find a safer place and get a job. So she came south and ended up here in Soroti. But she can’t get a job in the hospital because there is no proof that she graduated. She is fluent in Luo, Acholi, Swahili, Ateso and English. She is well educated (here anyone so has completed primary school is doing well, few complete secondary school and even fewer manage to attend anything beyond that) but now she spends her day cleaning and doing laundry. She is looked down upon here by other Ugandans because she is a northerner and kept the bastard child of a rebel. Life here is hard. So many have stories like these. What is Ruth supposed to do? There seems to be no way to get the papers she needs to get a better job as a nurse. She can’t go back to school, there is no money. She barely makes ends meet for herself and her child. Is it any wonder some of these women abandon their kids if they find a man that will support them? She had hope and potential for a good life. And now what?

But enough about that for now. We went with her to her church. They meet under a mango tree about a 15 minute walk from our house. Ruth told us church started at 9am. She came over to our house so we could walk together around 9:30. When we arrived at the tree there was a pulpit and about 14 empty chairs. Ruth said we were the first to arrive. About 10am the pastor arrived and we prayed together and started singing. As we prayed others arrived on bike and on foot About 10:15 the worship leader arrived. But before she could start she had to get some coins to pay the bike that dropped her at church. (The taxi around here is to hop on the back of a boda boda driver’s bike). Then worship really started. And a few others joined. It was nice under the tree. The breeze was cool. There were some cows grazing just over the path. Prayer time in a small group. A little different than church at home but good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Funny- I was just thinking how accomplished I feel today but what did I do? Knocked down a 6 foot high termite mound and managed to fit the kitchen cabinets into the kitchen. Major accomplishments that mostly will make no sense to you readers. Sorry guys. Actually though, I spent some time at Amecet, the baby shelter- they may want me to work a few shifts as a nurse so that some of the others can visit babies that have gone back to the village. I can’t say no to sitting around holding those little ones. Though they have a few who are very sick and that makes it harder. One little girl with meningitis who cries and cries. She is always lying on her side with her back so arched her heels practically touch the back of her head. She is so hard to sooth but they are taking her back to the neuro hospital tomorrow. I also stopped by the nurse’s college this evening to ask about joining their nurse’s fellowship. We were warmly welcomed and invited to come back so that seems like something I may spend time in the evenings doing.

One last funny thing- as I was killing termites I realized that Okello (our “grounds keeper”) was picking them up. Abella explained to me that he would cook them and eat them tonight. Good to know.

They fit!! Amazing!

Monday, April 19, 2010


First team meeting today. I really do thank God for an awesome team. I can’t even imagine what these first weeks would be like without their help. Tim and Angie are the team leaders and right now the only others are Bobby and his wife Rachel. They will be here for one year and have two months under their belts already. Rachel is teaching high needs kids in the area who need extra help and Bobby is trying to reach the street kids. This kids are runaways or don’t have families and just don’t trust anyone. Bobby and Rachel live just down the street and we play games in the evening and eat together sometimes. It is really nice to have some other amusugut (the ateso word for white) close by. When Josh and Mandy get back they will be just down the street also.
This is from left to right- Beckie, Rachel and Bobby and Betty up on top of the rock.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Hey All!!  Life is good and I have so much that I want to share but you will have to wait in suspense for a bit longer yet. I just have a quick request- I lost everyone's address. We have a Remembrance Directory so if you are in there we have yours but everyone else's I don't have. Without internet I've been writing more cards but without addresses they are just sitting on our kitchen table. So if you would be willing to e-mail it to me I would really apprectiate it. Thanks guys! 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

my rights

Worshiped tonight under a wide open, crystal clear Ugandan sky. Beautiful. We talked about “rights” and how we come from a very rights based society in America. “It’s my right!” When we become Christians we give up these rights as we follow Jesus’ example. Jesus gave up his rights when he came to earth and I need to do the same. My right to be successful by the world’s standards. My right to living comfortably. My right to food I like. The list can go on and on. These things were not promised to me. As a matter of fact I’m pretty sure it says in more than one place that I’ll be uncomfortable for my faith. (Phil 3:10, Acts 5:41) Father God, as hard as it may be, I yield to you. Do anything you will to me, with me, in me or through me that brings you glory. I surrender all rights. Amen.

Friday, April 16, 2010

neuro hospital

We went to Mbale today, about a two hour drive from Soroti by some of the worst roads we’ve been on yet. We took with us two little boys and their parents from the village who needed to go the Neuro hospital as they both have hydrocephalus. I mentioned Lasaro a few days ago. He is about 2 years old and can’t feed himself or sit up and I’m afraid he is in constant pain as he won’t smile and cries when moves. His brother Abraham is about 9 months old. He smiles and tries to hold your fingers but can’t even lift his head. He has osteogenesis imperfecta as well, which seems to have prevented his fontanels from closing. Their parents are very poor farmers. The triage doctor at the hospital pretty much said that there was nothing that they would do for them as they have bone problems not brain problems. So frustrating! The parents lost a whole day of work and accomplished nothing. There is so little hope we can offer them!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Spent the whole day with Betty and Abella. At 6:50 am they showed up so we could walk into town together to get something for Abella’s conjunctivitis. We met them yesterday at Angie’s but they live closer to us than to them. They are both about 11 years old and have pretty sad stories filled with abuse and neglect. After walking there and back, about an hour, we had morning tea and Betty headed to school. Abella had just taken what were comparable to MEAPS and didn’t have to go. She seemed to just want to hang around so she helped with dishes and worked with me in the garden. Angie picked us up and we went to market together, Betty rejoined us and we went on to SCAB (the ministry where the blind live and work). I’m praying that we are not just filling their time and their bellies while they are in our home but that we can have a meaningful impact on these young women.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


We headed out to see Job and Lazero in their homes this afternoon. There is an area pastor here, Steven, who was affected with polio as a child and is now unable to walk, pertty much unable to use his legs from the hip down. This is a hard place to be a handicapped person but Steven just puts his sandals on his hands and makes the best of it. He has a heart and a passion for helping others with handicaps which includes families of special needs’ children. Which brings us back to Lazero and Job. Job is nine but got cerebral malaria and then a VP shunt in 2003 but he is severely mentally retarded. He is unable to sit up or feed himself. His father left his mother when they found out he was never going to get better. His mother tries her best but some days she has to leave him and so just locks him in the hut. He is too big and heavy to carry when she has to go to market and “child care” is a foreign concept here. Lazero has much higher brain function but due osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) is not physically able to sit up. Pastor Seven really wants to get these two boys chairs that will give them enough support to sit instead of lying down on the ground all day. So we headed out with Tim driving, Pastor Steven, a physically handicapped workman that Seven hired to make the chairs, Beckie and I. We headed down some roads that were actually narrow foot paths until I really wasn’t quite sure where we were in order to find the homes of these boys. Quite an adventure. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you all about the success of the chairs in a few weeks.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Sunday afternoon, nice and quiet. We are mostly all unpacked and we are almost done packing up all of Father Pius’ things. He has very nice china and enough wine glasses for most of the neighborhood. The china is truly fine china and not destined to be broken. He also has books and movies that we’ll never watch so we packed all of that stuff up. Then we went out and bought plastic plates and cups and used the book shelves for our clothes. Our housekeeper thinks we are nuts and can’t figure us out. Housekeeper, that seems strange. I’m someone’s boss. Anyway, we also have a “groundskeeper” as he is the guard at night and does the yard work during the day and lives in a small house attached to our gate. His name is Okello and he speaks only Ateso but seems really nice. Tomorrow I’d like to start on the garden with his help. We’ll see how that goes.

over ripe

Busy day today. Unpacking, rearranging the furniture, shopping for groceries. Got some rice and beans… I’d forgotten that you have to pick the stones out of the rice before you cook it. The market, I don’t even know how to put it into words… I’ll have to take my camera one day but without smells and sounds it just isn’t the same. I love that you can get your onions, eggs and fish right next to each other. And everything is fresh and ripe (over-ripe in the case of the fish). You ask for fruit that is “eat tomorrow” if you want it just right because “eat today” really means should have been eaten yesterday and may not survive the bike ride home. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Please stand-by

This is a super quick post to tell you all that both Beckie and I's computers were stolen yesterday morning. We are pretty bummed as it is so much harder to communicate but we are working on it. We are aware that satan is just trying to discourage us already but this is no big deal. We made it to Soroti and are making the house our home. Pictures are coming eventually.... but it may be a bit. Please stand by. 

Friday, April 9, 2010


Driving from Kampala to Soroti today. Left the guest house around 9am, and hit out new house at around 5pm. That is one long day of travel. It was only Beckie’s second day driving (she did very well) and there are still some things we don’t know. So instead of stopping at the local DMV for a driving manual we just decided to do it Ugandan style and figure things out as we go along. I'd like to post a few pictures of the signs we saw.  Not exactly sure that they all mean yet...

Honking means you are doing something right.

Only one other event today- We began unpacking only to discover that our computers had been stolen. Very frustrating. But really there is nothing we can do. *Sigh*

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Another good learning day in Kampala. Beckie and I are the owners of a Toyota RAV 4x4 station wagon. Well, mostly owners. Some paperwork needs to be done yet but we drove it all day and will be taking it with us to Soroti tomorrow. Here are a few pictures of driving downtown Kampala. They don’t really do it justice but thanks to those of you praying for our safety while driving and leave it at that.
Notice the small child begging next to the car in the third picture. So on top of the packed roads, the boda bodas, people everywhere, crazy traffic laws, you have to watch out for little kids. But Beckie did great.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Arrived to Kampala

This is all pretty surreal but we arrived in Kampala this morning (it’s 6pm here). Trying to stay awake all day but really have not slept laying down since Sunday night so this may be even more scattered than the first post. I’m currently sitting on the porch of the guest house (monkeys nearby!) where it is cooler. We arrived this am and did some shopping. I spent thousands of shillings today- makes me feel rich. It really only amounts to a few dollars but is still fun. We bought our cell phones then had to go somewhere else to get sim cards and then had to go to a third place to purchase minutes. It took hours. That pretty much sums up my day and most of life in Africa. We got some of the supplies that we need, food to take up country, tried to get Ugandan licenses without success. Tomorrow we are going to get our vehicle and other odds and ends. Then possibly Friday to Soroti. But TIA (this is Africa- get used to that acronym, you will see it often) so we will just see what happens. Thanks one more time for all of your prayers and support. Travel was better than we could have asked for. All of our luggage arrived without problems. No trouble with customs, our visas or immigration. Tim and Angie met us at the airport and have helped us all day. Thanks Lord for your provision!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First leg of the journey.

So we have made it to London!! Spent the day wandering a little in the city and ate in the park. Caught up with Sam VanderBerg. It was a very nice afternoon. We have a few hours until we board again but it's £1/ 1 min so I've got to keep it short. Thanks for all of the prayers and support these last few days. Our luggage and equipment all cleared TSA without hitch, no other problems, it been great. A little sleep deprived but about to work on it.  Talk to you all in a few days hopefully from our new home!!

Monday, April 5, 2010


So, today is proving to be harder than I anticipated. I hope post something more positive shortly (from London? ) but for now I'm just going to copy what my brother Chip wrote to me because it really is my prayer today:
Make it home. In both sense of the phrase.

Make Soroti home. Settle in; claim it as your own. Become one of the members of that community. Invest in the future of that place. Consider yourself a local.

But also, make it back home. Remember that you have family and friends in this hemisphere that love you and want to see you return occasionally. We are supporting you and believe that we have made a good investment in a people we have not met. But our biggest investment is in you, your growth, your connection to God. And we want you to come back and share your stories and let us weep and laugh and pray with you. We will all miss you, but the missing is softened by the knowledge that you are walking the road God has paved for you and that this road does pass by our doors occasionally.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beckie's newsletter

Beckie just put out her first newsletter and she has done a great job talking about some of the stuff that I don't. If you don't get hers here is some of it, read on.

Joining the battle: "You will battle for everything." These words are from a missionary who has been serving the Lord for several years in Jinja, Uganda. Jennifer Kragt and I will be leaving to join this battle on April 5th. We have been fundraising and battling in prayer for about a year now and are greatly anticipating our departure. We are standing on the edge looking out over the next two years. Are we ready to join the battle? The greatness and the vastness that lies before us seems overwhelming, yet overflowing with such potential. It looks so beautiful, sounds so nice, 'I'm going to be a missionary to Uganda.' But when it comes right down to it, we will experience much suffering, there will be disease and death, floods and famine, we will be lied to, stolen from, and frustrated with having to fight many hard battles . However, God is doing a work in the hearts of the people, He is bringing healing and restoration, He is doing a new thing, He is able and willing. And in this time I will learn what it means to cling to Him in utter desperation (whether I'm ready for that or not).