Tuesday, January 31, 2012


One more thing today: I write often about Amecet. Will you join me in praying for their ministry? They are a baby shelter run by Ugandans and folks from the Netherlands under the direction of Youth With a Mission.  They are going through some serious struggles and spiritual battles. We need to hold up these fellow missionaries. Also, back in September I wrote about Immaculate from Amecet. She ended her battle with AIDS a while back and is now free of the endless suffering she experienced in this life.

A few pictures from the trip north...

Too long between posts again but I've been in the village so what can you do? Anyway, around the 20th I'd heard rumor that CLIDE was headed out to Nakyot again so I went over to the office and asked if I could go too. Mam nache, they said. No problem.  So I got ready to go know knowing they wanted to send the "advance team" early and that was my best bet for a ride. They didn't tell me several things, which in hindsight was good because I would have retracted my request but now that it's done I'm glad I didn't jump ship. I quickly saw that their planning was more disjointed than ever before so even though they had planned to head up on the 22nd and we finally got there on the 24th. Also, they hadn't mentioned until the 23rd that the reason for the trip was that 18 Americans were coming.  Yikes! Don't get me wrong, I like Americans, but 18 short term workers for a week in Nakoyot isn't a walk in the park. But by that point I'd cleared my schedule and had 40 pounds of medical supplies packed so was committed.
After a few morning hours of packing we are almost ready to go.  
They were a great group willing to work hard and live rough and do what needed to be done. I'm really glad I had a chance to work with them. They fall under the umbrella of I AM SECOND and their purpose was to jump start the church in Nakyot.
Three days we hiked the roughly 8 km (round trip) to Alakas where many wanted to hear about Jesus.
We had to take a military escort with us from Nakayot out to Alakas and I didn't envy this guy's load.  

This is Dina. She is one of the women who translates for me.  Those are pumpkin drying in the sun to be food as the dry season continues and no plants will be able to produce anything eatable in the not so distant future.

Some village women who were asking for medicine and immunizations for their kids and HIV tests for themselves.
Young men in the village wiling away the heat of the day with a game in the shade.
After long, hot, full days these guys were willing to help me treat some of the medical cases in the village. Lots of infected leg wounds, and bug infestations of the feet. I was quite happy to delegate those cases. On top of that they counted hundreds of pills, tested for malaria and did all sorts of other things.  THANKS GUYS!!!
No major medical issues this time, a 3 week old with pneumonia had us scrambling for a bit to figure out what antibiotic we could use and how to dose it.  But after consultation with the vet on the team and the pediatrics nurse doing the med calculations the baby will do fine I think. A few ear infections and some abscesses, arthritis and parasites.  Mostly I was free to spend the day with the team doing discipleship. Overall it was a good trip and I think I'll be headed back the end of next week. Thanks to those of you who were praying!

Meggan- this one is for you!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Let's see.. time to blog again but what about? I call this blog my mental wandering and this post may cover a mile or so.
I'm really content right now. Staying in Kaiser's house is nice. (They may have to evict me when they get back.) Nice big kitchen, quiet neighborhood. I've discovered they often don't have water at their kitchen sink (because it isn't connected to their storage tank but instead directly to the city water and clearly the water is only on a few hours a day) but I don't like doing dishes anyway so that is no big deal. Power is still off about every other day so several nights a week I lay sweltering under my mosquito net trying to decide if I'd rather die of heat stroke or run the risk of dying of malaria if I take the net down. At least the nights the power is on a fan makes a huge difference and I don't have to worry about either.

I'm officially training for the Uganda Triathalon. Once again trying to plan out a training program while wondering what the heck I'm thinking. But as much as I complain I like the challenge. I'll still have to try to do it with practically no swim workouts but I've got plenty of space to run and lots of opportunity to ride.

I've got all of “our” kids ready to go back to school next week. They have their books and pencils, uniforms are being sewn, and registration fees are paid. I went to Betty's home to visit her elderly grandmother (and primary caregiver) and twice she talked about how it was time for her to die. I can't help but wonder where that will leave Betty, Manuel and Joyce.

I hung out at Amecet for a few hours. They have a little guy 1.4 kg at 3 weeks old (3 pounds) and a two day old who is still too weak to suck so they are still feeding him via tube but everyone is healthy. Amazing!

And God is talking to me about TRUTH. John 8:32. As I walk past the Mu5lim mosque or talk with Betty about fearing death I think of it. Really while interacting with so many different people. Several times a day I find myself praying against the lies that Satan uses to bind people in that keep them trapped in fear or sin or depression when what God wants is to set them free with peace and joy and contentment.

And I guess that is enough wandering for today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Catching up

Finally internet!  But  power is out again so this will have to be a quick post so that I can get the rest of them up. I'm settling back into routine.  Almost sleeping all the way through the night. 8 pm your time is 4am here.  It is usually around then that I wake up with my brain trying to convince the rest of me that it is time to get out of bed.  Soroti is HOT and DRY.  They tell me it hasn't rained in weeks and it is apparent. When you step out of the shade (which you try not to do!) it feels like a blast furnace. By the end of the day every square inch of my body is gritty and sweaty.  But that makes me really enjoy the cold showers.... 
Anyway, I'm missing all of you!  Enjoy the snow for me!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Moving from Komolo Road

Quick update as I hope to have internet successfully later today so but I’ll just keep journaling and maybe eventually I’ll get to post it all.  I’m sitting in the Kaisers’ house (who are back in Chicago on furlough) with the majority of my earthly positions sitting in piles around me. These piles seems both small and huge. As Betty and Abella were helping me pack it up I couldn’t help but be embarrassed by this amount of “junk” I “need” to survive. Yet, this pile is tiny compared to when I owned a house and lived in Michigan. I know that God is reminding me that I don’t need this stuff. He has blessed me with it but it is nothing more than worthless worldly accumulations. It is possibly even holding me back from what He may be calling me to out in Karamoja. Whoa, side tracked… anyway. I’ll be living here in this house for a few more weeks until the servant’s quarters of Tiesenga’s house is finished. Yep, that’s right.  I’ll be living in servants quarters. But as Tiesenga’s don’t have servants I think it will be nice. Pictures of my new place will follow soon. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Trying to not get frustrated...

The past few days have been full of reminders that I'm back in Africa and how much my thinking has reverted back to western expectations. For example, as we packed the vans to begin the 8+ hour trek back to Soroti from Entebee we received a phone call that there were riots in Kampala so somehow we should avoid the capital. But first was the phone call that the car Beckie and I used to share wasn’t ready yet and she wouldn’t be able to get it until after midday, whatever time that was. (The mechanic has had it for a week and knew when she needed it finished by.) That meant that we had to go into the capital to get our car but after hearing about the riots it wasn’t safe to wait around for whenever the mechanic decided he would get it back to us. And the road that we usually take to Sorori has gotten so bad that we now go about 100 km more via Lira instead (see map). We really need to be off the roads by dark. So the mad scramble to get the supplies we need, to avoid potential bad places in Kampala, to get Beckie’s car and to get on the road with enough time to get home before dark. We nearly made it. Back to Soroti by 9:00pm.
Another reminder today. The kids arrived to welcome us back and tell us that today is the last day of registration for school. I’d been seriously considering getting two of Betty’s siblings to join her at the slightly better school but I knew I was going to have to be the one to get them registered and pay the fees if that was going to happen as their grandmother was not going to take the initiative. So I’m struggling to move out and back in but took a few hours out of the day to take Manuel and Joyce down to the school and have them “tested” to figure out what class they belong in. The testing was a joke as the headmaster (principle) gave them a few questions from last year’s tests but read and explained the questions to them. Manuel should be going into Primary 5 (5th grade) but I knew he couldn’t have read the test questions himself. And for Joyce, he explained to her what the words meant and I know her English isn’t good enough to have understood the test on her own. But I also know they both have to do these tests independently because their teachers won’t help them and next time they will fail. Anyway, they are registered, both in classes the same as last year.  I really want them to succeed so please join me in praying for them. Manuel really needs to learn to read and Joyce has such potential but has just never had a teacher who will invest in her. And something to look forward to: Next week Monday we go school shopping. My favorite. 
Joyce is the one in pink with Vicky in red and Janet in yellow.
They are posing in their new skirts and shirts I brought back for them. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Relaxing at the lake

Sitting contentedly on the beach at lake Victoria today. Travel from the States was pretty straight forward. The Ugandan customs guy decided to throw his weight around and check one of my bags. He saw all the meds I had and figured he should have some for himself. He picked three of my huge Acetaminophen bottles and told me because I hadn't declared all this medical stuff he had to confiscate it. All he took was that and as I was tired decided not to fight it. I closed the container back up and figured there was no point in trying to logically point out that you don’t have to declare anything coming into Uganda, that I had cases of meds and he was just taking 3 bottles, that he clearly just wanted some for himself or that most likely he didn't know what he took anyway. But I just went with it. It could have been much worse and that was really my only traveling issue. 
I was met at the airport at 11pm by wonderful teammates who helped me load up and get to the place we were staying that night. Now, I’ve had a few very nice days to get over the time change and re-acclimate. The whole Team Beyond team is here in Entebee for a few days to pray and worship and figure out our long term strategy. Tomorrow we’ll head back home. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Back to Uganda. Back to internet that is much less accessible for so many reasons (hence the lack of communication for a while). Back to millions of bugs in the sink and showering by lantern light. (Which was the case my first night here in Uganda). Back to sunburn and mosquito bites instead of windburn and frost bite. It feels right to be back. Not easy. But right. 

As I'm back in Uganda and I'm sure I'll be posting in the very near future again about how angry and frustrated this place makes me. But right now I'm noticing again how absolutely beautiful this place can be.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Trying to get ready to go again....

On the road marked with suffering, though there is pain in the offering, blessed be your name. 

The tears come far more easily than I'd like as tomorrow I say goodbye to Benj, Christina and Izaac. Tonight, goodbye to Chip and Susan. Its harder to go this time than before. Possibly because I've been reminded of the creature comforts that I'd rather not give up again.  Or because I know the struggles I'm headed back to more intimately. Or maybe because now I know how far away it really feels.Whatever the reasons I don't feel ready... but it's time. 
Again, God is stripping away the parts of me that want to cling to the stuff of this world. He is reminding me that He cries with me as I say goodbye and that being willing to surrender to Him is of far more value that trying to live for myself. 
My pride says I'm tough. I can do this. But I'd like my pride to speak a little less so I'm asking you to pray. I'm struggling a bit. But the good news? His strength is made perfect in my weakness. And He WILL DO more than I can even ask or imagine.