Monday, December 29, 2014

Other reading

I liked this blog post and not just because I suspect the background picture is Uganda. It is stuff I regularly feel and struggle with. Please read:  God with us

I'm headed out for several nursing calls today. A bad burn (9% full thickness) on a 8 year old boy needs to be redressed, a 5 year old with a deep abscess, and a bunch of other odds and ends including a review of family planning for several ladies who asked me to explain it again.
May I be the hands of Christ today, filled with mercy and compassion. Lord, help me to honor you! 

What my "office" usually looks like at the end of a day like today. Could use an office assistant. Any takers?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Caroling

Here in Uganda we have to work a little a lot harder to make Christmas traditions that feel like the traditions we are familiar with, but that doesn't stop us from trying. This evening we did some caroling. Honestly it felt pretty strange. We picked four songs and taught them to our Ugandan friends, then wandered the neighborhood. We were all dusty and sweaty by the end. Especially the dads who were carrying their kids. Their shirts were soaked through with sweat. The locals had never seen anything like this. A (mostly white) group of people walking around singing songs they had never heard before. We got plenty of strange looks and a ton of open staring. We walked past and even sang in two different places where people spend most of their time drunk. There are an astounding number of children just left to their own devices who followed us the whole time because they have nothing else to do. I felt awkward and out of place. And hot and a bit annoyed.
But while standing in a grassy field, with chickens and goats and even a cow milling around, surrounded by dirty neighbor kids, and grass thatched houses I couldn't help but really think about the words we were singing...
Long lay the world in sin, and in its error, pining, longing for the return of its King.
The weary world, all around us...desperate for that thrill of hope.
His way is love, and he offers abundant peace. Something this neighborhood really wants.

This isn't just a silly Christmas tradition.  These words that we were singing are huge!

Fall on your knees! Hear the angels from two thousand years ago saying to you now: "I bring you good news of great joy!"  

Lord, even here, don't let me overlook the reasons that I can sing of your Joy to the World. Help us all fall on our knees and your power and glory evermore proclaim! 
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felts its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born.
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother.
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy, in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fun activites

I'm really ready to just curl up and hibernate for a bit. It has been a very busy month. I'm happy to be back in Soroti for a bit. The heat is a lot easier to handle down here. Besides there fun Christmas activities going on. I've made cookies at least four times with different friends. 

Ronnie and Silas
Angie, Eliana and Amara
And of course eaten pounds of cookies to make up for the calories I don't eat in Karamoja. I spent a fun afternoon making and tie-dying bags that I'm going to pack with goodies and give the the kids that spend time with me.

 In other news the church in Obulle that I love to worship in is finishing its building! They have been working on it for months years and soon will begin roofing. But that means the mug/grass thatched church  had to come down. For a few Sundays and Christmas day we will be worshiping in the shade of the trees in the yard.

Congregation on Sunday
You can see the new building going up behind the worshipers 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Great trip to Karamoja!

Karamoja is HOT and DUSTY right now.  But I had a great time up there last week. A teacher in Soroti came with me and I've blatantly stolen her pictures.
 We spent several days meeting with the health workers, launching a group of local birth attendants and just spending time with people. We braved the 110 degree days to hike out to Alakas to bring them several pounds of medications. We also gave out small Christmas packages containing rice, salt and sugar. People were very appreciative.

When I'm in Lormoruchbae I stay in another missionary's house but I think I'm about to start building my own! Rebecca helped me make the road to the new land that I've been invited to stay on. It is building season since the grass is like 6 foot high and the days are too hot and dry for gardening so I think next time I go up the ladies will help me start. This is an exciting step for me as part of the community.
This is the house I've been staying in as we drove through the village. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Headed to Karamoja today. There has been a bit of instability. Please keep praying for peace in the region!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Youth Spiritual Retreat

We've packed up the kids and sent them home. Overall, I think we had a very successful spiritual retreat. I'm exhausted but it was a fun week.
Girl's crafts
Boy's crafts

Youth Spiritual Retreat (part 2)

I also managed 130 physical exams and treatment in four days for these kids who get no medical care any other time of the year. I have no pictures of that chaos so you will just have to picture 50 kids who want malaria tests, 100 kids who want cough syrup, 40 kids who want ace wraps, 10 who need daily dressing changes and all of them trying to get them all from me at one time. On top of that all of the cooks in the kitchen saw me giving free medical care and started also demanding medicine.
* On a side note when you are picturing cooks in the kitchen is this what you are picturing?
 On one afternoon we took all of the secondary school boys to the sports field to play soccer.  I'm not sure if this would be acceptable in the states but this is what we did here:

 Sixty teenage boys piled into three vehicles for the 5km ride to the sports ground. Perfectly legal.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


The retreat for our students from Karamoja starts tomorrow. As I've been praying and preparing for their coming I've been overwhelmed by the thoughts that we are headed into a battle. Many of these kids have backgrounds of neglect and abuse. They come from a culture of alcoholism, hopelessness, deceit and dependency, of witch craft and demonic influence.
We have been working with lots of these kids for several years and many have accepted Christ. But some are Muslim, some Seventh Day Adventist, and all have lots of exposure to witch craft. Some don't have an example of Christians in their daily lives.  Some will tell us they are Christians just because they think that is what we want to hear. Yet they don't even really know what that means. Many worry about their future, where their next meal will come from. They feel trapped in their circumstances
I really want all of these kids to have a fun time while they are with us. To laugh, to have enough food, to not worry about anything for the whole retreat. To feel loved and know they are valued.
But more than all of that I want God's truth to set them free. They need to know His love and peace and joy for more than just their time with us. Will you pray that they will have a whole new perspective of their heavenly Father?  That they will trust and He will provide and shelter and protect?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

People of Lormoruchbae

 Faces of a few of my friends in Lormoruchbae.
Mary Loque and her son Alpha and daughter Sunday. 
Lotuke Helen and her son Loburo
Angela and her brother 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December already?!

Oh, Monday..... I've got nothing.
So this is my cat doing what I'd like to be doing.

Oh wait! I do have something.
Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!
My teammate Mandy took a picture of me with my finished bird for Thanksgiving dinner at their house. It was pretty tasty and actually turned out more tender than I though it would but I'm still not sure it was worth the hours of work.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Caught off guard

I remember this happening last year too. It seems that in one week the daily temps here begin to exceed 100 degrees and the sun begins to feel unrelenting and bakes the earth and everything begins to  turn brown and die and it dawns on us that suddenly the hot, dry season is upon us. And it correlates strangely with your "arctic blasts" and I'm actually jealous of about .5 inches of your snow. Not the scraping and slipping and frigidness of it but there is something about all that sharp bite to the air and the crunch of snow that I wish we had here.
I'm not sure I'm ready to spend the next three months flossing the dust out of my teeth, sweating through my sheets at night and wondering if I'm just mildly dehydrated or critically dehydrated. Really wasn't intending to complain today. Just to have you all appreciate your weather just a little bit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

And looking ahead...

There are lots of exciting things going on for me in the next few weeks. The last time I was up in Lormoruchbae I spent lots of time helping the ladies harvest their seeds. They offered me land to build my own house and offered to teach me how to build it. I've been praying about it and feel like it would be a great step. I'm honestly looking forward to it. There is a bit of confusion as to if I'll be a 4th wife but I think we can get around that matter. I think I'll be spending more time out in the village in the coming months.

At the CLIDE office we are deep in preparation for the Timothy Retreat. The first week of December we bring about 150 students from Karamoja for a week of games, lessons and activities. It is a bit like camp and fun for more than just the kids.
Then in January a team comes from the States and we spend a week in Karamoja meeting with leaders. It is always an adventure.
Will you be praying with me?

  • For relationships with ladies in the village. 
  • For wisdom to do the right things while I'm there 
  • For opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ
  • For the students who come to the retreat to feel special and loved
  • For the Holy Spirit to move in powerful ways while we are there with visitors in January. 
Also, one last prayer request. Holidays are tough times for missionaries because we are far from family and friends.  It is also a busy time in regards to ministry but it isn't always the things that we would choose to do.  Please be praying for us. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Looking back

Oh man. It is really seems that the loneliness that comes after having family members (and other visitors) leave almost steals the joy of having them here at all. I hate that!! It becomes very comfortable in a very short time to have people to share all my meals and quiet evenings with. And suddenly very empty when they go.
It feels necessary to throw myself back into ministry when they go. And not really because I neglect it quite a bit when they are here so there is lots of catching up to do. But mostly because being so busy feels better than the alternative.
But anyway, that is enough of that.
Catching up a bit: Overall my time with my friend Rachael was very refreshing. There was lots of time away from Soroti and Karamoja which gave me a nice break. She posted some of her a pictures on her blog- well worth going over and looking at.  We spent some time in the game park and traveling around Uganda and having several unplanned "adventures".

On the same trip to drop her off at the airport I picked up my parents. It is always wonderful to have them her. I treat myself to a bit of a "stay-cation" when they visit though we also spent some time resting at a nice little place on the Nile.

 Dad did a whole pile of projects that I needed done around the house. Hung pictures, fixed the oven, screen doors, hours working on the truck, updating my solar power, the list could go on and on. Mom and I canned nearly 20 jars of salsa (Aunt Pat, I still use your recipe every time!), and she made piles of pot holders and yelled at me every time I used a towel to pull stuff out of the oven. :-)
Some how he broke several of my tools....

They also really served the team in providing hours of child care at our team retreat while the rest of us got to spend hours in meetings.

We also spent a few nights at my house in Karamoja. Both of my parents were given Karamojong names. My dad's means big bull with large horns. (As demonstrated in the photo.) Mom's name means windy. I'll reserve comment. :-) 

Mom and Dad, when you are ready to retire I could make you a nice little mud hut next to mine...

I'm sure the village will happily accept you as elders. And cost of living will make Dad's pension excessive.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Too many hobbies?

So one of the unexpected after effects of having my parents here is that they've left me several fun hobbies to do in the evenings. Mom brought the supplies to make rugs, dad made these great toys while he was here and left me the paint and good brushes. I have several pots to macrame, and I want to start some  of the seeds they brought for my garden.  So bad news for you. I could sit here and blog how wonderful the past few weeks have been and then get sad about how much I miss my visitors already. Or I can paint tucks to give as Christmas presents.  Maybe tomorrow night I'll feel like writing about their trip. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Murchsion Falls

One of my favorite things about living in Uganda is how beautiful and diverse this country is. With my friend Rachael visiting I took the opportunity to see a few of my favorite places again.
Here are some more of her pictures:

The Nile river squeezes through a rocky gap only 6 meters wide then drops 40 meters down. Pretty impressive to say the least.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wedding in Kangole

A good friend from nursing school, Rachael Scholten, is staying with me for just a short time.  She is a great photographer and has shared her pictures with me. We were up in Karamoja last weekend for a wedding. Here are is a glimpse through her lens.

Lots of singing and dancing. It was a very entertaining day.