About admin

daughter of a great man and woman, sister to the best siblings ever, friend to whoever will have me, sports enthusiast(WAR EAGLE), movie junkie, and nurse by profession. I am blessed to have a huge dream in front of me, given by God. Some day soon, I will relocate to Uganda to love on youth for the cause of Christ. Please join me in prayer that His kingdom come and His will be done in Uganda.

January 2014 Update 8

Let the play time begin!!!  Camp is over and we are sad, but we have some fun plans for the next couple days.  We arrived back at the Providence Monday afternoon after a stop off at the COG office.  Deana was there with their team.  They are starting camp tomorrow at Lords Meade.  It was fun to check in with the CoG staff that I haven’t seen in a while.  I wasn’t able to see many of them when I was here in September.   I think it was a fun treat for the girls to see Deana too.  Silas, one of the Ugandans from camp, was in his chef’s uniform cooking in the kitchen here.  Awesome!!  It smells so good!!!  I almost wish I was staying!  Everyone takes turn showering back at the GH and facetimeing with family at home.  Madi and I ran into town so she could do some quick souvenir shopping.  I had my friend Hope come to the GH too with some jewelry that she and her mom make.  I like to support people I know.  I met Hope on my very first trip to Uganda.  The girls were pumped!!  Especially Gloria, she bought a bunch!!

After almost all their shillings were spent, we headed downstairs for dinner.  We had ordered chicken and veggie pasta before we left.  We’ll see what we end up with?!?!?  First a big plate of salad came out with huge chunks of avocado, yum!!  And another big plate of fruit!!!  We would be good with just that probably.  Then we were each served a plate with rice, mashed potatoes and curry.  They made a special vegetarian version for Madi.  THEN she brought out a big plate of spaghetti.  This is a ridiculous amount of food.  But all of it looks so good.  We all dive in.  We eat and eat and eat some more until we are all VERY full!!  The plan is for an early bedtime because in the morning we are getting up very early to go to a local restaurant to watch the BSC National Championship.  My Auburn Tigers are playing, so I was planning on going alone, but the girls wanted to come.  This is the place with the good milkshakes, so the girls jump at the chance to get another one!!

The alarm went off at 4am and we all jumped up and brushed teeth.  Emma was there to pick us up and drop us at the Keep for the 430 start time.  You’d think there would be few people crazy enough to get up at 4 in the morning to watch a football game, but the girls were surprised by the gathering of mzungus.  There were about 20 people there when we arrived and another 10-15 came.  There were a couple FSU fans, but the majority were cheering for the Orange and Blue with me… WAR EAGLE!!!!  There was a short term team from Alabama and Georgia there and some longterm missionaries.  A group of girls showed up decked out in Auburn gear and even brought Auburn party cups for everyone!!  Sweet!!  At halftime a family came, mom dad and 2 little boys all in Auburn gear.  The little probably 3 year old had his shaker too!!  It is great to be an AUBURN TIGER!!!  I ended up chatting with the wife and found out that she was at Auburn my last 2 years and we know a lot of the same people.  SMALL WORLD!!!  They are doing ministry in the far west of Uganda near the DRC border, but are on vacation on their way to Sipi Falls near the Kenya border.  I made some fun connections and we actually had to leave early because we were booked to go ATVing by the Nile this morning.  We returned to the GH to have pancakes before being picked up by the tour company.

We had a hard time deciding how long to go out for and the ad said that the 4 hr was the best time and value, so we decided to go for it.  We got all suited up in our gear and loaded up.  We look pretty silly, but after a little test run around the property, we headed out ona trail along the river.  It is GORGEOUS!!!  So often when I am walking around Danville, I am blown away by the beauty of the place that is my home.  I think I will have those same moments here when this becomes home.  We are all having a great time.  The first couple hours were fun and we got to see a ton of the area weaving through fields and villages and then we would come back out by the river for a photo opp.  The people were pretty amazing!!  Almost everyone waved as we passed by.  The kids especially were so cute!!  ‘MZUNGU How are you?’ was yelled at us from home to home.  We made a stop and a bunch of kids came and brought us flowers and chatted with us for a bit too.  So cute!!  I think Madi and I are so similar.  I watch her in front of me trying to push the limits of her ATV.  We like adventure!!!  Gloria and Tarah are a bit more timid and Lauren is kind of in the middle.  Right about at the halfway point Lauren isn’t feeling too hot.  I think the food last night might have been a little much and it is really hot!!!  The bumping around probably didn’t help.  She is a champ and sticks in there.  On the way back we make a stop for a drink and we all realize that 4 hours is much longer than necessary!!  Good lesson for the future!  When we got back to the base we got Lauren some water and cooled her down some.  I think she needs to rest and rehydrate!  The 4am start this morning is showing.

We get back to the GH and Lauren crashes out.  I jumped into the shower so that I could run into town to get water.  We are all COVERED in dirt!!  The picture of Gloria is AWESOME!!!  When I return Madi wasn’t feeling very well either and actually got sick while she was showering.  Uh oh!  Is it something we ate? Dehydration?  Lack of sleep?  My stomach is a little queezy too.  My nurse brain is thinking back…maybe the salad last night??  But Tarah and Cathy and Gloria are all feeling fine.  Within the hour Madi, Lauren and I are all really sick.  Seriously?!?!  We had been so good about drinking while we were at camp, but I think the ATV tour in the blazing sun with only 1 bottle of water along the way did us in.

Thank you Lord that I am a nurse and Tarah is too!!!  I sent Cathy (a Ugandan friend who was there because I invited her to come on our safari with us) and Tarah into town to get some hydration supplies.  I love not needing a prescription!!  They returned and I had Tarah start an IV on myself.  The girls didn’t want one when I first said something, but after they saw how much better I felt, they both agreed.  We turned the GH into a mini hospital ward.  We were supposed to be leaving for Kampala this evening, but that wasn’t going to happen.  We made some quick changes in our plans to rest for the night and then get up and leave early in the morning.

The sick ones were recovering.  We were all at about 70% come morning, but we were able to get packed up and loaded to head west to Murchison Falls National Park.  We will spend the next few days on safari.   The ride was quiet.  We all slept the entire trip of about 8 hours except for our brunch stop.  We were all hungry!  Good sign!!  We arrived at Red Chilli Hideaway by 2 in the afternoon and got settled into our bandas.  This place is great!!  It is right on the south bank of the Nile in the middle of the park.  Everyone is feeling up for a game drive this afternoon, so we jumped back in the van and crossed the river.  The girls are pumped when we reach the other side, Mike our driver/guide pops up the roof and they are able to stand up to look for animals.  Everyone’s energy level picks up considerably.  We spend the next 2.5 hours cruising through the park.  The girls are so cute!  They are super excited and amazed with every animal we come across.  There are Jackson hartbeast, Ugandan kob, oribi, waterbuck, warthogs, elephants, giraffe, monkeys and baboons.  We searched everywhere in hopes of finding the pride of lions, but we were unsuccessful.  I think the girls were more than satisfied with all they saw though.  We got back on the ferry to return to camp for dinner and an early bedtime.  While we were eating a pair of warthogs came around to see what we were having for dinner.  Awesome!!  They are harmless and very used to people, local pets to the camp.  We are warned that hippos come up into camp at night to feed though, so we all make a bathroom stop right before heading to bed, so we won’t have to get up in the night.

Early the next morning we are up to try to catch the first ferry over to the park.  The lions hunt early, so we want to get over there so we can try to find them.  Everyone is feeling pretty much back to normal this morning, thank you Jesus!!  Unfortunately, we have a flat tired, so Mike works quickly to get his backup on.  Thankfully it isn’t just a little spare.  We end up on the second ferry and zoom into the park.  Hopefully others have already found the cats for us.  Mike calls around to other guides in the park and no one has been able to find them.  We see tons of all the other animals though.  At one point I was riding on the front top of the van and 2 of the girls were on the back.  We were rolling down the road and saw some giraffes crossing.  We slowly made our way toward them.  Usually the giraffe are far off the road, but these are literally a couple feet away.  I actually wish I had some food to see if they would eat out of my hand.  I t was AMAZING!!!  There were about 9 or 10 of them too, adults and a couple babies.  They are so funny looking, but everytime I see them I am reminded how creative our great God is!!!  Can you imagine Adam sitting in the garden trying to come up with names for all these amazing creatures?!?!  So cool!!  We spent about 3.5 hours venturing around the park seeing all the different animals.  We saw babies of most of them too.  It was awesome!  The only bummer is no one ever found the cats.

We headed back to camp for lunch and some downtime.  Some of the girls napped.  I worked on emails to catch up with you all.  This afternoon we are going on a boat safari up the Nile to the falls.  The girls are super excited for this!!  We load up into a small 16-passenger boat and start cruising up the Nile.  Right as we started, there were elephants down for a drink.  Fun!!  Then we start seeing the many pods of hippos.  There are tons!!  We got a little closer to one and a mama hippo stood up and got ready in case we got any closer.  Her little one got up and followed her.  Too cute!!  We continued on and saw a bunch of animals making their way down for water.  I think we saw every elephant from inside the park on our 2.5 hour ride!!  There were tons of different birds that we saw along the way too.  My mom would have LOVED it!!!  We saw a few African fish eagles which were pretty cool.  I had seen one out yesterday and wondered if it was a bald eagle.  They look similar, but these are a bit smaller.  As we made our way closer to the falls, we started seeing the Nile crocs.  One by one and then we found the croc pool and there were tons!!  Yikes!!  I am having flashes of Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny Devito from Jewel of the Nile.  The finale of the ride was Murchison Falls.  The Nile narrows and the water pounds through a small gorge and drops about 45 meters.  It is beautiful!!  We get some good group photos before we turn around to head back.   I mentioned to the girls that when I did this last time, that I was able to ride on the roof of the boat, so they asked and Gloria, Lauren and Madi all went up there for the return.  It is a beautiful ride!!  I love being out in God’s creation.  It just makes me happy inside!!!

We made it back to camp by around 530, so the girls all ran for a shower before all the other mzungus returned from game drives.  We gathered for dinner at 630 because we are all excited for a long nights sleep!!!  In the morning we will visit the top of the falls before heading back south to the airport.  The girls fly out tomorrow evening.  There are mixed emotions with that thought from all!!

I am up early!!  Going to bed at 9 makes that easier.  I ran into Tarah in the bathroom and heard they had an eventful night.  Gloria woke up sick!  Yuck!!  We were all harassing her the last 2 days to drink a lot of water.  We didn’t want her to get what we had.  Apparently she didn’t drink enough.  Poor Tarah has gotten a lot of nursing experience this trip.  When they were up in the night they were able to see all the hippos outside, so they just stayed in their banda.  Tarha thinks Gloria’s case wasn’t as serious.  She threw up a couple of times and then was able to go back to sleep.

We all met for breakfast at 8.  Gloria even felt up to nibbling.  She more just drank!!!  I took the opportunity to do a little debrief with the girls to prepare them for the journey home.  Please be praying for them as they begin to switch gears and process all they have seen and experienced!!  It can be really tough coming back to the US.  The culture shock!!  You spend months preparing for the culture shock coming, but generally aren’t ready for the return.  I also get to dote on my girls a bit and share how much I love them and how proud of them I am.

We loaded up the van and headed up to the falls.  There is a road to the top so you can do a short 5 minute hike down.  It is crazy powerful!!!  The hand of God really!!!  It is crazy to think that the slow calm water we were drifting on yesterday are the same river as this heavy rushing white waters.  It is beautiful though!!  There is a rainbow across the mouth of the gorge that makes the falls.  AWE inspiring awesome!!!  We spent about 20 minutes there and got some good pix and then loaded back into the van for the long trip to Entebbe.

I am writing as we drive.  The girls are all crashed out in the back.  Gloria is feeling better and is catching up on her water.  I hope she is well by the time they get on the plane tonight!!   Lauren is uber worried that we won’t make it on time, but Mike is making good time.  There isn’t any traffic and I think we will bypass Kampala.

Thank you for joining our team on this crazy adventure!!  It has definitely been one for the books.  Thank you for your faithful prayers through all of the challenges that have come our way.  I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOU!!!  Please continue to be in prayer for the kids from camp.  The have a couple more weeks of summer break before they start a new school year.  Pray for their hearts that they would remember all they learned and pray for their relationship with God and with each other that they will continue to grow deeper and deeper.  Please pray for traveling mercies for the girls headed home.  Pray for their hearts and minds as they have to do the time change, process all they have seen and start back to school on Monday, just in time for finals.  Pray for specific people to join them in their processing when they arrive back at home.  And if you see them, please give them big hugs and tell them how proud of them you are.  It is a big deal for them to have raised all the money, done all the prep work and then been here and run a camp for 80 kids.  I am super proud of them!!  I know God will continue to shape them through this experience as they all head on to college next year!!

Blessings to you all!!

Webele, thank you!

January 2014 Update 7

Jambo!!  Hey!  How are you all??  We have had a great week of camp!!  I am feeling better and better each day.  Thank you for your prayers.  Everyone else has been feeling well.  Allan really has been a super star stepping in as I have been slower than usual.  It has been cool to see the girls plugging in with the Ugandans.  You could hardly tell that Madi arrived late.  She just jumped in with the rest.  She received her Ugandan name too, Namakose which means a beautiful plant, fitting since Madi is our vegetarian nature girl.  There have been a lot of challenges, but it has been awesome watching my girls keep going and not letting it get them down.

I’m going to summarize a bit…Saturday and Sunday the schedule was the same.  In the mornings, we were blessed to hear from Isma about the light of the world, and Brian about thankfulness.  I hope my girls are listening!!  We too can learn to have an attitude of thankfulness instead of always looking for what’s next.

We were finishing up our futbol tournament.  Saturday we had the semifinals with yellow beating blue in penalty kicks and then green beating red.  Sunday was the finals and yellow won the whole thing.  Blue and green have appeared to be the strong teams through the round robin, but yellow pulled it together when it counted.  The extreme joy and sorrow felt on the field is tangible to the watchers.

Saturday afternoon our tie dye are finally dry!!!  Yay!!  I have all the kids get theirs on so we can take pictures.  Today for craft time they will make picture frames.  They are simple, but they are cherished.  One of the Ugandan kids was joking with me the other day.  She had a small hand mirror and she said ‘this is the biggest mirror in Uganda’.  They don’t have full length mirrors if they even have one at all.  The kids love our digital camaras because they can see themselves right away.  I have actually sat and taken the same picture of the same kids 20 times and they still laugh and love the 20th.  To get a picture of themselves to keep is a much bigger deal than you’d think.  I tasked my girls to go out and take the pics of their teams.  Lauran got all artsy and had her kids find props, flowers, soccer balls, trees, they turned out really cute.  I think on e of the main attractions for the afternoon was the photo printer.  The kids came and watched and with each photo, they oooo’d and aaah’d.  We can learn so much from them.  The simple life is so nice.  When there is downtime at camp, I used to worry because that’s when American kids get in trouble, but here, they just chillax and hang out.  Actually most of them go to do laundry if I let them.  How great if our kids went to do chores when they had downtime.  They don’t ever really have downtime though.  We are too busy!  I look forward to being here and living the simpler life.  Who knows, I may get bored, we’ll see.

CPR this afternoon was about STD’s.  Lovely pictures just before dinner J Then after dinner we headed to worship.  This evening we spent time talking about the Christian life and the work of the Holy Spirit.  I talk to the kids a lot about character and this is the night I am able to tie it all together.  We focus on the fruit of the Spirit and how God wants us to experience more love, more joy, more peace as well as more patience and self-control.  Who doesn’t want more of these things???

Our night activity is BINGO!!!  So much fun!!  Everyone loves Bingo!  When we finish they all complain…one more game!!  The prizes are pretty awesome this time too!!  Even though they aren’t playing themselves, the staff makes a great time of it too getting SUPER excited whenever someone wins.  It is awesome!!

Sunday we played games!!  First we had a huge balloon stomp game.  Each camper gets a balloon and ties it to their ankle with a string.  The goal is to pop everyone else’s and keep yours intact.  It is really fun to watch!!  They have all sorts of different ways of playing, but they all enjoy it a lot!!!  The blue team really has become a team.  I have noticed that they work together well. They are also great servants.  Almost every meal blue members are collects plates to return to the kitchen.  There is one girl that I swear she is stalking me.  She always seems to appear just as I’m finishing, but I don’t see her hanging around.  The blue team worked together to be the winning team.  There were 4 or 5 of them left at the end of the game.  Green was the 2nd place team.  Then we headed up to the field for tug-o-war.  A camp favorite!!  Every team got the chance to play every other team.  Now the teams were made randomly.  We try to make sure friends don’t stay together.  Somehow, this time the red and orange teams were much smaller than the other 3 teams.  This was clear during tug-o-war.  But everyone have fun cheering for their team.

The teams are given time this afternoon to finalize things for their dance.  Tonight is the big show!!!  We had CPR start early this afternoon.  They were spending time on peer pressure.  It exists everywhere!!!  We really hope that the kids build relationships at camp that can be positive influences when they return home.

After an early dinner, we head into the main hall for worship.   While we are waiting for our judges to arrive, the teams go and get in their costumes for the dance show.  The orange team definitely wins the best costumes!!  Yay!!  Emma has arrived and the kitchen crew has finished cleaning up from dinner and come down too.  Our judge panel for the evening is Emma, Vincent (a friend of Isma’s) and another Emma who worked in the kitchen.  Emma brought his 2 girls for the show also and Kimi brought the girls who are staying with her, including her grandson Jordan, who was born while I was here back in May.  Many of you prayed for his arrival.  I got my baby time!!

The dance show is always such a great time!!  All the kids really shine in their dance and singing.  It is always amazing to see kids that have been so quiet and shy all week, become stars on stage.  Melissa, Emma’s youngest becomes my assistant and chooses which team will go first.  Orange danced first and Jabez is a little guy who just goes crazy!!  He even came out into the crowd.  Tarah did her best to keep up with the shaking hips and high kicks of her teammates.  At the end, it looks like half the forest was brought in.  There are banana leaves everywhere.   Red was up next.  Lauren I think did the best job doing the local dance with her team.  Green was up third and Gloria had a task of a long and somewhat complicated dance.  Blue was up next and they did a great job!  Cathy led that team and she always gives a bit of an unfair advantage.  Last was yellow and Madi had to play the role of a boy in a courting dance, pretty funny!!  Everyone did a great job!!  In the end, the judges thought that the green team put together the best overall performance.

These points were added to those earned throughout the week’s competitions and by reciting memory verses.  We try not to focus too much on the winning and losing, but we have to let them know, so we did the bottom 3 together, orange red and green and then the first runner up…yellow and blue were the winners of the whole camp.  Their teamwork paid off and they also got extra points for service and bible verses.  Well done, blue!!!  We celebrate with snacks and sodas ad glow in the dark bracelets.  The kids settle back down and watch a slideshow of the week.  It was a great finale to the week, but oh wait, it isn’t over…DANCE PARTY and bonfire!!!  The kids have a ball dancing and we brought extra marshmallows to roast.  I set the deadline for 2am, since last time they went till 6!!  The mzungus had a great time dancing with the kids too!!

Monday morning we reluctantly get out of bed, partially because we are tired and partially because we realize the kids leave today.  It has been a week with challenges, but God still came and did His thing.  It was awesome, the other night while I was teaching, I was sharing with the kids that the evil one is very present.  I was sharing about some of the complications we had been experiencing and I asked them a question…do you think Satan would be fighting so hard if God didn’t have big plans for you kids???  Maybe there is a future politician or even president in the room.  Maybe he doesn’t want you to walk with Jesus as you lead the country.  Maybe a doctor, who is able to find a cure to AIDS or maybe a teacher, who will impact hundreds of students for Christ.  We may never know what all God has done until eternity, but I know for sure that He is at work!!

After breakfast this morning, we have a longer church service.  We do worship and then I finish up the story of God.  I spent the morning talking about God’s promises, those written of in the Old Testament, prophecies about Christ and then promises Jesus made.  Our ultimate hope is heaven and we can be certain of that eternity because God keeps His promises!!  Amen!!  When we know His faithfulness, we can cling to the hope of heaven no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  One day we will all have a room, John 14:1-3, and there will be no more tears, no more pain and no more suffering!!  I also talked about the joy I receive when I listen to them worship and how it gives me a glimpse of every tribe and tongue and nation worshipping our Lord.  So beautiful!!  The kids were given on opportunity to claim a room in heaven and then we celebrated the Lord’s Supper together.  I love serving communion to these kids.  It is truly an honor to invite them to His table.

The kids were sent to go pack their things and prepare to return to the village.  There are some sad faces.  As the reality sets in the americans are getting very sad!!  I even see some tears.  We gather teams for pictures and then got everyone for a huge camp photo.  They all fit!!!  We enjoy one last meal together before the vans arrive to take the kids.  I know I will see most of these kids again, but it is harder for the girls.  They are even sadder having to say goodbye to the Ugandan staff.  It is amazing how deep relationships become so quickly in a camp environment.  I say it is one of the cool miracles God performs in the camp setting.  It does make leaving even harder though.

Michael, one of the Ugandan staff, came with bracelets for the girls.  He apparently had his mom make them each a bracelet with their Ugandan name.  Super sweet!!!  Now they will never forget.  They answer to their Ugandan names just like their American names.  Love it!!  I heard them telling each other they will call them those names at home.  These memories will stick for years and years to come!!  I am so thankful that these girls were able to come.  I am excited to see what God has in store for them as well!!  It is such a gift to be invited into life with students and to share this is even more special.  I pray that God would multiply the work in their lives!!

Thank you for your faithfulness and your prayers!!  Please pray for the campers as they return to their reality.  Pray they can teach others what they have learned and live lives for Christ where they are!!

January 2014 Update 6

Wasuze otya!!  It’s friday!!  Crazy!  We’re starting out rough today.  The government water supply has stopped for some unknown reason.  3rd world probs!!  The girls were all frustrated because they couldn’t wash.  We were able to find a tank with water to bring for food preparation at least.  We are praying that the water will return soon.  It is getting warmer and warmer everyday, and I definitely don’t have enough bottled water for all of camp.

This morning I was greeted as I came down for breakfast by Emma, my driver.  He is here to check on the status of the missing bin.  So sweet!!  He has been an all-star this trip.  An extra airport run for Madi, the 4 trips out to camp, he has picked up miscellaneous items we’ve needed out here and he literally is always available.  Thank you Lord for this good friend!!!  We all enjoyed breakfast and then I called the airport.  Woohoo!!  Good news, the bag arrived last night, the bad news is they can deliver it, but not until after 6pm.  Emma happily agrees to go and fetch the bag.  The airline is willing to deliver it to their office in Kampala by 11, so at least it is half the trip.

This morning after we spend some time in worship, Jingo comes to share out of the Word for us.  Jingo is one of the baseball boys that joined our team in September.  I’m sure what he shared was wonderful, as the kids were very engaged, but I unfortunately couldn’t hear him.  His accent is very difficult to understand plus he speaks quietly anyways, so to hear him from the back was tough.

The kids headed out to their small groups.  I am watching them all and it looks like the kids are talking more.  I encouraged the staff to share more of their own stories to start conversation, so the kids would feel more comfortable sharing.

We have moved our futbol tournament to the morning in hopes that our tie dye will arrive in the bin with Emma before the afternoon.  We also need to water to return!!  We are praying a lot today!

After lunch we have an extended free time.  I called Emma and he says he will be arriving in the afternoon, so we prepare for tie dye. Yay!!  We had each team come and get their shirts and put their names on them.  Then we had them come in groups to learn the designs and do the rubber bands on their shirts.  Emma arrives as we are working.  Woo hoo, NOW we are fully prepared!   The girls have been waiting for some of their toiletries, the tie dye and the projector are all there. I think that was the most important bin, of course!!  But our God is victorious and Satan hasn’t been able to throw us from our objectives to love these kids and share Christ with them.  That is what it is about, not the programming and games. All of the the shirts are tied and the kids start CPR with Raph, Pauline and Steven while the rest of the staff works on the dying of the shirts.

CPR is about love vs infatuation.  This seems obvious to some, but it is a real struggle here.  One of the many issues related to poverty is young ones can easily be abused physically with the enticement of money or gifts, so this is something they really spend a lot of time talking about.  Love isn’t someone who can give you a phone or candy, but love is someone who sacrifices, is there for you no matter what and doesn’t pressure you into anything you aren’t comfortable with.

The kids are eager to see their shirts, but we send them on to dinner while we finish.  The shirts look really amazing!!  The colors came out so vibrant!!  Wait till you see pictures!!

After dinner we continued our story of God during the evening worship time.  We got to dive into that hope we ended with yesterday.  We talked about the sacrifice necessary to bridge the gap between man and God and how Christ fulfilled that because He loves us so much!!  (1 Peter 3:18)  We also looked at how Christ doesn’t just take away our sins, but He imparts His righteousness on us so that we can stand before a holy God.  Yes!!!  Perfection!!!

To end the evening, we finished watching Happy Feet.  So great!!  The kids enjoyed it, but were falling asleep again toward the end.  Time for bed!!!

This evening as we were packing away our things for the night, I asked my friend Shallom about his plans.  He has been accepted by a school in Kansas, but is still working out his visa stuff.  He had booked a plane ticket a while ago thinking everything would move along quicker.  Turns out he was supposed to be on a flight an hour from when I asked him and he had no idea.  He is a little immature and I worry that he isn’t ready to move to the US all by himself.  Pray for his process that God would make His will clear.  Thank you!!

We are at the halfway point.  I am definitely tired, but so are the kids and staff.  Please pray for God’s strength and energy to fill us all.  Pray for the staff’s responses, that we wouldn’t react in frustration because we are tired.  Thanks be to God for the relationships He is building between the american andugandan staff.  I thaw been really fun watching them interact and how it is impacting my girls.  Please pray for continued health and safety and protection from the Evil one.  Thank you!!

January 2014 Update 5

Wow we have had a busy week. I’m sorry that I haven’t been better at keeping in contact. I find myself very tired and it’s busier trying to run camp for two groups. We are having a great time and God is doing awesome things!!

So Wednesday evening we sent Gloria with Emma to go to pick up Madi from the airport. I have been in contact with her and it appears all is well this time. Praise God!!  I woke to them arriving at around 145am. Yay!! The whole team is here now!! We quickly settled her in and went back to bed. Finally things are all complete, actually Madi said that only one of her bins arrived. Aye!!  We were hopeful that the things we really need are there.

So he first full day of camp was January 2. We woke up early, especially the kids.  The morning are a bit chaotic with all the girls trying to get basins to bathe and do wash. Since the start at 5am you would think going to breakfast at 8 would be an issue, but it is. I am having to play the stern rule master to get the girls out the door.

After breakfast we gathered for worship. Cathy leads us and all enjoy dancing and singing and praising our great God!!  In the mornings, our Ugandan team will take turn preaching. This has been a fun area of growth. I remember the first time we tried to get these guys to just share a bit of their own testimony, it was such a big deal. They resisted and when they did, they only shared for about 5 minutes. Now they actually fight for the opportunity to get up and share with these kids. So amazing!! Their stories are more similar to these kids’ stories, so it is really powerful for the kids to hear success stories they can relate to. This morning we were blessed by Allan. This kid is awesome!! I feel like a proud mama bear. And the kids really listen to him, and his life has been one marked by struggles, but his dependence on The Lord is such a beautiful testimony of how God is making all things beautiful!!

We Sent the teams out to do small group time. This is generally a bit painful. The kids that are steaming and won’t stop talking the rest of the day become super tight lipped in this setting. The Ugandan staff is getting so good at coming up with different ways to get them to respond though.

The morning is completed with games in the field. We have a few different games that challenge the kids to problem solve and work as a team to succeed. It is so frustrating for them. They want it to be like futbol where the best athletes win or it can be completed quickly, but that isn’t how these work. One today has proved more challenging than any other. The teams are given pieces of cardboard and they are tasked to get their whole team to “cross the river” without the alligator getting them or their bridge supplies. It is fun and frustrating for me because they aren’t really taught to think here. In school there are just to listen and memorize. If they ask questions, they may be caned, so these exercises are really difficult for them, but so needed.

LUNCH!!

Our futbol tournament continues this afternoon and teams are encouraged to practice their dances when they aren’t playing. I am the guard in the main hall while everyone is out playing, so I hear drumming in the distance with an occasional eruption of cheering when teams score.

CPR is before dinner. Today we catch up on the pieces we missed yesterday and build on it. This info is so good for these kids to hear!!

After dinner we head to worship. Tonight we get to talk about the fall, super fun, but we get to end with Romans 6:23 ‘for the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life.’ Thank goodness for the BUT!!

It’s movie night!!  I asked the kids if they wanted fish or penguins…the said fish but I learned it was because they didn’t know what a penguin was. Of course I put in Happy Feet so they could learn what a penguin is. I love movie night!! It is interactive watching movies with these kids. They are laughing so loud!! Awesome!!  About halfway thru I notice the Americans are fading so I let them know they can go to bed.  We went to our storage room to get water and when we come out there is a mass exodus from the main hall.  Apparently the kids are fading too.  We decided to stop and watch the second half another night.  

I am thankful for all God is doing.  I am feeling a little bit better.  The kids really seem to be asking good questions during PCR which shows they are thinking.  We are all here safe!!  Pray that God would continue to soften hearts and speak thru each of us who are teaching.  Pray that our last bin will arrive safely and we will be able to get it tomorrow.  Thank you!!

January 2014 Update 4

Yay!!  The kids arrive today!!  Unfortunately I woke up feeling even
worse today.  I am super bummed because I know I won’t have the energy
I need to do camp the way I usually do.  Allan asked me yesterday if I
wouldn’t put him on a team so that he can work alongside me.  Today I
am so thankful for his leadership and desire to step into a little
more leadership.  He has been doing camp with me since 2010, so I know
he understands how I run camp and my expectations.  The Lord is always
challenging me to invite more people into the work I am doing.
Sometimes it is easier to do it myself than to teach someone else, but
it is so cool when I allow others to grow and learn.  Thank you Lord
for continuing to shape and grow me.

The weather is crazy!  I have never really been cold here and last
night it got chilly.  This morning it is overcast and still cool for
here.  Weird!  At least it isn’t raining again.  First we had
breakfast.  The staple for breakfast is bread with butter, a banana
and a hard boiled egg.  After breakfast, we had some cleaning to do
before the kids arrived.  It seems that the facilities haven’t been
cleaned since school was out in November.  Lovely!!  We then got
everything set up for the campers to arrive.  We provide some basic
things for the kids, toiletries, notebooks and pens, water bottles and
a bandana which denotes their team.  I was actually able to lay down
and rest for a bit, which was nice.  I just feel so lethargic.  While
I’m lying down though, my mind starts spinning with things that need
to be done.  This is why I fall asleep at night to music.  My brain
seems to work more when I am horizontal.

The kids were due to arrive by 11, so I came up around 1045.  No one
had arrived yet.  Okay, ugandan time and it is New Year’s Day.  Many
were probably up late and may still be in bed.  We’ll just be patient.
 Plus it is giving more time for our American team to build
relationships with my Ugandan team. The girls were given Ugandan names
last night. Gloria is Mukisa which means blessing, Lauren is
Nakapanchu which means loved one and Tarah is Nabirye which means
princess. It will take them a bit to respond to their names, but by
the end of the week I’m sure they will naturally.

Our first group of campers finally arrived around 1145.  We welcomed
them and got them ‘registered’, we wrote down their names and gave
them their supplies.  We did a brief orientation knowing that the
other group is still on their way and then allowed the kids to go and
select their beds.  If you have ever been to camp, you know this is a
big deal.  You have to get the right bed next to your friend, some
close to the door others a window.  The girls are split in 2 rooms, so
we made them separate a bit so they will be mixed with those from the
other group.  The boys are all in one dorm, so it doesn’t matter.

They returned to the main hall and had some free time.  We had soccer
balls out and some just hung out with friends.  Our other group
arrived in 2 shifts, the second coming just before lunch, so we
settled them with their things and went for lunch.

Meals are always interesting. These kids can put away some food.
Sometimes their plates are literally bigger than their heads. I
generally joke around with the kids about how their plate is going to
eat them or something, but when I realize that they pile it on because
most of them don’t have a consistent diet, so they eat as much as they
can when they are able, I am saddened. It is really cool to see later
in the week that the kids take smaller portions because they know
there will be more food to come.

After everyone has had their full, we get the rest of the kids settled
with beds.  This was actually a challenge because we had some extra
kids show up, so Kimi actually had to send her driver into town to buy
more mattresses.  Not a bad problem to have.  I still don’t quite have
a final tally, but I think we have 80-83 kids.  Awesome!!  There are a
few familiar faces among them, which is fun!

This afternoon we are having to wing it a bit because we are missing
some of our supplies.  They will hopefully be coming with Madi!!  So
we are doing rotations through futbol (soccer), crafts and game time.
We will have an ongoing futbol tournament through the week.  It
generally gets pretty intense.  Usually we are doing tie dye, but
today we are starting with our totes bags for craft time.  During the
games, the teams will be getting to know each other, learning names
and developing their team name and cheers.

The rotation thing is a bit more complicated for 5 teams than
4…whoops!  But everyone manages to get thru all 3 stations before we
are headed to CPR.  This is our holistic health education program,
Creating Positive Relationships, not medical CPR, which is what my
team members thought we’d be doing when they saw it on the schedule 🙂
 Another thing we are missing is our projector, so we are having to be
very flexible in our teaching times too.  Right as we were getting
ready to begin CPR, the power went out.  Good thing Allan had me grab
a couple lanterns in town, so we did class by flashlight 🙂

Dinner!!!  Yes more food!!  I feel like we eat all the time here 🙂
After dinner we have our first session of worship and I begin sharing
the Gospel story.  It is fun watching my team join into the local
worship.  Many of the songs are in luganda, so clapping is all we can
really do and the songs that are in english can be tough to
understand, but they are in there trying!!  Gloria is pretty shy
naturally, but she is even coming out of her shell some.  Sweet!!

This evening we decided to do a quick game to get the kids to bed a
little early, so they can recover from New Years.  I actually skipped
out and went to bed after I finished sharing because I was just wiped
out!  Allan led the kids in a game of Chubby Bunny!!  So fun!  This is
a total jr high youth group game with marshmallows.  It is doubly fun
because the kids have never even seen a marshmallow before.

It has been a day of changes and flexibility, but God has brought
everyone here that He wants and I am so thankful!!  Thank you for your
prayers for the campers. We do have one girl that was sick when she
arrived and they took her to the clinic and she has malaria.  Please
pray for quick healing for her.  Please pray for protection from the
evil one, good health and rest for everyone.  Madi is enroute, so
please contue to pray for her and for Emma and Gloria as they travel
to get her.  Thank you!!

January 2014 Update 3

Happy New Year!!!  I hope everyone had a safe and joyous New Year!!

I left you on tuesday morning as we were preparing to come to camp.  It is pouring rain this morning.  We awoke to the rolling thunder.  Not a bad way to wake.  I think we all slept very well.  This morning we had a lot to do, but the idea of venturing out in this rain isn’t very appealing. We decided to get all our things packed and hope the rain stops.  Finally it became a drizzle around 11, so we decided to walk into town.  A boda ride would be a little messy.  I had to pick up a few more things for camp and the girls remembered a few souvenirs they forgot to get, so we headed back to Ritah’s.  I think Ritah is getting very used to seeing us.  She will be sad tomorrow when we are at camp.  The girls have masted Main Street, so I have left them to shop while I do my last errands.

I have developed a bit of a cough and congestion, so I picked up some meds just in case.  One of the things I love about Uganda, I can walk into the pharmacy and get anything I want without a prescription.  After gathering the last few things for camp, I met the girls back at Flavors, our favorite hangout where were enjoyed some ‘chips’ french fries and then Dennis collected us to begin transporting everything out to camp.  Dennis works with Emma’s transport company and is his cousin.  They didn’t have a very big car and we had 6 people to get out to camp as well, so we did 4 trips to camp.  It was a long process, but we made it!  All of my friends were there when I finally made it out (I was on the last trip).  It is so much fun seeing all these guys again.  I am so blessed by the community God has provided me here in Uganda.

We spent most of the evening setting up the accommodations for camp.  This year we are using a different facility because the Discovery Centre we usually use is closed for the holidays.  We are at Lords Meade, a boarding school.  This has brought a new set of challenges for me.  Discovery Centre literally provides everything, so we can focus of facilitating camp.  Here we have to gather and set up beds/mattresses/mosquito nets.  I had to hire a caterer for the week as well.  I have been so thankful for Allan and Cathy, two of my older friends here who stepped in to help me in amazing ways!!

After getting all the beds set up, we got to enjoy our first meal.  The girls really have been spoiled until now, so I wonder how they will do with the ugandanfood.  We had chicken, rice, greens and potatoes.  The rice was really good!!  We also got some pineapple for dessert!  Super sweet, so good!!  I think the girls were excited that they recognized all the food.

We spent time doing team building and getting to know each other this evening.  We spent some time in prayer preparing for camp as well.  I love joining with these brothers and sisters and coming to the Lord’s throne together.  It is a glimpse of what heaven will look like!

My illness seems to be gaining speed.  I am exhausted and am losing my voice.  Even though it is New Year’s Eve, many of us headed to bed to be rested for the kids in the morning.  Many of the boys plan to stay up…God speed!

The day was very good!  I am excited for the kids to come tomorrow!!  It makes all the stress of organizing so worth it when those kids arrive with their beautiful smiles!!

Join me in praising our great God for the staff that He is building here.  Pray for safety for the kids and that God would be working in their hearts even now.  Continue to pray for Madi as she is in transit.  I did hear that she is on the plane headed to Amsterdam, so we are hopeful that she will arrive safely without any other interruptions.

January 2014 Update 2

Wasuze otya!  Good morning!  I hope you are all having a good New Year’s Eve!!  We actually forgot that it was the holiday!  So yesterday was a good day!  It started with PANCAKES!!!  So good! And a bunch of fruit!  I had a bunch of little errands to do before camp and the girls were eager to do their shopping.  We won’t really have a chance to after camp before we leave for our safari.  We decided to give the bodas a go this morning.  These are the motorcycle taxis that are all around Uganda.  They are the quickest and cheapest forms of transportation.  We have some things to drop off at Children of Grace and we are borrowing mosquito nets from them for camp, so we decided to go there first.  It is an easy ride.  Tarah is a little bit nervous about the bodas.  We made it over there, but it didn’t appear like anyone was around, so we grabbed another boda and headed into town.  Allan is there and will be meeting us.  Gloria and I jumped on one boda and Tarah and Lauren jumped on another.  I told them where we were going and we were off.  Generally the boda drivers communicate to each other.  This time they didn’t and when Gloria and I arrived the other boda wasn’t right behind us.  We waited, maybe they got caught up in some traffic.  They still didn’t come, so I sent our driver to find them.  A couple minutes later they were cruising down Main Street.  I called their names and they stopped.  Turns out, their driver didn’t hear where I told him to go, so he took the girls to a different supermarket.  They knew they weren’t in the right place and were able to direct him back to where we were yesterday.  Way to go ladies!!  It was pretty funny once we reunited, but I think we were all a little tense in the moment.  

We started at the grocery store gathering supplies for camp and then made our way to Ritah’s shop again.  She held our things so we didn’t have to carry them all everywhere.  We made our way to the bank so the girls could get their shillings.  Okay, the girls are in love with their money.  They say it is so pretty!!  Don’t be surprised if your souvenir is a 1,000 shilling note.  We went to the first shop that had a ton of stuff the girls saw yesterday.  I tried to teach the girls about bartering, but I don’t think they did at all at that first shop.  We went over to the Keep for a milkshake, so good!!  To hold us over until dinner.  Then I sent the girls on with Allan and my friend Cathy met up with us too.  I told them to help them barter and I hear they did much better.  I went on to the bank to do some business I needed to get done before heading out to camp.
Emma sent Dennis, his cousin to pick us up in town with all our things and drop them at the hotel before dropping us off at the river where we caught a boat ride over to the Kingfisher.  This is a resort on the opposite side of the Nile.  We were also able to pass by the official “source” of the Nile.  We decided to spend the afternoon and evening at Kingfisher swimming and relaxing.  I spent most of the time with myugandan friends while the girls enjoyed themselves.  They made friends with some kids that were swimming and started up a game of Marco Polo, go figure!!  We wanted to make tonight a little bit of an earlier night, so we had dinner early.  Gloria and Tarah had tilapia, fresh from the Nile and Lauren and I both had spaghetti.  Not very ugandan, but the girls have been super impressed by all the food we’ve had so far.  Camp will be all local food, so we’ll see how they do with that.   After dinner, we took the boat back over to the restaurant we ate at last night.  We were able to walk back to our hotel from there and were in by 730.
We said good night to my ugandan friends and spent the evening up on the veranda of our guesthouse.  This is our favorite place.  The view is gorgeous, there is a nice breeze and tonight we have wifi!!!  The girls journaled and then realized they could FaceTime friends and family back home.  I think it was fun for them to share a little bit about our time so far with family and see the faces of mom and dad.  I actually crashed out early.  You can be praying for me.  I have developed and upper respiratory tract infection.  I thought it was just a cold, but there is a little more to it than I thought.  I am hoping to sleep it off.  Everyone else is doing well.  We are still trying to acclimate to the time change.  The girls wanted to try and stay up so they didn’t wake up before 4.  They succeeded!!  This morning Gloria was the early riser at 6:30.  Lauren and I were awake a bit in the night, but both fell back asleep.
I was able to connect with Madi and she will be on the plane Tuesday morning your time!  Please pray for smooth sailing for her and no more surprises.  Today we will get a few more things for camp in town and then head to Lords Meade where we will be having camp.  It is raining a lot this morning, so it should be interesting!!
Please pray for the kids as they will be anxious to get to camp tomorrow.  Pray for safety with the muddy roads.  Pray that their hearts would be softened that they would hear the truth of the Gospel and respond. I covet your prayers for health.  Thank you!!  Blessings and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

January 2014 Update 1

Wow! We have had a full first 2 days! I wish I could say the journey
here was uneventful, but unfortunately I cannot. We flew from SFO to
Portland. We had a 5+ hour layover in Portland. When we went to our
gate to get our boarding passes, they rechecked our passports.  Madi’s
doesn’t have a full 6 months before it expires so they wouldn’t let
her get on the plane with us.  Aahh!!  We had a very short time period
to figure out what to do.  I spoke with the gate agent and she said
this happens often.  She gave us all the information to fix the issues
with the passport and to rearrange the flight.  She spoke with the
airline we flew to Portland and they got her on a flight back to the
bay area at no cost.  They said that this was all their fault, so they
fixed the flight stuff.  Unfortunately it was friday, so Madi got back
to the Bay and the passport office was closed until monday.  BUMMER!!
But now (3 days later) we know that she has gotten everything worked
out and she will be getting on a flight tuesday morning to come and be
with us!!  Anytime God is at work, Satan is there to frustrate our
plans.  Madi has been looking forward to this trip for years literally
and I know God is going to do amazing things in her life and her
relationships with the other girls who have come.  Please pray against
the plots of the evil one.

So the 3 of us who were with Madi got on the plane not knowing what
would happen and very very sad!!  We were set to meet Lauren in
Amsterdam and my mind started doing the worst case scenario thing
because of what happened with Madi.  We had agreed to meet at the gate
we would be flying out of to Uganda.  We got there and were looking
and looking.  She was supposed to land before us, so I expected her to
already be there.  I walked past our gate and there she came around
the corner.  The smile I saw on her face was priceless!!  Woohoo!!
We’re together.

Side note…for any older CPC families.  I had posted on Facebook a
couple weeks ago when I booked our tickets because I was so excited
and I got a message from Lisa Rains.  They were at CPC when I was in
jr high/high school and I actually used to babysit her kids.  She told
me she and her son were going to be in Uganda after christmas too.  So
fun!  God has made connections here that are only explainable because
of Him.  Lisa and I chatted on FB a couple days before we were leaving
and found out we’d be on the same plane from Amsterdam to Uganda.
CRAZY!!  So cool!  So I actually was saying as were we walking up that
we need to find (and I was about to say Lauren) and Lisa called out
“ME!!” It was awesome!  We were able to connect a little bit.  God is
so cool!!  They actually live in Alabama and 2 of her kids are Auburn
Tigers!!  War Eagle!!

 The flight from Amsterdam down to Uganda was uneventful.  We all
actually slept which we hadn’t really done on the other flights.  We
arrived and collected all our bags, praise God!!, and I walked outside
and saw my name on a little sign.  Relief!  My fear is that my ride
will not be at the airport when we walk outside.  We squeezed our
things into a little minivan, just barely and headed for our hotel.
We settled in and crashed out!

The next morning Emma, my good friend and driver, was due to pick us
up at 9:30.  I walked out to read and journal at 8:45 and the hugest
smile greeted me!!  He really does have a beautiful smile!!  Of course
he was early!  He wasn’t sure how big of a vehicle we would need, so
he brought a big 25 passenger van.  We all traveled very comfortably!!
 The girls were quiet just watching and looking at everything out the
windows.  Tarah several times said ‘ I can’t believe how green it is’
I was able to catch up with Emma a bit and we made it to Jinja in
record time.  Sunday morning is the right time to drive to/from the
airport (note to self).

When I was in Ethiopia last January, I stayed in a guesthouse that is
run by a ministry out of SoCal.  While I was there I shared that I
work in Uganda and they told me they were going to be starting a
guesthouse in Uganda too.  When I asked where, they were like ‘ a
small town called Jinja I think.’  Of course!!  I communicated with
their american director and asked him to let me know when they were
opening.  Well, they opened in the fall, so I booked a room for us.
We’ll see how it goes.  I would prefer to give my money to a ministry
than to a corporation.  When we drove up Emma was concerned because
you can tell they still have some work to do.  Once we walked inside
though, it was beautiful!  Tile and high ceilings, the rooms sleep 4-6
people and it is decorated so cute.  Donna and Jeremiah are the
Ugandans running the place and they have been so accommodating.
Literally she keeps asking me if we need anything or what we want to
eat and apologizing for any little thing.  My shower was one of the
best I’ve had in Africa.  Emma’s concerns were eased, so we brought in
our luggage and chose our room then headed into town for so food!!!
We were all pretty hungry.  The bus took us and dropped us at Flavors,
a favorite of mine.  They have this great little garden in the back
that you can eat in and the food is good.  They are also an internet
cafe, so the girls were able to get on their wifi and communicate
home.  We didn’t have a lot we needed to get done, so we decided just
to walk down main street and do a little window shopping.  Most of the
shops are closed because it is Sunday, so it was pretty chill for the
girls to ease in.  My good friend Allan came and met us and got to
know the girls a bit.  We also stopped by Ritah’s shop, a good
friend!!  She was there and so excited to see me!  So fun to see these
friends the Lord has provided for me over and over!!  We started
getting a little tired, so we headed back toward our hotel.  While we
were walking we passed by a neighborhood where another friend lives.
I wasn’t sure if he would be home, but I poked my head around the
corner and the whole fan was there.  So fun!!  Shallom is a good
friend of Erin Beck’s from when she lived here and I have gotten to
know him this year.  He has come to camp the last 2 times and brought
a bunch of new friends in September.  We chatted and introduced the
girls.  Shallom has been accepted to a school in Kansas, so I got
caught up on that whole deal.  It is a huge deal for a ugandan without
any real connections to get out of the country for schooling.  He is
still working on getting his student visa, so please pray that God
would give him favor in those who are driving the process.

Earlier I had told the girls about jack fruit.  It is a tropical fruit
that we don’t have in the US.  I told them we would try to find some
for them to try.  Shallom’s mom had some while we were there and
offered them some. Cool!!  I’m not a huge fan, but the girls tried it
and I think they liked it.  While I was still talking with Shallom
Lauren and Tarah came and told me that she was having a reaction to
the fruit.  Her lips were swelling.  Uh oh!  Thankful I’m a nurse.  We
were close to our hotel, so we headed out to get her some Benedryl.
Tarah actually found some in her purse while we were still walking.
It was a little nerve wrecking and I think Lauren was pretty scared.
We got back to the hotel and she wasn’t really improving, so we gave
her some more Benedryl and a Zyrtec.  After a few minutes she calmed
down and it wasn’t getting worse.  She didn’t have any breathing
issues or anything, but just to be safe I jumped on a boca into town
to a pharmacy to grab some epi.  Tarah is a nurse too and Allan was
with them in case things started getting worse.  I was back and Lauren
was very sleepy!!  The Benedryl was doing its thing!  Her lip was
going down and the tingling was improving.  Thank you Jesus!!  I was
praying the whole time that He would protect her and give me wisdom!!
He is so good!!  SATAN needs to get the heck out of here though!!
Please pray for continued health and safety!!  Even though these
situations are frustrating and scary, I am excited to see what God is
doing.  And I keep reminding myself, if God is with us who can stand
against us!!

Lauren ended up sleeping for the rest of the afternoon.  We relaxed
with Allan and the girls got to know him better.  Then we decided to
just go to dinner at a restaurant really close that is right on the
Nile.  It is beautiful!  We had burgers and pizza (very Ugandan) and
then headed back for the night.  Lauren is doing great!  She has slept
a lot!!  Tomorrow we will head into town and let the girls actually
shop.  I will write more later!!  Have a great day!!  Happy New Years
Eve!!

September 2013 Update 7

So we have 2 days and a list of people and places to see.  We had a
plan for the day, but after having some trouble getting ahold of
Shallom this morning, we ended up getting to relax some.  We decided
to head out to HELP School, who I ran camp for in May.  I was so
hoping to see a bunch of the kids plus the staff, but when we arrived,
although it is the first day of school there aren’t many kids there at
all.  Bummer!!  The staff were there, so I got to catch up with
Richard, Ritah, Lydia, Innocent and meet a few others.  They said that
the kids would be around tomorrow, so we changed plans again and
headed back into town.

I was able to get ahold of Shallom finally to find out where he
worked, so we headed there.  Shallom works for and organization called
Amani Baby Cottage.  It is basically an orphanage, but they do so much
more than just take in little ones.  They currently have 61 little
ones.  The oldest is 7.  Amani works to get kids adopted or tries to
raise the kids until they can reunite them with their families in the
village.  Their facility is pretty remarkable.  Deneen who started it
14 years ago has done a really fantastic job.  They have a nursery for
those that can’t walk yet, 2 rooms for boys and one for girls.  Each
room has 2 day moms and 1 night mom.  The same 3 women basically
raising these kids as their own.  For the older kids they do preschool
and the few that are school aged are sent to school.  Shallom works as
an activity coordinator.  He has all the children in the afternoon and
plays with them or takes them for field trips.  Pretty sweet job
although I can see how it could get overwhelming to entertain 60 seven
and younger kids.  As I would expect with how our day has gone, all
the kids were napping when we arrived and just when they were coming
out to play, we had to go to town to meet someone else.  Go figure!!
We did get to hold a few kids and I was able to finally meet Deneen.
I have been hearing about her for years and we had a really great
chat.  She was asking me to take the mzungu kids to camp.  Everyone
comes to care for the locals and the kids that grow up here but have
white skin get no support or programming.  I can totally do that and
it would open us up to a very different clientele and different
programming.  Could be fun to do camp like in the US!!

We went into town to meet up with Rita.  She is a good friend of
Erin’s who came with me in May.  When Erin was living here, she
befriended Rita and her family and consequently had a baby named after
her.  Now every time I am here I get pictures of little Erin.  This
time I told Rita I wanted to visit her home.  They live just off of
Main street in town.  We walked from her craft shop and arrived to
about 15 kids blocking the doorway.  Rita has 7 girls and their home
is the place to be for the kids in the neighborhood.  We had fun
seeing their home and the kids all decided to entertain us with some
modeling and dancing.  So great!!  We were shown the rooms of the
house.  The 6 elder girls share a room smaller than my guestrooms.
There is a 3 decker bunk bed and then one single bed.  The oldest Leah
gets the single bed and the others share the bunks.  Crazy!!  And they
invited me to come and stay with them next time.  That would be
interesting!?!

Tonight we are having dinner with our very good friends from camp.  We
went to this beautiful restaurant right on the Nile.  The sun was
setting.  Gorgeous!!!We had sweet conversation and a lot of laughs.
The boys have learned that Hayden is VERY ticklish!!!  So much of the
evening we would be talking and then Hayden would nearly jump out of
her seat and the boys would laugh and laugh!!  These times just warm
my soul!!  I love these Ugandans so much!  We call each other brother
and sister and we truly are that, family.  My trips here aren’t ever
long enough nor do I have time to ache for family at home (don’t be
offended family), but when I leave this place and know I won’t be back
for several months, I get so sad.  This will be reversed in a couple
years when my time is spent largely here.  There are days at home when
I think about my Ugandan family and I just get so sad!  Thank you Lord
for continuing to build a community around me here!!!  This is what
the body of Christ should be like!!

Please pray for these friends of ours as they are in school and
looking for jobs!!  Pray that Christ would remain central in their
hearts and that they would depend on Him in every situation!!  Thank
you!!!

September 2013 Update 6

Camp is over and so now we change gears a bit.  Saturday once the kids
were all gone we loaded up all the supplies that were left, our soccer
balls, bingo, etc and we had 7 people, 5 bins, 2 backpacks and 5 drums
to get back into town with one sedan.  We were able to pack most of it
actually in the first trip, so Hayden rode with Allan and Cathy to
town back to our hotel.  I know she will enjoy getting more hang out
time with those two.  They really have become like siblings this week.
 Silas and I stayed behind with my 2 boys.  Now the week has been busy
and I am always running while I’m facilitating camp, so I haven’t
really had good time with my boys.  Now it was quiet and peaceful and
I have nothing to do.  Woohoo!! I brought a card game called Spot It,
so we sat and played and ate trail mix.  It was fun!!  I got to see
those big beautiful smiles I love.  They still don’t talk much, but
just being together is wonderful!!  Our driver returned and we loaded
the rest and headed to town.  After checking in and dropping
everything quickly in the room, we did the return service for our
friends.  This was really fun!!  I have known Allan and Cathy for
several years, but have never been to their homes.  And I have learned
that it is a big deal to visit peoples’ homes.  So we went first to
Allan’s.  We met his sister and his guardian and several other family
members.  I love getting to tell his family what a gift and a blessing
he is.  We said our goodbyes, Hayden thought this was going to be the
last time she saw Allan and you could see a visible change in her
posture.  I whispered to her, “we’ll see him again” and she
immediately got a smile on her face stood up and hugged him goodbye.
Then we headed to drop off my boys.  They live very close to each
other, so we made one stop.  I had already set up with them to hang
out with us tomorrow, so it was hugs and kisses and goodbyes.  Then we
headed back in the other direction to drop of Cathy.  She lives in
Bugembe with her great aunt from the best I can figure.  Her place was
actually very nice.  We met her little nephew and her uncle.  Then we
headed out to Kimi’s place.  I had told her kids we would drop by this
weekend to say hi and hang out a bit more.  I also wanted to meet baby
Jordan, Kimi’s grandson.  Jordan was born the day before I left in may
and I wasn’t able to meet him, but I was able to walk Kimi through
some of the birthing process by phone.  It is tough becoming a
grandmother at what, 29 I think.  He was so cute!!  Just a little
chunker and happy!!  Most ugandan babies cry when they see mzungus,
but since he lives with one, he was used to it.  Unfortunately we got
there a bit late so we didn’t get to see many of the kids, but a few
were there that did camp in January.  Our last drop off was Silas.  We
met his sister and his cousin.  Then Hayden and I finally made it back
to the hotel.  We were exhausted and dirty!!  We ate dinner at the
hotel and then crashed for the night!!

Sunday will be a day of rest and gladness.  We were woken by a phone
call saying John was downstairs.  Oh I love John, but 740 is way too
early, especially when I don’t have to be up until 930.  I wasn’t able
to go back to sleep, but Hayden slept well!!  John is one of the first
boys I met in Uganda.  He is sponsored thru Children of Grace.  He
really is a great kid and we had 2 of his sisters at camp because they
go to the church that came.  John returned and had breakfast with us
at a reasonable mzungu hour 🙂 Mike and Mary Ann from Children of
Grace picked us up for church and my boys were supposed to meet us.
Muhammad made it, but Joel didn’t unfortunately.  I am thrilled to
have Muhammad though with his muslim background.  Church was great!  I
was able to see some old friends and to meet some new ones.  The
message was wonderful too!!  After church Joel ended up turning up at
the CoG office just after we left for church.  Sad!!  But we gathered
him and went for lunch with my good friend Brian at 2 Friends.  THis
is a mzungu restaurant that I usually go to at least once while I’m
here.  They have good burgers and pizza, a little bit of home. We made
our way into town after lunch to do some back to school shopping with
my boys.  Pens, pencils, books etc and of course ice cream!!  They
know they will always get ice cream when they are with me.  We walked
through town a bit and I had an opportunity to have conversations with
each of the boys separately.  Last night I read through the responses
from the kids at camp and I saw the one from Joel.  On the bottom, he
wrote that he was saved this week.  Hallelujah!!!  I didn’t actually
see one from Muhammad, but they didn’t all have names on them.  So I
took the opportunity with each of them to ask if they had made a
decision to follow Christ this week.  Each of them smiled and said
yes!!!  GOD YOU ARE SO GOOD!!!  What a joy to be able as a parent to
lead your child to Christ and know that the next generation will serve
Him also.  Today I know that joy!!!  Praise God!!  I made sure they
each had a Bible to study and I just hugged them and kissed them and
hugged them again!!!  Your prayers have been mighty and our great God
has answered!!  Thank you!!  Sunday evening we were treated to dinner
at CoG by Mike and Mary Ann.  Shish kabobs!!  Yum!!  it was great to
catch up and hear what has been going on with those I love in CoG.  I
hope to stop by the office during the day before we leave so I can see
the ugandan staff.

The next few days we’ll be venturing around Jinja and the neighboring
villages.  I don’t want Hayden to think that camp is normal.  It
should be fun to meet up with some friends and to introduce Hayden to
some different ministries working here.  Thank you for your prayers
for safety and health.  We have both felt pretty good and now we are
getting much more rest than at camp.  Hope you are well!!