Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

is it cold enough for hail here?

Well, it has been a while because power has "checked" for a week since the hail storm. Hail? yes that is right. and it was big hail, about nickle size and a lot of it. the ground was covered.

So, after my welcome cake I went to teach P4 and as i was teaching the rain started. This is common. But then i started hearing little, "ding, ding" on the tin roof and so i look out the window and sure enough there was hail coming from the sky. Since this is Uganda and we are right on the equator I figured that the kids had never seen hail before, so as a good teacher, I ceased the opportunity for learning (not playing) and let them go outside and gather some. Ha ha it was really so so funny. They would run up to me with a handful of hail in their mouth and shaking their hands to keep from frost bite and tell me, "Auntie, i have never in my life seen this ice from the sky." It was awesome. they were so excited. So i called them back in right in time because then the storm picked up and it was coming down in powerful sheets of ice and rain. Wow. In all honesty it was the most hail i have seen in one storm.

So after the main of it, we went outside again and gathered more. Then we were called to the main building where they were doing clean up of all the hail on the sidewalks. The kids had such fun getting to experience this. There was very little damage (surprisingly) at the home but the little school behind us was destroyed. it was not a structure, but more like logs stood up and covered with grass for a roof. so there were no walls, but the village kids are out a school building now. sad.

Other than that, things are still going well. I will post pictures once i have moved into my new room and can find the cord for my camera. My room is shaping up very very nicely. it is really a great place and i think i will be moving in this week. Also, i cooked chicken vegitable soup for the family on Sat. We spent half of the day walking to the market, finding what we need, and walking back. I was nervious as to whether they would like it, since it is not anythign they had had before. Mind you, it is soup, but most of them put the soup on the plate and struggled to not have the juices spill. What can i say? I had bowls sitting out there. Maybe next time i will be more specific with instructions on how to eat. But they did seem to like it.

That is it for now. I have started teaching and am organizing small groups of kids to be more specific in meeting their needs for learning how to read. Hopefully they will get used to the new system soon and it will flow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A sweet welcome... literally

Aw, so fun. Today at break time Edward called me over and on the table was a cake that said, "Natalie welcome to LCH". All the kids were very excited to see that they were going to get some cake today. Then, for the first slice of the cake I had about 20 little hands on top of mine to help me slice the cake with the knife.

I first have to let you know about the cake. It is definitely not like the cakes in America. It is a much more dry and not as sweet. It is made from scratch and they love to put ribbon borders around the edge. Sometimes it has fruit and always a little cinnamon taste.

Secondly, when you have a celebration that calls for cake, there are different traditions here. In America, the guest of honor would be served the first piece and then get to enjoy. But here the guest of honor is the one to serve the cake to everyone. SO, i had a platter and had hundreds of eager hands reaching up to receive a piece and saying, "Auntie, me. Auntie, me." It really warmed my heart. THen I was able to serve cake to the staff. It was truely a special treat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Oct 23, 2007

Overwhelmingly I say that God is good. I am honestly surprised as to how much God had prepared my heart to be back here. In all honesty, I have been at peace since I left the states and the moment that I stepped out of the airplane in Entebbe I had the feeling, “Ah, I am back at home.” Uganda, as with many places now has become a place I feel comfortable in and able to my myself freely.
On the plane ride from Amsterdam to Entebbe there was a lady across the isle from me who I noticed had her Bible. During my ease dropping, I heard the Ugandan next to her say, “when we all reach heaven we will be remaining with our same people. Each tribe or group will stay together and not be with the others.” This opened the door for her to spend about an hour sharing the gospel and answering some questions. You might wonder why I am recalling this, but there were a few things that I learned from getting to just observe and overhear this conversation.
1) She had great gentleness and kept a casual tone. She was free in asking him questions about what he thought. I realized that if I were in her shoes I would have become too defensively toned. She spoke the truth in love by sticking to the truth but not acting as an enforcer or pusher.
2) There are questions that non-believers have that I never would have thought of. For example, one of the questions the Ugandan asked was, “If God is the Father in heaven, and the Father of everyone, then why are there so many different colors of people?” His reasoning was therefore that there must be a different God to serve each color (race).
3) It was interesting and encouraging to just have the role of praying for her as she shared truth with this man. She had no idea and my heart was blessed by it.

As we were leaving the plane, I said something to her about the conversation that she had. She is in Uganda because her and her church just started and orphanage in Jinja. It sounds much like LCH, so I gave her an open invitation to come and visit if she ever makes it to Mbale. It is very encouraging to know that God has not abandoned the thousands of orphans that live here, but it continually impressing on people’s heart how they can help.

Praise the Lord that all of my luggage arrived and I was greeted with warm hugs and greetings. We spent the next morning shopping in Kampala and then headed for Mbale. As I walked into the compound gate I found the little kids, Shakira, Jonathan, and Nicholas what ran up and hugged me shouting, “Na-talie, Na-talie!”

Today I spent resting, making sure that my body is recuperated from any jet lag and I hear that the kids are very eager to be reunited, as am I. My new room in the house is still in the finishing processes, but it is AWESOME. The way things worked out with extending a room to add a bathroom, the bathroom has turned out HUGE (it is probably bigger than the room I will sleep in and was definitely unexpected). Really, I feel quite spoiled. I have already had a great time getting to be with the girls in my house (Phoebe, Millicent, Nuruh). They have been busy catching me up on the last 3 months of life.

So things are very good here. I will be “shifting” (meaning moving) to my new room in the next couple days. The girls are very excited about this because they plan to visit and hang out there all the time. This is what I hope.

Thank you for your prayers for travel. And thanks for enduring this long note.

In Route

In route… Oct 20, 2007

Well I am sitting in the middle of the Detroit airport. This is definitely a unique place. Walking from my landed plane to the international terminal I came down into flashing lights and some “earthy” music I think it was a ploy to distract you from the ¼ mile walk you had. But it was nice. You enter into a tunnel of sorts and there are “light panels” on the side, next to the moving sidewalk. As the music plays the lights correspond. It was pretty neat but I will admit that I felt in the middle of a scene from the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.

So, I had this question all yesterday… how are you feeling? Excited? Nervous? And my answer yesterday was that I was feeling crazy in the sense that I could not define my emotions. It was a mix of everything and I was not sure if I was ready or in denial that I was leaving the next morning for another country, for a year.

Well, as I woke up this morning (the early 5:20am alarm- enough for the snooze to be hit twice before I actually had to get up) the thought crossed my mind… “Well Lord, this is the beginning of my life dream.” And then I was gently reminded that this is not the beginning. The beginning happened many years ago and this is merely a continuation of trusting and following an Awesome God with an Awesome plan who awesomely cares about ME.

I will admit that as I said goodbye one last time to my parents and Jac, I had the quiver lip walking down the hallway of the Austin airport. Tears filled my eyes, but overwhelmingly I felt at peace. And since then I have been excited and peaceful. I can’t wait to see those kids. I am eager to see how God will use me. I anticipate trials and times of feeling homesick, but I rest in the undeniable evidence that God has placed me here at this specific time for this specific purpose. Praise God that He is completely trustworthy.

So, I am about to venture again around the airport. Maybe I can find some ice cream for one last time. It’s ok, I am moving to Africa for a year (ha, this has been my excuse for ice cream almost every day this week. What can I say, I really like ice cream).

And Praise the Lord that all 5 of my checked pieces of luggage were under the weight!! I was really worried about them because they were very close to the limit. I have way too much stuff but hopefully it will all be used. You never know what you can’t get there.

So thank you for your prayers. When you read this I will be somewhat settled in and beginning my new season of life as a teacher. And- some have asked if it is too late to send in support money. The answer is NO. Please send it in (to Midland Bible Church) because I am still in need.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

(sigh)-- packing is a complicated issue

Well, I think I am about packed. I already packed last week but of course the job is never finished until it is time to run out the door. but I packed again today and it is a very tricky matter. You have to fit everything. And then you have to worry how much things are weighing. And so luckily i borrowed a scale. but then you weigh it and although i had a lot of space still, it weighed too much. so you have to shuffle things and do some more shuffling and then weigh it again. So, hopefully the airport scales take the lighter weight of things because i am right on the max for my suitcases. so i have cleverly thought what simple item i can take out and shove into my carryon if need be. denim weighs a lot so that is my choice.

And i feel i have nervious energy. Not that i have too much to do still, but i find myself feeling a little frantic about feeling like i should be doing something. And I can hear many friends voices telling me, "Just be still and relax." But since i am feeling a little frantic it is too hard to just sit still. For example, i tried to take a nap today but my mind kept racing through a million thoughts so i ended up getting up early from my "nap" that didn't involve any sleep. But really it is not that i feel nervious- exactly, but also excited and expectant and ancy. So, i guess I will just keep taking deep breaths and trusting God.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Waa HOO!!

Wow. I can't tell you how excited I am. God is an AWESOME provider. I got an update on my current funds for fundraising and haven't stopped dancing around the house since. I still have a long way to go, but Wow. He provides and uses the whole body of Christ to do so because we can't do it alone. And, there seems to continue to be things in my proposed budget that are less expensive than planned for... for example insurance!! So, I will continue to praise Him as I see Him moving.

And there are less than 2 weeks until I arrive in Uganda. Crazy. I have been packing and gathering and trying to fully embrace that i am leaving so soon. Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Trying things out

This is random.. I am just seeing what I can do so I can be ready to post great photos of the sweet kids at LCH. This is from the river run we did at Lake Buchanan in Aug.