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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mzungu in the garden

Ha. Just thinking about this past week makes me laugh. Especially thinking about the faces on the villagers who would pass by and see me, mzungu, digging in the garden. That is right my friends. I spent 2 afternoons with the P5 class and some other kids hoeing, raking, planting, and watering many little seeds. Hopefully the biblical principal, "you reap what you sow" will be very true in the practical sense.

Day one was very funny. The kids were out in their school uniforms and flip-flops acting busy at first until Teacher Jimmy and I put some order to the madness. We had groups picking trash, groups raking, groups making little hills to plant the squash. The rest of the kids were very eager to get their hands on the seeds to actually do the planting. So, imagine me in my pink dress, out there with the kids, passing 4 seeds out at a time as each kid stood by their designated "hill" to do the planting. Once the seeds hit the ground there were at least 2 kids "fighting" over who would be the first to cover the seeds with dirt. I had plenty of helping hands, that is for sure.

Well, rainy season has begun and so it usually rains after lunch for about 45 min and then stops. But this day the sky was clear and the sun was hot. BUT all of a sudden, huge raindrops started falling from the sky. It was a sneak attack and so comical to see how fast all of us gathered our seeds and ran inside to take cover.

Writing this out it sounds a little stupid, maybe you had to be there. But it was definitely a point of the week that brought joy to my heart.

Otherwise, I am good. I love teaching my little phonics classes. I get the kids from their main classroom and they run to my class and wait for me to arrive so they can say, "Good Morning Teacher Natalie". I love these kids. And I have been making friends with some Americans who have been here a while. THere is a big group of them working together and they do fun, familiar things like Friday night pancakes, so last night i was there, eating blueberry pancakes and watching a movie. After I spent the night with 3 of the girls. SO, it is good to have Ugandan and American friends in Uganda.

That is it for now. Love you and thanks for praying.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Message me!!!

This might seem a little old school for most, but I have realized that a good way to communicate with some of you back at home (especially if you are late night owls) is through instant messaging.

So, add me to your list…. on MSN messenger my screen name is "aggienat" and on Yahoo messenger, my screen name is "rolfenatalie".

Again, there is an 8 hour time difference… where i am living in the future that you have not yet entered into… and I don’t always have internet access, but maybe it will allow me to talk to a few of you sometimes.

Hope to talk to you soon!

Sipi Falls

Last week there was a visitor in town and at the end of his trip Glenn and I got to take him to Sipi Falls. It was so beautiful! We did a little bit of hiking and it was nice to feel back in my “element”. Plus I have heard much about the falls but had not yet had a chance to see it for myself so I was very happy to have this opportunity. As we were hiking under the falls and through the rocks, I was amazed at what a beautiful God that we have. Truly ALL creation sings of His beauty and majesty. I can’t imagine life without an awareness of his goodness and presence. He is awesome!

1, 2, 3, jump. This was the boy’s bathing hole, so having had my experience in Cameroon with water-sliding in what turned out to be the boys bathing hole, I was a little reluctant to get very close to take this picture, but I just couldn’t miss the moment.

A lady washing her clothes at the top of the waterfall.

We got to hike into a “cave” behind the falls.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Washing Feet

Washing Feet.

So bear with this random thought, but I have been pondering it for quite a while now, just not had a chance to write out my thoughts. I know you remember the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, but let me remind you just incase.

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, he
said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?” “You call Me Teacher
and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have
washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given
you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” – John 13:12-15

“For who is greater, he who sit at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sit
at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” -- Jesus in Luke 22:27

If you have grown up in church I am sure that there are different angles that you have heard the story of washing feet preached on. Overwhelmingly a lesson from this story is that Jesus did not come to the world to be served, but to serve others. Well, I am understanding a little different perspective of this story….

The dirt streets and paths of Mbale probably somewhat resemble those of the streets where Jesus and his disciples walked. There is not a day that has passed by that my feet have not been coated with a thin (or sometimes thick) coat of orangish-brown dirt. You can’t help it here. Although the roads in town are paved, the path from the school to the home is not, neither is the path leading to the house from where the van parks. What I have realized since being here are two things…

1. maybe I was not very hygienic in the states because it was only on rare occasions that I would actually scrub my feet. Usually the water coming from the shower was enough to make my feet clean (since all my pathways were paved). But here… the water doesn’t cut it. You must scrub, and I mean a hold onto the faucet handle, lift your foot up sideways, and really scrub the tops and bottoms of your feet (since I am always in sandals).

2. Everyday I am reminded of the depth of the act of service of Jesus when he washed his disciples’ feet. I would guess that their feet were even dirtier than mine. Who knows what dirt they had walked through or what animal had passed their previously. First off, to kneel down and even look at someone’s feet is a big deal for some people who don’t really like feet. But to kneel down and scrub someone else’s dirty, smelly feet is another story. Think about it. This was truly a sign of great love, devotion, closeness, and service that Jesus did for His disciples. Jesus even washed Judas Iscariot’s feet, knowing that he would betray him. I don’t know that I could easily wash my best friend’s feet after they had walked all day on dirt paths, much less to wash someone’s feet that would betray me.

All in all, I am reminded to double-check my attitude and outlook daily. Am I seeking to serve or to be served? Am I willing to humble myself for the sake of another? I pray that I would follow the example of Jesus Christ in everything I do, setting an example to believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

So maybe next time you are showering and it comes time to scrub your feet, remember what it was like for God-made-flesh to humble himself (one of many times) and serve those around him. Praise God for practical lessons in the faith.

PS. I hope each of you who read this are doing well. Remember, if you are reading this you are staying fairly caught up with me, BUT how are you doing and what is new with you? Yes, I am talking to you. Please keep me updated on life. I will not be overwhelmed with emails so please write because I want to hear. (aggienat@hotmail.com) Thank you for praying and thank you for sharing in this faith walk with me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

God is Good!!

This is the photo that was shown at church that I had to hold back tears when I saw the first time, well honestly even now too. The tree is the telling landmark to be compared within the next picture.

A glimpse of LCH now. God is so so good!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The team that just came to visit: Don, Ann, Melissa, Me, DeeDee, Lary

I went with the team to look at a school in town and we found some sweet kids there. My philosophy here is that if I am going to be stared at, I might as well make things interesting. So I often try to teach the kids fish lips.

This is me and Esther. She is a twin here and so adorable, but she is also a pill bug. I was trying to get her to smile for a picture and the best medicine for a pouty face is tickling.

I was saying goodbye to Nora and DeeDee snapped this picture. (TT-notice the bag…I put it to good use everyday)

Me and my precious kids… all 90 of them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A sweet wind of refreshment…

I love the Lord and His timing and how He knows just what you need at just what time. God is good all the time. Praise Him for knowing me better than I know myself. Last week I was blessed to get to spend the week with a group of 5 Americans from Texas who were working at LCH all week. Truly it was a blessing and God knew that I would be needing time to be with some other mzungus and to just have some fun and silly conversations, laughs, and inside jokes, as well as some time for some heart to heart conversations and prayer time. And, you never know how God will work in certain situations. He knit my heart instantly with my new friend, Melissa, who I shared a room with. She blessed my heart and I hope I was able to do the same for her. In addition it was so great to get to have other people with my cultural perspective to discuss things about the children’s home and to share in their love for these kids.

Towards the end of the week I asked the team what the Lord has been teaching them during their time here. After everyone answered, the question came back to me. It was kind of funny seeing as this was not just a one-week experience for me. But then something vividly stood out to me. At the church service, Larry preached and at the end he was sharing how Mbale Pres. Church is the hub of so many things that the Lord is doing in and around Uganda. At one point a picture appeared on the wall (PTL-the team brought a projector for LCH so the kids (all 90) can easily watch a movie all together, not on the computer screen). This picture was of the plot of land before LCH was in existence. It was only a dream and prayer at this time. But to see the land undeveloped with ladies walking through the area with hoes and bananas on their head in the picture and then get to see what a beautiful place that God has made it and how much God is moving there… I was in awe. It truly is awesome--- awe inspiring.

So… to the team that just left… thank you for your love, encouragement, laughter, and all around blessing. I truly cherished our time together.

And to the rest of you reading… please continue to pray for the kids, the staff, me, and all that the Lord is doing. Pray for unity in the spirit and like-mindedness in the purpose of why we are all at LCH… for the kids. Thanks for staying up-to-date with me and please email me so that I can stay up-to-date with you.