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, July 29, 2008

The past few weeks in photos

Janece came to visit with a team that taught the teachers at LCH. Nothing could be greater then getting to have a family member share the joy and love of these precious kids that I love so much.

But sadly, when that team left they took my sweet sister in the faith, Haley, with them. She had been here for about 2 months and was such a blessing to have around. I miss you, Haley!

I also hosted my first team, the Global Challenge team. I knew some of them from T bar M and was glad to have them here and hear stories about their adventures in China and India. They stayed at home with me and did a great work at LCH, painting the buildings.

That same week, the first group from Midland Bible Church (full of some of my really great friends) were in Mbale doing a church plant. Although my time was limited, I did get to chat and catch up a bit on life in Midland. It was so good to see them.

All the while I was still teaching Phonics to my little groups. It is so fun to see your students run to class because they are excited to learn.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!! The Global Challenge group left some money in which we had an ice cream party with all the kids and staff. They loved it but were a little disappointed when they realized they couldn’t keep it for later and had to then drink their melted ice cream. Delicious all the same!

I also had my own gomas made. It is the traditional dress of the Buganda tribe that they wear to ceremonies (or if you are a grandma you wear it to dress up when you go to town). I was so excited. Glenn chose the cloth for me and surprised me with it. Good taste! I also got to do a little bargaining in the whole sale market in Kampala for the shoes and jewelry.

This past weekend we went to an introduction ceremony for one of Glenn’s friends and it was in the mountains. So beautiful. And since it was my first appearance in my new gomas, I was glad that I was not the only Mzungu there.

Part of the dowry gifts for the bride’s family.

And I found this cool grasshopper- the most colorful I have ever seen. So being the master photographer that I am, I caught it in a leaf, brought it home, and then posed it on these flowers. Wow. Good I know.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thoughts From Janece in America

Yesterday was the first day back to work and back to my reality. But thoughts of Africa are still very fresh in my mind. I am so thankful for the experiences God provided through the hospitality of his children in Uganda. Glenn and his parents opened their home and treated me as one of their own. The children and staff at Lulwanda were welcoming beyond words. And most of all, it was a great blessing to spend time with Natalie and see Africa through her eyes.

My co-workers in Texas are very interested in hearing about my trip to Africa so I am planning a “brown bag lunch” to show pictures and talk about opportunities for filling some of the needs I observed during my brief time there. In addition to introducing them to the good work that is taking place at Lulwanda Children’s Home, I will talk about bread, books and bed sheets. Let me explain.

For those of you who do not know, my primary project at the children’s home was to show the aunties how to bake bread using a heavy duty mixer my neighbor Jan provided. I was holding my breath that the transformer I purchased at Frye’s would properly convert Uganda’s higher voltage electrical current. When we flipped the switch, the mixer began turning just like it did in my kitchen back home. The aunties believe the mixer, which can mix at one time enough dough for up to six loaves of bread, will allow them to cut their weekly purchases in half. Now, my job is to raise money for a new mixer, since the one my neighbor donated is old and will not withstand constant usage.


There is also a need for hardback children’s books preferably about Africa because the children can relate more easily to books that depict situations from their daily lives. Mike and Mary Thrasher from Cypress Creek Church in Wimberley, Texas are leading the effort to establish a library at the children’s home, and have secured space on a large container for shipping books to Uganda around the first of the year. My co-workers have expressed an interest in helping the children and I will encourage them to start collecting books.

I cherish the time I spent reading to the children at the home, primarily the three and four-year-olds. They might not have understood all of the text, but their eyes gobbled up the colorful illustrations that filled every page. They loved to point out objects they recognized and describe what they were seeing. They will benefit greatly from the library Mike and Mary are starting.



The third “B” stands for bed sheets. Hayley, a student from Texas State University has taken on a project to meet basic needs of children who live in a slum area of Mbale called Namatala. The pictures depict the deprivation that is the reality of these children’s daily lives. Natalie and I accompanied Hayley and Mama Aida to distribute bed sheets, toothpaste and toothbrushes to the children. You can also observe Hayley gathering profiles of the children in order to seek sponsors from America to provide financial support. A little more than a dollar a day will meet a child’s basic needs and provide for their education. We cannot help everyone but we can help who we can. Many friends in Texas are also interested in learning more about this effort.


There were also lighthearted moments on my trip, so I will end with this “fun” picture. I had the outfit made by a tailor in Mbale and my new friend Margaret tied the scarf on my head. I was told the outfit was quite “smart” for Sunday morning church, where I felt right at home.


Thanks for the opportunity to share my experiences. I encourage anyone who has the vaguest interest in taking a mission trip to Africa to act on the impulse and do it. You will be a better person for it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I have been in a weird mood the past few days. I think it is because it is the first time in about 3 weeks that i have not been on the move. But it is also weird because i feel like everyone has come and gone. It was a taste of being back home, in America- surrounded by friends that i am familiar with from home, staying at the hotel and eating food that is like from home, having conversations that had familiarity. I had gotten very used to being a Ugandan Mzungu, used to doing things on my own, used to being a minority. But my time with all my visitors was such a blessing and so fun. So I wouldn't trade it for the world. But it was as if America was in Uganda for a brief 3 weeks and now has gone back across the ocean.

I am SO grateful to have people that I live with and work with being so open and like family to me. I definitely am NOT all by myself and am blessed with Glenn that I get to do things with. I guess I am just on "detox" from visitors. Ha.

Other random thoughts:
- rainy season is officially over, but the past week it has rained at least half of the week. A heavy down pour and then it is gone.
- I have seen Kampala 6 times in 3 weeks. Mama and Pastor are awesome for the continual traveling they do ALL summer long, hosting teams.

-Eph 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."

I am doing the Beth Moore- Believing God study and this was what I was on today. God has freely given, bestowed, pronounced blessing upon His children. And not just any blessing, but EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING in the HEAVENLY PLACES! How unworthy am I for this. But what is more amazing is that His blessing does not always mean that I get what I am wanting, but part of His blessing is a restriction from what I am wanting. Although at first this seems bad, what a HUGE HELP that is that He doesn't give me what I want but what He knows is best! And the power in His blessing is not that he just thinks it, BUT that he uses HIS voice and in the words he speaks- power always comes forth. The Lord has spoke blessings over me. I am humbled and amazed and definitly still absorbing this thought. Am I deserving? NO. Can I think of a million reasons why this should not be? YES. But "How great a love the Father has LAVISHED on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are." (1 John 1:3). He is good and my sustainer. I praise Him for that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Life is rushing by

Wow. I feel like I am spinning in circles… back and forth to Kampala (a 4 hours distance one way) about 3 times in the past week and a half, and one more to go this Sunday. But God is faithful and good and restores my energy every day. I love the miracle of His new mercies every morning and how I truly can go to bed and wake up the next day with it being completely a new day.

So biggest news is that Janece has come and gone. I can’t believe the time is already up. It was so fun to have her here. I know that God is doing a lot in her and I am confident that He is working in my family. Praise Him for that. There has been nothing more exciting then having my first family member get the full experience of my life in Uganda. ON top of that, for her to (through the experience and relationships) really understand my heartbeat and reasoning behind why I love being here. God is so so faithful. I know we said that she would post more but we were really too busy having fun to do it. Sorry for lying. But I think she is planning to type up her thoughts and then I will post them so you can get a different perspective. IT was an awesome trip because she was able to experience every aspect of life here. From LCH to a church plant crusade and opening, to visiting Namatala (the slum area) and passing our sheets, to the busy streets of Kampala and shopping the black market area. Also seeing my local hang outs., staying in my room, and enjoying the beauty of Sissyi Falls. It was awesome. And the Aunties love her and love the bread that she taught them to make.

Also, new news is that my kindred spirit in the faith, Haley, has left. It was sad and there is already a lack without her here. She did awesome work at Covenant School and was such a sweet and fun sister to me. I am praying again and wondering who God will bring next (and how long their stay will be).

And, I have a group visiting me right now. They are doing a world race and came from India and are going to Brazil from here. In the past 5 days they have done a great work at painting some of the buildings and cleaning and re-lining the basketball court. It has been fun to see some familiar faces from TbarM though my time has greatly been divided because Janece was here and I took her back to the airport. But we are having fun and I have enjoyed some good games of farkle dice.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get to spend some time with Midland Bible Church (my sending church) who are also here right now. I don’t know why God planned for EVERYONE (that is part of a team) to be here the same 2 weeks (I have been here for 9 months with no visitors). But I know it will be a retrospect lesson.

Otherwise- I am a bit on autopilot with so many visitors. Mama and Pastor are awesome for handling tons of teams ALL summer long. God is teaching me about the power of the tongue, how it can bless and curse. I am praying for more awareness over that and the power of my Words in speaking scripture and true. The Bible does say, I believe, therefore I speak and powerful things happened. SO, I love that I will forever be a learner in the Lord.

I hope you are well. Thanks for reading and praying.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Natalie & Janece!!!

Sights on the way to the Falls.

Our first full day we visited a primary school connected with the church and played games with the children.

Her face is representative of all the children who live at the Home where Natalie works.

Children in the village at the crusade (church dedication).