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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update on Nellie

Many have asked so this might be the easiest way to answer all of you at the same time about how NELLIE is doing…

Last I heard, yesterday she had another operation, but it was not necessary to open the whole skull this time. The problem is that puss has built up on her brain from an infection that she got in her sinuses (and apparently the infection has not died yet) and the puss had returned. There is still a piece of her skull that will not be replaced until the swelling goes down.

She is doing remarkably better than she was, and started eating food again and can move her right arm. But she is still not speaking. I hear that the area of the brain affected was the part that controls speech and the right arm area.

So, overall prayer warriors continue battling because the miracle is not yet fully complete. Pray for endurance and rest and health for Edward and wife as they are so stressed I am sure. And pray the Lord’s covering and provision at LCH as our administrator has been out for a while now. He is present and working at LCH and at the hospital. Praise Him for that!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mob Justice

There are certain things in life that are absolutely impossible for you to have predicted that you would experience. Don’t worry, the title “mob justice” was not applied towards me...

I really am appreciative for most of the unexpected situations that the Lord brings my way because it usually opens my eyes to reality, but there are other times that the world seems just so harsh. We were driving to church this morning and on the road we start seeing tree branches. This is the normal signaling on the road to let drivers know to slow down because there is a delay/block/accident in front. Looking ahead I see a group of people. This too is normal because there are ALWAYS tons of people on the streets because most people don’t have cars. So they are either on foot or riding a boda boda (bicycle taxi) or a pici pici (motorcycle taxi). But this time I saw the police also standing on the side of the road. Maybe and accident, maybe a thief… or maybe something else. Well, as we got closer it was obvious that it was something a little more dramatic, because I could see a body lying on the road. A dead body. At that point I decided I didn’t want to see the full details so I turned my head as we passed.

As I was thinking about it, I didn’t really know how to feel. It seemed a bit unreal. The story is that the dead man had stolen something from a house across the street and although mob justice is not technically legal here, it does happen. To be honest, at some point I think mob justice would do America good because then people would have a little more fear of committing crimes. But on the other hand I think mob justice is a bit harsh because the people have the say on the punishment and there is no standard to be held to. Death was a little irrational in this case.

So, overall I pray that the Lord keeps my heart tender and that the world would not be corrupted to not be unaffected by things like this. I truly rejoice that in this harsh world there is an everlasting hope in Jesus and that my true home is NOT here on earth, but that I am only a foreigner and traveler until I make it to the heavenly kingdom.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Give thanks in all circumstances

There are times, here in Uganda, that I just have to force myself to eat something because I know that my body needs it. Not because the food is bad, just because it is always the same thing… STARCH and PROTEIN. Rice and beans, Matoke and meat, posher and gnuts. Where are the vegetables??? AHHH! Don’t we know about the 5 food groups?

Those were my feelings today at lunch as I forced down the matoke and beans. (Dad- don’t even think of making beans when I come home!!) And in my great annoyance today I also realized how ugly and ridiculous my flesh can be. Hello?? Give thanks in all circumstances and especially for any food that you get in Africa because there are tons of starving kids that I see everyday that would love to eat my food! Oh, who am I that God is mindful of me? Especially when I can be so ungrateful and so bratty.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Praise the Lord


So maybe I shouldn’t be so excited but I totally am…. I now have internet in my room. Wow. Thank the Lord for this wonderful blessing. I feel like I will now be a little more connected and able to talk with and keep up with people. The wait was because the internet that is cheap enough for my budget was based on this phone and cord that were no longer on the market, meaning that you had to find them on the black market. In all honesty I don’t even know where to begin to look for something on the black market here… but graciously the Lord provide a way and a person with connections and now I am happily sitting on my bed and adding this post!! God is good.

So PLEASE download skype and add me to your list. My user name is natalierolf (note that there is no “e” on my last name here)

ALSO--- I have felt the favor of the Lord and His gracious hand giving me patience and guidance for the past 3 months while I have been applying for my work permit for Uganda. Upon entering the country I was told that beyond my visa I would also need a work permit. Dismissing the idea for a few months, the Lord impressed upon my heart the need to go through the technicalities of the government, especially if I wanted to return for another year (which I am). So, where to begin. Who knows. You would think they would give you a paper upon entering the country with what the steps would be for this required permit… but no. Nothing. God moment #1… But I did meet the Mzungu church of Christ group and having had many workers come in for years, they had a beautiful document that said all the needed requirements and then a step by step detailed instruction of the process. And it has definitely been a process: 3 months from the initial turning in, 4 trips to Kampala, 1 rejection, 3 come back laters, 300k more shillings than expected and one rude lady who told me with great attitude, “Honey, can’t you see it is lunch break and we will NOT see you now.” I could go into all the details, but it is probably a bit boring. God moment #2… when I first turned in the documents they rejected them, saying I needed an official letter from GICF requesting the immigration office to grant me a work permit. God knew and this week Mr. Rob (the pres of GICF) was in Uganda and able to do that for me. God moment #3… I had a friend come in on Thursday evening, allowing me the daytime to pay for my permit and she left on Sunday night, allowing me Monday to pick up the big cahoona. God moment #4… the work permit was 300 thousand more shillings then I had planned for, but my Provider knows and I had brought extra money to pick up my friend and Mama and Pastor were in Kampala, allowing me to borrow the balance until we got home. I will admit it was stressing though and for some reason I had taken my Visa card out of my wallet so I really had no option but His provision. Funny moment… after paying the work permit fee at the bank, you return an hour later to wait in a huge crowd of people for the lady behind the counter to call your name. I could only giggle to myself and smile while thinking, “Surely there is a more efficient way to do this than us being crammed like sardines straining to hear our names so we don’t get passed by.” After about 30 min and hearing nothing, wondering whether my name had already been called, a lady came and asked for all the receipts of those who had paid before 1pm. I think I paid at 12:55 so I thought I would give it to her and try. Sure enough, God provided again and I quickly got my official receipt and was able to leave the sardine can. God moment #5… I returned Monday, knowing full well that the lady had said it wouldn’t be ready until Wednesday, despite my pleas of coming from far. But I had been praying for the Lord’s favor all weekend and once again, He shined down upon me. As I arrived at noon, like expected, my permit had not been finished. In my sweetest and most pathetic tone I tried explaining to the guy that I came from far and was returning today. He told me to come back at 2. Well I arrive at 2:45 and it was still not done… needing to be leaving to for the bus park in 15 minutes. All in all, the Lord poured out His favor through these officials and I now have my long awaited work permit!!! Praise the Lord. I know that although at times it was trying and frustrating and a very long wait, the Lord showed me such grace though it all and I rejoice that I have been able to pave the way for other missionaries that come long term to work with the church here or LCH. Praise God that He uses all situations.


LCH’s administrator’s daughter, Nelly, had emergency brain surgery Thursday morning. Obviously emergency brain surgery is never good but it was especially shocking to all because we were all thinking she was suffering from Malaria and that is what she was being treated for. But, again, I have seen God’s grace and hand through so much of the situation. She was taken to Kampala on Tuesday, still thinking that it was Malaria that refused to be healed. By Wednesday night she wasn’t speaking, lost movement in her right arm, and was convulsing. Thursday morning, after the CAT scan revealing pus on the brain nerves, they did surgery, not knowing what the outcome would be. As of this morning, she has been able to turn herself, she can feel pricks in her fingers, and when they were drawing her blood she was crying and the doctors told her to cry out to her mom before they would stop. Sure enough she cried, “Mama, mama!” What a huge step. Please continue to pray for Nelly’s full and complete recovery, for the doctors to know more of what caused this, for peace for the parents, and for smoothness at LCH as the administrator is away. God’s hand is over this girl. Praise Him for that.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sweet Moments

** I really just started this with the intentions for my own personal benefit, but thougt these stories would be fun for you to read, so here are a few....

Sweet Moments

There are always sweet moments that bless my heart. I just do a bad job at acknowledging, remembering, appreciating, and documenting them. So this is an attempt to remember the daily blessings, sweet moments, and WOWs (worthy of worship) of what the Living God is doing.

Aug. 5, 2008

#1 Today I was blessed by having the afternoon a bit free since P5 were taking tests. I was resting on a woven mat under a little tree/shrub, listening to music. About half an hour I was there and then I heard this little voice say from a distance, “Auntie Na-tal-lie?” I just kept my eyes closed but about 5 minutes later I hear my name called again. In honesty, it was a bit brave of this little voice to come and “disturb” my sleeping. The Aunties wouldn’t have been happy about that. But I looked up the second time to see Beatrice about a yard away, staring at me. I knew this was a great moment to give and get some love so I called her over. We had a great time laying on the mat, listening to my music together. Then I picked a part of the bush above us that was long and fuzzy, like a caterpillar, knowing that it seems that all Ugandan kids are afraid of caterpillars. I told her that was what it was and although she had seen it was not, she squirmed and squealed as I moved it along her arm. We continued our caterpillar play for awhile and then competed to see who could find the longest one. It was a simple but sweet moment that reminded me how HUGE my love is for these kids. They have captured my heart in a way no one else, other than Jesus, has. God is love and I see that characteristic of Him through these kids.

#2 I was a bit disappointed when I arrived at the gym today to see a big sign on one of the tread-mills and the other one totally dismembered. It has been 4 days since I last ran, so I was really craving a good run. But this inability of technology turned out to be a huge blessing because I went out and ran around Senior Quarters. I had my headphones in but could still hear a few comments and see the eyes of people doing a double-take as they saw Mzungu running. I kept going, enjoying the change of scenery from the mirrors and sweaty men at the gym. At one point I was joined by this cute little girl in a blue dress. She was “walking” her toy, a wheel sort of thing attached to a wire- much like a leash. As I passed her running, she too started running beside me with a huge grin on her face.

Aug. 6, 2008
#1 God is funny in how he can bring things around full circle sometimes. This is a very lame example of that but a fun story. Actually, the memory has nothing really to do with full circle things, it just was an afterthought. The story is that I had finished with my classes and wanted to spend some time being silly with the kids, since it seems that during school I stay very busy teaching and preparing and don’t always get time to just move around and play. So my first stop was with a group of boys passing the football (soccer ball). We passed in a circle for awhile and then it was time to move on for me. I then found some boys making mud houses in the garden. They were showing me and then the orange trees caught my eye. There are many oranges this season. God is blessing us with a harvest. So, the boys wanted to show me where the big ones were. I have picked up that there are a few boys that are quite the little farmers and they go to my garden every morning and check to see how the second round of zuccinnis are growing. I think they might do this with the oranges too because they knew exactly where the biggest ones were. Side note-- oranges here are not orange skinned at all. They are very green and resemble a lime skin (in the states). – Near the last tree there has been a spot of follage that I have noticed is NEVER cut when workers are slashing the grass, so I asked the kids why? Passion fruits were growing there and they were looking for something within the grass when Ambrose squeeled and shouted “a kumese, a kumese!” I would have jumped away in normal circumstances, seeing as I don’t know the Luganda word for snake, but I knew exactly what he had seen. The full circle is that earlier this week I learned the word, “a kumese” when I was calling baby Ester a little mouse. I asked what it was in Luganda and was told, “amese” but “ku” means small. So, God is good and I knew Ambrose had seen a mouse. This got the boys excited and on a mission to find that kumese. We searched and searched, every now and then with a little squeal and ,” It ran under that rock!” Finally it surfaced out of the bushes and into the short grass. What a cute little mouse. It was literally the size of a quarter and just so small and cute. Well, we got a half of a water bottle and scooped it inside. The kids were so excited. “Let’s go show Auntie Nusula. Let’s show Auntie Christine.” Ha. The “a kumese” and the kids made me smile today.

#2 I was running this evening around Senior Quarters, the neighborhood near the gym--- the treadmill at the gym wasn’t working properly and I just had a craving to run—and it is much more entertaining to run outside than on the tread mill. Today I had my eyes out for President Museveni to pass by, seeing as he is in Mbale for the circumcision (rite of passage) ceremonies and I was passing by the presidential estate. I also was just watching for the boda boda (bicycle “taxis”) and picky picky (motorcycle taxis) so they wouldn’t hit me with their sometimes crazy driving. One thing I realized while running is that there are things now that are common to me that are really very out of the ordinary for American culture. For example, as I was running, I had to dodge a few goats that were crossing the road and intentionally moved to the other side fo the road when I was passing some cows because I feared they might pee on me. There are no animals along town lake except man’s best friend. But anyways, what made me laugh is that I passed by a herd of cattle and then I passes their remaining. One caught my eye because someone, surely a young kid, had stuck a straw in the poo and it was sitting upright. Maybe I am immature, but it did make me giggle.