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, March 30, 2010

Sports competition 2010

We had around 20 different children participate in this years Sub-county sports competition. The day started out with the sun blazing down on us and thousands of kids cheering their school athletes on. Competitions included track races (long and short), relays, discus, shot put, and javelin. Around 1pm the rains came, forcing us all to seek cover wherever possible. Everyone from LCH Primary School made it into an open classroom where we waited out the rain for an hour. Needless to say, after the rain the fields were quite muddy. But despite slippery conditions, 2 of our students made it to the next round of competition- District. Tomorrow LCH is cheering for Ivan K (in P7, who made it to Nationals last year) and Abel (P3- who escorted Ivan to Gulu last year and must have been motivated to make it himself this year). We are very proud of all our participants and saw that their participation boosted the confidence of many of the students to know that they can compete in and OUT of the classroom.

THE TASTE OF VICTORY - Ivan just as he was crossing the finish line and winning that race.

The P7 boys in the middle amidst the competition
Namakoye Brenda finishing lap 8 of 12

Pray for Ivan and Abel. If they succeed in district levels they will participate in the National Competition, which will actually be held in Mbale this year!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Love of God

The Lord is great and greatly to be praised. In reflection of my morning reading, I was struck by the words of "treasure" and "richness" that the Amplified Bible uses. Here is my journal entry from this morning:

"To me, though I am very least of all the saints, this grace (favor, privilege) was granted and graciously entrusted: to proclaim to the Gentiles the unending (boundless, fathomless, unsearchable, incalculable, and exhaust-less) riches of Christ [wealth which no human being could have searched out]." -- Ephesians 3:8

But surely these riches are not simply physical....

"Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted and built on love, you will, with all the saints, have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God." -- Ephesians 3:17-19

Oh Lord, the greatest riches in all the world is a relationship with you. And as with any earthly relationship between men, it must be based in love. Those friends that make life mean something are rooted in love. But how much more with you?

These verses say that the fullness of the love of Christ is beyond all knowledge. BUT the unending, boundless, fathomless, unsearchable, incalculable, and exhaust-less riches of Christ is that the Holy Spirit can enlighten my "hidden man/ inner self" (Himself indwelling my innermost being and personality) to the GRANDNESS of His love for me. What is "beyond all knowledge" can become knowledge to me, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The greatest riches I could ever have is a deeper glimpse of how wide and long and high an deep the love of Christ is towards me. His love surpasses mere knowledge. And this growing understanding of His love for me fills me with the utter fullness of God [the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself].

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly, [far over and above], all that I dare to ask or think (or pray of desire or hope for or dream)- to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen." -- Ephesians 3:20-21

Lord, change me through and through. Your Word is true and life giving. Your love is without end. Let me dwell in the exhaust-less riches of Christ through knowing and being confident in your love for me. Oh, that the depth and length and height and width of your love for me would circulate through my heart. Bring back to life those areas that have grown cold. Let me daily be filled to the utter fullness of You. Only then can my cup run over. Only then can You use me at my full potential. Only then will my light shine the brightest, for Your glory, because I will be secure and confident in Your unconditional love for me.

Again, I go back to Psalms 8:4-6, "What is man that you are mindful of him? And the son of man that you care for him? YET (although unworthy and nothing), You have made her a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned her with glory and majesty!" Praise You that even the greatest expressions of love on this earth come nowhere close to Your love for me.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee,
How great thou art! How great thou art!

Thank you Jesus! Amen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This and that.

I had forgotten about these photos on my big camera. Some are from LCH and the others are from around my house in Senior Quarters. I like to take a walk in the evening and see what I might be able to shoot. I hope you enjoy.

My dogs, Bandit (the big one) and Daisy
My favorite bird in Uganda, the Woodland Kingfisher.
It has brilliant blue wings with a bright orange beak.


Notice the girl jumping in yellow.
She was trying to take down the laundry but was a bit too short.

Hanging around.

Ivan, Florence, and Sarah

Our seamstress, Mama Flower (Margret)


Usually all cards turn into a game like war, but
I taught them the REAL rules of skipbo and they loved it!

The simple pleasures in life.

Sunset over the maize field.

A "Piki Piki", (aka motorcycle taxi), a common mode of transport

Matoke- plantain like bananas

The view, from my street, of Mt. Wanale

Sweet Daisy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A seemingly common phenomenon

A seemingly common phenomenon is never common cross culturally. This has proven to be true many times over, whether looking from an American or a Ugandan perspective.

I was sitting on the back veranda of the school during break time. Shouts of joy were all around, as some of the boys were kicking the ball in the field while other kids were playing cards or just talking near the classrooms. From a distance we heard a deep humming sound. Kids kept playing, but with their heads tilted slightly up. The sound got louder. The humming deeper. Then all of a sudden, there it was. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's.... a helicopter. "There is is! There it is!!" All playing stopped. All eyes were in the sky. Kids started jumping and waving and shouting, "Bududa! Bududa! Bye Bududa!" Some even threw stones to try to reach it! As the helicopter flew overhead and past the school, kids were running to follow its path. At this point, some of the older kids had returned from break and were teasing the younger ones, "Malo! Malo!" (translation: don't act like a villager). You would have thought that the helicopter was dropping sweeties out of the sky, the kids were so excited!

It was at that point that I realized this is just one of many occurances that are normal to me, but not to others. Thinking from my American perspective, of couse the sound of planes or helicopters overhead is fairly common- but not here. Actually, it is very rare to hear or see one. This also translates to my Ugandan perspecive- I (now) don't think twice when there is a man peeing on the side of the road in town or when every road through Mbale has potholes as big as a small fishing pond. But this is not normal in the American perspective. Again, a seemingly common phenomenon is never common cross culturally.

So, that is my story from the day. But, I will take this time to say that Mbale and LCH are fine and not directly effected by the recent mudslide that occured in the area. Though the rains are serious almost everyday, the mudslide was up in the mountains. I said the kids were shouting, "Bududa!" when the helicopter passed. Bududa is the area where the mudslides occured and the helicopters were going to bring relief aid. Please pray for this these people. Many have lost everything and are now displaced. Hundreds are still missing. Around 100 have died. And this is not an easy area for relief workers to go, seeing as roads are impassible. And I heard reports today that cholera has now hit that area. Please pray for them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February in pictures

February has been very busy. I hope you enjoy the photos...

I posted a while back about my namesake, baby Natalie. I recently got to visit her again. She has grown so much and is going to be very tall.

Me and Baby Natalie
Mike and his family.
The new school year began Feb. 1st. The kids were very eager to begin, being in a new class with a new teacher. And we have around 30 children that have joined our school from the community.

Thank you to everyone that has brought Banana Grams!! We use them a lot to practice spelling.

This year is a first for Lulwanda Primary School- we will be having our first "candidate class" that will sit for the national P7 exam that determines whether they are advanced into Secondary School. This is our P7 class.

I am teaching phonics to the P3, P4, and P5 and God has graciously brought a teacher for me to train in this program. She is doing very well and picking things up quickly. We had a "Back to School" football (soccer) match welcoming all the students and teachers back from the holidays.

A common "adventure" when visitors come is to drive to Tororo to see the baboons. Look at the baby underneath.And February has been full of birthdays. Sometimes in Uganda we have to be creative with the cake :)

These are two new friends of mine, Natasha (from Australia) and Tiffany (from London). God has quickly knit our hearts together and I am grateful for them.A trip to Sissyi Falls.
When there is no power to cool the sodas, the stream will do just fine.
Our silly dogs, Bandit and Daisy. They weren't the original reason for the hammock breaking, but they have done a good job at destroying it.
And that is it for February. We have a busy March planned as school is still in session and teams start arriving this month. But we are grateful for all that God brings our direction. Please keep praying for Nellie. She is doing well mentally, but the bone fragment is not properly fusing back together with the rest of her skull and that is causing fairly regular bleeding. We know that He who began a good work (and miracle) in her will bring it about to completion.