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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Special Project

To my friends, ministry partners, and blog followers,

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. What a wonderful God we serve! It is almost beyond my comprehension that I have lived in Uganda for close to three years. How faithful He has been.

I have seen the hand of God over and over in the lives of the children and staff at Lulwanda Children’s Home and in my own life. I count it an honor and privilege to have been deemed of use in the work God is doing in Mbale, Uganda.

As many of you know, for the past two years I have been serving at Lulwanda Children’s Home Primary School as the phonics teacher.

I have seen great fruits from my labor; students in the upper classes are now able to sound out and read any word they come across, even if it was not a rote memory word from their earlier years of study.

I am also pleased to let you know about a new opportunity to switch from teaching phonics to taking on new responsibilities. I have accepted the position of Program Coordinator for LCH. I will be playing a more active role in collaborating and organizing different programs for the school, home, and clinic. In addition, I will take on a larger role of hosting visitors and keeping sponsors connected. I am very excited to see what God has planned for me in this new position.

In light of this new position and a deepening commitment to call Uganda home, I now have a need for my own car. I am inviting you to be a part of this special fundraising project. In order to get a trustworthy and durable car, I am aiming to raise $13,000.

As many of you experience everyday, a car would allow me the freedom of mobility. I would use it to travel the 25 minutes to work, to run work-related and personal errands, to travel to church and other ministry activities, and it would make evening-time discipleship and fellowship possible with other households in the missionary community. In addition, my own car would decrease/eliminate my dependency on the transportation of others, of the overcrowded van, and of public means, therefore allowing me a more reliable, safe, and time-conscious means of transport.

I have committed to the next step of being a long-term missionary and feel that my own car is necessary to aid me in fulfilling my duties. Would you prayerfully consider joining me financially in this special fundraising project?

Thank you for all your prayers and support. May God bless you.

Faithfully serving,

Natalie Rolfe

To partner with me in this special fundraiser, please make checks out to MBC with “Natalie Rolfe-car fund” in the memo line. You may mail your check to:

Midland Bible Church
2800 N. A St.
Midland, TX 79705

or drop it by the church office. Your gift is tax-deductible. Thanks again!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

St. Kizito's baby home

First off, how can you resist a face like this??
Simple answer... you can't. Everyone loves a baby- from child to grandparent, there is just something about babies that take us all captive. I recently had the opportunity to escort a team and some of our LCH kids to St. Kizito's Baby Home. I have written about it before, but as a recap: This home is under the Catholic church and is run by some wonderful sisters and staff members who take in abandoned babies or those whose parents are in extreme poverty and cannot manage to care for the baby. There are currently around 50 babies, ages newborn to 4 years old living at St. Kizito. Truely, God's hand is upon these children because without the care receive here, they would likely not make it through their first days or weeks of life.
One of the first children we met at the home was wearing a shirt that our LCH kids had donated to the home. They were surprised and happy to see that although they too are orphans, they were making a difference in other orphans' lives.

Mary playing with Sebastian

Mukasa and Derrick pushing scooters around with their new friends.

Again, everyone loves a baby. These girls (Florence, Mary, and Peace) could not get enough of this little one.

Derrick and his new friend.

Who can stick their tounge out the farthest?

Peace and Mary giving some love to these little one.

The bright little girl with the beautiful smile is Nakito. She was my favorite little one. As soon as she saw me enter the room she would waddle over with her arms wide open for a hug. Ibelieve the Sisters said these two are twins.

Florence pushing the baby on the swing.

more swinging

Florence and Peace

All the LCH kids with Sister Mary.
(Mary, Florence, Mike, Mukasa, Derrick, and Peace)

We pray that the Lord would continue to strengthen these babies and the workers who tirelessly effort to give them more than they would have in "the real world". We also pray that as the babies are in the home, their parents (if they are there) would be wise and responsible with their money that they may become financially stable and ready to recieve their child back into the home once they reach the age of four.
Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I spoke too soon...

No need to fear, but sharing so that you can be praying for me. I am sick with Malaria. I didn't feel normal yesterday, got tested, but the test came negative. So, i went home, but over the night I had awful body fatigue and chills. Today, my sweet roommate stopped at the pharmacy to bring me some medicine before church. Better safe than sorry. So, I believe (in Jesus' name) that I am on the road to recovery. It just isn't fun to feel this way. Again, NO NEED TO WORRY. I am being treated and in good hands. Though malaria seems scary from an American perspective, it is VERY common here. Just pray for quick and full recovery.

But it has given me a new perspective and sensitivity to the hundred or thousands that live in the village and are too far from a clinic to get tested or treatment. Lord, have mercy on these people. You alone are the doctor of all doctors and can heal with or without medicine.

On a VERY DIFFERNT NOTE--- but while I am thinking of it...

Please be collecting old (or new) bathing suits for our kids. Specifically, the size for 9-14 year olds. I have enjoyed taking the older kids swimming, and they look forward to it. BUT the hotel has a "strict policy" that the kids must have proper swimming "costumes". I don't know how long I will be able to ride on their grace for the kids to swim in tshirts and shorts. So, as you are wondering what to do with last years suit, think of LCH.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My life...

I appreciate what a friend said once to me when I felt like I was too busy to keep up with blogs and emails. She said that meant that I was fully living and experiencing Uganda. This is true. With what you might ask?? Well here are a few things:

We are in the second week of Term 2 of the school year, so my days are busy preparing lessons and teaching the children, as well as the other random tasks that occur within the day at LCH.

I look forward to the children's break and lunch time because I am able to more freely talk with them to see how their day is going and what they have been learning. It is wonderful to get so many, "Good morning, Teacha." and little hugs.

I recently got to be part of a wonderful weekend for both of my friends, Sylvia and Eriyakim. Sylvia is a coworker and fellow youth leader with me. It was a wonderful wedding- the most fun I have been to yet in Uganda.

They introduced on Friday and got married on a Saturday (which is very unique). It was an extremely busy and tiresome weekend, but so much fun to get to rejoice with them.

I was asked to be one of the "fake brides" in the introduction and also to be a "sister" that accompanies her out. To be honest, I was more than excited. I have always wanted to be a fake bride in an introduction and this was the best one I could have been in because there were so many of my friends, coworkers, and fellow church members there. It was also very interesting to observe an introduction from the "insiders" perspective, instead of just an invited guest.

The first set of "fake" brides.
Escorting Sylvia (in the pink)
Serving cake to the guests.
Seeing as can goods or packages are not readily available here, I have been trying out different recipes to find the best ones. I got a brownie recipe from a British friend that had raved reviews from her housemates. After attempting but failing the first time, I decided to go to her house and watch her make them- with the intention of eyeballing the measurements because her recipe came in grams and ounces. The result of her brownies-- delicious. So, I went home and tried again. Still a failure. Maybe I just need to make sure the measurements are correct? So, I borrowed their scale and weighed out all the ingredients and then transferred them into the cups that we use. Result: failure again. Well maybe we are at a higher altitude and I need more flour? Or maybe my baking powder is old? Or maybe the oven isn't really the temperature that the thermometer is reading? So, I checked or corrected these things and tried the brownies again. Result: failure #4. On Monday I borrow a pan that looked more the size of pan my friend used, and I tried again. This time I thought to myself, "They say that insanity is when you try the same thing over and over again- expecting a different result." But I was hopeful that maybe this time my brownies would turn out. Result: failure #5. What the heck? I would have given up long ago that this recipe was bogus, but I tasted them and they were nice. So why can't I make brownies??? Well, I tried for the last time tonight- changing one simple thing. Result: wonderful!!
Lesson of the brownie experience:

Staying Healthy:
Praise the Lord that I have not had malaria since I have been here. It is only by His protection (literally because I stopped taking preventatives at the beginning of the year). But I was in the clinic the other day when some of the kids were getting their treatments. Derrick had come in because he was not feeling well. Nurse Gertrude gave him a seemingly peculiar malaria test. Curious as to how the test worked (and with the kids prodding, "Teacha, you should try and test," not thinking that I would- or maybe that mzungus would be tested the same way), I was tested for malaria. I asked the nurse if the test could show positive even when someone is feeling bad and she responded that it was possible.
So, we waited for my result... one line... negative! Derrick was also negative for malaria.

Road trip:
I took a road trip to Jinja for the weekend with some friends. My main purpose was to participate in the Source of the Nile Marathon. The race also had a 10 kilometer option, so I went for that. My second agenda was to get away from Mbale and have some good food. It is funny how food can be a motivating factor when familiar home tastes can be rare.
I finished the 10K in right under an hour. To be honest, I surprised myself. This was much faster than I expected. It was a nice race, going through the neighborhoods and downtown Jinja. I have always loved races. There is something about them that connect deeply in my spirit as I compare the physical race to the spiritual race I am in as a believer in Jesus Christ: pressing on toward the goal, sometimes running alongside others and sometimes alone, being encouraged when you feel weary and getting to return the encouragement to others, and the great cheers at the end of the race that pull you in to finish strong and well. Then as you pass through the line, there are so many there- who have gone through the same race- to celebrate your finish with you. It is just so great.

At the end of this physical race, Lissa and Glenn were there to celebrate with me.
We also stopped at this neat weaving factory. They have huge machine that they use to make beautiful wraps, hammocks, purses, bed covers, and many other things.

I am blessed to be able to have a brief holiday out of Uganda to go visit my best friend, Jacquline, who lives in Greece. Even better is that the Lord worked out the timing that our 3rd best friend, Erin, will be ending a mission trip in Mongolia and will meet us there. I can't believe I get to be there with both of them at the same time!! What a great gift from my Father in Heaven (the giver of EVERY good and perfect gift)!!

I will then continue my journey onto Austin, Texas to spend some much needed time with my family. It has been a year and a half since I last saw them and I just can't wait to be home!!

Please pray for journey mercies, safe travel, and no flight complications. Also pray for a rich and refreshing time with friends and family.

I leave Mbale on June 21 and return Aug. 1. So, my next post will likely be of the beautiful island of Lesvos, Greece and of my smiling face with my family at the lake. God is so good!!

Thank you again for your faithful prayers. I have always loved the line in the Ginny Owens song, "I'm not who I was when I took my first step. And I'm clinging to the promise Your not through with me yet." God has been teaching me, keeping me, and refining me. All glory to His name!!