Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good morning! or for some, Good afternoon.  I am currently sitting on my bed listening to some teenagers as they are having worship practice in the main room.  Some are strumming the guitar, others are beating the drum.... and all are singing together to their our King.  And even as I type this, my fingers are trying to pick up the pace... to the rhythm of the drum.... and for those of you who know me... know that no matter how much I try to pick up any rhythm... it's almost always off.  Music and I are like... butter and oil... wait, those are pretty similar. We are like butter and water.  "More than all I see... You are more than enough for me.... You satisfy me.... with your love and all that I have in you... It is more than enough."  It is timely that these words are the words that are being sung as I bring fingers to the keyboard and share with you about the last couple of weeks.  And how exactly would I describe the last couple of weeks?  I think that the best word would be peaceful.  Sure, I have been brought to tears more than once because I miss friends and family... but even in the tears, there is a sweet peace because I know that this is where I am supposed to be.  So if someone out there could please go through the drive through at McDonald's and order themselves a LARGE coca cola with ice in my honor that would be great and when the time is right for me to be back with all of you, then it will be and it will be GREAT.... absolutely GREAT!  For now... know that I hold each of you close in my heart.

Tomorrow, I will start working in the clinic.  Ahhhh!!! It's for real.  Excited, but also fully aware that there is so much I do not know.... very thankful that God has brought doctor's, NP's, and other medically enlightened individuals that have so graciously made themselves available to answer my questions.  I am thankful for all of them... yes, they are doctor's, NP's, and nurses, but beyond their titles, I count them dear to me... Below is a picture of the clinic... 
Another exciting thing is that I have met my family group!  Earlier last week, I went and met with the family group parents.  Uncle Rose and Uncle Dan are parenting the ten children that call the worcester clan their home. Yesterday morning, we harvested the maize together.  I was odd one out wearing boots that went up to my knees.  Probably more unnecessary than necessary... but oh well! After we worked in the fields, I sat with the kids and ate porridge.  It was great to just connect with them.... This afternoon, played some basketball with them and just hung out.  I haven't taken any pictures yet... but when I do... I will introduce them to you.  

Institute is going well.  My mind and heart are being stretched... but it has been good. Getting to know 21 other individuals from several countries in Africa and the United States.  We came together strangers and will undoubtably leave very close friends.  Below is a young woman, Anna, who is from the Congo.  We have had lots of fun getting to know each other.  A week ago, we hopped on little motorbikes and rode into town.  We picked up some necessary food for dinner and also picked up some coca cola... which was highly enjoyed.

Riding one of these on a dusty road....holding on tight.... and praying as you go that you make it to point B.... the end result is a sweet memory and well, fun treats!

And as each one of us rides on our own dusty roads... may we hold on tight to our God...and in the end relish at the sweetness and gift of HIS presence.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

hello from Uganda....

It's Friday evening and I am sitting on another blue couch.  This one, however, is thousands of miles away from the one that I sat on just one week ago.  It's about 9:15 PM and this day is quickly coming to an end.  This week is quickly coming to an end.  I cannot believe that it has been one week since I boarded a plane and left the United States for Uganda.  Instead of a crackling fire, I am listening to the various bugs chirping outside.  The cat just brought in a mouse and it was still very much alive.  It was more alive than dead and so instead of having to worry about killing it all the way, the little critter got a pass and was put back outside to live.  ( c :  Instead of the white snow there is plenty of green.  All five pieces of luggage arrived safely… though I must say that there does appear to be a couple of things missing.  Arriving late in the evening on Sunday night, I was immediately greeted by the warm, African air and a man holding a machine gun watching us all as we walked off the plane and towards the airport.   And I can honestly say, I didn't feel nervous.  I took several deep breaths and smiled an internal smile.  I was on African soil.  ( c :  After nearly 3 hours of travel, we arrived at New Hope.  Along the way, I saw the contrast between absolute beauty and poverty.  Eesh, I am so blessed!a few snapshots of the current chapter of my journey...
some of the view at New Hope

Banana tree right inside of my house

the little goats that lives steps away from the porch

Where I live for this season

Minutes after arriving to New Hope, I went down to the institute which I will be attending for the next 5 months.  Classes are five days a week from morning till lunchtime.  The focus is to learn more about God being our father and sharing that with children who do not have a present earthly father.  There are men and women from Uganda, Zambia, Congo, and the United States.  From what I hear, it is an absolutely amazing experience and challenging all at the same time.  I know that I will be stretched, but am confident that God will bring me through it a different person that I am this very moment.  Over the last several days, I have had the honor of hearing the life stories of individuals who have journeyed through paths of immense pain and sorrow and now share with a peace  and a genuine heart depth smile that only comes from Jesus.  Truly.  Their stories of His redemption are proof enough.  For my Blackhawk friends, there is a young woman from the Congo.  We were talking about the significant pain that women in the Congo are experiencing and I shared with her about the group of women coming together regularly to pray for them.  Her face LIT up.  She was encouraged greatly.  

As of right now, the plan is for me to participate in the institute fully over the next month and then begin the transition to working in the clinic in the afternoon.  Not sure what that will look like exactly, but know that it will become clear in His timing.  From what I know, within the next week, I will be matched up with a family group.  This family unit will be the group that I will come to know closely over the course of my time at New Hope.  When a child comes to New Hope, they are placed into a family group.  These children stay with their family group and experience life in a stable family setting.  Various Ugandan couples and individuals have stepped into the role as parents to these children.  I am excited for the opportunity of just being able to be actively present in the lives of these children.  I'll definitely keep you posted and introduce them to you as I meet them and get to know them.  

And so I bring this first blog entry from Uganda to a close.  I want to thank each and everyone of you who have joined me on this journey.  Your words of encouragement and support have been an absolutely amazing gift to me.  I cannot wait to share more as the pages of this journey are turned.  It has been a mixture of emotions... an ever budding excitement and missing loved ones back home.  God has truly met me and I have sensed the prayers of so many.  For real and for sure.  I am excited for the kids to come back from their break (kids who can go home to family members or friends do so at Christmastime) and to love on them as He leads and prompts.  I cannot wait to introduce them to you.... 

Lots of love...