Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tips, Hints and Advice

So this blog is really random today BUT here are a few things I have learned over the last few months...Let's affectionally call them my Tips, Hints, and little pieces of Advice...take em or leave em :)
  • Ants may be small but if you cross a path of "pinching" ants...beware...their bite is much much bigger than they are!
  • Ants in your pants (or trousers) really are a reason to jump...
  • When preparing to take a boat that launches from a port with no dock...trousers, not a skirt, really are the best option
  • Motorcycle taxi's (boda bodas) wont take you anywhere when its raining BUT if you are already on one when it STARTS to prepared to arrive at your destination looking like you just took a bath with all your clothes on.
  • Be prepared to pay a private hire taxi extra if its raining otherwise be prepared to stand under the building walkways and wait it out with the rest of the city...
  • Don't ever expect immigration to give you clear directions or answers but rather be prepared to visit every open window in the place as they toss you around like a yo-yo.
  • Stay away from large spiders who's webs are stronger and more elastic than fishing wire
  • Know that almost anything can be purchased...for a price...
  • Don't rely on always disappoints
  • Traffic is everywhere...there really is no avoiding it
  • Everyone has a boiling point but some people's thermometers don't work as well as other's do
  • A smile and a handshake usually makes for a pleasant day
  • Sometimes in despiration you will consider eating things that you never thought you would.
  • Ugandan men can paint toe nails just as well as chinese women
  • You know someone has captured your heart when you miss them like crazy when they are gone
  • true friends know your quirks and enjoy calling you on a loving and kind way that is...
  • kids love to talk about anything...for as long as you will let them
  • pepper eating competitions can be fun at the moment but you WILL pay later for the title of "Pepper Eating Champion", whether you like it or not!
  • A public taxi will never be full in Uganda, even if all the seats are taken...
  • bug bites, bruises, blisters, sunburns, scraps, infections, sickness, and worms are all a part of life...Its best to get used to them and roll with the punches
  • If it hops like a frog, talks like a frog and acts like a's a frog...and just for the record, they aren't the best overnight guests...
  • A florescent light and a torch (flashlight) is adequate and effective roach replenant...for the most part
  • A voice is 100% more personal than an email from a personal friend.
  • A good mocha can bright almost any day
  • The best sleep always comes when you are in your own matter how hard your pillow or lumpy your mattress is...
  • A computer that needs more memory is a great test of your patience and endurance...
  • Day planners and busy schedules are okay BUT no one really knows what tomorrow will bring
  • God has a great way of changing our plans, the key is to be flexible enough to change with them...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Man is An Island

It may be some silly saying but I have really seen it to be true.

God has created as people that need people...that's why the well functioning body of Christ is so amazing...believers joined together who really need each much so that I would suffer if I didn't have them.

In a world where everyone wants to be independent, you can see the effects of people living for themselves...crime, hate, cheating, the works...

The sad thing is, it works it way down into families so fast that we don't even know it is happening until it is too late.

Yesterday night as I was eating dinner with my kids, I noticed it happening...brothers picking on sisters, laughing at them, putting them down and doing it just to make themselves feel I know that my setting is a little different with 22 kids ranging from 1st grade to 12th grade but even so...we are a family and one that should function as a "body" not as independent members who all happen to live in one setting together.

While last night I spoke up on behalf of my girls, tonight I had an expected surprise...Uncle Cody was stuck in Kampala in traffic and so 30 minutes before family devotions were to start he asked me to lead them.

I sucked it up and figured...well...let's see what happens...I skimmed through my bible thinking of something fantastic to say and then realized...I have NOTHING fantastic to I prayed...

I went off to devotions still unsure of what I was going to talk about...but as I arrived the Holy Spirit came to my rescue..."the body of Christ"...duh! So I read the passage and talked about how even our family needs to treat one another with care and love and then I went out on a limb...not quite sure what would happen, I proposed that we encourage one another and build each other up rather than tear each other down...

I started it...turning to my right and encouraging Wonderful. The kids at first were not quite sure about sharing out loud but as we rounded our circle it became easier...I also noticed faces that once were straight had huge smiles on them...

It was a night of really enjoying one another and it was amazing. Nathan, one of our older boys (about 11th grade) thanked me afterwards for having them do that and told me we should do it more often.

I am so thankful that God uses even me...when I have NO idea what to say...He says it. When I have NO clue what the kids need..He knows. When I have NO idea what to prepare...He already knows exactly what He is going to have us do.

I sit here blessed with a smile on my face and I have God alone to thank for it. Thank you Lord and thank you for my Ebenezer Family!

I am so glad that I don't have to stand alone as an island of one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Joys of being an Alien...

So yes...its true...I have been an illegal alien here for about two months now...but let me really isnt my fault!

My visitor visa has long since expired and well...the work permit process is a long one...

So on Wednesday, I decided that I need to be a little MORE proactive and I went into Kampala for the day to try and get things sorted out...

1 trip to the US Embassy
1 afternoon at Africa Renewal Ministry Headquarters
2 trips to the Ministry of Internal Affairs
a few mad dashes across town in search of copy machines
and 12 hours later...I can officially say the paperwork is submitted...

They told me to come back in a week though so I have the feeling that the process is far from being over...

Be praying that all goes well!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello Bloggers!

On Oct 3rd I added a new feature to my blog...its a visitor map...

Today, Oct. 17th I looked at the visitor map...and WOW! I couldn't believe it...

I have had over 100 people read my blog in the last 2 weeks and not only that...but...

87 people were reading it from the United States
5 from Uganda
2 from Poland
2 from Guatemala
1 from France
1 from Germany
1 from Ecuador
1 from Vietnam
1 from India
and 1 from Italy

How cool is that! Some of these places I already knew I had friends there but some...well...some surprised me.

Thanks for reading what I write from all over the world! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Love Letter from God??

Someone gave me this letter this week...I thought it was awesome and thought I would share it with all of you. Enjoy...

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. For you were made in my image. in me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake. For all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother's womb. And brought you forth on the day you were born. I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. I am not distant and angry but am the complete expression of love. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. For I am the perfect Father. Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. And I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you. For you are my treasured possession. I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. For I am your greatest encourager. I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. He is the exact representation of my being. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I have always been Father and will always be Father. My question is...will you be my child? I am waiting for you.

Love, Your Dad,
Almighty God

Don't think that God would ever write a letter like this??

Look for yourself!
Psalm 139:1-3, Matthew 10:29-31, Genesis 1:27, Acts 17:28, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Ephesians 1:11-12, Psalm 139:15-16, Acts 17:26, Psalm 139:13-14, Psalm 71:6, John 8:41-44, I John 4:16, I John 3:1, Matthew 7:11, Matthew 5:48, James 1:17, Matthew 6:31-33, Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 139:17-18, Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 32:40, Exodus 19:5, Jeremiah 32:41, Jeremiah 33:3, Deuteronomy 4:29, Psalm 37:4, Philippians 2:13, Ephesians 3:20, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 34:18, Isaiah 40:11, Revelation 21:3-4, John 17:23 & 26, Hebrews 1:3, Romans 8:31, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, I John 4:10, Romans 8:31-32, I John 2:23, Romans 8:38-39, Luke 15:7, Ephesians 3:14-15, John 1:12-13, Luke 15:11-32

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weird things I wonder about…

  • What happens to the cockroaches that live at the bottom of the latrine when a piece of poo falls on them from 40 ft above them…is it instant death??
  • How is it that you can catch a frog, throw him in a forest a 5 minutes walk away from your home and he still finds his way back?
  • Why did God make birds that laugh like kids, and squeak like monkeys…?
  • Why are albino roaches more repulsive to me than the black ones…?
  • How is it that ants can find food SO quickly!?
  • If bats have such great eyesight at night, why is it that they constantly fly into our heads at night?
  • Why are so many westerners scared to visit Africa?? What is it that scares them so?
  • Why is it that the worms I get, aren't the kind that make me lose weight…cause seriously…if I have to have them…I want the benefit of weight loss that comes with it!
  • If Africans are okay with having a map on the wall that says “Negroland” why are the westerners so bothered by it??
  • What do beetles, the size of baseballs, eat??
  • How long does it take for a 40ft pit latrine to get full?
  • Why haven’t chocolate chips made their way to Uganda yet??
  • How come you can wear sandals everyday in Cali and never have your feet crack but when you do it in Africa your feet look like a desert graveyard in serious need of some Vaseline?
  • Why does western hair gets oily all by itself and yet African hair needs oil added to it??
  • Why don't flies like to buzz in the dark?
  • How is it that little worms can jump so high?

I'm just curious…that’s all! And I am sure I have more things I wonder about BUT for now...that's what has my interest peaked :)

Oh AND...if you know the answer to any of these questions...I would love to hear the answer :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mama Wonge

Me: "Mama Wonge!" (My mama!)

Mama Jane: "Lena Wonge!" (My Lena!)

Me: Wasuze otya? (How is the morning?)

Mama Jane: Jende (It is fine)

Mama Jane: Oli otya? (How is your day?)

Me: Bulungi. (It is good)

Mama Jane: Ogenda wa? (where are you going?)

Me: Ngenda Auntie Constance awaka (I am going to Auntie Constance's house)

Me: Ogenda wa mama? (where are you going mama?)

Mama Jane: Ngenda Lena awaka (I am going to your house)

Me: Calle (okay)

Mama Jane has been to my house twice...once to visit me when I was having my hair plated, and the other time to check on me and sweep my house when I had the fact that she had purse in hand and said she was coming to my house surprised me... I decided that it was worth being a little late to my mentor's house to see what was going on...

I unlocked my door and told Mama Jane she was welcome...In she came, closed the door and placed her purse on the floor. She bent down over it, and I noticed that inside she had some fabric...At this point I was wondering how we would communicate with each other, being that the extent of my language is still counting and greetings.

So out it came...It was a skirt, a white skirt, with silver sequins on was beautiful, and obviously hand made...

Me: Wow mama! Did you make?

Mama Jane: Yes

Mama Jane unwrapped it and started tying it around my waist...Then out came a matching top, which she also put on me. I looked was a traditional Rwandan that Mama had made for me...

Me: Mama, for me?

Mama Jane: Yes, Nkwagala nyo. (yes, I love you so much)

Me: ahhh! nkwagala nyo Mama wonge! (ahhh, i love you so much my mama!)

Mama Jane: Lena Daughter wonge (My Daughter Lena)

Mama Jane: You be happy. No crying

Me: okay mama

(of course her generosity and her love for me did make me tear up a little at this point)

Me: Mama wonge, weebale nyo (thank you so much my mama)

Mama Jane: ummm...daughter, nkwagala nyo! (yes, daughter, I love you so much)

Me: Weebale nyo, nyo, nyo...nkwagala nyo (thank you sooooooo much! I love you!)

This week had been a hard week for me with some of the things we were discussing in class and things that I had been asked to discuss with my mentor...Mama Jane knew that just because she could see it on my face...and her way of blessing me, was giving me a most precious gift...a traditional dress from her country.

I had the honor of honoring my adopted mother this past Sunday when I wore the dress to church. The smile on her face was priceless, along with the smiles on the faces of all of her Rwandan friends that come to our church and greet me each Sunday.

I am so blessed to have Mama Jane here with me and I dearly love our interactions, no matter how simple they are.

God has used Mama Jane to bless me and I am so blessed to be able to bless her...this month, our institute class is working on a building project...its a surprise that will give Mama Jane a home that is safe, and a kitchen in which she can cook in...I cant wait to see her face when we all go there and start building...I hope that it blesses her as much as the dress blessed me today!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


"Mirembe, we love you more than you know"

That statement brought such a smile to my face tonight...

I had gathered the girls of Ebenezer together and we were sitting on the floor of one of their homes...

I had wanted to talk to them about how much I cared for them and how important they were to me...I also wanted to share with them what I was learning in the institute and how my walk with the Lord has been up to this point.

It was a great conversation...lasting about 1 1/2 hours and ending with Juliet telling me how much they loved me...

Oh how I love the way God's family works....Age doesn't matter, neither does culture, color, language, sex, or social status...

Christ truly does have a beautiful, multi-ethnic bride waiting for Him when He returns!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Winter in Uganda?

I guess you could say that...but really...we dont have a "winter" season...we just have a rainy season and a dry season.

But since I know most of you think Uganda is HOT all year's the 10 day forcast...

Scattered thunderstorms everyday (between a 30-70% chance)
Lows between 66 and 68 degrees in the mornings/evenings
Highs between 78 and 84 degrees each day
with a chance of wind gusts...

Sounds just like Cali in January...with the exception that it will never rain 10 days in a row in cali :)

So there you have it...I have been and will continue to sport my hoodies in Uganda :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Contact Info

Here is the latest contact info...

For those of you that have my mailing address at New Hope Uganda, I would ask that you now hold off on sending anything via mail after today as it can sometimes take 6-8 weeks to arrive and I am leaving the institute in about 7 weeks.

I will get my new Kampala mailing address to you as soon as I get it!

As for phone contact, I have a Ugandan cell phone number that you can call me on internationally (if you get a calling card)


I now have a skype online phone number that you can call and leave messages on. This number will ring to my computer and is a local California call. I would love to get messages and hear some of your voices SO if you don't have this number and would like it, email me and I can send it to you :)

Hope you are all doing well! I miss you lots!

Monday, October 5, 2009


So I have been thinking about this for awhile now and have come to realize that I really do LOVE life in Uganda.

It is for the most part completely opposite of life as I knew it before but for some reason I feel at home...

I love the sound of the birds outside my window at all hours of the day
I love that I can see clusters of the milky way at night
I love the sound of millions of frogs at night after a rain
I love that it can be HOT and two seconds later raining so hard that the ground is flooded
I love the way the wind blows just before a strong rain
I love the breeze of an outdoor shower in the afternoon
I love that you can hold someones hand for no other reason except that they are your friend
I love that when you ask Ugandan's to tell you who someone is they will say they are the dark black one
I love that the world doesn't stop when there isn't any electricity
I love that when you are sick all your friends come to visit and pray for you
I love that I cant eat as much as a Ugandan child
I love that you are always welcome, even if you aren't invited
I love that you can sit in silence and then erupt in laughter just because
I love that church isn't planned but is spontaneous
I love that every kid you pass calls you Auntie or Uncle
I love that you are within walking distance of all your friends
I love that fresh fruit and veggies are the cheapest things you can buy
I love that you can go to the market and the salesman will give you a piece of candy to try for free
I love that there is always room for you, no matter how full the car is
I love when you go to some one's house the first question is "do you have a bathroom?"
I love that I can see Jupiter
I love that we have family devotions every night
I love that a trip into the city is exciting
I love that when you are dressed nice you are told that you look "smart"
I love that we can worship in English, Lugandan, Ateso, Swahilli, and Lauo and that God understands each word
I love that no matter how much toilet paper you use, a pit latrine, unlike a drain, will never clog
I love that while my progress is slow, I catch words in Lugandan that I understand
I love that movie night is simply a group of friends gathering around a laptop with the pc speakers turned on full blast
I love that mopping entails flooding the place and then just squiggying out the excess water
I love that I can shower using just 1 1/2 gallons of water
I love the way Ugandans pray
I love that you can take a 12+ hour public transit ride and it only costs $7
I love that I can stand in the Northern & Southern Hemishere at the same time

Basically, I love Uganda...and I thank the Lord for that because it is him that made me love the people and this place so very much.

Friday, October 2, 2009


My brain gave me a serious error message the other day...I don't know if you have ever experienced that or not but its weird to say the least...

What brought on this error message?

I drove one of my friends cars from her house, to my was less than a five minute drive, down her driveway, out the secondary site gate, onto the main dirt road and then into the primary site gate...

So what was the big deal?

The steering wheel is on the passenger side and I had to drive on the opposite side of the road...


My brain was having some serious problems just because the door was on my right and not on my left and because a right hand turn was more like a left hand one, crossing over traffic...

I think its a good idea that I wont have a car for at least another 6 months...maybe by then my brain would have realized that I am not in Kansas (ahh...cali) anymore!