Donate Here

DONATE HERE: If you wish to send support for God's Work in Uganda, please click here! Every donation is deeply appreciated.



Friday, August 4, 2017

Irish Arrivals

The past few weeks have been an interesting journey for me.  The Lord is up to something... And for some strange reason He wants me in Ireland for a while.  :)  I'm not sure how this post will turn out, but I just wanted to share some of the thoughts and thanksgivings going on in my head.
For the past two months I have been feeling tired and I have a feeling that I never truly recovered from whatever sickness took me down in Kenya.  Then in the middle of July I got a serious chest cold and a urinary track infection and had a round of antibiotics... So when Mom and Dad asked me if I would meet them in Ireland for an 8 day getaway, I thought that was the perfect solution.... Not only for health reasons, but it would be the only time I see my parents this year... So off I flew.
I was tired on the flight from Entebbe to Dubai, so I never left my seat.  About half way through the flight I felt a Charlie horse cramp in my leg and never thought anything of it... During my time in Dubai I stretched out the muscles, walked around and rested while waiting for my next flight.  I was feeling great and was often up on the flight from Dubai to Dublin, but when I got off the plane, things started to change.  I wound my way through the line-ups at immigration and my small carry-on bag kept getting heavier and heavier.  I started breathing harder and thought it was very strange.  While waiting for my checked bag I started feeling dizzy and had to put the luggage on a cart in order to exit and find Mom and Dad.  Not the kind of grand visit we were expecting.  Mom and Dad could tell something was wrong.  Mom went to find me some water and came back with a snack lady who had a phone.  She called for help.  The police came first, then the ambulance.  My heart was racing, my pulse was up and so was my blood pressure.  We were escorted away via ambulance while the police kindly took all of our bags to the police quarters.  I felt physically bad, but I also felt bad that our 8 day whirlwind trip wasn't off to the start we imagined.
Beaumont hospital was great for me.  I feel like the nursing staff were very supportive and friendly and many of them were Filipino, so that made things fun for me.  I spent 13 hours in the ER before being transferred to the respiratory ward, in a room with 5 other roommates. The doctors did every test imaginable because I was coming in from "Africa", but it was soon noted that I had two major blood clots that had traveled from my legs to my lungs during the flight and they were stressing my heart.  I spent four days with a heart monitor on and got to know my Irish roommates in a fun way.  After realizing the trip wouldn't go as planned... We all just made the best of it.  God kept opening a room for Mom and Dad to stay next to the hospital and through GOM, I was able to meet some colleagues who said they would be willing to take me in until I was cleared to fly again.  God is good.
Mom and Dad did a few days trips on their own.  Actually, they were on the west coast when I was quickly discharged last Friday.  The doctors said I could either stay in the hospital for the weekend and have a CT scan on Monday, or I could be discharged and come in to do the CT scan as an outpatient.  I wanted to get out!! So, I called my hosts and they picked me up.
Saturday I joined my parents for 3 nights in a hotel and two fun bus trips.  We actually saw quite a bit in our short time together.  I kissed the Blarney Stone and walked on the Giant's Causeway... So what more can I say?!
On Tuesday I escorted Mom and Dad to the airport and then went back to the hospital to chase medical files for insurance.  Another CT scan was scheduled for last night - to check the stomach and pelvic areas as well - just to follow up on everything and make sure I go back to Uganda completely healthy.
Now I am trying to settle in to normal life.  I attended the Tuesday night prayer meeting at Jamestown Road Baptist Church and have bought a few new clothes - since I am staying much longer in a cold, wet country.  Yesterday some of the church members invited me out for a road trip, to visit some inner city campers and to have a glimpse at Trim Castle.
My next doctors appointment is August 21 and hopefully after that I will be clear to fly back to Uganda.  I never expected this at all... I am trying to organize 37 Ugandan pastors and church leaders to go to a conference next Sunday.  I was supposed to be traveling with them, but now it's lots of extra work and communication.
This morning I received a message from colleagues in Soroti... They wanted to make sure that I was okay and if I needed an escort, they would find a way to send someone over here to hang out and fly back with to Uganda.  I was very touched by such a loving gesture (and turned it down).  I am so glad to be a part of a fantastic "team" in Soroti.  Today I am resting... Maybe tomorrow I will see some sites in Dublin.
I am thankful for:
- Ugandans who are picking up the load of organizing for the TEA conference
- Good medical care
- To be out of the hospital
- a bouquet of flowers
- GOM and insurance
- The prayers of many saints
- Debi and Rob Millar who have taken me in to their home
- For history, yummy food, and a chance to really rest.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Celebrations

This past week has been all about celebrating life:
 A marriage introduction...
 I was a guest on the groom's side :)
 Party foods
 Finding the bride and welcoming her to the family
I went with my Junior Disciple to attend a burial on Monday, as we celebrated the life of one of her colleagues and work mates
Celebrating the newness of life
 Celebrating my birthday with the ladies!! 
 Going to the village for a big meat eat - chicken, rabbit, and pork
 And in the evening celebrating with more friends!! Definitely feeling loved.
And then Happy 150+ Kanata!!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Please Pray for Jesca

Aujo Jesca has become my friend over the past year - especially since she was on the planning committee with me, to host GPS 2017.  The Global Prayer Safari was a great time for prayer and worship and Jesca had so much strength and joy.
 This evening Jesca called me to join her at the main hospital in Soroti.  She had a little girl (Sarah) on Tuesday by C-section and she is still fighting headaches.  She wanted prayers and was requesting that I come immediately, but also to let others know.
 As I stood by her bedside, she shared her story with me.  It is now Friday night - and she had begun to labour on Monday.  She was sent home on Monday to get some money to pay for the surgery and medications she would need.  Even gloves needed to be purchased.  So, Tuesday morning she was back at the hospital and ready to deliver.  At noon they gave her an injection in her back which did not take, so they injected her two more times.  From her description, the nurse had terrible bedside manners... saying "I'm going to poke you until it takes... so bend over!"  After three needles she couldn't breathe any more.  She remembers an oxygen mask being put over her face and voices saying, "There is nothing more we can do for this one, let's just get the baby out."  She woke up, hours later, in a corridor, with an oxygen mask still on her face, but no stitches in her belly.  The nurses were shocked. "She woke up! Quick, wheel her in so we can stitch her up."  She said the doctor wasn't prepared and she was in a lot of pain.  She has a feeling that the doctors wrote her off for dead... but she came back!!  
But since then Jesca has had very sore back pains and a terrible headache.  It starts at the base of the neck and goes all the way up and around to her forehead.  For 4 days now she cannot sit up for anything - eating, drinking, and feeding little Sarah are very difficult for her.  The doctors want to discharge her tomorrow - again saying there is nothing more to do for her.  
Please pray with me that Jesca can recover quickly and completely. She really wants to attend a conference with me in August and is excited to grow in her faith and knowledge of Christ.  She has already lost one baby... so please... bring Jesca to the throne room of God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Army worms, eyes, and little children

The other day I helped carry cabbage to my neighbour's piggery (it helps to learn to do these projects together) and we checked out the maize field.
 My heart broke as the whole field is devastated - like so many other corn crops that have been planted this season. Not only was there drought, but now the staple food is being attacked by a crazy, uncontrollable pest.  
 Look at that thing... it even looks alien!!
 Lord, please rescue our people and save our crops.
 On Friday I took my name sake - Karen Joy to the St. Benedictine Eye Hospital in Tororo.  I was very impressed by the gardens and the service at the hospital.  And joy was such a trooper.
 Joy was happy the whole day!  And she was able to see trains, Mt. Elgon, the Kenyan border, and try Indian food too.
I loved it when the trays of eyes came out, what a fun way to pick out a new prosthetic eye.
On Monday I led Africa Child Day at a nursery school.  I have never worked with such a young group for so long before, but we had a great time together!!  I told many stories and acted out dramas.  We sang songs, coloured, played games, and had a blast.  Thank you Lord for the African Child!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Medical works

This cow swallowed a plastic bag.  I helped the vet by pouring 1/2 litre of cooking oil into the bull's mouth, to help the plastic digest or disolve.  A new method for me.
 Mzee's bones have come together, but he finds the rebuilding of his muscles too painful, so he crawls around at home a lot.  So sad to see.  I wish there was a massage therapist and a few motivational people around him.
 My good friend Tereza was in a motorcycle accident yesterday.  I have been taking her for late evening and early morning injections, and having her face re-bandaged after needing stitches.  I praise God she is alive.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Just another day...

I had fun today.
 I bought a kitten from the street boys for 500 shillings (20 cents).  They were hungry and wanted me to buy them a chapati to eat, or I could buy a kitten.  They had three healthy kittens in a box and I ended up buying two of them.  One for me and one for another lady who thought they were adorable too.  So, now the boys can still go and get some food to eat.  :)  But what do I name this little treasure?
 I delivered some food to friends in need.  Together we lamented over the caterpillars that are destroying the maize crops here.
 Teaching Religious Education to a bunch of P1 students is always an adventure.  I had to compete with the noise from the next classroom, but I think the kids got it!  We need to give our offerings to God with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts.
 We can worship God in song...
 We can offer Him our gifts and talents...
 Or the fruits of our labour / garden / farm.
 I am so grateful for this OneHope curriculum.
I spent the evening with Joy... do you remember the little girl who I was with in 2012 while she went through chemotherapy for retinal blastoma.  Well, she is healthy now and having fun playing with the toys in my house.  Except, she needs a new eye - a bigger one - so I may be traveling with her next week to see what fits.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ladies Fellowship and a Malaria test

Sundays are becoming a full day for ladies fellowship and discipleship Bible study.  In the morning I went to be with Tereza as she led worship in her church, then a few came over to begin cooking.
 We wanted to have a day to appreciate one another, but the girls also wanted to welcome me back from Kenya.
 We shared a delicious meal together
 Lots of laughter and conversation
 And a good time in His Word.  We finished a series on the Sermon on the Mount... this week's theme was Matthew 7 "Do not Judge".  Very insightful and meaningful sharing.
 We also celebrated Jesca's birthday!!  I always love to bake a cake for someone!
 In the evening a friend came over for a malaria test.  He was scared of a tiny poke. :)
After testing positive for 3+ malaria, it was off to the pharmacy for treatment.  He is now doing much better!!
All in a day's work.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Finding Delight in Dukana

I really felt that the Lord was leading me to go and spend a few weeks in Northern Kenya - to rest, pray, fellowship, serve, and encourage friends.  I am so glad that I came to be with great peeps - Rachel and Eddie Andersen.
 We spent many hours driving in their new Land Rover... a gift from God really, for them to do ministry in such a remote place.  This vehicle was fully loaded for the trip north - mechanical parts, supplies for the house, a month's supply of food, homeschooling materials, and more.
 It took us two days to drive to Dukana - on paved roads
 Desert roads... and crazy rocky roads.  Thankfully we had smooth travels.  (Well, maybe not smooth - I was quite itchy from the rocky roads... but smooth as in we had no car problems!!)
 Day after day, the local people would knock on the door and request food or work for food because the drought has been so severe in the north.  Often rice or flour or beans were gifted to neighbours.
 The local nomadic people live in these round stick huts.
 Sunday attire!
 I could often see left over carcasses from the drought and it broke my heart.  The people tried for a long time to burn as many piles as possible in order to save the ground water supply.
 I helped Eddie with writing out 71 Baptism certificates and Communion cards.  I desired to serve in any way possible.
 After checking on the town and home wells, Eddie let me drive home.
A '73 Series 3 Land Rover 
 Every day I was amazed at how God revealed His glory in the sunsets and sunrises.
 Here is moving day for one family.
 Water is low, the wells are dry, so Eddie had to become very creative in providing water for the family and community.
 His promises are new every day!
 One day we butchered 3 goats to put some meat in the solar power freezer... we made a lot of sausage and a little liver pate. 
 Friday's was distribution day - Around 35 families a week were assisted sugar, beans, rice, flour, oil, and milk powder.
 Rachel was such an encouragement to me as well.  Her incredible giving spirit, her yummy food, her ability to speak in Gabbra or Swahili, her home-schooling capabilities, and her love for the Lord were just a refreshment for me.  I am so glad that I could reunite with my college roomie and see how God is using her family in Dukana. 
 Crowds came to watch the radio station container arrive in Dukana.
 Children always bring joy... but my prayer is that the new radio station will bring God's Good News to the Gabbra, Rendille, Samburu, and many other tribes.  May the people find true joy in God's Word, song, and grace.
 I wished I knew the local language - I would have tried to do more with the kids.
 Thank you Lord!
 A radio crew came to set up the new station, and a few of the guys slept just outside my spare room. :)
 "Bringing in the Sheaves" 
 After recovering from what was most likely a bout of cholera, I tried to paint a few closets and rooms in the Andersen's newly built home.
 After 10 days of delays the "hangman" arrived from Nairobi so that the crew could put up the transmitter tower.
 6 pieces went up
 Excitement for everyone!
 Lifting the hangman to insert another tower element.
I loved getting to know the Andersen kids better... living in such a remote place, I was glad to offer a hug, story, game, or two.
 We were 20 km south of the Ethiopian border.
 An hour from Dukana, we were invited for camel milk chai and "sour yogurt" at a private village. 
 A true cultural blessing
While traveling down country yesterday, we decided to stop at the Ethiopian border for a pic.  And now I am back to wearing sweaters and socks and seeing what the Lord has next.