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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Much Better

Two rounds of antibiotics, a week and a half in bed, or in the house... lots of time to pray and think... and I'm feeling much better now.  I'm back into the swing of life and new doors have opened for ministry.  In December there will be a youth camp for anyone in P7 to S6... those are primary and secondary levels of education.  Well, for the next month I plan on visiting close to 27 schools in Soroti and area to invite teens to this one week camp.  I'm ready for a new project and this one is exciting, since I will be partnering with my Ugandan father - Bishop George - to organize all of these speaking engagements.
Bishop George
 My latest goal - to memorize the Book of James...
 because I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study on this insightful book!
A few weeks ago I met four tiny little baby hedge hogs...
 Last night I held this growing, prickly charmer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Find me in the River

The past week has been kind of tough for me.  I don't often like to admit defeat, but I'm weak right now.  My body is tired and struggling with some sort of stomach bug.  For two weeks I haven't been able to go to church.  The first Sunday I attended worship only, but then started feeling really nauseous so I quickly biked home, but then ended up sleeping for the next two hours.  This past Sunday, I was ready to go to church when stomach pains started... I ended up throwing up and having tight abdomen pains off and on throughout the day.  Last week I tried some antibiotics, but it was a no go and made me even more nauseous.  Somehow, by the strength of God I was able to do a two day training out in Pingere, Serere - a training on Evangelism Explosion, but I also felt like a horrible guest - I hardly ate the food they prepared for me and I chose not to sleep in the village at night, but traveled the one hour journey back to my own bed each day. 

Since I've been home too much, so many things go through my head or start to get me down.  I'm trying to let go of the fact that I don't have a laptop anymore, and I'm thankful that I have a tiny netbook that can keep me going.  I miss my Indian friends who moved down country.  I love training in the villages, but I'm having a hard time finding my place in Soroti town at the moment.  What I mean is... I want to be a part of more ministry right where I'm at - in the schools, or the prison, etc, but I just don't see God's open door yet.  And now, for some reason, my power has been cut off for two days.  My up-to-date bill is somehow in arrears, so Umeme disconnected me.  After many phone calls and showing proof in the office that my bills are paid, there is still no sign of them coming to turn my electricity back on.  It makes my house quiet - with no music, and believe it or not.. no fan.  That's when I know I'm sick.  I'm HOT right now.

"Find me in the River" is such a beautiful song by Delirious... and right now, very fitting for me.  It's my prayer that I can just wait upon God, knowing that He will fill me up and restore me once more.

Find me in the river
Find me on my knees
I've walked against the water
Now I'm waiting if You please

We've longed to see the roses
But never felt the thorns
And worn our pretty crowns
But never paid the price

Find me in the river
Find me there
Find me on my knees
With my soul laid bare

Even though You're gone
And I'm cracked and dry
Find me in the river
I'm waiting here

Find me in the river
Find me on my knees
I've walked against the water
Now I'm waiting if You please

We didn't count on suffering
We didn't count on pain

But if there are blessings in the valley
Then in the river I will wait

Find me in the river
Find me there
Find me on my knees
With my soul laid bare

Even though You're gone
And I'm cracked and dry
Find me in the river
I'm waiting here
I'm waiting here

Waiting here for You
I'll wait here for You
I'll wait here for You

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On the Road to Abim

Wednesday morning I woke up and prayed that God would protect my long journey to Abim.  I knew the drive would be at least 3.5 hours, but it could worse if there was rain in the north.  I have never driven all the way to Abim with my Subaru... I have usually travelled to that beautiful town on the edge of Karamoja with fida - an NGO with a big Land Cruiser.  But I knew that God had called me to Abim to do a three day training on Children's Ministry and Evangelism, so I set out. 
I made it with ease to Obalanga - the town where I helped to put in a mass grave for the former child soldiers.  I think about those days every time I pass the sub-county head quarters.  But about 3 km north there was a full lorry stuck deep in the mud.  I hopped out of my vehicle to see if there was any possible was to pass this truck stocked with sacks of rice, posho, cabbages, and people.  Many locals were surprised that I could greet them in the Ateso language and quickly showed me that if I backed up I would see a path that led up on to the embankment that cars could pass through.  I was slightly concerned because it looked like sheer black mud, but I ventured out anyways and began the crossing.  When I was almost finished going around the lorry, the driver stopped me and asked if I had booster or jumper cables.  Why, yes I do!!  So I then rearranged my vehicle to see if I could get close enough to boost the lorry... nope.  Thankfully another NGO vehicle came along and they had some extra batteries so they could try boosting right next to the lorry.  After about an hour of being delayed, they realized that the truck was not going to start, so they gave me my cables back.  There were a few passengers on that lorry who had been stuck since 2 am, and they had small children, so I asked if they wanted a ride.  I ended up filling my car with 4 suitcases, 3 adults and 4 kids and thankfully we made it the rest of the way to Abim with ease. 
Arriving in Abim at 1 pm, I was quickly escorted over to the PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God) church so that I could begin teaching before lunch was served.  Wow, nothing like being mentally prepared after a long journey.  I jumped right into action... praying the Spirit would give me the words to say to start our few days together.
Abim is a special place in my hard.  After driving on flat savanna land for over 3 hours, you pull into this place that is surrounded by hills.  The hills make me sing praises to God each and every time.  It was incredible to hear that even 10 years ago Abim was an evil town.  The people could see and hear the demons celebrating on the mountain tops.  Rebel groups would fear coming into Abim, because they didn't want to be caught in the devil's snare.  But over the years, Christians have prayed for release in that town, and it is now a place of peace and freedom. 
I continue to pray for Abim, and hope that the church there can be built up, encouraged and edified. 
The journey back home to Soroti was much more exciting.  Rains had come for two days and so what was once a road became a winding river bed.  My white car became brown and I crossed through 3 rivers, about 40 meters long where I couldn't see the bottom.  And a freshly grated road was the perfect place to pretend that I was driving on spring sludgy snow.  Thankfully my 7 passengers trusted me as we made our way back to Soroti.  Another successful training has happened in northern Uganda, and for that I praise God.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving

During the 7 hour drive home from Kampala on Sunday, I started planning my Thanksgiving party for Monday.  Many texts were sent out saying "In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving, you are invited to come to my house between 3 and 8 pm for a soda and a snack."   I had no idea who would actually come, but I knew I had to be prepared.
Monday morning, nice and early, I started for town to pick up a few crates of soda from the Coke plant and then went to one of my favourite shop keepers to order beef and vegetable samosas.  Another stop brought me mandazis (African donuts) and then I went home to bake coconut, peanut butter, and ginger cookies.
My sweet friend Rachel baked a cake to add to the festivities!!
Shortly after three, the guests started arriving... with a spread of the above treats, as well as tea and fruit, people began to enjoy themselves.  Within 6 hours, 51 people (that I can remember) passed through my home - with lots of stories, laughter, and time to share what we are all thankful for.
I am grateful for the incredible group of friends that God has blessed me here in Soroti... whether from the market, or town shops, fida International, the different churches I have served with, team-mates, neighbours, friends, and musicians.  God is good.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kalacha Shots

Time flies... but I wanted to show you a few shots from my rest in Kenya.
 A view from behind the Andersen's home... a peaceful place to take a walk.
 Beauty in the barrenness!
 My favourite tree - the Acacia
 Homes of the local Gabra tribal people
 Eddie and I went out to rescue someone stuck in the salt flats of the Chalbi...
 When salt is on top of the sand, clay is just underneath... lesson learned.
 The Gabra are nomadic camel herders... lots of livestock for income and bride price.
 Rachel and I went for a walk one morning in the oasis to see many baboons.
 After one week of rest, the Andersens and I headed down country... they were picking their son up from boarding school and I was going to fly out of Niarobi.  More camels as we pull out of Kalacha.
 We stopped in North Horr, the next oasis, for a breakfast picnic
 Here is our mode of transportation... I love the old Land Rovers.
 Puncture number one... at least we have two spares for the Rover and one for the trailer.
 A long and winding road, going from desert to rocks to...
 Lake Turkana!!  Simply stunning!
 A young boy is herding goats
 Homes of the Samburu tribe
 Only a six hour journey the first day, but...
 we punctured both spare tires for the Rover... just a bit nervous we would make it all the way to a place where we could repair them, but no worries...
 The beauty removed my thoughts about tires.  All I could think was WOW!
 Flat plains soon turned to rolling hills.
 We spent the first night with other AIM (Africa Inland Missionaries) in Kurungu ... a village in the valley.
 The AIM airstrip
 These young Samburu girls were watching over their goats, and watching me take a walk.
 On the second day the land took my breath away... I found the Africa I have been searching for!  Ostriches are fun to watch.
 These young men are Samburu warriors.
 Zebras on the side of the road.
 Elephants roaming the landscape
These cans of milk are a reminder of what my body went through on the journey.  Three tire punctures, many times when the seat belt was put to good use... rattled but still whole.  I was glad to have two days in Niarobi to recover... I was fellowshipping with missionaries from all over who were staying at AIM's guest house.  God is doing wonderful things in this corner of the world.
I flew home on Saturday night and was again given a one month visa at the airport, but no worries, I've finally been granted a work permit... I just need to get to immigration and have it stamped into my passport.