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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Passover Seder

Maunday Thursday - a great night to have a Passover Seder meal... a symbolic evening of remembering all the Christ has done for us, and the pain that the Jewish people had to carry.
 Levi, and I were dressed as disciples.
 Nico also wanted to wear one of my robes. :)
 Hyssop leaves, salt water, bitter sauce, cinnamon apples, lamb bone, fruit of the vine, Matzah bread, and an egg... the symbols used to tell the Old Story.
 Bobby and Rachel led us in this evening of remembrance.
Wonderful fellowship... a great annual tradition!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Farming God's Way

This morning I joined a group of pastors, friends, and farmers in planting a small field, using the "Farming God's Way" method. 
 We started the day with prayer, and then began measuring out holes.  No ploughing... just digging!
 Here is my team-mate, Chris Fisher, as he is walking alongside these wonderful Ugandans.
 It was my job to scoop the poop :)...
 and place one cup of manure in each hole.
 After planting 3 corn seeds in each whole, we filled in the holes with dirt and then covered the field in a layer of mulch... aka - God's blanket.
Here's the crew... in three hours we got 18 rows x 18 holes planted!  Then we took swallowship and came back to Soroti.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Palm Weekend Pics

This has been a very full weekend, but I've loved every minute.  Friday I had two choirs practising in my home.  One is for my team-mate Beckie's wedding... which is taking place in two weeks, and the second is an awesome group called Oil of Gladness (OG).  I snuck out of the Oil of Gladness practise to attend a wedding planning meeting - since I am the MP (Member of Parliament) or clan leader for all the westerners.  Quite the learning/cultural experience!
Coming back I found OG sounding great
Hope this video works for you - to hear a glimpse!
 Ochan and Opio (my sweet neighbour boys) were helping me to cut bookmarks of God's promises for the "Love and Sex" workshop.
 As I was walking to church yesterday morning, I rounded the corner and heard singing.  The Catholics were carrying the cross and waving palm branches in a very powerful way.
 Hosanna in the Highest!
 I finished my weekend by preparing home-made lasagna and Swiss Sunday bread for some team-mates.  I have never made lasagna before, but it was a grand success... even without having power all weekend.  I made the tomato sauce, ricotta cheese... and ta da!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Prayers for Prison

Hello Faithful Followers!

I would love it if you could pray for me and my team in the next week and a half.  We are preparing to do a Good Friday service at the local prison.  We have been invited to share with almost 500 in-mates and we are all excited and nervous.  Most of us have not been inside the prison before, and we know that a translator is going to be needed, and we just don't know what to expect.
God has laid it on my heart to do a monologue from the Judas Iscariot perspective.  Yah, I know, he's not the first person to pick for an Easter themed presentation, but it's been rewarding even digging into the Scriptures and finding out who this disciple really was. 
Here are some specific prayer requests:
  • Logistics - like having a P.A. system, a translator and maybe props for a skit.
  • For peace for the two men - Chris and Bobby who are writing "sermons" to share
  • That the monologue will bring out a call to repentance and truly glorify God
  • That the kids on our team will find the courage to act out a fun skit
  • Song will be picked that fit the theme and are well known to everyone
  • That in-mates will be encouraged and the name of the Lord praised!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Love and Sex

This topic has been on my mind a lot lately.  :)  But only because I was handed a six booklet package of material by one of my Ugandan ministry partners, and he wanted me to share the teachings a couple of times.  Two months ago I was supposed to do a one week discussion group at his church, but then he left for school and the attendees never showed up.  I was disappointed because the material is Biblical, thorough, and approachable.

Today, Peter and I were finally able to present a 1.5 hour lesson on Love and Sex to a girls boarding school.  140 girls filled the hall with a male teacher and head-master.  I did ponder where the female staff were and wondered if the girls would be at all responsive with no other female adults in the room, but I feel like the lesson went well.  Girls made comments and asked questions.  I could see on some faces that young girls have already given up their virginity, but I also know that for many of them, it probably wasn't a choice.

After presenting many facts, I was glad to also share that God's love is the best.  God is forgiving, and he gives you the strength you hold on to high values.  God can wipe away the guilt and pain and help young girls begin again.

I pray that today's topic goes deep into the girls hearts...

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Need a Cup

Yesterday after church I was invited to a home full of wonderful people.  After partaking of lunch, consisting of rice, posho (white cornmeal), beans, and pork, I had to wash my hands.  Reason: I used my right hand to eat and the food was sticking to my fingers.  A young man walked around with a small basin and a jerry can of water, so that we could all wash our hands.  I threw my hand into the basin's dirty water to get my hand wet, then took the bar of soap that was sitting in dirty water - to scrub seriously.  At this point I told my friend that he could begin pouring clean water over my hand.  He slowly poured water into my cupped hands and I let it swish around.  Then scrubbed more and let the water fall into the basin.  Four times he poured a little water into my hand until the soap and food residues had disappeared.  I was excited when he said that I wash my hands like a true African.
Because I'm still not very Ugandan when it comes to bucket bathing.  My village hosts always mock me when I ask for a cup.  They don't understand that my tiny hands can't hold water, swish it on to my body and wash my hair all at the same time.  I need a cup to hold water so that I can use my other hand to wash and rinse my body.  Who knew a cup would make so many people laugh?!
A bathing house

My cup floating in the bath water

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Soul Care in Soroti

After spending a week on my own story, and my own soul - getting right with God and my team... then I came back to Soroti to participate in another seminar for the Ugandans that I work with closely.  They too went through two days of learning who they are in Christ.
 Here is my life map... I couldn't fit all the sticky notes on my poster, so I rewrote them as water droplets in a joyful fountain.
 Pastors, carpenters, students, business owners, and many others joined together at the Beyond Centre, to receive training from Ingrid Davis... but also to receive the Spirit of God in their hearts.  As the two day workshop was coming to a close, a special ceremony was held.  People wrote down their past hurts, confessions, lies, etc and nailed them to the cross... praying that they would now walk in freedom and forgiveness.
 Many of our Ugandan partners came to us for prayer and wisdom... God was truly working!
 I pray that we can all find joy when we leave our burdens at the cross.
 Taking Communion together
Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ!

Visiting Vanessa

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my neighbours when I learned that their sweet daughter Vanessa was having a visitation day at her boarding school in Kampala.  Knowing that I was in Entebbe until the day before, I decided to remain in Kampala so that I could also visit Vanessa on this special day.  Children in boarding school are only allowed to see their parents on one certain day per term, so it was a very important day for 13 year old Vanessa.
On Saturday, after the retreat, I went into Kampala with some team-mates.  We went shopping for things like bacon, cheese, cereal, and a few other treats.  Then on Saturday night I met up with a new friend... we ate some delicious Thai food and relaxed to a Japanese film called "Shall We Dance."  After spending Saturday night at a Baptist Mission Guest House, I spent an hour in a coffee shop - reading and writing, before hopping on a boda (motorcycle taxi) and finding my neighbour Rose on Sunday morning.
Rose was staying at her sister Carol's house - so I made myself at home and waited for the food to be prepared so we could go to Vanessa's school with a special treat.
 Here is Vanessa with her Mom - Rose... my good friend and sister.
The car was fully loaded with Rose, two aunts, an uncle, and two cousins when we drove to Lakeside High School.  Vanessa was in the crowds of students, waiting for family to arrive.  She had no idea I was coming and it was a special treat.  She was in shock.  She kept saying "Wow, Auntie Karen, you are here... I can't believe it, you are here."
Together we ate rice pilau and chicken, and then had a tour of the school.  All of the clubs (science, geography, physical education, etc) were hosting a fair in the chapel.  It was neat to learn about all the wonderful things the teens are learning in school.  Vanessa was so happy - with the powdered milk, soap, and sugar that we brought her... and over and over she read a short letter that one of my team niece wrote for Vanessa.  I didn't want to leave just a few short hours later.  Vanessa is a truly bright girl and God has something special planned for her life.
After leaving the school, Rose, her sisters, and I went to the salon to get our nails done.  Yep, a little out of my element - but a good time of fellowship.  :)  Then we went to listen to some live music on a restaurant rooftop before heading back to Carol's house to sleep for the night.  Early Monday morning, Rose and I made our way over to Pan Dental so I could have a routine (yet painfully thorough) cleaning.  By 10 am we were sitting on a bus, and ready for the 7 hour bus trip back to Soroti.  Kampala has been good for me!

Soul Care

Last week took me down country, to Entebbe, with my whole team.  It was truly refreshing to attend a Soul Care Conference with all my Team Beyond mates.  Five days of team building, sessions on soul care - led by Ingrid Davis, swimming in a pool, sleeping in a tent, walking through plagues of lake flies on Lake Victoria, and amazing worship.
  Here are all the MK's on the team now... Missionary Kids are awesome.
 Our team truly has a heart for adoption and living out our Father's Love!
Here is the team, but really, the team is so much bigger as we have so many Ugandan partners that we are walking alongside of in ministry.
 Ingrid gave us an assignment of working on our life map... the joys, hardships, lies believed, lessons learned, and God moments. 
 I am eager to share my story with those around me - so we can grow in unity.
 Here we are during our sessions with Ingrid.  It was a beautiful time together - conflicts were resolved, prayers were lifted up, hugs were given, team spirit was built all because we were walking closer with the Holy Spirit.
I thank God for this annual strategy retreat.  I truly feel refreshed and renewed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Few Projects

Projects on the go:
 Painting in the library at Harmony primary school... Helping my sweet team-mates, especially Rachel, who teaches reading classes in the library. 
 The painting is not yet finished, but one wall has a blackboard, another one will have a sunshine and rainbow scene, and the other two are freshly painted white after removing termite mounds hiding behind the bookshelves.
 Yesterday I taught "17 Stories" and "Stories of Hope" in the village of Serere... I always love meeting new faces and teaching teachers how to share God's Word.
 Then again today, I co-taught the same course in Soroti town - teaching 27 school teachers how to use this international Bible story curriculum.
 Here we are as a group before everyone went their separate ways with enough books to teach all kids in their schools ages 6-12.  It was a lot of organizing and counting for me and I loved it! 
A full but fantastic way to end another week in Soroti.