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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Marching with Tradition

Saturday, September 27th
The traditional marriage of my good friends, Arimon Samuel and Asio Grace
 Driving the girls to pick the envelope... which comes from the groom... telling of how many cows, goats, and shillings he is giving to the bride's family. The girls kept themselves covered, so that none of the groom's family could see who picked up the envelope.
 Marching butterflies
 The men were looking for the bride
 Here I am in traditional wear

 The groom!
 Having fun!
 Flittering and fluttering
 Waiting to be chosen
 Given gifts - a headband for each lady

 My good friend Soos
 The bride in pink!  My beautiful roomie (well, for three more weeks anyway)
 50 maids marching!

 The grooms family looked me over, but I am not the bride
 Here she is - Grace, a stunning beauty
 Welcomed by the in-laws
 Passing in front of the groom's family
 The bride - coming to find her man
 She has found him, and pinned him with a cross
 Sam and Grace, a lovely couple
 The engagement ring
 Cutting the cake... the bride has changed again
Sharing cake at the end of a long, ceremonious day!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How Does One Not Worry?

This passage is not for me today, but for a friend, who is struggling so deeply...

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them."  Matthew 6:25-32

Over the years I have learned not to doubt and worry because the Lord does answer. When I used to seriously wonder how my college fees would be provided, God answered.  Gifts, loans, work... whatever - I was able to go through school.  When the ATM machine swallowed my money, I fretted, but again God answered and four months later, all the money was returned.  I can "worry" about what to cook, or finding clothes that I think look "good enough" or how my family is doing... but I have food, clothes and a family.  When I heard that my funding was really low - I was worried about how I could really serve effectively when I'm living under-budget, but again, the Lord has provided.  Why me?  Why is it so easy for me to hear, see, and know that God is answering?

I have a dear friend here who struggles every day.  She works full time for an NGO but there are times she (along with her family) goes to bed hungry, only taking black tea as a filler.  Her job is being threatened because her education isn't high enough.  The university where she is trying to get her Master's continues to set up cruel roadblocks.  She is so down.  She works hard everyday but money isn't enough for rent or food, clothes or school fees.  Her faith is quickly declining as she becomes bitter with God.  How can she not worry about tomorrow when her tomorrows have been almost 2 years now?  I can sort of see how she is getting frustrated with God.  How can she not worry?  What is life - if you can't work, eat, host, support?  Life is important in the eyes of God and so it is my prayer that He will touch her life!!  She needs encouragement.  She needs answers.  She needs a light at the end of the tunnel.

Pray for me, as I strive to be an encouragement to this sweet friend. 

Walking with Others

I am so very grateful for my partnership with CRWM and it was on my heart to be a part of these three days of meeting with CRWM and World Renew in Entebbe.
 32 of us gathered from around East and South Africa... to worship, share, pray, and encourage.
 We met right on Lake Victoria - what an awesome Creator we serve!!
 One of our biggest projects was working on TLT (Timothy Leadership Training) forms - for follow-up and accountability.  This is a truly valuable tool, used to train leaders all over the world. 
 It was great meeting up with those who work in the CRWM office in Kenya, but also to fellowship with another mzungu (Mike Ribbens)... I went through training with him way back in 2001, and now, years later, our paths cross again.
This week I had a super fun project!!
OneHope was sending a team to Soroti to assess their curriculum with low-literacy students.  OneHope, which used to be Book of Hope, is a free, international curriculum that is given to children everywhere - through pictures, videos, books, and apps. This Bible material goes out to almost 100,000,000 children a year.
 I went with to the school, to be the familiar face for the children, as I introduced the team from Kampala and Miami.  For a whole day we made presentations in the P3 and P5 classes, and then pulled out 30 of the low-level reading students to do a one on one assessment... in order to better the materials.  These children are Soroti will have a voice for the children of the world who receive this awesome material!!
 Ann is also one of my children's ministry partners, now the two of us have lots of follow-up work to do at this fun little school.  17 Stories - here we come!! 
The Kampala teachers were fantastic at making the kids feel comfortable and letting them know that their opinions mattered. 
In the evenings, before and after the assessment, I enjoyed meals with this team and some sweet fellowship in my home. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Airline Encouragement

After returning to Uganda, I checked my airline card to see if the miles for flying were updated.  Half of the trip showed up on the summary - the part from Toronto back to Entebbe, but the first half was missing.  I decided to call Customer Service and see if I could get my account updated and the miles or points collected.

I was quick to explain my situation and at first the lady on the other end of the line told me that I had to finish my travels before the points could be awarded.  I explained that I had completed my travels.  I live in Uganda... so I started from here and finished here.  She finally understood, but then she changed tones.  What?  You live in Uganda?  What do you do there?

After describing that I am a missionary, and participating in training teachers, as well as, doing music and children's ministry she asked if I had a website for the mission agency I serve with.  I told her that since she had my email address on file, she should send me a personal email and I would send her the info. 

Well, since then I have received two emails and I am gently encouraged.  That is one customer service phone call that has been a shocking source of simple delight for me.  Here is her latest response:

I read your email Friday and checked out your blog as well. Meant to let you know, but been really busy. 
It was a pleasure speaking with you as well and then to see your ministry opportunities.  Having worked in Christian schools for over twenty years, it is such a joy to see young people such as yourself following the call of God for their lives and affecting the eternity of others. 
May the Lord bless you abundantly,
God's treasures are everywhere and I'm thankful for this airline lady today!