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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Encouraging Angelina

Saturday afternoon, a young lady came over for fellowship, and to plan on starting up our weekly Bible studies once again.  My friend, Hallelujah, asked how Angelina was doing. Angelina, if you remember, is a sweet acquaintance of mine - who has a heart for sharing God's Word and being in prayer.  Angelina is physically blind, but for years that never slowed her down.  Then a few months ago, she had a stroke, or some sort of brain injury, that caused her left side to be completely paralyzed. 

(For a post about Angelina a few months ago, click here.)

In June I went to see Angelina and she was beginning to question what God was doing in her life.  She could no longer read braille because her fingers were numb.  She was trapped to a bed and couldn't even help herself for toileting.  But at the same time, her heart and attitude were strong.  Angelina still prayed for people and quoted Scripture from memory. 

Well, on Saturday, Hallelujah and I went to find Angelina.  When we arrived at her former home, we found out that she had been shifted to a home about 5 minutes out of town.  Thankfully there were a few young ladies there who knew where she had been moved to and they hopped in the car with us... I had no idea what we would see when we walked half a kilometer up a footpath, after driving as far as possible on a rough village path.

Entering a square bricked room, I saw Angelina lying on a mattress on the floor.  The room was clean and only a slight smell of urine, so I knew there were people around who cared.  I went to the mattress and I was shocked to see Angelina so frail.  She is just skin and bones.  When I tried to speak with her, she reached out for my hand.  Her voice was gone.  She reacted with hand squeezes and tears.  The five of us who arrived sang over her, and prayed with her.  Juice as brought in for her to drink, so I gently lifted her up.  I sat tucked behind her... her back was resting on my chest... and she drank a few sips.  We could see it was hard for her to swallow, and within seconds she started vomiting.  I held her for a few minutes while she spit into a bucket and I just prayed that God would give her peace and strength. 

When we left, my heart was sad.  God even took away her voice. 

Yesterday I went back again.  When I entered the room, I immediately jumped in to action, to help with lifting and transferring as we cleared away soiled sheets.  Soon she was resting again.  I took another friend with me and together we sang and prayed over Angelina.  Amazed, Angelina had the strength to talk!! She was communicating with me and even sharing a bit of her humor and trust in God.  She allowed me to take some pictures to share with you... so that you can pray for her as she lies in bed all day.
 When I first entered the house, I sat in shock, and praying that God would just speak over Angelina - to be her Rock, her comfort, her shield, her voice and to reveal His glory to her.
 After talking, singing, reading Scriptures, and praying, Angelina began to smile again.  When I held her yesterday, she was able to hold a cup and she drank most of the juice.  She also ate some plain white rice.  I really hope she gets soupier foods, but at least she was eating!! And keeping it down.
  United in Spirit.  I can't wait for that day when we will all be singing around the throne, with our eyes wide open to the goodness of God.  No more tears, pain, confusion... just peace and joy. 
Lord, Angelina is your daughter, please hold her close in the palm of your hand!!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Being a Family Member

Here in Teso land I have been given an Ateso name.  Imalingat!  It has come from my awesome neighbours and I truly treasure having a clan name.  Hardly anyone in Soroti knows me as Karen Lubbers... it's always Imalingat Karen.  Sometimes I do it for safety reasons... so that when I sign guest books or receipts, etc, random people won't think of calling my number.  What I'm trying to say is... sometimes when I put my information on a list, people wish to call me at all hours, both day and night... to either make friends with a white person, or to ask for money.  But by writing down "Imalingat" it reduces the fake calls.  If people really know me, they know how to reach me!  :)

But I'm not here to talk about phone call etiquette, I want to share a sweet story about what it means to be a part of the Imalingat clan.  My neighbours have a big family, but Toto (mother) has totally taken me as her own daughter, and last weekend my youngest sister Carol was having her traditional marriage assessment.  That's the day when two clans meet, to discuss the dowry and get to know one another.  It was a very small, select gathering, but Carol really wanted me to be a part of her day... as a sister.  I was honored and actually, I was truly blessed by the whole event because I knew I was spending the day with a family that I adore. 

Here are a few pics of our day together:
 Wearing the traditional Gomasi
 My sister's waiting at the gate to greet the groom's family
 Here they come... can you hear the trilling?
 The groom-to-be in white
 My family welcomes the visitors
 The visitors receive the greetings
 The beautiful bride-to-be!
 With the bride-to-be and other awesome siblings!
 Signing the guestbook with Toto
Dinner is served and the day comes to a close!! A great event!  I was asked to lead prayers twice throughout the day... and Carol was so grateful that I would humbly represent the family.  What a true joy!

Another Round of Kids Camp

Running a kids camp always takes a lot of work and energy, but once again, the team was able to pull off a fun camp.  I'm kind of sad that I felt under-prepared and that I wasn't able to help with the preplanning, but God works all things for good and a few of us leaders had a wonderful time with more than 70 children.
 Bible story time with the middle class
 Scripture lessons with the oldest class
 A rare craft session
 Making masks with the youngest class
 Model - Model - Yeah!
 Who's the tough man now?
 Waiting in great expectation!
 My namesake - little Karen
 Hoola Hoop Tires
 Preparing my team's spirit for games!
 Three legged races
 A follow-up meeting at my house
 Sharing pork and Chapati together
When I came back to Uganda, I was gifted with these chairs and they have been a neat blessing in my house.  My neighbor boys think they are relaxing at the beach!
 Chillin' with Auntie Karen
The other night another friend came over... we munched on pumpkin and it's seeds while waiting for a cake to bake... so glad that I can host people in my peaceful home!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

10 Days with Pastor Ray

For the first time ever, I crossed the big oceans with a seat mate... and it was truly an honor to host Pastor Ray Vander Kooij from Bethel CRC in Acton.  We certainly experience a diverse 10 day experience since landing back in my beloved Uganda.
On the first Sunday we attended to worship services.  We were jam packed in to the PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God) church for a lively service of worship and Word.  Then we headed over to St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral, and I'm so glad we went because it ended up being the Thanksgiving service for baby Asaph - born to my good friends Sam and Grace.
You can't come to Uganda without a boat ride on the Nile - starting in Lake Victoria.
Grace and Sam with little Asaph - one month old
 Kampala traffic
 This vendor was so happy I was back in town... she has been missing me in the market
 Walking around town with Ray was so fun... he was able to experience what it means to run errands - getting a dress made, buying airtime and internet, exploring the market, etc.
 We spent one afternoon cleaning the piggery.
 A pit stop at Lale landing site for the sunset
 Bethel CRC (Acton) gifted Oil of Gladness with a guitar
 Doing laundry by hand once again
 We participated in a four day tent festival/conference in Iganga.  Ray preached a couple of sessions per day and we hung out with this awesome band from Brasil. Tabernaculus
 Oil of Gladness also came to minister for two days
 One of the highlights for me is when Tabernaculus prayed over OG in Portuguese.
 Pastor Ray had to get used to speaking with a translator and having the crowd shout "Amen" throughout his talks!!
 Introducing Pastor Ray to one of my favourite Ugandan pastors!
Pastor Ray should be landing any moment now back in Canada.... and I am going to try and make my way home from Kampala.  I got stuck in the city today with major car problems.  Ready to finally go home and settle in Soroti for a while.