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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kaabong, Karamoja

 For the first time last week, I was able to travel deep into Karamoja for 3 nights, to lead a two day training for OneHope.... in children's ministry.  I had an old connection with a Pentecostal pastor in the north and he wanted me to come and train his church leaders... so we made that happen.
 I was amazed at the beauty of the land and the farming methods of the Karamojong people.
 Thankfully we brought rains with us... it was the first time in weeks that in rained again, so the people were happy when we arrived.
 After living in a flat savanna, I just kept praising God for the glory He reveals in His creation.
 The people are stunning, tall, and still tradition.
 Here is one young man who wanted his photo taken... but sadly he was a drunkard, like many others that I met walking the streets of Kaabong.
The training went well.  There were 39 participants and I pray that they will put the new curriculum to good use in their schools and churches.
This group particularly loved games and puzzles and even stayed extra long in the evenings to learn new games and crowd pleasing activities.
 Four of us were going to camp, but because of so much rain, we ended up pitching our tents inside the church.  Which might have been safer too... but there were still thieves.  One pastor had his bicycle stolen, and my training Bible was taken during the night (possibly for trainees who were also sleeping in the church).
 "Have you ever seen a Penguin in the sea?!"
 Setting the program with Teddy.
 Since the man whose bicycle was stolen lives 80km away, we decided to drive him home on the fourth day and do a morning game drive in Kidepo.  A bucket list item!!
 Praising God for the hills, roads, and people!
 We drove through this national park for 3 hours... and were so close to South Sudan.
 Cape Buffalo
 My favourite African animal
 In love!
 I think God was smiling a lot on the day when he made the creatures that walk along the earth.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Week

This past week has been another one of those busy weeks, all over the map, that for the most part I tend to truly enjoy. But continue down the post and you will see some hard parts too.
 I love watching Opio and Ocen grow up and they have a very special great-grandmother!
 I trained with a small group in Kumi on Monday... the importance of children's ministry
 And a much larger group on Wednesday in Bululu.
 I know that a few times I have mentioned rains, but they were rains that have given false hope.  Things are not well here in Teso land.  The rains that came a few weeks ago sent farmers to their gardens, to plant the last of their seeds.  Now it is so dry and hot again that the crops are wilting away in the sun and people are starving.  The food prices have almost doubled and almost every day someone comes to my door asking for food.  It is hard to be discerning and helpful.  But every once in a while I really feel the Lord's conviction to help provide for families.
 Here is one of the grinding mills where I can get posho (cornmeal)... it's next door to the place where I pick up maize brand for the piggery project.,. which is also getting expensive right now.  
Please pray that the rains will return and that people will have hope.  Even mangoes are delaying to grow this year.
 On Good Friday I went to my friend Teddy's village.  We loaded up a few groceries from town and headed away for an overnight of fun and relaxation.
 The host family couldn't believe I was asking for milk to cook food.  People here have never made a creamy sauce before, but I wanted to make a creamy curried goat meat stew to share.  (It's also very rare for a mzungu to prepare a meal when you are a guest, but I cooked the whole supper!)
 Cooking over gas made out of cow dung (bio-gas) made the whole experience a whole lot easier in the village.
 The next day Teddy rolled out chapati for everyone to eat with their minnow sized fish stew.
I finished celebrating Easter week by going to the youth's Easter Explosion music concert - which was fantastic, and then supping with many team-mates.  
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Back to Alebtong

Yesterday was another long but fun journey to Abedeber to speak with 80 teens from Compassion.
 We shared about God's love, relationships, and staying in school.  We broke up into groups to talk to the girls separately because many of them leave school when their menstrations begin, in order to get married.  
 I shared about God's plan for marriage and waiting for the right partner, God's perfect design for life.
 When you rush into relationships - you can end up broken, diseased, shamed, and full of heart-ache.
 What's a training without a Penguin icebreaker!?
On the way home we had to wait for the crane / tow truck to pull out a disastrous accident.  One very smashed lorry, carrying cement, overturned in the night, with at least one person dead.  I always pray for safety on the roads when I travel...