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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

EC Graduation

Saturday morning I was able to celebrate with many friends and ministry partners as 16 of us graduated from a course in Educational Care.
Educational Care (EC) is a ministry program of the Christian Reformed Churches in North America (CRCNA) stemming from the observed need for a biblical world view in the teaching learning process among Christian schools in Africa. Hence, by definition, EC is a biblically based Christian education program that shows teachers how to integrate faith and learning in the teaching learning process using an inductive approach. It is based on a biblical worldview that brings the presence of Jesus into the classroom. 
 The graduating class met many times to plan and prepare for this celebratory event!!
 Julius is excited to finish the race.
 Faithful Baker worked hard to get to this point.
 My friend and colleague, Peter, decorated the church and let a few fun ice-breakers.
 I like wearing fascinator hats on special occasions. :)
 Pledging to make a difference in the lives of children and youth.
 Diana Boot, a Resonate partner and friend, was proud to train and award the certificates.
 I received two certificates - one of appreciation and one of completion/graduation.
 Martin, William, Me, and Baker - we have worked hard over the past two years to see that each training module was a success.
 The graduates lined up to receive their final certificate.
 It was an honor to shake hands in the process.
 I'm grateful for all of Diana's guidance, love, and training. Along with Dr. Mwaya wa Kitavi, and Mwikali Wambua, our Kenyan trainers.
 I shared a dramatic reading... rebuilding the walls... seeing the school system being transformed.
 Anthony Sytsma, from World Renew, shared the Word of God as our guest speaker.
 You can't have a celebration without cake.  I was up until 11 pm baking cupcakes the night before.
 Soroti Graduating Class of 2018.  Cake cutting ceremony.
 A privilege to cut and serve and finish well.
Josh & Mandy Shaarda were there too, encouraging one of their church members who completed the course.  A true blessing to have friends and ministry partners share in this special day.
 Hmmm... as formal a group shot as I could get.  :)
 Jesca is one of the young ladies who comes to the Sunday afternoon Bible study / discipleship group at my house.  I first met her in 2009 and it has been amazing to see her grow over the years.  She is a very dedicated and motivated teacher.  Her husband is also a teacher.  We were glad the little one waited to arrive until after the graduation, since her due date was the next day.
Actually, four of the young ladies in the discipleship group were a part of the day.  Jesca A and Jesca N were graduates. Teddy was the MC, and Grace was the photographer.  Again, I'm blessed to watch how the Lord is working in their lives and giftings.
Yep - I'm an EC Grad!

Friday, September 14, 2018

All over the Map

Lately it seems that my home is only a place where I go to rearrange the clothing in my suitcase and to check on my beloved neighbours.  I love seeing where the Lord is opening many doors now days.  I was able to be in Entebbe to attend Modules 3&4 in Educational Care.  I went to Kampala to buy polo-shirts in bulk for a graduating class, and to attempt to get a Ugandan driver's permit... the officials can't read my work permit correctly though and are not giving me a permit right away because they want to verify that I have a valid work permit....  In Jinja I caught up with old friends and enjoyed their Saturday farmers market.
 I was able to purchase some delicious western snacks and get some herbs and spices to grow in my little garden.  I have never done this before... so let's see if I have a green thumb or not. :)
 Whenever possible, the neighbour kids sneak into my home to study, play, colour, or just be with me.  It always melts my heart with love.
 This school break has been a busy one and so I had hardly any time to help out with kids camp, but thankfully I was able to share the Word one day after playing in the field with the delightful children.
The kids had a blind man's relay. 
 Last weekend I gathered with all of the missionaries who serve with Global Outreach Mission in Uganda.  We shared stories, testimonies and prayer requests.  We talked about security and crises protocols, and partook in a delicious brunch.  It's a pleasure to be ministering with these people!!
 Just this past Sunday I drove 256km north to Kaabong.  Grace, one of the young ladies who attends the Sunday Bible Study and discipleship group in my home, came with me to help lead a two day training.  Along the way we shared stories and listened to music.  I wanted to stop and show her what I was a part of in 2009.  
 On my birthday in 2009, I remember walking through fields in Amuria district, collecting bodies of fallen war victims and wrapping them in white cloth and then placing the bodies in a mass grave.
 This land has seen and experienced trauma!
Nameless bodies now rest in peace.
 Continuing on the route, I was excited to show my favourite village to Grace.  Abim has the most beautiful hills!!
 The further north we got, traveling to Kaabong, the roads became rockier and the landscape threw up stunning rock formations.  It's so different than Soroti which is placed in a flat, grassy Savannah.
 This PAG church hosted us for a two day training.
 Grace was delighted to be stepping up in her leadership skills!
 Together we taught about mentoring and discipleship
 ... in the hopes of equipping and encouraging church leaders. 
 Shepherd boys meandered by the front door while we were in training.
 I always find it a joy to teach... I love the diversity in the work God calls me to be a part of here.
 There were 24 men and 3 ladies in attendance.
 We dug into the Scriptures together, to search out mentee/mentor relationships
 And we challenged a new way of thinking when it comes to discipleship.  It is more about relationship than preaching and reprimanding, so church leaders needed to even practice conversation starters and topic ideas.
 A Karamajong man was talking on the phone... I love it that he wears a blanket in gum boots in extreme heat.
 After the first session we walked to the river bed for some fun and fellowship.  We were glad that 4 church leaders escorted us on our little adventure.
 Grace and I were sinking in the sand and cherishing the pedicure.
 Fun moments
 Early this year, flash floods had passed through this river bed and the waters were even higher than the bridge.  Many community members were greatly affected.
 Mzee in the market was very hungry, so after a short talk, I ended up buying him a chapati to eat.
He walked away happy.
 It was a blessing to hand out almost 460 pieces of discipleship materials to this group.  It would have been way more except many of the youth whom this group works with do not speak or read English.  
 But I'm grateful that these leaders now have the manuals with solid Biblical leadership guidance.  Thank you OneHope for providing this amazing resource.
 Young men hanging around... 
 Watching a lorry being unloaded of soda crates.
On the way home we carried the Pastor's wife and two daughter so that we could drop them off in Abim... where they were to farm their land.  As the daughter got out of the car, she said, "Auntie, your tire is making noise."  I stepped out to watch it deflate before our eyes.  
I am grateful that we were at a trading centre and not out in the remote parts of the road... we quickly changed the tire to the spare, but I didn't want to go another 140 km without a spare tire, so we went back to Abim, 10 minutes away, and found a young man who could fix the big puncture.
When I got back to Soroti I had another mechanic look at the tire, and he fixed it even more, but now it is back on the car and in fine working condition. :)
I am grateful for the journeys the Lord allows me to be a part of here in this country of UGANDA!!