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Thursday, June 6, 2019

IF Gathering, Preaching and Teaching

IF Gathering 2019 was once again held in Jinja.  I am so glad that I took along a few precious ladies in my life!!
 These junior disciples love going on road trips and learning more about God!
 Rose, Grace, Me, Vanessa and Teddy - soaking in the Word, speakers, and fellowship.
 I am a new creation!
 Here are all the missionary ladies who serve with Global Outreach Mission in Uganda...
Natalia, Me, Stephanie, Chasity, and Christina
 Every Wednesday evening I lead a Bible Study from "Lead Today" at one of the local sponsorship sites.  These teens are motivated to become better Christians and better leaders.  
They even battle many rainstorms to make it to class.  Rainy season has trapped us more than once.
Each teen has their own book, to dream, plan, memorize, define, discuss and review.
I recently took part in a 3 day workshop on how to reach out to our teens better.  Many leaders realized that the "Faults" are ours, and that we need to build deeper relationships for the teens to feel valued and be successful.
These young boys will always have a special place in my heart...
And I love seeing how creative they are becoming!
Each neighbour child made a hat for the birthday celebrations
The "Lead Today" groups vary in size, but the Lord is at work.  God has a deep plan for each of these underprivileged teens.
And already I have noticed 2 or 3 very strong leaders in the group.
Happy hair day... now I don't need to do anything for the next month.  :)
Tea Plantations - always a beautiful site to behold.
Posho (corn meal) and beans with greens - a national staple meal
Preaching about Spiritual Gifts one Sunday this month.  I always feel like God stretches me way out of my comfort zone when local pastors ask me to preach, but I am faithfully ready to accomplish the work.
As an example that day, I gave out gifts - some big, some small.  Some many, some one.  God disperses the gifts to His people is a spectrum of ways as well.  We just need to be willing to accept and use the gifts God has granted us.
I've heard reports since that Sunday that the church really appreciated the teaching and desire to have more, deeper Biblical truths shared with them regularly.  I know that God's people here are thirsting for knowledge and truth.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Police Pit Stop

Sunday morning four of us left Kampala early, hoping to get home to Soroti in good time.  I was sitting in the backseat with a friend, while another was driving the car.  Part way into the drive the police were waving on the side of the road, but the driver thought that the police were motioning for two over-crowded, speeding taxis (passenger vans) to pull over, so he proceeded.

I sure would love to name police posts and badge numbers... but I shall try to keep this true story anonymous.

About 25 km later there was a police barricade and a vehicle in front of us was stopped, so my driver also stopped.  The car was fully in park when an officer dressed in white uniform angrily came to the car and started banging on the window.  With a hot temper the officer yelled: "You didn't stop!! Why didn't you stop?" We had no idea what that meant.  The officer then told the driver to get out of the car.  All of us were confused and the driver said, "I'm not coming out of the car until you tell me what I have done wrong!"  Again the officer said, "I told you - you didn't stop.  What are you hiding in this car?"

The officer walked over to my side of the car to throw open the back door and he was taken aback to see my sitting there, so he just slammed the door and went back to the driver.  He again said, "Get out of the car or I will arrest you!!"  The driver was then getting emotional and said, "Go ahead, arrest me! I've done nothing here!"  Finally another female officer came near and said, "Sir, our colleagues further behind flagged to stop you and you just ignored them.  You have made an offence of passing wrongfully and you didn't pull over." 

"Oh, so sorry ma'am, thank you for letting me know what the problem is, but the way this other officer pulled me over and yelled was not correct and very intimidating."  The new officer said, "Well, pull over in to the police post and we will discuss this further."  So, we crossed the road into the rustic police station.  Then the first officer came back and demanded that the car be switched off.  So the car was turned off.  The officer tried to grab the keys but the driver was quick and threw them behind to me for safe keeping. 

There was no clarifying to see who was driving during the journey either.  I was taking turns driving and so it was very scary that this first officer was making such horrible assumptions and demands.

The officers from the location where the "careless driving" occurred talked with my friend on the phone and my driver admitted to doing wrong.  A paper ticket was then issued, but the officer didn't want to let us go.  He was holding the driver's id and saying that he had to stay out of the car until the ticket was paid.  He informed us that the driver should go back to Kampala by public means and find the one bank that is open on a Sunday - to pay the ticket before he would let us proceed.  And/or they wanted to remove one of my license plates... but they are bolted so well, I didn't want damage to the car.

By this time we were all relaxed and hanging around outside of the vehicle.  Other police were very friendly and even the officer in charge was taking that time to preach to us.

(Mind you, the officer's theology is very twisted.  He was misquoting Scripture.  "This is what the Lord says, "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord/" Jeremiah 17:5.  He informed us that we should never trust any man only God.  Well... that may explain why there is a cultural issue of a lot of mistrust here.  But it's not a good verse to take on it's own.  He kept rambling and then he said, "Are you listening to me today? This is God's Word!"  I politely said "Sir, you just told me not to trust any man, so I am not trusting the words you are preaching to me today."  And he just smiled.

The longer we waited for resolutions to occur, the more we planned on spending a long time at this police post.  I asked if they had pillows for us to use if we had to spend a night sleeping on the veranda.  They all laughed and said, "Oh yes, and you will be very safe here.  The air is fresh and there is a lot of good security here!"  We were even shown a small jail cell we could use if we wanted a mat to sleep on over night.  Ha ha.

A blue uniformed officer was walking around carrying an old gun.  I asked him what his role was if this was really a stop for the traffic police only.  He explained that someone needed to carry a gun in case things get out of control.  He continued advising that not every police officer should carry a gun because some are short tempered, or come with very bad backgrounds.  He even leaned over to mention that if the officer who pulled us over had had a gun, the driver would probably have been shot.  Well - Yikes!!

People were praying for us.  I actually felt peace through most of the visit to the post.  Finally, after 2.5 hours, all parties involved were able to have a rational conversation.  A form of ID was left at the post, with a promise to pay the ticket and come back in a few days to retrieve the ID in exchange for the receipt.  We thanked the officers, honked, and drove away.  :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April's been Awesome!

On Mondays a nice variety of vegetables are brought to my favourite supermarket in Soroti.  If I go at 4 pm I can wrestle with many Indians, Mzungus and a few Ugandans for treats like broccoli, red and yellow peppers, radishes, lettuce, beets, cauliflower, and the like.  So, maybe three weeks ago a group of us were waiting in front of the supermarket, for the two sacks of vegetables to be delivered from the bus coming from Kampala.  While there I met an old friend I haven't seen in years.
Francis was one of the first former LRA child soldiers that I ever met and he happily told me how much his life has changed and how the village has transformed.  He also informed me that some Finnish friends I've known since 2009 were also in town... doing a follow-up on the programs with the former LRA.
 Heidi and Pertti have faithfully been working up in the northern region for almost 2 decades, and will continue to oversee the project for 2 more years.

 Sunday Ladies Bible study and prayer time continues to be a highlight for me.
 I'm so grateful for these Divine Design Women of God.
 Here I am with Teddy... starting another Lead Today youth discipleship program.
 And another grand group of ladies that keep me on track each week.
 I'm sad to announce that the piggery project is closed... it just wasn't sustainable with no help, drought, high feed prices and no real market.
 Teaching Sunday School on Easter Sunday.  There was a great turn out of children and lots of activity.
 He is risen indeed!
 This owl got caught in my chimney... I think he was trapped for 3 days before we opened a vent above my stove to let him out.
 Teaching Sunday school
 The kids always listen better when I'm dressed in character.
 Balloon crowns
And this week I am back in the classroom with nursery and primary school teachers - assisting with Preventive and Corrective Discipline.

Creativity and Retreat

A few months ago I received a special invitation to join the OneHope crew for a training on Creativity.  OneHope has created a lot of colourful resources and awesome Sunday school or elementary school Bible materials.  About 55 of us spent 4 days together on Lake Victoria - learning how to apply games and activities and team building to teaching God's Word.
 I was honored to receive a certificate!
 On the shores of Lake Victoria... so peaceful.
 This was my small group for two days... we had to create a story using assigned props.
This was our prop pile
 We had candles, coloured paper, toothpaste... and we shared about the wide and narrow path...
 Jesus is the only answer and a light unto our path!!
Then in early April I headed over to Kenya to join Resonate Global Mission in a very needed retreat.  It was a true time of fellowship, learning, worshipping, sharing, praying, and laughing together.
 The conversation was never boring at meal times.
 RGM staff from Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa were all present.
 A few of us had to check out my huge bathroom in my loft room.
 So peaceful to rest in God's nature.
 It was so cool to see hippos this close!!
 Do I dare get any closer?... NO!
 I didn't know they also like sunbathing... kind of rare in my opinion.
 Mwikali and I explored a Maasai Museum that was on site.
 Such cute vervets!
 Stunning bushbucks.
 Hippos were fed at 1pm... Daddy hippo chomped away greedily.
 Another team bonding experience was one hour on Lake Naivasha.  
What a glorious creator we serve!
 Two boats carried all the attendees.
Well, I'm signing off like a refreshed princess.