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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.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Invitation to India

Since 2009 I have been shopping at OM supermarket in Soroti, and have become nicely acquainted with the shop keepers who own that business.  They are from Gujarat, India... and they are wonderful people.  Many months ago, Situ and Vibha started asking me and my friends to join him in India for his niece's wedding.  I was blown away by the invitation and excited to see his village.  So many of my Uganda friends want me to reach their village... so this time I extended my Ugandan relationships a little further to a different cultural village.
 We drank a lot of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice whenever we past this street vendor.
 I had to get a henna tattoo for the wedding.  It was a full day of ladies getting painted!!
 It's amazing how fast the artists can paint these intricate designs.
 Here is the bride, at home, before one of four days of celebrations. 
 The grooms party was day three, where we danced through the streets of Anand and finished the evening off with another delicious vegetarian buffet.
 The actual wedding day had enough food stations to easily serve 2000 guests.
 Three lines for the main course - on top of salads, desserts, fruit, panini, soup, and sweets counters.
 I love how many families I actually knew at the wedding... there are at least 16 families from Soroti and surrounding towns that I now have a deeper more open friendship with and I thank God for that opportunity.  Now when I drive around Soroti I see big smiles on their faces.
 Indians drink tiny cups of chai.  This is even two portions - served in a big cup... ha ha.
 A few of us were able to explore an old colonial town in Diu - with a cool old fort!
 This is probably my favourite Indian snack - loaded with honey!!
 Twice we went out for Thali... the servers keep refilling your bowls and plates until you tell them to stop.  A $4 meal.  Amazing!!
 Scarves in trees... so much symbolism, culture, tradition, and religion wrapped up in one.
 I got all dolled up for the party in the bride's village.
 Here I am at the beginning of the henna process.
 While my arms were drying the bride's mother fed me and gave me chai... quite humbling!
 Wedding night portrait. :)
 Beckie and I were hoping to spot Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir Forest... but this painted lion was the only one we found.
 At port in Mumbai
 The Tajmahal Palace in Mumbai
 And the Gateway to India
 I had fun with the Patel family during the Colour Festival...
 A whole day of paint powder, laughter, and water!!
 Sneaking on to the grooms carriage.
 Taking breakfast at a nearby restaurant. Always spicy, vegetarian, and adventurous.
 We found a Bible believing church in the area, and the worship leader was an Itesot Ugandan... I love how the Lord works.  We were able to bless this university student with gnuts and a newspaper from home, while he blessed us with hospitality and friendship.  Please pray for this tiny church in a culture where there are strong anti-conversion laws.
 Getting ready to dance the night away!!
 Welcome to the village celebration.
 And again, more dancing at the groom's party.
 Exploring the caves of Diu!
 Hatel and his lovely wife (left) were honored to have me at their daughters wedding, and Vibha and Situ (right) are glad we accepted the invitation!!  A blessing for everyone.
Rinali made a beautiful bride.
Hit and Rinali... may you have a wonderful marriage... thank you for sharing it with us.