Friday, January 30, 2009


We're in Jinja!! Our last days in Soroti were really good:

My hair is done!! Sixteen and a half hours later, I have a braided head!! Yaaaaay!!

Since we were leaving, the neighborhood kids were around a lot to hang out with us. Oh my goodness I just want to bring them home (sigh, but I won't...). One of the games they decided to play was to decorate my and Lindsey's hair with leaves and flowers. LoL!! The braids make it a lot easier to stick things in, I guess. Soooooo funny. I looked like a weird depiction of Eve (don't worry - we took pictures). David (10 years old) decided that Lindsey and I are his "mommas." So, we can't help but bring him home, right? I mean, I can't abandon my son!!

I miss those kids. The last night, they were blowing kisses to me. I taught them how to catch a kiss that's blown to you and put it on your check. But then they just started to eat the kisses. Hey that works, too. Maybe they think I'm blowing them Hersey kisses.

Right now it's dry season in Uganda. There's no fall, winter, spring, summer because there wouldn't be much difference besides rain or no rain. So they have dry season (no rain) and wet season (lots of rain!!). Apparently wet season's come a bit early because a few nights it's been POURING. And it's intense and windy and crazy. I love it. Monday night, Mike and I were sitting on the veranda right outside our building and it started to sprinkle. Trickle trickle. A little bit more... a little harder... a little windier. And bit by bit the rain attacked us. It was wonderful. We thought we were safe under that roof, but I guess you need walls, too. Ha!! It turned into a night of running around, dancing in the rain, and getting soaked. Oh, and people laughing at us from their rooms. I guess we were entertaining as we attempted to mimic Step Up 2, which we actually watched earlier that night (if you haven't seen it, stop reading this, go rent it and watch it immediately because you are seriously missing out).

Wednesday, we hopped a Teso Coach to Jinja.

It was insane getting on.

MAD RUSH of people. I thought I was going to get pancaked. But we all got on safely and sweated our way to Jinja. Hey, what's a bus ride through Uganda without the heat? : D

It was definitely hard to say goodbye to the Soroti staff. I've only known them three weeks, but they're really fun and amazing people. You just kind of attach yourself to people like that, hoping they'll always be around because they're so great. I hate those goodbyes --- "Ok goodbye. I'll see you... uhm... sometime, hopefully?" There's no guarantee any of us will see any of them again. That's hard. But I am certain that God helps us slowly move on from the people He draws us away from.

All is well.

When we arrived in Jinja, we got picked up by our host, Samuel. Ok, we ADORE him already. We even call him Sammy now (hehe). He's funny and so hospitable.

Get this.

We're staying with him and his family in his new home. New home - they just moved in. It's small, but they are readjusting their lives for us. Sarah, Samuel's wife, is staying home from working at the clinic that YWAM Jinja has in order to take care of us. We as Americans think we're hospitable. I don't want to negate the fact that we open our homes to each other, but I'm seeing a whole new level of hospitality. Fully opening your life, your family, your home, your kids, your hands and labor for the comfort of another. A stranger, regardless!! That's amazing to me.

Staying in Samuel's house is definitely less... of what we're used to (you can probably tell that I'm avoiding the word "comfortable"). We girls are in the living room on mattresses under three mosquito nets. There are pit latrines (no indoor bathrooms) and an outdoor shower. At first I was like guuuuuh. But now? Man, this is so great. I love sleeping crazy close to these women that I love (we have good stories that occur in the middle of the night) and having trouble with the tiny hole that we have to pee into. It's just another opportunity to roll with the punches and get something great out of us. Sorry for the graphics, but I don't want to hold much back.


We haven't done much yet, just orientation-type things. But I'm getting really excited. Our schedule is filling up with really good things. YWAM Jinja has a medical clinic - just general things like blood testing, perscriptions, etc. They need practical work done. We'll be getting bats out of their ceiling, painting, and digging a rubbish hole. Seems mundane, but the staff expressed to us how much it would bless them. : )

We also visited Springs of Hope, a ministry of YWAM that reaches out to disabled children. There's really nothing in Uganda for them even though they're disregarded, neglected, and rejected much of the time, even by their own families. SOH does a lot of home visits, which we'll be going on, to pray and encourage them and their families. I think SOH also works with the kids to help them become able adults in society. Cool.

We're also planning to lead Sunday school and discussions at churches. The discussions would be geered at doing practical work and serving God by volunteering your time. Our afternoon would then be focused on doing work that we talked about with the congregation. So if we talked about caring for people with HIV/AIDS, we would then go out with them and look after people with HIV/AIDS.

Great stuff. Really great stuff.

Things you guys can pray for:

Samuel and his family!! Pray that they don't get burnt out taking care of us and that they are blessed by our appreciation for them, because we really are grateful for all they're doing. That we get to know them well.

All the stuff we'll be doing!! It's really exciting - just pray that we work at all of it with all our hearts. That our servant hearts don't fade, but only increase. That God continues to give us strength.

That we have time to spend with people in the community. A lot of the time, it's really easy to just randomly hang out with a bunch of kids on the side of the road somewhere. They just approach you. And even if there's a language barrier, it's so great to just soak them in. Pray that we can linger and be present in those times every once in a while.

Monday, January 26, 2009

End of Soroti, soon off to Jinja.

So much to talk about!! Sorry about any rambling or being sporadic. Hehe.

Mondays are our day off, so we try to do something fun or touristy in town. Soroti has a GIANT rock with water tanks on it (yes, random), so we climbed that last Monday. It was soooo great. Treacherous, but very amazing. They have steps, kind of, going all the way up. As you get further and further up, the steps pretty much turn into rubble that you have to pray you don't slip on. Ha. In the middle, we saw MONKEYS!! It was so great!! The very top of the rock is a military base (man, this rock is getting more and more random!!), so it's hard to get all the way up. But David, one of the Soroti DTS students, talked our way up. It was gorgeous. We could see all of Soroti and then some. Words simply cannot describe.

There's a big pipe running over a chasm on the rock. And we saw a man walking across it. CRAZY - if you fall, you die. AH!!

So we climbed all the way down, which of course was more scary than going up. We all get to the bottom and I realize something unbelieveable... I left my camera at the very, very, very top of the rock. It was pretty much as high as you could go. Oh no... The good thing is is that Carolyn, Mike, and David all had the time of their lives, so they really wanted to go back up. Hmmm, so I did them a favor? LoL - maybe not. They we pretty exhausted when they got back down again. Oops. But thank the Lord for those three : ).

As part of FACE (Facing AIDS with Compassion and Education), YWAM Soroti does a mobile clinic to bring meds and health care out to the villages. Only a couple of us can do help with this at a time, so on Tuesday, Jillana, Melbourne (both from the Trinidad DTS team), Carolyn and I went along.

The way there was GREAT. We often ride in the bed of a truck wherever we need to go, so the four of us did that. Jillana had her IPOD, so Carolyn and I listened to the Lion King soundtrack on our way there. Oh my goodness, I can't even describe riding through African bush listening to that music. So amazing. Cute and funny. But moreso incredible. The music fit perfectly with what I was seeing and feeling and smelling... Mmmm!! If you're ever in Africa, make sure to listen to the beginning of The Circle of Life as you ride. You'll never regret it.

We picked up people on the way. One of the women was lame, but she got herself into the back of the truck just fine. She really impacted me. She had two children with her, and was still completely capable despite not being able to walk. As we were getting out in the village, she kind of slipped out of the truck and fell. And then laughed!! I was amazed at how she didn't let her situation get her down. Now that is resilience. What a lady.

We basically just counted pills to hand out to patients in the village that they've already seen. Check-up stuff. It was so simple, but so beneficial. : )

This week we also started to get my hair braided!! It has been a long process. There are three of us getting it done, so we've devoted lots of free time to it!! And I'll admit, the guy who's doing it is the first Ugandan to try my patience many times over. Let's just say we believe different things about customer service.

So far, I've put in 12 hours getting them done. Approximately 4 more hours today. Yup. Sixteen hours over 6 days and 4 sessions. Bleh!! Hey - at least I love them : ) And it's nice to have long hair again.

A lot of this week was also devoted to working at Amacet, the home for orphaned, abandoned, and/or HIV positive children. They have about 9 babies, 6 toddlers, and 3 older kids. It's very regulated - they're all on very organized feeding and changing schedules. They're well taken care of and I love it.

One of the older kids, Siliver, calls me "Auntie 'Merica." LOL!!

Learning to change diapers was... interesting. They use cloth diapers (they're like flour towels) with plastic coverings. It was easy to get the hang of, but cleaning them is the weirdest thing!! Before you put them into the hamper, you have to sort of pre-wash them. You stick the diaper into the toilet holding one corner and flush!! This must be the spin cycle, LoL. If there's any poop residue, you scrub it off with the toilet brush. Then off to the actual laundering... Weird!!

A few of us each worked a night shift - 6 pm to 8 am. Loooooooong. But hey, a blessing to the Amacet staff for sure. And it was good to see some things - heartbreaking. Just sick kids in general. Hard to see. Hard to stomach. Hard to accept.

Helen. She's ten months old, but was malnourished (basically there was no one to take care of her, I guess). So she's 3.5 kilos - the size of a healthy three month old. She was so skinny. So skinny. But so pretty. I thought she was so gorgeous. Big, dark brown eyes. She has a feeding tube and mittens so she doesn't pull it out of her nose, so I think she's pretty uncomfortable. But she's got a lot of love in Amacet. Amazing. I can't get her out of my mind now. There are some kids that no matter how sick they seem, they're still so beautiful to you, and you can't get over it. There's something beyond their illness, their circumstances, their families. There's more.

Mood swing. Sorry, I don't know how else to do it.

In Soroti, there are bicycle taxis called "Boda Bodas." Ok, I love them. The bicycles have a cushioned platform just behind the seat (above the rear wheel) for you to sit on. Girls have to ride side-saddle, as we have to wear modest skirts everywhere but the YWAM base. I've taken 4 boda bodas in the last 3 days. LoL!! See how excited I am? The first time was scary (the roads are pretty bumpy, but they're pretty good at making the ride smooth). I was holding onto the spring underneath the seat and, uhm, accidentally violated my boda boda - I touched his butt!! AHHHHHHH. Oops. Why am I so awkward??


Crystal, Mike and I were walking on the main road and a guy we know from church, Japheth, pulled over on his motorbike. "Want a ride?" Uhm. YES!! So I got to do that, too!! I don't think I've ever taken a motorcycle ride before, which is CRAZY!!

On Sunday, we went to Deliverence Church, where we had done two weeks prior. So it was familiar to us. Jas and I both gave our testimonies. At first it was a bit difficult speaking with a translator. Imagine trying to keep a good flow of your talk while having to stop and pause after every sentence. It gets a little chopping and a lot depends on your translator. I guess my sentence structure was a little nuts because my translator gave me a few confused looks. Thank God for Japheth (motorbike man!) - he came up to translate for me and the rest went fine. I was actually glad for him - he reminds me of my friend, Dan Gabel (hey Dan!), so he made me feel at home. Yup. I found an African Dan Gabel.

The pastor did something SO funny. At the end of the service, they all prayed for us. We won't see them again because we leave for Jinja on Wednesday. Then Pastor started talking about how since we're leaving, he's realizing that the men in his church aren't good fishermen. At first we were like, "What?" And we thought he was talking about bringing people to Jesus. Nope. He was talking about marriage. He was ashamed that none of the men snatched us ladies up. LoL. Wow.

That afternoon, we went to the Soroti Hospital to hand out soap, milk biscuits, and sweets to the kids there. It was a lot different from hospitals here. All the beds (besides newborns and Tetanus patients) are in the same room. Same room. So there's no privacy, even being sick. And they're very crowded, as a lot of the parents stay with their kids. I handed out the sweets and people were very grateful. I tried as much as I could to say "Asi reren e deke" (sorry to all the Attesso speakers out there, I don't know how to spell!!) - meaning "God bless you." People lit up when they heard that. : )

We also went to a ward with malnourished kids. Wow. Skin and bones.

I wish you could all be here to see what I'm seeing. I'm struggling with words. They just don't do it for me. They can't.

By the way - Happy Australian Day!! Today we had a celebration. With face paint. And Australian chocolate. Yay!! Jas had a good time : D

Love you all. Miss you bunches. I can't wait 'til I can actually tell you about Uganda face to face!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

One more thing from the village!!

Ah!! I realized yesterday after my post that I forgot a really amazing part of our village stay!! One of the mornings, we cleaned out a medical clinic.

It was crazy.

There were no patients and very few supplies. They had a BUNCH of syringes, but few vaccines and medications. Plus, a lot of very old and unorganized medical records. Oof!! They definitely aren't getting supplied with the things they need. We swept out the entire clinic and then tried our best to organize a stock room (hence, the mass of syringes!!). But we all felt as if we left it unhelped ... Yeah, we blessed them with a cleaner clinic. But who can they help??

I hate seeing things like this. Especially when I'm in a situation of being unable to give them what I want to!!

On a random note...

I want to see a lion. I really do. There are so many stinkin' cows and goats and chickens. They're amusing, but I just really want to see a lion. Sigh.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Still loving it here : )

This week we stay in a village called Osuguro (no idea if I spelt that right). It was definitely an interesting and amazing experience. One thing I'm going to miss in Uganda is the lack of seat belts. I know how weird that sounds, but imagine riding on a bumpy road through the remote bush. SO FUN!! Painful at times, but the novelty outweighs the bad. Ha!

Our "guide" for the week was James (pronounced Jay-mez), a pastor in Soroti. He made sure we were taken care of and planned what we would do for the whole week. He also ended up acting as our entertainer - the man was hilarious!! We also went/stayed with Brie, an American from Portland, OR whose home church partners with James', and Jane, a pastor from Entebbe.

The greeting we got was absolutely unbelievable. As soon as the villagers saw our truck, they were dancing, singing, running out to us on the road. They were SO excited. Blogging all these things is so hard - I wish I could just show you!! My words are nothing compared to seeing, hearing, feeling it. It was amazed.

That night they sang and danced for us - their welcome. Then they worshipped on into the night. Oof!! The reason we were able to stay at a village was that we tagged along with Life Ministries, a church in Soroti who wanted to evangelize around the Katakwi District (where the village is located). So the Pastor from Life, Charles, showed some films and spoke about salvation. This was actually really confusing - he showed a few (seemingly) ancient videos. Seriously? From the sixties. Ha. And they were about overbearing, controlling men - a young guy who nearly rapes a girl and an angry husband. Ok?? We were all very confused.

We stayed in their guest hut, which was the only one in the area besides a kitchen hut and the church (the village seemed pretty widespread). The first night, the welcoming festivities didn't really die down - they were literally outside our hut singing while we slept. Thank God I was exhausted. I was able to sleep anyway. I've been able to grow some thicker sleeping skin : ) YAY!!

Wednesday was our first full day. We went to a training session at the church for door-to-door evangelism. We wanted to see a little of what they were doing, but we didn't actually go with them for a few reasons. I've learned that we're pretty distracting - some people marvel at the fact that muzungus are around.

Instead of that we would do practical service everyday, which was really good because it helped us understand more of what village life is like. We chopped acok (potatoes), hoed some fields, pumped water at the well, etc. We definitely learned how soft our hands, feet, bodies are!! We got tired, blistered, sun burnt, achy pretty quickly. But it was all still so envigorating. Most of the time while we were in the village, I had to keep pinching myself. Am I really here doing this?? Ah, so cool!!

Wednesday we also went to meet the Regional District Commissioner, Joseph. He's basically the president type of the Katakwi District. Whenever someone visits, they like to give an official welcome. I felt like an honored guest and hey, I guess I was.

Other than sitting in on training/devotions and doing some practical work, we were able to have a lot of chill time. This was definitely my favorite. The language barrier wasn't bad - many people spoke English - but it was difficult to communicate with a lot of the kids because they usually only speak Attesso. But we've all found ways around that. One afternoon, Mike and I were sitting with about 10 kids playing one of their bass string instruments. Mike ran off, so I had a bunch of Attesso-speaking kids staring at me. LoL - uhm?? So I just started to make funny faces and noises. And they would laugh and repeat whatever I was doing. Ha, it was sooooo funny!! Apparently they thought I was entertaining because one by one they would run off and grab a bunch of their friends. So soon enough I had about 40 people around me, waiting to see what I would do next. It was incredible. I will never forget that moment - language is only one part of communication and so many other things are universals. Thank the Lord for laughter.

I made a buddy. For most of the week, I didn't know his name. "What's your name?" is one of the sentences that I keep forgetting in Attesso!! But I now know that his name is Solomon and I'd say that he's around 3 years old. In the first training session, he was sitting down near the door. It's common now for us to shake hands with hundreds of people a day, it's just kind of something you do all the time. So as I passed, I put my hand down to shake his and instead of gently giving me his hand and then letting go, he pulled me down to the ground!! Yup, from that moment I was hooked on how cute he is. He would run up and sit on my lap. We wouldn't be able to say anything to each other, but he would just smile at me and his whole face would light up. Michelle told me that I couldn't keep him though : ( It's kind of illegal. LoL.

We also went to one of their crusades - it was a worship service they have near the side of the road. Preaching, singing, dancing. I LOVE how relentless they are in worship. They just dance and do whatever they feel like doing. Why is that so rare in the West?? They way they worship is the way I imagine and the way I desire. RHAH!! So COOL!!

So basically... I had the time of my life in the village. We were immediately and wholly welcomed. It was like one big family and it was hard to leave!!

Stay tuned. More to come. Keep on praying and thanking God - He's teaching amazing things.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I'm here!! We'll see how this post goes --- internet cafes are less dependable than I'd like : )

So we flew into Entebbe, Uganda on Monday and stayed in a motel. Jas and I took a walk the next day down what we named "Rooster Ave" (Cock a doodle doos everywhere!). And really took in how dang beautiful this country is!! I wish I could describe it to you... Oh how I wish.

We got picked up by Andrew (YWAM Soroti staff) in a taxi to take the day trek to Soroti! I feared for my life a couple times - the drivers are crazy!! But we made it in one piece. Even though it was about an 8 hour day to get there, I was amazed and fascinated by seeing Uganda. Mmmm so amazing. Shops everywhere. Naked (but cute) babies. Lush vegetation. It was absolutely captivating.

When we arrived on the base, we met another DTS from Trinidad and Tobago (T & T) also doing their outreach. They're the same size as us, seven people, and are really fun. Jillana from their team has gorgeous dreds - and my baby dred is super jealous. LoL. After Soroti, they're going to Rakai in Southern Uganda, which is the birthplace of AIDS. The first case was found there and it's still a huge problem. It's rare that you'll find anyone over 26 there. Crazy.

The next day, we walked into town to check things out. Man, are we a spectacle!! We got stares all day long with lots of different reactions. They call us "Muzungu" - white person. It's not demeaning, it's simply a label. In fact, it makes me laugh : D. "Hey Muzungu!! How are you?!?!" Some people want to come up and touch us (mostly kids). There are lots of gentle hand shakes. Others ask for money - also mostly kids - because they associate being white with being rich. Can't blame 'em. They're right, aren't they? Contrasting to that is the special treatment. Sometimes, we'll be told to budge in line in front of Teso people (**In Soroti, the people are called Teso and they speak the language Attesso - the common language in Uganda is English, but there are over 30 other languages throughout).

Thursday was International YWAM Prayer and Fasting day. So we fasted breakfast and lunch to spend some time worshipping and praying. Man alive, it was cool. I have come to love love love African voices. We sang a few songs in Attesso, a few in English. Then the T & T leaders led prayer for unreached people groups in the world. We asked the question, why have so few heard the Good News? I always tend to come back to struggle through the question "UGH! What do large cats have to do with it?" I don't understand yet. I'm gaining patience, but it's still difficult when people talk about people. It's about people people people, and here I am, wanting to work with cats. I know it will fall together and make sense, I know it will. I just lose my wits whenever I hear about how lost and hurting people are.

One of YWAM Soroti's ministries is Amacet, a home for orphaned or abandoned children. About half of their kids are HIV positive, so they also administer medical care. They try to limit their stay so that kids can go back in to their clan as healthy as possible. It's like a little family - people just wanting to take care of kids as best they can.

Friday was my 21st birthday!! I had a really good day : ). Crystal, Carolyn and I (go Team C!!) helped Stephen, the base director, paint a room in a building on his lot. It was really fun to be able to bond with the director and to tell him about our lives. He comes from a place of wanted to learn as much from us as we do from him. Humble, fun, approachable, hilarious. What a guy!! Carolyn taught him some Western slang ("Hey man, what's up" and the like - yeah, we're really cool)!! So funny.

While we were at Stephen's, we also got to hang out a bit with his kids and their friends. I think I've made a little buddy. His name is John and he belongs to Andrew, who is also on staff with YWAM. Whenever he comes to the base, he runs up and sits with me and it just fills me with joy!! All the kids call us "Auntie" or "Uncle." I love it.

When I got back from my one-on-one with Lindsey, I went in my room to find my mosquito net stuffed with 80 or so balloons!! Ha, so funny. They made me get in (which was really difficult - I had to manage top bunk, a mosquito net, and getting all the balloons to stay!) - I'm sure you'll all see pictures of that later... LoL.

That night we celebrated with ice cream and soda. The ice cream was half melted, but was still fluffy and delicious (I had chocolate vanilla in case you're wondering, which oh I'm sure you are : P). Jas is our "Hospitality Coordinator" for outreach, so part of her job is planning birthdays. As you can tell, she did a great job. She then whipped out a card from all of them (with "21 Reasons Why We Love Kern"), Reisens (my favorite chocolate, mmmmmm), and the best of all, notes from home. Jas had been talking to Sarah at home to get together some birthday wishes from my friends back in MN. Oh my goodness, that was the kicker. It was so great to have a piece of home while being away for my birthday. So if you wrote me a note through Sarah P, thanks. I got your words and I love them.

So even though I wasn't at home with family and friends, in a way I was. I was VERY blessed and loved by people I consider to be family.

The next day we went into town to get dresses made (so excited!). While we were there, we ran into muzungus from an organization called World Race. It's so easy to spot people who are white here, you can't help but talk to them and see what they're doing. They are mostly American. They travel around the world - 11 countries in 11 months to do mission work and volunteering. Cool. Way cool. They've already been to the Philippines, China, Kenya, not Uganda. I can't remember everywhere else they're going, but there's Tanzania, Bosnia, Romania, Guatemala, Nicaragua, etc... So now whenever we see them in town, we say hi. Really nice people.

Twice a week, YWAM drives to villages to do kids' club. There are about a dozen villages that they visit on a rotation. So on Saturday, Julious (YWAM staff and Mike's roommate!) and Katharine (our translator) drove us out in the middle of nowhere to lead some fun stuff!! In the first village we went to, someone had died earlier in the week and because of the community meeting they were having, we couldn't do any programming. But we were able to teach some kids how to play frisbee while we waited. It's amazing what you can do despite the language barrier (many villages around Soroti only speak Attesso - and though we're learning, it's still difficult). All the girls approached us by taking our hands and curtsying (I'm not even going to look up how to spell that... bleh!), which is a sign of respect for older people and for muzungus. So sweet : )

So we decided to try another village - success!! We walked into a small classroom to meet the kids and one of the first things I noticed was the chalk board

How to Deal with Depression
1. When you're father dies
2. When someone dies
3. ...
(In English, which confused me a little.
I think they may be learning as they get older)

Wow. It amazes me that they have to expect death and depression to the point of teaching it in schools. I had a death and dying unit in school, but it was more of a "this could happen" thing than what these kids have to deal with.

We then played slinky tag with them and sang a fun song. They couldn't really sing because it was in English, but they loved the actions. When we're all running around, laughing our heads off, it doesn't really matter what language we each speak. Thank the Lord for universal things!

We loved riding in the van through the bush. Everyone, no matter what they were carrying, would stop and wave to us. "Yoga!" (Hello!). One kid actually called out something that sounded like he was saying "No Melons," but Katharine told us that what he said meant "Take me with you." Ha! It's amazing how kids will want to come with! They love the adventure. School kids in Soroti will ask you how you are, where you are from, and that you should take them with you! Older guys will tell you to marry them (got one of those today!). Everyone just wants to come back to the States or Canada!

I apologize if this post is jumbled. It's definitely more difficult - so much to tell, so little time!! And I hope you can keep from nodding off without any pictures!!

Things you guys can pray for:

I didn't take enough water with my malaria medication on Tuesday of last week and I think it got lodged (ick, I know). I woke up with a burning chest, ah!! It still burns when I eat, hiccup, burp (makes me hate burping for the first time in my life). I don't think it's of any concern, it's just very uncomfortable. Pray for healing and that it just goes away!!

Stamina. I could see us getting very tired. Between adjusting, the heat, and the different work we'll be doing, we could be exhausted very soon!! There's lots of chill time, thank God, but you still get pretty tired.

For our village stay. Starting tomorrow, we'll be staying in a village through Friday or Saturday. Meaning no electricity, running water, and perhaps a language barrier. It's going to be AMAZING, but very very different, even from staying on the Soroti base.

Friday, January 2, 2009

We leave for outreach in two days.

AHHH!!! I'm feeling a bunch of different emotions. I'm so excited. This is going to rock - I'm actually going to Uganda. At the same time, it's surreal. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot convince myself that I'll be in Africa in three days. Friggin' Africa! I'm scared. This is going to be different. Really different. They've prepared us well, but there's only so much you can do. I'll be shocked for sure.

We leave for outreach in two days!

So this week we've been simply prepping for outreach. Nice and easy. Talking about culture shock, airport etiquette, working on our bible studies and testimonies, shopping, packing, making individual and team commitments...

See why I fit in?? : )
Bah, we leave for outreach in two days!!

Wednesday night we had a love feast!! We all got dressed up nice and pretty (which is unusual - we're pretty laid back people who don't have much opportunity to dress up!) and the staff cooked for us at Kim and Jamie's side of the house!! It was delicious and it was such a blessing to be pampered. All the staff who aren't going with us prayed for the outreach team and we took pictures upon pictures upon pictures... it was a lot of fun. And it happened to fall on New Years' Eve!! So we celebrated that, too.

Me and Jas!

Me, Carolyn, Crystal

Jas, Me, Mike
Our amazing staff!!
Brennie, Jamie, Kim, Lindsey, and Michelle

Crystal, Jas, Me, Mike, Carolyn
The STUDents.

Our whole group!
(The outreach team plus Brennie, Kim, and Jamie)
It took a while to get a nice picture...

Oh wow...

WOW!! We leave for outreach in two days!!!!
Thursday morning, we watched a movie called War Dance. It's about a primary school in Northern Uganda that competes in the National dance competition. It was amazing to see good things happening in Uganda. We focus a lot of attention on the war and the LRA and whatnot... but War Dance addresses how the kids escape, how they cope. A lot of them said that when they sing and dance, everything seems better again. Things just seem right. These kids also got a chance to talk about the hardship because of the war (some of it was devastating --- orphan stories in this context are rarely anything else!), but the main focus was their lives lived in spite of the things that happen. So cool!!
My GOODNESS!! We leave for OUTREACH in TWO DAYS!!!
Things you guys can pray for:
OUTREACH!! Just that adjustments go well. That we can be fully present with the people and fully surrendered to the lessons God has for us - despite how we're feeling. For us to be constantly reminded of the commitments we made while on outreach.
For a safe plane ride!!
For my Minneapolis layover. We have about 2 and a half hours and I get to see my parents and Sarah!! Pray that everything runs smoothly (no delays please Lord!) and that saying goodbye again is bittersweet and not just bitter.
**I think this will be obvious, but I'm gonna say it anyway!! I won't have as much internet access in Uganda, so clearly I won't be able to post as much as I usually do. Check in once every couple weeks and I'll try to update as much as I can.
Oh and remember... you can always check for YWAM's blog!!
AHHH!!! We leave for flippin' UGANDA in TWO DAYS!!!! : D