Thursday, April 21, 2016

Just another Thursday...

Well, not really. Our Thursday morning started out a bit more eventful than usual. At 7am a friend from the village brought a rooster to our house. Earlier in the week, I had agreed to buy the rooster on Thursday. (I should have specified the time of day, apparently.) This mother was wanting to send her son to school, but she didn't have enough money. Her solution was to sell a large rooster. I appreciated her trying to find a way to provide an education for her son and not just asking for a hand-out. So I agreed to buy the rooster even though I had no idea what we would do with it. Well I had some idea...

When she arrived with this rooster, our dog was very interested in it. I decided to put the rooster in a large wooden box outside our back door where we usually keep our trash can in order to keep the rooster safe. The box is used for our trash because dogs from the village often come at night and look for some dinner. We got tired of cleaning up our trash every morning. And inside, trash attracts ants. Hence the box.

Of course my children were very interested in this rooster, and one particularly curious child of mine opened the box. The rooster immediately made a break for it! He escaped from the box only to find that outside the box was our dog, Penny, ready to chase him! The rooster tried to run, but his feet had been tied. He tried to fly, but chickens aren't great at that. So the chase was on in our backyard, the children shouting chasing our dog who was barking and chasing our rooster, until the rooster tried to escape under the fence. There he got stuck. Penny didn't really want to kill and eat him, she just wanted to play and sniff. Once the bird was stuck, Penny slowed down to just watch and bark and sniff, and the children caught her. It was now about 7:15am. 

As I reached the fence I saw that the rooster had gotten his head and one wing outside the fence, but his body was too big to fit under. I couldn't pull him back because it would break the wing. I had to laugh as I began digging with my fingers under his plump little body to make room for him to pass under the fence. When I was finally able to pull him through, I was close to the pen for our dog, Penny. I thought that maybe that fence was high enough to contain the rooster for a time. 

The rooster just began walking around exploring his new settings, until the children released Penny. She was too interested in this new creature and kept moving around the outside of the pen, barking at the rooster. At this point, the rooster panicked. He didn't realize that he was safe inside since the dog was locked out and couldn't get to him. The expression "bird brain" comes to mind. So he kept trying to fly to escape. He flew into the fence several times until finally he landed on top of the fence. And then flew down into the yard where the dog was. Again the chase was on. 

The children and I were chasing the dog, who was chasing the chicken. But this time the rooster decided to run off into the village. (His feet had come untied during the fence extraction.) So there I was, at about 7:30am in the village, trying to explain to my neighbors in Luganda why we were all running around their property with the rooster squawking, the dog barking and the children shouting. (Thankfully, most Ugandans are early risers in order to get to work in the fields before the heat of the day.) We finally caught Penny, our dog. My kind neighbor assured me that they would catch the rooster and bring it back to us. We needed to get home and finish getting ready to go to school. 

When we came home from school for lunch, we found the rooster back in the box. We realized that we were not going to be able to keep the rooster around for long in its live state. So we decided that we would slaughter it that afternoon. Thankfully, one of the young men who works for us as a gardener also has experience slaughtering and cleaning chickens. David thought that it would be a good educational experience for our kids to help out. He believes that we should all see where our food comes from. No, he didn't grow up on a farm. 
We learned how you dunk the chicken in hot water after removing the head. This makes it much easier to remove the feathers. Don't worry, I won't include all the gory details. But the children did enjoy watching how the body and head kept moving for a little while even after they were separated. 

While it was definitely an interesting day of learning from the rooster, it was not the typical day for most American families in 2016. We enjoy our more rural lifestyle here. Many days I think about how I enjoy how simple life is here. We live and work in the same place, grow some of our food, and enjoy a generally slower paced life. Thursday did not feel very simple though. I'm thankful for a Saturday at home to recoup a bit from a fun, but a bit crazy, week! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Let it Rain!

Yesterday I was reminded of some of the many things I love about rainy season. 

The first thing I love is that our friends can work in their gardens again. They don't usually plant until the rains have become regular again. Since there is no irrigation, it does not make sense to plant until you are sure it is going to rain regularly. It is amazing to see how quickly things grow here. And the rain brings the promise of food to eat! 

The rains also cause all the grass to green up and the flowers to bloom more! Everything is looking so beautiful and fresh right now. 

Yesterday we had an awesome thunderstorm in the late afternoon/evening. It was very nice on several fronts. I had gone down to another missionary's house to talk about a few things when the rain began. Because of the intensity of the storm, we first moved inside her house to get out of the rain on the veranda. Then because the rain on the iron sheeted roof was so loud, we moved into her bedroom and sat on her bed to talk. I love a cozy talk between friends! 

When I returned home my family was enjoying good books
. We had a comfort food "brinner" complete with egg casserole, homemade bagels, coffee cake, homemade passion fruit juice, and coffee. It was the perfect meal for a slightly chilly evening with the sound of rain by the light of kerosene lamps! Due to the rain we were all home and ready for dinner a bit sooner than usual, so we had plenty of time to sit and listen to David read several chapters more than usual to the kids in the book that he is currently reading to them. 
Elijah enjoyed a nice cup of tea on this cooler evening.
I enjoyed some extra cuddles while we listened to the story. 
It was really a perfect family evening! It is good for me to remember these blessed evenings. 

On afternoons when my younger children are home from school and the afternoon thunderstorms come, it is the perfect time for building forts inside. I generally love the creativity of my children. I'm still working on the follow-through of clean-up time.... 

I am trying to remember to see the blessings in each thing that God brings. It is easy for me to fall into complaining about the mud and all the inconveniences of rainy season. But today God has given me eyes to see and a heart that is thankful for the grace of rain! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Supporting local missionaries

In our almost 3 years of living here in Uganda, we have developed friendships with several Ugandans who have a heart for making disciples and caring for the needs of those around them. While they have a passion for this work, they also need work that enables them to support their own families while ministering to others. It is such a blessing to be able to assist some of these local missionaries through the support that many of you provide for our ministry. We desire to equip Ugandans to minister to be their communities.

"The things you have heard and received from me, entrust to reliable men who will be able to teach others." 2 Timothy 2:2

Since the pastors at our village church get a small stipend equivalent to about $20 a month, they need additional work in order to cover their expenses. The the generosity of many we have been able to assist one pastor with starting a small pig farm to provide additional income. 

Another friend of ours has been leading Bible studies for grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren. With your support we have been able to help him purchase a motorcycle to use as a business. People often hire a "Boda Boda" to drive them where they are going. It is one of the most common forms of transportation. He can also use this motorcycle to earn a living, to get to his Bible studies and to visit the grandmothers in the villages. 

We have also had the pleasure of partnering with a friend who has started a Bible study with some of her neighbors in Jinja. We have been able to provide Bibles for those who do not have their own. She also wanted to assist these women with beginning a savings program. Several of them are in need of school fees for their children or money for medical care or even small business start up expenses. They have committed to assisting one another with these needs by making weekly contributions. It is exciting to see how God is working to help these women grow in their faith and meet each other's physical needs. 

We are extremely grateful for the ways that you pray for us and our ministry here. Please pray for these friends who are partnering with us in these various ministries. It is beautiful to see God working in so many ways! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Visitors-coming soon!!!

In just over 2 weeks, we will be driving to the airport to pick up our first team from our home church in America! Since we moved to Uganda in 2013, we have had our parents come visit us, but this will be our first group of friends coming to visit. GSF often has visitors from America, people and churches connected with other missionaries here or connected with the ministry or adoptive families, but these are the first visitors coming specifically to see us! We are so excited!!!

Please pray for these friends as they prepare to come. They are currently collecting supplies to bring for the ministry of GSF and items for the missionaries. If you live near Watkinsville and want to help provide supplies, they have created a sign-up page.!/showSignUp/5080a4dabab2da13-wish

While they are here they will be working with the ministry of GSF in various capacities, helping us with some local outreach projects, offering a vision clinic, and learning more about our ministry here. I can't wait to introduce our friends to the beautiful country and people of Uganda! 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Celebrating the resurrection!

Here in Uganda, the weekend of Easter is a 4 day public holiday. We had Good Friday through Easter Monday off. The country of Uganda recognizes both Christian and Muslim holidays as national public holidays. There are also several other historical and political holidays. 

Since we had a long weekend, our family went into Jinja on Friday to visit some friends, run errands and attend a Good Friday service at the church we used to attend in town. Saturday was a shopping trip to Kampala which is always exhausting, but also provides the opportunity to eat at some good restaurants. 

We were able to find some candy for an Easter egg hunt the next morning. As you can see, Zeke was very happy to have some Easter candy! Yes, he is hugging his candy. 

Since it was a special day, I decided to wear my gomez to church. A gomez is the traditional dress of women in this part of Uganda. I had to ask my neighbors to help me dress. You first put on a special wrap around skirt underneath and fold it over to make your hips seem bigger.  Then you put on the gomez, fold it in a certain way, and then you have to tie the belt a special way. I'm still learning. Here I am after church with several of the older women in our church. 

The GSF girls were given new dresses or skirts. Esther was included. :) Don't these girls look so cute? 

After church we had a special meal at GSF with the children and housemoms. Instead of all gathering as almost 100 people at the pavilion, we had lunch in 3 smaller groups on the verandas. It was nice to have more of a family feel as we ate together at a big long table. 

We had a more traditional Ugandan meal with matooke (cooked banana), rice, g-nut (peanut) sauce, along with pork, beef and chicken. Meat is a special treat for holidays around here. We also had some less traditional treats, like cake!

After lunch we were entertained by the monkeys in the tree. 
In the evening our family enjoyed a more American meal and some fun family time eating outside.

I'm not really sure why Monday is a holiday here, but I am thankful that it is. It was nice to have a day to recover a bit after such a full weekend. I also had postponed my Bible study until Monday since every other evening was taken. I am thankful we had postponed because several of the women had watched a film about Jesus and they had many questions. We were planning to continue reading in the book of Ephesians, but instead we looked at many different passages in Scripture talking about Jesus, who he was, what he did, how he died and rose from the dead. These women are very young believers, and I loved that they wanted to compare the film they saw to what the Bible actually says. I love their desire to know more! Our time going through the Scriptures together was one of my highlights from the weekend. Please pray for these women to continue to grow as they study God's Word.

I hope you and your family and friends also had a blessed time celebrating our risen Savior! He has risen indeed! It is such a blessing to see how the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work bring people to know the Truth! 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." I Peter 1:3