Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer craziness

In America, summer holidays are often full of camp schedules, Vacation Bible School, family trips and other things. Parents who are at home with kids are remembering that a break from school is anything but a break for the parents. Life often gets hectic and when there are long periods of unscheduled time, we find that there are many behavioral and heart issues to address with our children. 

For the most part we do not have busy schedules here in Uganda, but life has certainly been full! As a teacher, there have been many things that I put off until the school year was over. (Mostly paperwork) This first week after the end of the school year has been full of trying to meet deadlines and take care of things like that. The summer is also busier with many teams visiting GSF. Since our teams coordinator has recently returned the U.S. for a time of rest, each member of our team here is picking up some aspects of her job. It is great to have visitors who come to encourage, help and support our work here, but it also adds a bit to the schedule.

In addition to all of this we have been wanting to do some follow up with people who were diagnosed with cataracts by our friend who is an optometrist when he was visiting. This week we were able to take two of those people to a local hospital to find out if they would qualify for a free surgery. One of the patients does not yet have severe enough cataracts that they would do the procedure, but the other was scheduled for surgery the next day. That meant that we needed to scramble to find someone to go to the hospital with her. No one in her family was available on short notice. Here nurses and doctors care for your medical needs at the hospital, but you always have to go with someone to care for any other needs and help with paperwork, communication, payment, etc. We were thankful that Esther Hannah who usually helps with our children was willing to go along and care for this Jajja. Esther is very gentle and patient which are great characteristics for a setting like this. They spent the majority of the day waiting, but finally the procedure was completed. Then they were told that they needed to come back the next day for a follow-up visit. Here we are as David was helping her back to her house at the end of a long day. 

That evening Zeke came down with a fever and cough, so we decided that David would stay home with the boys, and Esther would come with me as I would drive Esther Hannah and Jajja into town the next day. I also had a few errands related to the paperwork that needed to be finished. It was good to have a date with my girl.
This time their appointment went very quickly, but we decided that we would also take this opportunity to take Jajja for a medical check-up. It sounded as if she was laboring to breathe and she had a bad cough. She also had many body aches and some swelling in her ankles. At the clinic they diagnosed her with pneumonia and we were able to help her get treatment. As I returned home, I was able to finish organizing all of our paperwork and send the necessary emails by the deadline!

Saturday proved to be another full day. Elijah has written a blog post about coming with me and my Bible study group to visit a sick, elderly woman in a "nearby" village. Here is a link to that post if you have not yet read it.

Today is Sunday. This morning, we received a message that Jessica, a girl who lives at GSF, might have broken her foot and needs to be brought into town for an x-ray and to see the doctor. Since the Gwartney family spent yesterday taking another child, Precious, who had a broken leg into town yesterday, we volunteered to take Jessica today. Here is a photo of sweet little Precious. Please pray for her!
So here we are in Jinja waiting... Jessica has already gotten the x-ray and has been waiting several hours now to see the doctor. Our family has been able listen to a sermon and some worship songs in the van, and now we are sitting at a cafe in Jinja waiting for her to be seen.

While life is always busy, I had some strange thought that things would slow down once the school year was over. I know it has only been one week, but that expectation has certainly not come to fruition. As we are busy with things other than our usual routines, I am asking God to give me energy and strength for each day. I'm remembering that in my weakness He is strong. And I am keenly aware that the brokenness in this world around me far exceeds my ability to handle it. But our God is is gracious and compassionate. This morning I read, "In your goodness, O God, you provide for the needy." (Psalm 68:10) and "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." (Psalm 68:5) As our lives are often "interrupted" with the needs of the fatherless and widows, I am thankful that our God has given us the privilege to be a small part of his care for them.


  1. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog. We appreciate all your hard work and sacrifice.

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