Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maundy Thursday Reflections on a Day of Outreach

Our school's student government worked together with Good Shepherd's Fold's outreach social worker, Penelope, to organize a day of service to assist an elderly woman who has cancer and is currently caring for 4 of her grandchildren ages 9, 7, and 5 year old twins. This woman is a part of the GSF outreach program and is receiving some assistance and medical care through that program, but she has been too weak to dig in her garden or do much around the home. Penelope suggested some things that were needed and some work our students could do to help. Here we are at the home of the jjaja (grandmother) with some gifts. 

It was great to see our students take initiative and think of ways to earn money to assist this woman in need. They organized a Saturday morning bake sale and car wash and raised almost 700,000 shillings! 

This money was used to buy many things needed in her home and to build a cooking hut. During the rainy season, you cannot cook outdoors, but if you cook with firewood or charcoal inside your small hut there are many other problems that arise. For this reason many people have two separate structures, one for cooking and one for sleeping. 

During this day of service our students were able to assist with many different needs around her home. Some cleaned out her house. 

Others washed the clothes for the family.

Others washed dishes. 

Some began digging to prepare mud walls.

It quickly became apparent that fetching water for making the mud, and all the washing was going to be a BIG part of the day...

This first crew brought back a good amount of water that
was used in a matter of minutes. I went with the second crew, and was a bit overly ambitious. In my foolish pride, I decided that I could carry two 20 liter jugs (approximately 90 pounds). Of course I had no idea how far away the water was! It took about 5-10 minutes to walk there with empty jerry cans. It took 25-30 minutes to walk back uphill to reach the house. I would make myself walk 50 steps and then take a break. There were a few times that I was about to lose my grip so I only made it 40 steps. I am regretting my hardheadedness now as my whole body aches. I didn't sleep much last night because of the muscle pain every time I turned over. Apparently I still have some issues to work through...

Mixing the mud was the favorite part of the work day for several of our younger students!

The puppies that we found there were another highlight for the young ones.

We also took a lunch break to eat some chicken on a stick, chapati (the local flatbread), and gonja (roasted bananas).

By the end of the day, the hut was mostly built and the mud was on the walls. The local men, who we had hired with the money the students raised, were going to finish the building making sure it was strong, and then they were going to put on the roof.

I was very thankful for our hard-working students and their cheerful service. As we took this day to serve, I remember what Jesus did the night before he was crucified. He washed the feet of his disciples. He said that the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served, and to give His life as a ransom for many. When I feel this muscle soreness from just one day of service, I want to remember my Lord and Savior, Jesus, who came to earth and served others his whole life. On this Maundy Thursday, I remember that he gave us the command to love one another as He has loved us. We can only love as because He took our sin and selfishness and died for it. Then He rose from the dead on Resurrection Sunday so that we can have new life in Him! I am still flawed in my service, wanting to impress others with how much water I can carry (and paying for it later), but I am thankful that this week is not about me. It is about Jesus! He has loved you and me, broken people desperately in need, and shown us immeasurable grace, lavishing us with His love, and giving us new life in Him!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Celebrating Palm Sunday in Uganda

I love celebrating this special Sunday here in Uganda. We have palm branches that we can cut and bring to church and there is even a donkey on our campus! At church this morning, everyone got a few palm leaves to wave as we celebrated and worshiped together.
The children from our children's church class learned the song, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." They sang part in English and part in Luganda and did a great job!did a great job!
When the children were dismissed for children's church I counted 101 children in our small classroom. 
Of course anything can be made into a weapon...
These helpful young men stayed children's church to help sweep the area with some of the branches that were left behind. 
It was good to remember how Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people worshiped Him. We still worship Him today!