Monday, September 30, 2013

Raising children with a content heart

After today's events my heart and brain are going a million miles a minute.  Unanswerable questions that my heart wants to answer.

First of all I want to know how to raise children with content hearts... being content not complacent in what ever situation they are in as Paul says.  I have noticed how the simplest things like jump ropes are an interesting new toy for the children and adults here.  Yet when one is given... they remind me of the birds from Finding Nemo... Mine, Mine, Mine!  I know they call this 'survival of the fittest' but in situations like this where you cannot give every child one how do you teach the biblical principles of thinking of others before yourself and doing to others as you would want to be treated.  Or to give one child something as simple as a pair of slippers because theirs have been nailed together so many times they won't hold any more nails and the child can't take a step without part of it falling off.  I gave one child a pair of slippers only to find "everyone" had issues with their shoes.  Since I did  not bring 60 pairs of slippers or shoes... how do you solve this situation as everyone truly does have a need of sorts?

We (Pastor Jackson, Nurse Josephine,  the teachers and myself) introduced brushing teeth with the chidren today many who have never owned a toothbrush.  Not because their families can't afford it but just because it is not viewed as a necessity.   As I was assisting them to rinse out their mouths and toothbrushes there was a lot of coaxing to get them to stop brushing.  For our US children brushing teeth is something that must be expectation to be hurried through. These village children would have continued to brush their teeth all afternoon if I had let them.  (I am sure this novelty will wear off but I am curious how to teach someone to go back and be content with the simple things in life instead of to expect more!)

My goal is to not create children who are demanding and selfish but content and thinking of others before themselves.  I am sure some of that will come when I learn more of their language but any suggestions would be helpful!

Darling children

Children, no matter where you go, have some of the same habits.  I currently have a small child  on my front porch walking from window to window wailing.  She is not happy with me and is letting me know it. 

After church a couple of the children spent some time with me...  as we were playing I gave them each a stuffed animal to play with and keep that I had brought with me.  This one little girl did not like the one I gave to her... she wanted one that I had given to another child (I only had 3 stuffed animals left)... so she gave back her "baby" and said she didn't want it.  I asked several times if she was sure before I gave it to another child who had come up.  After all this I was going in to make lunch and told the children bye and that is when the tears started.  Not I am hurt tears but I want my way tears.  Unfortunately this little lady didn't know that those don't work with me... plus I had no more stuffed animals.  This lasted most of the afternoon when her older sister came looking for her only to find her pouting on the porch.  As soon as she saw her sister the tears started again and she told her sister that I had taken her baby.  Thankfully the older sister understood enough English to hear the story from me and scolded her sister.  All the while a big rain storm hit forcing me to bring the 4 kiddos with me into the apartment as the wind was blowing the rain on the porch.  We sat here reading books until it calmed enough for the children to walk home.

Looking at this entire situation, I realized that there are children who always think life is unfair to them and will use  whatever means necessary to get what they think they deserve.  There are children that are very grateful and choose to be the peacemakers in the bunch.  God has called each of us who have children in our lives to raise them up in the way they should go... meaning to love God and love people.  Selfish behaviors are not to be catered to but changed where they think of others first. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mourning into dancing

Today's journal looks very different than last nights...

(Sunday) Last nights journal started off with.... well it finally hit...that feeling where I need to talk verbally to another person who understands... I was forewarned this would happen... I guess I just didn't realize that the loneliness would set in within 2 weeks of being in the village.  It has been an accumulation of things... as long as I am doing something I am dostracted... I still struggle with my worth being on what I do or accomplish in a day.  The newness of living the simple village life has begunmto wear off.  Some issues arose last night with something as simplemas lack of water pressure and it got me thinking of the what ifs and me being out here by myself.  I am missing home and the people there. Trying to stay in contact withnpeople is difficult with the time difference and lack of comsistent internet.  To top it off the enemy has been waging war on my mind... so my dreams at night have left me tired and asking what in the world is going on?  They have been very odd!

After writing that I spent a good bit of time praying over all the concerns and for peace and comfort and went to bed.  Monday morning brought with it His complete peace as well as communication with friends and family... along with answers to specific prayers and seeing how God continues to provide.  To top it off, the answer for comfort came in the form of a kitten.  Not how I thought God would answer but a very nice surprise as she is quite cuddly and loveable.  God chooses to delight in his children.  He has again reminded me that we have not because we ask not! 

He has truly turned my mourning into dancing as he promised in His word.  Thank you for you continued thoughts and prayers.

A week in review

If this week is any indication as to my time here in Uganda... it is going to fly.  It hit me as I was going to bed last night that I really had not posted an update since last weekend.  I probably should of just stayed up and typed this up last night as I didn't sleep all that well.  My sleepless night was caused by a couple things... it was really still so the air inside my apartment was rather warm and felt very suffocating... and my stomach was sore from having popcorn after dinner.  Nothing too alarming but  enough to not be able to rest comfortably!

Anyway my week started off on Sunday evening really missing home and having people to talk with that understand ... spent a long time praying that God would send peace and comfort.  Monday I woke to a peaceful heart and some answers to prayer.  Then walked down to Mamma Vecencia's to dump food rubbish and there was a small kitten who needed some TLC,  Asked if I could take her and clean her up and she hasn't left my side.  Someone dropped her off and I really think she is a gift from God to provide comfort.  So her name is Sheba and she is currently asleep on my stomach as I am laying down typing this! 

Otherwise I spent Monday morning meeting with the teachers and introducing new supplies and outside equipment like jump ropes and frisbees.  Had to model how each was used and I think the teachers enjoyed them as much as the children.  I keep the soccer ball in my apartment for after school fun.  This is a big hit with the older boys and guys to play football until dark in front of the clinic. Their games are quite competitive and very loud!  Finished what was to be my last day of research with the children... still plan on reading at lunch to them daily just realized I had collected a LOT of evidence for my project.  Only needed 10 pieces of evidence and I had more than 30!  Spent the next couple of days compiling and analyzing what I had found... if you are curious about the research... visit  I have found it very interesting. 

Tuesday and Wednesday was spent mostly working on putting together my research and washing sheets...towels and clothes out by hand takes awhile.  We haven't had enough sun to run the washer on solar and I didn't know how to start the generator.  Did learn to do that this week as well as change out the gas cylinder for the cook stove.  I also learned how to turn on the water pump so that I have water coming in the apartment and I learned how to check the levels of the battery as well as the water tank! I may be a pioneer woman yet!  LOL!  Also finished knitting a throw for those cold Ugandan evenings! 

Thursday brought with it an all day trip to Kampala to go grocery shopping.  Had to run a couple of other errands as well as stop at Cafe Java's for lunch but it literally took all day due to the 2 hour drive each way.  Security was definitely heightened compared to even 2 weeks ago due to the Nairobi attack.  You forget how blessed we are in America to not have to go through a car search everytime you go to a new place... bank... phone store... grocery store... mall.  I really am not sure how many times I had to get out of the car and patted down.  Think TSA security at every stop when running errands!  TIA!  Once I got home all the fresh stuff has to be sanitized and rinsed before it is put away.  Living here knowing that most people don't follow basic hygiene like hand washing it makes you very careful in what is eaten  if you value your stomach.

Friday brought with it meeting with Nurse Josephine to start brushing teeth with the children as well as to see when immunizations and deworming were to take place.  Also started Luganda language lessons with teacher Allen... this is going to be an arduous journey of learning it well enough to understand it as quickly as they speak.  The evening brought with it chances to use my new found words while playing soccer and bubbles with the children.  I thought I lived in a glass house on Molokai but here with my apartment being part of the clinic ... we share a porch and I am always having little brown faces peering in the windows and waiting at the door.  So if I need a few minutes I have to slide lock my door and draw all the curtains.  It feels like I am hiding but I am really just trying to have a few minutes of privacy!

Today was a fairly rainy afternoon so the morning was spent cleaning the kitchen and Allen mopped/squeegeed the entire apartment after the discussion the other night of my feet always being dirty.  Even after all that I took my bath walked across the apartment to grab my house shoes and my feet were already dirty.  Oh well... I should just give up on having clean feet.  Spent the afternoon getting the stuff ready for brushing teeth on Monday... had to make a toothbrush holder for 60 toothbrushes.  Also read, made nutella crepes, and rested after not sleeping well last night.  

Well that is the brief version of my week.  Feel free to message with any questions as I am sure it would make a great blog post!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Nothing I desire compares with you

Is that true in my heart and life?  As we were singing this song at church on Sunday, I was convicted of the things that I desire more than Him.  I am a selfish creature and desire my way above His at times.  Knowing that He is a loving and just father, His way, purpose, and plan are always better than mine.  It boils down to me trusting in His way and timing.

Lord I lay down my selfish desires. Take away anything that is not of you.  Direct my eyes on the things of you.  Make the desires you have for me, my heart's desire.  Change my heart to desire you first and foremost

God desires my faithfulness to Him above all else.  Where He calls I will go despite my feeling.  He is faithful to get meto where He desires me to be.  That is a comforting thought.  I can not do anything to thwart His plan and desire for my life.

Our crowns will not be given based on the size of our chuch or the dollar amount raised for missions, but on the faithfulness of what God has called you to!

Praises and Prayer Requests

@provision for sustaining solar power and running water despite it being rainy season and the pump being off
@a heart for the people of this village and Uganda
@preparation for the simplicity of village life
@relationships... have an ongoing group of children that follow me around and listen to my instruction... also getting to know many in the village
@haven't gone hungry... lots of fresh veggies and my garden is coming up
@have a cuddly new furbaby named Sheba
@made friends with Louis... the little one who was afraid of me...he has become my little buddy and while leaving the other night said  'bye mamma'

Prayer Requests....
@ITFM Uganda staff...Hannington. ..Pastor Jackson...Mamma Vencencia... Teacher Allen... Teacher Teopista... Teacher Stella... Teacher Irene... and Nurse Josephine...also for Mulongo and his crew as they complete the 2nd school block
@finances to complete the 2nd school block... at this point we need $6000 to complete it
@health of children and staff... malaria is an on going issue... several of our children are being treated for this but many in the village choose not to seek medical care
@growth of the church within the village
@personally... a heart that is content despite being the only muzungu and that God continues to provide each and every need

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rainy season in Nabisooto

Every day since I have been in the village, there has been at least thunder and most days a rain shower.  Last night while sitting in my apartment reading the thunder was so loud you could barely hear another person within the room.  To the best of my knowledge there was no lightning but a bit later we had quite the downpour.

I love sleeping when there is rain beating down on the metal roof.  Very comforting!  Despite the mud and the rutted roads, the village is very green and I am not having to water my garden.  We also don't have to worry about water usage.  The rainy season has also brought with it cooler weather where I head out to school in the morning with a jacket or sweater on.

As the rain water pours out on the dry thirsty land so my soul thirsts for more of Him. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I am in the midst of typing up the yearly curriculum for P1 as set by the Ministry of Education for the country of Uganda.  I had to stop and share what I am finding.  For term1 for each of the 3main subjects (NUMERACY, LITERACY, & ENGLISH) there are 4 themes... our school, our home, our community and human body and health.

For one of the "people at our school", the person is known as the askari... his job is to open and close the school gate... and his tool is a bow and arrow or gun.  All the pictures in the workbook are of a guy with a shotgun slung over his shoulder.  TIA

For roles of family members...
Father... head of a family, pays school fees
Mother... cooks food at home, takes care of children
Sister... washes utensils
Brother... fetches water

Under human body and health...
The importance of keeping the body clean...
@to avoid sickness
@to avoid the bad smell
@to avoid germs
@to look healthy
@to be smart

Common diseases...cough...typhoid...measles...diarrhea...malaria... flue... ring worm

I am not sure the curriculum for American first graders includes these types of things... TIA!


I am in the midst of typing up the yearly curriculum for P1 as set by the Ministry of Education for the country of Uganda.  I had to stop and share what I am finding.  For term1 for each of the 3main subjects (NUMERACY, LITERACY, & ENGLISH) there are 4 themes... our school, our home, our community and human body and health.

For one of the "people at our school", the person is known as the askari... his job is to open and close the school gate... and his tool is a bow and arrow or gun.  All the pictures in the workbook are of a guy with a shotgun slung over his shoulder.  TIA

For roles of family members...
Father... head of a family, pays school fees
Mother... cooks food at home, takes care of children
Sister... washes utensils
Brother... fetches water

Under human body and health...
The importance of keeping the body clean...
@to avoid sickness
@to avoid the bad smell
@to avoid germs
@to look healthy
@to be smart

Common diseases...cough...typhoid...measles...diarrhea...malaria... flue... ring worm

I am not sure the curriculum for American first graders includes these types of things... TIA!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gardening 101

This may not look like much but this is the start of my future food supply.  Ok... I at least have great hopes of it providing food.  My green thumb will be grown out of need.  I have always had a running joke that it needs to be able to get my attention to remind me to feed and water it in order for it to grow.  Children and pets do well thriving in my world... plants not so much!  We are really praying that this time there will be food to harvest.
Several friends gifted me with packages of organic seeds (some even sporting hand written notes of encouragement that I had not discovered until this morning) to bring down with me.  So armed with the seeds and a stick to til the dirt, I went to the garden boxes out behind my apartment to start removing rocks and tilling the soil.  After a few minutes I had a couple of curious onlookers... children that I met in March that go to IPS.  Within minutes they built up the courage to come close enough to see what I was planting and talk with me.  Jordan was actively talking with me while Fiona and the other two were more shy.  I enlisted their help and we talked about what they liked to eat... maize, tomatoes, and carrots being at the top of their list.  I do believe this is how we are going to work on their English skills and my Lugandan skills.
So... until I can clear some space away from the building for the plants that like to run... ie cucumbers, zuchinni, cantelope, and watermelon...  I am done for the day.  Pastor Jackson made this suggestion as we don't want to attract snakes to the building.   I have planted... corn, tomatoes, carrots, basil, parsley, chives, beans, lettuce, and chard.  With words of wisdom from a friend whom gardens, I only planted a couple of spots for each  as I don't have  the capacity to store abunch of fresh veggies all at one time.  I will space out my planting every couple of weeks so that I will constantly have fresh food!

Oh what peace...

I think there is a reason that the morning is mentioned so many times in the Bible.  There is such a peace, calmness, and newness in the morning.  As I was sitting finishing my breakfast this morning... responding to messages... watching the chickens outside my apartment look for bugs... it hit me that this calmness is what God designed us to live in.  It is really difficult to get wrapped up in the rat race of life living in this village where people still drop by for tea.  All of my fears of being the only muzungu in the village have been put to rest as our Ugandan staff here have taken me under their wing.  There is still a language barrier but it is still fun trying to carry on a full conversation.

I am blessed by the prayers and thoughts from friends all over the world.  A beautiful representation of how we as the body of Christ are supposed to be.  You guys  are an encouragement to me and I feel loved by your endless support and generousity.

This  morning I was able to sleep til 6am so I dare to hope that my body is adjusting to Ugandan time.  I am feeling satisfied that I am learning to simply cook with the products from the local markets.  The big accomplishment of yesterday was learning to make biscuits on the stove top and they actually turned out well ... kind of like Red lobsters cheddar bay biscuits without of course the cheddar.  Went very well with the beefless stew.

For now... time to go clean up breakfast dishes and go plan a garden!  Will post pictures soon!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Being domestic

After sleeping from 10:30 last night til about 5:30 this morning I decided it was time to get up and get going.  Typed up the blog I wrote last night, took a bath and washed my hair (a bit more time consuming when you don't have a bathroom much less a shower or tub) and then got up to make breakfast... scrambled eggs, toast, and bananas with coffee.  While I was sitting down to eat... John and Kimberly called to check in.  Updated facebook and returned a few emails. 

After cleaning up breakfast dishes in the midst of a thunderstorm... I started unpacking the moldy clothes that were left from March... hand washed those and hung them on the drying rack inside the apartment since it was pouring outside.  All the while I am in a hooded sweatshirt and long skirt... yes we are in rainy season and it does get chilly.  Once the laundry was hung, scrubbed the floors and cleaned the toilet room... finished unpacking and putting away all the supplies.

Looked at the clock and realized that it was not even 10am so I poured myself another cup of coffee and sat down with my Bible.  Thought it would be a good idea to read through the over the next 9 months and write down my thoughts on each chapter.  Should be a fun challenge.  Started to make lunch of boiled potatoes and onions while working on the computer setting up a format for Integrity's Policies and Procedures Manual.  Once that was taken care of and lunch was eaten, I set to work making my workspace clean and decorated... used string with some mini clothes pins given as a going away present to hang notes, cards, and pictures over my workspace.  Very happy with the outcome. 

Went on a walk around the property... with school out on break... there are very few people out and about. The one child that I saw was the same little guy that came to visit with Mama V yesterday.  At that point I asked for a high five and he started crying... today as I walked past... he again started fussing and hid.  I think I may be the first white person he has ever seen. 

Now by this point it is 1:30 and jet lag is setting in... so I laid down to rest for a while.  Got up and did some reading, mended a skirt, made dinner of left over potatoes and onions and added a package of salmon, and knitted on the throw that I have been working on.  I am understanding why people in the olden days went to bed when the sun went down after getting up at sunrise... it is a long day!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An eventful first day

It is 9:30pm Ugandan time... I just crawled into my mosquito net for the night... when I realized I should probably write down the events of this monumental day in my life.  I have officially moved to Uganda and am spending the first night in the village.

Even thought this journey technically started well over a year ago, I am going to start from yesterday.  After sitting in London Heathrow airport for 10+ hours, I boarded the British Airways flight at a little after 8pm on Sept 10... left at 9pm... and arrived into Entebbe at 7:30am on September 11th.  For those in Hawaii, I think I am 14 hours ahead of you.

Went through immigration and was able to get a 90 day visitor visa then will work on an additional 6 months.  Collected all my bags and found Hannington waiting for me outside of customs.  We drove the hour to Kampala to get a Ugandan sim card to the cell along with airtime... had to buy internet for the clinic and apartment... (you pay for internet here by the GB so we bought 3 GB that is good for 3 months. We will see how long it lasts.  Then went to Nakumatt to do supply shopping... you know the basics.... bleach, dish soap, flour, sugar, salt, water, toilet paper, etc.  Spent 150, 000 UGX which is about 60 $.  Items are equivalent in cost to MKK prices.  Then stopped at the local market where Hannington got the rest of the items on my list... pineapple, 2 huge avocados, carrots, tomatoes, onions, irish potatoes, and bananas... all locally grown... for 15, 000UGX or $6.  Definitely will be eating a lot of the locally grown produce as it is easy to come by and super affordable.

Drove the remining hour and a half back to the village where I seriously cleaned all the produce and put it in the baskets in the kitchen... cleaned up the counter tops and floors before setting to work on trying to unpack... went until I logically couldn't think and laid down for a 3 hour nap.  Thanks to Hannington and Jackson forsetting up my phone... Uncle John was able to call and checkin... got internet established... and had a peanut butter banana sandwich for dinner... got the gas cook stove hooked up and boiled water to make coffee in my new coffee  press.  Tried to skype with John but didn't have a clear connection.  Allen (one of our lead teachers) "moved" in with me as it is safer to have a local Ugandan able to answer the door in case someone comes to the clinic inthe middle of the night.

I did find it sweet that all of our Ugandan staff stopped by at some point to welcome me and "chat" even though most ofthem speak very little English.

Well it is 10:15 now and I am finding it difficult to not fall asleep while writing so it is off to bed.


Well in just a couple of hours I will be landing in Entebbe to begin a 9 month journey as administrator of Integrity Primary School with In the field ministries.  All of this flying has given me ample time to think and ponder.  I would be lying if I didn't admit the spiritual battle that this journey has been or the fact that I have thought of running back to the island in the middle of the pacific ocean. 

However this got me thinking of the the attributes that God gifted me with so many years ago that at that point were looked down upon but how as I have gotten older I have realized that they are a true blessing.  These attributes are strong will and stubbornness.  If I didn't have these then I would lack perseverance and the strength to do what God called me to do despite what I feel or what others say.  These attributes are also what kept me out of a lot of trouble in my younger years.

Emotional is another negative description that has been said of me lately... this got me thinking... without the sensitive spirit and a big heart that God has given me would I be as attentive to His call?  Would I see the least of these with His heart to advocate for there needs? 

I guess I am bringing to light the fact that the enemy is alive and well and is out to steal, kill, and destroy.  He is out to wound early and often so that God's chosen live in shackles instead of the freedom that Christ provides.  What would happen if we encouraged our children in their God given gifts and talents instead of looking down on the attributes that the world says are negative?  Would we raise a generation that could defend their faith and stand on the principles of God's word?  Would this be the generation that would be raised strong enough in their faith to take up their cross and follow Him from a young age instead of being entangled In self doubt... loathing... pity...etc? 

Just a thought of what kind of legacy we want to leave for our little ones...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blessings abound

So many ideas for blog posts have been rolling around in my mind over the past couple of weeks... unfortunately they have come at times where I couldn't get to paper or my tablet... or I was purely too exhausted to sit and write.  At this moment I have almost 48 hours for my thoughts to catch up with the time being... yes you may have guessed... I am in transit to Uganda... so let's work backwards shall we...

The past two days have consisted of getting over the stomach flu as well as exhaustion from a week of long hours at Disney (more to come on that adventure).  To add to that trying to pack two 50 pound bags with ALL of the things I need for the next 9 months... can I add that it felt nearly impossible but I successfully boarded my flight with the two bags and 2 carry ons with no baggage fees. 

The question of how are you feeling about this move has come up numerous times over the past couple of days and each time it is presented I got a lump in my throat and my stomach felt like it had butterflies in it.  I have been praying for calmed emotions and a joyful, peacefilled spirit and as I stepped in to the airport I could just feel His presence.

As I was checking in for my flight, for whatever reason the kiosk wasn't working to check me in all the way to Entebbe and they were trying to charge me 60 $ for my 2nd bag so I used my platinum status and went to the counter where I not only got the bag fee waived but volunteered to take a later flight and received a 1000 $ flight voucher... meal voucher in Chicago... and priority seating in a seat with more room.  To top it off because I am detouring through Chicago my layover in London is now only 10 hours instead of 14.  So now I have the flight voucher to get me back to Hawaii in 9 months!  This is how my God provides!

So as we have started our descent in to OHare... I shall save this and postmore later.

The least of these

Are the poor put in our path to remind us to be Jesus to the least of these?

Recently on several speaking engagements, I have shared Matthew 25:40 with the work in Uganda.  This has been a verse that the Lord keeps laying on my heart.  This morning a visiting pastor at my parent's church shared this verse and gave a similar message. 

We are called to step in their path... to be an intentional neighbor.  We are not called to sit and soak.  We are called to be neighbors with the least of these.  This is when we are being the church. 
Our Christianity is not calling us to be comfortable but compassionate.  We are to be like the good Samaritan... to reach out to the least of these despite our standing in society. God uses us despite!

So my challenge today is how am I being His hands and feet and serving the least of these?