Tuesday, December 31, 2013

By faith

I woke up this morning pondering the topic of faith.  On this eve of a brand new year... what do I, by faith, believe God is going to do? 

Faith... in its simplest definition is "beliving in what is not yet seen"...or as Pastor Jackson put it ...our sixth sense.  Hebrews  11 lists many heroes of  faith... who despite their circumstances believed God for His promises and God has used their lives to inspire many... including me.

This topic has come up a lot lately and then the kicker was this is what was preached on on Sunday. What am I believing God is going to do in 2014?  He has given numerous promises so I have the choice to believe Him for those promises or discard them because they do not make sense. 

Did Sarah really believe that she would be a mother at 90 years of age?  After laughing at the promise made to her... just a short time later held the precious baby in her arms!

Do we really believe that Jesus came as a baby in a manger to 30 plus years later die for us on the cross so that we ... the wretched sinners we are... could live for eternity with the God of the universe? 

So many times I fall into the category where I could be called "oh you of little faith"... I struggle with the age old question... did God really say?

At this point in my life there have been numerous unfulfilled promises... will 2014 be the year where I step out in faith and trust that God will follow through on His  promises?

As time goes by...

It is that time of the year when we reflect back on the previous 12 months and come up with great resolutions for the year ahead.  Fair warning... I don't set resolutions but I do set goals that I want to achieve.  However this is not a post about where I want to go in 2014... that list is already made and kept in my possession.   This is a post on the last year of my life...

I was pondering this while talking with a friend today...how this christmas was much more peaceful than last year at this time.  A year ago I was in NC for the holidays with my family and there were a lot decisions needing to be made.  I knew I was to turn in my letter of resignation but had not narrowed down where I was headed... it was a struggle with friends and family as with every option on the table ... no one was thrilled with the idea of me moving to the other side of the world whichever way the path led.  One "friend" even referred to this move as "we will get through this" ...like I had a terrible disease.  I was also reminded that if I had just been "normal" and moved back to the safety of the mainland US... that I could have been married and have children by this point.

Twelve months ago I would have never imagined sitting in the middle of a village in rural Uganda with my little Christmas tree, a white furball named Sheba, and His perfect peace that passes all understanding but I did know that where He guides, He provides.  Looking back I would have never guessed this transition to be this difficult and emotional but he carried me through and I am stronger because of it.  Living in Africa has taught me two things about myself... First...I am a lot stronger and capable than I ever believed myself to be and Second... I have never felt as weak or as helpless as I do here.  Thankfully it has taught me to rely on Him even more as I know I can't do this on my own.

So where will I be one year from now???  I really have no clue... I can map out my life until mid July but after that.... the possibilities are endless.  Ultimately I could say  I will do this or that but the creator's plan has yet to be revealed.  Numerous opportunities have come knocking but nothing is solidified at this point.  So the grand adventure continues with thoughts from a content heart.  Stay tuned to see what 2014 holds.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas blessings!

Christmas 2013 has been spent in the village of Nabisooto!  I did have the option of spending the week with a friend in Kampala  but after discussing plans with Allen, we decided to do Christmas here.  The discussion was quite funny as her decision was contingent on mine and mine on hers! 
Anyway… we had made plans to have Christmas dinner at my house.  Pastor Jackson was the only staff other than Allen and myself that were on campus so he was invited as well.  I got up this morning and started cooking.  The menu for dinner is chicken, rice, salad, pineapple, biscuits, and chocolate cake!  Now not an elaborate meal but rather time consuming and a bit of a challenge when you have no oven!  The biscuits I had made before on the gas stove top but the chocolate cake was going to be an experiment.  And I do have to say… it turned out rather good!  Three layers with icing between each layer.  Dark chocolate cake with chocolate icing with crushed peppermint sticks on top thanks to a treat in my Christmas package from the Brantley family!  Candy canes are very expensive here… like close to $10 a box, so it was a nice treat to get some old fashioned peppermint sticks!
The  Brantley's also sent a paper nativity set which became the table d├ęcor along with some sunflowers from my garden.  

After cooking and decorating… Allen and I went on a gift giving mission.  The Cole Family sent their sponsored child and family some new clothes for Christmas so I had packed each a box and we went to deliver them!  
These girls were so excited for their new clothes… we truly had a fashion show with their new outfits.  Even Jaja got in on it and tried on her new dress!! 

I have to say this has been a very simple, village Christmas!  My tree had no wrapped presents under it… just a simple manger scene… my Christmas card holder is empty with the exception of some hand drawn pictures from two precious kiddos… but my heart is full!  I am blessed beyond belief and the blessings are not in the material things (even though the gift of a new watch and Christmas treats were a huge blessing)… but in the true Spirit of Christmas!  Jesus came as a simple baby wrapped in rags.  He was not born in a palace with all the fancy baby gifts but a simple stable in a small village.  His admirers were stinky shepherds.  This is why Christmas is so special… because of the baby in the manger.  He is truly EMMANUEL … God with us!  God in the flesh! 

(And by the way… if you sent a Christmas card/package… have no fear, it is on the way… it just takes some extra time.  It will be the gift that keeps giving this year!) J

Monday, December 23, 2013

What Christmas is all about!

After a few days of being sick and being tested for malaria (it was negative btw), I had really been wondering if I would feel up to going to Kampala on an excursion and some "christmas" shopping.  Thankfully besides being a bit tired ... I am doing much better and was able to make it through the day (however... I think I may have sweated out more today than I have in the past month combined!  Whatever sickness was left in my body has officially been sweated out!)

Teacher Allen and I had discussed taking a couple of her P1 students along and I also invited her since this is something she has never done as well!  So Hindu and Adam Micah came to the apartment at before 8 this morning ready for a grand adventure.  We had all the normal "errands" to run... picking up supplies, post office, bank, grocery store, etc.  
Decided that after all the morning errands, we would have lunch before heading to the grocery store.  Introduced Allen and the brown eyed cuties to pizza at I love New York Kitchen.   It took them a bit of time to figure out what to do with it but overall I think it was a hit.  Hannington's favorite type of pizza is mbize (pig or bacon) and pineapple however because the two kiddos were muslim we substituted chicken.  Allen was quite unsure about "cooked" pineapple on her pizza so it got picked off and ate it separately.  She was also very unsure with the cooked mango in the mango- banana bread I made last week but was amazed that it could taste so good and it was a hit! Their favorite thing to say is "it is sweet" when something tastes good!  SO pizza is sweet!   I think I am really stretching the staff and kiddos here to try "new" things rather than just matoke, rice, and chicken!   The relationship is mutual as they have me trying lots of new foods like cassava, roasted corn, and fried grasshoppers.  Yes... Allen is putting ketchup on her pizza... Hannington did it so she followed suite.  Monkey see... monkey do!

Traffic in Kampala was absolutely crazy so what normally takes awhile anyway took us even longer today but these kiddos were troopers.  When we reached Nakumatt to grocery shop... this animated saxophone playing "Santa" welcomed us... Adam Micah thought he was funny but didn't want to get to close to him.  Hindu just went along for just about anything we put in front of her!  Adam Micah was also very tentative about the escalator ride.  Took him several attempts before he wasn't acting like Elf!  (I can use that reference because it is almost Christmas!)
If you want to help with providing outings for our brown eyed cuties or projects like helping families in the community with mosquito nets you can go to ...

So while trying to get back to the village... traffic and the amount of people along (and in) the street was crazy.  Everyone is out getting what is needed for Christmas... many have already started partying... and traffic overall was ... well I would say bumper to bumper but you actually have to be in a line to be bumper to bumper... side to side might be a better reference... ANYWAY... at one point I am looking out the window at one of the markets and there are hundreds of Ugandan's shopping.  For whatever reason... where's waldo came to mind and I thought we could play "where's waldo with the muzungu"...   I obviously stick out like waldo in the midst of all the Ugandan's so it got me laughing... trying to explain the concept with Hannington made it even funnier!  This is what happens when you inhale to many exhaust fumes... I guess!  It made for a fun car ride home!

Oh... before moving on... the other highlight of my day which only reiterated that "I AM NOT DRIVING IN KAMPALA!" ... traffic being as bad as it was...finding parking was even worse... we pulled into the bank parking lot... banking in Uganda normally takes a while even when it is not a holiday... Hannington jumps out and says "find parking and I will find you when I am done"... AHHHH!!  I move to the right side of the car where the driver's side is... get in... and slowly manuever my way through the VERY crowded bank parking lot.  I get almost to the exit gate and someone backs out... now you have to understand they park cars two deep with the assumption you leave the driver in the car to move it if the inside car needs to move... so after some shifting and the direction of the armed guard along with the driver in the car to my left... I get one of the inside parking spots and pull all the way up to the wall...  (I am not sure what would have happened if I had gotten to the exit gate without finding parking ... I am not sure I could have figured out the one way street system plus the Ugandan driving system to get back to the front of the bank... God was definitely watching out for me!!!) ... As soon as the car was parked... I moved back to the passenger seat as I didn't want Hannington getting any other ideas of "letting" me drive!

Ok... moving on now... a few weeks ago a dear man gave his wife the birthday present of donating money to help others in her honor.  Today that gift was fulfilled as we were able to buy mattresses, bed sheets, and mosquito nets for three in-need families.

Kenneth's family... Kenneth is the little boy in baby class that had 45 jiggers and rat bites on his feet when we checked early November.  Grandma is taking care of 6 children... four of which are 4 years and younger.  She is going blind and is doing everything she can to help the little ones but the parent keeps producing children by different women and dropping them off at his mother's house in the village to take care of.  The little ones were sleeping on woven mats on the dirt floor... hence the rat bites.Today we were able to help out by giving them Christmas that will be used year round!

And who could forget Richard with his contagious smile... catch up with his story at...  http://hynangel.blogspot.com/2013/11/meet-richard.html

We were able to provide a new clean mattress and bed sheets for this little guy as well as the wished for mosquito nets for he and grandma!!  AND we also got a sponsor for this little guy!!!

Last but not least... is a family that you would not know this child's story... because unfortunately due to the living conditions, this child passed away from malaria a few months ago.  This child was one of our students that contracted malaria over break and didn't seek medical treatment until it was too late.  This jaja (grandmother) was trying so hard to show her appreciation but just emotion came out.  Mosquito nets, when used properly, save lives.  It is an inexpensive investment by US standards but for many here in the village it is a month's salary for one.  $8 - $10 buys a mosquito net that can save a person's life!

 ( https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/InTheFieldMinistriesITFM/donate2.html )

 This year... my Christmas will look very different from most of my Christmas' in the past.  It will be spent in the village with the staff left on campus (Allen and Jackson)... (I told Hannington earlier that Allen, Jackson and I were having a village Christmas... when the words came out of my mouth and I had to laugh because how many people could say that!  Unfortunately he wouldn't have understood even had I tried to explain! So I just laughed and kept going! )  Anyway we are having a simple meal of chicken and rice and will spend our time assisting others within the community!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The simple life

Well if I didn't already think I lived a pretty simple life this weekend reminds me of all the luxuries I normally still have and how simple life really can be.

Last night, the little bit of internet that was left was used up... which means someone has to make the trip to Kampala to buy more.  So no communicating to the outside world. 

This morning when I woke up the power was out.  Normally the solar panel with battery storage does a pretty good job of supplying things like lights and the ability to charge my phone, tablet, and computer.  Due to the rainy weather there hasn't been much sun. 

So this afternoon I went to the clinic to pull out the generator only to realize that the clinic staff nor I have the key to the room it is in.  The key is with Hannington in Kampala.... and he has been not feeling well so hasn't been able to come to the village since picking me up from the airport on Wednesday.  I did text him all of this but haven't heard back so I am unsure at this point if my messages are even going through.

Here I sit by the light of 15 battery operated christmas tree lights and a candle knitting...I also plan on reading and writing by headlamp.  Can't be on the computer or tablet because I have no way of charging them at this point.

Looks like it is going to be a pretty silent night!

The simple life

Well if I didn't already think I lived a pretty simple life this weekend reminds me of all the luxuries I normally still have and how simple life really can be.

Last night, the little bit of internet that was left was used up... which means someone has to make the trip to Kampala to buy more.  So no communicating to the outside world. 

This morning when I woke up the power was out.  Normally the solar panel with battery storage does a pretty good job of supplying things like lights and the ability to charge my phone, tablet, and computer.  Due to the rainy weather there hasn't been much sun. 

So this afternoon I went to the clinic to pull out the generator only to realize that the clinic staff nor I have the key to the room it is in.  The key is with Hannington in Kampala.... and he has been not feeling well so hasn't been able to come to the village since picking me up from the airport on Wednesday.  I did text him all of this but haven't heard back so I am unsure at this point if my messages are even going through.

Here I sit by the light of 15 battery operated christmas tree lights and a candle knitting...I also plan on reading and writing by headlamp.  Can't be on the computer or tablet because I have no way of charging them at this point.

Looks like it is going to be a pretty silent night!

Life in Nabisooto UGANDA...part 3

With Christmas being less than two weeks away, thought we would share what this time of year is like in the village...

Weather... it is coming to the end of rainy seaaon... most days it is sunny and warm...  there is no snow for us here but it gets down in the 60's and we are freezing.  Since rainy aeaaon is coming to an end everything is green.

The maize is also ready so a holiday treat is when it is roasted over the fire!  Yummy!

We are out of school until the beginning of February... this is not only our holiday break but also our summer break between school years.  When we go back to school in February we will be in a new class.

Christmas to us is spending time with family and a special meal... normally chicken and rice.  Most homes don't have christmas trees nor do we exchange gifts.

The end of the beach ball

Over the past few weeks in the evenings, the little brown eyed cuties and myself have been playing in the yard with a beach ball.  I knew it wasn't the greatest choice for the older children but it was great for the little ones.  It was light and didn't hurt if you got hit which is important for the little ones.  My one rule was hands only as I knew the children here are avid soccer players and know how to kick a ball.

Well tonight the little brown eyed cuties were on the veranda begging for the ball... so I let one of the older boys blow the beach ball up.... bad move on my part because I had to then find something for the little ones to do because the older children took over the ball.

So the little ones and I drew chalk on the sidewalk and had a dance party while the older boys played with the beach ball....until it got almost dark and Mamma Angela was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes... so I told the little ones good night and went inside to wash my hair. 

By this point it had gotten quiet in the yard and I went out to find a bunch of sad looking guys (not older children but grown men) standing around a deflated beach ball with a big hole in it.  My guess is someone used their foot rather than their hand and it popped.  I am not sure if they were more sad about the ball or the game ending.  When I toold them it was ok... and sule bulungi... one of the guys looked at me and said not sule bulungi.... basically meaning not a good night. 

I had to smile because it was a comical picture seeing these men standing around mourning the loss of the ball and I guess sooner or later I knew the beach ball would meet its demise!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Sekukulu eyessanyu!
Merry Christmas from Uganda!!

Well it has been a little more than 3 months living in the
village of Nabisooto and what an adventure!  This entire
experience has taught me numerous things…
like counting my blessings… enjoying the simplicities of life…
and getting back to the basics of what is important.
What is important in your life???
Is it stuff or relationships with people??? 
There is a saying that “life isn’t measured in the breathes
 you take but in the moments that take your breath away!”
How many breathtaking moments have you had within 2013?
Breathtaking moments happen when life is lived intentionally…
when that small, quiet voice is listened to and obeyed…
when the silver lining is found despite the darkness of the cloud…
when love is shared despite the feeling…
and when thankfulness exudes despite the circumstances!
May your Christmas and 2014 be filled with memorable,
breathtaking moments!!!  Thank you for being a part
of this adventure!  Continue to follow this journey at hynangel.blogspot.com.  Should you desire to support
the work that is being done in Nabisooto, you can go to…

In the Field Ministries
c/o Angela Calhoun
PO Box 71748
Kampala, Uganda, AFRICA

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Leaving Kenya

Only in Africa can you be driving down the road and pass a group of camels walking down the road.  Sights like this never get old. 

The driver that I had this morning to take me to the airport in Kenya knew someone working on the new bypass and with a bit of money we were able to travel the new road which was a significant short cut to the airport... freshly paved... and no other cars.  I think that this is the fastest I have been able to travel since being in Africa...normally with the condition of the roads and the number of crazy drivers you can't get anywhere fast.  Still hit traffic close to the airport but arrived within 45 minutes versus the hour and a half when I arrived into Nairobi.

Last night some coworkers of Stacey's from WNS had dinner with us at Dorman's... the local coffee shop.  It was excellent food and a fun time of fellowship.  Afterwards, thanks to a friend, I was able to go and get some treats at Nakumatt to bring back to Uganda with me.  Living overseas it is amazing how excited expats get when they find things like green enchilada sauce or poptarts in the grocery store.  There are a lot of things that can be found in Kenya that I can't find in Uganda so I picked up a few exciting items!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For Christmas This Year

There is nothing like a children's christmas program to bring out the festiveness of the season.  One of the songs performed at the West Nairobi School on Friday was "For Christmas this year" by TobyMac.  It got me thinking what will Christmas bring this year?  

So far I was blessed with a trip to Kenya thanks to an early christmas gift from family.  I am not sure I coud have asked for a better gift as this includes rest, relaxation, adventures, and cooler weather.  The evening temperatures have been down in the 50's which is quite chilly when you are used to 80 degree weather and only brought clothes for the 80's.  It has also been rainy at night so great sleeping weather.

ADVENTURES.. Besides spending time at school with Stacey and meeting lots of new friends... we went to the baby elephant orphanage and got to play with baby elephants, see a gazelle as well as a family of warthogs.... then we went to feed giraffes... went to a Christmas craft fair yesterday and then to  the ballet where some of Stacey's students were performing.  Also went to the slums to assist in passing out christmas buckets.

RELAXATION...After living in the village for the past 3 months there are certain things that you start to miss... on Thursday we went to Junction where we had Subway for lunch before doing some window shopping and going to see Catching Fire... the new Hunger Games movie... picked up a few things at Nakumatt that they don't carry in Kampala then went to get frozen yogurt.  Have enjoyed the time to be on vacation!

REST...Living in the village in an apartment attached to the clinic it seems that unless I pull all the curtains and lock the door that I always have visitors...either staff coming to visit...or little brown eyed cuties calling "Mamma Angela" ...or teachers in need of supplies.  It has been realy nice to rest in quietness and peace for a week.  Stacey has quite a collection of movies so it has been fun to sit and watch some old favorites like miracle on 34th street and white Christmas.   It has also been nice to have no agenda and be able to help in the teachers classrooms.  Gleaning some new ideas to take back to the village.

This trip has been a blessing in so many ways... from hot showers to meeting new friends to God providing above and beyond what I could ask or imagine.  It seems like each time I travel I have the privilege of meeting new people and building friendships!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The "new" normal

What is normal?

As I had caffine at dinner tonight and cannot sleep... I have been pondering a couple of conversations over the past few days.  I have come to the conclusion that I do not fall into the category of normal... whatever that looks like! 

In the bible, to be a Christ follower means we should be a peculiar people and stand apart.  We are to take the road less travelled and do things that make little sense to a world desiring to follow their desires. 

For many years, I have desired to be a wife and a mother but my desire to serve Jesus has been the driving force behind the choices I have made...and I live with no regrets!  I have been looked down upon because I haven't picked a guy to marry...I have been questioned as to my job choices... I have been ridiculed for not taking a position with decent pay and benefits... and I have had to deal with the heart wrenching questions about why I don't have children....

To all of this I answer.... I am not normal!  God did not call me to live in a safe little box... I don't fit into expectations... assumptions... or the ideals of "normal" ...whatever that may be.  Sorry to burst anyones bubble that thinks this is just a short term whim that will eventually get tossed aside in order to live a normal life...

If normal is a decent paying job where I work so much that I never see my children... I don't want normal.

If normal is marrying a guy just so that my needs are met and to check the married box... I don't want normal.

If normal is a 9 to 5 job where I am unhappy... I don't want normal.

If normal is just having children as a status symbol to let the world raise... I don't want normal.

If normal is living in a 5000 square foot house with a mortgage bigger than I make in a month... I don't want normal.

So I challenge you with the question... are you striving to be normal?

Normal looks good from the worlds point of view but has no eternal value.  The Lord works differently in each of our lives but he does give us the choice to listen to what He calls us to do... we can listen and obey.... or we can tune Him out with the noise of the world and try to be "normal".

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Funny things

I have heard it said numerous times... clothes shrink when put in the dryer.  I have on occasion put jeans in the dryer to shrink so they will fit but it only works for a little while then they stretch out and are baggy.

Living in the village my clothes are having an issue... based on the theory above I am going to blame it on the clothes line... the clothes line is  making my clothes grow!! 

(Ok... I know this theory  falls apart fast when I haven't had a clothes dryer since I lived with my parents and have dryed everything on the clothesline in Hawaii!  And my clothes continued to fit!)

Which brings me to the problem at hand... I wash my clothes... I hang them out to dry... I go to put them on a day or too later and they are bigger than when I wore them the time before.  Most of what I brought in the line of clothes are skirts with elastic and sleep pants with drawstrings.  The drawstrings are getting their use and the elastic banded skirts are now sitting on my hips rather than my waist.

I know what you are thinking... stop blaming it on the clothes line and own up.  To that I respond... I have nothing to own up to... I am honestly not trying to lose weight...been in that battle for more years than I care to admit to and I decided a few years ago that if my body is healthy then I am happy.  And I am ... so I stopped worrying about the number on the scale and started eating and exercising to keep my body happy!  Still eating 3 meals a day and moving as much as I have been over the past couple of months.  I think this is the first time in my life that I am really not trying to lose weight but yet it is coming off.  I have nothing to compare it to except for clothes that are growing. 

I do find one major problem with my clothes growing... clothes are hard to come by here and I have 6 more months before I return to the states.  May have to start tying grass around my waist to hold up my skirts!  TIA!

I'm leaving on a jetplane...

And I will be back to Uganda in 10 days!

Decided that since no one at immigration seems to know what to do about my VISA situation...I thought I would take matters into my own hands and leave the country to explore.  Praying that when I come back...they will give me 90 more days and another excuse to see East Africa.  Please be praying with me on this!

So I am off to Nairobi, Kenya for the next 10 days to explore and visit a friend  who is the adminstrator of West Nairobi School.  Looking forward to gleaning some knowledge!

Again I sit in the airport.... waiting...

Well, finally went by the post office this morning on the way to the airport.  Wow....there was quite a letter or maybe I should call it a book as it is 6 typed pages!.  I have sat here in Entebbe airport waiting area enjoy a snack and reading the letter.  Great way to wait!

Hannington came to pick me up at 7:30 this morning and it only took 3 hours to get to the airport from the village... with a stop by the post office.  So I was too early to check in and was told to go enjoy a cup of coffee and wait.  The joys of Africa!  Lots of waiting!  My flight is to leave at 2:50pm and I have been here since 10:45am... would rather be early that late.

Finally checked in and went through priority with my medallion status.  Oh the joys of flying a lot.  Met a nice lady at immigration who checked my passport and recommended going to Mombasa the next time I go to Kenya.  Just had lunch of a chicken meat pie and a sprite and some window shopping.  Things are so much more expensive in the airport than they are at African village... the only difference is there are no people trying to get you attention to buy their wares at the airport.  And everything here is priced in US dollars which makes it even more expensive.  I think I will choose to do my shopping at African Village.

Now time to play the waiting game until time to go through security and board the plane.  Because it is only a week trip... I checked one bag and am just carrying a purse... which makes me feel very light!  Most times going through airports I feel and look like a pack horse with a loaded backpack and "personal item" like a duffel bag!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An African Sunday afternoon!

A sleeping child in my arms throughout the church service!  
A monkey out behind the church/school building.
There were a couple of others that didn't get captured by the camera!

Mamma Vencencia pounding sweet bananas to make kabagalagala.  Yum Yum!!!