Monday, February 16, 2015

Grandma Pauline's song

   Sitting here, dirty, hungry and tired, I realize how blessed I truly am to get to serve God here in Uganda. Some may question my sanity or how long I have been out in the hot African sun. But after what I experienced today, there is no other way to say it except I am blessed to be chosen to work here. I'm not sure there are words to explain all that is going on in my heart.
    So why not come with me, as Justine and I take an afternoon to work in the village. As we leave the office don't forget your bag. You will need a bottle of clean water, hand sanitizer, scarf for your head on dusty roads, and a small bottle of scented lotion.
   Don't be afraid to ride on the taxi, even though it's only a small motorcycle (boda boda) and the driver doesn't seem too strong. We can easily fit 3 or 4 people if need be.You will soon see, boda bodas are the best way to get around on the footpaths in the village.
   Starting off the traffic is a bit thick as you pass businesses, markets, mosques, steeples and roadside stands selling everything from live chickens to building supplies.Soon the potholed paved road turns into a red dusty road that winds through the tea plantations and tiny villages with mud huts and tin roofs. 
   The ride is not long because we soon come to the village of Katuba where we hope to do most of our visiting today.  The primary school is our 1st stop and as we get off the boda boda it doesn't take long for you to be mobbed by a class of kindergartners. As you bend down to gather them into you arms, they touch your skin and hair with awe. They have never been so close to a muzungu or white person. A few are afraid. We try to teach the little ones, with big dark eyes, to play a game.
   Soon we are off to the next stop, walking this time. We are visiting a boy and his family that lost their father and husband 2 weeks ago to malaria. The boy is sober and the young mother seems to appreciate the small gifts of food we bring.
    We visit many. Praying with them, encouraging them in their trials, rejoicing with them in their joys. Many footpaths, many trails, many homes. And all these homes no matter how humble house a family. And all these families have needs, concerns, and cares. Can we point them to the Father who truly cares for them?
   One mother was full of joy and thankfulness for our prayers. We had visited her daughter weeks before when she could not walk due to swollen knees. Now her daughter, with a smile on her face, was walking just fine. Praise be to our Mighty Healer!
    Today, the face I remember glowing with joy was Grandma Pauline's.  We were visiting with her daughter and granddaughter who is a ROTOM care point child. Before we left, they wanted to know if we wanted to see Grandma Pauline, who is also sponsored by ROTOM. 
    We were led to a small room on the back of their mud house. It was not much bigger that her cot. Grandma
 Pauline woke from her nap and was excited to have visitors. She is blind in one and neither of her legs work. So she lives her life in bed. When Grandma Pauline realizes that one of her visitors is a muzungu, she is really excited. I take the bottle of scented lotion from my bag and begin massaging her hands. As we sat beside her bed, rubbing her hand and visiting with the family, Grandma Pauline enjoys all the attention.
   Before leaving, we asked if she would like to pray for us, but she chose to sing us a song instead. As she sang in her wavy, crackled voice, a beautiful smile began to spread across her face. She was almost glowing and it seemed that she was trying to dance, as she sang for us.  But really her song was not for us. My translator told me the song was about how good God was.
   It still brings tears to my eyes to realize Grandma Pauline's song was for a good God in heaven. With her one good eye and legs that couldn't work, she was giving Him praise. How much more should we, should I give Him praise.
     As we rode away from her home, Grandma Pauline was still singing His praises. And I too, am praising Him in my heart.  Aren't you glad that you came visiting with us today?  I hope you will come along again soon!

... like Sam does

Sam, Jessica's German Shepherd puppy seems to be afraid of the smallest things. A shadow, a loud noise, a quick movement are a few of his fears. I say fears, but maybe they are more uncertainties. Because, really he is just a puppy and hasn't had the chance to experience much of life yet.
A few days ago, on our evening walk, Jessie introduced him to bridges. Just small logs or a rotting board over small streams or water ditches, not really a true bridge. But it serves the purpose.
At the first one, Sam simply refused. Dug his claws into the mud and made it clear with whimpers and whines that he had no intention of crossing that scary thing the humans called a bridge.
But with Jessie pulling on the rope leash and me pushing from behind, Sam made it across the small bridge, even though he made it sound like he was going to die. Before long we came across the next footbridge. Sam seemed to think it was not quite as bad, but still uncertain of us pushing him on.
The amazing thing was the very next evening, on our walk, Sam trotted across the small bridge with his head held high. Not a whimper or a whine. Soon he was running and jumping over the bridges like it was his favorite part of our walks.
Almost immediately, my Heavenly Father spoke to my heart. "Child, how do you respond when I ask you to do something new? How do you act when you are pushed our of your comfort zone? Do you learn as quickly as Sam?"
If anything in my life has pushed me beyond what I am comfortable with, Uganda has.  Not that life here is hard or bad, just different. And being so different it takes some of us longer to adjust to things like tiny houses, crazy driving, eating bananas so often, and bugs that lay eggs in your laundry while it is drying, and a stove that smokes up you pots every time you cook.
Lord, help me to learn to cross bridges like Sam does. Not just making it over, but loving the different and new You bring into my life. Help me to learn to love it like Sam does.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Home- the very word brings questions to some of our minds. What is this thing that others speak of-home? Where is it? Or is it even a place? Maybe it is more of a feeling of belonging. Or better yet, being with people who love you and accept you.
Being a missionary and also a missionary kid (MK) home is a word (or idea) that we struggle with. We don't quite know how to put it into words even why it is a struggle. And when we are brave enough to try, few people have the patience or understanding to listen.
Eighteen years ago when I married my husband, Jason, who is also a MK, I really never thought about how this would affect our marriage, our lives, and the lives of the children we brought into this world. To others we seem confused, messed up, or even at times ungrateful. But I am convinced more now than ever it is none of those.
Living overseas, especially if one has lived in a 3rd world country, we get to see how most of the people in the world live on so much less. Many times because there are fewer "things" to clutter their lives, relationships run deep and people tend to speak about "real issues".We are more ready to admit our need of God when we have real needs in our lives that can not be ignored.
Once you have lived a very simple life and possessions have lost their grip on you and your attention, it is freeing to love and serve those around you. Maybe with a smile, a hug, a bowl of soup and with actions and words sharing that there is a true God in heaven that cares for them. Once you have tasted the pure joy of servant-hood, nothing else can quite compare.
So when someone ask me, "Why? Why would you want to move to Africa?" I usually just smile and mumble some quick answer.  But what I want to say is, "You would understand if you could go with me as I give an old wrinkled grandma the first meal she has had in days. If you could see her toothy grin, you would understand."
If you could walk with me down the village street, cow bells clanging in the distance, hand in hand with an abused teenager. Just letting them know that you understand and you care.  If you could see the hope in their eyes, you would go too.
If you could come home to a supportive family. Come home to a place, that even though it is humble and simple, it is where you are understood. You would call it home too. Even though it is not the good old U.S.A.

(written last year as we prepared to move to Uganda)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Josh with friends at the African village

Making list and checking it twice, no more like 10 times

Maybe it's because I have memory problems, or maybe it's that I'm worried that I'll forget something important.  My list are not about shopping for gifts or even list of places to go and parties to attend.  No my list are about packing and moving to Uganda, Africa.  Yes, we are really moving, and I have 3 days left to get everything in. Clothes, books, ministry supplies, shoes, water filter, Oh yes, I must not forget my Bible and writing notebook.  I have many things left on my list to pack. So please forgive me if this post is not very long.  I have to go check my list... again....

Jessie and friends

Saturday, November 8, 2014

So I started my blog.  Yes, I know, I haven't blogged in 4 years.  But sometimes I miss getting my thoughts down in writing.  Would you like to journey with me, with my family, as we step out in faith and do what He is calling us to do?
 In  about one month we will be packing our bags and as a family moving to Uganda, Africa.  Yes, we have been missionaries in the past.  Actually, Jason and I both have been raised as missionary kids, sometimes known as MKs.  Since we have been married we have lived about 6 yrs.of our life in Ukraine,
Now God is leading on another journey.  One which is exciting, scary, humbling, and sometimes hard.  But I plan on finding as much joy in the journey as I can. As God helps me, and I find and learn exciting and new discoveries along the way, I will do my best to share the with you.  That way you can feel like you are part of this journey as well.
 I do not claim to have it all together. I can tell you this right now, I know I don't have all the answers.  But I know Someone who does. I cannot take away all the pain in this wold,  but I can walk with them through their pain.  Some may not even know that they need Jesus.  I can love them and point the way.
I am a missionary, not because I have all the answers, but because I love walking along side others as they journey toward Jesus. Come to think of it, you could do it too, if you aren't already!  Why not start today!