Thursday, August 26, 2010
If you'd like to hear more of our stories by having us come speak at your church, small group, or even just individually, please contact us (or give our contact information to your pastor or group leader) at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to sharing the message the Lord has laid on our hearts from these experiences.
Also stay tuned to the blog as we'll continue to update on little stories here and there and also post dates, times, and places you can come hear us speak.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I think back to the end of May, just before I started writing this blog. I spent a week at my friend Madie's for her graduation. Every afternoon I had to lay down for a few hours to sleep. The pain was bad, and my movements were slow.
Fast forward a few weeks - we're getting ready to leave for Uganda. Long ago I said I believed that going on this trip would be directly related to my health improving. Looking back I feel I was right. As the trip drew closer, I reached a point where I didn't have to lay down and sleep every afternoon. I gained strength and energy. My aches were still there, but I was at least able to function again. The closer we came to leaving, the better I did.
Before we left I said that I believed that God was going to do amazing things. I knew I was going to surprise even myself with what I was able to do. The Lord gave me a vision of being able to play with the kids, and I did.
The Lord gave me strength. I still have many aches and pains. I still experience fatigue and weakness. But the Lord did a mighty work in me.
He may not have fully healed me physically yet, but He did something much more amazing.
He used me.
When I was weak, He used me to strengthen others. When I had lost hope, He used me by giving me a message of hope to share with the suffering. When I was heart-broken, He used me to lift others up out of dark places.
So tonight I sit here amazed.
He chose to use me.
But the thing is, He chooses to use each of us. He gave us each a special combination of talents and He longs to use us to further His kingdom. All we have to do is be willing and He will use us for His glory.
My prayer tonight is that each of us is willing to be used by God, and that he will continue to use us all the days of our lives.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
My favorite place in the whole world to be is at the childcare center at Igamba. I love those kids, and you can tell they love me back. Some of the kids even remembered me from last year, and remembered why my name is Buddy - because I come to be their friend. Here's some pictures of some of my good friends from Igamba:
This is Bill and his friend Davis. Bill likes to write his own praise songs and Davis puts them to music. They were singing for me.
They sounded so good I just had to dance!
That's my favorite part of going to Uganda - making kids smile. And the hugs aren't so bad either. I think I've learned that sometimes ministy has nothing to do with being able to talk. Sometimes you just have to be willing to love and be loved.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
There's a quote from the movie Mean Girls that always seems appropriate to me this time of year. If you've never watched the movie the main character, Cady, is experiencing her first day of public high school after a lifetime of being homeschooled in Africa. She sits at the popular table at lunch and one of the girls (a blonde of course) asks her, "So...if you're from Africa, why are you white?" And her friend replies, "Oh my gosh, Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white!"
No trip is complete until someone asks me if I've been to Africa why I'm so white. Today that tradition was fulfilled. I left the US with a tan and came back without it. What can I say, the sun is hotter there.
True fact: Eating beans and rice for 3 weeks doesn't make us lose weight, we literally sweat off the pounds!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
To be honest I'm having a rough time. Don't get me wrong, it's good to be home and see friends and family again, but I don't feel like I'm all here. My heart aches for Uganda. It's broken for the children, it longs for the people. I miss the millions of hugs we get each day, the happy faces and waving hands, the shouts of "muzungu!" the soothing sound of their voices when they speak, and even how terrible my accent sounds when I sing along with them. I think the only thing I don't miss is rice.
This is the fourth time we've done this. It's the fourth time we've seen the poverty. It's the fourth time we've had to say goodbye. It's the fourth time we've had to get back into life at home. But it never gets easier.
So if you see me walking around looking a little lost, just remember that it's hard to adjust to life when it your heart is somewhere else.
I ask that your prayers for us wouldn't stop now that we've stepped off the plane here at home. I've always said I don't believe that missions trips end when you leave your host country. They continue on. We ask that you pray for us as we begin to prepare stories to share. We've shared only a few small stories with you here on the blog. And I've shared very little from our week in the village of Igamba because those are the toughest of them all. Even typing the word Igamba is bringing tears to my eyes.
Also I ask that you pray for our health. I'm happy to say that I'm feeling good. I had a treatment yesterday that knocked me down (which means it worked) but I'm doing better. But even last year we thought I came home healthy and it wasn't until a few weeks later that anything started to show up. So pray for each of us that we'll continue along feeling well and that the Lord will continue to increase my strength and good health each and every day.
Thank you again for your prayers and for spending time with us on our amazing journey.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
We had our first encounter with the airport body scanners. After they scanned us they asked if they could search us (meaning pat us down). I said yes, but I thought, "Lady, I've been traveling from Africa for the last 12 hours. If you want to get close enough to me to smell me, then go right ahead!"
Our friends picked us up from the airport in Buffalo, and we went for our traditional "first supper" of pizza and wings. These are the same friends that we shared our "last supper" with before leaving for Uganda. We are so thankful that the Lord has placed them in our lives. Since they've done missions work before, they understand the ins and outs. They know the long travel and the brainless feeling that comes from getting only 4 hours of sleep in over 30 hours. They put up with the smell that comes from not bathing in over 48 hours. If that's not the love of the Lord then I don't know what is.
Today is a major laundry day. We have 4 suitcases filled with dirty clothes. And although our ministry work in Uganda is completed for a short time, our ministry at home is just beginning.
We want to thank you for every single prayer that was brought before the throne of God. We appreciate each and every one. Our friends who picked us up from the airport, the Chase's, said that they prayed specifically, not just that I would stay healthy but that I would actually come back stronger than when I left. Their prayer was answered. My body feels stronger than when I first arrived in Uganda. It's so amazing, the power of prayer. I look forward to hearing/sharing of other stories of how your prayers for us were answered.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I have enjoyed every minute of being here. The Lord has brought us through and sustained us. We are so thankful for his provision.
I'm very sad to leave, but I believe, just as they say here in Uganda:
The best is yet to come.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This evening we went back to the home where the Camp El Har kids are staying right now. Most of them have left for holiday, but some have stayed. We were able to see some kids we haven't seen in 2 years. It was amazing to see how much they've changed. When we left them 2 years ago they were still shy little kids and now they're confident young men and women. We enjoyed spending some time with them. It's a bit different to spend time with the older kids. The conversations change from simple subjects like our country, what we like about Uganda, and what we like to do, to really tough spiritual questions like is one form of baptism better than another or what do I tell a friend who thinks that some sins are worse than others.
I can't believe that we're so close to leaving. Tomorrow is our last full day in Uganda. Last month I was saying that soon it would all be just a memory and it has. My parents are ready to come home. They love it here, but at the same time I think they are ready to get back into life back home.
I'm not so ready.
I know that I need to come home so I can keep working at getting better, but I'd rather stay. Please pray for us (and me especially) as we begin to say farewell to our family here. We've grown close to so many people here, and I know it will be very difficult for us. Pray that the Lord will give me strength to come back and continue the work of this trip at home through sharing the stories with others.
Thank you for praying with us, and for walking with us as we go.
Monday, August 9, 2010
It's our fourth time to go there, but it never gets easier. In fact, I think this was the most difficult time that we've spent there. The poverty there is tremendous. In years past we've spent only a couple days there and we packed it full of home visits. But this year, we had to take it slow, and while that sounds like we did less ministry, we ended up doing more. We were able to go deeper than ever before.
Years past we went a mile wide and an inch deep. This year it was an inch wide, a mile deep. We spent a lot of time at the homes we visited and listened to their struggles, encouraged them, prayed with them, and followed up again later.
I'm still trying to process it all, which often leaves me in tears. My heart is broken because of the work we did there. My heart is broken because I had to leave.
I just feel broken.
But I thank the Lord for feeling broken, because a broken heart takes action. I pray that in the coming days/weeks as we share more with all of you and as we go out to churches to speak that the stories will break your hearts to take action too.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
After a wonderful church service, my parents went with Uncle Reuben and Auntie Florence for lunch, and I went back to the Camp with the kids. Oh we were sneaky! Today is my parent's 28th wedding anniversary, so I came up with a plan to have a surprise party for them with the kids.
So we went back to prepare while the married folks went for lunch. I went with some of the kids and Shamila (one of the aunties at the home) to buy sodas from down the road. The cake had been delivered the night before.
Shamila took the lead in putting together a program and put Eva in charge of directing the whole program. They practiced some songs and even put in my parents names and that it was their 28th anniversary.
The kids were so excited. I'm not sure if it was because it was our parent's anniversary, or if it was because we got to have a party with cake and sodas...
When they arrived the kids brought out the cake and yelled, "SURPRISE!" They started off with praise and worship, did some special songs, asked all of the adults to speak, and enjoyed our cake.
But the day had many mixed feelings. Since we are leaving for Igamba tomorrow and the kids will go on break and visit their families before we get back, this was the last day we had to spend with them. Some of the kids expressed their thanks to us for our love for them. It was hard to keep my composure.
If you haven't already picked up on this we love those kids so much! So it was very hard to say good bye. We've been here for a week and a half so far and already we've connected with these kids. There was a girl that was new this year. She came to Camp El Har earlier this year so we hadn't ever seen her before. She was very unsure of us at first. She was shy and would hide her face when we looked at her. After a few visits, she really warmed up to us. All I needed to do was look at her and she would smile so big. I would come sit next to her and she would be so happy. But when we said good bye today, she hugged each of us and then walked off and stood by herself, head hanging low. She was sad we were leaving.
The kids have said to us that they love us as their own family. They love my dad as their own dad, my mom and their mother, and me as their sister. And those are not just words. You can see on their faces that it's the truth.
I was trying to upload some pictures for you. The internet here is on African Time...
We're off to pack to leave for Igamba tomorrow. You won't hear much from us for a while (I don't think) but we thank you for your continued prayers. Pray that the Lord will give us strength for every day, and that God will use us in a mighty way as we minister to the people there.
Tomorrow some of the Dorcas ladies will join us in Igamba just for the day to do door to door evangelism. We've done home visitation and presented the Gospel to people, but never at this level with people from AMG spread out, traveling around, and sharing the Good News. So please pray that the Lord will open the hearts of the people we will speak to.