Monday, July 23, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
*Update* Since this blog post was written, Fred has been freed. He hopped around the fridge and mom screeched.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
This year, we have a church and an individual who donated bras and girls' underwear for us to hand out. These are considered "luxury items" for most of these young, growing girls so many of them have none or maybe one or two. We are very excited to have the opportunity to hand these out to the girls.
So far, we're pretty sure we have everything we need. And now all that's left is to get a good night's sleep, get up and ready, and head to the airport.
We are so excited about what God has in store this summer, and we look forward to sharing it with you along the way. But as always, please be patient since (much like my apartment) we won't have internet right away. We will be sure to post as soon and as much as we can.
We ask that you would pray for us as we travel. Also, please pray for me (Aly). I'm still experiencing blurriness in my left eye, which according to the eye doctor will eventually work itself out so long as I continue to put drops in throughout the day.
Thank you for your prayers and for joining us along the way.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Through all of that, you couldn't blame Ashley or her parents if they were bitter or resentful. But as my mom and I have spent Tuesday nights over the last few months visiting at their home, I can tell you that they are anything but. Ashley has kept her sense of humor and often has everyone cracking up. One day while we were visiting Ashley said, "With everything I've been through, God has loved me through it all."
So as our family has prepared to go to Uganda this summer, I knew I wanted to to something special for Ashley. I didn't just want her to hear about Uganda, I wanted her to experience it. I wanted her to see the rusty-orange dirt under her feet and hear the kids singing praises to God and feel their hugs. The wheels started turning in my mind.
I knew Ashley wouldn't be able to go herself, but I thought maybe someone could go on her behalf. If you've ever heard about the children's series of Flat Stanley books, then you'll know where I'm going with this. Kids in school do projects with Flat Stanley, a boy they cut out of paper and send to someone they know. That person takes Flat Stanley on some adventure and takes pictures, sends the pictures to the child, and then sends Flat Stanley on to someone else. I thought a paper cutout would be a little too flimsy and easy to rip or lose. So I needed another idea.
I introduce to you, Ashky.
Ashky is a sock monkey I bought. I dressed her up in a t-shirt (which matches a shirt I had made for Ashley), and made a little skirt for her. This is actually the original Ashky, but when I brought her out to explain what I was doing, Ashley's 7 month old nephew Wesley went nuts. He started shrieking, kicking his legs, and flailing his arms. He wrapped his arms right around the monkey and he would not let go. If anyone tried to touch the monkey he shouted. He made hilarious noises that sounded like he was trying to talk to the monkey. Needless to say, we gave Wesley the monkey because he was so cute with it.
If you are on Facebook, you can follow Ashky's adventures in Uganda by liking the page "Ashky goes to Africa." If you're not on facebook, have no fear. I'll let you know how it goes with Ashky as time goes on.
Monday, June 25, 2012
The nerves of getting everything done are showing. The excitement of taking off is mounting. The good-byes are starting. The hellos are longing. And the attention spans and energy are waning.
Minds are spinning. Tempers are shortening. And those piles are still getting higher.
Did you grab the converters? And what about razors? Do we have toothpaste? Please don't even start talking about taking anti-malaria medication.
I need to print t-shirts and roll letters for supporters. Wait. Scratch that and flip it.
More supplies are piling. There's a couch under here somewhere, and with it is probably where I can find my keys.
There's only one thing that all this can possibly mean.
We leave in 1 week.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
If you're around little kids you may be familiar with the first page of my favorite children's story, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. It's a little glimpse into our lives right now. To say it's terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad would be dramatic. But there have been weird things happening to us.
In the story, after Alexander talks about his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, he would say, "I think I'll move to Australia." When I was in college and would have a bad day, I used to tell my mom, "I think I'll move to Uganda."
So here is my version of my favorite children's story, and the weird things that have been going on lately:
My mom went to sleep with a scratchy throat and now she sounds like a man and when she called me to tell me she could hardly stop coughing. So I came to the house and cleaned for her after picking up my apartment. My eyes have been feeling dry and irritated and now when I try to look out of my left eye it's all blurry. When I went to the eye doctor, he told me I can't wear my contacts for a while and I should probably wear my glasses for the trip. I hate wearing my glasses!
I think I'll move to Uganda.
No matter what I do, my apartment still smells like cigarette smoke and cat pee. My microwave keeps turning on when I'm not even in the room, my refridgerator makes gurgly noises, and I bought a sock monkey last week that just sits and stares at me. I put a brand new colored ink cartridge in the printer and it's telling me it's empty, and I can't print out my orientation packets I made for the team.
It has been a goofy, weird, so strange, very odd day. My mom says some days are like that...Even in Uganda.
By no means am I whining about any of this. I'm thankful to have my own apartment, as quirky as it can be. I'm thankful to have glasses as a back up when my contacts don't work, and I'm thankful we live in a country where we have easy access to medications when we're sick. But it's just been one of those days when all these things pile up and can make a person crazy.
Friday, June 15, 2012
But slowly things are getting done. We work together, each of us focusing on a different project, and somehow we get it all done. Sometimes it feels like we do more running than accomplishing. But through it all, it is so important that we don't let our focus shift from God to the circumstances around us. Afterall, that's what made Peter start sinking out on the water, and we certainly don't want to sink.
We ask that you'd pray for us, that we'd continue to keep our focus on Christ, not on all the things that need to get done. That we'll always remember that He is the reason we do what we do, and without Him this ministry means nothing.
Monday, June 11, 2012
In 3 weeks, we'll exchange the rolling hills of Western New York for the hills of Kampala. Instead of looking out at freshly farmed, brown dirt, we'll see red dirt, packed down by millions of feet walking along the paths. I'll swap my new apartment for my Ugandan home. The sounds of cars passing by my window, will be replaced with the sound of crickets chirping and dogs howling in the night. Instead of order on the roads, we will find ourselves among barely controlled chaos. My usual lunch of chicken salad and fresh veggies will be replaced with beans and rice. We'll trade in our quick American English, filled with slang for a more descriptive, slower version of English. Instead of tap water, we'll drink bottled. With our daily regimen of vitamins, we'll add in anti-malaria pills and the side-effects they bring. Our now clean, nice smelling hair will be full of sweat and grease. Our feet, once clean and white, will be brown and dusty. Hot showers will be a thing of the past, as cold water brings refreshment each morning. My heart will experience that feeling of being completely at home, and peaceful, while at the same time feeling broken and at times ripped apart.
I've waited 5 long months. My parents have waited for almost a year. And in just 21 days, we'll be on our way to hearing the pilot say the words we love so much:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Uganda.
Monday, June 4, 2012
I spent the bulk of last week playing gym teacher at the elementary school. And let me tell you, trying to corral 50 kindergarteners is exactly as hard as it sounds (as long as it sounds like complete madness).
Last week I signed a lease and was handed the keys to my apartment. We did the majority of moving on Saturday, carrying boxes and furniture up 15 steps to my apartment (most of which had already been carried 15 steps down the stairs at my parents house). Needless to say we were all quite exhausted.
Yesterday, we spoke at 2 different churches about the ministry in Uganda. One was completely new, and the other was one we've been to a number of times over the years. The Pastor of the second church also asked me to come join them for youth group and talk to the teens, so I spent most of the day finding pictures to show.
We also spent the last week reworking our trip schedule. Some new things came up, and we ended up playing around with dates, trying to lock in on tickets, praying about what God wanted us to do, and just trying to make sense of it all in the midst of everything else.
I'll share more about that last one in the days to come. For now, my apartment (which has no internet, so please bear with me if I don't post quite as often as I hope to) is piled high with boxes, and I need to find all my stuff!
Monday, May 28, 2012
Against backdrop of Memorial Day, Wheaton couple prepare to bury their serviceman son
On April 25, Samuel Watts, 20, was on a foot patrol in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated. Watts had been about 8 feet from the blast, and he suffered devastating wounds, including head, arm and lung injuries. "We were told he was in cardiac arrest in the field," his mother said.
He was rushed to a hospital at Bagram Air Field; airlifted to Landstuhl, Germany; and then brought to Walter Reed in Maryland, where his family stood vigil for two weeks. Before he died May 19, he was awarded the Purple Heart in a ceremony held at his bedside. His father, Thomas, pinned the medal to his chest.
"The thing about my son, he was so strong," said Susan Watts. "He was strong in stature. He was strong in who he was. He was a young man of character."
Samuel Watts was a strapping young man, who stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and who, in his role as an Army specialist, often volunteered to carry extra equipment.
"Sam probably had an additional 90 pounds of gear on him. But he never complained. He was proud of the fact he was able to do that," said Susan Watts.
Samuel Watts had enlisted while still in high school. He had wanted to be a soldier since he was a little boy.
This Memorial Day, the family stayed close to home and tried to prepare for Tuesday's visitation and Wednesday's funeral.
"For the moment, we're so lost in our grief," said Susan Watts. "There's no sleep. When I eat, I get sick. ... I just really want to lie down and wake up from this terrible nightmare."
The family has been pulling out photos, which they plan to display at the wake and memorial service. But Susan Watts said she has trouble looking at the pictures of her son. "I just miss that face so bad. It's hard to know he's never coming home."
Sunday, May 27, 2012
That day, our ministry wasn't the typical face to face work we normally do. We didn't get to see the faces of the people who heard our message. But I believe somehow God used our message, our mistakes, and our dependence on Him to change lives.
Sometimes doing ministry means that we will never really know or understand the impact we will have. We don't really know if what we did made a difference in someone's life. But even if we're not sure of the impact we have to do it anyways, because what if what we did made a difference for just one? It brought hope to just one? It gave courage to just one?
Our action, as well as our lack of action, affects others. And as Christians we can either let the fire smolder or we can create a spark that will ignite the world for Christ. I say, let's start a fire.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
There have been 2 major requirements to meet. One is to find a sending church, a body of believers who will partner with me on this journey (more on that later). The other was to move out of my parent's home, the house I've lived in for the last 24 and a half years.
I've been searching for a place to live for some time now. But the world out there is expensive and I just couldn't find a place I could afford.
It was one of those things that only God could plan out. One of our supporters is looking to rent out an apartment she owns in town. It was a great location with great landlords at a great price. My dad had known about it for a little while and kept thinking that he should tell me to look into it, but he kept forgetting. When I finally went to speak to the woman she said that my name had popped up in her head a few times when thinking about someone to rent from her. I took a look at the place, went home to pray about it, and knew that it was a step of faith that God wanted me to take.
If everything goes as planned, I will be moving in on June 1. So just shy of one month before I'm leaving on a jet plane, I'll be moving on up (except since it's at the bottom of the valley I guess I'll be moving on down).
I could certainly use your prayers, that I would be open to whatever the Lord has for me on this leg of the journey and that I would trust the Lord to provide. At times I already find myself concerned about where the money for rent and groceries will come from or where I'll find all the things I need, but in the end I'm reminded that I serve a God who provides. He provided Abraham wtith a ram as a substitute for Isaac and gave the Israelites manna for 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus fed 4000 men with just 7 loaves and a few fish.
And afterall, Matthew 6:25-27, 34 says, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
One day at a time. One step at a time.
Friday, May 25, 2012
It was nice to have a day off after the crazy week we had around here. On Monday, our pool collapsed. I watched helplessly as water rused down the hill at warp speed and leaving a path of stones, metal, and hoses. So while I'd love to say I went swimming on our snow day, there wasn't anywhere to swim (though I was tempted to go buy one of those plastic kiddie pools at Walmart).
My mom has had a sinus infection all week. I woke up this morning with an eye infection. My dad's truck is acting goofy.
It always seems like things get crazier as the trip gets closer. But I honestly have to say that it's a good thing, because it reminds us that we're exactly where God wants us to be. Stationary Christians, the ones who are satisfied with the status quo, don't face spiritual battles. If you're not doing anything to further God's kingdom, then satan has no business with you. But the ones who are moving forward, doing what God has called them to do, those are the ones that will face opposition. And there's so much more happening than just these things I've listed. God is working in our hearts in so many new and exciting ways, but at the same time satan is working to undo all of those things.
Tomorrow, I will be sharing some exciting/kind of scary news with you, so stay tuned.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
We have once again reached this significant time in our preparation for Uganda...sort of. This trip is unlike any others we have ever taken, since I (Aly) will be leaving first, followed by my parents 3 weeks later. But we take this journey together, so I will be documenting our preparation for my departure which, as of today, is in 40 days.
Already the Lord has been testing and challenging us on whether we have the faith to do what we say we believe. And while we feel the spiritual battles raging all around us, we trust that the Lord will bring a great time of blessing and revival, not only to us, but to everyone involved in our story.
So I invite you to join in on our story. Over the next 40 days I will do my best to update you on our preparation. No two trips are ever the same. The Lord is always giving us new adventures, allowing new hardships, and bringing us ample opportunities to grow in our walk with Him. So whether it's joy, excitement, nerves, trials, or just plain chaos may God be glorified in it all.
Monday, May 7, 2012
To us the thought of this is a terrible nightmare, but for millions of children around the world, it is their reality. They've been left alone with no one to love them.
Today is World AIDS orphan day. A day to stop and think about the millions of children who have lost hope, who know nothing more than a world full of hurt and abandonment.
I urge you to click here to read the story of a little boy, orphaned by AIDS, suffering from the disease himself, but more than anything plagued by a world that understands so little about his life. He is only one of millions cast aside with no one to kiss him goodnight, no one to hug him when he's sad, no one willing to teach him, no one to stand up for him in this world.
But that can change.
We need to come together and make a difference for these children. Will you stand up for the least of these?
Sponsor a child today or find out other ways you can change a life forever. With so many suffering children in this world, one person can't save them all. But if each of us makes a difference for one, if each of us loves on, we can change the world.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Malaria is a parasite transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasites multiply in the liver and infect the red blood cells. Symptoms include high fever, terrible throbbing headaches, and vomiting. Without treatment, it will quickly become life-threatening by disrupting blood supply to vital organs. About half of the world's population live in areas at risk for contracting the illness, but the majority of deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
It's a hot, sticky evening. She sits near her mother who is cooking rice over an open fire. She hears a buzzing, but sees nothing. Then she feels it. A quick prick makes her jump. Her reflexes spring into action and smack at her leg, but it's too late. In that split second, malaria has staked its claim on another precious child, and over the next few days, that child's body will have to fight for its life.
Every 30 seconds, an African child succumbs to malaria.
Every one of those deaths could be prevented.
Malaria is entirely treatable, and completely avoidable. Medications can treat the infected person, bringing them back to full health. Nets treated with insecticide can protect an entire family from the bite that brings malaria.
(Click here for a video about malaria)
Today, April 25, is World Malaria Day. If you'd like to find out more about what you can do to in the fight against malaria, click here.
It's time to tell malaria to bite me.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
7th grade Science...
If my life were a tv show, this is where we'd play that creepy dun dun dun music, because my degree is in elementary and my subject area is English. So to plan for and teach 7th grade science for 5 weeks was a new adventure.
Now I'm back to my regular old substitue teaching with a new classroom and new students each day. For now it's giving me time to plan for what the Lord has in store this summer.
Back in February my dad and I hopped in the car and drove down to Chattanooga, TN. The director of AMG Uganda was visiting the US, and I was hoping for a chance to talk with him. During a meeting with him and Pete Lafakis (the man in charge of AMG's missionaries around the world), I was asked to return to Uganda in July to prepare for the team that comes in August. I will be there for about 6 weeks.
Where the January trip served as a way to get my feet wet, the July trip will be more of a dive into the deep end. It will be a training of sorts where I'm given more responsibilities in planning for the team's ministry. This will be a medical trip, which I have never taken part in before, but I am looking forward to witnessing what God will accomplish this summer.
Don't worry. I won't be leaving my family behind the whole time. My parents will be joining me at some point during the summer to take part in the ministry.
We are very excited about what God has in store for the future. But as you can see, the nature of our ministry as a family is taking on a new dynamic. We ask for your prayers as we navigate through these changes. Our goal remains to serve the Lord by serving His people, and in the end giving Him the glory.
We're glad you're along for the ride. It will certainly be a new adventure. Thank you for your continued love, prayers, and support.
Monday, February 20, 2012
There he is, sitting in my kitchen window, completely unaware that if he just moved about 7 inches to the right he'd be free like Willy. Nope, instead he turned around so I could get a good shot of him from the front.
I named him Lovey Dovey.
I tried my best to get him to leave. I shook at the curtains. That just made him fly into the window like when a fly gets trapped between the window and the blinds and just buzzes around aimlessly until it makes itself tired. I walked outside to try to scare it toward the open window. I walked back inside and made some cat noises.
Nothing seemed to work.
Finally I walked back outside, knowing if I didn't get him out of there I was not falling asleep that night. Apparently from the time it took me to walk out my front door and around to the back of the house where my kitchen window was, he found the open window. Or at least that's what I tried to convince myself of.
I was actually a little sad after he left. But the whole situation made me laugh. (If you watch this clip you'll understand why). I was proud of myself for taking care of things and not acting like a complete girl, something I cannot say for my bee story.
A few days after the bird flew the coop, I was out sitting on my veranda. I was taking some notes to prepare for giving the team their orientation once they arrived. As I sat there with my notebook on my lap and pen in hand, I smiled and said good morning to Maureen as she walked down toward the school. A few minutes later a bug flew right into my face. Unsure of what it was, I swatted it away. It didn't take long for me to learn that it was a bee.
A very angry bee. Fortunately it did not sting me on the face. Unfortunately it still stung me.
After I swatted it away that first time it attacked my right arm. It got me good once and started on the second sting before I smacked it away. In the meantime, the notebook on my lap and pen in my hand went flying causing all kinds of racket. I ran into my house looking for the benadryl spray trying not to cry or pass out.
I haven't been stung in over 10 years but I never remember it hurting so bad before. It started swelling up, and I knew if I didn't say something to someone I was going to faint. I found Rachel who put parafin (of all things) on it as I tried my hardest not to cry. The parafin worked. The swelling went down and the pain went away. I ended up with quite a welt on my arm for about a week after that. (You can still actually see the mark on my arm from the initial sting).
Later on, Maureen asked me what happened. She said she left me sitting there writing and next thing she knew she heard something fall to the ground. She looked back and I was jumping around (did I forget to mention that part?) and then disappeared into my house. We laughed about how crazy I looked, and were thankful that the sting was only minor.
Whew. I'm so glad we could finally have this talk about the birds and the bees!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The first night I was there, I will admit that I was pretty scared out of my mind. I had a hard time sleeping with all the new noises and the anti-malaria meds making my mind play tricks on me. As I lay wide awake in bed at 2am I thought to myself, "What am I doing here all alone in the middle of Africa?!"
The next day I sat up and escaped my mosquito net. I turned on my iPod to listen to Mandisa sing "Good Morning," exercised a little to get my blood pumping, and then got ready for a nice cold shower. After breakfast I unlocked the padlocks securing my metal door and walked out onto my veranda. My neighbors were out so I walked the three steps it took to get to their door and said hello.
The other half of my house was taken up by an AMG worker and his family. His wife, Rachel, is a teacher so we had lots to talk about. She had actually been in a teacher exchange program and had a chance to go to London and teach for a short time. So we talked about the different education systems as well as the differences in culture she noticed while away.
There were 3 teenage girls living with them at the time. One was a girl from Upendo who couldn't go back to her village during the break, another was a niece, and another was a girl who needed somewhere to stay. Throughout the week, due to the heat we would spend our time sitting under a mango tree chatting. I taught them how to make friendship bracelets, and sometimes the girls would challenge me to a game of volleyball (which, I might add is a lot harder to play in a skirt and flip flops).
You see, some time back she had been sick. Her parents took her to a clinic where she saw a white nurse. This nurse gave her a shot, which Michal didn't enjoy, and since that time she has always connected white women with getting an injection. So she was very afraid of being around white women.
I was going to do whatever I could to let this child know that white women could be really nice. She loves coloring so I gave her coloring pages, made her bracelets. I even gave her stickers, which she loved by the way.
I was selling, but she was not buying it!
Actually that's not entirely true. See, when she was around me she acted like she was afraid of me. But when I went back into my house she would talk on and on about me. Whenever they invited me for dinner (which we ate around 9pm) she would refuse to go to sleep even though she was so tired all because she didn't want to miss a minute of me being around. Then the next day she would tell Michael, my driver, that she was afraid I was going to bite her.
What can I say? She's 3.
I lived next door to her for a week and a half before the team came, and she still wasn't quite used to me. So you can imagine her surprise when she saw a busload of Americans coming her way. She ran all the way from the mango tree to her bed and fell asleep until they left.
But one day during youth camp some of the older girls attending had been spending time with her. I was walking down the path, and they had just left her standing there by herself. So I went to her and said, "Michal, I will take you to Mommy." And then it happened.
She took my hand.
I don't know who was more surprised, me or her. I wanted to dance and hoot and holler but I didn't want to scare her. As we got closer to the house, Rachel was coming our way and was so happy to see Michal holding my hand. But she was on her way into town so she couldn't take her. So I took Michal to her daddy. When she saw him she called out, "Daddy!" and then pointed to the white hand she was holding. Her dad was very excited. He said, "Who are you with?"
Monday, February 6, 2012
After traveling for 3 days on 4 different planes, sleeping on the floor, and losing 5 bags they didn't look too bad.
The team of 8 ranged in age from 20 to 75. Six of them had been to Uganda before while 2 were coming for the first time, and they all had a heart for serving God.
And as much as I loved working with them and seeing them interact with the kids and AMG workers, they completely exhausted me. I'm not complaining. It was a good exhausted.
It was exhaustion with a purpose.
And while typically my purpose on a trip is to minister to the people of Uganda to the best of my ability, this time my main purpose was to make sure that the team could minister to the people of Uganda to the best of theirs.
So while I spent time ministering to the people alongside them, I was also planning, paying bills, answering questions, and meeting with the workers. It was a new role that put a lot more responsibility on me to make sure things ran smoothly.
Most of the time it did.
I'm still learning and hope to continue to have opportunities to serve in this role. It's a role unlike any other I've taken before or even imagined taking. But I'm finding that God often uses us in ways we don't expect.
How else do you explain Him taking a girl who is afraid of the dark and loves the comfort of home surrounded by family and sending her halfway across the world to live in a house where it gets dark by 7pm, has no electricity, and still feel perfectly at home?
I don't know why God chose me, of all people, for this. But I do know that apart from Him I can do nothing.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I'm back to the States, and it's just a little weird.
It's weird to be so cold, and it's weird to just walk over and flip on a light switch. It's weird to pull food out of my refridgerator or load my dishwasher. It's weird how fast my clothes are clean. And because life here went on without me it's even weird to be with my family. It's weird to watch tv and not have to walk up a hill to get internet.
I'm back to the States, and it's just a little weird.
Weird is the best way to describe what happens when you step on a plane after leaving your heart somewhere else. I come home and things just aren't the same. And it's not that things aren't the same. Actually in so many ways they are the same. The difference is me. I've changed. I've traveled halfway around the world, and somewhere in transit something happened and a change occurred.
These next few days after coming home are always critical. They can make or break the whole experience. They are the deciding factor in how life will be from now on. Will I allow the trip to continue to change me? Or will I just slip into life again and pretend like none of it happened?
Will I take the stories of all the kids I grew to love, the kids who are struggling with friends, faith, drugs, and so much more, and let it affect the way I live my life? Or will I just move on, pretending it never happened? Will I let the encouragement I gave those same kids be the last words I spoke to them? Or will I keep on encouraging them an ocean away? Will I let the ministry stop when the seatbelt light was turned on? Or will it keep going and growing long after I'm stamped back into the US?
I can say with certainty that just moving on would be a whole lot easier. If I could just pretend I didn't see and hear the things I did, my heart wouldn't be so heavy.
But I can't do that. I don't want to do that. I know that there's a reason for everything God put in front of me during the last three weeks. I don't ever want to forget it. I want it to change me even despite the pain and heartache it can cause. Because if I don't let it change me, then how can I ever encourage anyone else to change?
While at the youth camp, Dr Reuben spoke to the teens. He talked about how so many of them have been to youth camp 4, 5, even 6 times. They've been to camp that many times, but how many times but the question is, have they allowed it to change them? Have they let the things they learned really sink in deeply or have they just shown up? If not, then why come?
That same truth applies here. This was my sixth trip to Uganda. But what good is it if I don't continue to allow it to change me?
So that's what these next few days are all about. Trying to make sense of it all and allow God to continue to mold me.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I'll be sharing some of my stories over the course of the next few weeks, but please know that I need some time to process it all. So much has happened over the last 3 weeks. I'm sitting here amazed that I've already been here this long. I've enjoyed every moment. I can honestly say that I was so freaked out before I left. I was scared and just wondering what God had in store. And really I was ready to just lay in bed, pull the covers over my head, and hide there for all of January. But I knew that's not what God wanted me to do and how glad am I that God never gives up on me even when I'm not too sure about things.
I have been so blessed by the ministry these last 3 weeks. I've felt myself grow in so many ways. And I know as they say here - The best is yet to come.
I look forward to sharing it all with you in due time. I ask now that you would continue to pray for me and for the team as we say good-bye and begin our journey home on Saturday. We're all leaving a chunk of our heart here. Pray for all the children and adults we shared with and encouraged along the way. And pray that more lives will be changed as a result of the ministry here.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
These past weeks since Aly has been in Uganda have been a brand new experience for me, mom! I have been so far apart from the daughter that I love so much! At times I wonder if I will make it for the 25 days or if my heart will just whither up and die?
Don't get me wrong, I am so proud of her, and I know she is following God. It's just my human side that would like to keep her close to me. But what about all of the kids who have come to know her and love her in such a short time? The ministry opportunities that she has been given, I could never wish them away.
I have made time to pray, more than I have in a long time! I find myself waking in the middle of the night and my thoughts immediately go to Aly and the team in Uganda. I lie there and pray, until sleep takes me away. And when I wake, the first thing I do? Pray!!
I was wondering, if I miss Aly that much, how must our heavenly Father feel when we are so far away? There are times when we too are worlds apart and how he must grieve the loss. The loss of a relationship that is as simple as crying out. Praying when we wake up in the middle of the night and talking to him first thing in the morning before our feet even hit the floor.
How thankful I am to have a personal relationship with God! And in another week, Aly will be coming home to share of her adventures from half way around the world. I know she misses home, but has fallen deeper in love with the people of Uganda.
The children who live in a part of the world that sometimes seem forgotten. But I know that this is true; they are not forgotten, and some are rich beyond imagination! They have no worldly possessions, but have the kind of riches that they will take into eternity. The kind of faith, that gets them from day to day. Thanking God for each day that he has given them to be alive. He loves them and they give him all the praise and glory.
Some of these kids may have never heard the gospel, but God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He uses people just like you and me to go half way around the world to tell people that he loves them sooo much.
In Romans chapter 10:13-15 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!"
And so, she went! To spread the gospel, to share Gods love, to answer a call! And yet I miss her! The time has flown by quickly for her! (Not so quickly for me!) Much of the time she has been without electricity, Internet and warm water for bathing. I know she has wanted to share her stories, but time has not allowed. Please keep praying for her as she heads to one of the villages, to continue working with the people of Uganda. For continued good health, safe travel and for lives to be saved.
"God is good all the time, and all the time God is good cuz that's his nature!" wooooo
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
This home is actually a duplex (so there is another section of it) but I'm only showing you my half. The other half is occupied by an AMG Uganda worker and his family.
When you first walk in you will find my living area. It looks a little different now because I moved the chairs around. I kept running into the one so I put 2 together on the long side of the wall to look like a sofa and then the two on the sides.
Next is my dining area where I sit and eat all my meals. Dinner is eaten by candlelight since there is no electricity.
Next comes the kitchen which is complete with running water and a propane stove. You can see here I was in the midst of doing dishes. Some are drying on the counter and some are still in the sink. That window is my bird window. More about that later....
Then there's my bedroom. A nice bed with mosquito net. Underneath the bed is my "dresser." I put all my clothes into one of my suitcases and organized them. And my shoes are next to that. I have a table to place my oil lamp at night (it gets dark by 7).