Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Some Water For A Thirsty Soul

Proverbs 11:25 says that, "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

The Lord brought to mind this verse the other day when I was reading a similar verse in Isaiah. My soul and spirit had been feeling so dry and tired and I was asking the Lord to make me like one of those trees he talks about who are planted by the life giving water that are always bearing fruit.

I realized that the Lord was showing me that I needed to do something to receive what I was asking for. Somehow this principle works! I decided to call one of my friends right away to see if she needed a break from her 6 kids. Turns out she was feeling really sick that day, so I went to her house to be an encouragement.

It's amazing how I began the day feeling like a dried up well and went home feeling the life come back into me, just because I decided to give the little I had to someone else.

Hope that encourages you if you're reading this and are in need of a little refreshing yourself!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

3rd Annual Thanksgiving in Uganda

Our first Thanksgiving in Uganda consisted of a meal of Matooke (boiled bananas) and beans. We had been in country for about a week and had hit the ground running. So we ended up having a pretty "ordinary" day, helping at one of Drake's crusades.

Our second Thanksgiving was spent up North in Lira at the Higgins with the Iversons. The food was sooooooo yummy and i'm especially fond of the wonderful cinnamon rolls that Carol prepared.

This year we just drove down the street and spent Thanksgiving with our friends the Iversons. As you can see in the last picture, we had quite a spread. Everything was so delicious and the compay even better!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heart to Heart

For some reason it seems that it's harder to decide what to title these blog posts than what to actually write as the text. (That was just a side thought).

This morning as I was reading in my bible I came upon this familiar scripture:
Proverbs 4:23- Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

For a long time the only time I ever heard the term "guarding my heart" was before I was married, and it was used in the context of keeping my emotions in check regarding the opposite sex. There is much more that applies to this principle than just silly adolescent crushes.
Living on the mission field in Uganda generates quite a bit of talk between my husband and I about why God has called us here and what He's called us to do in order to make sure we're on the right track. And sometimes I find that I lose sight of the vision and forget why i'm here at all because of what i've learned to call, "losing heart". On many occasions it's a culmination of what people have said to me, how different the culture is and it's misunderstandings , bad experiences i've had, friends that have disappointed me/lack thereof and a myriad of other things that have caused this wilting of soul to take place. That's why this verse is so important to put into practice. In order to be moving in the right direction, the heart must be in health and kept from all the things that would want to poison it, and distract one from the purpose.

Matthew Henry's commentary of this verse put's it well:

"We must maintain a holy jealousy of ourselves, and set a strick guard, accordingly, upon all the avenues of the soul; keep our hearts from doing hurt and getting hurt; from being defiled by sin and disturbed by trouble; keep them as our jewel, as our vineyard; keep a conscious void of offense; keep bad thoughts out; keep up good thoughts; keep the affections upon right objects and in due bounds. There are many ways of keeping things by care, by strength, by calling in help, and we must use them all in keeping our hearts.

So, today i've renewed my commitment to do just that and watch and see the good fruit that will come of it! God's word is so good....and works!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Boot

So, Josiah and I were sitting in the car waiting for Brent to run a quick errand recently when I heard a big thumping noise by the side of the car. Simultaneously I saw Brent come out of the store saying, "Hey, I'm right here". I thought for sure someone was trying to steal the tire off our car or something. Looking behind me I saw a white vehicle stopped behind ours and a man getting back into the passenger seat. As Brent discussed whatever had just happened with the driver of the car, I unbuckled Josiah from his car seat, got out off the car, looked at the rear tire and noticed we had been slapped with the infamous "boot". There it was in all it's glory, virtually imprisoning our vehicle without us even knowing.

Come to find out, contrary to what we had assumed was the reasoning behind this unexpected turn of events, the man in the little car informed us it wasn't illegal parking, but rather mispayment of 2 parking tickets (the same as the function of a marking meter in the states). Yep, they had our licence plate written in a book and they were on the prowl for offenders. What we tried to explain to the man was that when the parking control person put a ticket on our car in these two incidents, their shift was over upon our return and there was no one to pay by the time we came back to the car. Can I honestly say we didn't really realize anyone cared too much about these 5oo shilling (meters/tickets) and didn't know how to reconcile it.

What we also found out that fateful day was that the fine jumped from 500 shillings to 20,000 shillings for every ticket unpaid. So our total fine came to 60,000 shillings including the "boot removal fee". We were stunned and there was no sign of any mercy coming from the "clamp man" for our ignorance of Ugandan parking procedures. And they explained that if we didn't pay, our car would be towed and impounded. This all came at a very bad time because we really had no money and were barely even able to buy food that month. We tried to explain this to the man, but I doubt he hardly believed us.

Why do random bad things always have to happen all at the same time anyway? The kind of days where everything runs out and breaks in your house and you have no money to fix it, when you find little worms in your bed and you have to go on dollar ice cream dates..... and then you're car almost gets towed away over pennies.

So anyway, with no mercy still in sight I quietly became overwhelmed at the whole situation and began to cry. Little did I know this would cause a stirring amongst our car captors and they immediately got out of the car and removed the boot and let us go with the condition that we would eventually pay the fees. Who would have thought that shedding a little tears would do the trick......sort of. Still have to pay the fees, but at least we didn't have to walk home! Oh, the joys of living in another culture.

So, the moral of the story is- always pay your parking fees and if you live in another country and don't know how the system works...find out ahead of time so you don't have to embarrass yourself in public by shedding a few tears.

All for now...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

When You Don't Have Super Cuts in Africa....

...You become your own hair stylist.

Since Brent wouldn't help me out due to the fact that the last time he cut someone's hair for them they never asked him again and because I can't just pop over to the local hair (saloon) as they call it here, I decided to try it myself. And I have to say, I didn't do a bad job, though i'm still in need of a little touch up. A bit longer in the back than in the front.

Anyone have any suggestions for an amateur like me?

Friday, September 05, 2008

School Is In Session

The first week of Island Leadership School (changed from Island Ministers School), on Bunjako Island has commenced. We have 35 eager students in attendance and they're more than ready to be transformed by the word and the work of the Holy Spirit, and we've already received testimonies that this life changing work has already begun. Here are a few pictures from the first week:

The building for food storage and the kitchen.

The church building where the classes are being held every week.

Students taking a break in between classes.

The students during instruction time.

Getting ready to begin the first morning session.

Some cute, smiling faces in attendance.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Time Flies

Hey everyone, sorry for the long delay in updating what we're doing. We moved and didn't have internet for 2 months, but finally have it again. Here are a few pictures just to summarize in short what's been going on:

Josiah turned 7 months, is sitting up by himself, has aquired two bottom teeth and is talking with his newly learned syllables non stop.

We moved houses and cities. We're in Entebbe right near the Lake.

We've hosted a few teams this summer, including one from our own Westside Church in Bend, Oregon. Yay!!

It's a quick summary, but a summary none the less.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Culture Shock

Whenever you go on a missions trip, you're always warned about something called.."culture shock". No, this isn't from sticking your finger in a light socket, or getting jolted from someone who's active with static electricity. Though I wish it were that concrete, it's involves more the emotional and psychological aspect of a person who's coming from one culture and stepping into another. Culture can be defined as :the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. It's what makes up a particular people group; their language, their way of thinking, how they perceive life, and living. How another culture does things isn't necessarily wrong, just different.

Now if you've ever experienced "culture shock" which is really what I would describe and clashing with how another people group lives , thinks and responds, or what the encyclopedia describes as
a term used to describe the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within an entirely different cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country; then you can understand what i'm talking about.

The reason i'm talking about all this after being in Uganda almost 2 years now is because I find myself experiencing it a new. It seemed to be an easy adjustment the first time over (the honeymoon phase), a bit more difficult after our visit to the states (reality setting in) and more difficult than ever after living here with a baby.

I find that the way Ugandans think regarding their children and parenting is much different than the culture I come from. The people here live in what I would call the village mindset. Everyone raises the child as a community, and everyone has their say and opinion. In America, we tend to live more isolated and private and it's offensive to give advice when it's not asked for, especially regarding parenting.

Well in my life these days, the village midset is clashing with the western mindset that i've become accustom to. Perfect strangers will come up to me and tell me I should cover my child better, or feed him if he's crying (even if he's not hungry), they will try to take him from my arms and hold him without asking, and stare in amazement when I cover up while nursing. (Nursing in public is an accepted practice here.)

Here I notice mothers covering their babies in layers of clothing and winter hats when it is 70, or 80 degrees outside because they have a cultural idea that cold weather causes sickness and death. They've become so accustom to their children getting sick and dying that they've decided it's because their children weren't protected from the weather. Knowing that the weather doesn't cause sickness (especially 70 or 80 degree weather) I have become the odd one out and am told almost daily that I need to cover my child. This is a cultural clash and is a hurdle in parenting that I must learn to climb over.

Culture is an interesting thing and I think about how funny some cultural ideas come about. It all comes from experience. And here...if grandmother (jaja) says it's true, then it must be true. My American experience has been much different than the Ugandan experience. If grandma says it's true, I check on the internet! ha.

So, all that to say. If you want to experience what i'm talking about, just come to Uganda and discover all the joys and struggles that living in another country produces.

All for now......

Monday, June 23, 2008

Uganda...From The Mobile Phone Perspective

Having a phone with a camera is quite handy for capturing things you always wish you could...like funny sayings on the back of taxi's.

And naked neighbor children waving as you go by. This is quite a frequent occurrence by the way.

Makes me chuckle....

Another common site in Uganda, is women carrying large amounts of, well for instance, on this occasion...stools on their heads.

When travelling in the car, it's quite often that sleeping babies happen. Thank goodness for camera phones. Wouldn't want to miss these fine photo ops!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

I (Virginia) had my very first mother's day on Sunday. Being a mom is a wonderful new part of life and at the same time, a great responsibility. It makes me think about discipleship and how it's a lot like parenting. When someone get's saved I can't just expect that person to survive spiritually on their own; just like I can't expect Josiah to suddenly get up a walk, or talk in sentences right away. It's a careful process and takes patience. As Josiah is growing and changing all the time, i'm learning to enjoy every new thing and encourage him in it. Spiritually or naturally I pray that God gives me the grace to be a good mom. What a privilege it is!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cat Rat

We found one of these in the pit latrine (outhouse) the other night. Needless to say we're looking for somewhere else to live!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

3 Days Left

We just finished up our time visiting friends and family in Nampa/Boise and had a great time....

Now we're in Boston for just 3 more days visiting Virginia's extended family and then we'll be headed back to Uganda on the 14th. It was wonderful being "home" for a little bit and we're so grateful to everyone who welcomed us back with open arms and lots of love! Thank You!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Yep, i'm one year closer to 30 now!

A picture with the whole party crew!

Apparently Josiah doubles as a plate/cake holder too!

A picture with all the cousins

Had to get in a little Wi boxing challenge with Elisa.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Josiah's Blog

I have my own blog now. The address is www.ugandababy.blogspot.com. Don't forget to check in and see what i'm up to once and awhile.

Here in America

Since i've been here in America, i've learned how to smile.....

How to stick out my tongue.............

To meet new friends..................(Ayu, who was born 1 day before me)

And family...................(My cousin Brinnay)

And, to love taking lots and lots of pictures!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coming To America

Here's my mom packing me in the suitcase for my trip to America. I wasn't very happy about this!

Sitting in my baby seat on the airplane. Those British ladies were sure nice to me and told me I was real cute.

Waiting to get on the plane to Seattle. I sure like air travel!

I was so excited that my grandparents met me at the airport.

I love America! Can't wait to meet all of you.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Hard Days Work

This is me helping my dad do his computer work..........

It's exhausting for a little guy like me...............

I can get away with sleeping on the job because, well i'm just so dog gone cute!