Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Deliberate and focused

I deleted the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter apps from my phone. I found that I was mindlessly scrolling and missing the real moments. I was missing time with Anna. Not letting my mind wander. Not listening to God. So, I took them off. I still have the accounts, but they have to be accessed on my computer. More deliberate and more focused social media time.
This way I can be more deliberate and more focused too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Playing Opossum

The baby woke early this morning, very early.  Each time this happens, I “play opossum”.  I get her out of bed and go straight to the couch.  I lay down, cover up with a blanket, close my eyes and pretend to be asleep.  My hope, each time, is that she will see me sleeping and decide to lay down beside me and go back to sleep.  
It never works.

This morning, as she sat wedged between my body and the couch I practiced keeping my face relaxed.  The game of Opossum has to be convincing to work.

 Round 1:  After a bit of stillness, I imagined a sleeping baby in my arms.  

I slowly opened one eye. . . there she was, right in my face, smirking at me!  Actually, she was just smiling sweetly and staring right at me, but it seemed like a smirk.

I quickly closed my eye again.

Round 2:  I feel little stubby fingers trying to pry my eye open!  Oh, no!  Squeeze tight, pretend you are asleep!

No luck.  She pulled open my eye and laughed!   A twenty month old is beating me at my own game.  “This is my game, my opossum game!  You are not playing by the rules, baby girl!”

Round 3.  Squeeze the eyes shut.  Relax.  Be still.

Sweet hands started rubbing my checks. . . then “womp” on the face.  Note to self:  “Teach the difference in soft touch and hitting”

Round 4.   Eyes closed tight, I feel sweet baby breath on my face, then she is kissing my check.  She kisses me, then smiles, then kisses me again.

“Okay, okay. You win!  The Opossum game never was a good game anyway. . . let’s go eat breakfast.   I need coffee.  And a new game.”

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Namungai Village

I decided to make some short videos of our latest trip to BUDUDA district, Namungai village. Enjoy!

Finally, the day after our trip to Namungai, we had a women's conference, eye clinic and church service. Enjoy!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and you will be notified when I post more videos. Such a great idea. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Annoying but cute family videos

Well, today is the day.  I am returning to Uganda.

I have been here for about 3 1/2 weeks.  I flew back for my grandfather's funeral.  I am so glad I was able to be here with my Granny and Mama during this difficult time.

I also really enjoyed my time with my family - I love being with my parents, nieces and nephews!  Love it - Can't get enough of it!

In case you are wondering what I have been doing, I have made two videos of my time here.  Here are the links:

September 11 - 17, 2016 Summary:

Kelon Crashed and Hay Jumping':

Swimming at Uncle Jim's:

Warning:  These are those annoyingly cute family videos - but Mom, Dad and I laugh every time we watch them, so maybe you will too!

If you like the videos, or if you want to see videos of Uganda, subscribe to my Youtube channel. I hope to begin uploading more videos of the ministry in Uganda.

See you in Uganda. . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

7 in 7!

7 different places in 7 nights! 

In August, I traveled to Bolivia to speak at a Missions Conference in Cochabamba.  It was great!

On Saturday night, Juan invited Brenda and I to share about the work being done in Uganda.  There were over 2,000 people there!

Brenda did an introduction and then I shared about the overall ministry as a video played.  Then Brenda shared about the Nutrition program specifically.

It was a great time.  So many people were interested in the ministry and showed interest in going for both short and long term missions to Uganda!

Then, I flew back to Uganda.

Start the count:
1.  Cochabamba (Wednesday)
2.  Somewhere over the ocean between Brazil and South Africa, in an airplane (Thursday)
3.  Entebbe hotel (Friday)

Stop.  In the Entebbe hotel on Friday night, I talked to mom who told me they had called in Hospice for my grandfather.  I traveled to the VOE (7 hours because of traffic), planning to travel to America on Tuesday.  


4.  VOE (Saturday)

I skipped church on Sunday morning and worked, trying to get some team planning done before I left on Tuesday.  I still didn't have a ticket, but the travel agent was working for a Tuesday night flight.

After lunch with the missionary staff, I laid down to rest - Exhaustion is not even strong enough to describe how I felt.  Then, my phone rang.  The travel agent could only get me a flight for the next morning at 3:55 AM!  I had to leave right then!

I hired a car that drove me back to the airport (5 hours).  I spent the night in the airport, struggling to stay away.

5.  Entebbe airport  (Sunday)

I flew to Turkey and then to Atlanta.  Kim Smith picked me up and took me to Gainesville.

6.  Gainesville home (Monday)

Pawpaw died that same night, at 2:30 AM.  Granny says he was waiting for me to get home!  I am glad I could be here with family.  My Pawpaw was so supportive of me - he worried all the time about me but he supported me and was proud just the same.  I will miss him so much.

We drove to Buchanan on Tuesday.

7.  Buchanan, Grandparents home (Tuesday)

We had Pawpaw's funeral on Thursday afternoon.  Mom and I returned to Gainesville late that evening.

I told Mom that I felt like there was fog over me for a long time.  I would wake up and wonder "Where am I?"    And to be honest, the reality that Pawpaw has died has not really sunk in yet.  I am just now catching up on my rest and have my mind working again.  All that travel will exhaust you!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dine - In Church Service

One thing that I still struggle with in Uganda are the “Dine-In” Church Services.

The hosting church wants to honor us. There are two ways that they like to do that:  Put us in front of everyone and feed us.

I have almost gotten used to siting in front of everyone, facing the audience, while the preacher is preaching.

I am still struggling with the food part.  

Not because it is bad food!  It is usually delicious. 

The problem is that we are served during the singing or sermon, while we are sitting in front of everyone, and we are expected to eat while the service goes on and the people are watching!

It is awkward.

People are watching to see that you eat everything. They are watching to see if you react negatively to something you taste.  They are watching.

Did I mention that it is awkward?

I am sure not sure how to handle it.  So, I put my head down, grab a boiled egg and start peeling!  (I throw the shell over my shoulder.)  Then, peel that banana and enjoy!

2 bananas, 2 boiled eggs, roasted peanuts and warm soda

I just remind myself that it is an honor.  Truly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Are you getting me?

Anyone who has done much traveling knows that English is not the same everywhere. Even in the USA, each area has their own version or dialect of English.  Well, as you can imagine, Ugandan English is very different from American English - VERY different.  Here are some examples:

Ugandan:  “We must do something, children are being knocked by bodas.”
American:  We must do something, children are being ran over by motorcycle taxis.”

Ugandan:  “Are you getting me?”
American:  “Do you understand what I am trying to say?”

Ugandan:  “Would you like a soda?”
American:  “Do you want a coke?” 

Ugandan:  “I am on my way coming.”
American:  “I’m coming.”

Ugandan:  “I am about to reach.”
American:  “I am almost there.”
Explanation:  Usually, when a Ugandan says this to you, it really means that you will wait at least 30 more minutes.   They are never actually almost there.

Uganda:  “He is my brother.”
American:  “He is my brother.” OR “He is my half-brother.” OR “He is my step-brother.” OR “He is my cousin.” OR “He is my close friend.” OR “He is my neighbor.”  OR “He is a random stranger that just walked up, but we are probably from the same tribe.”
Explanation:  Everyone is related here.  You must clarify the nature in which they are related.  Which leads to the next example.

Ugandan:  “Is she the one who produced you?”
American:  “Is this your birth mother?”
Explanation:  Again, you have to determine how exactly they are related; which leads into the  next example.

Ugandan:  “She is my mother.”
American:  “She is my biological mother.” OR “She is my aunt.” OR “She is my neighbor.” OR “She is older than me.” Or “She is taking care of me.” OR “I want to show respect to her by calling her ‘Mami’.”

Ugandan:  “In Uganda, the people produce when they are young.”
American:  “In Uganda, the people begin sexual relationships when they are young.”

Ugandan:  “John is not picking.  Is he near you?  I need to speak with him.”
American:  “John will not answer his phone.  Is he around?  I need to talk to him.”

Ugandan:  “Flash call me when you are ready.”
American:  “Call me and then hang up just as I answer when you are ready.”
Explanation:  Everyone has cell phones but few are able to call because you must pay up front for the minutes of airtime.  People “flash call” when they have no airtime but need to talk to you.  The person receiving a flash call must call the person back, thus using their minutes and not those of the flash caller.

Ugandan:  “You don’t want any soda?”  “Yes.”
American:  “You don’t want any soda?”  “No.”
Explanation:  Ugandans answer the question you ask.  If you ask a negative question and they agree with the negative part, they will answer in the affirmative.  In this example, saying “Yes, I do not want soda.”  In America, we do the opposite, “no, I don’t want soda.”  It get’s confusing sometimes.

Ugandan:  “You don’t want a soda?”  “No, It’s okay.”
American:  “You don’t want a soda?”  “No, it’s okay.”
Explanation:  We say the same thing, but it means different things.  The Ugandan is saying, “Yes, give me a soda.”  The American is saying “No, no soda. I am fine.”  Again, gets confusing.  I just answer with a complete sentence, “No. I do not want a soda.” Otherwise, I am getting the soda and drinking it!

Ugandan:  “I am a born of this place.”
American:  “I was born here, in this village.”

Last one for now:

Ugandan:  “The knife is waiting.”
American:  “Your circumcision is coming. You can’t escape, so man up.”

Explanation:  Certain tribes wait until a boy is around 18 years old to circumcise.  It is not an option.  All boys in those tribes MUST undergo this custom.  To prepare the young boys, the men of the village remind them whenever they see them that their circumcision is imminent by saying, “The knife is waiting.”    This is supposed to prepare the boy mentally so that when it happens, he will not cower, cry or even shudder!  And no, there are no pain killers!