Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coming Home!!

It is currently Thursday afternoon, our bags are just about packed. The flight leaves tonight out of Entebbe at 9:50pm. Some of us are very ready to come home and others would love to stay and hug a few more babies.

Our time at the Paraa (which means "land of hippos") Safari Lodge was amazing. We even got to see femals lions with their cubs, napping. Hippos, giraffes, crocodiles, elephants, and birds were in excess. It was very relaxing. We took a nice boat trip on the Nile to the Murchison Falls (where "African Queen" was filmed). It was incredible!
Well, my friends, I could say more but soon we will see you face to face. Thank you again for supporting us and sending us. Words are not enough to tell you how much fun we have had, how much we have learned, and how faithful God has been.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It is currently Sunday evening and as we prepare to drive for 7 hours tomorrow, we are feeling content after a great dinner of mashed potatoes, pot roast, carrots and bread.

On Thursday, we went to Destiny Boarding School/Orphanage. We were greeted by 1000 sweet smiling faces who were clapping and singing as we arrived. It was incredible. I was not the only one who could not keep the tears from flowing. These sweet children, most of them rescued from a terrible life of being completely unwanted and now loving Jesus was something amazing to feel and watch. God's grace was so evident and their love for Him was tangible. Pastor John Michael brought out the 16 children who were rescued from the Kamprigisa last year and placed at Destiny. These are the faces of people who God is crazy in love with. Words are not enough to explain the feelings in our hearts---these children now know of a great, real God.

After going to Destiny, we went to Kamprigisa. It is government run-prison of sorts for children who were once on the streets. Periodically, the streets are cleaned up of orphans and placed they are then placed here. There are 2-4% that are there who are actual criminals and also some who are dropped off by their parents because they will not go to school. Enormous difference. One place is full of hope, love, and Jesus. The other-bleak, harsh, survival of the fittest.

We did some medical care at both and played with the children as well. We did what we could and brought many smiles.

On Friday, we went to the Watoto village. It is well funded, well organized. It is a Christian establishment and a Christian church as it's base. They take widows and given them each 6-8 children and then build a community around them. We mainly toured one of the districts and then did a little organizing in their medical building. We got to hold babies and tour their school. It was amazing and also, so full of hope for those who might have been completely lost without it.

On Saturday, we went shopping and ate at a great meal at a very nice restaurant (there is nothing like french fries).

On Sunday, Pastor Tony Faeth preached at Saints' Gate Church and four (Richeli, Nancy, Tracy and Rhonda) of us went to a village church about an hour away to minister. There were probably 100 people at the village church and most of them children. The Pastor was a member of Saints' Gate along with his wife and then they planted this church 3 years ago.

It was definitely a long day but God has been so faithful. We have had great fruit in our own lives and have seen fruit/harvest in the lives of those we minister to. Tomorrow we will drive 7-8 hours for a Safari and will go back to Kamprigisa on Thursday morning before we jump on the plane and come home.

THANK YOU so much for your prayers-we have needed them at times (especially when in the middle of traffic)!!! LOVE LOVE YOU!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finally on the internet again!

It's currently Thursday night and although it is 8:15pm, we are all tired like it is 10pm. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were our days of medical clinic with the women's meetings in the evening. Four nurses, one Physician's Assistant and then a few Ugandan doctors that saw approximately 650 patients (not including the patients seen by the Ugandan dentists, pharmacists, lab workers, HIV counselors who were very helpful and worked hard as well). The people would come to the church, get prayed for and then would be sent downstairs (really a parking lot of sorts, with brick floors and some open sides) where we would give medicine and advice. There was one day where we had at least 70 salvations upstairs and quite a few downstairs as well (Not including the men/women's meetings in the evenings where we saw salvations as well). I don't have any final numbers yet.

We saw many kids with fungal infections, malaria, stomach pain, wounds with adults who had joint pain, ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, congestion, cough, itchy eyes, bad eyesight, worms, asthma, etc. A few came with their x-rays from the hospital and are on medications from other clinics. We couldn't have done all we did without the non-nurses on our team. Every team member worked hard, giving, sacrificing, and doing anything that needed to be done.

We did strong work for a strong people. Ugandan people are truly beautiful with big, broad smiles. They loved when we would take their pictures and were so friendly and welcoming, always saying, "Thank you, thank you so much for coming!"

Monday night, Pastor JoAnne preached a great message to the women, as Tony Faeth (a pastor from Illinois) preached downstairs to the men, along with the only other male on our team, Ben. Tuesday night, we stayed a few hours later to treat more people at the medical clinic and thus our team women did not go back for the women's meetings. Wednesday night, we did go again and joined probably 100 or so women, preaching the word strongly (which I can say, because I was the one who preached :) and saw about 25 women saved. We prayed for healing and encouraged them to stay the course! Saints' Gate Pentecostal Cathedral is a great place with great women of all ages. Many with Bibles. Oh, and how they love to dance! Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

P.S. Today we went to Destiny School/Orphanage as well as Kamprigisa (a prison/boarding house). The stark difference between the two was overwhelming. One is ran by Christians and the other is ran by the government. We are all still processing but also know that God is doing good things here.

P.P.S We are eating extremely well. American food (Tacos, mashed potatoes/gravy, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, quiche, pumpkin soup) is being made in the wonderful guest home we are staying in. If anyone was planning on losing weight, well, it's not working here. Continue to pray for health because we have another week here as well as divine appointments, wisdom and grace.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Sunday Like No Other

On Sunday, we went to church. And that is an understatement! We went to CHURCH! And what CHURCH we had! Jesus is alive and well in the Saints' Gate Church in Katwe. Estimate of 500-700 Ugandans present as well as a beautiful missionary family (David and Renee and their children). Pastor JoAnne sat in the front with the Pastors John Michael and Eva, in big-backed king-like chairs. The church building is not finished yet but they are making progress and continuing to collect donations to finish.

We arrived during the worship service and sang many familiar songs with them (Mighty to Save, I am a friend of God, Open the eyes of our hearts, etc). They sang in Lugandan as well but wow, they can dance! We did a little dancing of our own :) but it wasn't like theirs! They have a full band with a drum-set, key board, guitars, microphones, and a fine sound system with speakers.

A few of us went to teach the children at the church (led by our very own Pam Smith:) They crowded about 70 children into a 30 person classroom and had a wonderful time.

Pastor JoAnne preached to the main congregation a great message! God truly is bigger than we think and His presence was so, well, for lack of a better word, present. After church we came home, ate lunch (the food here is making us all a little chunkier, contrary to my expectations), and started putting together all the stuff for our medical clinics (separating the medications into baggies, printing signs, going through the suitcases, etc). A few Ugandan women came and braided hair for those who wanted braiding at the same time---Beautiful!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hello From Uganda!!!

We made it!!! Uganda is beautiful with beautiful people! We touched down at the Entebbe airport around 8:45pm on Friday night, grabbed our bags (all of our bags made it!) and loaded a bus brought by an American missionary Brian and a driver named Aaron. We headed out of Entebbe (outside of Kampala) straight to the guest home (one straight road) which took about 40 minutes. It is quite a large home with a great view of the surrounding hills and valley, all full of homes, buildings, etc. The smell of something burning (cooking fires?) was perpetually in the air. It is warm but not with unbearable humidity. We are healthy and adjusting to the climate, time change, and new surroundings quite well.

The guest home we are staying in has a wonderful cook named Mama Esther. There is also a young man (American) named Andrew staying here as well (though will leave to go back to the States on Monday). His wife is currently back home in Florida but they are preparing and envisioning being full-time missionaries in Congo (Zaire) eventually. He is a wealth of information (as well as helping Beteliham with her complex camera).

We drove into town today (Saturday) and exchanged money at the Western Union (or whatever it was?) then went on to Katwe (ghetto area of Kampala). We split into groups of 2 with two Ugandan interpreters. Each group going out into separate areas to invite people to church, medical clinics and “healing conference” on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We went praying for anyone who would allow us to with a crowd of children following, some bolder than others who would yell, “muzungu” which means “white person”-non-derogatory, just informational. We learned certain words in Lugandan but if we speak slow enough they could understand our American English.

Continue to pray for team unity, strength, and health! As well as protection, wisdom, and divine appointments to minister to those in need. This is a country where the main religion is Christianity but the U.S. is considered Christian as well (so obviously, there is much need for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ).

Love, love, love you and am praying for your peace as well!

P.S. I am posting this late Sunday night but this is what I wrote for Saturday. We had an amazing day on Sunday at the Saints' Gate Church. What a beautiful church! Tell you more later! We are getting ready for our big day tomorrow of medical clinic and ministry (women's/men's meetings).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leaving today!!!

Well, my friends, this is the day we have been looking forward to for months! Uganda is 11 hours ahead of West Coast time. We will leave Sea-Tac today at 12:45pm and arrive on Friday at 7:50pm in Entebbe, Uganda ( with 2.5 hours in Amsterdam). So you can do the math of how long the flight will take (it's currently too early for me to do math).

It is also currently 83 F with sun (hooray!) there and here, it is 62 F with rain. I might just get a summer after all!

So, I gotta run but pray for us! Pray for divine appointments, safety, protection, health, no lost bags, no lost passports, favor, joy and unity!

Love, love, love you to the moon (And Uganda) and back! See you when we see you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I've been trying to mentally prepare myself (as are many others) for this trip to Uganda but how in the world do you do that? How do you prepare yourself for something you have never encountered? How do you prepare yourself for something completely different than what you are use to? How do you prepare yourself for a life-changing event?

Ah, the questions that come like a flood right before a challenge!

What do I have to give? What do I have that they need? Can I do this? Am I enough? Am I up to the challenge? Am I ready? Am I really suppose to be doing this? What if....?

And then the affirming conclusion: It's too late to back out now!

The truth though is found in 2 Chronicles 29:36: "And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly."

God can prepare you for the thing that came suddenly. God gives words at the moment you need them. God can prepare you for what you are not ready for. God can prepare you for what you think you are ready for. God can make you enough even when you feel you are not enough. God can give the strength, the grace, the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the miracles. God can. God does. God will.

Sure, I can try to prepare myself. My suitcase is ready- with beef jerky, kleenex, flip flops (don't need much more than that!) We plan our steps, we pack our suitcases, we pray, we prepare messages, we read up on the economy/the problems of the country...But truly, we have to trust the One who is already there...who has been there since the beginning...and will be there after we leave. He started a work in Uganda and He will be faithful to complete it. I am just excited we get to be there for a little bit in the middle!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Packing Day

Two days ago, we gathered together at Mary's home in Issaquah to go through the boxes of donated items, weed out what wasn't necessary, and pack the bags. Each of us will be taking 2 bags: one with supplies and one with our personal clothing/soap/sandals/etc. One of our radical teammates (who will remain nameless because I may post, in the middle of our trip, that she is smelling bad) will be packing 2 bags with supplies and living out of her carry-on. God bless her! (And may He bless the rest of us for other reasons but not that one!)

We arrived at 6pm and I left around 10:30/11pm (with a dinner break and an ice cream break in between). Even two of our Walla Walla teammates made it, (Adrienne/Kerri) who we had not met yet, to help us pack!

Part of the team went through the medical supplies and part of the team went through the precious toys, clothes, baby dolls, school supplies, notebooks, pencils, mattress plastic sheets, etc.

We got some incredible medical supplies donated: Gauze, bandaids, gloves, iodine, scissors, medicine, finger splints, arm splints, tape, coban, saline, syringes, needles, suture supplies, IV kits, thermometers, Q-tips, blood pressure cuffs, etc. Good stuff!

Thank you to all who have helped us get to where we are. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This trip will be amazingly life-changing for many, many people and we couldn't have done it without you. So, at the risk of sounding redundant, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I can almost feel the Uganda sun!

Today is the beginning of the countdown! It is now T-17 days till a Delta airplane lifts off the ground of the Sea-Tac Airport with 16 people headed towards Amsterdam (for a brief layover) and then onto our official destination-UGANDA!

We are joining with Ramos Ministries (Jesus loving, Seattle-based, non-profit organization) to serve, to love, to give, to laugh, to play, to share what we have with the people of Uganda for two weeks (September 17-October 1). We range in ages from approximately ("approximate" because I didn't ask anyone their ages) 25 years of age to 55 years of age. Two men, 14 women. 5 nurses. 1 physician's assistant. 16 Christians.

We will be in Katwe and Kampala. We will do medical clinics, Women's meetings, possible ministry at an infant home and a children's prison, as well as the Destiny Orphanage and School (home to 1000 orphans). We will visit village churches and go on a Safari.

It's a once in a lifetime (though I am already hoping it's not the only time for me) opportunity!

Oh, and all of the above information is tentative and subject to change at any moment---because although we all plan our steps, the Lord directs our paths.