Saturday, May 5, 2012

Where on Earth did the month of April go? And the first week of May! 

I started writing this post on the 1st of May which was May Day for you, but here in Uganda that's when they celebrate Labor Day. I was trying to explain what happens on May Day… and all I remember is how we put "May Baskets" on the doorstep, and then running away… But WHY I have no idea! It’s amazing the weird traditions that happen but we don’t remember the significance behind it all.

Well, I haven't been around the internet all week, so that is way it took so long to make a post, but I know you have been waiting patiently to hear about how I am doing! 

Well besides May first being May Day and Labor Day, their was also a birthday in the house! The baby of the home is now three! Yes Emmanuel, aka Emma is three years old, still about the same size of a one and a half year old, but cute as could be! 
I tried so hard to get a picture of him smiling and holding three fingers up to show his age...but the expression on his face in this picture is priceless!  "You want a piece of this?" 
I am still trying to figure out were the month of April went… I was thinking about all the activities that took place during the month of April looking at my past posts and pictures on my computer and April started with Easter… which I don’t know about you, but for me that seems like an incredibly long time ago.

I find it so amazing that time can fly by so fast yet, how much we can actually pack into that time that makes it seem so long ago.  I guess the only way to actually watch the time fly by is by throwing a clock out the window! (That is suppose to be funny, just incase you didn’t catch that joke.)
Because when we are busy with our different activities, we are not aware of how fast the time has gone, yet when we are sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing the little time we spent seems like forever.
But for real, you don’t want to hear me blab on about the time, because I know we have all been their and experienced those moments, and you really don’t want to read about that…

So as the song ‘Seasons of Love’ is playing in my head… “how do you measure, measure a year…” I wanted to remind myself about what has happened in just this past Month, and how God was at work.  So feel free to take this little trip down memory lane with me as a share some events that I may or may not have shared with you already…

4/5/12 Camp Fire and S'mores 

4/8/12 Easter Sunday- Easter Egg Hunt

4/11/12: Don got his Dentures!  But we took them back this week, because  it didn't really fit in his mouth, so the dentist is trying to fix them! 

4/11/12 We said "Good bye" to Sara and Baby Abby.
They went back to Texas  for six weeks to visit family
and speak about the ministry.

4/16/12: Kids went on holiday, so they didn't have school for the next 4 weeks...Which means that they got to spend all day at home until May 14th!
But I made sure they were kept busy with different stations where they switch every 45 minutes!
(It must be the teacher in me!)
Well they loved the different groups and stations and for the most part it kept them out of trouble... okay not all the time, but I can hope can't I?

Oh and I got my hair done!  Several times! With LEGOS!!

4/18/12: I peeled my first Matoke!
(can you tell which one is mine?)  haha :) 

4/23/12 I ate fried ants!

4/28/12: We went to the zoo, so here is a video of some pictures I took to capture our day...
A day at the ZOO!

Oh and of course... I brought Sledding to Africa! -Take a look!

And what is sledding with out Christmas?  The kids LOVE making Christmas trees with the Legos, sometimes I think it is the only thing they know how to make, because they make one at least five times a day! 

That about sums up the month of April!

Now it's May and I have less then ten days left! -crazy!

I really hate to think about leaving so soon… Actually Joseph (the director)  keeps telling me I should stay in Uganda forever!
-Well it's really too early to tell what will happen within the next year.

In more ways than one I wish my time in Uganda was longer, but on the other hand I can’t help thinking about all the wonderful things that will take place starting as soon as I return to Minnesota!! I am so excited for yet another exciting summer at Camp Oak Hills and after seeing the staff list, and can’t help but smile at those names, and I’m starting to get really hungry for some of Clara’s Camp Cooking!

I continue to thank those of you who are praying for me! God has been at work in this place, and I so glad that He gave me this opportunity to be a part of something truly amazing! But really God what did I ever do to deserve these past amazing two months? 

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Gift of Laughter

If you know me at all you know that I like to laugh... A Lot! If you don't, then I guess you just learned something new about me! :)

Laughter is the best medicine- and you know me being a "Dockter" I try to get my Full Dosage Everyday, and in the process I help others get their fair share as well!

So those of you who have had the wonderful opportunity to share many laughing moments that turned into hours with me I would like to share with you something way better!!

Here is a little taste of what I get to deal with daily...

I'm not good at making movies, but here it goes... hopefully you liked the content more than the quality! :) 

**Truth is it's not always a laughing matter... but that's what I choose to focus on!

Oh and also: I think my habit of miss-matched is starting to rub off on them just a little...

*A day without laughter is a day wasted!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sorry! I just realized that I haven't made a post in a while.  I don't have much to say I guess, but just to make sure all of you know I am all better, actually right after the last post I was feeling good and have my voice back, and the kids love that I can sing with them again!

Since the last post:
Saturday, March 31: We celebrated a birthday; Joshua turned 8years (he's the oldest!)  I had a nice video of us singing Happy Birthday, but it got lost along with some other pictures, when I was importing them one day, I clicked the button on that says erase photos after importing, and most of them didn't turn out... so I have no good birthday photo :( But now I'm going to make sure I don't erase the pictures off the memory card until I know for sure they turned out!! :) haha

April,1st: Palm Sunday:  I guess we were suppose to bring your own palm leaf to church, because here they are everywhere!! :)  I didn't bring my own palm leaf, but I waved the PALM of my hands!! :)

Easter Weekend the kids had Friday and this Monday off of school.  Thursday night we had a "Camp Out"  We didn't sleep out side, but we had supper outside, then roosted marshmallows and put them on "biscuits" to make smores! Then we did our singing and devotion story around the fire before the kids went to bed.  After that the kids went to bed, I put on some worship songs I have on my computer, sat by the fire with Auntie Esther, and gazed up at the clouds trying to cover the ALMOST FULL moon in the sky! That was an amazing night!  We did the camp out to celebrate Mama Sara, because Wednesday, (tomorrow April 12) she is fling back to Texas, for six weeks!  Keep her in your prayers, please! She is going to be doing a lot of promoting of the ministry in different parts of Texas, so pray for the people that will hear her message!


EASTER SUNDAY! We went to church, and It was actually the 28th anniversary of Watoto Church, the same day! So instead of spending so much focus on Easter and the Risen King, I learned more about the history of Watoto and What God did in those 28 years, but more importantly What will he accomplish in the next coming years! It was very good service!

After church and nap time: Mama Sara (originally from Texas) and Auntie Trisha (remember the Achrolli Quarters ministry I talked about a few weeks ago... she is originally from Toronto, Cananda) and me got to teach the kids and other staff what and Easter Egg Hunt was! Even though Our Compound area is not that good for hiding things, at this age, the kids had a blast running around picking up all the plastic eggs! 

Today the kids went back to school, and this week is Exam Week! Next week will be the start of their Holiday (they have year long school, so they go to school for two months, then off a month) So after this week, we have all the kids home all the time... which on the plus side means that I get to sleep in until 8 or even 9 sometimes, instead of 7am to get them ready for school!  :) And I think I'm going to try to get some what of a lesson plan set up for them, and help one on one kids with what they need help with... but we will see how that turns out!
I like to call him the EMMAsouras: He likes to make quite the entrance every morning! :) 

This week marks the halfway time of my trip already... 5 weeks has flew by so fast, and I have a feeling the next 5 will go even faster  because again all the kids will be home all the time! (which is a bittersweet thing) I'm not EXCITED to think about leaving these wonderful people and beautiful children, but I am Excited to see all of you back home again and share stories with you person of my trip!  And I'm always EXCITED about a summer at Camp Oak Hills! :)

Don't forget that I love you all much!

Friday, March 30, 2012

2 Corinthians 12:9

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
-2 Corinthians 12:9

This week I have had a sore throat all week, so I decided not go to the kids school because I know that would take a lot of energy to try to pry hundreds of little 5 year old's off of you every minute. :) But on Wednesday I went to the other orphanage, (Loving One-By-One, New Creation Family home) to teach P4 again, and that is were my voice quickly melted down to nothing.  Believe me those 9 kids were pretty well behaved that day so I don't blame them for me loosing my voice, I just think that I was using it to much that day.

By the time I went to bed on Wednesday, there was nothing left of my voice.  This is the first time that my voice has completely left me, and it just started to come back tonight (friday night).  The weird part about it is that I Feel fine, I mean I don't feel sick or anything, my throat actually is feeling better! And I'm still the same old smiley, dancing, joyful personality you are all familiar with, just imagine me a little or (a lot :)) quieter.

Even though I feel really bad not being able to comfort the kids when they come to me with every little pain, or to make sure that they are staying out of trouble, or even walking to the school to get the kids I feel so rude not being able to greet the people I walk by, or the kids at school. But the truth is it is all part of God's plan and HE is still Working through this...because like the above verse I shared, His power is made perfect through my weak voice!

When the kids heard me try to talk when it was first going away, you should have seen their face, they are so worried and tell me that I am sick,(but again I don't feel sick! I am Alright!) They keep telling me that they are going to pray for me to get better! And actually Joshua was praying for everyone tonight after devotions and his exact prayer "...and we thank you for Auntie Melissa's not talking that well..." I almost laughed out loud, but I know that he really was being sincere and praying for me to get better.  He is 8 (tomorrow actually!!) and they are used to just thanking God for food, water, and everyone in the home; we are just teaching them to extend their prayers so it's not his fault that he said the prayer that way! They are so sweet and want to see me with a voice again so I can sing them more songs!

This past week a lot of kids have been sick, including the youngest Emma! He is a couple months short of three, but he is about the size of a year and half year old. (actually the shirt he is wearing in the picture size 9-12 months!) He would come up to me with this face and start crying, until I pick him up and then he would be just fine.  It's hard to tell now if he is still not feeling good, or because he know's he is the youngest and just wants to be held :)  but really, How can you say no to THIS face???

Right, I didn't think so!   So All Better! 

Actually I was comforting Emma like this a lot this week and was reminded just how much our Father Loves us, and likes to hold us like this when we are not felling the best. I was reminded of the song "the more I seek you" and actually shared it with the staff Tuesday when I led staff devo's, So I might as well share it with you too: sit back, listen to the words, and know that you are just a child in the arms of the Lord, His heart beat is all around, and we desire that attention to be held and LOVED! 

A few more SMILING FACES I get to share with you! 

My Three Babies!

Mama Lois doing Brenda's Hair
Annet, Emma, Jerom 
Cocos and Brenda


Cocos, Esther, Emma, Annet

Friday, March 23, 2012

Three weeks have past already! And this past week was quite a busy one, but in a good way!  I don't even know how to say all the things I want to in this blog post but here it goes... Happy Reading!

On Monday I met Trisha, Mama Sara and Uncle Joseph's Neighbor.  Trisha is originally from Toronto, Canada, and has a counseling and discipleship ministry in the Acholi Quarters: Which is one of the worst slums in Kampala, all these people are from Northern Uganda and ran away from the war, but ended up here where they are left with nothing, the only way they make money is either paper beads, and/or the rock quarry (where they sit all day pound big rocks into smaller, gravel sized rocks.) These people (population of just that area is 11,000) are trying to find a way back home to northern Uganda, but that isn't as easy as it sounds.

Trisha had a team from Canada; She personally knew one of the members, and they wanted to check out Trisha's ministry here, so after first traveling all around northern Uganda, they were now here to visit the Acholi Quarters, and that was a perfect time for me to come visit and see that area as well.  Let's just say it was AMAZING to be a small part of this team for a day, and get to know them.  They are mighty people of God!  And I'm not going to lie, it felt a little like home being with them, you know...because Minnesota is known as Little Canada in every part of the US, or that two of the team members(brother and sister) were born in Minneapolis, and John actually used to fly into Alexandria when he was learning to fly planes.  But that's besides the point... Their mission was quite awesome to hear about.  In Toronto they had put on an "event" (or MOVEMENT) called Heaven's Rehearsal, where it was a night of just worship, from every nation, and the coolest thing was that they didn't have any names mentioned, any thank you's, announcements, welcomes, JUST JESUS, Scripture and Worship. I got to watch the movie they showed in the Acholi Quarters, and words cannot explain it... for those of you who thought Urbana Worship was Awe-inspiring, I'd say this was probably ten times that!! :)  They are trying to get the next Heaven's Rehearsal to take place in Northern Uganda!
*This was a vision given by God to Kathy (leader of this team) and her husband (not on this trip) to have every nation represented, laying down their flags (identities) to become ONE BODY- and worship.  What I beautiful thought!!

-->I found This on youtube to give you just a snip about what it was like!  Youtube had some other videos you can check out too! 

So On Monday I met Trisha, and Trisha met the Team.  We went to the Acholi Quarters and just toured the area a little, then went out to eat.  I didn't get back to the Orphanage until about 10pm

Tuesday we went back and the people had a whole day planned out, they were really excited to see the team, and welcomed us warmly!  It was a long day, but very well worth it!  They first welcomed us with about a ten minute song saying we are most welcome, and then had a chance to introduce ourselves! Then the men and women split up, and this gave a time to talk and open up to each other... they told us some of their stories, and just saddens our hearts.

Then we had a chance to go into some of their homes, and learn more about them and more of their story...  I want with Rose! Just wonderful!

Rose had a Beautiful view and I think that must be a small part of Lake Victoria in the distance! 
Rose and her house

After the home visits, they put on songs, dances, drama's and other games for our entertainment.

These ladies know how to shake what the good Lord gave them and  they are not ashamed of it  at all! 

Then they showed the Heaven's Rehearsal Video!

The Church building was packed for the showing of the video

The Beautiful Canadian Friends!! 

After that it our day was done and it was time to say our good byes, to the people and the team; But since I wasn't actually leaving Uganda yet, I most likely will be visiting again!  Since the Team was travelling to the Airport Hotel in Entebbe... to get home I got to go on my first BODA BODA RIDE!!  (it's basically a dirt bike, that are used like a taxi service!)   I didn't get back home to the Orphanage until about 10:30pm again. But I was sure was tired!

Wednesday I got up early and got on the Boda at 7:15 to go to the other orphanage (Loving one-by-one) were I was planning to help out teaching for the day.  That was also a good time... I got to Teach P4 to nine students, all day, all subjects- and it's a little different than US education, and it's hard to teach social studies when I don't know the culture at all, but it was fun and a wonderful learning experience!!

Though it was such a good week, but I was missing the kids- I didn't see them since Monday Afternoon I left when they were napping, and didn't get back until Wednesday before supper. But if I felt that bad for being gone two day after two weeks, what is it going to be like two months from now when I actually go back home to America... YIKES! :'(

Today Friday, I spent the morning at the Kids school, because all the teachers were saying that they missed me and really wanted me to come visit again! They were wondering where I was all week, thought that I went home to America! The teachers are so fun, and they like me (why? I don't know... haha)  and the kids in school haven't got tired of me, still coming up to me trying to touch me and pet my hair... NOTE to SELF: don't squat down to the kids level, because it's just a matter of seconds that they swarm in and you'll be buried by a bunch of 3-5 year olds!! :)

Thursday I stayed home to rest a little, because sickness has been going around the home... and all week I have the symptoms of the start of a head cold, a mild scratchy throat with a start of congestion in my nose.  It hasn't gotten any worse and I've had them all week, so that is a praise!  But please pray for the kids, Brenda has Malaria, and a lot of the kids are getting the same skin rash that Fauzia has, and lots of coughing and runny noses going on!!  

WOW I think that is about it for now... I know this is a long blog post, but that was my busy week, in a nutshell! :)
Thanks for reading!!

Here is a couple more pictures I took of the kids in the Acholi Quarters, during the assembly of songs and dances.

Sweetest little girl!  Downs?? 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"YES POWER!"  :) That's what all the kids say when the power decides to turn on again after its been off for a while... And that's what I'm saying when I have power to my Laptop again!  Auntie Esther uses a Gateway Computer, and I don't know why we didn't think of this before, but It fits and works in My computer... So I have Power again to my personal computer!  Which means I can upload pictures and stuff again! Praise God!

Well not much has happened since last time I posted.  I made a cake!  YUM Uganda doesn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day at all, but that's when we ate the cake, it was good! They kids thought it was my Birthday, and they like singing Happy Birthday to any random person on any given day!!

Have I Mentioned that I really like the African Worship at Church! Church is two hours, that gives about 50 minutes of straight worship before the message!  Also it amazes me that there is no space between the three services, and today it took about a half an hour just to leave the parking lot... there is so many people, that there are people controlling traffic all the time!!

And the water in the house finally came back on, but know mine upstairs doesn't work :(  haha but they are in the middle of fixing it so I'll have water again by tomorrow, HOPEFULLY!! -I'm not complaining though- it's just part of the whole experience!!


 The Boys (minus Oscar and Emma) were playing so nice together!  Left to Right: Cocus, Joshua, Jerom, Don, and Joel!

Emma Makes me laugh!! He loves these Pink Crocs, but he looks so sharp walking around in them, because he's so Little! :) 

 Jackfruit!! I tried my first fresh Mango and Jackfruit this weekend!! So Good! these are both pictures of the jackfruit! It looks like a big watermelon hanging from a tree!
The Girls posing in their new dresses that were made by the WCA FCCLA! 
Left to Right: Brenda, Esther, Carol, Annet, and Fauzia.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

This Past week I visited the Kid's school Tuesday and Wednesday and sat in middle class, and top class while they were taking their mid-term exams.  I taught them the Tarzan song and they all the kids loved it, even though they can't hear all the words because of my accent. Next week, I'll have to visit the other classes and see what they are learning about.  Yesterday I went with Mama Sara to visit another Orphanage down the road, This was the orphanage she stayed at when she first came to Uganda! This Orphanage does some of the schooling right at the home, and they need extra help teaching, so me, an elementary teacher Major, I'll visit about once a week to help teach P4, which is third grade level! Perfect practice Huh!!  Today I think I'm going to go bake a cake for the staff and kids!! Yum Cake!!

The other night was such a beautiful night, before I went to sleep I laid my blanket on the balcony and stared up at the stars, just to meditate on all the beauty God has given us.  And remember that each star in the sky I see can is for a blessing God has Given us. We have so much to be thankful for... each and everyone of us.

Unfortunately, yesterday I tried to use my computer, but somewhere between where it plugs into the computer and where it plugs into the outlet, isn't connecting right.  So my computer has no power! :(  I do have access to the ministry desktop, but this most likely means that I won't be on as much to report on my adventures, and can't download my pictures onto my computer and upload them or all to see! -I'm sorry!