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!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wow a whole week in Africa already!!  In some ways it has been so fast, but in another way so much has happened it seems like I have been here longer than 7 days.  So far I have experienced some nights without power, five+ days without running water (my bathroom upstairs works, but the ones downstairs don’t… and we have a tank that collects rain water off the roof so we haven’t been completely waterless, we just have to fill up the buckets and carry water inside for the kid’s bath time.) I’ve got to go to the dentist with Don, so he can get dentures, the surgery (clinic) with Fauziya, she has some kind of fungal infection that causes little bumps all over her body (pray that it doesn’t spread to all the kids.) and I’ve been to three different open markets that sell Food, furniture, and hand crafts with Mama Sara, uncle Joseph and Esther.  All in the first week and that was just part of it!  It has been truly amazing so far, and I think it will just get better!!.  

The weather has been pretty hot and humid most days (about 90*F I’m guessing plus humidity is high) it must be bad when the Ugandans say it’s hot outside!! J Sunrise is about 6am and sunset is about 6pm, and it never changes, and so far I haven’t need to use an alarm, I automatically wake up with enough time to have a little quiet time, and get myself ready before I go down stairs and help get the kids ready!

The Food is so good, but so filling, after a week, though, I think I’m getting used to it and able to eat my whole plate full faster than before.  I also think I’m getting addicted to African Tea (tea, milk, sugar) which is served every morning with my breakfast! I’ve been trying a lot of new foods that I’m not used to, plain avocado, potato’s that are sweet, different kinds of banana, a green banana, and one that is only for roasting they call a Gonja… and there is so many more, that I can’t even explain and have yet to try.    

The kids have been so wonderful to play with.  I’ve been teaching them the John 1:12, and they like to singing it back to me to show me how well they can sing it with out my help!  And they have been teaching me a lot of fun songs too.  During devotion time before bed we sing and dance around the room, and then listen to a story.

And when the kids go to bed, and after the staff devotion, is when my brothers Godfrey and Moses and sister Lois, try to teach me to dance! Haha We have some fun times already!  I think I'm liking my new home! 

More Pictures:
All the kids were putting flowers in my hair and saying Princess Melissa! 
Don and Carol


Auntie Esther is painting Esther's toenails and the other girls. Some of the boys were watching too! Qutix is what they call it! 

Our new furniture for the home bought at the open furniture market. All the furniture are hand made. A couch, 2 chairs, a table, and 2 hanging racks all packed on the back of the truck

Everyday this week we watched Puss in Boats! The absolutely LOVE this movie.  All of them can quote the whole movie!  

Joshua, the oldest is helping dry the clothes.

After washing their sandals, they decided to wash the car too! 
Carol, Jerom, and Emma. 

On you Marks, Get Set, GO! 

Mary's new chair

It's a surprise party and the surprise is on you! 
Oscar kept saying this too me, and I just had to get it on camera.  It's so adorable! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Moment you all have been waiting for.... My First Blog post in Africa!

Where to begin!

I have been here for two whole days, and still so much that I can tell you! The Full time Staff: Ester, Lois, Monica, Godfry, and Moses are the ones that live here at the home, and then Joseph and Sara who are the founders of the ministry, live off-site with their 8month baby girl, ABBY! (all are from Uganda except for Sara who is from Texas!) They are so wonderful, to help me adjust to everything, and everyone. They even gave me a cell phone- I don't know if I'll use it except for the time and maybe the flashlight, I still think it is overly Amazing!  I am adjusting to the culture, time, and routine very well but I think I still have a lot more to learn!  These kids here are so sweet and lovable (well not always towards each other, but they are pretty young and kids will be kids.)  So far I have felt nothing but kindness and loving attitudes towards me from everyone.

Again there hasn't been one time, other then when they are sleeping, that there isn't one or more kids trying to crawl on my lap, or back, or just snuggle up close and get some loving.  (I can't stop thinking about how long they will act like this... if it's just because I'm new or if they will be like this the whole two and half months! :)   

9 of these 13 kids attend school just down the road from the home; Today I helped walk them to and from school, and all the kids in the school seemed so amazed to see me (Mzungu- white person) All the kids would gather around me and try to get close to touch me with the biggest excitment in thier eyes!  I came with Auntie Lois, to pick them up and they didn't even notice her, they all came out of there classes and ran straight towards me ( I felt like a celebraty or something!)  And the 9 of these kids that I know, loved to show me off "This is My Auntie Melissa..." "My Mzungu friend...!" 

I haven't seen much of town or sites yet, I arrived when it was dark, and the first few days I have only left to see the school and back to the home.  They are showing me Banana Trees, coffee, jack fruit, and some kind of fruit call popple (I don't know if that is spelled right, or if it is any different than the popple trees we have in MN.   Tomorrow is when we go to the market, and they say that they are going to buy a bunch of these fruits and stuff that I have to try! So I can tell you how that turns out later. I did see a couple stars and an almost full moon tonight, before it started to rain, I was so surprised to stars though cause I know we are in a BIG city.

The Kids love to have their picture taken... so when I have my camera out they all pose and then they want to see it! So here is a select few that I thought I would share so far..

 Carol modeling her new dress that I brought to her from the WCA FCCLA! This one fits, Carol is so tiny that they have trouble finding clothes that actually fit.  We tried one of the smallest ones on after she woke up from her nap with wet pants, just to see if it fit, and she loved it so much, she put it back on today. 

Hey it's me attempting to take a picture of myself, and though it's not the best picture, I thought you wanted to see one with me in them. :)  The kids love playing with my hair and messing with it ) so I'm I'm blaming it on that on why my hair looks so weird, it's a new style to them and the love touching it!  This is Carol and Emma snuggling up.  They are the two smallest kids , here!  

Cucos is showing me how to play with the tires.  It is amazing that they are their favorite thing to play with. 

Mary!! She is Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, and some Autism too.  Though she is out grown it a lot, keeping her in her chair keeps her some what contained.

Emma's hand is so tiny, and I'm so White!! 

Fusia posing for the camera, and Annett in the back ground!  

Oscar LOVED the barrel of monkey's I brought. He hung them in the bushes! :) 

Brenda, Little Emma, Annett, and Jerom wanted their picture taken! 

Joel is finishing his snack, POPCORN while Jerom tried to get in the picture!  

I didn't get all the kids, but I still have a long time to go!

I really don't know what to say anymore at this time, other than Thanks for reading this and praying for me.