Thursday, June 26, 2008

BIrthday and New Apartment

So, my birthday passed (June 23) here in Uganda. It was one of the best birthdays I've had in a while. I received lots of birthday wishes from friends in the states and had fun with friends here in Uganda. That morning I attended our weekly women's Bible study. This is a group of women from 3 different churches, different statuses in life (married, single, children, childless, grandchildren, working, students), but who are love the Lord. Currently we are studying a book called Trusting God. We have no leader. There's no teacher or students. We are all equal and we pour into each other. It's been a wonderful source of strength for me here.
Later that evening I went with my new roommate and some of our other friends to the beach in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria where we proceeded to devour 3 fresh fish all roasted or deep fried to perfection. It was the best tasting fish I've had in a long time.
More about the new roommate. I thought it was going to take much longer for me to find housing but thank God I found a place quickly. It's an unexpected place for me. It's far from where I was looking and about 40 minutes- an hour commute to and from where I am working depending on traffic. But, it's cheaper than anything I could find around where I wanted and I have the unexpected blessing of a godly roommate. Our personalities seem to compliment each other. It's been a joy to have company in the house in the evenings, especially where the power is off. Plus the apartment is more than I could ask for. It is spacious and has wonderful security. The landlord is still an issue to be debated though. He's a bit slow on fixing things that need to be done around the place.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


OK, so much for me writing on this thing frequently however well meaning my intentions are. I just don't seem to get to a computer very often these days. June has been packed full. I was worried whether I was going to have enough to do here. I should have known better. There's never a shortage of things to get involved in. I just have to remember to schedule some down time for being alone with God, for resting and just hanging out with friends.
I am feeling more settled in here and the moments of homesickness seem to come less frequently. That is probably due to my lack of communication with people at home. I do really miss people though.
Some highlights of the last couple of weeks:
- helped chaperone 33 children between the ages of 3-12 on a trip to the zoo....... in the rain
- moved into my apartment along with a new roommate
- visiting new churches and making new friends
- found out another friend of mine has tested HIV+
AIDS is one of the hardest things about being here. I'm tired of watching people die. I remember a couple of summers ago when I first found out that Nakato had tested positive, a friend telling me not to mourn before time but to enjoy the person while they're here. That is hard advice. It's true but difficult. There are times when people want to talk about what is going on in their lives and sometimes those things are painful. Things like talking about regretting that a life is going to be cut short or what will happen to the children are not easy conversations. It's hard not to mourn.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Red Bull and a Dead Body

Sometimes as I walk through certain places of Uganda, usually the slums and the villages, I'm amazed at how I feel like I'm going back in time. In most of these areas there has been very little development. Most still don't have running water and things are done manually meaning every item of clothing is washed by hand with water that the person has sometimes walked for two miles to get. Many of my friends living in these areas are still living in the exact same condition as when I left them over a year ago. Nothing has changed.
Then other times I'm amazed as I walk through the parts of Uganda where the more wealthy and upcoming middle class live and find that things are changing quickly. There are new roads being paved with no potholes or in some cases mini lakes in the road. There are new houses and apartments being built with all the amenities that those of us from the west are used to. But, may I add, that these places are usually not affordable to neither the average Ugandan nor to us low budget missionaries.
Yesterday evening as I was walking to the market to pick up what I was to cook for dinner, a Red Bull truck passed. When I left Ugandan last year, Red Bull had not yet made it to Uganda. It seems it has come. The truck had a huge Red Bull can loaded on the back of it. My thoughts just went to the fact that not many of the people I know can afford to drink Red Bull.
As I was leaving the market, I noticed along the side of the road the body of a young man curled up. At first I thought it was just a mad man who had decided to sleep by the side of the road (not an uncommon sight) or a drunkard who had forgot where his home was. But, as I and the people walking around me got closer, we noticed that there was no movement at all from this body. Not even the slightest movement of a breath. Needless to say this was quite disturbing. But, as things here are, you don't stop to investigate such things, you just keep moving and pray that a security guard or policeman will quickly stumble upon the body and be able to locate the family.
So, in the midst of Red Bull development, life seems to go on much the same for most of us here in Uganda, grateful for each day that we wake up and make it through the day.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ants and the Church

I've thought a lot about church lately. I guess in some ways my thoughts of church have been somewhat pessimistic. I've been discouraged by the actions and words of some pastors. I've felt let down by the church and as I watch different churches try to put themselves above others, I've wondered if we've lost what church is really supposed to be.
I've even felt that a bit as I've been here in Uganda. Here, it's always been easy to work across denominations but, recently, as I've spent time with other missionaries here, I feel a bit of competition creeping in, especially among denominational lines. My feeling is that if we're all here to share the same thing, why shouldn't we all work together. But, many feel that their denomination has the best way. It's been quite frustrating.
I've also noticed a bit of condescending attitudes toward nationals from some of the missionaries, as if just because we are Americans that we know best. The last time I checked, the U.S. had a lot of problems of her own and I think could use the help of missionaries coming from less developed countries. There's a lot of character in the culture here that I think the U.S. could really benefit from. Plus, I don't think that you can come in from the outside and know what is best. I think that the national here have wonderful ideas of what is best for their country and they understand the culture far better than I as a missionary ever will. To me, my role is to come alongside them to help them bring Christ's love to the country.
Anyway, these thoughts were really strong yesterday as I was watching a bunch of ants. At times, it seems you can't escape them here. As soon as there is any bit of sweet food, what seems like thousands of them will appear.
Yesterday, we went to one of the slum areas where we do a Bible study twice a week. One of the kids had a piece of bread and had dropped a rather large crumb. We decided to watch the ants around. Within about thirty minutes, these ants had moved this piece of bread several feet. It was interesting to see how they worked together to get a job done. My question is: why as ants, who can't think and reason as humans, can work together but we in the church can't? Why do we compete to get a job done and take twice as long to do things independently when we could get it done more quickly working together?