Friday, March 18, 2011

G’day everyone!! Great experiences and adventures to share!!

First of all I am sorry for the length between blog posts – This one is packed though so you may be thanking me by the time you reach the end!!!
So far it appears the election season is nearly passed. The same president who has been in for the last 25 years won (despite the effort of many of the other candidates who literally plastered the city with posters as part of the campaigning process.) During the elections we experienced a few extra days inside due to increase tension in the capital city as polling stations were shut down due to mal-practices
During our 6 consecutive days off about half of the international students and 2 of our leaders decided to go to Ginga which is on the Nile. Originally I wanted to go to Rwanda with some of the crew but it didn’t work out.  But Ginja turned out to be an absolute blast!! The 2 hr drive was actually quite enjoyable (in a Ugandan taxi--  Interesting) Very scenic and the air just kept getting fresher!!  I choose not to bungee jump over the Nile – personally because it was expensive for 2 minutes of fun and after my sky dive in NZ last year for my graduation 50m just didn’t seem very high. I enjoyed being the photographer some of our group who chose to bungee. We stayed right on the Nile at beautiful little get away place and often saw monkeys running around during the morning or evening – we stayed for less than 10$ a night!!  The next day 8 of us white water rafted down the Nile  --  it was an incredible experience. I certainly got a workout that day, a few burses and water in my lungs to show I had an awesome day!!  A full day of rafting and going through rapids with lunch on an island and a nice hr. drive back to our accommodation aka—where we started. (Pictures are up on facebook)
We have been back to our normal routine for over a week now and enjoying the teaching.

Highlights of ministry experiences.
I have been stretched lately to reach out to people on their level.
Remand home – is a detention centre for Juvenile’s --  mostly boys but a few girls age range from 12-19 who have been accused of various crimes. On the way there we were told the plan had changed and we would be just playing games, getting to know the kids, praise and worship, sharing about Jesus and praying with the kids. On the way we quickly made a plan and I enjoyed facilitating lots of the games.  Even though I had to get someone to help translate I could use simple words and  actions to get some instructions across. The kids were shy at first but warmed up and joined in as time went on.

Hospital Ministry
This was probably the toughest thing I’ve had to do so far. We went to a hospital and were instructed to just go meet people and pray for people!!  WOW that can be challenging!! The people were very nice and all were happy to see a face that cared and wanted to pray to a God that loves and cares and heals the broken and hurting.   At first I was really nervous and scared to approach people in a large open room with beds everywhere and family practically living on the floor beside them while their loved ones were sick.  I found the environment and the care the hardest. People had to pay for I don’t even know how to describe the quality of care – but it is very hard to pay for medical costs for people in Uganda. The beds were foam and old and everything looked dirty    (didn’t even see a wash hands sign or sanitizer anywhere – which me --- yes the germaphobe found a bit concerning). Mom’s had young babies who had recently had operations or are soon to have operations – mothers in the western world would be so protective but without even asking they pass their baby to randoms –(us) to hold. I struggled watching people suffer and couldn’t stop thinking what if /I lived here and received the quality of care they do –I felt bad esp. when I think of  the times I complained about a long wait in the ER etc. as that is absolutely NOTHING compared to what sick or injured people go through here.


Living Hope was initiated in early 2008, the program is currently committed to transforming the lives of 1,200 women in Kampala and 900 women in Gulu. Left abandoned or widowed, the target group is HIV+ single women, returnees from abduction and teenage mothers.

The goal is to restore dignity to these women in the following ways:
By improving their quality of life, assisting them with basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care
Providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS care including counselling and psychosocial support
Spiritual and moral discipleship
Empowering and equipping them with vocational skills
Setting them up with self sustainable income generating projects using micro-finance loans

A small group of the 360 students are given 2 clients and go and visit and spend time with each client getting to know them. Our first client was a single mom doing life as well as you can in the living conditions she has. She has a baby named Gloria (about 1) very cute a bit shy though. Gloria’s mom was so nice and we enjoyed helping here clean her place, catch up on dishes and the guys fetched some water for her. I also held her neighbors 1 month old baby who had the curliest hair ever and decided he liked me by releasing a massive    ---  ya   you can guess it on my lap my team members found this and my reaction hilarious.  I was a bit worried as the barrier between me and the baby wasn’t like a huggies brand quality. (I survived though!!)  Our next client was quite ill – her husband was shot a few years back so her husband’s brother took care of her and her children but  unfortunately she got HIV from her brother-in law and she now struggles to pay bills etc. and her children have to go to school and work. She seems peaceful and was happy to have visitors and such hardworking children.

Watoto Village
We usually do sports at Ssubi but last Saturday we went to Bbira. We went to see a few of our friend’s houses that have grown up in Watoto and are now completing 360 with us.  My friend Favour  and I were looking for a house with lots of kids as we both love children and some of our other friends just preferred hanging out with the older teens playing card games etc. We saw a bunch of kids outside this one house looking at us and we went up to it. There was 8 little kids there prob all under 7 and the mom was away so a teen girl was taking care of them. We entertained them for hrs – playing games singing songs, telling stories etc. By lunch time we were nearly worn out and had about 15 kids in total as neighbor’s children’s continued to join us. It was certainly a blast hanging out with the kids who have been rescued at all ages from a life of struggle and uncertain future and placed in a home with a loving mother and getting all their needs met.

Wells of Hope
(A school for children whose parents are in prison. Yesterday I enjoyed teaching a grade 1 class (a huge range of abilities). I think a few years ago if I was walked to a classroom (even though I had a Ugandan classmate with me) and told you have 3 hrs teach them anything – all the teachers are in the staff room I would have freaked out.  Defiantly a school lacking supplies desks and walls and books – well let’s just say at least we weren’t outside under a tree but it was something else. I enjoyed teaching some maths and spelling words like rat, cat, mat, as well as some other songs.

Discipleship Studies
We have developed a regular routine with 4 days of ministry and 2 days of discipleship program.
As I read through the New Testament and Psalms I am reminded daily that “As citizens of this kingdom, we are called to live in a way that reflects the reality of the kingdom, of God. When we become overly concerned about our appearance, our spiritual reputation, our coolness, and our acceptance, we are living as citizens of this world rather than as ambassadors, Francis Chan”. Every day I am striving to know God more and follow his ways. At times I stumble but I am so thankful for God’s grace and I am in an excellent learning environment here in Uganda.
Some things that have grasped my heart lately have been 1 Cor 13:13 And now these three things remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. And Psalms 57:10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. My love for others has grown so much deeper and my heart hurts immensely for those I see hurting.  I have recently been challenged to strive for excellence "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord" Col. 3:23
God is great!! I am nearly half way done and I know God has even greater things to come in the second half.
Enjoy your week!!