"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A very excited 5 year old...

William turned five this past Tuesday.  He was so excited about his birthday this year!  It was so cute!
In America, when you want to show people how old you are, you hold up five fingers.  In Uganda, you make a fist with your five fingers and tell people you are "Tanno" (five!)
So all day, William told us
In America, I am five...

But in Uganda, I am tanno!

 After quite a search around Mbale, we finally found a good bike for him.  He really wanted to learn how to ride a bike before we left, but was never able to.  So he's pretty happy about a new bike.

Our church in Salem had given the kids a box of goodies before we left.  In it was this cute birthday glass.  William was thrilled to be the first in our family to use it.

We let him choose his meals.  We had oatmeal every day in Salem, because we could buy a 25 pound bag for $15 and it would last about 3 weeks.  But here, oatmeal is a special treat because it is the expensive meal.  We usually eat eggs.  So for breakfast, he wanted oatmeal and for supper he wanted eggs.  I can handle a two breakfast day, though... I'm not complaining. :)

After supper and cake, the kids threw a party for him in the boys room.  This is all of their doing.  They dressed him up like a king, because he's always been lovingly known as "King William."

The kids all gave him notes and gifts (re-gifting their own toys.)  They are so sweet to each other and it is so precious to watch.  So we plopped down on the pillows they had set out for all of us and we enjoyed our kids and our boy for an evening. :) 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Taitha's Beads

Who doesn't love a baby sporting bug-like hair and shaking beads with a vengeance?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Video of Katelyn at the baby home...

This is a little clip of Katelyn playing "peek-a-boo" with one of the toddlers at the baby home.  The little girl was the second twin.  With the lack of pre-natal care, she was undetected in utero.  So after the first baby was born (her perfectly healthy sister), she was left in the canal without oxygen for a time.  She is approximately four years old, but non-verbal and not walking yet.  (Although, there is hope that she will walk one day).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our visit to the baby home

"...if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall you light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in"
Isaiah 58: 10-12

Today, being that it was Eric's day off, we went to the baby home with another Mzungu friend of ours that works there. 

There are many precious babies to hold...
Our friend, Lexi

The great thing about a baby home, is that there are enough babies to go around.  There's no fighting over them...we all had our hands full.

Talitha spent much of the time being jealous of her family's attention going to other babies.  Silly girl. :)

One cannot visit a place like this without being overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions...

Two of my babies came from a place like this...many of these kids share their story...their mother died during child birth and their father can't care for them...Thank you, Lord, for entrusting Matthew and Jimmy to us.

My stomach gets caught in my throat at the imagined image of my own little Talitha laying in one of the many cribs there and I will fall asleep tonight breathing prayers of undeserved thankfulness to God.

 I must cry out to the Lord more on behalf of the orphans of the world...if even I, one who has been given the heart of a mother and who has witnessed their plight do not...who will?  What would God do, if his once-orphaned people stormed heaven on their behalf? 
But for today, we did for a few, what we wish we could do for all.
We loved them...
And prayed for them...
And we tried to teach them that Mzungus really aren't that scary...
And I watched as my children were willing to suffer holding children with no diapers on while they gave "a cup of cold water" of affection to some thirsty babies...

I watched the "foundations of many generations" starting to rise up...

And it was beautiful...

Happy First Birthday, Talitha!

One year ago, the Lord blessed us with our 8th child...a darling little girl.

This Sunday we celebrated God's giving her one year of life.  Such a blessing!

She was slightly overwhelmed...silly brothers don't help much! :)

Talitha was our unexpected blessing...one that I, in "my" wisdom, didn't think we were ready for.  I'm so glad that God often chooses to trump our decisions...he's so much wiser than me and so generous with me.  And to top off all his generosity and to prove to me, yet again, that he cares about the details?  He gave me a little girl with curly hair starting to come in...a small and silly desire of my heart, but one that my heavenly father cares about. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Unexpected Emotions...

Most of our boxes are unpacked.  The bookshelves are full of yummy books.  The couches are in place begging us to fall into them.  Pictures are starting to find their rightful places on our walls. 

And our hearts have started to hurt again.

We are thrilled our stuff is here.  But all of it reminds us of what we left when we said goodbye to Salem...or better yet, who we left.

Our girls have a sweet friend in Salem.  She is 5 years older than Katelyn, but age never mattered to either her or my girls.  She is also a very godly young lady.  By her example, she continually taught them feminine grace.  I will forever be thankful for her influence on their young lives.  They enjoyed many times together...picking flowers after church, borrowing babies from their mothers for a bit, reading in the Library, sewing in the back room and tea parties...lots of tea parties...

As we were packing up our container, she handed the girls a box and said, "Don't open it until you are in Uganda."  So into the container it went.  The hunt for the special box commenced the night our container arrived and our living room was a mess.  We didn't manage to find it until yesterday.  But as soon as we saw it, the girls took it to the table and quite ceremoniously...handling it as the special treasure that it was...opened it.

It was a beautiful tea set...complete with tea bags, napkins, fans and paper flowers.

I couldn't stay.  I left the kids, walked back to my room, and cried a very.hard.cry.  My girls have no one here to fill that gap.  I hurt for them.

Later that night, Katelyn and I sat on the couch and had another good cry.  She misses her dear friend.  She knows that her friend will be all grown up the next time she sees her.  As our family sat around the dinner table, we admitted to each other that while we are glad our things are here, it is very hard to see them here.  While we have known it in our minds, for the first time since we left, we are faced with the visible, stark reality that this is, in fact, our new home.  It is not just a vacation or a short trip.  Salem is no longer home.  It is here.

This is the paradox of moving so far away...so don't mis-understand.  We are still very excited to be here.  And it is still very hard to not be in Salem.  But, this is exactly what makes us throw ourselves back on God.  And he is so faithful.  I know he will provide deep friendships for us here...it will just take some time and in the meantime...we trust, we serve, we love and we are reminded that this world is not our home.

And then then we get out their tea set.  And Katelyn, Rebecca, Tessa and I sit for a cup of tea.  We giggle and we stick our pinkies in the air and we talk with a funny accent and we let our hearts feel a twinge of pain because we know that the Lord will be the one to heal it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our container has arrived...

Eric and I have consistently reminded each other that one's attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal.  Our container pushed the boundaries on that statement.
It arrived at the port in Kenya and stayed there for about a weekish.  Then they trucked it to the border of Kenya and Uganda.  Often there are about 300 or so trucks waiting in line to cross the border, so this process can take quite a while. 
When our container arrived at the front of the line last Friday, we realized we didn't have a Tax Identification Number (TIN #) that we needed.  Eric went to the appropriate office to obtain one, but it wasn't ready until Monday.  In the meantime we were told by the Mr. Container guy that was supposed to be helping us through the border that we could pay a fee and make it happen...um...no thank you...
Monday, we got the TIN # but it still took all day to get through the border.  Mr. Container guy was being less than helpful (although apparently we could have encouraged him to work faster with some shillings).  Finally Monday night the container was trucked to Mbale.
Tuesday, ever-so-helpful Mr. Container guy, spent the day going around Mbale doing ????  Obviously, NOT our container.  In the meantime, he changed his phone number and picked up a "friend."  Around 4pm, he called and told us we could meet him at the clock tower with  300,000 shillings and some paperwork that he already had.  Um, no... he didn't need any money from us.  But we did meet him at the clock tower with the papers.
Then we called his boss.  She was very concerned with him.  She told us she would fire him, not to pay him a single shilling, and was concerned that he was trying to do something with our container.  We went to bed Tuesday night, hoping we still had a container and that it was still on a truck.
Wednesday morning, Eric and fellow-missionary, Bob, went to town, found the container (still on the truck!), and then did all of Mr. Container-guy-that-we-didn't-hear-from-again-until-9 PM-when-he-called-to-ask-for-more-money's work.
Our container finally arrived at about 2:30 PM.
YAY!! We were so excited! 

The truck pulled up to our gate and then decided to try to back around and into our drive way.

But in the process, he got stuck.  So Bob pulled him out.

We spare no mercy in giving the slightly-stressed driver a large crowd to get stuck in front of...

We ditched the idea of backing in and decided to just pull in.  No problem...just have to take off the mirror.

And get pulled out of the mud again... lol!

Once the mirror is off and the truck is out of the mud, it's noooo problem pulling through the gate...there is a half-inch to spare!

Martin and Joshua caught a ride through the gate...

Finally, about 3:30, it was in (minus one mirror of course) !
We were very diligent to keep track of our keys for the super-heavy-duty-best-Walmart-has-to-offer locks that...
....were completely covered in sea-water and corroded.  

Forget the key...first we tried to hammer it...

But finally pulled out the metal cutter...

And yay!  There was all the makings of our home!  We had lots of help unloading and in a jiffy it was done.

Then we handed out sodas and spent a while talking to the customs officers.  They went through our list of items that we had written when we packed.  And discussed the contents of each box.  The most hilarious moment was when we got to the box with the cuckoo clock. 

Officer: what is thees?  A kooo-kooo clocko?
Us: um, its a clock, that every hour a bird comes out and makes a noise--a cuckoo noise, like this (insert sound)
Officer: blank stare

Um, what can I say... I'm a Mzungu...