"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, November 29, 2012

DPP #1

It's that time of year again!!  December Photo Project (or DPP for short!) is here!  It's simple...take a picture every day for the first 25 days of December and post it to your blog, facebook, or flicker site!  Want to sign up?  Visit The View from the Praire Box to get all the details!

I hope to use these days to give you a glimps into our everyday life here.  For the first couple days of December we will be on a road trip up north to Karamojo to visit the rest of our team.  So I'm posting Day 1 early and I'll catch up when we get back home!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Baby Home visit

Last week, we spent some more time at the baby home.  We saw some new faces and enjoyed the little ones that we already knew.

Jimmy developed a particular affection for and spent almost the whole time holding this little guy.  He insisted that I take several pictures of him and his little friend.  :)

This little girl has cerebral palsy.  I had the privilege of snatching her for a few moments out of her lonely, little crib, changing her soiled clothes, exercising her stiff muscles, praying over her little body that has been so profoundly effected by The Fall, and reminding her that the Lord has not forgotten her...that he cares for the orphans.

And to hold her little hand and show her some love.

And we were all thrilled (especially Katelyn!) to see this little girl walking!  Remember, last time we visited, Katelyn played peek-a-boo with her?  She wasn't walking at all then!  Now...she's everywhere!

A number of people have asked me about adoption from Uganda and why these babies are here. 

Concerning adoption...Uganda has a law that one must foster a child for three years in Uganda before legally adopting from Uganda.  And we have known people who have done this and are good friends with a dear sister in Christ who is living here and in the process of adopting her daughter.  Other dear friends and cousins of ours, however, have used a known loop-hole in this law to gain custody of a child, permission to travel with the child, and a Ugandan passport for the child.  Then they bring the child to North America and go through US or Canadian courts to actually adopt the child.  Because of this loop-hole, the amount of adoptions by North American residents has gone from about 40 a year to over 300 a year.  But the Ugandan government and people are starting to notice and there is a general feeling of North Americans "cheating" their way through laws established by the Ugandan government.  We have also read in the local paper, a cry from the people for judges to stop granting custody to North Americans who aren't willing to foster in country for three years.  In addition, UNICEF has also spread their propaganda (as it tries to do all over the world) that it is better for a child to suffer in their homeland, than to be adopted to another culture.  In short, it is a complicated issue with a wide variety of opinions.

Concerning this particular baby home...there are three types of children here.  First, there are abandoned children.  Most of these abandoned babies are boys...some even bearing the marks of attempted murder.  (In this culture, girls can be a commodity.  If they are raised well and educated, they can bring in a high bride price for the family.)  All of the abandoned boys are named Moses. :)  Technically, these children are available for adoption.  But it takes great effort for them to be released for adoption.  Ideally, the government would like to see them go to Ugandan families.  And there is quite a push for that...there are even billboards in Kampala encouraging Ugandan families to adopt.  But most Ugandans want a perfect, healthy new born baby (preferably a girl).  This is a hard thing though, because the government ideally makes an attempt to locate the family of an abandoned baby first, so the babies aren't available.

Second, there are several children with severe disorders.  At least two children with cerebral palsy (most likely will never be adopted) and the girl that Katelyn loves to visit...the second born of twins, who was deprived of oxygen. (Her sister is perfectly healthy.) 

Third...and the largest group....are children who still have one surviving parent.  Most of the cases are of mothers dying during child birth and the father not being able to adequately take care of the child.  These children are staying in the baby home until they are approximately 3 years of age and then they will be "resettled" back into their family of origin.  These children are not available for adoption and one can only imagine what living in an institution for their first three years of life is doing to them.

And now I'm sure all of this raises more questions than any you had that I actually answered.  :) 

But one answer that it does demand is that God's people continue to pray for the orphans of the world...that God would meet their every need...

...and use us where possible.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A thanksgiving feast...

Our first thanksgiving in Uganda...
...hanging on to many established family traditions (Eric's favorite jello salad, green bean casserole, taking turns choosing a hymn and declaring our thanks aloud, pumpkin pie, apple pie...even sparkling cidar!)
...making of new traditions (killing our turkey...need I say more??)
...virginia reel in the lantern light (so.much.fun)
...remembering our old friends that often joined us in past years (Jolings, Doornenbals, Neffs, Koens, Hodges, Matt and Ivon...I'm sure I'm forgetting more...we miss you!!)
...giving of thanks for our new friends that joined us (The Magalas!)
...living in "two worlds" (an American Holiday in a new country)
...ever seeing the shadow-like nature of those two worlds
...setting our eyes on our heavenly feast to come

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey killin' time...

So...I've spent most of my life being a city gal.
I've never seen a turkey be killed before...I tend to like 'em nicely packaged at Wal-Mart...
...especially ones that are to be consumed the next day.
So this morning was quite an experience, to say the least.
First Mr. Charles sharpened his panga (machete).

Then he grabbed the turkey and headed to the chopping block...

Good bye Mr. Thanksgiving. We will miss your loud, gobble-y ways. (okay, maybe not...but still...we have to give some epitaph, right?)

In an attempt to justify the fact that our kids wanted all the feathers to make head-dresses, I told our friends about the pilgrims and Indians.  Mr. Charles made a head-dress for himself...lol! :)

I'm about to start on food for tomorrow...and all my Indian-hooligans?

They're busy outside building a tee-pee.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Of Locks and Water...

On Saturday, Matthew innocently went to our bathroom and locked the door.  Little did we all know, the lock had mal-functioned (perhaps due to the fact that we had just bought a locking door knob that had to be completely taken apart and put back together in order to install it "correctly" and just perhaps, we may never have tested to the lock to see if we had actually been successful in our 'we-will-make-this-fit-because-we-don't-want-to-wait-until-our-next-trip-to-kampala-to-buy-another-one' endeavors...just sayin' that's what might have happened to the lock...)
Thankfully though, we have a nifty set of clippers that after....ahem...
30 minutes...
were able to cut through that brand new door knob's lock...
And, wonder of wonders, in the end, we able to fit the handles back on the door....minus all the locking insides....so at least the little holes in the wooden door are covered and aren't available to tempt to little boys to look through to find momma...cause we all know that momma never could take a break to go to the bathroom in peace...

Matthew had plenty of company at the window...though he wasn't impressed with our jokes about passing beans and rice to him for supper.

Not a great picture, but proof that he bravely kept his smiling face on!

But I was actually gone for most of the fiasco, because our water had run out.  We actually ended up without water from Saturday until Tuesday morning.  I'm in greater awe of all the Ugandan women that carry these things on their heads, daily, often for a mile or more...while I whine about no showers for a few days and throwing 4-5 jerry cans in the back of the truck for a half mile drive home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Random Happenings...

This year, he was quite relaxed...a bit too much perhaps?
That's better, Benaiah... 
::Talitha took her first steps a couple weeks ago, but now she's walking everywhere.  My baby is growing up. 

::A favorite spot to visit is the balcony of the grocery store down-town.  The kids love going downtown.  We've seen a great improvement in the older kids confidence as they walk down the street.  The busy-ness isn't bothering them so much.  William and Benaiah never needed help in this...they just charge forward pushing all the legs competing for space on the side walk out of the way.  The Ugandans always get a kick out of seeing the little Mzungu boys boss the sidewalk like they do.

::Eric and I got two nights away by outselves to Kampala thanks to Tessa and our friend, Lexi.  We had so much fun.  We slept about 10.5 hours both nights and took hour long naps each day and laughed as we only took one suitcase into our hotel room...seriously, it was wonderful. :)  The drive down was beautiful.

As a special treat we brought the kids back two big boxes of cereal...Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes.  Benaiah had already forgotten what cereal was and Talitha had never had it before.  Both were impressed.  We also got a microwave.  Talitha, not remembering how amazing microwaves are, freaked out when we put her bottle in it the first time. 

::The kids found the largest snail I have ever seen in my life...it was as big as my hand...seriously...they grow this big??

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Morning Walk/Runs...

Since being here, I've been trying ever so hard to keep up with running.  But because we took a loooong vacation before we got here(and who runs on vacation? not me!), moved from the very flat Willamette Valley to the not-so-flat foothills of Mount Elgon, and moved a few thousand feet higher in elevation... successfully running a full 5K seems to be somewhat of a challenge these days.
But I do manage to get out and walk/run a couple miles every day.  I also use the time to load my phone up and listen to many good sermons from Paul Washer, Voddie Bauchum, Alistair Begg, and John Piper.  I treasure the nourishment to my body and soul that these miles bring.
In the states when I would run in the morning, hardly anyone was out, and if they were, they very rarely would say anything more than a mumbled "hi."  There was something nice about not putting on a hot, sweaty and out-of-breath display for the world...really...no one benefits from seeing me like that...
But not so here...there is absolutely no hiding my glorious sweat here.  I run right when everyone is walking to school or work (pretty much as soon as the sun rises).  Most Ugandans don't "work out" because everyday life brings more than enough exercise, so I'm sure (at least from the looks on their faces) I'm quite the obscure sight to see. 
And just for fun the school kids sometimes run with me for a while...laughing with delight.  They always do a fine job of keeping up with me...be they barefoot or in flip flops.  Do you think that says more about how slow I am or how fast they are?  :)  Truth be told though...I love the company of their raw joy...I think it spurs me on...
Yes, I took these pictures with my phone, while running.

 Most mornings give me glorious sunrises over Mt. Wanale. 


And when I'm finished, I return to our compound...usually cheerfully greeted by this little crew of mine.

And just for fun, here is another picture of Mt. Wanale taken on our family walk last night at sunset...it really is a glorious sight.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

B.B. Warfield on giving...

"Now dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ.  If so, you must be like him in giving..."though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor"...

Objection one.  "My money is my own."
Answer: Christ might have said, "my blood is my own, my life is my own"...then where would we have been?

Objection two.  "The poor are undeserving."
Answer: Christ might have said, "They are wicked rebels...shall I lay down my life for these?  I will give to the good angels."  But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost.  He gave his blood for the undeserving.

Objection three.  "The poor may abuse it."
Answer: Christ might have said, the same ; yea with far greater truth.  Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it;  that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.  Oh, my dear Christians!  If you would be like Christ,

give much

give often

give freely

to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving.  Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be.  It is not your money I want, but your happiness.  Remember his own word,

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

--BB Warfield

Oh that we would stop making excuses and give much, often, and freely, just as we have received much, often and freely!  God help us!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rainy Day Play

I had a slew of wet kids in my yard this afternoon.  The African Rain does not disappoint.

The Shirt Says It All

Is this torture, Timothy?

Pile O' Boy