"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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kittens and Kaiti

::Sad, but true...Milo didn't survive...he was quite sick for a few days and then died Christmas morning.  Thankfully, our kids have a healthy view of animals and so they didn't mourn too much.  And thanks to our boys in Mooni, we have not just one replacement, but two.

Meet "Polo"...short for Npologoma which is Luganda for Lion, on the left and "Tabby" on the right.  Tabby is from the same litter as Milo.

::This morning we went to visit one of the pastors of one of the village churches.  Pastor Simon is a humble and devoted husband, father of 10, grandfather, subsistence farmer, and village pastor.  They completely spoiled us by providing a huge feast of food!  Last March they lost half of their house in a windstorm.  They have been working hard to build a new house.  While they work, they are living in their old house which has somewhat been repaired, although you can still see daylight through the roof.  Just outside their house, they have three large cows.  They could use them to plow their fields, but currently they do not have a plow, so all their field work is done by hand.

We are so thankful for the sacrifice this man and his family makes.  He is still a student at KTC.  Every school day he bikes 3 hours to school and 3 hours back home!  Add to that 4 hours in class and hours spent studying...and that is many hours a day that he could be working to provide for or spending time with his family, but yet he continues to seek to be more well equipped to proclaim God's word every week.  Gospel work in Uganda is hard...so many steep hills that rise before God's workers...it is only by God's grace, often brought through the prayers of people like you, that the work is done.  Please keep praying for these dear saints!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December Photo Project Day 25

Merry Christmas from our corner of the world to yours!  What a blessing to serve The King, born into the world, suffering in his life, dying for our sins and rising again to glory!

Today started with our Christmas day worship.  After the service, the church celebrated together with sodas and mandazi.

Then we had more friends over for more food!  Today we were joined by the Magala family and two of our "Mooni boys" families and a few other good friends...33 people in all.

The Mooni boys helped our kids to decorate our house and then they proceeded to decorate our Land Rover...tying flowers on with banana leaf fibers...

And here is a Christmas greeting from our kids!  When you have 8 kids, you have a full scale...each child is a single note (sort of... haha!)

And want to see how many tries it took?  Here are the outtakes!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December Photo Project Day 24

Christmas Eve...

Tonight we, along with the Webers, were treated to a Ugandan/American feast, in our home, by the Magalas...our neighbors and friends.  What a blessing it was to enjoy such lovely food and fellowship.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December Photo Project Day 23

Yesterday, the orthopedist that we saw at the hospital here in town, wasn't that great.  He literally took a two second glance at the xray and said, "nope...doesn't need setting!"  He never even looked at William's arm to notice that you could actually visibly see the fact that it was broken.  When we went to the guy for casting, he took one look at William's arm and refused to cast it without doing some manipulation.  Now, Ugandan medical professionals don't excel in bedside manners (they often shamed William for crying!) nor is sharing of information a general cultural value here.  So the second he muttered that, was the second he began to pull on poor William's arm.  Of course William began to scream and I made them stop and tell me what was going on.  It was then that they said maybe they would give William some drugs...and thanks to Mark Weber speaking up, they didn't overdose him.  Then they pulled his arm and casted it in a white plaster (very heavy!) cast.  Because of all of this, we got a second set of x-rays to see how the setting went and then decided to find an orthopedist that was first world trained to take William to today for a second opinion.  We heard great things about a doctor, who is located about 1 and a half hours up a mostly dry dusty road in Kumi.   

About the time we thought that we were heading to nowhere, we happened upon his practice...Kumi Orthopedic Center.  It was beautiful facility and it was easy to tell within seconds of meeting him that Dr. Ekure was obviously good at what he does.  I have been continually thankful since we have been here, for men (and their supporters) who leave Uganda to pursue top-notch training...for men who could easily stay in the first world and be very successful in their fields, but who instead return home, set up shop, and serve God through serving those made in his image who will never be able to pay what it really costs for such excellent, truly-healing treatment.

By God's grace, our sketchy bone setting experience was enough and no more setting was necessary today.  Dr. Ekure was happy, William was happy and Mama was very happy.  We also were told that we could come back in four weeks to re-check, hopefully remove the cast and get a brace if needed.

William is being quite the trooper.  He is both hilarious and very trying when he is on strong pain killers!  Today, he asked me, "mama...can you take your broken boy into the store with you?"  We also, under his great protest, pulled him off of the tire swing today...although that wasn't quite as bad as his attempt to play soccer yesterday (obviously still on morphine).  He was quite pleased to tell me how the soccer ball bounced right off his cast....ugh...the next few weeks might be quite long for all of us!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December Photo Project Day 22

Wow...wasn't expecting this for my pictures from today.  Little William (who hasn't changed much in the last few years...see here and here...) jumped off a ladder and landed with his arm in an empty post hole in the ground.  Update:  That was the story William told us, but after looking more closely at where he was when he jumped and listening to the kids that saw it, we actually think that when he jumped he got his arm caught in the ladder and it broke. 

Both bones on his forearm...broken...

We took him to the local hospital and while the experience wasn't quite up to American standards, he got it "sort of" set and put into a plaster cast.  We hope to follow up with a better orthopedist tomorrow, as we fear it may still need to be further set.  We have been so thankful that the Lord has sent us the Weber family many times over, but particularly today that God brought Mark with his medical training...what a blessing to have him there today as an instant second opinion and someone who is obviously good with hurting children.

When these things happen so unexpectedly, it sure is a good reminder that all of our days are in the hands of a good and loving God.  I'm so thankful that his sovereignty is a soft pillow on which I can rest my head at night.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December Photo Project Day 21

We made it home safe and sound this afternoon.  On our way, we did stop for a brief shopping trip.  Outside the grocery store I found the cutest little Santa directing a brass band.  

I think his hat and red converse topped it off for me.  And his directing, while quite on-beat and well done, was still some how under the control of the first trombone player.  ;)

Friday, December 20, 2013

December Photo Project Day 20

One of the things we love about Kampala is shopping!  There is quite a lot available here that isn't in Mbale. Some shopping trips are rush, rush because we have to go the airport or make it out of Kampala before traffic gets bad.  Other shopping trips we have a little time to ooh and ahh over things that we haven't seen for a while.  Yesterday, I realized that the sore throat I had been fighting all week was actually strep throat.  A little antibiotic and a little dark chocolate did the trick and I'm on the mend.  Today we will drive back home to Mbale...after one more quick stop to shop and load up on hot dogs, bacon, and perhaps another package of chocolate.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Photo Project Day 19

Yesterday, our family went to the Entebbe Zoo.  It was a lot of fun...first to spend a day with just us and the kiddos and second, who can resist enjoying a zoo that doesn't park the animals in well built cages with high fences and lots of hiding spaces?

What they lack in fencing though, they made up for with signs...

The funniest moment was when a random camel came walking through the playground with no caretaker in sight.

Awww!  Didn't know camels were so cute!

They also had a bounce house and a few coin rides set up and were charging 1000/= to go on your choice of ride.  Our kids, of their own accord, went up and asked prices and were told that they could spend 1000/= on a short little coin ride, but in the bounce house they could, "stay until you are tired."  The kids were thrilled to hear this, because for a Tuininga kid with lots of energy, that meant they would get their money's worth...they were clearly thinking, "that guy is crazy and he doesn't know what he just told us..."  They played hard.  And it only took one time for them to all lean against one side (hiding from a group of Ugandans trying to video tape them) to discover that the thing wasn't bolted to the ground.  These kids make me smile.

After an hour or so, the camel caretaker finally showed up and saddled up the camel.  The girls decided to spend their own money and take a camel ride.  Lots of fun!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December Photo Project Day 18

Yesterday was a day of doing errands around Kampala, one of which included sending our Land Rover to the repair shop to get some things worked on.  But that of course means that we are left with no vehicle for the day.  I think Jean-Claud Van Damme doing the splits between two volvo trucks is the first most terrifying mode of transportation.  Riding a boda-boda in Kampala is a close second.  But it is a quick way to get around.

When we took the whole clan out, we did hire a driver.  And where did we take them?  Wait, what is that I see?  A KFC box?  KFC in Uganda?  Why, yes!  It just opened...the first American fast food chain to open in Uganda.  American processed food never tasted so good!  :)

After we ate, while waiting for the driver, the kids found this cool place for a picture.

Then we found a sweet place to go swimming.  Yes, that is Dad and Mom's feet, kicked back and relaxed....soooo nice...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Photo Project Day 17

Yesterday was a relaxing day full of game playing, book reading, movie watching, and playing outside.  For Eric and the older kids, the day was topped off by going to see the Hobbit.  The kids aren't awake yet, but I'm sure I will hear ALL about it when they do wake up!

And who can stay in a house with this precious bundle and not sneak a picture in of her snoozing-mouth-wide-open on her mama?

We also wanted to note that our missionary associate, Christi, is done her term and went back to her family in time for Christmas.  We weren't able to mention it earlier because it has been top secret information as she attempted (and succeeded!) to surprise all her loved ones by coming home a bit earlier then they thought.  Last week, the kids gave her a grand good bye party which included games, ice cream, saying nice things about her and perhaps a beautifully wrapped gift of a toad that sent her into screaming fits. (Would my kids do that?)  So thankful for all the help she gave us over the past year and pray that the Lord will bless her as she pursues lifting God higher in what is next in her life.

We also praise the Lord that He has provided for us another helper...Emily...coming in January.  We are so thankful that she is willing to come and are looking forward to her arrival in one month!

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Photo Project Day 16

Our family just left for a week of vacation to Kampala.  We hope to spend the week here doing a few fun Kampala, can't-do-it-in-Mbale, things...shopping, going to see the Hobbit, doctor's visits (oh wait, I said fun didn't I?) and the Entebbe zoo.

We also get to visit with our good friends, who are currently staying in Kampala where their baby was born, while they wait to get a court date to be able to adopt their other daughter.  The huge upside, is that it's free lodging for us...no small gift for this family of 10...the minor down side is that the internet is non-existent during the day, so my photo project might be a little off for the next few days as I will be posting at 5 am our time.  

Today's post is all about driving to Kampala...always beautiful, slightly frightening (we always praise the Lord when we arrive safely!), and always entertaining...  :)

The beautiful part...

The frightening part...but how much room does a bus really need to pass anyway?  Isn't that what extra large shoulders are for? (assuming there are no potholes or pedestrians?)

and always entertaining...

Men transporting beds on bicycles...

and undergarments...

finding people in unusual places...

extremely effective signs...

And the really fun entertainment is reading all the slogans and seeing who can find the best one...this definitely took first place yesterday...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Photo Project Day 15

His lamp am I,
To shine where He shall say;
And lamps are not for sunny rooms,
Nor for the light of day;

But for the dark places of the earth,
Where shame and wrong and crime have birth,
Or for the murky twlight gray
Where wandering sheep have gone astray,
Or where the lamp of faith grows dim

And souls are groping after Him.
And sometimes a flame,
Clear-shining, through the night
So bright we do not see the lamp --
But only see the light --

So may I shine, His light the flame,
That men may glorify His name.

Annie Johnson Flint

**lamp/scripture photos taken during this morning's power outage; Eric says he knows it's December Photo Project time when he hears me snapping pictures at 5 am in the dark.  ;)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December Photo Project Day 14

Today was one of my bi-weekly shopping days, so I decided to take my camera along.  

This is Bam...currently one of the best shopping centers around.  It will soon have strong competition however, as another very large shopping center...an east African chain store...is currently trying to set up shop down-town.

This is where I get a lot of our meat.  I know the shop owner pretty well and he was quite pleased to make sure his panga was showing in the picture.  :)

While we were downtown, this marching band came by...they sounded pretty good!