"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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday

These precious faces...

outward reflections of the reality of an eternal soul within...

were able to sit under the whole counsel of God's word this resurrection morning...

and be told that HE IS RISEN!!!

Thank you for praying for the work here in Uganda...

May God be glorified to raise up more mighty men of God who will faithfully proclaim the Word to the future generations.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Crown of Thorns

Here in Uganda, thorns are used to keep enemies out.  Gardens, homes, compounds and sometimes entire villages are surrounded by these thorns...a natural barbed wire of sorts.

I have often pondered though, that John 19 offers a sharp contrast as we see that thorns were used as part of the process of bringing God's enemies in.

Isn't it a blessing and isn't it amazing, that the suffering, whipping, thorn wearing, crucifying Friday so many years ago, we are now able to call "good?"  If it weren't for Christ death, and later his resurrection, I...who am so far from "good"...would never be allowed to enter eternal life with God.  Thank you God for giving us your Son!  Thank you Jesus for wearing the thorns and dying on the cross!  Thank you Holy Spirit for impressing that daily on my prone-towards-wandering heart!

Praise be to the good and glorious Triune God!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meat from the Market

I had another first in Uganda experience yesterday... buying fish from the Market.

Nile Perch...covered in flies...cut with a panga...to be exact.

A few hours later, it was rubbed with spices, cooked thoroughly, topped with Avocado salsa and set on a bed of marinated cucumbers...yum!

And I'm happy to report that 24 hours later, all tummies are still happy! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Update on Baby Chris

Today we worshiped in Kakoli Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Uganda.  This is the home church of my little buddy, Chris!  He's doing super well, these days.  His shoulder is mostly healed.  It was also so wonderful to be able to visit with his momma, when she isn't burdened by his pain.  It was also great to see their new house (fired bricks with a tin roof) completed, and their old house (a mud and stick structure, with a leaky thatched roof that was filled with termites and the occasional visiting cobra) was torn down.  God is good!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Rain to Bless the Earth

The rains are starting their slow return.  The people are breathing a sigh of relief.  While they are not "starving" many people do loose weight during this season, because they simply aren't able to consume enough calories for the manual labor that they do.  But praise be to the God of heaven and earth, who sends the rain on both the godly and the ungodly.  Soon the planting will come, and then, Lord willing, the harvesting.  As evidenced by this picture we see a few tractors here and there, but most fields are prepared by the women with their hoes.

For others the rain and storms can sometimes cause trouble.  One of the pastors of the OPCU had his kitchen (usually a separate building from the rest of the house) destroyed and the tin roof blown off part of his house in a storm a couple days ago.  The bricks that he had made to build his house, had never been fired (due to lack of funds at the time), so once the tin flew off, a vast portion of the mud bricks disintegrated in the rain.  He will now need to make all new bricks (and Lord willing, get them fired this time) and patch up the tin roof.  For the time being, his roof is being held on by twine and is full of nail holes that let the rain in.  He and his family...the youngest of which is 4 years old...were heavy on my heart as I listened to the rain pour down again last night.

A widow in a nearby OPCU church shares his story - her home was also severely damaged in the same storm...

...and I don't think that they suffer any less than first world people who loose their houses in tornadoes, hurricanes or a tsunami...

...except that you will never hear about them on the 5 o'clock news...

But God knows their troubles.  He doesn't forget his people.  Please pray.

Monday, March 18, 2013

One more post from Karamoja

Here are the rest of my cell phone pictures from Karamoja.

After a few more minutes of visiting and taking pictures of each other under the tree, we continued on to the village.

The Karamajong villages are completely surrounded by thorn bushes.  The entrance to the village is just a low door, that can be blocked by more thorns at night.  There is still quite a bit of fighting and cattle stealing among the tribes in Karamoja, so the thorns are a necessary protection for the village.

 Once you are inside the outer fence of thorns, the village is divided by bush fences into many compounds.

This is Eric walking in between compounds...

This is the inside of a compound.  In this picture, I was actually trying to get the lady giving the boy a hair cut.  He didn't seem to be enjoying the experience too much.

The people under the tree that we had stopped to talk to, had encouraged us to visit this particular compound because the mother/grandmother had just passed away the night before.  This is her grave.

Because of her death, the people had sacrificed two goats.  One they had just kept the skin and burned the rest and one they were going to feast on.  Our translator wasn't quite sure where the tradition came from.

 We went into the hut with the family and prayed with them.  May God bless this family and all the Karamajong people with his grace and mercy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Who's the photographer?

Here is another shot from our walk in Karamoja.  

On our way to a village we stopped under this tree to chat for a moment to a group that had gathered to enjoy a little bit of shade and a lot of fellowship.  While we were there, we also asked if we could take their picture.  They happily consented and asked for the same favor in return.

Can you find the photographer?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oh, Rats!

Today, we went up to Karamoja for a few hours to visit the rest of our team.  While we were up there, we took a walk and while we were walking we came upon this group of guys out hunting.

What were they hunting, you ask?

Rats!  Lots of them...with bows and arrows.  They were going to sell them.

100 shillings a piece ($0.04).  Oh, unless you want them cooked...then they are 200 shillings each.  And you know what that means for the Tuininga family?

We could feed our entire family for $0.77!

Anyone want to join us for lunch?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Girls Night Out in Kampala

This past week, we discovered that Katelyn had an abscessed tooth, and then a few days later, a certain little baby got a hold of her glasses.  Since Daddy needed to work, all of the girls, including Christi, took off to Kampala to go to the eye doctor and dentist.  So for two days, I braved the crazy Kampala traffic and Christi successfully navigated us with the GPS and Eric and the boys survived a weekend at home.  Other than needing to face an eye exam (for $3!) and tooth extraction (for $60, including x-rays!), we had a blast and we were quite thankful to Katelyn for the great excuse that she gave us.  We got to do a little shopping at the mall, dining at Cafe' Java, swimming at the guest house, and some watching of Sense and Sensibility.  In the words of the girls, "We had a lot of fun girlfriend time!"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In which Eric hijacks the blog for a post...

This is Eric posting a letter that Dianna recently wrote to a dear sister in Christ who was struggling with caring for many young children.  I (Eric) thought the wisdom Dianna shares here might be valuable to other mothers of babies and young children.  So here it is: 

"I'm sorry you've been so tired!! It sounds like you are in the dark tunnel stage of having a lot of little ones! That's what I felt like after Benaiah. It's so hard! Sometimes I would go to my room and just cry and cry because I was so tired...absolutely exhausted...I just wanted to leave it all behind...I guess not really...I never actually walked out the door...but sometimes I thought if things ever got a little bit more difficult, that would be it...it'd tip the scale into crazy land for me and I'd probably end up institutionalized or something. For months, maybe even two years or so, I always felt like I was drowning with my head barely above water. Truth be told...I'd never want to go back to that stage of motherhood, but I'm so glad I passed through. God completely stripped me of my tendency towards idolatrous self-sufficiency and idolatrous way of wanting my house and my life to be "just so." Actually, I think "strip" is too nice of a word, it was more like a "ripping and tearing." It almost brings tears to even remember those months.

A few things that helped...
>getting Eric on board... I finally kept a record for a week of how much sleep I was getting and how many times a night I had to get up. Showing him really opened up his eyes (and mine...no wonder I'm so tired...duh!). He realized how, at that point, "sick" I was from exhaustion (I was starting to get continual sore throats and fevers, diarrhea and stomach aches) and he became my greatest helper in trying to get rested and better again.
>committing to go to bed (in bed, lights out and falling asleep) before 9 every night for at least a month or two to heal. This was so hard and so good for me. I had to give up many social things and a lot of "quiet/no kid time" but it was so so worth it!
>B vitamins, vitamin D, and fish oil! They are amazing energy boosters.
 >Taking a day off every couple of weeks. A few times, Eric let me lock myself in our bedroom and I literally, would lie flat on my back, drink a ton of water and eat Vitamin C and Zinc all.day.long. I would sleep whenever I fell asleep and if I was awake I would listen to sermons (but let myself fall asleep if I got sleepy) and read my Bible. I can't believe how much these days would help. It was my "mandatory" bed-rest day. :)
>hiring help...you already mentioned this...I hope you find someone! We were able to hire someone to clean our house for $30. She was a young lady and liked the extra cash. Not doing that physical labor and not having to make my kids do it, was extremely helpful.
> The book, Managers of their Homes, was very helpful. I don't live and die by a schedule, but taking the time to write out everything I want to do and putting it into a reasonable time slot is a wonderful exercise for me. I have had times where there is no.way.on.earth I could ever do everything I wanted to do. Duh, Dianna, no wonder you are frustrated and tired...it just isn't humanly possible to do it all! So about once a year, I write out a schedule and then I throw it away...it's just to double check that I'm not trying to do too much.
>Learning that if the Lord has not granted me time or energy to complete something, then it is not his will that I do that thing. Some weeks that means that the Lord doesn't intend for me to do all of our laundry, all of our school, all the possible social engagements, having people over, etc., etc. There are so many good things to do...and I must always be willing...but if the Lord does not provide the means than I shouldn't beat myself up thinking that some how I'm a failure of a mom/wife/teacher/child of God. It is so easy to walk into friend #1's house and see how neat it is and think, "my house should be like that" and then talk to friend #2 and hear how much school and fun projects she is doing and think "I really ought to be doing that if I want my kids to go to college" and then talk to friend #3 and hear how much she is doing in church and think "I really ought to be doing more in our church" and then proceed to go home, try to do it all and then drown in a frustrating, joyless, faithless pit or get angry and give the kids a hard time for being naughty while you have so much to do, because if you are going to do as much as you think you need to, you certainly don't have time to discipline properly and if your kids were as good as they ought to be, well...they shouldn't need it!!! um, yea... I've been there...haha! :P I had to learn to stop listening to the lies of Satan that said I needed to be everything for everybody or else I was a failure. I needed to listen to the Holy Spirit who was willing to give me faith, joy, peace, rest and a yoke that was light. I needed to learn to live a Spirit-led life as a wife and mother...learning to ask, "God, what do you want me to do with the next hour? Laundry, school or rest?" or "God, I have this pile left to tackle tonight, should I do it or go to bed?" I'm not intending to claim that God answers me on these questions, but he certainly at times filled my heart with peace at the thought of leaving the pile for the night. Before I would look at my piles and be filled with anxiety at all the evidences of my failures that day. Now, by God's grace, I look at the things that are left and think, "God is enough."

I hope you find the strength and encouragement that you need! I'll be praying for you! God is able!"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Psalm 139

When we were at MTI doing our training, the kids started to memorize Psalm 139.  It is a comforting Psalm as we have "settled on the far side of the sea."  After MTI, the kids went on to finish memorizing it.  This past December we went to a kids day at a local village church.  The Ugandan children, in among their skits and songs, were also reciting Scripture verses.  We had no skits or songs to present, but the kids were brave and stood up to recite this Psalm.  Also, since we are no longer involved in any co-op, the home school mom in me was thankful for the opportunity for my kids to practice their public speaking. :)


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Our Chaperoned dinner date on Lake Victoria

Eric and I went to Entebbe this week to pick up a visitor.  We had a lovely supper, chaperoned by our favorite little chaperon, at a pizza place right on Lake Victoria.  It was so pretty.

Here are a couple of pictures of us, just to show that we were there.

But here is the real cutie...

The sand kept her more than entertained while we waited for our food.

While we were eating she rarely took her eyes off of the waves.

The pizza and ice cream were a great treat.

The next day we had coffee at a local coffee shop.  The coffee was almost too pretty to eat...I had to take a picture.  :)