"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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day

Yesterday was such a beautiful day.  We enjoyed ourselves so much.  Our first Christmas in Uganda didn't feel like Christmas at all.  It's amazing how much of Christmas in America is tied to cold weather and American culture.  But every year, Christmas has gotten better and more "Christmasy" :-)  But in addition to that, I thought yesterday was just an all around great day.

We had church in the morning.  Here are the girls in their new dresses...

Some of the girls at church sang.  Their singing didn't go too well, but at least they looked beautiful!  haha!  :)

Church was packed...over 200 people!

The church passed out sodas and mandazi (donut like pieces of cake).  Our family gave all the children of the church a gift bag...a tradition of our old church in America that our kids have passed along.

Then, the girls of the church performed a ballet dance that they have been working on with Sarah, our MA.  They did really well!  I'm always blessed by how God can use almost any talent to bless his kingdom!

It was also Baby Divine's 2nd birthday!

After the ballet, we had a football (soccer) match...compound against visitors...Compound won!  yay!  Here is a picture of Dr. Kim, his wife Jina and their baby Shua watching the game.

Denise did great as a goal keeper!
The kids were having fun singing during the game.  I thought they sounded pretty good!  Shine, Jesus, Shine is one of their favorites!

Then, we spent the rest of the day up at Denise's cousin's place.  A "slum" (a slum is an area where the plots are not organized and not every house is by the road...it is not a "dirty" area like American's typically picture...but it is a poorer area) area where she lived with her grandmother all of her growing up years.  Denise really wanted to spend the day there, so we decided to invite ourselves and bring food with us.  Christmas eve, we took our turkey, 2 chickens, rice, oil, matoke and soda up to her cousin.  Her cousin cooked everything and added even more food to the meal!  As is typical of entertaining visitors, they didn't have us at their house, but stuck us at a rich neighbors house.  Also, when you are a visitor eating a meal, you always sit by yourself.  So, this neighbor had a huge TV and we were entertained all afternoon by watching Ugandan gospel music videos and Age of Ultron dubbed over in Luganda.  (fairly hilarious on both accounts).

After a while, we went around and visited all of our friends up there.  Most of the children in our church come from this area, so we went from house to house saying hi to everyone.

The next two pictures make me laugh...we were teaching Pius what a "food baby" is.  Christmas is a day for feasting and Pius proudly showed us his food baby.  haha!

Sarah was also educating the neighbor kids on the finer points of life.

The girls, Sarah and I spent the night up there.  It was a noisy night with not much sleep (The parties and drinking really got started at about 10 PM), And we may have gotten just liiiittle sleep deprived silly in the morning.  (photo: courtesy of Denise)

I left with a greater appreciation for where Denise grew up, more mother-bear thankfulness in my heart that she is with us and praise to God for a wonderful day celebrating the birth of Christ...our redeemer, who redeems our lives destruction.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

Man's maker was made man, 
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother's breast; 
that the Bread might hunger, 
the Fountain thirst, 
the Light sleep, 
the Way be tired on its journey; 
that the Truth might be accused of false witness, 
the Teacher be beaten with whips, 
the Foundation be suspended on wood; 
that Strength might grow weak; 
that the Healer might be wounded; 
that Life might die.

~Augustine of Hippo

Merry Christmas from the Tuiningas!

Thanks to Sarah J...world class missionary associate, home school assistant, ballet teacher, amazing friend and photographer for this picture....  :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December Photo Project: Day 24

Today was very, very busy!  As soon as breakfast was finished we hit the stores to try to beat the mad rush...we weren't too successful on that point, but we managed to get everything for Christmas dinner and everything we needed for our Christmas gifts to the church kids.

After that, the big girls and I went dress shopping.  We hit about 30 little shops in town before we found all three girls something nice.  haha!  And then we had to go find shoes to match!  We went to a shoe store that is about 15 feet by 15 feet in size.  In the center of the room and around the walls are piles and piles of shoes.  In the aisle?  About 40 people trying to buy shoes.  Crazy!!  

When Rebecca found her dress, the shopkeeper wanted a picture of her in her dress.  Fun times!

About halfway through the madness, we found a little restaurant and got some lunch.  Super fun!  Love these girls.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Photo Project: Day 22

One of the more obscure of all Tuininga Christmas traditions...reclining at the table to eat.  It all started one year, when we began to wonder what it must have been like for Jesus to recline at the table.  Now, it's a yearly event.  The newest member of the family looked at us and said, "We're doin' what?!?"  haha!  And since our mattresses are already in the living room, we also watch a movie then sleep under the Christmas tree.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

December Photo Project: Day 21

Ministry always brings smiles and tears.  This afternoon, as we were pulling out of our gate, we were met by one of our church kids.  He was facing the reality of living in a society that is profoundly impacted by the breakdown of the family and no legal system to help children caught in tough situations.  A very common solution ends up being shifting kids back and forth when one parent is no longer able to care for a child.  We have seen so many kids be sent to another parent who lives in the village.  It's hard.  They are simply told one day that they are going.  They immediately must leave their friends, their church and the life that they know.  They don't know when or if they will ever be back.  Could be tomorrow if that parent thinks he or she is worse off than the parent in town.  Could be a few months from now when school fees are due.  Could be never.  Here is one last fatherly hug and prayer being given amidst profound and tearful uncertainty.

Then we drove to KTC, where we had the privileged of giving someone a desperately desired job over the holidays.  It just a temporary job...but it is a job!  He is happy and so are we!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Photo Project: Day 20

Today we were blessed to be able to worship in the village at Kaiti.  We really enjoyed ourselves!

Pastor Simon...

As you can see, their building is beginning to fall apart.  It's lasted a normal amount of time for a mud and stick structure.

A picture from the inside of the wall leaning.

So they are working on a new building which will be huge!  We are so excited for them and eagerly praying that God will bless them with the remaining funds needed to install the roof and floor.

What my boys (and maybe me) look like after sitting on wooden benches for a 3 hour worship service.  We are always super blessed when they graciously feed us lunch afterwards!  Yummy Ugandan food!

Gift, the pastors youngest daughter...the youngest of 11!

 Benaiah playing in front of an audience.  He hardly notices, unless they poke his white skin. :)

As we were leaving, the youth choir came up and asked if they could come sing at our church in Mbale.  Sounds like fun!

On our way home we stopped and saw Florence!  She is walking perfectly normal now!  So amazing to see!  She still has a small amount of pain, but otherwise she has resumed normal life and plans to return to school next term!  Praise the Lord!!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December Photo Project: Day 19

Today was the day for our family Christmas.  We opened our gifts tonight and then watched War Room.  It was a good night!

Timothy gave Daddy an old man's cane... an old man cane that happens to have a knife in the handle.  haha!

Talitha got me some "Jinja pants."  Fun!  (Jinja is a town about 2 hours from us that sell these fun patterned pants)

This was the year of knives and sunglasses.

We are just that cool, people... ;-)

Friday, December 18, 2015

December Photo Project: Day 18

Today, Sarah and I (and our escort Martin) took the girls in the church on a hike up Mt. Wanale.  We had so much fun!  It was a beautiful day!  

At the top...

Left to Right:  Monica, me, Peace, Gloria, Martin, Katelyn, Abigail, Rebecca, Clair and Patience is in front.

Abigail and Clair...

Rebecca and Gloria...

Playing in the River...

Sarah going down the infamous stick ladder...a "ladder" made of thick sticks jammed into the crevices and tied with banana fibers.


We saw these three cuties on our way down...

Seen on the side of a public primary school (1st-7th grades).  I don't think you would see the sign on the left or the right too quickly on the outside of an American public school!