Saturday, December 31, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
I had sick kids at home, and Florence wasn’t feeling too well, so we asked them to only sing two songs this day. They repeat the verses over 20 times, so this was still an adequate amount of singing.
But no one else did.
|All the non-graduates off to the side|
The MC said, “My watch says it’s 2:25, and by 2:30 we must leave this place.”
Friday, November 25, 2011
*Granted, a few were brought in for murder or some other crimes I won't name here, and I'm not naive enough to think all these women are innocent, but I do believe some are.
|Receiving the books last April!|
When you think about it, pray for these women to be protected from the evil spirits that enjoy hanging around in that dark place. These women need a chance to hear the Truth and have some peace without always being tormented.
Florence and I also thought a good way to practice language was with other people (go figure), rather than sitting with pencil and paper, one-on-one.
We prayed about what God would have us do, and we BOTH felt God leading us to the same place, even though we had never talked about it before!
I'm in a tough spot because I can't tell you the names of these women, but I love them and I want to tell you their stories (the best I can), and the tougher spot they are in.
They are the ladies at the women's prison.
In orientation, I was told, of course, that I can't take pictures, use these women's names, take my cell phone in, or give them my personal info.
The guard told us there was only one day (Friday) when we could come, but a man higher up, thought there were three free days.
We decided we would take the Friday and continue praying.
Our scheduled time was set from 2-4pm, because they are fed one of their two meals at one o'clock.
But first...we visited on a Monday to see what other kind of ministry was being done, and to see the process.
When it's time to meet, they go into a designated room and either sit or stand waiting for 5 ladies to grab some instruments.
Their instruments are three goat-skin covered drums, a closed tin double tetrahedron (think 2 connected triangular prisms), filled with rocks, and an abacus-type shaker made with bottle caps.
Most of the ladies danced and sang joyfully.
They are all made to come, so you can imagine some aren't too happy.
The lady that was teaching, the day we observed was from another country besides America. She was a little difficult to understand and she had the lead-lady prisoner (the one who keeps the peace) interpreting for her.
Florence, who could understand the interpretation, said the scripture was not being repeated correctly. Scary!! Another great reminder how important it is to learn the language.
So, Florence and I left, prayed, and then I went home to ask God what plans He had for these women.
I know that two different churches visit the prison during the week, so I know they knew some things, but yet, I think God wanted me to start at the beginning.
When we arrived on Friday, the women still had not been fed. 13 of the 58 women usually walk over to the men's side, where over 600 men are, and bring back their portion of food and water.
Today, there was nothing.
I'm wondering if the men got fed...
I think that not feeding 600 men would create a riot situation, don't you?
Anyway, after 20 minutes the guards just told the ladies to go into the room for worship.
Florence and I felt awful.
We didn't want them being made to listen when they were hungry.
Have I mentioned there are 9 babies in the prison, too?
[As I write this, there are now 10, because one was born two weeks ago].
The babies are sucking on mommas who don't have enough milk because they don't get enough food.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Jack, my piki driver, said one day, "I think we will be having a visitor soon."
If you are familiar with my previous "visitor" experience, you will be glad to know that I didn't ask if someone was coming to stay with his family or if a thief was expected to break in.
This time I knew...his wife was going to give birth.
A few days later, Jack told me that Gasi was at the hospital, so Florence and I rushed over.
We found out that Gasi was having contractions really far apart, but the baby wasn't coming. But since the baby seemed too large to the medical "authorities," they wouldn't let her go home. (She had her Maama Kit with her, ready to go, though)
So we sat.
Under a tree.
This is Florence and all of Gasi's (and Jack's aunts) belongings. Since you don't get an assigned room to yourself, you have to carry your belongings with you wherever you go (including the charcoal and pot for cooking). The rooms are just large, camp-style with wall-to-wall beds.
Below is Gasi.
This is Abuku. She is my favorite of all of Jack's aunts. She is funny, loves to laugh, and since she doesn't have any children of her own, she helps everyone else take care of theirs.
She loves having conversations with me in Lugbara. She cannot speak English, so hanging out with her is definitely good practice for me.
Her name means "still the one to bury." Her father had 5 girls, and when she born, the relatives commented that even though she was a girl, she would "still be the one to bury" her father.
Below is Driwaru. Her name means "coming out of an accidental curse." Her family believes the mother was accidentally cursed, and when Driwaru was born, they took it as a sign, that the mother was "coming out of it."
The last one is Nyakuru. Her name means "still for the soil." I wasn't getting the meaning totally. It was because her first sibling died, and maybe she was a replacement ???
Because of these names, I recalled all the other names I have learned since being here.
Sadly, relatives often give these morose, sad names to children.
Gasi (Jack's wife's name) means "refusing," because she wasn't wanted.
Bako - "has no relative"
Adriko - "has no brother"
Amviko - "has no sister"
Anguyo - "no place" (the wife doesn't have a piece of land and they don't feel welcome at home)
Lekuru - "not liked"
Draru - "death" (sickly child / mom almost died / or no proper treatment after exile)
Agasiru - "refusing" (means child's mother's relative didn't want her to marry that man)
Candiru - "sadness" or "problem"
Ocokoru - "misery"
E'yotaru - "tolerating problems"
Okuonzi - "bad woman" (the child's mother given this name by the father's relatives)
Aziku - "she doesn't work for the clan" (also about the child's mother)
Angudubo - "place is bushy" (all family has died and no one keeps the grounds)
Ojuruko - "termite" (the child is not human; it's a termite for the ground b/c it won't live. This name was given in the instance that her two older siblings had died)
I've even met an Alpha Omega (he was the first and last child of his mother...she died.
Well, now we come to two days later. I arrived at the hospital to check on Gasi, and Abuku was sitting under the tree outside, holding the new baby!!
Right as I started talking to them, Jack drives up with a driver in a car taxi. It is to bring everyone home from the hospital.
She had just given birth THREE hours before, and now she was headed home!
They all invited me to ride with them, so Gasi, the baby, the three aunts and I got in the taxi for the journey home.
They dropped me off at my road, and I went to see them two days later, with Kylie, bearing gifts of food for the family.
He is a beautiful baby.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
She sat all day long, doing nothing, while flies just hovered around her foot, which was bandaged in a piece of material.
We didn't see her foot that day, but her family was so open to the message of God's word, that we promised we would return.
I didn't see the wound, but heard the story.
When she was in exile in Congo during the war, she developed a "spot" on her foot. About 10 years ago, the "spot" opened and started to grow. 5 years ago, she saw a doctor who told her she should have an amputation to save her leg. She hasn't seen a doctor in 5 years, but her daughter (on the right in the picture below) cleans it faithfully every day. (I was incorrect in my first post where I assumed the wound was dirty).
With this knowledge, I pretty much knew that I wasn't going to be checking on her foot. I didn't know what it looked like, but I have learned since becoming a parent, that I am NOT "nurse" material.
When my kids throw up, and I see it or smell it, then I start gagging. And apparently, I'm not so good with blood either. Lucky for Doug, huh?
Anyway, I went along with Doug and Florence armed with prayer, all the medical supplies needed, and a camera (hoping to get a glance so we could show an expert).
Thank you, Doug, for being the hands and feet of Jesus to Neria. It was such a blessing to watch you serve and love her.
She has never been tested for diabetes, but it looks like she might have it. Some medical personnel in the States suggested she get the dead/black skin burned off, to give it a chance to heal.
We are returning this week to tell her more Bible stories and pray with her, and maybe she will agree to go to the doctor with us, if we promise her we won't let them take her leg.
I've been at the hospital a few times this week, and I know the medical care isn't great, but God can provide someone who knows exactly what to do. You can pray for that with us.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I was listening to a wrap-up session of Beth Moore’s “Esther” Bible study last spring, and my mind started wondering. I heard her say something about “looking back to see how it all fit,” and I started thinking about my own life.
Each person’s past is preparation for what God has for him.
Your life is not an “accident.” Every person you come in contact with, experience you have, and place you live is to prepare you for something more.
This is not an all-encompassing list, and the things on it don't make me any more special than the next guy, but it was precious to look back on some of these things.
I grew up in the country. When the power went out with a storm, we not only had no electricity, we also had no water or toilet usage since the water was pumped from a well with an electric pump. Now, I am regularly without power and/or water, so somehow...I got a head start :)
In the country, we planted a large garden, and even though I hated working in it, the education it provided me is really coming in handy as I plant my own food now.
My parents “allowed” us to try foods that might not be highly favored like liver, cactus, and snake. But it was just a warm-up for the caterpillars, grasshoppers, and termites I have tried since being here.
Also growing up in the country, I had several opportunities to “relieve” myself when there were no toilets around. It made me an “expert” so I could teach my girls the tricks of the trade. Toilets (to sit on) are a rarity here.
My mother cooked fresh vegetables from her garden most nights, so I was well-trained for the foods available here (nothing pre-made, preserved or found in a box).
I think camping every summer with my family whether in a pop-up trailer or a small camper helped me learn how to cook in small, cramped spaces, like my present kitchen.
My parents always gave to those in need, and it was always modeled for me long before I arrived in Africa where “need” is always at my gate.
My parents taught me how to work hard and have a good work ethic. Every summer, my siblings and I got up before the sun rose to either pick corn or spray Mesquite and Huisache trees. So I was prepared long ago for the extra work that is required on a daily basis to live here (of course, this picture is not something we do on a daily basis, but it's fun to see Kylie imitating the African women, isn't it?).
My mother taught me how to cook at an early age. If I had only known how to open a box or defrost a frozen bag, I would have been in a lot of trouble.
I remember my mom cooking with powdered milk in my younger years (which I am forced to do now), and before microwaves, she had to heat up all the leftovers on the stove (which I am also forced to do now).
I wore my sister’s (and my sister’s friends) hand-me-downs, so I was never attached to brand names. It comes in handy when the only place I have to shop is the used clothes market.
My hometown was 45 minutes from a mall or movie cineplex, so the 7-hour drive I now have to a “city” is not too far of a stretch for me.
My college education was focused on “education,” and now I am in a place where I have no choice but to teach my own children.
Five ladies in Mississippi prepared me to homes chool my children, even though I never knew in what capacity I would be doing it. Thank you, Lisa, Colleen, Anna, Angie, and Debbie.
The large university I attended has an old tradition where you greet everyone you pass with “Howdy.” Now, I’m in a culture that also expects you to greet everyone you pass, but I just say, “Mi ngoni,” instead.
I started going on mission trips in college. Now I'm "living" a mission trip.
Thankfully, God had already moved Doug and I away from “home” twice before. So this move wasn’t my first time to leave Texas, but my third.
We applied for foreign missions the first time before being called to Baton Rouge. After arriving in Baton Rouge, the pastor left within a month, but because of us serving there, I went on my first mission trip to Uganda. I also found life-long friends (who still encourage me) within months of moving there.
The last few years in America, we moved so much that we didn’t bother hooking up cable, so I thankfully got used to not having a TV. Besides growing up, I only had CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS anyway. Anyone?
The DVD screens in our minivan went out while we lived in Baton Rouge, so my kids were already trained to make a 7-hour drive with no entertainment but what they made themselves.
I have been blessed to sit under many great teachers of the Word: Chris Osborne, Gregg Matte, Tommy Politz, Chip Henderson, Stuart Rothberg, Richard Bowden, David Welch, Tommy Nelson, and Neil McClendon, among others. Thankfully, I have had a lot of teaching, because now I am responsible for feeding myself the Word.
My sister has also lived overseas for 20 years, so she paved the way for me, and was a great resource before I ever left American soil.
Isn't God good? Everything we go through is for a reason.
I just never knew He had been preparing me for the mission field L O N G before it was ever a thought in my heart.
Take a look at your journey. What do you see?
I’m pretty sure this isn’t a “contact-wearing” culture, and I’m also quite certain they don’t all have 20/20 vision.
That leads me to believe that some of these boda drivers can’t really see a thing in front of them.
I’m pretty sure there are not any glasses or contacts sold in this town.
A lot of people cannot read, but those that can and have trouble seeing, can you imagine their struggle??
My houseworker is one of those. When I write her a note, she gets so close to the paper, her nose is touching it.
And about braces…for the most part, the people here are blessed beyond belief with a great jaw structure.
They have the most beautiful teeth. And funny enough, you will rarely see them brushing with toothbrush and toothpaste. But you will see them every morning with a piece of stick sticking out of their mouth. They walk around doing their morning routine while they rub this stick up and down on their teeth. Pretty amazing, huh?
When you don’t have...you make do.
Anyway, because we are blessed with solar panels, our life has pretty much been normal except for no hot water for baths. Heating water on the stove for the kids, limited kid-bathing, and letting out small screams when the cold water hits your back, just became the norm. No problem. Our solar was also a blessing for the people who live around us and work for us, because we are able to charge all their cell phones for them.
When I was in town two weeks ago, I was just making small talk with the “grocery store” worker about the power, and he said, “We have been in darkness for a month,” and the thought struck me. I wanted to say, “No, sir, you have been in darkness for a lot longer than that.”
As I’m sure you have heard before, when it is dark in Africa, it is REALLY dark. There are no street lights, no night lights, no televisions in house windows, no nothing. You can’t see the hand in front of your face. It is an eery feeling. It’s like you are floating in space with nothing around.
This must be the kind of darkness that those not in Jesus are surrounded with. It’s eery, unnerving, and frightening, whether they will admit it or not.
But because of the lack of light here at night, the people’s eyes here (not mine) have adjusted, and they can actually see pretty well at night (not me).
This is also like the person who lives spiritually in darkness. For example, while living in Mississippi, Doug and I had a conversation with a student who had just accepted Christ. He said that before Christ, he thought he understood peace and he thought that his life was “good.” But after accepting Christ, he saw clearly that what he thought was peace and goodness was NOT. He said, “I just THOUGHT I was happy. I didn't know how different my life would be with Christ.”
People in “darkness,” have adjusted to the lack of light in their life and learned to live with it. They don’t even realize they are squinting and straining to see the beauty around them. To them, it’s natural. They just don’t know the difference.
Pray for the darkness to be dispelled in all the places of the world where they need the true light of God’s SON.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Here were some of her observations:
If it’s dark, and you don’t have a lamp, the nurses will leave you and go help someone deliver that has a lamp.
If you yell or scream during labor, the nurse will beat you or abandon you until you are done.
Many children die because of nurse-negligence.
If you don’t bring gloves and a plastic sheet (like are in the Maama kit), the nurse will not let you on a bed. She makes you deliver on the cement floor.
Women who are used to delivering in the village (in a standing position), find it difficult to push when they come to the hospital and are made to lie on their back. If they tell a nurse that they “can’t do it” lying down, the nurses have been known to slap them.
I don’t know if you are aware, but the hospitals here are not required to feed you (or care for you in a general sense). If your loved ones do not come and cook out in the yard for you or bring you water, bananas, etc., then you just don’t get to eat while you are trying to heal??? Makes sense, huh?
The power has been completely out here for a week, and it’s been off and on in the capital city of Kampala as well. A missionary friend in Kampala said that when the “powers that be” turn off a power grid in the city, they don't consider what is on that particular grid. Sunday, when we were arriving in Kampala, I witnessed major intersection lights out, and no traffic cops to assist in the need. My friend says that when they turn the grid off where the hospital is located, they don’t even seem to care. MANY patients have died because of lack of power, and it seems that the government doesn’t take notice. It’s not like you can sue here and get any justice.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
This is the rat that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
Yes, that is a dead rat you are seeing!!!!
AND, it ate a little more than malt.
½ bar laundry soap
1 Mini Hershey bar
He got into a bag of Peanut M&M’s
1 huge hole in the girls’ mosquito net
1 silky pair of pajama bottoms
1 pair of athletic shorts
2 of Caleb’s Bendaroos
He got into a granola bar
He got into my bag of Trail Mix!!!
He got into TWO bags of flour
He gave a Ken doll a lobotomy
2 glitter pens
6 Mini Reese’s
2 raw eggs, rolled to a corner and cracked open (before I found them after too long of time)
A USB computer cord
An ipod charging cord (shredded it)
Cardboard stuffing inside a box
Chewed open a bottle of red ink (it went everywhere)
Chewed open a bottle of black ink (it also went everywhere)
Chewed open and ate half of 2 contractor bags (holding our luggage)
Gnawed on a luggage handle
Ate Minnie Mouse’s ear
Chewed a hole in a stuffed elephant
Pooped on Kylie’s bed and shelves
Pooped and peed all over my pantry, our garage, and the kids’ room
Nested in Kylie’s underwear
Chewed open a water bottle (water went everywhere)
Gnawed on my TUPPERWARE!!! (thank goodness my chocolate chips are safe)
After three weeks of battle, he was found dead in a bag of cushy styrofoam peanuts.
My kids brought back some rat traps with them, and they had only been out TWO days...but they didn't get him.
Someone else in America is sending some glue traps, which I will be diligent to leave in my pantry!
Before any American traps were set, Doug saw bloody footprints on a plastic box in the garage. I guess one of he Ugandan traps I had set three weeks ago, actually went off and nicked him.
No matter. He’s gone, and I’m leaving traps permanently up in strategic areas in case his cousins decide to come in.
For now, the dead rat is out in the burn pile, and my garage and pantry smell like bleach, and I am one happy momma!