Sunday, January 30, 2011

A different perspective

As I took off from the Arua airport on January 10th with Mercy, this was my view looking down at the landing strip and the fence my family was standing behind. Yep, that's dirt you see.

This is a part of Arua.

I am still awed and amazed by the fact that every road I travel in Africa (not necessarily in Arua town), there are hundreds of hidden homes I will never see off in the bush. That means hundreds of villages and thousands of souls.

Here's a village, all to itself, out in the middle of nowhere, but not far outside of Arua.

Here's a road.

This doesn't seem like much at first. I mean, this could be a road in Montana, USA, but it made me realize how hard it is to get around in Africa. To get from A to B, you sometimes have to travel through C and D, in another direction, because there is no direct road.

Roads are scarce.

Foot paths, however, are numerous

Africa is vast, but if you are like me, you probably aren't sure how vast it is.

I saw this picture on a friend's blog, and she said she had gotten it from another blog she read, so I really don't know the origin, but it fascinated me.

I don't know if you can read the words, but they are the names of several countries that fit inside the continent of Africa. Maybe you can identify the United States?

When you pray for Africa, you are praying for an immense number of people in a very large land. For those of you who are intercessors, thank you for the time on your knees for them and for us!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's a Boy!

No, not mine...

Patrick told me tonight he has a son...

He hasn't held him yet, but I think he did get to see him.

Happy day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Unknown Visitor

Monday, I gave Patrick, our watchman, some candy canes for his kids. A few days later, he asked me about the "sticks" I had given him.

He said, "How do you eat those sticks?"

I explained about peeling off the plastic and then sucking or chewing on them. My guess is the plastic was the thing throwing them off. I'll bet they thought I gave them some dud candy.

I tell that story to set you up for this one...

You need to remember how different our cultures and experiences are.

Here we go...

Tonight as I greeted Patrick, I asked him about his day. He told me he had driven his grandfather deep into Congo to visit relatives.

That may sound pretty simple to you, but let me tell you what Patrick drives...a bicycle.

I KNOW he must have been worn out.

He carried his grandfather SEVERAL kilometers into Congo, returned home, and then came straight to my house several kilometers...on his bike.

Then, he proceeded to tell me that his home place had a visitor last night.

Knowing he was watching my place last night and not his, I said, "Was it someone bad? Is everyone okay?"

He said, "Yes, this is what we say when a baby has come."

Of course I was ecstatic! I knew his wife was expecting, but I didn't know it was to be so soon. Besides, when I had asked him at an earlier time where his wife would deliver, he told me about a local hospital that is about 5 kilometers or more from his house.

I said, "Will you drive her?"

Of course, I meant, on his bicycle.

Picture this with me, all you ladies that have gone through labor pains. Would you consider, even for a second, taking a ride to the hospital on the back of a bike across pitted dirt roads? I think not!

But his response surprised me in more ways than one. He said, "I will take her part of the way on my bicycle. But the hospital gets mad if you show up riding on something. They want you to walk the baby out, so I will have to let her walk the last bit."

I don't know what my face looked like at that moment, but the words going on in my mind could not and should not make it out of my mouth.

Make a mental note, Kathryn: Do not deliver here in Arua, if by chance you get pregnant.

OK. On with my story.

I was ecstatic, remember?

Then I remembered that Patrick was at my house and not at home, so I asked who had driven her to the hospital.

He said, "She just had it at home."

OK, I didn't know what to say to that, because I'm guessing it was my family's fault that she didn't get to go to the hospital.

New topic.

"Is it a boy or a girl?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean, you don't know? Did you see it?"

"No. Maybe I will ask her mother tomorrow what the mother delivered."


Of course, I wanted to scream, "It's YOUR child, and your WIFE," but I try to be a good missionary sometimes and realize that this is another culture...not mine. I am a guest here...a foreigner.

So I calmly said, "Let me know when you find out so we can buy a gift."

Of course, Doug had a better idea when we talked later. Instead of buying a gender-specific gift, we should take them beans, cassava flour, sugar, etc. Sounds good to me.

You go find out what kind of child your wife had, and I'll go to the market and get some food.

No, I did not say that. Give me some credit.

I praised God for a healthy child, and I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving with him. Much better, huh?

I'll let you know what they name him/her. Of course, that won't happen until after the umbilical cord falls off.

Oh, I have a lot to learn about our cultures differences!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Through the window

I left Arua on January 10th with Mercy, and I took her to Entebbe where I dropped her off so I could continue my trek to Nairobi, Kenya, to a home school conference.

I was able to use the internet a few times in Kenya, and through some text messages with Doug, I found out that on Friday, January 14th, we became an official solar-run house (except for water heaters)!

The funny (or not so funny) part, is that now that we have fans and lights at night and we don’t have to eat dinner by lantern light, our internet is not working.

It went out on the 10th of January, the day I left, and it still isn't back on (today is the 22nd). I've been texting my mom, but I don't think her phone is on. So just in case you are worried about me, Mom, I'm ok. Doug went to town yesterday and bought an internet USB extension from another internet provider to plug into our computers when we have situations like this. Nothing like paying a ton for monthly internet service, and then, not being able to get it. But I can guarantee you, I'm not complaining. I'm still thrilled with the fact that I can be in Africa and actually have internet to contact my family and friends with!

All that is to say…sorry for my absence on here and on emails. I’m trying to catch up.

At the beginning of December, I read "The Help," and it reminded me that there is a part of my life here that was new to me that I haven't mentioned to you.

My mom grew up, as many did, without air conditioning, so they would keep their windows open all the time. It reminds me of how America used to be with people sitting on porches, neighbors really knowing each other, and all the kids playing outside and wondering off for hours on all sorts of adventures. That kind of pasttime is kind of romanticized nowadays in America.

Well, I kind of live in that environment now, but one major difference is that there is always someone outside my window, and it isn't just a neighbor who is one house over, it's the help.

I am so grateful that these two guys take turns watching over our compound and keeping us safe, but I’m just becoming aware of all the things they are privy to through our open windows.

They hear what we talk about at the dinner table.

They might hear private conversations.

They know when I lose my temper with my kids.

They know what my kids are studying in school.

They know when one of our family members is sick in the bathroom.

They know we watch a movie every Friday night.

They know when I’m cooking bacon.

You get the point.

The good news is they hear Bible stories, prayers, real life stuff, and how a family who loves Jesus tries to live by His Word every day.

Just imagine someone listening in on your life…

What would they hear?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Everybody needs a little Mercy in their life

This is a "little Mercy."

Keeping Mercy the last 18 days has taught me a lot about God and a lot about myself.

God commands us to care for orphans. I think he “commands” it instead of “suggesting” it because it’s not always easy, fun work.

It took until about day 16 for Mercy to “groove” with the Taylors.

I think she finally figured us out and loosened up. She is laughing, smiling, dancing, and now…we have to return her to her momma.

I can’t imagine what must be going through her sweet little brain, but I’m so glad she gets a chance to bond with her mother again this week, and soon, she’ll be bonding with her whole family in Kansas.

My children have been playing a lot of what they call “lego city” while Mercy was here.

They would build a lego town for all their miniature Disney princesses, Batmans, Spidermans, and army guys to live in.

The past couple of days have been different though.

This is what I’ve been listening to…

Batman (as Prince Charming, of course) and Cinderella as a couple

and Spiderman (as Prince Eric) and Ariel as a couple

will both go to an “orphanage” to adopt some children like Dopey, Jasmine, Snow White, etc.

My children probably would have never come up with the idea to think about playing "adopting orphans" if it hadn’t been for Mercy. Of course, God wants us to do more than play-act. I am amazed at the number of my friends who have felt a call from God to adopt. Their walks of faith are treaded deep.

My girls have been changing diapers, something I never did until I had kids.

They have been dressing Mercy and giving her baths.

All of a sudden, I have these two grown helpers in the house.

With a little one to take care of, they really stepped up.

One day, without asking, Kylie took all the clothes off the line outside, folded them, and put them in everyone’s room.

She has volunteered to wash the dishes. She has swept the floor, and the list goes on.

The point is, with the extra work that Mercy took, Kylie and Karis noticed a need, and they did something about it. All the speeches in the world wouldn’t have taught them that.

Mercy has also taught me (for the millionth time) how selfish I am. I wanted the holidays to be all about me and the rest I wanted to have (since home school was on holiday) and the books I wanted to read while I wasn’t in language class, etc. But alas, someone needed me to take care of her.

I was reminded how my dear Savior had to get up extremely early in the morning to have some time to talk with His Father and be alone.

People followed Him wherever He went. And even though Mercy was my shadow for the past 18 days, she is just one small child. Jesus had the masses to contend with. His would have been a complete meltdown situation for an introvert like myself.

Anyway, I told one of my friends that I was sure God orchestrated Mercy’s whole delay of adoption to use her to teach me a thing or two about Himself and how selfish I am.

She and I will fly down to Entebbe tomorrow. A family she is familiar with will have her for about 36 hours before her mother arrives. And I have no doubt that her mother will have smooth sailing from here on out with the adoption because Mercy has served her purpose in Uganda…teaching me a few things about sacrifice.

Thank you Busby’s for letting us love on Mercy and take care of her for you while you re-connected!

If you want to continue following Mercy's journey to her new family, here is her mother's blog:

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Well, do you remember this from back in April?

How he got glued back together?

How he sported a really nice scar?

Well…leave it to Caleb to continue the action on his face.

Last Sunday, right before church started at the ORA base,

Caleb fell of the slide,

from the top,


He actually looks pretty good here.

We are thanking Jesus that he didn’t break his neck.

And this time, he has healed miraculously quicker.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sudan's referendum

What were your big worries today?

Did you worry about where your next meal was coming from? I didn’t.

Did you worry about whether you would have money to pay for your kids to go to public school? I didn’t.

Did you worry about your neighbors picking your garden before you had a chance to harvest it? I didn’t.

Did you worry about whether you would have a home to come back to after elections were over? No? Me either.

Many Sudanese that live in Southern Sudan are wondering what will happen after the vote in two days. In all actuality, they aren’t even sure if their votes will be counted.

There are several Sudanese living in Arua, who are making the trek up to Sudan to vote, with the hope that their vote will actually make a difference.

They live with the fear every day that the North will take over and Southern Sudan will cease to exist as they know it.

I don’t live with these fears.

I don’t understand these worries.

Pray for the people of Sudan as they go through some critical times.