Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy birthday to Karis (late)

SEVEN years ago (on May 22), in Jackson, Mississippi, Karis, our sweet little girl was born.

She is such a blessing to us and to those around her. Our family is blessed to have her.

She is kind, loves to giggle, and I think she could live solely on chocolate.

Happy birthday, Karis.

(and thanks Kylie for taking some of the pictures)

Lottie Moon fundraiser

At our recent meeting in Kenya, the mission arranged for us to have a silent auction to raise money for the Lottie Moon offering which supports us and other missionaries on the field.

Items were gathered from rooms of some kids on the field (like used toys and books); some items were brought by the volunteers that came from America; and some of the items were purchased in Kenya, where you can find treats at many times during the year

It was such fun going in every day to see what people were bidding on.

Since I helped tally the bid totals at the end of the week, I took note of a few things that might surprise you.

Some of the bids were:

$170 for 2 bags of Fritos

$110 for 16 large Reeses

$38 for a Zip lock bag of shelled pecans

$102 for a Package of chips, taco seasoning, velveeta, and jalapeno peppers

$110 for Beef Jerky

$100 for a box of Lucky Charms and a box of Pop Tarts

and 4 Dr. Peppers went for $60

We all wanted to give to the offering anyway, but this was such a fun way to do it.

I tried hard to get those Fritos, but my dear friend kept out-bidding me. So, I admitted defeat and moved on.

I bought a birthday present for Karis at the auction: some used Littlest Pet Shop animals for $75. I don't know what Littlest Pet Shops go for in America, but since you can't get them here, I figure I got a good deal, right?

I also got a bag of those $40 pecans and some $10 Bacon Bits.

The next day, I asked the lady who was drinking one of her $15 Dr. Peppers how it was, and amazingly, she said it tasted the same as it does when it costs $1.00.

Go figure.

This was a fun activity for all of us, and a great idea for you to try at home with your church. I'll even send some African bead necklaces and bracelets if you want to add them to your auction.

You might find it difficult to get people living in America to pay these prices for simple grocery store items...but you could always try.

We took up an offering at the end of the week, and that amount, added to our silent auction, ended up at close to $40,000. Isn't God amazing?

The reason I was thinking about this offering, is that the Lottie Moon "Christmas" offering officially closes for this fiscal year on May 31st. We are anxiously awaiting to see the final tally.

But this also means that on June 1st, you can start praying about what you will give for the next year.

I think I'll go eat some pecans and dream about Fritos and start praying about it myself!

The Rains Finally Came!

The rains are two months late.

Planting is late.

Everything is dry.

But on May 18th, God let it pour! It was several inches of much, needed rain.

It was a blessed sight the next day to see people digging up their gardens and preparing the soil for planting.

Then…it rained again and again.

I LOVE the smell of rain and the coolness and life it brings. How appropriate that Jesus is the “living water,” because He has a sweet fragrance, is refreshing to the soul and is THE life-giver.

Harvest will be late this year, but at least they will have one.

And of course, with the rain, came the termites.

The first night I could hear them hitting the back door, outside, underneath the light. I didn’t know how many there were until I saw their wings the next morning.

Patrick, our watchman, told me he had spent a lot of the evening catching them and pulling their wings off, so he could either eat them or take them home to his family.

As a side note, my friend Becky said that when a friend of hers came to visit in Uganda, he gathered up these wings and took them back and created beautiful works of art with them. I would love to see them.

The next day, we could hear the sounds of children around our home, calling the termites.

This is my first time to try to embed a video, so if this doesn't work, click HERE to see it on Youtube.

My children enjoyed collecting termites as well (although I didn't hear them singing this year). They collected during the afternoon around the house.

They mainly picked up ones that had lost their wings, but I'm glad to say that even the ones that still had their wings, they left intact. They were so excited when Patrick returned that evening. They ran to him with their containers, and handed him their treasures they had collected.

I heard him say, "Oh, these are the ones you don't cook. You just eat them."

One more reason I'm glad that when I ate termites at Florence's house, they were the kind you cook!

Patrick noticed as he walked around the back of the house that the dogs hadn’t eaten any of their food he had made that morning. I asked him if he thought they were okay or if they might be sick, and he said, “No, I think they got too full on termites last night.”

Who would have thought?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Having/Being Guests & Dancing

We had some wonderful guests come to see us from southern Uganda.

Becky Miller was at our church in Louisiana, and I went on my first mission trip to Africa with her.

Timo, the boy with Caleb on his shoulders, was a new friend to us, and Henry, the one between me and Becky, was my translator when I came to Uganda in 2007. It was a sweet reunion for all of us!

Later that afternoon, Jack, my piki driver, had our whole family over for a meal. We walked to their home, had a lovely visit, and we met everyone on the compound.

THEN...later that night, the girls had their dance performance.

Meg, sadly left May 17th, so this was their last time together.

She fixed their hair.

We put make-up on the girls.

Our friend Sherry let us borrow her house for the night, and she made homemade ice cream for the performance.

It was a lovely evening!

Can you Guess?

I'm sure it will be difficult to guess, but can you tell what my favorite animal in Africa is?

We had the pleasure of taking Lynn and Jan to Murchison Falls game park for one night.
And since we had been there once before, we gave them "the roof."
We put a mattress on top of the vehicle, and they got lots of great pictures.

Did I mention I like giraffes?

We also we blessed to see three lions. One male (our first to see) and two young females.

The male recently was caught in a trap and the park authorities had to amputate his back, left leg. I guess that's why it was a little easier to spot him, although I'm sure there are more males in the park.

We also wanted to experience the Nile River cruise again, so off we went.
Since I showed you hippos and wildlife last time, this time I'll show you family.

Caleb got to drive the boat...again.

It's something about that blonde hair...and the fact that he's a boy.

On a rock, near the Falls.

Caleb was the only one on the boat close enough for me to get pictures of.
Everyone else was up front.

He told me he wore all his camouflage so the animals couldn't spot him, and if they did see him, they would think he was "army," and would be scared away.

He feels sure that his clothes kept us safe from all the Nile crocodiles.

Easter and the End

OK, so I just thought I was finished with Kenya pictures. It's kind of a shame too, because I need to move on to other stuff that's been happening, but these are important...
for the grandparents...
so hang tight.

We had our picture taken twice at our meeting, so I'm passing these on to the folks back home. Family pictures are a rarity these days.

Easter morning.

When you are just hanging out at a retreat center, there doesn't seem to be a need for a new Easter outfit, we are.

I'm not sure Caleb has ever done an Easter egg hunt to remember one, but the volunteers arranged for one this year, and he made a haul, since he was the oldest in his age group.

I still think it's amazing that volunteers from America would come and spend Easter in Africa, away from their families and home churches...amazing!

Kylie and Emily inspecting their goodies. The elementary kids decorated pillow cases during the week, so they used those for egg hunting on Sunday morning.

Daddy helped lead worship, and Caleb sat close to the drummer every night. He loved watching Gavin play, and Gavin was nice to let him help one time.

At the mall in Nairobi where we went to find REAL tortilla chips (not Tostitos, but a close third or fourth), this was one of the paths you could walk across.

There were other options, but this one was there, too.

I marvel at these things, because I know in America, someone would get sued the minute a kid fell into the water, even though he could have taken another path.

It was tough, too. My little ones wanted to do it, but daddy had to help them get from one sidewalk to the other.

And I thought I would "wrap" up our Kenya experience with this sign.

Seen any like this lately where you live?

Yes, my husband did have the ostrich burger.

And, folks, it was pretty tasty.