Thursday, March 29, 2012

Because of Easter? Really?

So Doug was gone for a little over a week to Congo, and the kids and I fared pretty well.

Doug’s second night away, our guard Jeremiah was back for his VERY FIRST night on the job since his foot accident.  Patrick had a funeral to go to, so Jeremiah filled in.  He still can’t ride his bike, so he walked to our house for the night watch.  He lives quite a few miles out in a village, so I couldn’t believe it when he showed up walking on his recently injured foot.

I told him that on Sunday morning, I would be up early to call him a boda (motorcycle taxi) so he could get home for church.  He looked grateful.  At 7:30am, I called the taxi, and then I went out to tell him.

He was not ready to go.  He said he needed some pliers because some thieves had tried to break into our compound the night before and he needed to repair the fence.

"Oh.  Really?"

I told him he could wait until he returned that evening, but he said, “No.”  (And secretly, I was so thankful).

The thieves had cut through our neighbors fence, who really don’t care too much about safety, and they leave their gate open all night.  And then the thieves walked over to our fence, and cut it all the way down.

It was around 3am, and Jeremiah heard our dog, Lee, barking down by the latrine.  I’m not sure Jeremiah ever saw who was there.  I think Lee had them scared and running by then. 

That dog deserves a steak!

When I came back with two pairs of pliers, Jeremiah had a spool of wire to re-wire the chainlink fence back together, and some friends.

All the neighborhood watchmen, whom we love, were there to help him.

Kylie watching them inspect the damage

Sunday, Geoffrey, and Joel were already helping Jeremiah when Jack pulled up on the boda to take Jeremiah home.  I told Jack what they were doing and he would have to wait a bit, and then next thing you know, Jack was helping, too.

The sight made me smile, so I took a picture of these guys who care so much.

From left:  Sunday, Joel, Geoffrey, Jack, and Jeremiah.  Pulling the barb wire tighter and re-attaching it.

When Alice found out, she said, “There are many thieves around.  They are breaking in everywhere, because it is so close to Easter.”

She said it so matter of factly, but I wanted to say so badly, “You mean to say, to celebrate my Savior dying and rising from the dead, these thieves find it necessary to steal so they can get money to buy meat and new clothing for Easter?”

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking somebody’s missing out on the “reason for the season.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

5 + 1 = 6

 Well, if you haven’t already heard, we are expecting our fourth child, another blessing, another arrow for our quiver.

To answer your questions, “October 15, Kenya, and no.”

Just kidding. 

I’m due October 15th.
I will deliver in Kenya.
No, we are not going to find out what it is.

I have been feeling pretty rough, but I’m trying to get some exercise, which I never did with any of the other three.  My brain is racing with all the things that will be different about raising a baby in Africa versus suburban America.  I'm only 3 months along, so I still have some time to think about things.

I flew to Kampala a couple of weeks ago to have some blood work done because I had been feeling unusually bad (migraines causing nausea, in addition to my already daily nausea).  I am now on an altered diet, and my headaches have decreased in number.

Doug drove the kids down to see me while I was in Kampala and we decided to tell them there, because they were pretty concerned about my health.

We took them out to eat and showed them this math problem:

They got the answer but were having trouble with the meaning, so we gave them the gifts we had bought them:  baby bottles and pacifiers.   Kylie's eyes lit up.

All three of them are SO excited.  Kylie cried.  I cried with her.  Karis was already imagining playing “momma” and talking about what she would teach it,  and Caleb said about the balloon in his hand, “I can keep this until the baby’s born and then tie it on his foot and he’ll be able to move his foot up and down and play with it.”

There personalities are so distinct!

I don’t want to make this a blog where I talk only about my pregnancy, but I just wanted you to know, because it will come up from time to time.  And then #4 will probably get a fair share of press, too.  But what it means for you now and in the future, is that I will be going to bed earlier at night.  THAT means that the late hours I usually spend answering emails and writing blogs will be cut in half, so you might have to wait longer for a response or a blog (if you get one at all).  You know how it is….zzzzzzzzz.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Prison Praises

When we visited the prison on March 8 and March 22, so many women had been released.  Your prayers are helping these women.   I miss them, but I am SO glad they are free from those walls.

Also, on March 8, Florence talked to them about the denomination whose pastor told them to play no music until Easter.  She assured them that in that very church, every Sunday, they played instruments and sang, even during Lent.

The women had a long discussion between themselves.  It only got a little heated, and the next thing I knew, they had pulled out the three drums, the shakers, and EVERY single person was dancing and jumping as we sang.  Music really can bring joy to the soul.

I had visitors from southern Uganda with me that day, and they told me they could even feel how joyful these women were and what a wonderful time of worship and celebration they had had with these women.

Other praises:

*  One woman who had told us her file had been "lost," so she had no way to get out, informed us that her file was "found."  Interesting, huh?

Several more have "lost" files we are praying for.  You can pray, too, for them to be "found."  (I'm sure money will have to be involved somewhere).

*  They are so appreciative of the white T-shirts from that middle school in Arkansas because they have something clean to wear when they go to court.

*  I was walking through a neighbor's yard last week for a short-cut, and I saw a face that I recognized, but I had never seen her at this house before.  She recognized me and smiled, and when I saw the smile, I knew I was seeing Irene from the prison.  She's out.  She has a long hair weave now, and she's my neighbor.  Fun, huh?

*  One lady, "F," confessed two weeks ago that she was dreaming some awful dreams and hadn't slept in three days.  Since some young people read this blog, I will just say that her dreams involved her and dogs.  Enough said.   My friends from the south, prayed over her in Jesus' name, and she has since told us that since we prayed, she has been sleeping fine.  Praise Jesus!

I missed going to the prison on the 15th, because I was in Kampala.

That is a story for another blog.

Thanks for keeping these women in your prayers.  They are so thankful!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hard Soil of Their Hearts

March 1, 2012

There was singing again today at the prison with no joy, no drums, and no dancing.

We covered three stories today in the books I am using:  Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41, The Four Soils (Mark 4:2-20), and Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night (John 3: 1-21).

When I asked if any of them had ever been in a storm in life, they all said, “No,” because they were thinking of being in a boat in the water.  When Florence explained it wasn't just boat storms, we talked about how their storms could be prison, sick kids, not having enough food to feed their family, etc.  They all nodded.

They really listened when I said that Jesus could give them peace in the storm, just like He did for the disciples.  I told them that everyone has storms.  If they got out of prison thinking their storms were over, they still wouldn’t have peace, because Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble, but do not fear, I have overcome the world.”

When we spoke about the four soils, they said their hearts were either the hard road, where Satan came and snatched away the Word or they were the soil with thorns and the worries of the world were choking the Word out.

Over and over, as they raised their hands to talk about what kind of soil they were, I repeatedly heard, “I’m always doing bad.  I can’t ever do good.”

Well, let me tell you about the thief on the cross... 

These ladies think they have to be “good” before they can come to Christ, and I reminded them that the thief just confessed his belief that Jesus was the Christ while hanging on the cross, and Jesus said, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”  There was no baptism, no confirmation, only complete trust in Jesus.

I am so thankful that Jesus takes us just as we clean-up necessary!

Today was the first day I believe the ladies, when hearing how to become a believer in Christ, really chewed on it and sat with serious thought.  

Be praying for them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't lose your lunch...warning!

One morning at the end of February, when Jeremiah was preparing to ride his bike home after guarding the compound all night, he had a "little" mishap.

He got off his bike at the last minute and ran to wash his hands at the tap behind the house.

Unfortunately, he fell in a drainage ditch that runs around our house.

This ditch could EASILY break an ankle or shin bone, but instead, his foot, caught on a nail sticking out of the cement, and it ripped his foot open.

I could hear Doug saying, "Oh my.  I think you are going to need stitches."

But when I saw it, I could hardly believe my eyes.

 A nail?  Really?

I ran for the camera while Jeremiah was sitting so calmly trying to wrap his foot with a dirty rag.

I told him I would get him a clean one, but he said he didn't want... shock, I imagine.

Anyway, I made lots of phone calls to try to find the best place for him to go, because I do not trust the city's hospital.

The mayor's wife recommended a clinic, and after her husband made a call, Doug was off and running.

No one was there when Doug arrived, so he went looking for them.  After 15 minutes, Jeremiah was getting some attention.

His foot was stitched and wrapped, and Doug took him home.

In the meantime, the neighbor's guard was concerned, so I showed him the picture.

Then, he wanted to show the ladies across the way.

Then the guard across the street came over, and he wanted to see.

You should have heard all the "tsk, tsks" and "oohs."  But of course, you probably did the same thing, right?

I will only admit this once, but while I was crossing the street after showing the women, I got light-headed and had to sit down after I entered my gate.  I nearly fainted.

Three days later, Doug had to take him to change his bandages and check the stitches.  I sent the camera with him. 


 No air had gotten to the cut, and there was dried blood everywhere.

Plus, for the first time, I saw a picture of the stitches.   Look at the size of those things!!!


THEN, the next day...they took the stitches out!!  Do they take out stitches that quickly in the States??  I've never had stitches, so I don't know.  (I know after looking at the pictures why...the skin was growing over the strings).

Anyway, Doug had taken the camera again, and he took more pictures.


Surprise, surprise!  As you might have guessed, he had an infection, so they gave him a shot.  Doug also had to help the nurse wrap his foot because she didn't know how.


Then Doug was told to bring him in the next three days for a shot each day.

By the way, I did not send the camera with Doug anymore after this.

I think we all get the idea.

We are more than happy to help Jeremiah recover, but it would also be nice to have complete trust in our medical care here.

Also, Patrick has done an amazing job watching the compound every night.  We haven't had a day guard, but we are doing fine, and Jeremiah's spirits are great.

You can pray for him (if you aren't in the bathroom throwing up)!

A few days combined

Well, here's one way to "catch up" on blogging.  

Reduce and combine.

February 9, 2012  “Addressing”

Doug was in town in the car, so he dropped Florence and I off today at the prison.  We didn’t see any prisoners, so Doug said he would wait until he saw that we were in. 

We saw a guard outside, and she told us the prisoners were “dressing” over at the men’s prison.  

We got back in the car, and I told Doug, I guess the ladies are trying on new uniforms because the guard said they are "dressing."

Florence said, “No.  She said, ‘Addressing.’”

It reminded me of Martyr’sDay all over again.

February 16, 2012

We told more stories today about the teachings and power of Jesus.  They answered my questions, but they had none of their own.  I think they were burdened with prayer requests and concersn.

The prayer requests were heavy: 
*dead relatives
*dead spirits visiting them in prison
*dreams of husband beating her children who are back home
*crying because she doesn’t know who is taking care of her children
*the judge has not shown up for any court dates in over three months
*wants revenge on her enemies
*dreamed her two children were nailed to a cross
*children sick at home

February 24, 2012

Today started off very subdued.  They told us since it was Lent, they were “feeling it with Jesus,” so they would not dance or play drums while they sang.  It was so sad sounding.

I wanted them to celebrate because Jesus is Alive, but alas, it sounded like we were at a funeral.

We talked about the demon-possessed man today (Mark 5:1-20).  I could tell a point of interest when a woman asked, “Did the demons really leave when Jesus told them to?”

The ladies enjoyed the discussion over the pigs.  One lady from another faith said, “We don’t eat pig meat because Jesus sent the demons in them and made them unclean.”  Florence said, “If you believe Jesus had the power to send the demons into the pigs, why don’t you believe in Jesus?”

The ladies thought that was funny, and they laughed and clapped.

When they got quiet again, I told them that the Bible says it’s not what goes in you that makes you unclean.  It’s what comes out of you (Matthew 15:11)...actions, words, etc.

They clapped, and said they really liked that, too.  Then the lady who started the conversation said, “I have facts.  Now I can eat pig!”

When the discussion was over, there was immediate sadness and downcast looks over the whole room.  Florence asked the ladies, “Why are you so sad today?  Some of you look angry, and some of you so beaten down.  Is it the heat?  Your health?  Your families?”

One lady spoke for them all:

“We’re sad because we’re in prison!”

Oh, how they need the freedom of Christ!