Sunday, March 30, 2014

An Introvert In Africa

Broderick is an introvert in every sense of the word. 
I guess I always knew that, but it has become very clear this trip.
Remove everything familiar and comfortable from anyone and drop them in another country and it can be very difficult, especially for an introvert.
This boy has amazed me. 

Each day he pushes himself a little more.
I have loved catching little sweet, tender moments of him playing with the boys one on one.

He has done a wonderful job of doing what boys do with these children.
It has been such a blessing to watch him do things he is
uncomfortable with but knows he needs to do.
Nothing warms my heart more than to see him grow in who he is and who God created him to be.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

Everyday we drive from Mbale to Kibuku, about a 45 minute drive through the countryside of Uganda.  It is breath taking, I am not going to lie. 
Each day I see huts, beautiful children yelling "mzugu", woman walking for water, children walking to school with no shoes, men working in the fields, boys herding cattle, ladies with children strapped on their backs, naked babies playing in the dirt, and many people struggling to survive. 
These things I am beginning to get used to.
Some days I see things I have not seen before.  Like a crippled, elderly man crawling down a dirt road.  Or a man that had been riding his bike now laying on the side of the road because he has been hit by a car.  Or bull horns fresh from the bull being transported in a box on a bike. 
 Each day brings something new.  And those things I have not gotten used to.
Today, I watched 3 street orphans sit outside our car with nothing.  (they are had to see but they are in the picture above.)  The clothes they had on were filthy and torn.  They had no food.  And tonight as I sit in my comfy, cool, locked up room, I wonder where they are.  Did they ever find food or water?  Do they have a place to sleep?  Are they all huddled together to keep warm?  Are they afraid?
This is something I will never get used to.
No child should have to wonder where they will sleep, or how they will get food, or if someone is going to hurt them.  Today was a rough, heavy, emotional day.  (Don't get me wrong...there were great joyful moments.)  It ended with me sitting in the car in Mbale with 3 beautiful smiling faces looking back at me.  No where to call home, no one to call mom and no food to eat.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Africa Is On Her Now

What happens when you bring your children to Africa?
They fall in love!
It all started here...
Carys was helping Moses put his sweater on. (Yes, sweater.  As soon as it gets below 80 degrees they put on sweaters and coats!)  They have been buddies since!
When Rob came last March Moses wouldn't go anywhere near him. He cried all the time.  When we came in October, he was pretty much the same.  Rob got one picture of him smiling.
Yesterday, Carys bridged that gap with Moses and made a sweet connection.  Sylvia, the director of Ebenezer said, "Carys has changed Moses."

Look at the light in his eyes. 

Today they didn't leave each other.  Where she went he went.  Where he went she went.
We walked to check on the construction of the house and Carys wouldn't come unless Moses could. 

And then it happened.  She said, "Mom, how am I going to leave him?"
Wow...I told her, "It's going to hurt, and you are going to miss him.  Trust me...I know."
When it was time to leave she cried.  But it is was a different cry.  It wasn't a temper tantrum was a sad cry.  She really didn't want to leave him.
This girl has opened her heart big and God has filled it with love.  His love.
Africa is on her now too!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making a Difference Through Change

In October when Rob and I were in Uganda we met a family in the community near Ebenezer.

This is a grandmother and grandfather, with 2 adults and 8 children living in the hut behind them with no bed, no blankets and very little food.  Since we were here in October this family has been impressed on our hearts.  Before we came we talked and prayed about helping and really making a difference for one family in the community.  We were thinking food and maybe beds.  After discussing this with Broderick and Carys and thinking how we could help them, they decided they wanted to use the Change4Change money.  Rob and I contacted George to see if we could help them.  He said, "oh yes, we shall build them a house."  Yeah, okay...we were thinking some beds and food, but let's build a house! 

Today we visited the family and Broderick and Carys shared with them that they collected coins to raise money to build them a house! 

The moment was sweet, and joyous, and tearful all at the same time.  To know that children, friends and family are truly changing the life of a family here in Uganda is incredible!

If you are like me I am sure many of you who gave change were thinking if your change could really make a change ... ha, did you like that?  It does!  It is!  It will!  This family, these children, will have a better life because of some pennies you gave!  They will no longer sleep on the floor of a mud hut.  They will no longer worry about their home flooding when it rains.  And God used you to do that!

Keep watching because construction started today, so we will be updating as the house is completed.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Get a Few Things Out of the Way

There is a wonderful feeling that comes with waking up in Africa! I thankfully experienced this yesterday morning.  We arrived safely Saturday evening and had a wonderful surprise awaiting us at the airport.  Sylvia left Mbale at 3:00pm, took a taxi to Kampala, traffic was bad so around 7:00pm she hopped on a Boda-boda and finished her long journey to arrive at the airport around 10:00pm to surprise us!  Did you catch that . . . she traveled 7 hours just to surprise us by greeting us at the airport.  It was so wonderful to see her!  We woke up Sunday and had a lovely breakfast.  I was so pleased to see that our driver was using the Sole Hope van to cart us around in for a few days.  I literally walked out from breakfast and thought, "Great, we have a reliable van so this should be a smooth drive to Jinja."

We loaded up and hit the road.  About 30 minutes into the drive something happened and Paul could not shift the gears of the van.  He drove for a little while until the van stopped and wouldn't restart.  We were right in the middle of Kampala.  I felt in this moment that God was saying, "Hey Rob...that nice schedule you have that you spent hours on, can forget about it.  Oh and need to relax.  You do remember you are in Africa, right?"  Now I know he wasn't really saying this. But he was saying it, just a little more graciously. 

Rob, Paul and some kind Ugandans pushed the van onto the sidewalk in Kampala.  Paul talked to a mechanic.  Pause...I still haven't figured out how one of the guys that helped pushed the van was actually a mechanic.  Ok...back to the story.  They figured out what was wrong and started taking the van apart.  Yup, took it apart on the sidewalk.  I asked Paul how long this would take and he said, "40 minutes."  If you have been to Africa before you are already laughing because you know what this means.  We were NOT going to be back on the road in 40 minutes.  They were taking the van apart on the sidewalk remember.  4 hours later we were back in the car on our way to Jinja! 4 hours we just hung out on a corner in Kampala.  Let me clear something up for you...I didn't want to be anywhere near Kampala.  I didn't want to drive through Kampala.  Let alone spend 4 hours just sitting on the street corner.  God was making something very clear to Rob and I. 

Then last night we were laying in bed talking about our long day.  (After a fantastic visit with Kari and Jason and their family!)  And something hit me.  What if we missed the whole point of the breakdown.  What if I was so worried about being in Kampala and Rob was so worried about us being off schedule that we missed the blessing God had for us.  We saw street orphans and mothers with small children begging for food.  We had bags full of food that were donated to us to give out.  But we had a plan for them.  And my American mind said, if you start handing out food you will cause a big scene and many people will start coming.  Really!?  What did Jesus say to the disciples about feeding the crowd?  I am pretty sure he said feed them and then multiplied the food! 
Did God want us to do something and we didn't?  Could I have seen God multiply food?  Could I have helped save a child from starvation?  I have no clue, but I can tell you these questions have been reeling in my mind the last 24 hours. 
I have got to let this grip of fear on me loose, otherwise I will miss all God has planned.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Okay...So I Lied

No we are not in Uganda yet.  So I am sorry but I am posting again from the states.

Do you all remember me saying how important prayers are for this trip? 
They are.  And I know there are many of you praying....keep it up. 

Yesterday Carys woke up with a sore throat so I thought, I will send her to school and we will see how she is tomorrow and then go to the doctor if she is not better.  She didn't get better.  In fact she got worse.  She woke up at 3:00 am and her throat hurt really bad.  I sent her to school because she seemed okay this morning.  I called the doctor right at 8:00 and got her an appointment for 11:40. 

All morning I was praying and listening to worship music.  (The new Rend Collective, The Art of Celebration to be exact.  So, so good!)  I was having a great morning.  I was pushing back all negative thoughts about what could go wrong before tomorrow.  I just kept hearing God say, "Take the next step in front of you.  Don't worry what the next five are."  So that is what I did.

When I got to school to pick Carys up for her appointment the secretary said, "Broderick is in the clinic with a fever."  I just laughed.  I mean seriously, what else could I do? Thankfully I already had a doctors appointment.  We got to the doctor and she was so kind and gracious to check out both kids because she knows we are leaving tomorrow.  It turns out Carys has strep.  The doctor said Broderick's throat looked fine but due to his high fever she was thinking he had the H1N1 flu.  She was just going to give me Tamiflu without doing the test.  I really wanted to get the test because I know myself and I would be so worried about all of us getting the flu while gone.  Thankfully she decided to do a strep test on Broderick just to be sure.  Well guess what...he has strep too!  I was so glad it was not the flu.  Now they both are on antibiotics.  By the time we actually get to Africa they should be feeling better.

Here's what I need you to pray for.  That even with lack of sleep, traveling and time changes the Lord will boost all of our immune systems.  I don't want to be worrying about illness while we are gone.  That being said, I know God is sovereign in all of this.  I know that.  The truth is though I really struggle with worrying about my kids health.  I know God has BIG things planned for us and I don't want my doubt and worry to cloud that.  I read this quote today, "I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse." Philip Yancey.  I have seen this played out first hand in a friends life this week.  I have no doubt that in a few days/weeks I will look back on this and see God's sovereign hand.  I already have.  I mean let's be honest...they could have gotten sick in 2 days instead of today. 

Thank you all so much and please don't stop praying!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last Post from the USA

We are in the home stretch now people! 
4 days left! 
4 days! 
It seems like it was just 40 days.  Oh my...we are all so excited.  I don't know how the kids are going to focus at school this week.  They ask me everyday if we can just leave tomorrow.  I can't wait until it is Thursday and I can tell them we do get to leave tomorrow.

A few things you all can be praying about...
1.  That all our luggage gets there with no problem.  We have a lot of bags and a lot of donations. 
2.  Safety
3.  Health
4. Wisdom on how we can best serve Ebenezer and the community of Kibuku
5. Ultimately that God's name will be glorified.  This is the whole purpose of us going on this trip.

Today I cashed in all the change the kids have collected from friends, family, school and church. 
Are you ready for this!?
The total is...


I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people to the kids fund raising efforts.  They are feeling shocked and surprised as well.  Thank you so much!

Hey time I post, I will be in Uganda!  EEEHHH!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Do the KIND Thing

Just when I think God is done lavishing His goodness, He shows up again.  And this time it is in a HUGE way.  Well, it is ALWAYS in a huge way.  I guess this one just really shocked me!

Rob works in the food industry and they work with a company called KIND.  If you are not familiar with them they sell healthy AND tasty snack bars and other healthy snacky things.  While selling snacks is a big part of their business they focus on making the world a better place one KIND act at a time.  Part of their motto is, "There is more to business than just profit."  Who doesn't want to stand behind a company like that?  (If you want to look more into their focus visit their website.  And then go buy some KIND bars!)

I tell you all that because each month they choose around 25 "projects" to be part of a contest to win $10,000.  Rob nominated the building project at Ebenezer a few months back.  They were selected to be part of the contest for March!!!!  I mean seriously!?  It is so simple to help in this way.  All you have to do is vote!  I am going to break it down step by step for you so you can help Ebenezer win $10,000 so they can be on their way to building a new school!

1. Go to this link
2. Click on vote with a kind act. (you will have to sign in through Facebook.)
3. It will then ask you what your kind act will be...choose one.
4. You can add 3 votes clicking on the twitter share button, the Facebook share button and the email share button.  That is a total of 4 votes!

If everyone votes and shares this every day we can win!  It appears to me that you can vote with a kind act each day, but can only do the email, twitter, and Facebook once.  Either way, please vote as many times as you can each day!  Rob and I do not know enough people to be able to win this, so we really need you to also share on your Facebook page, email everyone you know and beg for their help.  There is really no easier way to help raise money. 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I have a full table and a full heart!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the donations!
Thank you, thank you thank you for standing with us!
Now start praying we can fit it all in 4 bags!
Also pray for each child and care giver that will be receiving these items.