Saturday, March 28, 2015


I have known for a long time that there are many people in the world that do not have these common luxuries that I do.  To know that people walk long distances for water is one thing.  To drive past people every day walking for water is another.  To actually walk and get water is completely different.
Ebenezer home has a very shallow well with water that they use for washing clothes.  They also have a tap…think like the water in your back yard that you hook a hose up to.  This is “city” water.  They pay for it and somehow it runs on electricity…I guess…if the power is out they cannot get water from this tap.  The power has been out for at least 5 days.  Which means Ebenezer has only had easy access to the water in the shallow well for the last 5 days.  Today we were getting ready to leave Ebenezer and come back to our guest house when I caught word that some of the Aunties and older children were walking to the well to get water so the children could take a bath.  I walked over to Rob and said, “We have a van.  Why don’t we just put the cans in the van and drive down and get the water and bring and back.”  He had already suggested this to George and George’s reply was, “this is what we do.”  His response only meant one thing…I was walking with the Aunties and children to get water.  I grabbed two cans and started my first ever walk for water. 

Before I go any further let me say, I am not going to be able to give you every detail or articulate what this journey was truly like. I also did not take any pictures.  I wanted to experience getting the water, not be busy taking pictures, which makes the story telling harder.  Here is my best shot....
The walk there was not that bad.  I am guessing close to a mile, which really isn’t that far.  There was a storm in the distance so it was windy and cloudy.  We got to the well and there was a long line to get the water.  Somehow, we ended up going behind where the well was to these troughs that were filled up with water through a pipe in the ground.  After the cans were filled Sylvia paired the children up to walk back with one can…they would take turns carrying it.  Amber and I grabbed our two cans, weighing close to 20 pounds each, and started back.  We weren’t 50 yards into the walk when we had to stop and take a break.  We continued walking and stopping about every 50 yards until we got about halfway back to Ebenezer.  At that point Rob and the kids pulled up in our van because it was getting late and we needed to leave.  By now we had been gone to get water for an hour and a half.  So her and I, reluctantly, got in the van with our 4 cans and drove them back to Ebenezer.  While the rest of the Aunties and the children walked the rest of the way.  Did you read that!?  I got in a van with my water cans and was driven back to where they needed to be while the other children walked.  I can’t get over that.  I had the option to get in a car with my water.
Let me make a few things clear…
This is abnormal for Ebenezer to have to go and fetch water.  However, if these children did not live here…this would be their everyday life.
One can of water was enough for two baths.  Two baths!  So if I were a Ugandan woman (which let me just tell you…I am not even close!) I would spend anywhere from 2-3 hours a day walking to get water…but only enough for two baths!  So if I wanted to cook or drink it I would have to go multiple times.  Blows my mind.
I knew before we left for this trip I was going to learn a lot….I never expected to learn firsthand like I did today.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Some Days Are Just Fun

Some days are really the last post. 

But some days are just plain fun!  Today was one of those days. 

It started off with market shopping which is one of my favorite things to do.  The first time I ever did it, I was terrified and didn't want to get out of the I love it!

Once we got to Ebenezer it was a day of playing.  First for me...We walked to the "restaurant" down the road from Ebenezer for chapati.  Then Amber and I took the kids on a Boda Boda ride (this is a motorcycle taxi).  We went out to the main road, hailed a boda...which really meant we had to tell a bicyclist to ride into town and send 2 Bodas back for us, then took the kids into town to get a soda and brought them back to Ebenezer.  Her and I then continued the ride through the African fun!  I got to see part of the community surrounding Ebenezer that I had never seen.  It was truly

We spent the afternoon playing with the children at Ebenezer.  We read books, colored, jumped rope, played soccer, sang songs...just laughed and had fun. 

Today gave me hope.  I really saw how far Ebenezer has come since Rob first visited 2 years ago and I first visited a year and a half ago.  While there are still needs there is a lot of good happening.  Today I was coloring with a little girl that I saw laying under a hut very, very sick.  Now she is healthy and smiling.  I watched the kids eat eggs with porridge and some cabbage with their lunch...thanks to the nutrition fund I posted about a few days ago.  I heard children laughing that 2 years ago did nothing but cry.  I saw children going to school that were not in school a few months ago.  This community and these children have a chance at a future.  They too have hope.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sometimes It Hits Me...Hard

We show up at Ebenezer around 9:00 am every day.  The work there has been well underway.  I immediately get out of the car and walk to the “kitchen” to tell my new friends, the school cooks, good morning.  Then I walk myself to a chair under the shade tree and watch what is happening around me.  I see preschool children in their classes learning and singing. I see a 3 year old boy skipping class so he can come say hello to the Mzungu children.  I see a 15 year old down syndrome boy smiling from ear to ear and walking my way.  All while I continue to watch my new friends cook over an open fire for about 100 students.   What are they making?  Porridge.  Around 10:00 each morning the children get porridge.  As I watched them cook it, I thought, “I am going to help them serve it today.”  I have done this before.  Every time I have been here.  For every meal I have been here.  I have always loved bringing the children their cup of porridge or bowl of rice and beans.  But today I wanted to help serve it…not just walk it to the children.  I asked Christine If I could help and with her beautiful smile and thick Ugandan accent she said, “yes.”  So I stood next to her and scooped a cup of porridge into another cup and handed it to a child.  About 5 minutes into it she looked at me and said, “These children get half.”  Half?  She meant half a cup.  So I started filling the cups halfway.  I am looking into a bucket of porridge and then up at a sweet face and thinking, “I am giving you half a cup of flour and water.”  Half a cup.  Of flour and water.  I swallowed back tears, hugged my sweet Evelyn and prayed for those children.  I filled every cup until each child had their porridge.  I then turned around to see another cook mixing flour and water over the fire…lunch.  Lunch is not porridge though.  It is Posho…a different kind of flour than porridge and thicker. 


I started to walk towards Rob and the kids and Broderick stopped me and said, “Mom, can I have a snack?  I am hungry.” I leaned down to his ear and I said, “Bud, you are not hungry.  When I feed you flour and water for breakfast and lunch everyday of your life we can talk about you being hungry.  You just want a snack.”  He had no clue what he had really just said and he certainly had no clue that it was taking every ounce of my being to not be sobbing.  I walked to Rob and explained to him the emotion going on in me.  He asked why it hit me today when I have seen the children eat this many, many times.  I didn’t and still don’t really have an answer.  I just can’t get out of my head that these children eat flour and water 2-3 times a day every single day.  Don’t get me wrong…they are eating…2-3 times a day.  And it is better than most of the children living in the village.  If those kids weren’t coming to school or living at Ebenezer they probably wouldn’t be getting anything…honestly.  I just look into their sweet, sweet eyes and think, “You deserve more.  You deserve more.”

From the very first time I have come here God has tugged at my heart regarding what these children eat.   So much so that after my first trip, I talked to Diana from Equip 1 about a “Supplemental Nutrition Plan” for the children living at Ebenezer.  All this means is we would send extra money each month to supplement some food…fruits, vegetables, chicken, eggs.  Healthy, good stuff.  For about a year now each month Equip 1 sends money for this.  I was talking to Sylvia today about what they are eating and she shared with me that they usually get fruit and/or vegetables a few times a week and an egg a day.  I was happy to hear that because that is better than what it was a year ago.  My prayer is that by next year they will be eating fruit or vegetables with each meal and meat at least a few times a week if not every day.  If you are interested in partnering with us and Equip 1 to feed these children please visit Equip 1 Ministries, click on the donate online button, and select Ebenezer Supplemental Nutrition fund.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Here We Go Again

After 24 hours of air travel, a night in a hotel with almost zero sleep, and a full day of road travel we made it to Mbale.  That trip is long and hard...but the second I see those beautiful brown faces and squeeze those precious hands it is all worth it. 

We spent Sunday, our first day at Ebenezer, doing church with them and visiting with the children, George and Sylvia.  Church was always.  There is nothing like African church.  I love when they sing and worship.  It is nothing short of joyful!  They sing and clap and dance and laugh.  They worship with no abandon.  Beautiful.  And...I had a precious 4 year old boy fall asleep on me during the preaching.  Makes my heart happy! 

After church we sat under a shade tree (it was freaking HOT!) while the children sat on our laps, held our hands and stared at us.  Later in the day we taught them "Ring Around the Rosie" and "Duck, duck, goose."  They loved it....they just laughed and laughed.  They caught on very quickly to the games and just wanted to keep playing them.  I showed them pictures on my phone of our life back home.  I would show one child and the rest of them would say, "Now do me Aunt Amy, now do me!" 

Carys was reunited with Moses, which was such a blessing.  He saw her and was a little shy at first, but then just grinned!  Such a sweet, sweet moment.

Broderick has been enjoying playing with the little boys and the baby girls.  He is so sweet to them.

Today was another full day of visiting the school, singing and dancing with the children.  We went into Kibuku town for a few minutes and met some of the children that live there.  George told us they have never seen mzungu (white) children before.  We gave them some of the snacks we had which they really liked.

Rob and I are learning this trip (and leading up to this trip) to ask a lot of questions and learn more about the culture here.  Our driver is great to talk to these things about.  We ask him about families, jobs, government, food, and a bunch of "dumb American questions".  He gets a good laugh out of us!

I am try to spend time each day with at least one of the women.  Yesterday I met Ester...she is a student at Suubi Works (go to the link and check out what they do...Amazing!) and she is learning Tailoring.  She is a sweet young woman doing her best to make a better life for herself and children.  Today I met Christine...she is the cook for the Ebenezer school.  She has twin boys, 7, and lives in the village by Ebenezer.  I sat with her and shelled G- nuts (peanuts) and asked her questions.  She told me she loves Mountain Dew...HA!  I can't wait to bring her one...she can drink Mountain Dew and I will drink Novida and we will learn about each other.

A few things I want to share with you and dad, don't freak out!  I have shared with you all before that a lot of times I operate out of fear.  Our first trip here I wouldn't even get out of the van in town or shop in the market.  This trip I have already, gone into the grocery store once by myself and once just me and the kids, and I walked from the school back to the orphanage by myself!  HUGE milestone people.  God has done an enormous work on  me in the department of fear.  Still to come...another boda (motorcycle) ride through the Ugandan bush!

I am going to be honest with you all...the first couple days here were a little confusing.  I kept thinking, "why am I here?  Why are we doing this again? What is the point?"  I felt in over my head. Today, it all began to make sense.  I came home this evening and remembered my best friend (she gets here tomorrow!  I can not wait!) had given me a card to open today so I opened it.  By the grace of  God it was exactly what I needed.  All it said was...

Further and further my heart moves away from the shore
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am yours
Then you crash over me and I've lost control but I am free
I'm going under
I'm in over my head
And you crash over me,
I'm where you want me to be
I'm going under,
I'm in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I'm
Beautifully in over my head.

It brought tears to my eyes.  I thought...Yes! that is it!  I started the first few days feeling in over my head, but today I feel beautifully in over my head.  I will spend the rest of my days here allowing Him to lead me further and further away from the shore, letting Him crash over me and be beautifully in over my head.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Today is the day people!  We board a plane once again to visit a place and people we love and care deeply about. 

Preparing for this trip has been a little different than the 2 prior trips to Africa.  The first time we decided 5 weeks before to go so there wasn't a whole lot of time to prepare.  And since it was just Rob and I going I spent most of my time preparing to leave the kids for 10 days. The second time we went, the kids first time, I spent most of my time preparing to take 2 kids along.  This time, though, since we have all been, and because I hadn't before, I made a conscience effort to prepare my heart, mind and soul for whatever God has in store.  I can not tell you what a blessing this has been. 

One thing has been the same (besides the packing, and checking, and rechecking)...each trip the Lord has given me a song, an Anthem.  A song that I can listen to and pray through.  A song that speaks to what God is going to do.  A song that speaks to what God is doing.  A song that encourages me.  This year the song is "In Over My Head" by Bethel.

I have listened to it about 100 times in the last week.  Whenever I start worrying...I turn it on.  Whenever I feel the urge to pray about the trip...I turn it on.  Whenever I am getting overwhelmed...I turn it on.  I let the words just wash over me.  Some of my favorite lines...

"I'm full but I'm not satisfied. This longing to have more of you."

"I'm standing knee deep but I'm out where I've never been."

"Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put you in."

"Further and further my heart moves away from the shore.  Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am yours."

"You crash over me and I've lost control but I'm free."

(sigh)  So good.  So, so good.  I just pray those lyrics over myself and let the Spirit crash over me.

Okay friends!  I will talk to you from Africa next time!!!  xoxoxo

Thursday, March 12, 2015


A lot of people at the beginning of the year have a word that they focus on for the year.  It's kind of like the new trendy thing...instead of a new year's resolution you pick a word.  I never intended to do this.  I didn't really see the point in just picking a word.  However, studying the Bible these past couple months and memorizing scripture I feel God continually highlighting a word.  When I am reading His word it jumps off the page at me.  Or when I am listening to a song it's louder than all the other words.  Steadfast.  The Bible continually talks about God's steadfast love, and that He is our only steadfast.  Seems catchy, right.  That's what I thought at first..."cool word, not really one we use a lot these days." Then is kept showing up.  So I looked up it's meaning.

Steadfast: Resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

Good definition. Seems like a good way to describe God and His love for us.  But what I really love are the synonyms...

loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated, dependable, reliable, constant, solid

That is how God describes His love for us committed, dependable, constant.  And then asks us to be steadfast in return...dedicated, devoted, faithful.

There are times in this journey I am on with the Lord I do not feel like being steadfast.  It's hard.  He asks me to do things that I really don't want to do.  He calls me places I don't want to go.  He sheds light on the dark places of my heart and asks me to change to look more like Him.  All these things can become very wearisome.  But then...I remember, STEADFAST. 

"By day the Lord commands His steadfast love and at night His song is with me.  A prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." Psalm 13:5

"For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness." Psalm 26:3

"He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in Him." Isaiah 26:3

"Create in me a clean heart God and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

I can't be steadfast and do this life on my own.  I must keep my eyes on Him.  He is the one that is steadfast.

PS. We take our first malaria pill today.  Do you know what that means!? We leave in 1 WEEK!!!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Should I Laugh It Off or Cry It Out

It started yesterday morning...

"Mom, my throat really hurts."

I knew...I knew right then what was happening.  Carys had strep.  Before bed she was crying that her belly hurt and her throat was so sore.  I prayed for her and told her to go to sleep she would feel better in the morning.  At 10:30 I woke up to moaning coming from her room.  I went into check on her and she wasn't even awake.  She was swallowing and then moaning.  Poor heart broke.  Around 1:30 she came into my room crying that her throat and belly hurt.  We slept on the couch.  When it was time to get ready for school I tried my hardest to get her ready and force her to go.  I was trying to convince myself there was no way she had strep.  After a brief moment of frustration I gave in and told her to stay home.  Around 10:00 the doctor confirmed what I had suspected....a positive strep test. 

I know what you all are thinking..."who cares?  it's strep.  Get an antibiotic and get over it."  I hear you.  The thing is, last year, the day before we left for Africa both the kids came down with strep.  My kids have NEVER had strep until last year. Coincidence? I don't believe in them.  Nothing happens outside of the sovereignty of God...NOTHING. 

He is all-powerful.
He is good.
He is loving.
He is God and He is in control....of it all!

Leading up to this trip I have been struggling with anxiety...this is an area in my life God has done huge works.  However, I feel the temptation to let my mind wander to worry and doubt.  The thing that is most consuming my thoughts is that someone is going to get really sick while we are gone.  All this sickness before we leave is not helping.  I ask you to not only pray for the health of us all leading up to our departure, but that I would "take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Thanks friends...We will be touching down in Uganda in exactly 2 weeks!!!!!!