Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Philippians 1:6

Saturday was our last day out in the village.  I was able to spend the entire day with Winnifred, Sunday,  and Tonny.  This is the day we walked to the dam.  After we got back from our long walk I spent the rest of the day with Winnifred.  Although we play a lot, I feel like every minute can be used to teach her something about our amazing creator.  I feel like I have so much more to show Winnifred and teach her.  It is hard having to leave her but I am confident that Jesus will carry on what He started to completion and he does not need me to do that.  I have just been so overwhelmed that He has allowed me to be apart of what He is doing in the lives of these people and I have been there to experience it and see how big my God is.  Winnifred and I read the Bible together and I showed her different things that have meant a lot to me.  I love sitting there with her in her hut going through scripture and her truly wanting to learn.  I was there with her until a few hours before dinner.  I needed to go back and pack my stuff up since we would be leaving early the next morning.  Winnifred and I said goodbye, did our handshake, and gave each other huge hugs.  She pretty much tackled me! Before I left she said "Kasey, I promise I will read my Bible every morning and every night and I will pray for you everyday that you will stay safe and nothing bad happens to you."  My heart was full of joy and I just gave her a huge hug and a letter I had written her!
I then walked to Sunday and Tonny's house.  Tonny had left to go into town, but Sunday was sitting there outside his house.  He did not even want to look at me because he was so sad that we were leaving.  He was definitely not his usual, funny self.  He said that he does not want to be funny right now because we would be leaving soon.  I sat down and talked to him for a little while.  It broke my heart to see him how he was.  When I left we exchange letters and Emma came and got her letter from him.  We walked back to the house and a few minutes later Sunday was there at the gate telling us he just really does not want us to leave and how upset he was.  We told him to come back when Tonny got back from town.   After dinner Sunday and Tonny were at the gate.  Tonny said he had no words to describe how he was feeling about us leaving.  At one point we had talked about me not having any brothers in my family and he told me that I now have 2 brothers in Uganda and in Christ.  He said that he has felt like we have become so close in the past month and how he feels like the four of us have become best friends.  He said that he has learned so much from us and is so glad that we took the time to get to know them.  Tonny said that he would be praying for a way for us to get back because he knows that it will happen if it is suppose to.  Both him and Sunday were so sweet and I am really going to miss them.  I will definitely have to make a trip back! Leaving Uganda truly feels like I am leaving family.  We have spent everyday with these people, living life with them for an entire month.  God has truly blessed me being here and I have learned so much!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

yeah yeah yeah

It has been so fun hanging out with the people here.  Over the past few weeks I feel like I have become so close to these people.  At the beginning all the kids were on their best behavior but over time we have watched them become more and more comfortable around us.  Simon told me one day last week that Winnifred and him will miss me so much when I leave because I have basically become apart of their family which is definitely how I feel.
One day this past week Jerica and I went to pick the kids up from school and Sunday decided he wanted to walk there with us.  The weather was getting to be bad and Sunday kept telling us it was about to start pouring and we needed to go back before we got wet.  The Ugandans are very concerned about us being out in the rain and getting wet.  They also do not like when we get dirty.  We told Sunday we were fine and that we would be ok.  As soon as we picked Winnifred and the others up it started to rain.  All of us ran the whole way home.  Winnifred did not have shoes on so I let her get on my back and we ran back to her house in the rain.  Irene (Winnifreds cousin) was not home so we went to look for her and found her at Conseys.  After a little while we decided we should be going back home since it was raining so hard.  All the kids followed us.  We ended up playing in the streets of Uganda in the rain.  We danced, raced, sang and had so much fun!  I have not laughed that hard in a long time.  It felt so good to enjoy something so simple.  Though life here is so simple for these people, they make the most of it and enjoy every moment!
Tonny and Sunday have been telling Emma and I that we have to see the dam before we leave.  It is where the water comes from that flows into the stream behind the village and runs all the way into town and is their water source.  We agreed that before we left we would go.  Today was the day.  We have been asking them how long it would take to get there and the time has changed every time.  Once it was two hours, once it was 30 minutes, once it was an hour, so we just did not know.  Ugandans are not very good with time.  They say something is close but it is actually hours away.  When we told Consey we were going she looked at us like we were crazy and told us it was very very far.  But, we decided to go anyway.  Emma, Elizabeth, Tonny, Sunday, Barbra, a few other kids and I started off for this dam they have been talking about.  We had such a good time hanging out and walking together.  We were definitely experiencing Uganda.  I truly feel so content being here and have become best friends with so many of these people.  I feel like I have known them forever.  The dam ended up only being 30 minutes away.  It ended up being just a little pond but it was definitely pretty just like everything else here.  It was surrounded by a gate with a sign that prohibited anyone from entering.  Tonny and Sunday acted like they go in all the time and hang out but in reality they had never actually done it before.  They told us they would be right back and went to talk to the soldiers that were there to make sure no one entered.  They came back telling us we could go in but were not allowed to take pictures.  People here let mzungus get away with things.  After walking across the dam we decided we should leave.

Instead of going home Sunday wanted to show us his casava garden.  He told us it wasnt far at all.  Believing him we walked down a trail for a long, long time.  We saw many gardens where people were digging.  We finally got there and saw his garden.  He was proud of it thats for sure.  I took a picture of it because he was so so proud. 

Sunday filled his backpack full of casava and then we started on our way back home.  Tonny and Sunday kept telling Emma and I that we were weak mzungus and needed to become stronger.  By the time we got home we had been walking for 3 hours.  I would say it was worth it for sure! Im glad we went and got to see the dam and the garden and see more of Gulu.  Every minute we spend with Tonny and Sunday brings us closer to them and allows us to get to know them more.  They are so much fun to be around and I enjoy it so much! I love how every time we are together we always quote the scripture we have memorized together and although we are joking and playing around pretty much the whole time we are together, our conversations always come back down to Jesus and the gospel.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"This Morning"

Sorry I have not been the best about posting!  Everything here has been so so good!  The relationships with the people here have continued to grow everyday.  Everyday we are just living life with these people and doing whatever it is they do.  We dig in the gardens, smear the huts with cow dung, get water from the bore hole, wash clothes in the stream, break rocks at the rock quarry, walk to and from school, cook beans, and just anything to show that we want to develop relationships.  We want to work alongside these people and show them that we want to learn from them and see the way that they do things.  The past few weeks have become pretty scheduled with our daily routines.  Each of us has different schedules, but everyone is serving in the way they think God is leading them to serve.  I love walking out in the village, not knowing who is home that day and just letting God lead me to whoever he wants me to talk to.  God has orchestrated every situation and every conversation the way he wants it to go.  Not having a specific time and place that I have to be somewhere everyday has truly allowed the Holy Spirit to work and to just lead me in the way that He wants to use me on any given day!

I spend before and after school with Winnifred as well as Saturdays.  We have gotten so close she always tells me I am her sister.  She is absolutely hilarious and most of our time is spent laughing.  One day on the way to school we were singing and she randomly stopped and started singing Who Let the Dogs Out Who who who who hahah I could not believe she knew that song.  She told me it always comes on the radio which is pretty funny too.  Winnifred and I have contintued to quote John 3:16 together on the way to school each morning.  It is such a sweet time starting both of our days quoting scripture early in the mornings.  Winnifred has wanted to read her Bible more recently so we started on the book of Mark.  I told her exactly what to read one day and told her we could talk about it the following day and she was very eager to get started reading.  The next day on the way to school I asked her if she read and she told me she had.  I asked her what she read and she looked at me and said I just really cant remember right now.  I laughed and thought thats pretty normal of most 10 year olds and just everyone in general.  I know I will read something and then the next day not remember anything I had read the night before.  As long as she is reading and eager to learn, I know God will speak to her and can teach her something even if she doesnt remember what it was she read the next day.  Winnifred has also started memorizing other verses.  I gave her a long list yesterday of things to read and memorize and she got her Bible out because she said she wanted to start looking them up.  While we were sitting there I realized she did not know how to use the Bible and did not know how to find the books of the Bible.  So, before doing anything else I sat there and showed her how to find the books in the Table to Contents at the front, look at the page number, flip to the book she wanted, look for the chapter, and then the verse.  She got a little frustrated with it, but she is definitely wanting to learn.

I have also become very good friends with Sunday, who I know I have talked about before, as well as his brother Tonny.  Sunday is 15 and Tonny is 20.  It has been cool getting to know people my age and just talking about things that are going on with them.  They have taught me so much about Gulu and the culture.  One day Sunday and I sat outside his hut and he gave me a lesson about the language.  He made me get out a piece of paper and write down words in English and then he would translate them into Luo.  I feel like we did this for hours.  He told me that when I came back he wasnt going to speak to me in English because I will be fluent in Luo.  Sunday has been one that has been so eager to memorize scripture.  I give him a verse one day and he has it memorized the next.  He wants me to learn Luo so badly that he said the only way he would continue to memorize scripture was if I learned the Luo he taught me.  I knew this was not true  and that he would memorize it either way, but just to make him happy I agreed.  The next day I told him the Luo words I had learned and he told me the verse.  I will do whatever it takes to get people to be in the word!  Even learn this hard language!  One day Emma, Sara, Tonny, Sunday, and I sat in their hut because it started to rain.  Lots of kids came in there.  They wanted to teach us the local dance, so Barbara and Sunday started teaching us.  We sat in there singing and dancing until the rain passed.  It truly felt like I was just hanging out with my friends.  I have absolutely loved just going and being able to hang out with all of these people like we have.  One minute we will be reading scripture and having serious conversations, and the next we are up dancing and singing with kids all around.  Tonny and Sunday have started asking us questions about the Bible and discussions they have in their class.  They want to know if what they talk about is correct and if it is what the Bible says about the certain subject.  It has been cool watching them be curious about religious discussions and watching them figure out if what they have heard comes from the Bible or not.  Tonny has been so encouraging to me.  Most of the people in the village do not understand the gospel but Tonny is one that definitely does.  One day he told us he had written a song so we got him to sing it for us.  It is called "This Morning" and this is what it says:

I woke up this morning 
Feeling in the mood 'cos its a good morning
Giving God glory, glory
And the demon a little warning
Cos I'm the Almighty's son
And the devil's nothing
I know Jesus and Jesus only
He who was crucified
and died on the cross for me
He forgave my sins
He wiped away my tears

So let His name be praised
Let His name be raised
Cos I believe in Him

Although many false teachings are being taught here, God is so evident as well and His name is being praised!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Inexpressible Joy

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
Do we have this inexpressible joy that 1 Peter is talking about?  The joy that comes from believing in Jesus...these kids and people we have been with have this joy.  It is so great that you can't help but contain yourself when you are around them.  They laugh, smile, dance, and sing all the time.  They are content with what they have and are eager to learn more about Jesus.  They are excited about memorizing scripture and love singing about baby Jesus, how Jesus loves the little children, how Jesus has the whole world in His hands, Father Abraham, and so many more.  Do we have this joy?  We should be so full of God's love and joy that it is an overflow of everything that we do and say.  Pray that God brings you back to the JOY of your salvation.  Jesus is enough and only he can satisfy our souls of any longings or desires we may have.  Nothing will fill the place where Christ should be.  Perishable things do not last! No material thing will save us.  Trying to fill any emptiness with possessions is an empty way of life.  The precious blood of Christ who was perfect is the only one that can save! (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Praise be to he God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish , spoil or fade --kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:3-5

Sorry I havent blogged in a few days! A lot has been going on! Everything has been so good with Winnifred.  I have walked up on her sitting outside of her house many times reading the Bible and trying to memorize John 3:16.  It is very encouraging to see her making the effort and truly wanting to memorize scripture and read the Bible.  One morning this week on the way to Kasubi Central (the school that Winnifred and a lot of the kids go to) I asked Winni if she had memorized the verse.  She had and she recited it to me perfectly.  Her translation said "begotten son" and "perish" so we broke down the verse and I was able to explain to her what it meant.  Everyday we recite John 3:16 together on the way to school so she will always remember it.  I have encouraged her to memorized more scripture and have told her the importance of it.  She is definitely willing to learn which is awesome!
Sunday, who I mentioned in an earlier blog, has been one who has genuinely loved memorizing scripture.  I give him one verse to memorize one day and almost every time, by the next day, he will have it memorized and will recited it to me and then I will give him a new verse for the next day.  We review the old and then recite the new.  Memorizing scripture is such an important thing to do.  Even when we do not have a Bible, if we have memorized verses, we always have God's word in our hearts and minds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No Power, No Water = Bore Hole

Last night was definitely a fun adventure! To begin with, while we were having devotion we were attacked by "white ants" which are HUGE termites.  When it rains these white ants come out by the hundreds.  Ugandans collect them, fry them, and eat them.  Supposedly they taste pretty good but I have yet to try them.  They somehow kept getting in the house.  Needless to say, our concentration definitely was not all there.  While Sara was washing dishes the water went completely out.  So with no power or water, we made a group decision to take a trip to the boar hole in the village where everyone there gets their water.  We all piled in Matt's car with our "jerry cans" or our big water jugs and made the trip to the village.  We parked and as soon as we got there, kids came running to the car.  We all got out and when we got to the boar hole there was a long line of people waiting to get water as well.  So, we all just hung out there with the kids playing and taking pictures.  We finally got all of our jugs filled and, being in Uganda, we just had to carry them back to the car on our heads.  They were extremely heavy.  Sunday, one of the boys in the village, had to help me get it on my head and he could not stop laughing at me.  It was a good thing we come out to the village so much because by the time we left it was pitch black dark and couldn't see a thing.  Annet was walking behind me with her jug full of water on her head and she screamed so loud and said "This thing is squishing me!" haha which made me laugh which did not make carrying that thing any easier.  When I reached the car and got it off my head I literally felt a few inches shorter.  We all piled back in the car and Matt realized he had broken the car key in half.  With no such thing as a spare key in Uganda, he stuck the end of the key down in the ignition and pushed it down with the other half and turned it and it came on! We made it back to the house and then the water came back on! It was definitely worth the adventure though!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Go and Make Disciples

Winnifred has been telling me about a place on her arm that has been hurting her.  I have looked at it everyday to see if it gets worse and it usually looks about the same.  It looks like a huge bump on her arm that is very swollen around it.  Winnifred's cousin, Irene, has it too and they have both been messing with it a lot.  On Friday when Winnifred and I got home from the school Irene was home and had a safety pin out trying to pop it.  I told her that probably wasnt a good idea but if she did stick a needle in her arm, she should probably stick the end of it in fire so it would be somewhat sterilized.  She understood and left it alone.  Yesterday I woke up early to go spend the day with Winnifred.  When I walked up Winnifred was popping the spot on Irene's arm and stuff was oozing out of it.  It was pretty gross.  Winnifred had already popped hers.  They told me it felt much better so I guess thats good.  Annett told me it was a skin disease and to pop it when it turned yellow so I guess they did the right thing.  Winnifed had to dig in her garden before she did anything else so I helped her dig and while she was digging she cut her toe open pretty bad with her hoe and it was bleeding very badly so we washed it off and took care of it as well as we could.  I put her feet in my lap to clean it out. Winnifred was a little surprised that I wanted to take care of her dirty feet, but she told me she was very thankful.
These people are willing to give us anything they have even if it means that they go hungry or go without.  Winnifred went and got me about 5 mangos that her grandmother had bought in town and told me to eat them.  It is very rude to not take the food that they offer so Winnifred and I ate one together.  She expected me to eat all five and when I told her one was enough she almost acted offended, but she took them back inside her hut for her family.  I sat there for a long time playing games and singing with Winnifred, Irene, and a few of the other girls that live in the village.  Winnifred's family has 2 goats which is a good source of food for these people so most of the people have multiple goats.  She told me that they needed to eat and that me and her were going to take them out to eat.  They had rope tied around their necks and she handed me one.  We led the goats out to the garden to eat the grass.  I left to go to Consey's to see what Emma was doing and seeing her plan for going back to eat lunch.  I greeted Consey, her daughters Prisca, Barbara, Joe Ann, and the other kids that were around.  Sunday, a boy that lives next to Consey, was outside reading something so I went and sat with him to see what it was.  Sunday and I have become friends so whenever I am in the village I make a point to go and see him.  He is 15 years old and has a brother named Tonny who is 22.  They are both extremely nice and always want to talk.  Sunday was reading a book composed of lots of different little stories.  In my backpack I had a Bible storybook of Cole's so I got it out to let him see it.  I had put a paper in the book of Bible verses that I wanted to read with Winnifred and Simon Peter.  Sunday opened right to that page and so he went inside his hut and got his Bible and we looked up all of the verses and went through and talked about them.  When I was leaving I told him to memorized John 3:16 and he told me he would have it memorized when I came back after lunch.  It was fun sitting there with him going through the different verses and talking about them.
I have been telling Winnifred I would wash clothes with her and that we could do it as soon as  I got back from lunch.  When I got back she was not at her house so I asked some of her friends where she was and they told me she went to the village.  I was not sure what that meant.  Emma and I walked to 
Consey's and her daughter, Barbara was there and told me she would go look for Winnifred.  While she was gone looking for her I ran into Sunday and he had memorized John 3:16. He needed a little help starting it but then recited it perfectly.  I was surprised he learned it that quickly and was so glad how eager to learn he was! Barbara came back saying she was down at the stream so I walked to the stream but couldnt find her so I went back to Consey's.  Sweet Barbara was determined to find her for me so we walked back down to the stream, to the rock quarry, to the boar hole, and then back up to her house and she was at her house.  We must have just missed each other but I had run all around the village looking for her and of course she thought it was hilarious.  She ran to meet me and jumped up on me.  About that time Simon came home and so we sat by their hut and hung out.  Sara came up and sat with us.  Simon had gotten packs of little cookies that he gave to each of us.  He told us we were celebrating us being there.  He also gave Sara and I sprites.  We tried to convince him to stop giving us food and drinks but he refused to listen to us.  We told him he was way too nice and that giving us stuff was not necessary, but he just laughed.  We spent a long time there sitting and talking to them.  They are Catholic so we talked about the differences between Catholics and Protestants.  Winnifred and I have been talking about reading the Bible together so she got hers out which was not an actual Bible but a Catholic song book.  She told me what it was saying and we discussed that for a little while.  I got out my bible and flipped open to John 3:16.  She read it to me and I encouraged her to memorize it and she said she would.  I told her on Monday morning we could recite it on the way to school together.  Simon told me he would help her learn it.  I want to start getting her to memorize scripture.  I think it would be very easy for her to do she just needs the encouragement and discipline to do it.
Winnifred and I went and got water from the boar hole together.  Today she had a huge jerry can.  After we filled it with water she wanted me to help her lift it and put it on her head so I did.  She walked two steps and almost dropped it so she told me to try to carry it on my head.  We both lifted it onto my head.  It was so heavy.  By the time I got back I felt a few inches shorter from the jerry can pressing down on me.  Simon was so impressed that I had carried it and so was I!  
Winnifred and I went down to the rock quarry where a ton of the people in the village work.  They sit there and break rocks and get paid for it.  Winnifred's grandmother was down there so we went to help her.  Winnifred gave me a hammer so I could break the rocks.  She would put the rocks down and I would break them.  We sang together while we worked and started memorizing John 3:16.  I would say a part and she would repeat after me.  I love being with Winnifred!  She is so much fun to be with and she always tells me how much she loves me.  Yesterday was such a good day doing life and working along side Winnifred , Simon , and everyone else!