Friday, December 20, 2013


Days like today are the days I will miss the most. Did anything spectacular or out of the ordinary happen? No, and it doesn't have to happen. My day only consisted of mundane tasks that everyone has to do. Cleaning, washing, cooking, etc. But because I was surrounded by this community for it all,  it made the day perfect. The evening spent with everyone around the burner eating maize. Me spitting out my little luganda I know and the mothers bursting with laughter. The kids huddle together in the corner planning what their next mischievous trick on me will be. The new little boy sitting near by observing everyone with the biggest smile on his face. The weather is the perfect kind of chilly. We can hear the music coming from the nearby village church. Everyone is enjoying themselves. These are the days I will miss the most. 

It amazes me how God can bless us in such simple ways, and for the most part we don't recognize the tiny blessings he gives us daily.  Let's open up our eyes to the mini-blessings we receive everyday. Look for him in everything and everywhere and you will be amazed at how he is ALWAYS at work in your day.

Later everyone will come over for a movie. It will be the perfect ending to the day. As long as the power decides to stay on!

I made a quick trip to GSF to see these lovely ones! (Tom)


Back at Acheru with my girls!

I also had a short visit from some of my older GSF friends. (Sharon, Solome, Barbara and not pictured: Ruthie)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hope in suffering.

:: How marvelous, how boundless is your love. How wonderful, sacrificial, is your love for me.::

-Rend Collective Experiment

It seems that everyday here in Uganda I am hit with how much God loves us and how incredible that love is. It's easy to come here and see all the suffering and be angry at God about it. Your heart aches for the things you've seen and you think "in the states this wouldn't happen..this could be fixed.." But even in those moments Christ is there. He weeps for these same children. He weeps for their circumstances. But more than that he weeps for their souls. 

Yes some of these situations wouldn't be seen in the states. We wouldn't see children coming in with dead bones sticking out from their legs because they couldn't make it to a hospital. Instead they were trying to flee the war in their country. We wouldn't see children coming in with sores that have eaten away at half their thighs because their village has dirty water. We wouldn't see children who have become wheelchair bound because their neighbors convinced them they could be fixed by the traditional healers.  We could fix this things if they were elsewhere. But we aren't elsewhere. We are here, and here all we can do is to help heal their soul. We can show them a bit of Christ's love. We can bear in their sufferings but also help them see that even in their sufferings Christ is found. And even if their suffering he is weeping for them and loving on them.

It doesn't mean I stop being angry with God. It doesn't mean I stop questioning why these things happen. But it does give me hope. Hope that even through these situations Christ will be shown. Hope that He will make beautiful things out of the dust.

Romans 5: 3-5 
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
In an earlier post, I wrote about a little girl named Jemimah. Jemimah was a victim of a terrible taxi crash that left both her legs completely burned and left her mother believing she had lost her daughter. After multiple skin graphs and a fixator on her left leg, Jemimah is up and walking. Jemimah and her family had the right to be angry at God. But what did they do instead? They gave thanks to him. They praised him. They even gave a whole celebration to gives thanks to Him. We were able to be apart of that celebration.
On December 7th I left with the Acheru staff to attend Jemimah's Thanksgiving party. For the whole day we were surrounded by her family and friends celebrating her life and giving thanks to God for the work he did. Though it was a long day of listening to Luganda and only understanding a bit here and there, it was nice to be a part of this day. It blew me away to see how even after this terrible incident their faith has not been shaken. 
2 Corinthians 1: 9-11
 But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us; as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

These two fell asleep on my lap during the ride to the party.

The children with Jemimah

The staff with Jemimah


Friday, December 6, 2013

Bearing with one another..

:: Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.::
                                  -Colossians 3:11

For the last week I spent my time in Karamoja. We spent the week visiting children at the school for the deaf, visiting families with children with special needs, giving trainings to sunday school teachers, and just living life with the Karimojong. 

The Karimojong here are a special group of people. To best describe the Karimojong it is easiest to divide the post into three major categories: 1. The typical Ugandan view of the Karimojong, the history of the Karimojong, and my view of the Karimojong.

The idea that most Ugadan's have about Karamoja.

Before leaving for Karamoja many of the staff members here had warnings about what we would see. Many told us that the Karimojong refuse to wear clothes, they are hostile, nomadic, and cattle raiders. They told us that they walk around with guns just shooting one another. They look down on the Karimojong as a lower tribal group and not one that they would necessarily want to associate with. 

History of the Karimojong

Many of these ideas that other Ugandan tribal groups think do come from factual and historical events. The Karamojong were cattle raiders and did kill one another over cattle.  Cattle was their lively hood. Because of all the conflict between one another the government took most of the cattle and  disarmed the Karimojong. This has left a loss in identity for many of the Karimojong and a loss of pride.

Due to their arid climate they did move their homes for 3-4 months out of the year. In Karamoja the seasons change from rainy, to windy, to completely dry. Not entirely suitable for livestock or vegetation. The availability for water and food is always a concern. 

My view of the Karamojong

The Karamojong were some of the most welcoming, loving, and friendly people I have met in Uganda. They have a real sense of community and communal living. For a group of people who have gone through so much conflict and who endure such hard living conditions everyday; they were so loving and open with us.  From the kids at the school for the deaf running up to our cars the second we pulled in, to Mama Esther welcoming us into her home for the week, and then Paulo and Adam's families embracing us with hugs and letting us sit with their children for hours; we really felt like part of their community. You could say that this was because we were the white people coming into a town that other Ugandans don't dare venture too, or because we were coming to visit the children who most people don't dare to spend time with. But seeing the layouts of their homes, the open doors, the reliance of one another, the genuine generosity, and the sense of community is so evident in this area and in these people. 

Just like every group of people the Karimojong have their struggles. With loosing their identity and livelihood in cattle alcoholism has increased and the idea of living in poverty has lead to an increase of begging in the younger generation. It is due to these struggles of the Karimojong and their past other Ugandans have struggled to get past their initial ideas of the Karimojong and their fear of this particular group of people.

So what now?

:: Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another….and above all these put on love; which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body.::
                              -Colossians 3: 12-15

As Christians we are not to discriminate against anyone. All we are simply to do is bear with one another in our struggles and love one another well. As we are all apart of one body and united in one Christ. 

Paulo. One of the boys with Autism in Kangole.

Two of the students at the school for the deaf.

Adam and his mother.

The cattle center where people can keep their little herds.