Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aluta Continua!

After about 4 hrs of sleep, I woke up. I feel a little better, but still not all there yet. The ol’ stomach is better, but just having serious hot flashes….man I need to get in better shape! Oh yeah-------------HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I got to pray a lot last night as I lie there sleepless, so that was good. I haven’t just sat in quiet like that for some time. I spent the morning talking a little to Cheryl and Aimee Jo about the female take on local culture. It was quite interesting. Their youngest son Silas made me a drawing….what a prize!

Around noon, I really wanted to be out at the camp, but had NO clue when I could get there. SO I went on the back porch to work on some lessons and sermons for the coming weeks. The fresh air had an instant effect! Amazing what some some sun and o2 can do! Outside I got to spend a lot of time with their oldest child, the beautiful Kinley. She is SO precious and beautiful.
Just before 2:00 Andrew showed up much earlier than expected. I was ecstatic! I still did not feel too great, but I was determined to get to camp! The kids would be getting there soon and I did NOT want to miss that. The drive was LONG. The road was as if it had been bombed! The potholes could swallow my little Aveo whole!

It was awesome….we left any semblance of the “city” and were very quickly in rural Africa. With the windows rolled down you could hear the beautiful chorus of kid’s voices singing out “HOW ARE YOU” and the occasional “GIVE ME MONEY”. At times I couldn’t even see them, but just just hear voices ringing from the trees!

Upon arrival I got all set up in my tent.
And soon after the check-in started.
It was AWESOME! Greg and Matt did a great job. They were swearing in the kids…as the theme was sort of a military one: “Aluta Continua”(the struggle continues). They LOVED it! They got really into Greg’s famous antics! Their salutes were accompanied with HUGE smiles!

Next, they ran through the obstacle course that Johno had designed (ask him about HIS run through it :) They played with SUCH zeal and NO attitude! It was so cool to watch them…and notice that teens are teens anywhere in many ways!

After getting set up and settled, we had dinner and shortly after came the big moment: FAITH QUEST UGANDA STARTED!!!! We prayed over JohnO as a team, and he shared and painted.
It was very impactful on the teens. Next, we praised God together in song. OH MY!!!!! Once again, the tears flowed freely! And then came the coolest thing ever!!!!! The Rwebisengo Choir performed!!!! There are NO WORDS to describe this. Their voices, their power, their dances, their drums……IT WAS AMAZING! Pretty soon I will have a link up for you to be able to watch them I promise! It was truly AFRICA!

The night ended with Jeff welcoming everyone and cracking some odd Ebola jokes! Praise God……..this is going to be amazing!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Legend to end poverty????

this was a cool story about a celebrity using his fame for good. Check it out...and actually...the dude makes some pretty good old school R & B too!


New Year's Eve in Africa

Well……… is New Year’s Eve in Africa. I did not sleep very well last night. I got to talk to the family again for a few minutes. It was good but also broke my heart! Jude was so cute: “Dad I have some bad news”…pause…”The Broncos lost to the Vikings”…….longer pause… “Just joking Daddy, we won in overtime!” J

Today was a really stinky one. Jenna and I got to feeling quite ill. Poor Jenna was puking all day. I never did, but felt like I would at any moment. In hindsight, it was just serious jetlag and dehydration. But it did stink, as I had to watch the rest of the team take off for camp to set up and have fun, while I lay on a couch. I felt SO guilty!

So it was a LOOOONG day. I lay on the Cash’s couch most of it, listening to music and talking with their beautiful kids. As the day progressed, I felt worse. They need Gatorade in Africa!!!!! I REALLY wanted to talk to my wife….she is my “medicine” when I feel sick. I feel like a let down to the team. It is just rotten all around.

Anyway……I made it obviously. I slept in the back room off the kitchen in a tiny portable mosquito tent. Photobucket
I never did sleep, as my mind was reeling. I never did call my wife though. I felt like Uriah the Hittite from II Samuel…”How can I call my wife when my brothers are on the battlefield…. J” So, I never did call. Uneventful day…but I set out to chronicle EVRY day, so you get to suffer through this one!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tales From Uganda

SO……before I type this entry… is quite weird typing about Africa, as the snow pours down outside! Yup….white snowy day in Medford! Anyway…back to

This is a day I will always remember. It is special in my heart. I cannot do justice trying to explain it, but I will do my best! It was our 1st time to worship with the Africans!!!! After a nice breakfast, we went to services at Ft. Portal Church of Christ. Here are the only 3 words that can do ANY justice: OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!


The meet at a place called Buhinga Primary School. So, we went there early to help Jeff and crew set up chairs, communion etc. There were already several locals there helping. We were greeted with the most gorgeous smiles! (you’ll hear me talk about their beauty quite a bit I am sure). These are a few of the folks I met: Diana, Sunday, Jasper, Switzer, Samuel, Bright, Martin Luther…..


After set up, they served Chai and bread, and we all just spent time visiting. Once the service began, I was in heaven! Derrick is a great song leader…no so much because of his voice, but because of the pure passion he has while praising. It was beautiful. I could not sing without crying. We were so excited! On one song, Greg got jumping… was brilliant! :) Everything was perfect…the communion, Derrick’s meditation, Earnest serving the Lord’s Supper in his tribal robes…… I LOVE AFRICA.

We go to break up in groups before the sermon and pray for one another. I had the privilege of praying for Tinka Sunday, Switzer and Patrick. I prayed for jobs, a wife, peace in homes, help in university and financial peace. It was a huge privilege to be a part of that prayer group.

Afterwards we went to lunch at the Mountains of the Moon Resort. It is a GORGEOUS place, and I felt almost guilty eating there. But, if you are ever in Fort Portal, Uganda get the tomato soup there!

The rest of the day was spent at the new church property
where we prayed for God to bless the future there, and then at the new rest camp the church purchased at Lake Nyamarima…….a GORGEOUS place!!!!!


Twas a great day….and tomorrow begins set up for FAITH QUEST UGANDA!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Uganda day 1- leaving the city.....

So.....I just woke up. And the 1st thing I notice is this incredible sound. It became a joke, because I thought it was like Disneyland or something, piping in recorded sounds. I really was just TOO perfect sounding! There was a chorus of birds like I had NEVER heard! The bird songs of Uganda are like no music you have EVER heard! So, once I was done with my private concert, I headed to breakfast, and met JohnO, Matt and Greg outside. It was a gorgeous blue sky...and the birds were still singing their praises. As we listened we prayed to God for the trip.......'twas a great way to set your soul right to start a day, week and trip! The rest of teh gang made their ways out and they brought us out all kinds of fruit (pineapples from heaven!), sausages and Spanish omelettes. The next hour was wonderful as Jeff and the guys gave us a crash course in Ugandan Christian history.

After eating came the task of drivign into Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and it's biggest city. We were to exchange money and eat lunch. So the city is NUTS! I have literally never seen such chaos.....PEOPLE are everywhere, as are cars. Their are NO traffic laws, and it is just crazy. Picture the scariest and worst traffic you have ever seen and multiply that times 1000!!!Here are 2 pictures...though it DOES not capture the madness sufficiently at all:

The scene was whizzing through my head...people everywhere..laying down, walking, sitting, driving. Ladies carrying massive loads on their heads. Shacks and huts in shambles all over the place. Cows being slaughtered right on the road, men carryign AK-47's......I AM IN AFRICA!!!

We exchanged money (my $1000 made me a milionaire in Uganda...literally!) Next, we ate lunch at Sam's.....a nice place. The menu was interesting..complete with warthog, wildabeest, crocodile and monkey steaks. I gladly opted out of the "ebola on a bun" special :) and had Chicken Tikka!

Finally, much later (like I said....eating in Uganda is slow) we took off for Ft. Portal! We saw some interesting signs (one business advertising "Dentistry and Circumcision" I hope they change instruments!:) ) Also.....some sad ones like the one below. Men giving little girls gifts for sex is a HUGE problem......check this out:Photobucket

So we finally got out for what was supposed to be about a "3 hr tour". One hour into the trip however one of our trucks broke down! :) It was a very good welcome to life in Africa. It took FOREVER to fix and find parts (with Derrick running back into the nearest village for "parts")......many locals were fascinated with the group of "buzungu" (white men) on the rofad side, so we soon drew a small crowd. they just sat there and watched. It was cool!

Eventually we arrived MUCH later than planned...about 10:00 at night! We had a late dinner and Cheryl's apple pie (good enough to make you slap your gramdma!)....and we went to our temporary hotel called Tooro Inn. We slept in some great little huts....and fell asleep to the celebratory sounds of a local wedding party!

God bless you Africa!

Obama and Lies

just a brief break from Uganda reports........ I will have another one later today!!!!

i read this today and found it quite insightful. Share your thoughts!



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Touching down in the Darkest Continent.....

After leaving the lovely airport in Amsterdam with its' duty free shops of useless junk and mystery doors, we set sail (in the air of course) for Entebbe, Uganda. This particualr airport has QUITE a history! Maybe you've seen "Last King of Scotland"? In 1976, Israeli commando forces raided this very airport and rescued 100 Israeli/Jewish hostages. It was quite an amazng military event. Needless to say, they have used the 32 yrs. since then to clean up the place and plaster in all bullet holes. doesn't look TOO different.

Once again, not much sleep on the plane.....but now I am SO excited it does not matter! I am in friggin' Africa! We get in line to get Visas into the country....and actually, it was easy. Too easy, almost dissapointingly so......and we arrived with 13 of our 14 bags and all things considered, that was not too bad (although we later find out the missing crate had some expensive sound equipment for the church).

Jeff Cash and Andrew Martin, the local missionaries (aka the Vet and Rookie) were waiting for us with 2 young men from the local church: Khanyoro Derrick and Assimwe Patrick. Here my new friends are:

"You are MOST welcome" they told us. It was our 1st lesson in Ugandan respect and service.......they REALLY take service seriously. They would not let us carry or load any of our bags.

So we threw the bags into the truck with the 2 Ugandans and we climbed into the brand new Land Rover (complete with the God blessed invention of AC!) and went to check into our room at the Central Inn in Entebbe. It was a decent little place. The rooms, by African standards were nice. A small simple bed, a mosquito net, a fan (provided there is power that day) and running water (Geckos are complimentary). Here is pic of Greg and I outside our room and a view of African accomodations:



Afterwards Jeff took us to dinner at another nearby restaraunt/hotel. It was 10:30 at night by now, but they kept the place open just for us. We had our 1st taste of African food (tougher meat, no spices or flavor, but not bad)...Derrick and Patrick shared some amazing stories with us (do you know how Africans cure hangovers???????) as did Jeff, who we found out is possibly the COOLEST dude on the planet and has literally done EVERY manly thing you ever dreamed of!

Around midnight, we finished (Africa does not run on a tight schedule...especially when dining) and went back for a good night of sleep. It proved quite difficult as I was jetlagged, excited, etc....but eventually I fell asleep for a few hrs (turns out I cannot sleep good in Africa!).

As I lay in bed I could not stop grinning: I was in Africa! A dream was coming true! THANK YOU GOD! I have NO CLUE what lies ahead of me, but I knew I was glad to be there and that I was ready to let God use me.....................

Join me soon for more "TALES FROM UGANDA"

"It Began, In Africa...." (sung to the Chemical Bros. song of aforementioned title)

So……..the end of 2007 came in a whirlwind! The holidays were chock full of tedious jobs at church, such as parties, programs and projects. They were all nice things…but they piled up the stress. Combine that with the general busyness of the holidays, and visiting family…..oh yeah and the crazy emotional stress of preparing for over 3 weeks in a 3rd world country without your family! So……it was a dizzy blur of activity.

Yet….praise be to God, it all went off without any major hitches. Christmas was great. My parents went ridiculously nuts on the kids, and they were in gift and toy heaven. We exchanged gifts on the Christmas Eve at my sisters…and it was nice. The next day was spent with the family at our house. It was a very nice Christmas…….I can barely remember it, but it was nice :).

That night, after everyone left, it became very hard. The realization that I was leaving hit us liek a truck! My kids were clingy. Jude wouldn’t leave my side. He was begging me to sleep with him in his bed. I finally broke down and had a good cry outside, and then all was better :). So we compromised….the kids slept in our bed, and we stayed up late watching their newly acquired copy of Underdog. It was surreal…I knew that in a few hours, I was going FAR away for a LONG time.

The next day saw me off to Seattle to meet with our team. Matt Tibbles picked me up at the airport. That day and evening were spent with last minute preparations, prayer time and getting to know each other.

Bright and early the next morning….the adventure began. So….all you will really read about today is the LONG airplane ride. Seattle to Amsterdam was the 1st leg…about 8 hrs. I was originally seated next to a huge old guy…who due to his gnarly white beard, gold rimmed glasses, blue pea coat and hat, I kindly dubbed “Cap’n Ahab”. Needless to say he was a HUGE man….and I 'aint the tiniest guy around! :) It was gonna be rough…….but praise the Lord, the row in front of me stayed open so I acted quickly………and had 8 hrs of NO neighbors…….just me, and the movie selection from NWA (Darjeeling limited was excellent!)!

I could barely sleep…..(airplane sleeping is an art I have yet to master, but I am accepting ANY tips!). So surprisingly, upon arrival…I still felt somewhat fresh. We were weary, but were being carried on by sheer adrenaline. I had an amazing chocolate pastry and cappuccino for breakfast…and then read my book and listened to tunes for the 4 hr layover…………

Here we are in the airport in Amsterdam (God bless America for our communist ban on public smoking! :):


So……… loyal 3 readers----- the journey had begun. Stay tuned for more interesting items….I think you will enjoy it. Tommorow's exciting episode: Arriving in Entebbe………..

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Uganda Boy Returns

Hey everyone....................I am BACK! was a crazy 3 weeks. Africa blew away all dreams and expectations. It is a place where darkness is real, and Satan is active.......but above that, a place where God is ALIVE! I met some INCREDIBLE people. Heard some amazing stories. Ate some..."interesting" food. Picked up some weird African amoebas :). Had my worldview of who God REALLY is totally shattered. ANd left a brand new man.........................It is my desire to share much of this journey with you.
SO, starting later today or tommorow, I am going to chronicle the adventure on a day by day basis...each day with a new picture and story. I hope you will enjoy this and that maybe, it will bless someoene!
Until then......peace my friends!