Thursday, February 28, 2008


Don Williams VS

Maybe the better question is how many of you can actually name the 1st dude?????

His name is Don Williams. he was a country singer in the 70's and 80's. He was pretty popular. In fact, his music is pretty good. BUT.......he aint no Elvis!!!

So, as we were eating a meal in Gardens Restaraunt in Ft. Portal Uganda, they were playing music. Two artists kept popping up alot: Dolly Parton and Don Williams. So I asked my 2 local friends Derrick and Patrick about it. Basically I learned that Don Williams is a HUGE rock star in Uganda! They LOVE HIM! "My mom always plays his music" Derrick said. (funny irony is that Don is an elder in the Church of Christ. If any of you knows how to reach him please let me know!) He is HUGE!

Then I asked a dumb question......... what abotu Elvis or the Beatles. I got the answer I never imagined possible anywhere: WHO. Yeah, you heard me right....they asked WHO Elvis and the Beatles were!!!!!!!!!!!!! I honestly did NOT know there was a place on earth where these men were not famous! I was BLOWN away..... REALLY?????

I still am blown away.........

1-9-08 "The Road"

Today Jeff surprised us with a trip to the beloved village of Rwebisengo. It was a long hot drive, but we were SO excited for it! The road was scary! It was tiny dirt road along the steepest hills and canyons you had ever seen! Our job was top get to the bottom of those canyons, at the Congo border!Photobucket

We stopped in a village called Irwerro to get a few things at their market. The air felt so thick to me. For some reason, at this point, my heart and soul begin to sink and my spirits were dropping quickly. This was the only day and place on the whole trip that I felt "SAD" abotu the people here. The village was just on the other other side of the mountains from Bundibugyo, where the Ebola outbreak was still going on. This village had directly felt the effects and you can sense this. But, we got some bananas and some meat and carried on.PhotobucketPhotobucket

We drove through the outskirts of Bundibugyo. It was so creepy…it was a wasteland. Everything was closed up and empty, including the World Vision headquarters. There seemed to be no life there. Photobucket

Finally, after a hard 3 ½ hrs., we arrived in this barren village. My spirits were lifted. Once again excitement took over. The beautiful people came out of everywhere! Beautiful children were everywhere!

We said hellos and soon the band and choir began to perform for us! And once again, we Americans were expected to share and preach again. I was second up. By this time I was feeling very sick to my stomach, so I kept mine brief, and pushed through. They were so encouraging. AMENE they would say. Next they sang some more and we all worshipped…..I cannot stress enough how amazing that is.

During the sermon I made eye contact with “shoe girl”. Do you remember her? I was o excited! I caught her staring at me and made a face at her. She smiled and blushed and looked away. We prayed this game for the next ½ hr. or so. It was so cute. Later I found her and finally talked to her. She knew a little English! She is 12 and her name is Jaqueline. There was a connection that I will never forget. Before leaving, I broke a cardinal rule and gave her one of my dinky little black plastic bracelets. Here is my precious friend: Photobucket

I want to tell you everything that happened but I cannot. It is one of those things you simply have to experience. I pray that each of you can one day. I will surely never forget it.

We said constantly there that we could NOT wait to meet them in heaven again one day where we were sure they'd be the ones leading the praise chorus! I am just going to pile on a bunch of pictures now of the gorgeous creations of God (the AMAZING one was taken by Johno and stolen from Matts blog I believe):

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

1-8-08 "Crayons and Stilt Dances"

BACK TO WORK!!!!! Today we will begin a brief “village ministry”. I am so excited about this, because it is REAL LIFE AFRICA. Whatever that means???? :) What I mean, is I am excited to be with these beautiful people in THEIR ENVIRONMENT. I want to see how and where they live and what a day in their life is like.

So today, Jeff is taking us to the village of Kyenjojo and the Ihani Church of Christ. PhotobucketIt was the experience of a lifetime. The people came running out to our vehicles (especially the children). They were so excited for us to visit them. You will hear this over and over: the kids were BEAUTIFUL! We got out and began shaking many a hand and sharing so many names.

The 1st thing we did was play with the village kids. We jumped rope with them. Wendy passed out bags of crayons and sheets to color. This was a HUGE hit! PhotobucketSome of them had never colored or “shaded”. I watched an older man, one of the church leaders color. PhotobucketHe had obviously never done so by the way he was holding the crayon and moving, but I have NEVER seen such a look of PURE concentration ever. It was so cool.

After hanging out for about an hour or so, we went into their tiny dung walled church and we crackers began to sing. We thought we did pretty good, until the local church began to file in and join and then slowly drown us out. Their songs and prayers were so wonderful. We were moved to tears! The joy, passion and freedom there was unreal.

After the praise, each of us was expected to share and preach. So, I spoke with my family in Kyenjojo. I shared the prayer of Jehoshaphat and how they could find strength in it. Each of the team and all the missionaries also shared the word of God, love and encouragement.

Afterwards, we went back outside to play with the children. Did I mention they were GORGEOUS?!?!?!?!? They acted shy, but were totally enthralled with us. Suddenly the drums started and they all began to sing. PhotobucketAnd then they began to DANCE! They performed all of their traditional tribal songs and dances. They wore sashes and leg rattles! One man danced on stilts! PhotobucketIt was SO COOL.

After the festivities it was meal time. They had prepared a feast for us. We were treated like guests of honor. An older lady came out with a jug of water and bowed low to wash our hands. They seated us in the back in a private room of honor, and served us millet, rice, metoke and meat. It was a really cool experience.

As we finished, Jeff began to pass out Bibles to all who could read in English. Photobucket They were SO proud of the shiny new words of God they had! When we passed all those out, we played the local kids in some “football” (aka soccer). And hey…we white boys held or own! The ball was this excellent ball of wadded up plastic bags bound together by rubber bands and banana leaves.

WHAT A DAY! At day’s end we made it back to Ft. Portal. We played spades for awhile at the Cash home. Jeff, Johno and I walked over to M.O.M. for some fish sticks and chips. I took the quiet chance to call home. I talked to Jude and Merrick (Mom was at work) and got VERY homesick. Praise the Lord for this chance.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Well. We got a day of rest today. It was good in many ways. But in some ways, I actually felt restless. I wanted to do some work. I found myself thinking “I raised money and support to work! Let’s do something.” Needless to say I realized this may not be correct, and thoroughly enjoyed the day we spent.

In the morning we just sat around outside on the lovely patio and chatted and informally made some plans for the next few days. It was a gorgeous day.
PhotobucketWe were deciding also what to do with our day. Our choices seemed to be between spending a little cash and seeing some local “caves” of folklore and a waterfall, or spending a bigger chunk of money but going out to the chimp forest and seeing the monkeys. Matt and I leaned toward the monkeys (maybe we relate????) but we all ended up at the AMABEERE CAVES AND FALLS.

The drive out was fun. We weren’t quite sure where we were headed, but Jonathan led us on victoriously! We actually found place, a little off the path with no problem. It cost us only$3.00. It was nice. To call it a “cave” was a little misleading. It was more like a “dent in the rocks”. But it was pretty. The falls were small but we got to stand behind them which was cool.
PhotobucketWilson, our tour guide told us some very interesting “fairy tale” like stories about ancient beliefs of the caves and falls. It was cool.

After, we drove back to the View and just chilled, listened to some tunes and read a little. The rest was WONDERFUL. Next we went back to Mountains of the Moon. I got to drive in Africa!!!!! It was a little weird with everything being on the other side, but not too big a deal! At the resort, we paid $6000 shillings and they allowed us to swim in their beautiful new pool.
Swimming in Africa….that was surreal. The staff would bring us drinks to pool side. It felt a little weird to be treated like royalty to me. The sun decided to hide behind clouds, so it was actually a little chilly, but it felt great and it was nice just talking with the team, Andrew and Jeff.

The night closed with the wonderful Cheryl Cash preparing for us a Mexican feast! Man, it was SOOO good. So, tomorrow….back to work!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cool Story

Tales From Uganda will continue Monday. But until then, I found an interesting story for you to read. With all the hype around the new Indiana Jones movie being made, it seems that true life archeoligists and adventurers are inspired too. Check this out:


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Waking at 6:30, I feel better than I have in days. A few hours of good sleep does wonders! Today is Sunday, which means more worship with the family here in Uganda….YES!!!!!! Jenna the evangelist invited Petra so we had one more come along to church.

Gas is a problem today (no I do not mean human passing of…though Africa DOES help that!). The riots in Kenya are taking a toll. Fuel comes through there, and there is literally NONBE here in Uganda. What is here is being pumped into Kampala. As such, attendance was low, as many folks could not get into church. Wow….this is Africa! The offering really moved me this morning, as I watched several young church members who even had no shoes walk up to offer their change.

Jeff’s sermon was good, as always. At one point he prayed a very specific prayer for God to reveal himself to all the folks in our lives that needed Him. He prayed that God would bring us people to love and who need Him… that EXACT moment, Peter got a phone call about a friend who was trying to commit suicide and needed help and prayers!!!! Wow……the phone lines to heaven work quicker in Africa! Jeff then shared a very moving and personal story……..Man, I just cannot describe what is happening to me here!

After lunch we went again to the Mountains of the Moon resort for lunch (it is AMAZING!) We finished and walked back to our rooms for the night. I still cannot believe I am here.

Tales from Uganda continued.....

Last night was the big finale! I will not try and describe it to you, because you had to SEE it to understand. Just know it involved Greg in a fire suit, 200 “magic” glow sticks, flaming steel wool and launched grenades in to Lake Saaka.

Wow…like that, FQU ’08 is over! I cannot believe it actually. All the prep work and prayers, all the travel and planning……and this is over. I praise God for allowing me to be here and I pray that HE was glorified these few days.

Breaking down camp was not as bad as you may think. We said goodbye, shook hands and hugged. We took pictures. PhotobucketI wonder if our paths will ever cross again before our reunion in heaven (with Rwebisengo leading worship no doubt!!)?

So, with a little sadness and a little more relief in our hearts, we took off to the Cash home. We watched them open some late arriving Christmas gifts and then we unpacked all the camp gear. As boredom set in, us boys found some arrows and invented a nice little “Spear Toss” game. It was quite fun.

After the game we made it to our new home for the rest of the trip: The Ruwenzori Guest House. Photobucket PhotobucketIt is a beautiful little place run by a character named Morris. He is SO fun to be around, and it turns out quite the subject of local folklore and rumor! Can I say this: HOT SHOWERS!!!!! God bless you solar panels…..I was SOOO dirty! Our room flooded quickly, as apparently the drains don’t work too quickly. And guess what… was STILL wonderful! The evening ended with a wonderful dinner and the meeting of new friends Doris and Petra from Switzerland.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hey guys not be dismayed if anyone reads my Africa Diaries...........I am NOT finished. I will be gone for a few days.....I will be in CO for an unexpected family funeral. When I return, so shall the blog, until then, you guys be good, and go Obama!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I briefly mentioned the choir from this village on the Congo border in a previous post. I will sing more praises later........................

You cannot understand until you have heard them live, but I think you may enjoy this:

p.s. thanks to my #1 homie Brandimore for putting this together for me!

Aida and Waterbirths


Man….. I am too fat to sleep in this tent…OUCH! Time to get in shape again. As usual, morning worship was amazing. I could sing with the Africans for ever! During a morning exercise I met Aida from Jinja. She is SO outgoing, sweet and funny. In fact, she was the one yesterday who said all 8 of her siblings had died. She shared with me some pains in her marriage and how some close missionary friends of her had recently been in a deadly car accident. “But” she said, “I still have faith”. She is an incredible woman. I pray we can meet again some day, and she can tell me what this amazing faith has done! Here is my friend:Photobucket

During the sermon that followed, Matt had everyone who was willing walk to the stage front and proclaim as loud as they can “I will stand firm for God!” I found it quite moving. Matt has done an amazing job here. Matt then preached about courage in God. Afterwards, an amazing thing happened. A beautiful girl named Brenda walked onto the stage and asked fro the mic. She was obviously very nervous and shy. She said “I love to sing for God. Every time I want to come before you and song a song fro him, but fear always keeps me back. But, because of today’s lesson, I will no longer be afraid! I now want to sing a song for you”. She then proceeded to sing the MOST GORGEOUS song! Her voice was beautiful. As the song continued her confidence grew, and she ended so strong. There were no dry eyes there (at least not amongst us buzungu). Meet Brenda: Photobucket

Shortly after, we witnessed something even more powerful. This day, the Kingdom of heaven grew by 15 new souls! But, they were not like the baptisms we are used to seeing. These kids were literally TERRIFIED of water. They cannot swim. They’ve heard stories about spirits in water, and the lake is full of deadly snakes. Reasons to be afraid! So, this step was BIGGER than most baptisms I have ever witnessed. They were shaking, and many crying. They clung to Jeff as if life depended on it! To overcome THAT great a fear for something you believe in….to put on Christ! was life changing. Photobucket

There was more that happened today: John-O and I displayed some “Frisbee magic” and Matt had his “what is junk” experience :)! And, the night ended with a VERY cool event. But, I want to share that with you in a separate piece..because these 2 stories I just shared changed my soul…and as such, I think they deserve a special place alone. So my 3 readers…..more will come soon!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Songs, Bombs, and Fire dances

January 3, 2008

Man last night was amazing. The night ended with the kids from the church in Kyenjojo bringing down the house! One girl was singing her heart out! The praises are still ringing in my ears this morning as I awaken. My body feels weak, but my soul is full of joy.

This morning I had 2 “firsts”. One was sitting on the scary, dark, ant covered concrete slab called a toilet (in all actuality, I have seen MUCH worse). And then, I took my 1st real African “shower”. Basically you fill a plastic tub with boiled green lake water and take it into the “shower hut”. Then, you get down to the ol’ birthday suit, squat over your bucket and commence to splashin’! J I am not sure how clean I got, but I felt like a new man……it is amazing what a little shampoo can do!

So, I entered the morning worship feeling like a new, clean man! This morning, the kids just seemed on fire! It was almost TOO much to take in. Matt again had us partner with a stranger and learn about their faith. I was with Tinah form Jinja. Hearing the story of her family and faith was amazing. Her parents are in Kenya, and are both from the two different tribes that at that very second were waging a bloody war in the usually tranquil Kenya! She was worried. Here is my friend Tinah:
Matt then asked the crowd “How do you know God loves you?” One girl said- “All 8 of my siblings have died, or been killed. But, I am still alive. God loves me.”………………….HEAVY!

During the sermon, I sat next to a beautiful young village girl from Rwebisengo. She was tiny. I must have looked like Goliath to her. She would stare at me when she thought I was not looking. She then became fascinated with the bottom of my boot and absent mindedly began playing with it, for several minutes. When she looked up, I was looking at her. She blushed SO big like I had just caught her in something she should not be….then she broke into a HUGE smile I will never forget! I only know her right now as “SHOE GIRL”, but I love her. When it was over, she got my attention, and very shyly waved goodbye. (more stories of “SHOE GIRL” will come later!)

Later in the day, Jeff and Cheryl split the guys and gals up and gave purity classes. This is unheard of in Africa. Things like sex are publicly ignored. You DO NOT talk about such things! Hence, HIV is killing the entire country! It was great though…several young men were touched, and afterwards, they prayed about it at the foot of the cross.

After lunch, I preached my 2nd time. It was ok, but the crowd was hot, full and tired. Still, they were attentive as I talked about the armor of God and even dressed a young man up in a costume. It was fun.
Next, (busy day huh) we had a game. They played a flour bomb war. You ever done that? You take a tissue, fill the center with flour, and then twist and tie it off. You then play capture the flag. To eliminate another player, you must hit them with your thrown bomb. They explode and get all over you……trust me, GREAT fun! Well, guess what……they LOVED it. I mean LOVED it! It was nuts.
They were fast! And when the red team finally won (on some pretty shaky terms I might add) they went crazy! For a brief second, we thought we may have started the Uganda riots! They were yelling, jumping, cheering…it was so cool.

After this, we passed out their camp T-shirts. They were SO excited to get a new shirt. It meant the world to them. It was humbling to see such gratefulness.

So….after dinner, we were excited. We were going to walk into the village of Buhara (known in the not so far off past for its’ witchcraft) to have a worship in the town center around a bonfire. The plan was to let the African kids take control and make it 100% native! So we walked down a DARK road (I am convinced the Ugandans have been blessed with an internal night vision), until we reached the village center. The kids then just let it out! They danced, sang, jumped, celebrated…….man they loved the Lord is what they did! At one point they began this fast manic run around the fire in a huge group. Matt, John and I jumped in to the action…it was GREAT!

Afterwards, we wearily walked back to camp. The BUSY and wonderful day ended with a few of us around the tents laughing our heads off to jokes of the “SMUT and GANDHI SLAP”…trust me, you HAD to be there! J

It was a great day. I feel very full of God tonight…and with that feeling, I shall sleep.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Patriots and Politics

So............this guy right here
is a U. S. Senator. And, his BIG issue right now is wanting to meet with the commish of the NFL and the Patriots to talk about alleged cheating with videotaping in pro football games.

Can ANYONE please explain this to me?????? This man is a leader of our free country, and THIS is his major concern. WHY? Our country is in HUGE debt, the economy is crashing, we are in a terrible and unjust war, our foreign relations are at an all time low, the US dollar is one of the developed world's weakest currencies, global warming is destroying our world............................................................................................................................................................................................and our governement wants to talk about FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!?!??!?

Please, someone help me make sense of this.

Ugandan Tales and Superbowl reflections

Before I begin today’s continued saga of African tales….I HAVE to say something about that Superbowl. It was AMAZING! That game was incredible!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you all got to watch it and see the greatest Superbowl in years!!!

Okay….now back to the action….

January, 2008 – Preaching in Africa!

Wow…sleeping in a tent in the African “wilderness” is interesting! This city boy is not used to THAT many animal noises! So…here we go. Day two is here! After breakfast, a young lady named Doreen led some worship songs. It was WONDERFUL! She would punctuate verses when excited with these incredible noises…a shout of joy….that was this throaty yelp like….well I cannot explain it. You just had to be there! Here she is:

After that, I preached my 1st sermon in Africa!
It went OK, I guess. I found out that working with an interpreter is tougher than expected! Many of the concepts do not translate very well, especially in Swahili, but I will know better next time! It was a great privilege and they were so attentive and encouraging.

After a short rest, and continued sign-ups (Jinja got in late last night), we mingled with the teens.
As we did this, I saw a kid with an incredible shirt on. He was wearing an Ashland Grizzlies jersey! That is a high school just some 15 minutes from me!!!!! And here, this kid from Africa was wearing it! What a small world huh?!?!?!?!? Photobucket

Soon after, I ate my 1st traditional African meal for lunch! It was matoki, white yams, beans and bread. It looked a little different, but was not bad. In fact it had no taste at all.
I ate with Matt and we had a really great talk. I really felt a bond. He is a good man. I pray we’ll stay friends.

After the feast, Matt and I set up a “ropes course” game. It actually did not work as we had panned, due to using string instead of actual rope. We expected teenage moans and complaints, but the African teens were amazing. They LOVED it!
Patiently they would make their way through and smile the whole while! I have never seen such grateful attitudes.

Afterwards I took a walk and found the Rwebisengo choir practicing in the banana trees. That was an awesome surprise! They are just SO beautiful!

As the day winded down, the different youth groups presented skits, songs and dances they had come up with. WOW! (do I seem to be saying that a LOT?) Some were funny, others serious, maybe even a little scary. One group had a skit with demons in it. They made these AMAZING costumes from grass and plants. Their interpretation was VERY real. PhotobucketThey even had one about Samson (which I had preached on that morning! COOL! They listened! :)

Afterwards, Matt preached and had us get into small groups and pray together. I prayed with a young man from Kampala named Alpha Weanga. He wants to be a minister one day. I wonder what God is going to do with this amazing kid??

Praise the Lord…it was a blessing of a day!