Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting Settled

A few initial thoughts:
The sun is hotter here. Well, duh, we are closer to it, being only about 1 degree off he Equator, but still. for some reason I didn't imagine the sun itself actually feeling hotter for some reason. Secondly, as we made the drive from Entebbe to Jinja, I became certain that if I was making the drive myself, I would have a heart attack and die within the first five minutes. Technically, you are supposed to drive on the left side of the road, but in the traffic in Kampala (Uganda's capital city) people drive by their own rules. Or ride their bikes. Or their motorcycles. Or walk. we even saw one guy rollerblading down one of the paved streets, going just as fast as the cars around him. Thirdly, I expected the people, culture, buildings, etc., to not be how I expected them to be, if that makes any sense. What I mean by that, is after being so exposed to different cultures through TV, movies, books, and other forms of media, we get a picture in our minds of how people live in other countries. And usually, it seems, that picture is wrong. No, people do not live in teepees on Native American reservations. In Germany, the men don't all wear lederhosen and the women don't all have their hair in braids wrapped around their heads. But here you really do see people riding down the street on their bicycles with enormous bundles of something that was once growing balanced on the back. Here, many of the houses really do look as if they are made of mud and sticks, and the dirt is so red it will stain your shoes.

Today was our first full day in Uganda, and, unlike yesterday, we all made it until after sunset before heading to bed. It's about 9:00 pm here. The adjustment between time zones has been tough for everyone, and naps have been plentiful. Hoping that we all get accustomed in the next day or two! The layover in London was long (nine hours), and the plane rides were even longer, but it was definitely worth it. We arrived in Entebbe yesterday morning, and were greeted by Pastor Robert, Peter, and a few others. We then made our way out of Entebbe, through Kampala and Jinja, and here to Robert and Sarah's house, and the Nile Guest House, where all the women are staying. We had a late lunch, discussed plans for the week, and then most of us headed to bed shortly after. Today we all met for breakfast here at the guest house at 8:00, before walking over to Robert and Sarah's house for a morning devotional and to begin our work. The guys went into Bukeeka to sit in on a parent meeting at Fountain of Hope school, and then went to buy painting supplies for the kitchen project we will be doing. Meanwhile, the four of us women and Sarah stayed back to sort through all the suitcases full of things for the community (about 28 or so).

When the men returned, we put together bags for each of the teachers at the school, and then had a wonderful dinner of rice, pineapple, watermelon, beans, fried fish, and a kind of flat bread which I promise to learn the name of! After dinner, we had a Bible study on James, and then headed back to the guest house. It's so strange to be in an area that has so little of the technology we are used to, and yet to hear cell phones going off, or to come back to our room and be able to use the internet. I think it is time to go to bed now, though. We've got another long day ahead of us. It will be fun to experience a church service here!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The eight of us will be leaving from Seattle on the 22nd, and flying to Entebbe by way of London. We will be arriving in Jinja on the 23rd, and will spend the rest of the day shopping in preparation for outreach. The following day we will also use to prepare. The 26th will be our first sunday in Uganda, and we will be attending a bush church service, and visiting other churches in the area. On the 27th we are visiting the Fountain of Hope school, and giving out supplies. The 28th-30th will be spent working on a construction project and doing outreach, and July 1st will be spent getting ready for the Sports Festival. July 2nd and 3rd will be spent helping out at the festival, with a showing of the Jesus Film saturday evening, and another bush church service sunday. July 4th through the 8th will be spent in outreach and construction, with optional bush home-stays with local families. The ninth will be a day for relaxing, before another bush service and church visits on the 10th. The 11th and 12th will be more outreach and construction, and we will depart Uganda on the 13th.

For more information on Grace Giving International and their work in Uganda, you can go to their website:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How it all began...

It hasn't always been a dream of mine to go on a mission trip to Uganda. Don't get me wrong, I have never been opposed to it, and I have always been interested in travel. The idea of going to Africa on a mission trip simply had never crossed my mind. At least not seriously. But I suppose that is where my error was. My whole life, up until this year, has been essentially about what I want to do. Where I want to go. What I feel that I am gifted in. But last summer, I graduated from Clackamas High School, and in the fall I moved down to Corvallis to attend OSU. I was so excited to move into the House of Charis, which is an all-girls, Christian cooperative house. I was anticipating the forming of lifelong friendships, and the experience of living somewhere new, independent from everything I was familiar with. But the growth I have experienced this year as a person, and a daughter and bride of Christ far outreaches anything I could have imagined. 

About a year and a half ago, I began to feel a pull towards missions. I didn't know exactly what that would mean, and didn't really discuss it with anyone. Then, in the fall of 2010, it somehow became clear in my mind that missions were going to be a part of my life sometime in the following four or five years. I didn't know whether that would mean going on a long term mission, short term mission(s), or even where I was supposed to go. All I knew was that something was being set in motion in my life, and it was none of my own doing. Not long after this realization, in December, I was attending a worship night at another co-op in town, and all night, I couldn't think of anything but Africa. I had already learned enough in the preceding few months to know that God often works through those seemingly random thoughts that pop into your mind. And I knew I was going to Africa. Now, you might think, Africa is a big place, wanna narrow it down just a bit? But honestly, I was filled with so much excitement over the fact that God was calling me to Africa (and soon!), that I didn't really care how vague that call was. After all, Christ bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and we are therefor called to reach out to everyone. And what command could be more vague than that? Yet that makes it no less important.

A couple weeks later, that confidence was rewarded when my parents came down to visit and I talked to them about it. They were, of course, a bit skeptical, but not as much as I had expected! My dad mentioned Grace Giving International to me, telling me about how he had heard they were taking a team or two to different places in Africa this summer. I looked into the organization, and saw that they were taking two teams: one to Ethiopia, and one to Uganda. SO... I sent out an email to the director of their Uganda program, and the next thing I knew, I was all signed up to go this summer! It still seems so unreal, but there is not a doubt in my mind that big things are going to happen on this trip.