Building A Road

Sometimes the potholes just become too much and you need to take matters into your own hands….

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Especially when you realize that the vehicles that pass on the road most frequently belong to you and your boss, or someone coming to your ministry.

So, a coworker helped me arrange having three truck loads delivered along the way.  I came with shovels, a hoe, and a rake.

The driver dumped piles of stony dirt in the problem areas, and we followed with our tools to spread it out as needed.

IMG_0868Some neighbors got involved, lending us by lending us a wheel barrow or even taking a turn at shoveling the dirt.

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Soon some of our boys came home from school and they were eager to take part in the work as well.

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Now driving to work is a bit more pleasant, and a lot less muddy.

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Sandy Roots

“…I go to the beach and dig my feet into the sand, feeling the graininess, remembering that this is the place my feet are at, the place I get to love for now. And I watch those waves come in and out, in and out…”
 
This excerpt from a blog I’ve read, really spoke to me.
I like the image of planting/rooting my feet in sand. It may seem foolish…but I’m not talking about the parable Jesus told. I am talking about the idea of allowing myself to be rooted where I am. To be fully invested, even if I know it is temporary. The truth is anywhere we go on this earth is just temporary.  This is not our home.
Yet somehow, I struggle to keep this in my mind sometimes.  The need to put in roots and fully invest where I am can sometimes be difficult if I have in my mind that it is temporary.
I have realized that it is difficult for me to just enjoy the moment sometimes because I am too often looking beyond to the long-term.  I’ve observed it in myself in simple things like choosing to buy a simple treat of mangoes for the children at a random time or as complex as investing in friendships if I have doubts about their longevity.
The blog opened my mind and took it a different direction…
I need to be a bit more relaxed in my thinking about the things in the distance that I may not be able to see very clearly.  Instead, I need to let my feet sink into the shifting sands I find myself in.  I need to enjoy and take part in what is surrounding me, regardless of how long it will take for the natural ebb and flow of the tide to wash the sand away and force me to make a change.
I’m praying for God to guide me in this. To help me embrace the moments more frequently instead of always subconsciously analyzing the value of my investment of time, effort, etc.  I want to really be more intentional about making the journey meaningful and enjoyable, just as much as the destination I’m headed to (or hoping for).
This goes against various aspects of my personality, but I believe it is good and right.
Here I go, doing more than dipping my toes in the gritty sand, but pushing them deep.  Digging my feet down into it.  Allowing the thickness to go beyond my ankles….

Home

That word, home, has multiple meanings these days.

I’m at home in Uganda.  I’m at home in America.  I’m not really home at all…waiting for heaven.

But recently I had a visit to my first home for a few weeks.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you need to a trip home until you have already arrived.  (Truth be told…I felt it when I got back home to Uganda too.  And I pray it feels like that to an exponentially greater level when I reach my ultimate home.)

This is just a glimpse of that sweet time…

I was able to visit a several churches.

I had a really special time in Grand Rapids with my good friends from my Cornerstone University days.

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Where our friendship all began… (Me, Bethany, Kristin, & Cassie…missing Erin & Jen)

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We discovered many open buildings, helping us to reminisce all the good times.  This was our room sophomore year.

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Cassie’s old room with Erin.

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  When the children are the photographers… Why are the outtake pictures always my favorites?

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Kristin’s kids joined us for part of the day….good thing, because we needed their photography skills a few times!

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Because only in America would a festival include a place designated for you to leave your balloon at pick back up at your earliest convenience.

Another sweet reunion was with my girls who used to live in The Oasis with me.  What a treat that Megan and I were both home from the mission field at the same time!

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Melissa, Alison, Me, Megan

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We met up at Endiro Coffee…a Ugandan restaurant in Aurora.  Gloria was in the USA to help get the place up and running…I’m hoping to run into her in Uganda sometime!

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Sometimes I remembered to take pictures while hanging out with friends that I met up with at homes or coffeeshops.

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I spent a few days in Texas for training with CTEN, my mission organization.  A friend of mine, Bethany, was home from Tanzania for the training as well.  It was good week!

I had some good ol’ family time with things like graduation and Father’s Day.

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And I even spotted some glimpses of my Ugandan home in the grocery store!

Thought it was nice to be home for awhile, engage in deep conversations with friends and family, wash my clothes with machines, not think about the possibility of power outages, experience the convenience of drive-thru’s, go to church services fully in English, watch Netflix, eat good ice cream, and more….It’s good to be back home in Uganda again (dust and all).

What a Difference

Last weekend The Shepherd Center boys went to their homes for a visit.  (Well, most of them anyway…)

Some didn’t want to go, others were ready to spend the night with some family.  But everyone who was able, went home.

Sunday afternoon I was driving to TSC, and as I drove through town, some of my boys spotted my van.  Seeing their big smiles and hearing them shout my name, I pulled over and picked them up.  They were so excited to see me and have a free ride the rest of the way.

One of the first things they told me was that they were hungry.  Most likely they didn’t have lunch, or at least missed some meal since they left TSC.

I stopped and bought a cluster of bananas to share with the four boys I had with me, and whoever we would find had already returned to the house.

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After I’d pulled over at a small shop that sells bananas along the road, I sent one of the boys out with a little money to make the purchase.

A police officer was sitting outside the shop.  He recognized the boy from his days on the street.

He came over to my van and greeted the other three boys from the windows.  They had quite a pleasant exchange.  Then the officer turned to me.  He thanked me for taking care of these boys.  (Of course I took the thank you on behalf of everyone at TSC, not just myself.)

Of course he knows that they are no longer on the streets in town, and all the trouble that comes with it.  And he saw that they are happy.  They are in good hands…They are in God’s hands.  We at TSC are just thankful to be the tools God is choosing to use at this time.

Scripture Union

Scripture Union is Uganda’s nation-wide Bible club in schools (it’s actually in other countries as well).

This week some young adults in my community are moving around this region to visit schools on behalf of Scripture Union (SU).

Since I’m friends with some of these people, I ended up joining in on the programs for part of this week.

We visited both primary and secondary schools as we drove around the southwestern part of Uganda.  We sang songs, played little games, shared from God’s Word, gave testimonies, and invited students to a conference later this year.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done that, and I enjoyed the opportunities to share God’s truth and love with hundreds of students.

Sometimes such events require my inner-crazy to come out.  You know, whatever it takes to connect with an audience and pave a way for hearts to be ready to receive the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

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High-Fives for everyone!

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Looking into the office, eagerly anticipating what we would do!

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Even the back row was dancing with me and my song.

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The teachers joined in!

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Praying for a young man who just gave his life to Jesus.

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I like to recruit students to sing with me–this is the only school that had boys volunteer.

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Making Melodies

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Look at their faces–they can’t believe this Mzungu is so crazy!  I think the choir leader (closest too me) was in shock, & unable to participate.

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Meeting the students who had just accepted Jesus as their Savior.