Saturday, March 27, 2010

24 and counting.....

Here we go...plane tickets were purchased for our group that will be ministering in Uganda in April. I am already overwhelmed and completely excited. I got my last shot Friday and dropped by prescriptions for anti-malaria medication, anti-biotics and something in case of an unmanageable migraine.

Rarely, but every once in a while, my migraine prescriptions don't take effect or I can't keep them down with the nausea and end up in the ER where I am sure everyone thinks I am nuts, because when the pain gets to "emergency room" level, I am usually found waiting my turn on my knees on the floor, head in my hands on the seat of a chair and praying out loud.

Yes, I said out loud. I have no idea what anybodies reaction is, because in this scenario, I am beyond the ability to open my eyes because even the light through a keyhole in a dark room will surely pierce right through my eyes and strike my brain, like lightning. So, I don't look and I don't need to know that they are moving away from the crazy woman, and I believe the nurses might even thank me for scaring a few into thinking they aren't going to stick around to catch the headache or religion.

Anyway, the nearest hospital to where we will be staying is 4 hours away and I think I would throw myself under the car if I have to travel that far in migraine condition. So, I am praying I don't have to use this pressurized injectionable needleless-air-thingy or bride someone else to do it to me, but don't doubt I will if I have to, and the rest of Uganda will thank me, because lets be honest, a crazy white woman running around holding her head praying in a language they don't understand could just maybe bring on a slightly precarious reaction from the locals. You might want to keep CNN on your remote while I'm gone, just in case.

Filled out my Visa application and Uganda will be so happy to welcome me into their country for a hundred bucks. Kinkos was very happy to accept my $15.00 for two tiny terrible photos as a send off. I have to also show proof of an immunization for Yellow Fever. None of the other 4 I needed (according to the travel nurse), like Typhoid and Hepatitis need to proven, cause I guess they aren't worried about me bringing those babies home as a souvenir, but yellow fever, they need proof. That one, they want to keep in Uganda, no sharing that with US family and friends, I guess. Well, maybe for another $100.00 bucks.

We are flying Emirates Airlines 15 hours to Dubai, 12 hour layover and then another 8 hours to Entebbe, Uganda. The terminal in Dubai has a hotel right at the airport I guess where they will give us rooms, free of charge for the layover so we won't be just roaming around. I guess even Dubai has heard about my migraines, so who could blame them. But I am thinking after 16 hours in an airplane seat, I am gonna look for a tread mill for those 12 hours. Can you take Tylenol PM again after the first 8hours of knock out sleep, for the second 1/2 of the flight?? And I think we loose a day with the date line or something, so really, I will need both nights sleep because of the lost night with the time change right? Ya, and they are gonna take me international...I know.

My goodness, the food on the flight...and 16 hours, how many times will they wake me from my Tylenol coma and bring me food, but I can choose, a Hindu meal, Muslim meal, bland meal, standard meal, vegetarian meal, lactose free meal, medium meal, I'm still looking for the varietal chocolate meal, before I settle for something else. Perhaps I will order piece-meal AKA sampler plate? Or for heaven's sake if we have the Hindu-Muslim-vegetarian, couldn't that really be called "World Peace meal"? In which case, I will definitely partake but probably not remember because of the overdose of PM. I'll have someone take pictures.

I went to the Thrift store on $2.00 day and bought my clothing. In my natural fashion sense, I'm not much of a skirt girl and dresses and skirts must be below the knee. So I cleaned up at the Salvation Army and am culture and fashion friendly for the village, I I said stay close to CNN for updates.

My brother gave me a TON of fabric from his leftovers. He is the master of quilting and had a bunch of 1/2 yard pieces. So my new seamstress friend "AD" and I are making pillow case dresses to take along to any little girls that can use them. One of my suppliers sent me baseball jerseys for the boys. I have been warned about giving anything out. I guess the kids are pretty ruthless about taking things from one another that have any value at all. So I will be checking that out and may wait until the end of the trip when I travel to the Compassion project on the other side of the country to visit my Ruth. She has no idea I am coming and won't until I actually arrive in the country. We have been sponsoring her for about 10 years and she is 16 now. Beautiful and nearly a grown woman. Here are some pictures from the last couple of years.

Here is the most recent...I know, she's beautiful!

Each time we send a little extra, we get a picture and description with a thank you note, of what she bought with the money. She even choose that goat I guess. Anyway, I wish I could tell just how tall or what size she it, because I would love to bring her something to wear. She looks tall to me, but I don't know if I should take a chance or not. I am going to bring her tons of beads

to make jewelry. Perhaps she will make things for fun, or maybe it will be something that she could make and sell. I don't know. I would love to bring her mother, a widow and her siblings something also. I am hoping once I get into the country, I will know best what to do. Compassion allows and even encourages small gifts, but the items on the list of recommendations seem to be aimed at younger children. It will be a 9 hour drive with a Compassion driver to get from the village were the rest of the team is to where she is and will take three days to complete the trip and end up back in Entebbe where I meet up again with the rest of the team.

Oh my word, the pictures and video of our meeting. I am praying my driver speaks English and will learn to use my camera so we have it recorded for the rest of my family. Oh and that he isn't completely ready to run for the Ugandan hills after being in a car with me for 9 hours. Perhaps Compassion offers their own version of Tylenol PM and peace meals.

24 days and counting...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ruptured peace, unsettled heart.

"Girls, I want you to know something. And, I want you to know it in your heart of hearts! I want you to know it so completely, that you automatically turn to this truth each time your peace is ruptured or you become unsettled. I want you to grasp it when you become distracted by the stresses of daily living...THERE'S POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

His name is above every other name. His is the highest name, the most wonderful name in all of Heaven and earth. When you breathe His name through faith, you can stand victoriously in the midst of any circumstance that challenges your peace and your sanity."
copied from a post by Cyndi Wood at a blog called all access because my peace is ruptured and I have become unsettled.

Unsettled because Dot is not going to come along on the trip we had planned to take TOGETHER to Africa.

Unsettled because I am visual and so all my visions of travelling and airports and hotel beds with mosquito nets and skype attempts and wearing long skirts and teaching and translators and discussion groups and hugging women and a long drive to visit our sponsored daughter, Ruth and laying in the dark at the end of each day talking about how we had seen the Lord working that day or praying together, calling on Him to reach out to the village of Kakira...well, that was what I thought was going to happen. There are few on this earth that understand the tenderness we share for our Jesus. And I thought we'd now share Uganda. So I am unsettled and my peace is treatening to rupture.

But...God had other plans. He knew when we both agreed and surrendered to this trip, that only one of us would really be going. He knew what would transpire, how it would come about and that I would go alone, because he sees the beginning, the end, and the inbetween of all things.

Because I love Him so, and he has proven himself over and over again in my life, I know this is the better plan. It doesn't feel better, but this is not the first time what I know and what I feel are in conflict.

The thing is, she wanted to go so badly and suffers the loss right a long with me, only not with me. Answering "yes" in obediance has come first even before understanding, when she hears God's call to go or to stay.

I love to share a thing or two or 50 with another. I love to have a witness to my rendition of an adventurous account. My mind and heart see things in what some might say, from a slightly "over-dramatic" perspective and there's just a bit more credibility if Dot could nod along with my retelling. Otherwise, I don't get the "unbelievable, but true!" confirmation, just the "unbelievable" response.

But, I also know that in the book of Hosea, God leads us into the desert to speak tenderly to us there. He allows us solitude so that we can hear Him better. So off to Uganda, our team, one servant short from my view...perfectly put together from God's. So as my heart processes from unsettled to settled and my peace, from ruptured to repaired...I will count it all joy...gear up for the endurance this walk alone will take and trust Him for the dramatic result.

Just promise you will nod at the truth, believable or not.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stairway makeover...

The kitchen cabinets, make the countertops looks a little stale, the countertops, made the eating area need a little pick me up, made the family room look a little boring, which inspired a face lift for the stairway. The captain craftsman (not at all like crafter) did some great wood working magic, and despite the 20 or 300 foot tall walls above the stairs, we repainted and I went to work on reframing and rehanging some family photos. I got a great deal and when I say great, I mean one of those Kohl's 70% off and then a coupon and some $10.00 vouchers and two sets of black frames were practically free after Christmas.

Then I took a bunch of the old wood frames I have had forever and spray painted them white, velvet border and all. Scanned some family pictures to black and white and ordered them all from Snapfish, which I love because I don't have to leave the house and they deliver right to the mailbox, which for those of you under 30, I realize is probably now just another inalienable constitutional right, but for me, is such a luxury and miraculous that I want to kiss the mailman when I see him put the oversized envelope into the box.

Now I wanted an arrangement, collage on the wall, but I am one of those that has to put the nail in the wall about 3 or 6 different times, to get it in the right place and the spacing responsibility was daunting, yet my pretty frames and pictures were crying out to me to be hung. So...

I made a template out of paper, laid all the frames out, until I had them the way I wanted them.

Took a picture of the collage and then measured and marked on the paper, where the nails should go.

I put the paper up on the wall and nailed the hangers on the marks.

Then I tore the paper off, leaving the hangers in place and then referred back to my digital picture to duplicate the arrangement. Ta da...a little tweeking, moving, quake wax and I love to glance up and see my kid's faces & fingerprints up and down the stairs, . Kinda like the old days...but I miss the fingerprints.

Friday, March 05, 2010

God is working...

Thinking about Uganda, planning for Uganda , dreaming about Uganda...

I will not even think about complaining about the shots Dot and I got last week. We were both brought to tears while talking in the car on the way and the poor nurse didn't know what to make of two leaky girls walking into the immunization room. We're girls, we just have spontaneous moments of drama.

God is doing a work. God is planting a love so deep in my heart for the women of Uganda, that I can hardly stand it. I picture their faces, their dress, their hearts . I have looked for, asked about, researched this village, Kakira. Who are these women, what do they deal with, how can I encourage them.
To say life is difficult there, is like saying the sun is hot. We can believe it, but will never really comprehend that degree of struggle. The roads are all dirt, walking is the mode of transportation, children care for children. The men that work all day, don't necessarily bring their earnings home, often choosing to drink away their paycheck leaving the family in a constant struggle to survive. Wives can be expected to share their husbands, and maybe in the common loveless marriages, it is not the impossible we would imagine. Physical discipline is common to control and keep the "beloved" in line, expected and accepted my many. I am sure this does not characterize every individual, but the reports I have received in preparing for the women of Kakira are full of resignation, poverty and empty hearts.

And God is working in me, swelling my heart with such longing and desire to bring a message of hope to the other side of the world. We are not the first, God willing, we won't be the last to come with the gospel, to Kakira.

God has made an appointment and I am so excited to be part of the team that will get to teach them what I know about the God of my heart. Several years ago I was faced with the possible threat of a life threatening illness. Thank you Lord, it wasn't on my calendar for that particular season of life, but there was quite a period of waiting and wondering "what if". I was resigned to whatever God had in store, but asked him that if the number of my days were drastically shortened, he would ordain a moment on a mountain for me. A moment where he would arrange for everyone within earshot to listen so I could tell them how and why Jesus is so worth living for and how be believes we are worth dying for. I doubt there will be a mountain but I am praying God uses this voice to show Himself glorious.
God is working...praise Him.