Monday, November 29, 2010

MORE FUN

We had a BLAST yesterday!!!

We were supposed to get all the shopping for the games done on Friday, but in good 'ole African timing, we were running about 3 hours late and by the time we could've gone shopping it was after 7pm and the shops were closed.

What an awesome time we had visiting with 5 families, after a spontaneous time with a group of HIV+ ladies from the village next to the YWAM base (while waiting for Moses, our driver/guide for the day - YWAMer). Heart-breaking on the one hand, yet hope-inspiring on the other. Enjoyed listening to them and ministering to them in prayer and encouragement.

Haven't ministered to sooooooo many people in a loooooooooooong time - every day - visiting, listening, sharing, ministering, praying. Oh how I wish more of God's supernatural power flowing through me/us - especially in physical healing, as there are soooooooooo many who really need God's healing touch!

At times it does get exhausting and at the end of the day, I feel I've got nothing left to give. That's where I recognize my introvert personality (would you've guessed??! - hehe).
As much as I LOOOOVE being with people, it does drain me.

What I love so much is that we've been having a REAL AFRICAN EXPERIENCE since we arrived - being immersed in the culture, getting to know it through the eyes of the beautiful African people!

By the way, just to set the record straight, what I mentioned in my last blog post about meeting "the best" was in no way intended as a comparison with other people/ministries we've visited!
They really ALL are BEAUTIFUL expressions of the Father's heart!
Guess I just can't hide my enthusiasm about what our YWAM-family is doing to make a difference...

Having this all-African introduction also includes regular hunger-pangs. Even though we have some nuts etc in our backpacks for times where we can't get to food, we wouldn't dare bring out the food as we're with our friends who pretty much don't eat and drink all day - except towards the evening - not even a word mentioned about being hungry or thirsty (and our nuts wouldn't be enough for everybody).

Never before have I felt guilty about drinking water ~ ~ ~

Rich and I have our water bottles and drink regularly throughout the day, but I also see that our local friends have no water bottles, and in most houses, we don't get offered drink or food.
African hospitality is VERY warm, though, sometimes I think they're not offering cuz they really don't have anything!

The daily struggle just for food and water is very real round here...

So, to get back to yesterday, after shopping for some stuff for games and a heap of candy/lollies (quite the experience again), we finally made it to the venue for the party with the orphans.
Prepared a bag with some goodies for each one of the 18 families in the Orphans kNOw more network, got ready for games.

Great program, including a time of worship, song/dance presentations and several testimonies from the children that are NO LONGER ORPHANS but adopted into beautiful families, with a mother and father who selflessly sacrifice their lives for all of the children.... VERY VERY TOUCHING!!!!

Tears the whole way through.... what an emotional wreck I am most of the time - - -

Find myself going to sleep often weeping - waking up weeping - got to admit that I've been taking medication every night to make sure I get some sleep. First it was for jet-lag, but I have continued as there is so much to "digest" at night that I can't sleep without some help... arggh
Feeling GREAT during the day, though! Thank you, Jesus!

So, back to yesterday: had great food - basically paid by our family eating rice and beans or lentils every Sunday for a year - made us so happy that by our tiny sacrifice we were able to bless 200 people with a feast! (had to top it up a bit) - VERY special (of course, nobody knew about that, which was even better!)

The games were the BLAST! O.MY.GOODNESS!!!

It was actually MADNESS!!!

These kids - and there were a lot from the local village that joined in - must have been well over 200 - are not used to getting attention in this way - TOTALLY different from anything we've ever experienced! It was wonderful and wild!

Trying to give out a candy/lolly to each child in the end almost ended up in a riot/stampede... crazy - - -

We had to cancel a few of the activities because of the madness, but still - everybody had lots of fun - including us!

After everybody had left and it was pitch-dark, Rich and I were sitting under a tree with some of the kids from the village, pulling out the glow-in-the-dark bracelets (our last treat that we'd held onto) and just enjoying being with the kids - doing some singing, just giving affection. We had to wait quite a while for our ride back, as there'd been a flat tyre and lots of things and people to transport - we were the last ones to leave - sooo enjoyed that winding down time with just some of the kids1

While Rich had been mostly leading the games for the OKM kids, I felt myself surrounded by the kids from the village - could tell by the extra layers of dirt on their skin and the rags - the OKM kids were dressed in their best clothes, as it was a special celebration for them.

By the way, one thing Rich and I have observed: men don't hardly EVER wear T-shirts around here - only dress-shirts - - - interesting! And I was the only woman yesterday in (long, shabby) shorts - all the ladies put on their best dresses etc - we both felt out of place as everybody else was much more dressed up... oh my.... learning....

In the end I was grateful for having worn those clothes, cuz we were so stinkin' dirty - - - with all the games etc...

'Nuf for today - bed's calling - night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Some bullet points, as time and internet access are both scarce:

  • · On Monday we visited Vision for Africa, a ministry to help orphans started by an Austrian lady in her 60s, absolutely mind-blowing how God has blessed this ministry, they have 5.500 orphans and underprivileged children they are sponsoring, 3 children’s homes, vocational training, hotel and hotel management school plus more. We wanted to see the ministry since it is through them that we’re sponsoring Richard.

  • · Wherever we go, what touches us the most are the local people and their selfless service to the orphans and underprivileged children – we see beautiful solidarity wherever we look, people sharing the little they’ve got, pouring out their lives.
  • Take John (name changed for privacy reasons), for example – grew up in the North, started school only at 10, since the walk to school and back was 10km, had to interrupt secondary school because 3 of his brothers died of Aids and left behind 18 orphans that needed to be cared and provided for. Just finished his university degree after a very long and difficult – often interrupted – journey. Is married with 2 young children, yet caring for many more! He left a stable, well-paying government job to work with Vision for Africa, because he is so touched by their ministry and he wants to give his bit, even though it means his personal struggle for survival will increase.

  • · Don’t have much time left – we’ve been very busy - - - being with YWAM has been – what can I say - can’t find the words – indescribable again! Seen the worst and the best – the worst in terms of people’s living conditions – and the "best" in terms of the YWAM people reaching out – no bias here – will have to write more when more time.
  • We've been doing LOTS of visiting families - those with the "Orphans Know More" network. Just incredible - the dedication - quality of people - couples taking on up to 15-30 orphans in their homes - with minimal support - living by faith - working very hard - serving in YWAM as well - - - many times all I think is - O MY GOODNESS!!!!!!
  • Tomorrow we will have an outing with about 150 of the orphans and their families - NICE FOOD - end of year celebration (they're just finishing school for the year) - Rich and I are in charge of organizing games with the kids - FUN! So we've got to go out now and buy a few more things - should be interesting! Besides having a schedule to visit with 4-5 more families today (all expecting us - no, we didn't make that schedule) - so we HAVE to go or they're very disappointed - it is SOOO special, though, to connect, hear stories, share, pray and encourage.
  • Funny (written with Rich's permission): while at Vision for Africa and hanging out with some boys, they asked Rich straight out: "How come you're fat?" - we cracked up laughing - they were pretty serious - couldn't figure out how somebody could be fat. Next question: "Do you eat lots of chocolate?" cracking up again - then: "Do you have any chocolate for us?" Ohhh, these boys - - - we didn't, but shared our trail mix with them instead. (they'd just had visitors from Germany/Austria that had brought them chocolate etc....)
Well, I've got lots of photos of everything, run out of time. gotta go

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 4 - SUNDAY!

We were supposed to get picked up at 9am in order to be at church at 10am for the service.

First, our driver slept in and came late,

then we picked up Richard to come with us,

then we drove and drove until we were - - -

lost!

Thank God for cell phones - yes, it's the main means of communication here!

Arrived at church at 10:45am - the pastor even had to pick us up at the side of the road (almost 5 min. walking distance from the church) cuz our driver couldn't find the way...

Embarrassing ~ ~ ~ our very first Sunday in Uganda, we're the guest speakers, and we arrive almost an hour late ~ ~ ~

Oh well, at least I knew that in Africa being late is not as bad as it would be in some other countries - and they were still singing when we arrived. Good thing none of us got stressed...
After all - this is Africa!

It was an amazing service - I got to preach the message God had laid on my heart weeks ago - then Rich gave his testimony, leading into a time of ministry about the father heart of God.

Photos' order messed up but don't have time to fix it. the first photo is after service...


I had woken up in the morning, crying.... feeling the pain of the people (once again....) and having a strong sense that God wanted Rich to minister HIS father heart that day!

It was just BEAUTIFUL and very special to minister together like that - hand in hand - we haven't done that in a looooong time!!!

As we got introduced, we also invited Richard with us onto the stage as our son...
You could just feel him growing a few inches - hehe
We were surprised that he even took the microphone (when Rich offered it to him) and spoke to the whole church, sharing some of his testimony - WOW!!!

At the end of the service, we both ministered individually to pretty much every single person in the congregation. That was both fun and a work-out! I almost fainted towards the end, as I was very weak from hardly having eaten anything, standing up for so long, trying to speak over the VERY loud music ~ and the heat didn't help...

There must've been about 50 women and girls 20-30 men (Rich prayed for them), I didn't count, just guessing.... whew!

Got to the pastor's house after playing with little kids after the service - walking along red dirt roads - for "lunch" about 3:30pm.

Once again, very touching - there were at least 10 people there - the food was very little (maybe enough for what we would make for 3-4) - just a little juice, no water - but it didn't matter.
The fellowship was fantastic!!!

We shared and laughed together and were able to connect in such a way as I would've NEVER expected - in a totally new country, culture, new people - saweeeeet!

What a treat! Thank you Lord for that amazing connection with Pastor Lydia and her (church) family!!! It almost felt like we'd always been friends! WOW!!!

What was incredible too were how the children were acting. They hadn't eaten since breakfast - the service was from 10-3 - without anybody having any food - forget about morning and afternoon tea in this country! - in this case no lunch either - and NONE of the kids was grumpy, asking for food or anything - just content, happy...
I could tell that they really WERE hungry by the way they ate when there was food at 3:30pm.
Very obvious that they're used to eating very little...

On the way back, we had the same driver as on our first day, Joseph, a local pastor.
When he picked us up on our first day (with Pastor Lydia), I spontaneously had proposed that we fill up his gas tank when he stopped at a gas station. His small car was completely beat up and looked like it could collapse any time.

I figured that it couldn't cost too much to fill up the gas tank, since petrol prices are comparable with NZ prices. In the end though, it was way more than I had anticipated and we didn't even have enough cash to pay for it all (Pastor Lydia advanced some). It was pretty embarrassing and I had to admit to Rich later that I had messed up by proposing to fill it up. It blew our transport budget way out there... (it really was only about US$20 more than what it should have cost for him to drive us around all day)

Oh well, it was too late - and better to err on the side of being too generous, aye?!

So - on Sunday, Pastor Lydia told us HOW VERY VERY BLESSED Joseph was with our extra gift. She said he couldn't believe it and kept saying, "It's a miracle! It's a miracle!"

Well, as we were driving back to Kampala on Sunday evening, I asked him about his family - and there came another shocker - ready for this???

His first wife and 4 of 5 children all died of AIDS - - - imagine that for a minute - - -

Then he got re-married and had 4 more children.

On top of that, he and his wife took in 4 more children who were orphaned.

And he was raving about how grateful he is about the fact that he now has a job which permits him to provide for his family.

WHAT???? He only has this beat-up little car - kinda like a taxi - and he is able to support his family of 11 with THAT?????

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!

It doesn't take a prophet to know that his car won't make it much longer, especially with the very bad roads here - - -

Oh, I wish I could just buy him a newer car - - - He and his wife also pastor a church of about 90.

As you can imagine, I now didn't feel bad any more AT ALL for blowing our budget and blessing him with another US$20 - which for him was HUGE!!!

That night, we moved from Kampala on to Mukono to have a day visiting "Vision for Africa".

Whata day again - LOVING EVERY BIT OF IT!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

INDISCRIBABLE! Day 3

Our time here has been absolutely incredible! Every day, we feel that God is leading us in ways we could have never planned nor imagined! We are grateful beyond words, moved and shaken up to the core of our beings, NEVER the same – after what we’ve seen, heard, experienced! And we’ve been here not even a week. Here’s a recap:

Saturday – day 3:

Met Jennifer, a young Ugandan (26) who is heading up an orphanage of ex-child-soldiers from Uganda’s North together with her husband Cameron. We asked to have a look at the orphanage.

WOW!!!!!

Jennifer herself watched her parents beheaded and then cut into pieces before her eyes. Then she was abducted by the rebels and lived in the bush for 1 year until she got saved by World Vision. She has undergone tremendous healing since then and finished a University degree, thanks to sponsors from the USA. She’s AMAZiNG and got a HUGE heart for these traumatized children that she can relate to very well and she is able to help them in their journey to wholeness. There are 62 children. Long story…

BEAUTIFUL children, living in very crammed quarters, just sitting around, content, nothing to do, some braiding other’s hair, some singing worship songs – some you can tell they’re still struggling, others seem very free. What those young people (many are now teenagers) have gone through is indescribable! Yet, while they are receiving beautiful ministry they are already being taught to constantly reach out to others in the community. They go out and share the Gospel, minister, help other orphanages take care of little ones and share food with those who have none – IF they’ve got extra. They themselves struggle for their daily food. They had access to water but it was turned off because they couldn’t pay the bill. Now the boys get water at a near-by church that is partnering with the orphanage. One of the boys (17) was already used by God to raise a person from the dead!

Their motto: “Freely you have received, freely give”

The ministry was given a 35acre property with 8 houses. They now need water and a school before they can move the children – plus take in many more – their vision is big. Maybe more about that another time.

This was just the morning. Both Rich and I were VERY VERY touched and everything inside us is longing to find help for this beautiful beautiful ministry!!!!!!!!!!!

Then, together with Jennifer, who was our driver for the day (to earn some money for the orphanage she drives people places), we picked up our son Richard from his school where he had been sitting an exam in the morning. We went to a market to get some food to bring to his grandmother – also added food for Jennifer’s orphanage. That was an experience!!!!

Indescribable, too! I took some photos – AMAZING experience! Jennifer was such a help, as she was helping us barter and get the right prices for stuff! That was a LOT of fun for both of us, in the midst of the noise, crowd, dirt… just taking it all in – the sights, smells, sounds – and to be able to get food for really hungry people, WOW! We got the staples – rice, beans, a stock of bananas, some tea, sugar and salt.

Couldn't resist to put up this photo - at the market - look at that father/son bonding... awwww!

After also getting a mattress and mosquito net for Richard, we headed off to visit Richard’s grandma.

On the road, we saw an accident and stopped to help. Rich was able to provide first aid for a man who’d gotten hit by a truck. There was much blood, but he only had lacerations on his head and after about 30 minutes police came and took him away. Quite the experience again! The man didn’t want anybody to touch him except Rich. He was afraid people were going to strip him of all he owned (shoes etc) – seems to be common here. I was so proud of Rich and also VERY touched when I saw Rich, Richard (junior) and Jennifer come back to the van, Richard carrying Rich’s medical bag – just like a son – following behind Rich.

I stayed in the van as Jennifer had rushed away to translate for Rich with the van keys and windows down (it was across the street), so I couldn’t leave the van with our precious cargo…

Plus, I didn’t think that this “muzungo” (white person) really needed to be joining into the crowd of people that were on-looking the scene… J And I’m not a blood-kinda-person anyways – preferred to pray instead - hehe.

After a looooong drive through crazy traffic and roads that oftentimes look like what I imagine the surface of the moon – you can NOT imagine the pot holes – we finally saw Richard’s grandmother.

INDISCRIBABLE moment once again! To see the expression on her face and her reaction when she saw us with all the food – PRICELESS!!!! She was over-joyed and kept thanking us over and over again! Conditions are indescribable – the poverty - - - she rushed into her little shack and brought out photos of Richard’s mother (she died 12 years ago, his dad died before). It was SOOOO SPECIAL to look at the photos together!!!! It was quite clear that both really see us as Richard’s adoptive parents! We tried to talk a little but she didn’t speak any English. 3 little children were hanging around where she was – 2 sleeping on the dirt – seems they were somehow related.

FAMILY - reunited at last!!! The building in the background is NOT where the grandma lives, she spends her days in front of the empty house, cooking some things she's then trying to sell on the roadside (hardly anybody passing by)

Sooo precious, too, to feel Richard’s happiness and the pleasure he got out of blessing his grandmother! You just cannot find words to describe what goes on in your heart at these moments… It is soo deep and touching!!!

Before we left, we prayed for her – she kept making signs to thank God – not sure which God, as she’s a Muslim, but she sure was thankful!!!

Even on the way back, my heart just about melted away as I looked back and saw Richard leaning on Rich’s shoulder. This boy was SOOOOOOO savouring every moment with a Daddy – he’d never had one – all these years… He’s turning 20 on Dec.26th.

This is getting long, I know, but WAIT – the day wasn’t finished!

We stopped at a roadside African “restaurant” to have some dinner on our way back home (Jennifer dropped us off there). The menu: Rice, sweet potatoes and a small piece of very tough chicken in some kind of tomato sauce. Believe it or not, we met a New Zealander there, very few white faces in Kampala - he joined us and we had a VERY interesting conversation – learning a lot about Africa and Uganda – he’s been living here for 40+ years… loving it!

While I ate the dinner and just left the chicken – it was way too tough for my taste, tasted like rubber – Richard mentioned that he was HOPING to have a dinner like that for Christmas with his family….

Another arrow straight into my heart – THIS meal? – and he is HOPING to have it for Christmas?!!! Whew!!!

After that, Rich and I were both tired and longing just for a quiet remainder of the evening, but we both picked up that Richard REALLY wanted to spend more time and so he came back with us to our guesthouse and we played UNO (card game) with him – mostly Rich did, cuz I needed to get some ironing done for the next morning (church).

Our time with Richard was so very very very special! We both have totally fallen in love with our new son! He’s a beautiful young man, inside and out! Tender heart, special laugh… we already miss him so much – as well as all of our other children in NZ!!! Love you, kids, if you read this!!! VERY MUCH!!!

got MANY more photos - maybe on facebook soon, just gonna meet a HIV+ widow to hear her story....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 1 and 2

Internet is sporadic and VERY slow ~ ~ ~

First of all, I need to correct myself about the last sentence of my last entrance:

"Let the fun begin!"

How naive was that!

While I am still absolutely LOVING it, how can I speak of fun when it feels like we're watching an ocean of people drowning ~ and we can do pretty much nothing to save them...???

That's how I felt at the end of our first day.

Pastor Lydia was great - we saw and learned heaps - and came away heavy-hearted - the poverty and desperation here is even more than I imagined!

One of the needs she told us about was for 25 orphans in a near-by boarding school who need bed-sheets and blankets - for a total cost of US$250 - (which we don't have - we're keeping the money for the water tanks - next week with the YWAM ministry)

While we were having lunch at her very humble home - she is married with 2 small children, her husband doesn't speak English - a young man from the church came by. He's a teacher and trying to start a school in a near-by neighbourhood that has no school, struggling majorly financially, even though the wage of a teacher is only US$50/month.

We visited the school and were SHOCKED at the conditions ~ ~ ~ photos/video when we have faster internet ~ pulled out a miserly big pack of coloured crayons and some pens (donated by Bank of NZ) - it felt pitiful - but you should've seen the immense smiles on the faces of the teachers and children - very humbling.

We prayed for the teacher and encouraged him, telling him God was going to come through - yet reminded of the Scripture that says not only to wish somebody well without doing something about it... argghhhh -

Yesterday was AMAZING! We visited a WONDERFUL ministry "Operation Uganda"!
A community centre right in a slum of Kampala, being JESUS there - orphanage, church, continuous outreach, micro-enterprise for widows, lots a love and warmth, gorgeous children and staff!

Came away VERY touched and encouraged that SOMETHING CAN BE DONE - just took 1 couple from Aussie to start this... and they're making a difference! Saving a few from the ocean of despair and hopelessness!

VERY humbling to sit in 3 of the widow's "shacks" - tiny, just a bed and tiny floor space, several kids. Sad stories, yet HOPE, as they're part of a necklace-making/discipleship programme that has changed their lives - where they can now survive. At least here it was easier praying for them and ministering the love of Jesus, as we knew that they were being helped in a tangible way and they were going to make it.

Hanging out with the kids at the orphanage - amazing how peaceful and harmonious they were - singing, playing, Rich treating some wounds. Just fell in love with the kids and the staff! Even got to hold my first baby - she went to sleep on my arms as her older sister kept struggling to get on my lap, too. So sweet!

HIGHLIGHT in the evening: got to meet Richard, our Ugandan son, for the first time!!!! VERY VERY VERY special - and humbling once again! He's now a handsome young man of 20, studying mechanics (we've been sponsoring him for years and he considers us his family).

He was only a bit shy, mostly exuberant and overjoyed! Said he'd NEVER forget that evening!
He remembered every detail of the few letters we've written him over the years and in the first 5 minutes of meeting him he thanked us for an extra gift we'd given him just before Christmas 3 years ago. There had been some mistake and too much money was deducted from our account at that time. We told the organization just to bless him with it for Christmas, not thinking much of it.

We'd completely forgotten about that little thing, but for him it was HUGE - he kept thanking us over and over again, saying HOW WONDERFUL and SPECIAL that was for him! He was able to buy some clothes with that money, buy a dress for his sister and treat his family for a good Christmas dinner (he lives with his Grandmother as he's been an orphans since he was 8).

Oh - the love - - - we do love him very much - love at first sight - hehe!!

Today, we're planning on visiting his grandmother with him. He's just finishing his end of the year exams and will then go back to his grandmother's until school starts again in 3 months.
He mentioned that he doesn't have a mattress at her place. When we asked about his mosquito-net (at the boarding school), he said it's pretty "wholly".
We'll get a mattress, mosquito-net and some food for grandma - should be interesting.
She has no idea we'll be coming and we can't contact her...

Before that, visiting another orphanage in the neighbourhood - just a short visit.

Got invited to preach at Pastor Lydia's church tomorrow - asking the Lord to allow us to give out "fresh bread and water" to the brothers and sisters there... exciting and a bit "daunting", too :)

If you've read up to here - wow! Thanks for your interest and continuous prayers!
We've been feeling them - and need them!!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HOME!

Landing in Entebbe (Uganda) was non-climatic as I was battling majorly with motion sickness...

SOOOO happy to be traveling with Rich! What a treat!!! He was such a help, too, when I couldn't even stand up and we had to stand in line for immigration for what it seemed like forever...

Gotta remember next time to take something for the motion sickness - especially after leaving Dubai (I also had it landing in Addis Ababa) - never had that before in all the years (Rich blamed it on age...)

Stepping off the plane I had the immediate feeling of "coming HOME" - the air that greeted us was very similar to when you step off the plane in Tahiti - a lil less humid.

It was a MOST WONDERFUL feeling!

Even the airport reminded us of Tahiti - (minus being greeted with a flower to put behind your ear and the musicians with guitars, ukuleles and beautiful singing)

One of the first thoughts that hit me: I AM WHITE!!! I know, I know I am white - whiter than many white people - but it was still funny, looking down at my legs and being struck of HOW VERY VERY WHITE I was - hehe! We sure stand out here!

I am ECSTATIC about being here! It is the strangest feeling - first time ever to set foot on East-Africa (we went to South Africa for our honeymoon) - and I feel like I am HOME!

Gotta tell you that 10 years ago (we lived in Maui for a year), when I was going through somewhat of an identity crisis, feeling that I didn't REALLY feel at home anywhere (not 100% in Tahiti, nor Germany, nor the US), God did something AMAZING in my heart.

One day, I just felt very strongly that my REAL HOME was with God in heaven! It was so real!
Since that time, I feel completely at home every single country I go to. I've got to admit that I wasn't so sure that this would be true for Africa, too (not too hard to feel at home in NZ or Fiji), but it totally is true for here, too!

We arrived late yesterday afternoon and just had a 10 min. drive to our guesthouse where we spent the night, but seeing the sights, the people, going to a store to get water - I was just LOVING every minute of it - LOVING the people I was seeing - and I haven't even seen any children, let alone orphans YET.

The night was so so - same sounds as in the islands - dogs barking, roosters, crickets, loud music...

The African people are BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are getting picked up any minute now by an African woman pastor - Pastor Lydia!
I can't imagine a better way to spend our first full day in Uganda - with a local person of maturity and integrity with a huge heart for her people, including the orphans!

It's amazing how we got in contact with her:

A week ago Sunday, as I was selling books after church (fundraiser), a man came up to me. He's a Kiwi living in China. He was in NZ for just one week - and he came up to me telling me that he'd been to Uganda and how you can't trust all the pastors, as some do their ministry just as a job.
But how there is this woman pastor that he met who was an incredible woman of God, full of the Holy Spirit, pouring out her life in church planting, for the orphans and building schools and how he would not hesitate to give her anything she'd ask for - as she has integrity and also a gift of administration.

Talking with my Pastor, he confirmed that a reference from this man would be valid - and I really felt that this was a "God-connection"!

He'd given us her phone# but when I tried calling, it said it was the wrong number.

I had really hoped that we could meet her on our first day (she lives around Entebbe) and be shown around by her but we had no way of contacting her - - - until last night, when I showed her phone# to somebody and they told me there was a number missing - long behold, we got a hold of her and she's happy to spend the day with us!

Juupppieeee Jesus!

So excited!

Rich got his back-pack full of medical supplies (just in case) and I've got a few goodies in my back-pack for kids we'll hopefully meet...

Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Musings on Missions

Just a few minutes before we'll board the plane for Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) - - -

Thought I'd share some thoughts I had while in our last flight of 14 hours:

I was struck by the absolute luxury and comfort that flying internationally affords us these days as we travel the world in missions. And no- I'm not talking business or first class - just good ole regular economy.

  • Individual entertainment systems with just about any option anybody could wish (still missing the live-webstream from IHOP, though...)
  • The most amazing food (we're flying with Emirates) - WAY better than we eat at home!
  • Non-smoking in the whole plane (I remember getting "smoked" on the flights from Europe to Tahiti)
  • free internet at all the airports with instant access to facebook, blogs, emails - connecting us with friends and family all over the world in seconds.
AMAZING!!!

What a contrast to the old time missionaries that left on boats, using caskets instead of suitcases, as they knew they'd need them - rightfully so... (the Moravians)

Or the Hudson Taylor and company who took long strenuous trips on boats, not coming back home for years - with no other means of communication with people back home than very slow snail mail.

And even Rich and I ~ ~ ~ when we first got to Tahiti 21 years ago - there was no internet, no computers (at least not for us), we couldn't afford a phone and a 1-page fax cost US$30 - so, snail mail was all we had, too - homesick as we were (rather, I was) - - -
We felt very lonely and cut off - it was hard!

OK, we've got to pack up ~ just thinkin...

Missions has never been easier - LET's DO IT!!!! WE CAN finish the Great Commission in our generation - and .... how bout eradicating extreme poverty...

Gotta go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On our way!

Amazing technology - internet at the airport! A quick sign of life for ya... 

GOD IS ~ ~ ~ can't find the words  ~ ~ ~ OUTSTANDINGLY WONDERFULLY AMAZINGLY FAITHFUL AND GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

Rich and I are on our way to Uganda - my heart is already completely messed up and I can barely hold back all kinds of tears that are perking up.

Leaving the kids back, then flying over the stunning NZ countryside (first time ever flying within NZ - thanks to airpoints) - grateful that we get to live in this beautiful country - lots of emotions about finally going to see "our other kids"...

Bitter-sweet - and wonderful - gotta go - we're gonna meet some friends here before checking in later to fly out to Melbourne, Dubai, Ethiopia and Uganda!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Between ache and adrenalin

I really SHOULD be going to bed, but the good ole' adrenalin is pumping away.

These are very exciting days for me and my heart is about to burst.
Too much to write about all the details but I am blown away by GOD!

All I can say is that HIS HEART is for the orphans, and I feel like there's a wind blowing in the sail of my deepest longings - to be a blessing to HIS "BABIES" that are suffering away unnoticed and seemingly forgotten - but NOT BY HIM!!!!

Last week, Rich and I got our last vaccinations - 4 more (total of 8 for me, Rich already had a few).

Seeing the travel doctor (who administers those vaccinations here) was a bit of a daunting experience.

Possible side-effects this - and that - gotta watch out for day-time mosquitoes cuz they cause this sickness, the night-time mozzies causing that, all these vaccines and medicines for this and that - no drinking any water except for bottled, even for tooth-brushing, no eating this, walking with closed shoes so we won't end up with jiggers in our feet etc etc - - -

I came away thinking:

As much as I don't enjoy all these precautions and meds etc, we are so very blessed to get them in the first place (and to be in a position to buy bottled water etc)

BUT - what about the people who live in the land???? Most of them don't have the luxury of any vaccines, clean water, bug repellent, mosquito nets, shoes, medication for this and that, doctors etc etc.

And it's not like they're immune to those things either ~ ~ ~ no wonder there's so much sickness ~ ~ ~ and people - especially little people - are dying away from these preventable diseases.
So unnecessary!

It's just NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!

My heart is ACHING - HURTING - for them...

Almost half of Ugandans don't have access to clean drinking water!

On the other hand I'm tickled and overjoyed for any extra dollar that comes in to help us provide clean drinking water and other blessings to the orphans.

We've already got one whole suitcase full of medical stuff that Rich has been able to secure - our bedroom is piling up with all the things we'd like to take.

But I'd better get some sleep now - there's loads and loads of stuff left to be done in the ONE WEEK...

Can't wait!

Friday, November 5, 2010

JOY!!!!

WOW!!! The last 24 hours have been AMAZING!!!
Last night at 11pm, Rich and I spent some time in contending prayer for the mountain of financial need for our Uganda-trip to be moved - soon!

I woke up this morning around 4:30am (not my usual wake-up-time).
When I get excited, I can't sleep very well. Even though I've been taking a natural sleep-help, it didn't really help (gotta go a bit stronger from now on so that I can get my sleep - hehe)

Shortly after 5am, the phone rang and a precious childhood-friend from Germany calls
(she pretty much NEVER calls) and we have a wonderful catch-up for an hour - perfect timing, too! If she had called any later, we would not have been able to talk long at all. At the end of the conversation she tells me that her husband and her want to give us a large gifts towards our trip!

What an incredible way to start the day - I was SOOOOOOOOO enouraged!

Later today, we got news from some other dear friends in Germany giving us another large gift and our immediate needs for our trip are covered! WOW WOW WOW!!!

You should've seen me do the happy dance - BIG TIME - today!!!
Rich and I are so relieved for how God has come through - 11 days before our departure!!!!

Now the best was tonight at the Prayer Room where I heard that Jeremie and the team in Tahiti/Moorea are having an amazing time ministering God's love, salvation and healing to our beloved islanders!!! Seems like they received a word in prayer about a lady with a cane - they went out, found her, prayed for her and she was healed - running up and down the street...

Don't know details but it sure made me cry for joy - the kingdom of God in Tahiti - and our son a part of it! YAY GOD!!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

testing - 1 2 3

A friend is lending us his video camera for our Uganda-trip. So I'm trying it out now. Already noticed that the lens needed cleaning (after taking this clip).

Getting excited!

Shayden LOVES to sing! His favourite at the moment is "Mary had a little lamb."
I've had to sing it to him every time he saw a lamb...
Notice the microphone!
Did I tell you that he got prophesied over that he'll be a worship leader one day?


video

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sitting on God's lap

I just LOVE the simple faith of children and how naturally they experience their relationship with God!
This morning, as I was driving Kylie to school, I prayed for her. One of the things I prayed was that God would give her a revelation of how much HE loves her (I pray this a lot for our children). I prayed for other things, too.

As she was getting out of the car, she just said: "I'm sitting on God's lap."
Awwww - I was sooo blessed! I don't think we've ever mentioned that image of sitting on God's lap to her. He obviously gave her that revelation right then and there. BEAUTIFUL!!!

The photo was taken at our church gala (instead of Halloween) on Saturday - with one of Nathalie and Lewis' puppies