Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday :)

oupps...its sideways...oh well!

Monday, June 22, 2009

sam & i :)

i am working on "day 5 post"...but for now...

"A pictures worth a thousand words 
but you cant see what those shades of gray keep covered
 you should have seen it in color" 
~lyrics from the song "you should have seen it in color"
this is sweet sam. i love this picture. he was one of the 13 boys that lived in the house where we were building the kitchen. i fell in love with this sweet little guy! and miss him so much! any time he stood next to me...he didn't just stand there...he was always hugging me.he taught be how to count to 5 in Lugandan :) it brought me so much joy to be around him! this picture was taken on our last day at the village...we had bought the boys ice cream! it was a huge hit! the boys were all so sweet asking us if we wanted bites! 

i pray that i can see him again some day (next summer??)! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 4~ Church and Crusade!

So much to say about this day...this will probably be a long post...

The day started off bright and early. We went to the church in the village and it was an awesome thing to be apart of! These people love Jesus with all their hearts and they express the love through dancing and singing! And let me tell you...these people can really DANCE and SING. They make us white folk that are trying to dance look like crazies. 

One thing that hit me while in Africa is that us in America might have lots of "stuff"...which lead us astray and don't allow us to focus on God. But with these people...all they have is God! And that is enough for them! How cool is that? We could all take some lessons from these beautiful people. 

It was a beautiful service...we sang lots of African songs, but also some English songs. Songs like "These Are The Days of Elijah". The moment that I am pretty sure left us all breathless was whenever Tony played on the trumpet "I Surrender All". It was beautiful. 

After the singing was over Pastor Dwight preached a powerful message to the people. Then after he was done he had our group come up to the front, then he told the people that if they wanted prayer to come up and we would pray for them. Me and a few other girls said that we would pray with the kids. Lots of kids came to the front and the translator would tell us what each child wanted prayer for. At first I was completely overwhelmed and wondered how we were going to be able to pray for all of these children individually! Everything worked out and each child was prayed over. Many of the children asked for prayer for headaches, and stomach aches. A few shocked me when they asked for prayer for "wisdom and understanding". It was amazing to see them asking for this at such a young age! 

After church the children all wanted pictures taken of them! They were jumping all around us just wanting a little bit of attention and the chance to be in the picture. So I got lots of pictures of the beautiful faces! 

Like this one...
And these beautiful girls...
These two little ones were decked out in their Sunday best! The little girl had something in her eye and big brother was helping out...so sweet. 
This sweet little girl sat on my lap during church... 
We brought candy and wow was that a hit! 

Beautiful faces...

Once we were finally able to pull away from all of the children it was back to the hotel to change into something more comfortable...and then we were on our way to the crusade! 

The crusade was in the slums area...we were told not to bring our cameras because it was not safe. So sadly I do not have any pictures of the crusade...although, I might know where I can swipe them from a friend :) 

We got to the slums and the excitement was everywhere! A band lead the way up and down the streets and people came out of their home to see what was going on. It was like a parade! Once there was a good group of people following us we went to a big open area where the crusade began. There were many children there...all of them wanted to hold the "Mzungus" (white peoples) hands. So we each had at least 10 kids or so all holding our hands and then many many more surrounding and trying to get a place to hold our hands too. Then they wanted us to dance and jump up and down with them. That was a work out I tell ya. :) It cracked me up when one of the little kids rubbed his hands on my skin and then smelt it and then motioned for all of the other kids to smell my arm too! Haha! I guess that a lot of bug spray and sunscreen smells good? Then another time when I was clapping and looked down and they were all not only clapping because I was clapping but also clapping the exact same way as I. So sweet. 

As the night went on and more people came to know the Lord it was evident that Satan was not happy about this. We experienced some serious spiritual warfare. I have never experienced something quite like this and it surely opened my eyes I taught my something. 

One incident involved a "Bodaboda"  which is a motorcycle. By now it was pretty dark outside and we were trying to keep all the "Mzungus" close together for protection. But with dozens of little kids surrounding each person it was nearly impossible to stay close together. A Bodaboda kept riding back and forth along the sidelines of the area that we were in. Back and forth, back and forth. It was evident that people were getting annoyed because they were trying to listen to Pastor Dwight's sermon. A lady from our group (side note: love this lady so much! she was so much fun and I was blessed enough to sit next to her on my first flight with the group. It was a blessing to have somebody from the group next to me! I'll call her "M". ) grabbed the guy on the Bodaboda's shoulder and told him firmly to STOP. M then walked away from the guy. The guy who was very high and drunk threw his Bodaboda down and went after her. I looked back just as a bunch of guys were all holding the guy down and keeping him away from M. The guy was obviously looking for a fight to start. It probably only lasted for a few minutes but it felt like forever. I grabbed all the kids around me and ran to the closest guy from our group I saw. Right as all of this was happening the lights went out and the speakers started going out as well. It seemed to get pretty chaotic for a while. Another side note: Now, we prayed before the Crusade began...and I remember specifically Pastor Dwight telling us not to let fear get a hold of us. I tried to remember that but my human nature got in the way and I was COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT. I looked back out into the crowed ...and I saw the most powerful thing. Everybody from my group had their arms stretched out over to the scene where the "Bodaboda incident" was happening. Everybody was praying. I looked at the guy next to me with huge tears in my eyes and he asked me if I was ok. We then both joined the rest of the Mzungus with arms outstretched praying that God would come to the scene and that Satan would be removed from this place. 

And sure enough! God came big! The lights came back on, the loud speakers began to work again and the "bodaboda incident" subsided! And the biggest praise was that about 60 people came to know the LORD that night!! What an amazing experience! I learned so much that night. I learned what the power of prayer can do...and about putting my fear aside! Here are two picture I was able to find from friends...
The band that lead the way to the crusade! 

Lots of little kids everywhere! 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 3~ First Day in the Village!

The night before during devotions I could tell that everybody was a little down from the walk in town (that I talked about in the last post). We were all tired from a LONG day of traveling and it was emotionally draining to see children begging for money and people starving. What came on day 3 surely lifted our spirits and allowed us to see all of the GOOD that is coming out of Africa! 

Day 3 began our work at the African Hearts home! What a wonderful place!! We traveled about 30 minutes and went down a long dirt road to get to the house where Jess and her 13 boys lived. The joy in that house in unexplainable! The boys that live in this house once lived on the streets...but now thanks to Jess and African Hearts...they have a safe place to live. It is like one big family. 

We walked into their home where all of the boys were sitting on the floor eating breakfast. They had each of the boys stand up and tell us their name and what they wanted to be when they grew up! It was the cutest thing. Some of the boys wanted to be pilots, others goal keeps, and 2 boys even said they wanted to be a preacher. We clapped for each boy and they each lit up with excitement. We hung out with them for a little bit longer and then...the work began!!

The mission was to plant 2,000 trees to surround their home for protection and build them a new kitchen! Most of us girls got to work on the planting. If you ask anybody in my family how I feel about yard work...I am ashamed to tell you that they would all tell you that I hate it. Yes, that is true. BUT I have never had so much fun planting trees! We laughed about all sorts of things, and had so much fun together! We had no shovels so the boys made us sticks to dig with! 

And building a kitchen!? So much fun! The only problem was the fact that they dumped all of the bricks at the front of the property...and the kitchen was to be built at the back of the property. Hmm...no trucks to move the bricks, no "Bobcat"...all thats left is MAN POWER! Yup, you better believe we made a HUGE assembly line to throw bricks! I have never laughed so much...infact they'd get mad at me cause I'd be slowing the line down cause I was laughing so hard. 

One of the youngest boys helping to mix the cement 
At 12 noon we'd take a "snack break". We got all sorts of yummy fruit like pineapple, banana and watermelon! Best fruit you have ever had. Then at about 2 we'd come in for lunch. Let me tell you...they fixed us the YUMMIEST food in all of Africa! It was so delicious! I really do miss their beans and rice, and my favorite---cow pees! Oh and i forget what it was called...but they'd make these tortilla like things... So good... We stayed at a nice hotel...but the food from the hotel would never compare to what we got in the village. 

The wonderful ladies that prepared the food for us :) 
I loved just hanging out with the 13 boys that lived there. They were the sweetest most kind hearted boys ever. And very smart!! Jessica was telling us how one of the youngest boys made a flash light out of a few pieces of scrap material he found!! I pray that one day (SOON) I can go back to visit these sweet boys! I miss them so much!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 2 (part 2)~ Sanyu Babies Home

I was so excited to finally be able to go the the Sanyu babies home. I had heard so much about it and it sounded like a place I would absolutely love! I mean seriously...60 babies under the age of 3!! Sounded like heaven to me! It was a beautiful place...a chaotic beautiful place. 

I heard that we would have to go through a "volunteer instruction-like-session" before we could help with the babies, but as soon as we walked in the gates they rushed us right over to the babies and put us to work! Babies...everywhere! It was very overwhelming! The babies were up from their nap and running around outside. From inside you could hear the smaller babies crying. I longed to go into the smaller babies room to take a peak at them but I was trapped with toddlers and I didn't know if it was appropriate for me to take the little bitty babies out of their cribs. So I played with the toddlers...and how sweet they were! All the wanted from you was just a little bit of attention! Hugs and kisses...and they were happy! 

It started to rain so we rushed all of the toddlers back in the house. The electricity had gone out. So it was pitch black, and babies were crawling everywhere! We managed to put them all in there little highchairs and started dishing out the food. The food was very hot. I kept blowing on all the bowls waiting for them to cool off. But babies kept trying to take it out of my hand. I kept thinking...oh baby, your gonna burn your tongue off! You don't want this! Believe me. But I soon realized that it was quite normal for them to eat very hot food. 

Once all the babies had food and it seemed like there was enough volunteers in the room I decided that this was my chance to go take a peek at the teeny-tiny babies! And boy were they TEENY TINY! There were 7 babies all under the age of 3 months. I grabbed a baby and began feeding. They were so little. So little. And of course...their milk was SO hot! I worried about it but again realized that this was just how they drank it. After feeding the first baby it was time to change its diaper. One of the nannies asked "are you ok with changing diaper?" and I thought to myself ... well of course I am ok! I have changed lots of babies diapers! And then she handed me a clothe diaper. Oh my. Those things are CONFUSING. And it is no easy task when the baby is so small. Too much fabric, not enough bottom. I managed to figure it out with the help of a nanny. 

After changing the diaper I then laid the baby down in his crib and put the mosquito net up for him. I then went to the toddlers room to help put them to bed. It was craziness over there but some how we managed to get all of the babies in bed. I couldn't help but comfort the ones that were crying but the nannies told us that it would only make them cry more because they wanted attention. Very hard.  I kissed every baby that I tucked into bed...but it made me sad when I left because I knew that they need a mommy and daddy to kiss them goodnight and sing over them. I pray that each baby will one day find that love of a family. 

Take a moment to notice the chaotic-ness of this picture... and this was only 6 of the 30 babies that were in this room eating. 

3 week old twins 

Day 2~ Meeting the Guys and the Streets of Kampala!

Now again, most of these pictures were taken by my beautiful friend Taylor. She did amazing with her pictures! You will see some of my pictures in later posts...but for this post I needed her pictures. 

Finally in UGANDA. All of our bags made it safely to the airport!! All 40 something of them! Now I'd say that is a miracle considering on the way back, about 1/3 of the bags did not make it home. 

The air port of Uganda was very different then the one we were just at in London. The one at London was AMAZING. Shops, food, more shops. It was like a mall. Wow, was it a stark difference of the one in Uganda. It was very small and much of there security was not machines...but dogs that would sniff your bags out. It was very interesting to see. And the "customs" consisted of three ladies dressed in your traditional African outfit and masks (because of the scare of the Swine flu). They asked as questions like "do you have a cough, runny nose, sore throat?" and of course we all said "no no no". We then waited outside for the "5 guys and Jess" that Dwight said would pick us up. We all sat outside...waiting and passing around the bug spray. Finally they were here! They came walking up with huge smiles and lots of hugs! They were so excited to see Dwight, Emma and Graham. I later found out that Dwight was there "adopted Dad". On the trip before Dwight had asked these five guys "Does any of y'all not have a Dad?" to which they all raised their hands. Then he said "Who wants a dad?!" to which they all raised their hands again! It was the sweetest thing to see each of them calling Dwight "Daddy". 

These five guys hung out with us the whole trip! They were like our "tour guides". These guys will forever have a special place in my heart and I hope that one day when I go back to Uganda I will see them again...I have never laughed so much than I did with
 these guys. They were the most selfless, and loving young men of God I had ever met. 

George (one day we said started singing "george george george of the jungle!"...he told us..."no, its george george george of the desert!") 
Tony (he works with little girls that have been takin' of the street and put into his home. You can see them in the background of this picture. The sing, dance and make jewelry. The girls love Tony and he is such a great example for them. I will talk more about this organization in a later post) 
Abbey (He works with boys that are taken off of the street. He teaches them how to play a brass instrument and they have formed a band. We went to a concert of theirs...that I will also talk about in a later post :) ) 
They helped us load all 40 something bags into 2 taxies...some how we all fit with all of our bags. And we were off. It was amazing to see the streets of Kampala. The rush of people was amazing. It reminded us of the song "Give Me Yours Eyes" By Brandon Heath. 

It took us about 1 hour to get to our hotel. This would be our sleeping place for 3 nights, the rest of the nights we would be staying at a nicer hotel. We all found our rooms and settled in. Me and Emma were sharing a room. It was nice because all of the team was in one hallway. We did get one complaint for being too loud though...oupps :) 

After dragging all of our 40 some bags up the stairs we then all met in our "devotion room" where Jess told us about what we were doing for the rest of the day! Jess is a sweet girl who lives in Uganda and was the one that did most of the planning for us! She is awesome! I think its safe to say that she is the only white girl in her village. She runs a boys home of about 13 boys. I will tell y'all about that amazing place in the later posts. 

She told us that we would be heading into the city to exchange money and eat lunch! Wow, we did not know what we had in store for us. It was a crazy experience! We broke our team of 19 into 4 smaller groups for the walk into town. It is not wise to have 19 Mzungu (white people) all walking together in town. The reason you ask? It is very hard to cross the streets by yourself, let alone with 19 people. There was also a less likely chance of loosing people in smaller groups. So there was about 6 people in each group. We made sure that the guys were surrounding each of the girls for protection. Many times guys would grab the girls hands and the men in our group would have to tell them to back off. Running across the street was NO easy task. Jess told us that the best thing to do was to grab a guys arm and walk very close together. You have to be looking in ALL different directions for cars. It was very exhausting. The walk seem like it lasted forever! It was an eye opening experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. Some sights broke my heart, like seeing small children begging for money. 

Finally we made it to the place where we would eat. For some reason I had lost all my appetite but was able to eat a few bites of my chicken burger. 

After eating we went to a coffee shop. It felt like I was at Star*bucks. It was very nice... Kennie and George sat at my table and we asked them all sorts of questions about Africa. They then asked us questions about America. It was very interesting and humbling to hear them speak about their dreams and hopes. We asked them if they could go anywhere on a plane where they would go. Kennie said he would go to New York or maybe somewhere that snowed (he has never seen snow). And George told us...he'd go anywhere. He just wanted to fly. He didn't care where he went! They also told us that it is very hard to get permission to leave the country and one of the only ways to leave would be through marriage. 

Next post coming up will be about the Sanyu babies home that we went to later that night! What an incredible place! I will have lots of photos to share... :) 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 1~ Meeting the Team and Traveling

Warning: this might be a very long post because 1) this was a very long day and 2) I want to remember every detail

Day 1
started off bright and early. Me and my dad left at about 7 a.m. to drive 5 hours to meet the team. I always imagined that when this day would come I would be super anxious, or just plain jumping off the walls with excitement. But to be honest, I was completely chill. We prayed as a family and then me and dad were off!

As we drove along I had to keep reminding my self that I was really going to UGANDA! It didn't really hit me until me and my dad pulled into the parking garage at the airport. But still I had complete peace. Luckily, Dad was able to get a pass to take me through customs. Whew...glad I didn't have to do that by myself. 

As we walked to my gate I saw a group of people in yellow shirts. I said to my dad "there they are...". As we walked closer they all turned around at the same time and said "there she is!!!". 

They were all so sweet!! I introduced my self to each of them and felt like I was with family from the very beginning. It was kinda crazy to be with people who I had only known from BLOGS but still...it felt so normal at the same time. Only God.  

I had expected that I would have an emotional goodbye with my dad...but luckily I held it together. Again, God. 

We all went to Fudruckers in the airport. I didn't get any food because me and my dad had just ate. I sat with the girls and we all got to know each other. At one point one of the girls says "your Dad rocks...my dad would NEVER let me go to UGANDA with people I met online." Uhm, yes, again...GOD. I never dreamed that my parents would either. 

After eating and getting to know them some more it was then off to our gate again. On the way there I went to grab my camera out of my bag. Uh...wheres my camera?? Panic. I start searching everywhere. No where to be found...so I quick call my dad. Luckily he was still in the parking garage. I had left my camera in the truck. Close call. So now I had to walk back through security (this time alone!) and grabbed my camera and said goodbye to my dad again. 

As we were boarding the plane one of the girls realized that her passport was missing...so a search party began on the floor in the middle of the airport. Luckily we found it about 2 minutes later...but it felt like 30 minutes. And praise the Lord, that was the only real mishap that we had on our trip. And it really wasn't much of a mishap. Our trip was really very smooth. 

Now on the plane. I realized I was sitting next to a yellow shirt! Yay! Somebody from our group! Her name was Melinda and she was so very sweet! She told me all about her job in the military and we got to know each other in those 8 hours. I was so thankful I was not sitting alone. The flight went well although I didn't sleep, and the guy in front of me gave me such a mean scowl every time I even touched the back of his seat. Ugh! Did he not realize that I have really long legs! 

Once in London we got on the train and began the whirlwind of a tour. We saw the Big Ben, the changing of the guards and some other sites that I can't think of at the moment. I also bought two scarfs! :) 

Finally in London! 
(Left to Right- Me, Malinda, William, Breeane, Graham, Taylor, Dalton) 
Trying to figure out the metro-cars (or whatever you call them...)

We got back to the airport with plenty of time. And met up with two more "blog friends"...Justin and James. They were so much fun and a great addition to our team. The airport was like a mall...so of course...us girls did some shopping! We then went back to our gate for about another 2 hours and everybody passed out on the seats. Everybody but me! I was so tired but couldn't sleep at all. Finally Taylor and Taylor (boy and girl) woke up and went with me to find some sleep aid for the plane. Luckily Taylor (boy) was 20 yrs and was able to buy me some stuff at the pharmacist. Both Taylors and me split the price and shared the sleep aid. On the plane I sat next to Taylor (boy) and we passed out. Thank you Jesus for some good drowsy medication! The flight went by very quickly. 

Finally in UGANDA. We get off the plane and turned back to look at the plane that had just brought us to Uganda...and this was the beautiful site to our tired eyes...
It was only 7 a.m in Uganda and we had a full day ahead of us...
More to follow...:)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I am home! Very bitter sweet to be home. Sweet because I missed my family SO MUCH, and it is great to be back in my own room (which by the way, my mom completely cleaned out and organized. yea, she rocks). And I can't get enough of Karleigh Mei. But bitter at the same time because I miss Africa and my team so much. Nobody ever warned me when I signed up for going with a team from out of state how hard it would be to say good bye! I cried and cried the whole way out of the airport. And then cried some more. I am already trying to figure out ways of how to see them again this summer :) I have so many stories to share...but for now...pictures. These pictures are NOT my pictures. These were taking by Taylor (whom i miss terribly). I have not been able to upload my own pictures yet, because the airport lost the bag that it is in (ugh). So for now...some pictures of my time there. 

This is the amazing girl behind all of these pictures. She is beautiful and so much fun! 

Emma is just as sweet and fun as her mom talks about on the blog...we had fun together :) 
The kitchen we were building.

Much more to follow....