Saturday, January 31, 2009

If only. . .

There are times we all say "if only I was a fly on the wall." In this picture maybe it would be more appropriate to say "if only I was a lizard under the container." I wish I knew what Henry and Titus were talking about. The beauty of the holidays is that there have been fewer kids so they get to spend more time one on one and we all get to know the kids here better.

Henry, age 9 and his sister Juliet, age 13 both live here at the orphanage. Both their father and mother have died. They have a sister who is 22 and a brother who is 16. Henry is HIV+, but you would never know just looking at him. I think he probably is one of the fastest runners here at the orphanage.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holiday Camp

The Ugandan school system takes the months of December and January as holidays. We take advantage of this opportunity to send many of the kids at the orphanage to family members so they can rekindle and develop the family ties that are so very important. We, however, have had around 40 kids who for various reasons stayed here during the holidays.

The challenge then begins. These kids especially needed to be loved during this time and kept busy and out of trouble. In walks, Sadie! Sadie is from Alaska and has stepped in to help us during the holiday. Sadie organized a reading contest, face painting days, trips to the zoo and safari and many other things. She has been a huge help to all of us here. We are grateful!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A miracle needed

There was a prayer service in our little chapel of Good Shepherd's Fold today. We were praying for a miracle for a 2 month old baby, Catherine, who has several heart defects. Her mother brought Catherine to GSF from a nearby village the other day. Our Director sent the mother and baby with two nurses to a hospital in Kampala. They found out that the defects are too great and the hospital here cannot do the surgery. When doctors in America were consulted, it was determined that Catherine could not physically make the trip to America to have surgery. All that to say, if Baby Catherine survives it will be a complete miracle from God. When the mother stood in church to give a testimony and ask for prayer, she openly admitted that she is not a Christian. Some people had told her that if she were a Christian, then she could find healing for her baby. Her mother was given the plan of salvation several times today. We are asking everyone to pray for Catherine’s physical heart to heal and for the spiritual hearts of her family. We need a miracle from God and we know He can do it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nanny and Poppy

My parents have come to visit us for 2 and a half months. We are thrilled to have them and to be able to house them next door to us. We have all enjoyed being able to show them around. Our kids still get excited about telling them something new that they hadn't told them yet. I love watching them with the kids here at the orphanage and watch the kids enjoy getting to know them. My dad is already teaching several art classes. What a special blessing it is!

Happy Birthday our 12 year old!

Our sweet Caralina turned 12 on January 2nd. We are so proud of her! She is an incredible help to all here at the orphanage especially with the little kids. She enjoys helping and is learning to help in ways that are beneficial to all. She enjoyed having her Nanny and Poppy here to help her celebrate. Because we were traveling on that day and had received lots of things from the States, we had a very unique Birthday cake that evening.

water, anyone?

We picked up my parents from the airport at the beginning of this month. On our way back to the orphanage, we went by the computer place in Kampala to see if Mark could drop off his computer as we wait for the mother board to come in. As we began to turn into the parking lot (which is rare in Kampala), the van stopped working and we coasted downhill into a parking space. We quickly realized that the radiator overheated. As we were discussing what to do and where to get some water for the radiator, we glanced in the grass next to where the van had coasted to a stop. Someone had left a half a dozen semi-full bottles of water! Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My favorite new tradition

As you have read in my previous post, we had a quiet Christmas morning doing some of our own family traditions, (including our coffee cake) and enjoying our gifts. And then began our new Ugandan Christmas traditions.

We had a Christmas service at the chapel (which is very common in Uganda) and then got the gifts from our house and went to the pavilion for the meal with plates and forks in hand (yep, it is byop--bring your own plates)! Our meal was a buffet of sorts which included matoke (plantains), rice, "irish" (potatoes), ground nut sauce, cabbage, chicken, and beef (from the slaughtered cow). It was actually very good but I did miss my ham. We had made a new tradition throughout the week before Christmas to make and eat some of our favorite dishes from back home, so not having the "traditional" Christmas meal wasn't so bad.
Next was my favorite part which I think is more a GSF tradition than a Ugandan tradition. We pulled out the birthday cake for Jesus AND party whistles, blowers and birthday hats! We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and then the whistles began to blow, music began to play and many broke out in dance! It was a huge celebration of Jesus' birthday; the biggest I have ever been to. It didn't stop until the music was turned off so we could start the next part of the program which was the conclusion of the advent tree while some of us cleaned up and prepared for the gifts.

A church in CA. donated the money for us to buy gifts for the 36 children who stayed here for the holidays. We had fun buying them and giving them out and seeing the gratefulness on their faces.