Sunday, December 30, 2012

Maybe I should turn....

Yesterday our office manager, Janice, and I headed into town. Just a few things on our "to do" list but we were keen on getting them done.

Janice came over at 8:30am. We enjoyed some cinnamon rolls and coffee before we tackled the craziness of Kampala. It was raining so I ended up driving so we could stay dry. After a small jam, what we call traffic, we got a main intersection. I made sure I was in the lane going through the intersection. Side-note: normally at this intersection I turn right to go to my favorite shopping center so I have to remind myself when I am not going there so auto pilot doesn't kick in.

The light was red so I waited with all the other cars. When it turn green I almost had a heart attack! All three lanes, yes including mine, turned right! What was I to do?! Really, I did not want to turn right. The whole point of being in the lane I was in was so I did NOT turn right. With all three lanes moving together I had no choice but to turn right. Janice and I both were in shock while laughing our heads off!

For 11 months I have been driving here in Uganda. Every time I get in the car I pray, out loud, and hold on! It is always a wild ride. Never know what will happen and yesterday just reminded me of that!

Thanks Lord for the safety on the road for the last 11 months. It is never easy to forget how different life is out here, but will you always get me where I am going?! -Amen

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

Well, it is a very special day. A day that changed the world! Hope you have a great time with your friends and family, celebrating the birth of our savior.

To us a child is born, to us a Son is given -Isaiah 9:6

I had the honor of opening my home up to a great friend and Short-Term missionary here in Central Region. We have enjoyed goodies and treats from the good old US of A! Thanks mum. 

While we have celabreated the joy of Christmas we also had some fun taking a classic Christmas song and making it more Ugandan! Hope you enjoy our ode Christmas as we hear all of Kampala partying.

Let It Snow!/ Lets Eat More!
Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Cassandra Luontela, Laura Capp

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
Oh, the weather outside is SUNNY,
But the fire is so delightful,
But the pool is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Lets swim, lets swim, lets swim!

It doesn't show signs of stopping,
It doesn’t show signs of raining,
And I brought some corn for popping;
And I brought some Matoke for eating;
The lights are turned way down low,
The power turned off by Eumme,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Lets eat, lets eat, lets eat!
When we finally say good night,
When we are over stuffed,
How I'll hate going out in the storm;
How we’ll have to eat some MORE;
But if you really hold me tight,
But it you really insist,
All the way home I'll be warm.
All the Matoke will be gone.

The fire is slowly dying,
The sun is slowly setting,
And, my dear, we're still good-bye-ing,
And, my friend, my boda is waiting,
But as long as you love me so.
But as long as there is JAM,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Lets eat more, lets eat more, lets eat more!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mum's trip in photos...

It has almost been a month from when I hugged my mum goodbye. It was a blessing to have her and my aunt come out and visit. Their 19 days in Uganda and Kenya flew by. Here are some of the high lights of our time together!

Mom enjoying a break on the way to the game park....5 hours outside of Kampala.

Look, we found us! We are in Uganda about to cross the Nile River!

Cars, trucks, and people cross the Nile in style!

People say we look alike.

Mum enjoying the animal orphanage in Nairobi.

They make friends where ever they go!

Driving the Beast back from Kenya!

Auntie time! Oh how I love her!

Enjoying God's creation, Africa is so flipping amazing!

See what I mean.....AMAZING!

Again, WOW!

The family with the best game ranger, SARAH!

The view from our room while on safari, I could get use to this!


At the falls!

At the top of the falls...just a little wet!

Mum yelled at me..."Hey Africa girl" guess that is my new name.

Walking life together and roaring like lions!

Yesterday a close friend came over, we will call her Fla for now. She is in University here in Kampala studying business management. Over the last year and half I have loved getting to know her.

Fla is a little younger than me, has a big family, works many jobs to pay for school, is a solid believer, has big hopes, single in a culture where that is not normal, and is just one of the most AMAZING Ugandan ladies I am blessed to know! Can you tell I love her?!

We normally meet every Saturday for bible study. We are going through a good book on Proverbs 31 and both are taking a lot away from our weekly studies. But for the last month Fla has been taking tests. She has been studying like crazy and we have not gotten together. It was just a month but it felt like FOREVER! As of yesterday the wait was over! We got together and hung out for over an hour, so not long enough but I take what I can get. We chatted about EVERYTHING. What else would you do after being apart for a while but yet life keeps going on?! She told me about her Christmas plans and how the family was doing. (She has the cutest niece! She is called Zoe and she and I are roaring like lions at a Christmas party.) 
While together we talked about how we were really doing, spiritually. I love the fact we can be real with each other. We just say where we are with the Lord, our faith, and the life we are called to live. By the end of our time she had to head off to work. We ended our time in prayer. It was the sweetest time, holding hands and giving EVERYTHING to the Lord as we prayed.  After Fla left I had some time to think and pray.

Many thoughts were rushing around my head…but the one that stood out the most is the fact God is asking me to walk life with Fla. Not here to tell her the gospel, she knows it and believes it! The crazy thing is God asked me to move ½ around the world to walk this crazy thing called life with her. To pray for her, spend time with her, laugh with her, cry with her, hold her hand, share blessings with her, and LOVE HER.

Often people think that a missionary is someone that works with people who do not know the Lord, yes sometimes that is true but not always what is needed. Something that has been forgotten is the “make disciple” part of the great commission.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit -Matthew 28:19

Jesus did not say go and make “converts,” people who say they believe in Him. From what I can see in this messed up, crazy, up side down world is there are more converts than disciples. Many people who can talk a good talk but that suck at being with people. We are called make disciples and to LOVE.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. –John 13:35

Love is an action verb. It is a daily choice, one we have to make no matter what kind of mood we are in.

The fact that the Lord has called me to Africa to walk life with a believer and that I daily have to choose love, is the biggest lesson the Lord has been teaching me. You might say “well that is not a hard lesson,” and you are right.

It is not a hard lesson to get but living it out is a whole other story my friend. Daily I am working on the living it out part. How about you?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quotes, Thoughts, and Christmas

So I am not 100% me, still fighting the "flu" and spending a lot of time on the couch and in my bed. While I was resting on the couch today....with my first cup of coffee in three days (how did I live without it?!) I watched a documentary.  Little known Cassandra Fact, I LOVE documentaries!!!

It is in-tiled "Beware of Christians." There are many parts of the film that are the stereo-topical "college guy" adventures and behaviors. But if you wad through it you might be surprised, as I was, at the though provoking questions they ask about Christians and issues surrounding Christianity.
 To be honest there were points my soul and spirit were convicted. Yes, me the "perfect" christian. The one who lives for the Lord on the mission field each and every day. (if you do not know me well I was being sarcastic!) Some of the quotes that made me stop and think are listed below.....I would love to know if they make you stop and think as well. (it would be nice to know I am not the only one who doesn't have it all together)

Quote 1: " You know when you grow up in church, you always hear be wear of drugs, sex, and alcohol. We point our fingers at all these different things, maybe we should be pointing the finger back at ourselves. Maybe we should say beware of Christians! Beware of people like us, who know how to say all the right things but who have a really tough time giving their WHOLE lives to God."

Quote 2: "It really doesn't cost anything to know how you are spouse to live or talk about it, it costs a lot to actually do it!"

Quote 3: "The more I try to glorify God, with my life, the more I realize how much I SUCK at it! But, at the same time it shows me how much God had to LOVE me to send His son to die FOR me!"

All three quotes made me stop and think, deeply, about who I am and how my life reflects the the Gospel. But more over number three just hits me in the heart at this time of year. In just a few days we all will be celebrating the day our savoir was born. God in human form birthed in a stinky, dirty, and cold manger! The son of God who would die for all mankind. The lover of my soul!
 There is nothing I can say or do to repay the Lord for what He did for me, nor can you. But as I think about all my FAILED attempts to glorify Him, I just see how much He picks up my slack. No matter how many times I fall on my face He is right there. Every time I lose my cool and let my sinful nature get the best of me He forgives me. When my heart is in shattered on the floor and tears are flowing down He is holding me tight. Why? Why would the God of all creation do that? How could a sinless man take my place?

The only thing I can think of is He LOVES me. Something I will be thankful for and wonder about till I see Him face to face.

The view from where I see it....

For the last few days I have been sick. As they say here in Uganda...."You have flu, sorry sorry."

Because of being sick I have spent A LOT of time in bed over the last 48 hours. Right now I am awake and it is almost 12am, guess that is what happens when you sleep most of the day. My laptop is on by the foot of my bed. Bones season 7 is playing while the fan is on to keep the mosquitoes away.

As I rolled over I looked out the window...through the palm tree I can see the moon. Just one more reminder of what a beautiful country the Lord has called me to. Daily the sights and sounds of Africa touch my soul. Praying for healing so I can be out and about enjoying this beauty soon!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prayer Needs:

-God has lead a Short-Term missionary to help teach MKs in Chad! 
-Had a great 19 days with my mom and aunt
-Confirming 3 new Short-Term missionaries
-A great Sabbath at the pool with a few friends  

Ministry Prayer Needs:
-For the new Short-Term missionaries coming in Jan 2013
-Wisdom in how to get things done before I head to the States in Feb 2013 (for a 3 month home assignment)
-God's love and peace to be with every Short-Term missionary on the field this Christmas

Personal Prayer Needs:
-A passion to work harder on language
-Good time with friends here before Home Assignment 
-For a peaceful and joyful Christmas (my second one away from family)
-My car is acting up after getting it fixed a few weeks ago (pray it is not a big and $$$)
-Wisdom in planing my time in in the States (many people to see, much to talk about, only 3 months to do it all)
-For the chance to spend time with a Christan counselor and have a good time of debrief of the last 2 years on the field

God's glory & Pizza

(So sorry it has been to long. Lots to catch you all up on, but one story at a time.)

Tonight I had a great reminder of why I am here. After hanging out at the pool for the afternoon a short-term missionary came over for dinner. This girl is amazing!

While we made pizzas we chatted. She opened up about the joys and pains of ministry. We talked about how difficult it can be to be an outsider; as much as missionaries can become a part of their community they will never be native. Often this is very hard on people who come to share the love of Christ.

With pizza in the oven we just stood in my kitchen, chatting. I saw her heart. The warmth, the love, and the passion from shining through this missionary were so meaningful. While I identified with her struggles I also saw the hope in her. Things will not change over night, she may never see change while here in Africa, but it is coming!

The Lord works in ways that are beyond us. I cannot wait for the day I get to ask Him so many questions, face to face! For the time He has me here on earth and in Africa I am grateful for evening like this, thankful for a chance to see Him at work, in and through others, all for His glory! It is even better when food is involved! Don’t you agree?!

To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. -Jude 1:25

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day two in the Diginga hills of South Sudan:

How beautiful are the feet who bring good news!

As my fingers touch my cold keys I am reminded of so many people telling me how HOT Africa is and how they admire what I was doing. Yes, many African countries are hot hot, hot. With sun all the time and very little relief from it. But, to say all African countries are hot is not true.

Trust me, my friends working in Lostoth would tell you they are cold for ½ of the year with sown outside their door. And again, as I type this I am in a nice warm REI fleece (thank you Stanley and Harua!) with a big’ol scarf around my neck! Now understand, I am not complaining about the coldness of the South Sudan hills!  In fact, I am embracing it! When I left Kampala yesterday it was HOT and it was only 8am. So this cool change is a welcomed blessing.

Last night I was under three blankets with long sleeve pjs, and fuzzy socks….this would never happen in Kampala. The rain came pouring down on m Tookul (traditional Diginga housing). As the night went on I could hear drops coming through the thatched roof. Thankful, none of the leaks where over my bed, I finally dozed off to sleep that was sound and peaceful!

Welcoming the Hilderbrants at the air-strip
This morning as my computer and I sit outside in the open kitchen I hear the wild blowing, birds singing and, the bells from a near by heard of goats. The whole AIM Team up here talks about the beauty here. Personally, many miss conceptions on my part has never lead me to believe they were right, until NOW!

Really this is a lovely place. Yes, people live in mud huts, have very little and are very isolated but everywhere you look you see the handy work of the Father.

What could be so exciting in that box? Live CHICKENS!
long flight from Kenya+40 minute hick=FRESH eggs!
The team here is doing some great work with an unreached tribe. The two single ladies up here are AH-mazing. Just in the 24 hours I have been here there are stories to stress how truly amazing they are. Like today, a plane came in with some supplies. There was a box of chickens….6 hens and 1 rooster. When the plane landed and we looked in the box two hens were dead. One of the ladies was sad because that means two less hens to lay eggs.  After she closed up the box again she looked at me and said “Well I guess Sunday chicken dinner is tonight!”  So on joke, after she hiked over 40mins back to her hut she cut the head off, plucked the feathers, cut the feet off, and gutted them. Oh yeah, this is also after she taught a full day at the local village school. She’s hall of fame in my book!

What MKs do while waiting for dinner
Some how with all the daily life stuff of planes coming in, hiking to the air field, cutting up chickens, and cooking from scratch I was still able to meet with the Unit Leader to talk about Short-Term. We had great chats about how ST could help with some building projects all over the country. It was a blessing to have time to sit face to face in the mess of it all. The main reason I saw this time as key is because when the Unit Leader says it takes a special type of person out here….I can now literally see what he means. 

Day one in the Diginga hills of South Sudan:

The day started early! Very early! Like 5 am early……for some of you that is not early but for me it is! By 6am my cat was fed, house locked up, and I was in a taxi heading to the airstrip where our bush flight was taking off from. 

Before I lost my breakfast!
Yes, that is right, no commercial flights to where I was headed. Just small planes like a Cessna 206 or the occasional Caravan. This was my first bush flight, and the first time I ever up-chucked on a plane. Thankfully that was at the end when we were about to land and once my stomach was empty I was good.

The beauty of Africa from the air!
Besides losing my breakfast the flight was great! Africa is stunning both from air and road. This day I was blessed to see the beauty from the air. And I could not help but see the land of God. High mountains to flat plains…His handy word was there to marvel at, and I did!

The air strip where we landed
Where we landed by many people’s standers would NOT be an airstrip. A flat quasi smooth patch of land where the grass has been kept low on top of a mountain. Oh, I forgot the drop off on one end of it. But, our skilled pilot landed the plane after two fly-bys. Once the wheels were on the ground people, from out of nowhere, came to greet us! Not only people but cows and goats as well. Hills surrounded us. All you could see where hills and sky, beyond that were more hills. It did not take long to realize I was not in Kampala any more.

Once the plane was unloaded, people and cargo, porters came to carry the boxes of supplies we had flown in. Back home, you would picture a strong mountain man stepping forward to carry the things….but this is Africa! The men tended to the cows and goats while the ladies did everything. These ladies were small but WOW! They carried 50kgs of stuff with no problem, and one lady even had her baby strapped to her back.

The path to the compound
The ladies and I walked over the river and through the jungle to the compound where the team lives (about a 40min hike).

Friday, October 19, 2012

For the LOVE of the doughnuts!!!

"For the LOVE of doughnuts!" This is a saying I often say. Well, today I am yelling it (in my head not out loud.....I am not alone in my house to do so.)!

Can't hide the feelings. There is no way to sugar coat the truth. Today I feel like I want to go "home," where ever that might be.

Our God is so big....but right now I am feeling like things are falling apart. He is a god of details, never forgetting to dot an i or cross a t. The role I work in, here on the field, is one of planing. If you know me at all......that is right up my allies! I love details. But today, everything feels like it is in pieces on the floor. And for now I am more than ok with that. (Ask I type this I can hear my sweet grandmother say, "That is how the cookie crumbles!" How true that statement is today!)

Really. I will not but on a fake smile and try to pick all up all the pieces. It is hard to believe it right now, but I know it is true, in His timing all of it will all work out. Not only will it work out but it will be His will and not my messed up one! For now I just pray I am able to love like He is asking me to and in all things give Him the glory that is due.
Not going to lie.....a box of these would be AH-mazing right now!

"For the LOVE of doughnuts God, I do not know what to do! You are the One with the best plan so show me what it is. God, until it is all made clear will you help me be still and know you are God? Would you please hold me in your arms and love on me, for today I feel I need it. You are good....I ask for you to show me each and every day something that helps me see just how GOOD you are. Too often my eyes fall away from you. If needed super glue them on you! Thanks for loving me, yes the broken, lost and tired me. -Amen"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Trying to be better...

Are you like me, rushing out the door and not having all the things with you that you need or  have not finished your A.M. to-do list?!

Well, if you are, you know the feeling. Something like you are ok with what you have on but not 100% sure what it is,  like there are some of the thing you need with you but not all, and the fear of thinking you will never get it all done in the back of your mind. Oh, yeah. I know that feeling all to well. When I moved to Africa, as a missionary, I assumed my life would be a little slower. You know fitting into Africa Time. I could have not been more wrong. No wonder there is a saying about making an ass out of you and me when you assume.....because it is TRUE!

I may live in a place that is event oriented and not task oriented but my role, the one God asked me to do, is more task then event. So, over the last year of being here on the ground I have kissed my "slow paced" dream goodbye. Trust me I love my ministry, the people I work with, and where I live...but that dream of slowness has faded!

With so many things coming up in my date book I need to do something! Something to help me feel less like a chicken with no head, if that is possible. So, I am trying something new tonight, yes it is night here in Uganda.

As soon as I walked in the door I started to look around and to see what needed to be done...and what things were not life or death. The list I came up with is below:

-Washing in off the line
-Washing put away
-Wash and dry veggies 
-Kitchen cleaned up
-Water filter re-filled
-Lunch made for tomorrow
-Plan something for dinner tomorrow
-Go through emails, personal and ministry related
-Feed the fat cat
-Get ready for tomorrow
-Nightly Bible reading
-Bed hopefully before 11pm

Long list right?! And it is already 7pm. So here is the game plan I came up with!

Kitchen- as I put the clean dishes away I would get the coffee pot ready for the morning. I would also let the water run to re-fill the water filter. Dirty dishes could be left for the lady who comes once a week to clean for me. While chatting with a friend wash and dry veggies. While SKYPing put everything in the crock-pot for tomorrows dinner. Call kitchen done.

Washing-as I listen to some worship music bring clothes in off the line AND put them away...otherwise they sit in a pile for a week! Make a pile of dirty clothes to be washed in the morning. As I pass done "dirty clothes pile" feed the fat cat, and trust me she is FAT!

Emails- While enjoying the sounds of the kids playing in the compund next door I will set a timer. Set it for 20min and work on as many Short-Term Emails as I can. When timer is goes off close email and take a shower. After shower re-set the timer for 20min. Work on as many personal emails I can. When the timer goes off close emails and computer for the night (this is a hard one for me). Once computer is off sit and do my nightly Bible reading. By then I pray it is not past 11pm.....even if so GO TO BED!
I wish I was this together by 6am!

So, that is the game plan for tonight. Lets see how much I can do! If you have any tips on time management or finishing one's to-do list let me know!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Colors of Hope

Africa is so colorful! Trees, flowers, people, and ever the fabric! Daily, I am blessed to see smiles as big an bright as the sun!

These bright smiles have become like family to me. I love them so much and thank the Lord I get to live among them! Some of my Ugandan family have the skill of sewing. They do it on the side as extra income. There is one lady that has made many lovely things for me in the past. The last time she made something for me she opened up. She told me how helpful it was for her and her family to have the side job of sewing. With the extra money she can insure there is enough for all her children's school fees.

After we had this conversation I thought for a while...."wish I could give her more extra business with sewing." I lifted her and her family up to the Lord with out a clear understanding of how I could be helpful to them. A few weeks later the Lord placed an idea on my heart. Something that only could come from HIM, I just love how He know the best way to plant His will into my heart and mind.

Just some of the fun and colorful fabric my friends will be working with!
Colors of Hope, the idea the Lord gave me, is just is the growing stage.....trusting in the Lord to lead it, as He sees fit.

The idea is that the ladies I know, who sew, will work on making African Tablecloths and Napkins. I will pay them a fair wage for each item. This will help insure their family can pay for school fees ( they pay school fees three times a year). Then I will turn around and sell the tablecloths and napkins. This will help me cover the cost I spend to pay the ladies and buy the materials. Also it will help me buy more fabric so they can make more table clothes.

Education is important, as we all know. But also it is so important to help people rise up, not just give hand outs. So, this is a way to support the ladies I have been blessed with getting to know while allowing them work for a better tomorrow! They will only make what they can, NOT becoming a sewing company or  NGO. Keeping it small, personal, and meeting needs.

Well what do you think?  If you are interested in buying a tablecloth and or napkins please contact me! It would be so encouraging to the ladies to know people are already interested.

All of us ladies also ask for your prayers. Prayers for wisdom and guidance. We are only looking to do His will and not our own. Thanks for your prayers and comments for Colors of Hope!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A helpful tool... Martha Stewart Funnel

So, before I packed up and moved 1/2 around the world I was blessed to spend over a week with my family in Arizona. Still totally confused why on earth they packed up and moved to the desert. But, hey the Lord works in funny ways right?!

While I was spending some good family time with them I also worked on my "bring to Africa list." One day all us ladies headed to Macy's I was excited because they where having a huge sale! Even with all my excitement I never thought I would find something "useful" for Africa....but low and behold I did!

Sitting on a table in the "home department" were some Martha Stewart cooking tools. Glancing over the table, something caught my eye. There were fun colored funnels. But not just any funnel mind you. They were 1/2 they folded up! "How great," is the first thought that came to my mind. I mean great!? They were light weight and  folded up. Prefect for packing only 6 bags to start a home and ministry in Uganda.

It has been almost two years from the time I bought two of the "how great" funnels and I love them. They do not take much space in my small kitchen and are so helpful. Truly! I have to filter my water or boil it before I can drink it. Also I have one with me when I travel, when I  might have to boil and pour water into a jarry-can or water bottle. They travel well and are so light I will even be taken one on my tip into South Sudan. Why would I not?! On those flights every Kg counts!! (It is a bush flight)

Now these is just some of the most common uses I have found for this great kitchen tool, but I could not even begin to think how helpful they would be back in the "West." Not only in the home but; office, school, classroom, and more! The fact they come in different colors is so helpful! My green funnel is the travel one and the blue one is for my home only. If you had to you could have one for each day of the week!

I know a funnel might not be on the top of your shopping list but if you are in need of one I say go with the Martha Stewart Kitchen Funnel (product number 7.678.271)!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh, how He loves us!

The ladies all piled in my car.....this is how we roll!

Yesterday evening I was blessed! Over 60 ladies got together to enjoy fellowship, worship, and prayer. It was so amazing to be surrounded "like minded ladies." Truly the Lord knows what He is doing, call each lady here to Uganda to meet an need, while loving and supporting one another.

A group from the States came out to "love on" us missionary ladies here in Kampala.  They brought goodies from the States, a amazing worship leader, tasty things for a meal, and Mama Kits. As great as it was to get some goodies the icing on the cake was worshiping an praying with these amazing 60+ ladies!

Lingrid and Kristen
We sang under the stars and moon on a cool clear Kampala night. Kampala is a very hilly city and as we worshiped the lights of the near by hills were all a glow (imagine power was on for the whole night.) It was so powerful to stand outside and lift my hands to the Lord in the natural beauty of the city!

As the song "How He Loves Us" started tears filled my eyes. Tears of joy. Our God is amazing. There are so many people in the world and He loves each and everyone of them. He knows how much pain and suffering millions of people go through each and every day. He longs for many to come to know Him. To trust in His saving grace! And I was reminded of this while worshiping with other ladies whom the Lord has called to Uganda. Each one is working in a different area, facing different challenges, but all have the same goal. Each of us long with the Lord to many to come to know Him!

Janice and I
Thank you Lord for like minded ladies who have a heart for your people here in Uganda. You are so loving and show me daily in little ways how big you are yet how personal you are with me. Oh, how you love me! -Amen

Sunday, September 9, 2012

T.I.A. (this is so AFRICA)

Today I ran around my house (after sleeping for about 4 hours extra in the morning, was not feeling so hot) and getting things ready for the  new week. Also tried a new workout routine. At the end I was dirty and in need of more rest.

I deiced to have a bath! (One must enjoy it while city power is on to heat the water and oh yeah, when city water is on as well!) Got everything ready and I heard the "almost daily click" of city power going off and battery back up kicking on. Thankfully I had a hot bath waiting for it was fine that city power went of, well that is what I was thinking. After my bath I saw city power was still off in my flat but lights around our building were on. Strange you say....haha NO! Often for some reason or another a switch flips and city power is cut in my flat alone. So I walked down stairs to look at the was as it should be. As I walked back up to my flat I heard "EHHHHHHH" and I replied with "HMMMM" and raised eyebrows (the way you know when someone is hearing you and following you conversation out here.) It was one of our grounds guys. He said power was off. He laughed when I looked at him with a dumb founded look (we were standing in a very light hall way!). So he explained.

Something about the wire from the pole in front of our building and having a bad connection to one side of the building. Guess who's side of the building?! :) Yup, that is right, MINE!

Praying the guy who I was told will come tomorrow to fix it comes. Until then it is very little light in the house to save the precious battery power, who knows how long it will be till our side has city power again! Yup, T.I.A. home sweet home!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Playing in the Dirt!!!!

The Hippy, Green Lover, ECO Friendly, CALI Girl in me is coming out! I live in a second-story flat but that wont stop me from growing some yumm-o veg!

This evening I had some fun on my front and back patio getting my hands in the dirt, pulling some weeds, and singing out loud (sorry neighbors!). Before today there was a mix of want to be veg and flower on both patios. Taking some time to think, I do that some times. It made more sense to have all the veg in the back, right outside the kitchen door. So, all the lettuce, wild rocket, mint, rosemary, and tomatoes got moved around.

When things have sprouted, bloomed, and ripened I can not wait to taste their goodness. Even when living in a very green country like Uganda I miss Farmers Markets. Taking an early Saturday morning with good friends, thinking of you Miss Kari, while walking around and getting your shopping list knocked out. Oh, and the verity! There is a berry shape hole in my heart after moving out here! But I digress....

While having one of my "missing Cali" moments I realized I could grow some greens. It will never replace all the fabulous Farmer Markets but it is all one can do at this point.  Also I get to play in the dirt! So, fingers crossed! Here is to playing in the dirt and fresh veg!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ladies, Crafts, and Smiles...

If you enjoy crafting then you know the feeling that comes over you when a project is done. You also enjoy looking around for new ideas. Like-minded friends are always share tips with you. Often you get together with other to work on things and share some laughs. (Come on crafters.....raise your hand hand HIGH!) If you know these feelings you are not alone!

Last Saturday was the first "Ladies Craft Fellowship!" It was so fun!!! Over the last few months my heart has been feeling for ladies working on the mission field, specifically the ones that are in Kampala. Everyone is busy. They work 24/7 most days and are giving  giving giving. Now personally I know the feeling, due to the fact I have lived in the field for over a year, of being alone in a crowded city! So after thinking and praying for many months I asked ladies to come together! Asked them to join a fun filled afternoon with other ladies. We shared some craft ideas, ate together, and most importantly connected!
We made necklaces out of old T-Shirts! Not a stitch needed!
The turn out was small, due to the fact many could not come even though they wanted to. After everyone left and had mentioned how nice it was to get together I felt lead to do the fellowship monthly!
One of the lovely ladies that came on Saturday!

So now once a month we will gather together in my home to share ideas, recipes, crafts, and life. We are all excited! Your prayers would be a blessing at this point. We are trying to work out a time each month that works well for most of us....with our schedules you can image how crazy hard that it. Also if you have any craft or recipe ideas please share! We would love grow our idea list. Just leave a comment below.  We also promise to take photos of your idea if they come to fruition and post them for the world to see!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You must take the good with bad!

The other day my post was a downer, I admit it. But that got me thinking. Thinking while I was on the back of a boda boda riding around Kampala. People think missionaries live a great life. Well they are right to some degree. Let me explain.

Most missionaries life in a foreign country. Places in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, and so on. While these places are exciting and new there are so many things once faces whiling living there other could not even think of. Illness, harder living conditions, lack of understating to how things work, language barrier, are some of the things that people back home think of. Yes we do deal with these things but so much more. For me, for example, I am living in a country that sees me as a child still. I am 28 years old, have a college education,  am a licensed minster, and living in Africa as a single lady. Out here....that means nothing. I am not a woman until I am married and have children. This also feds into a spiritual battle with me in.  It brings up the age old question of will God bring someone to be a partner with?! This is just one thing people would never think that single missionaries deal with. Well we do.

Missionaries would love to say we have 365 good days out of the year but in reality we are lucky to get a 1/3rd of that. But that dose not mean we do not love what we do.

God has called us here. He has made it all happen to be "on the field." There is joy in knowing that our Father God sees us as worthy (even with all our baggage and sin) to do this work. This helps us over come the bad days (the last post was written on a bad day). The fact  that God is in control hit me while on my boda boda ride this morning. I was sitting on the back of a bike of a guy I know and trust. He met me after I dropped off my SUV to get an oil change. He then drove me to the office and while on the way I saw so much beauty. This beauty started to make the craziness, had moments, and loneliness fade a little.

Photo of the city take from the road next to my flat
Out here I am learning to take the good with the bad. Yes, more often then not there a lot more "bad" than good but it is still worth is. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Is There Growth?!

So today I think I hit a wall. Not literally but defiantly mentally.

Today I sat with my field supervisor. We looked at my role, how the Short-Term Program is designed, how to implement what I feel called to do, and so much more. It took most of the day (yeah no joke I felt like my head would fall off). After this helpful but long and hard meeting I met with a Team Leader. She was so lovely....but my mind was on over load. Hope what came out of my mouth was cohesive, but truth be told, I am not sure I knew my own name at that point.  

With everything done and even more lists for tomorrow on my desk, I head to the store. Everything in me wanted to just head home but I couldn't. Needed food, air time (phone credit), and petrol for my beast of car.   So, with as much of a smile I could muster up I headed in the store. Got what I needed. Stood in the long lines to check out, guess others were in the same boat I was. I was next in line and this lady with two things came in front of me. I looked at her and she kept moving forward.

Ok, truth time. Inside I was pissed. Ready to tell her I was next and she was more than welcome to go after me, seeing that was her place in line anyways. Mentally I said a prayer it went something like this..."Lord I hope the clerk tells her "no" so I can go. I mean, why can she cut in front of me? We all have to wait our turn. It is what is nice and kind. So help me out here!"(Now reading that.... sounds selfish I know!)

Thankfully I was so tired and out of it I did not say anything (Trust me I could have gone all American on her if I wanted to.) I paid for my things and walked to my car. While I was driving to get petrol I saw all the faces of the workers I knew from the store came to mind. Every time I walk in I greet them, chat for a bit, and thank them for all that they do. (You could say I was thinking I was a good person at this moment in time.)

As I thought about the workers I knew, while getting petrol, I thought again of the thoughts I had in line. They were not of the Spirit. The fruits of the spirit  were NOT shining through me. That started more thinking.....yeah, I too am so lost on how I have any mind power left.

Have I grown at all? Do others see the Lord when they look at me? Do I leave the fragrance of the Lord every where I go? I pray so, but some days I  am not so sure.

Thanks Lord. Thank you for loving me even on my awful no good days. When I see a mess you see your daughter. It is so comforting to know how You hold me in Your hands when I through mine up in the air! Please work in me...for you know how much further I have to go. Amen.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Learning what it would be like.....

For the last 4 days I have been learning. Learning what it would be like if I was a mom, not just a mom of a few sweet souls. Learning what it would be like if I was a mom of 7!

Some of you reading this might be loving the idea of 7 kids running around your home full of laughter, cries, illness, playtime all the while you are watching little souls become who they were created to be by the Father. Others, might be shaking their hear "No!" Maybe that is a big number for some but let me tell you....I am learning how great it is.

My friend has 8 lovely adopted children.  Adopting all these awesome little ones is just one of amazing thing her and her husband felt lead to do. They (as a family)  answered the call to move to Africa as missionaries. Yes, they are out here, in Uganda living for the Lord "on the filed" as a family of 10. They make me excited to see what the Lord might call my family to, one day.

With 8 kids you can guess how busy my friend is. Truth is with living in Africa there is an other side of her busyness no one would think of, yet she does it with rock star status. Well in my eyes at least! To help in a small way, trust me a very small way, I watched 7 of the 8 while she and her hubby dropped the oldest off at boarding school. This is the first to head out to school. For many this is a strange concept but boarding school is conman for MKs. Their oldest is heading to an AIM run school in Kenya. So, while they drove to Kenya, sat through orientation, helped get the dorm room ready, and meet all the school staff I stayed in Uganda with the 7.

There is no way to shear how much I loved, learned, and grew in these 4 days. All I can say is "WOW." Being a mom is work. Work that is so meaningful! Now, understand I am not saying I want 7 of my own.....but you could  say I am more open to it, more now than ever before. Yes, God has yet to join my heart to someone else. I still have many fears about having children in my 30's rather then my 20's. My heart feels called to adopt. But all of this is left to the Lord, for He knows and to be honest I prefer it that way.

But these 4 days have been so meaningful to me. You could say I was given a chance to see what it would be like if the Lord blessed me with this many little ones. 4 days doe not sound like a lot but with 7 running around a lot can happen. Let me try to tell you in a nut shell: Day one- it was day 2 with out mom so everyone was having a hard day. In the middle of the night one jumped in bed with me because her ear was hurting so there was very little sleep. Day2-the ear ache turned into an infection and someone had a fever and tears most of the day. The others had fun while having a water flight. One missed the evening movie because of choosing over and over again to do what he was asked not to do. The night ended with decorating for the birthday the next day. Day3-HAPPY Birthday! We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Everyone was soaked at the end of a water balloon fight, even with some unhappy ones saying the girls cheated. Day ended with Brinner for dinner and Jumangi movie night. Day4- HAPPY Birthday, birthday number 2. After chores we all watched an episode of Adventures in Odassy, and then talked about what we all learned. We also prayed together. We also prayed for the sun to come out so we could head to the pool.....end of the day Mom and Dad came home!

It was a crazy fun filled 4 days. The Lord is good. While He has been teaching me about true womanhood He also has opened the door to  start learn about motherhood.....kinda of scary and yet exciting.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Did you know....

Did you know that men and women were created in God's image? Yes, I am sure you did. But more over, did you know that we both reflect God is ways the other can't?

God made man, wired him a cretin way, gave him strengths just for him, and put qualities and characteristics in them only they can use to point back to God himself. Just as He did this for man He did the same for woman. There are things inside each  of us, men and woman, that glorify God.  

The qualities in male and female each are an aspect of God. This is so power. It hit me that we are living in a culture that says gender does not matter....but it dose. Each of us, created who we are weather male or female, with our characteristics that were given to glorify our creator. Think about how cool that is.

The world tells us other than the obvious differences, there are no differences between men and women. What a lie. The enemy is great at making us believe we are the same as men. I think Nike helped sell the States on buying into "anything you can do I can do better." Can you remember the male and female athletes going at it, showing how she could do everything he did and do it better. Well, I remember, and as a young girl I thought that was great. Nothing could hold me back.

After moving out to Africa....God has done a number on my heart. He is teaching me what being a woman means by His definition, not the worlds.  Many times before Africa was home Genesis 1 was read and never jumped out at me, well that was until Africa. Now reading it I see things with new eyes, and understand them with a new heart.

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

He created them! Them meaning both, both of them were created in His image. If God did not prosperously create male and female to point back to Him, this passage would be different. Think about the fact words like mankind, them, as well as male and female were used. There are only two genders that make up mankind. So, why stress over and over THEM?!

I think it is because it stress to us, His creation, we are created in His image and how that shines through men and women differently. Both point back to Him and give Him glory but both do it in different ways. So, yes. Gender does matter.

If you are a man, be proud to be created from the side that shows God's strength, courage, and manly qualities. And also, if you are a woman, then embarrass the fact you reflect the tender, lovely, and creative side of our creator! There is so much beauty within each of us, male and female, that tells the world of our amazing creator! So, let your light for the King shine in the fact you are comfortable being a godly man and or woman.

Daily show me more and more of how I can reflect your glory, because you have mad me a woman. Give me your heart for other ladies, who are not where I am on this topic. Give me your grace for those who will tell me I am equal to a man in every way. May your word of of truth on womanhood sink deeper and deeper into my mind, heart and, spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Laugh At Every Moment!

So, yesterday I got pulled over....that kinda normal. Nothing like being flagged down so they try find a reason to fine you. Yesterday it was for a good reason. Well, them telling me about it was but not the fine, but in the end I did not have pay anything. Let me explain from the beginning.

 The traffic cop noted one of my brake-lights was out. Ok, I can understand that and that is a good reason. I kinda wanted to ask him how I was to see it when it is behind me and I prefer to look at the road, but I did not. That was most likely a wise move.

After talking to the officer in Lugnada I was able to dive off without paying the fine. He just told me to get it fixed and thanked me for living in Uganda. That afternoon I asked my Ugandan brother, Godfrey, where I could get a new light. The idea was to not have to head into town to get it. I mean I do not think I could get out of another ticket. He said he was not sure....but would look. Today still no new light. Thought I might have to head into town.... did not want to do that at almost any cost!

As I was leaving the office today I asked Godfrey if he saw a place on his way home to get one and gave him some cash. Pulling out of the office compound another friend, who knew about the light,  stopped me and wanted to know what kind of light it was. Like I knew. But as we were talking I remembered a random bulb in my glove box. I told home to hold on and looked for it. Found it after a few minutes. He laughed and said "this wont work." I said "lets see" and handed him the screwdriver I also keep in my glove box. So we tried it. Guess worked! He was shocked! I let out a very loud African yell! Three of us to change it, but it worked! I ran back to the guesthouse yelling "Godfrey....Gooooooodfreyyyyyyy!"

Godfrey was in the kitchen and surprised to see me. I asked for my cash back....and held out my hand. He was so confused and said "why my sister?"  I informed him I changed the light. His jaw hit the floor! He shook his head no. I said it again and again he did not believe me. So I told him what happened. He laughed at me and said "you always know what to do!" I laughed because I was thinking he was crazy. I never know what to do! But, this time I guess I did. And, come on three people to change a break-light is funny!

So many things make me laugh while living out here and this one had me rolling on the floor! Thanks God for making me with the ability to laugh at myself!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Womanhood Video Note

God is moving in me. It has to be Him. I mean it..come on Cassandra becoming a Proverbs 31 lady?! WOW, that must be the Holy Spirit! Well, folks it is. The Lord has been touching my heart in many areas on this topic. Hope you can enjoy my video note and see what He has been doing in me.

Head-Scarf How 2...

So a few weeks back some of you really wanted to know how I tied my head scarf. After a few takes and giving up on looking good for you go. Hope it helps you and if you have questions just leave them in the comment section. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lessons in Womanhood

This weekend I took some time to work on my  home. It is not crumbling but somethings needed TLC.

The hot item on the to-do-list was change water filter. H2O is so important out here and  I somehow missed the note the filter needed to be changed every 6 months....mine was 12 months old. Oops!

While cleaning and changing my filter I listen to a podcast. It was in-tilted Womanhood. When I pushed play I thought it was going to be all about how women are equal but have to submit.......blah blah blah. To my surprise it was amazing! The quote that grabbed my full attention was "The battle of the sexes did not start in the 60's. It started in the garden."

WOW! Ok, I was listing now! For 40min I learned more about my natural nature...the one that craves to live in harmony, before sin hi-jacked the harmony God He created between man and woman. Harmony that was built on love and respect. This truth fit in so well to what God has been teaching me....yeah I know I thought I was done learning to, guess I was wrong. ;)

Over the last few months the Lord has been showing me what I thought...about life and marriage was way off base! The line "your life will start when you get married," is false. God has things for me to do now, things I need to do as a single lady. He is not holding back "my happy ever after" because I do not trust Him enough, or because my standers are to high. It is because He has things to do in me and through me in the mean time. He also has been trying to get the understanding of Biblical womanhood through my very thick scull!

A book I am reading has shown me how much the world has jacked up (sorry for the language) what is means to be a woman. The book is rooted in God's truth, something that is so powerful. This power is something I am now learning first hand. Reading this book, studying God's word on the topic, and fully letting things go has become so freeing. Freeing from the lies of this world.

It may be hard to see or believe but this world has turned the idea of womanhood upside down. And while it was being turned upside down, the enemy blinded the church to what he was doing. If people asked the Lord to give them His eyes, we would see how off the mark even the church is on Womanhood.

There were many moments over the last few months I was kicking at screaming at the Lord. Me submitting?! Are you nuts Lord? Something in me, yes yes I know it is my sinful nature,  loves being a woman who can speak her mind. Maybe that is my California up bringing.

Ladies you all know what I am talking about. You feel it too. The verse that talk about how we are to submit, be under your husbands, or in my case father's authority. Your skin just crawls, your heart starts to beat faster, and you feel like showing the world how strong you are on your own.

Well, I know that feeling all to well. It is something that the Lord has been trying change in me. Something I was blind to . Something the world told me I did not need to learn, and I bought into it. God has been so loving with me. So loving He brought me to Africa to teach me who He created me to be. Created me to be a lovely lady with His understanding of womanhood.

Now trust me, I am not prefect and still have many miles to go. But the biggest battle has been own, God has shown me that when I bend  my sinful will to His concept of womanhood, peace like a river invades my soul!! So, I bend my will to His and learn a little bit more about myself and what it means to be a woman of God each day. I pray you do the same. And I pray the lies of the enemy lose their power over you through God's loving and powerful word.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Second Birthday!

Today it is a second birthday. A day that was history making a year a go. The world is not the same today as it was one year ago. People were so shocked 365 days go while the newest country in the world stood on its on for the first time!

Today is the day that marks South Sudan's Independence Day. I am sure most of the world is going on with it normal lives. People most likely do not even know what this day means for so many  South Sudanese.

With all the joy of a country standing on this own there are also many battles this young country still has to fight. Rome was not built in a day and there is no way a nation can change decades of war, famine, and poverty in just one year. Below is an email I received in my inbox....the author is South Sudanese and puts the hardships of his country into words. Please read this email and then spend time in prayer for the nation,  its leaders, and peoples of South Sudan. God is working in many ways already, but there is a battle of light and dark being fought daily in the spiritual realm. A battle for the hearts and souls of the South Sudanese.  

One year ago today, South Sudan became the world’s newest nation. On that day, I stood beside my fellow Sudanese celebrating this remarkable achievement. But today, as conflict intensifies, I stand beside my brothers and sisters grieving.
In the past year, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to South Sudan to escape conflict within Sudan. Meanwhile, issues between Sudan and South Sudan risk bringing the two countries back to war. The resolution of this conflict MUST be a priority for the international community.
As a Sudanese man from Darfur, I am proud to work for the Enough Project, because it is leading the push for sustainable solutions to the crisis.
To bring lasting peace to Sudan and South Sudan, we need to collect evidence of ongoing crimes against humanity in order to hold perpetrators accountable. We need to tell policymakers to stand up for the people of the Sudans. We need to show the world that we want this conflict to stop—once and for all.
Omer Ismail
Enough Project Field Researcher and Policy Consultant

Thank you for praying!