Sunday, May 27, 2012

Street Theology

Some Sundays are a coffee in bed with a podcast kinda days...a very restful Sabbath. This Sunday was one of those Sabbath days. The podcast came from Street Theology. Thanks to LeRoy and Carl it became a time full of thinking and those thoughts lead to much prayer!

I will not get into the reasons the podcast was a great food for thought but more so tell you how you can get their free podcasts.

Missionaries are always looking for ways to get free spiritual food. We all attend churches but there are times you are just in need of more spiritual feeding. While I was looking for more"free spiritual food" I stumbled across free podcasts on iTunes from Street Theology and Carl Medearis! Carl is the author of Speaking of Jesus the art of NOT-evangelism, the book I wrote about a few days ago.

Carl has much knowledge and experience of building relationships with Muslims. I live in a country where there are many Muslims, but that is not the only reason I find Carl's thoughts and teaching fascinating! (Even as I right this I can hear the call to prayer.)  He digs deep, he looks at how Jesus has the power to save but religion kills faith, and shows us how we often try to defend Christianity instead of speaking Jesus.  I can relate to this un-natural feeling of the need stand up for Christ but never speak His name for fear of offending.    

So I would encourage get some good sound, FREE, spiritual food. If you have iTunes, long on and search for Carl Medearis. If you do not have iTunes or are a book person over audio, get this book, Speaking for Jesus. Please read and listen with open ears. You will be challenged in a good way, so open your heart to seek the truth in what he is saying and where you fit into it. Just know that Jesus has all power but some how in this day and age we have taken the power Christ has and given it to people and buildings....things that are powerless without the power of Jesus!

Carl Medearis
Street Theology

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ikea grater/container Product Review

This product made its way into my house via a missionary yard sale. It was well used and love before I got it and I can see why!
Elegantly like mine minus the small grater

Ikea has a grater/container combo. It is so helpful! The grater fits as the lid for the container and holds everything you grate as you grate it. The grater comes with two lids, a small grater and a larger one. When I picked mine up at the yard sale it only had the larger one... but it still works great.  Easy to store and very light. Many kitchen items are heavy and moving overseas=packing all you can and being under the weight limit.

If you are heading out to the mission field and or loving and supporting someone on the field, this is a item worth packing or sending! Trust me....many meals came together out here because of this kitchen tool. (the dish made the most is carrot ginger brown rice) It is also very affordable! Got to love Ikea for that! The grater is about $4 (I say about because I live in the world of exchange rates changing daily). Ikea has a great website and you can even see if it is in the store cloest to you! This product gets two thumbs up from me.

The Woman Next Door {On Building Community} From Passionate Homemaking

Daily I try to read something.....not just for fun. Something that holds biblical values and meanings in it. Something that makes me think, grow, or stretch!

Sometimes this daily reading comes from book but mostly it comes from blogs! Many friends are blog writers themselves and there are a handful that are just written by Godly women with the gift of writing. One blog I read a lot is Passionate Homemaking. It is a great read!

The newest post on PM is entitled "The Woman Next Door." I was very touched by what was said. It is so true how little we live in community, as we believers have be commanded to. Hope you find it just as touching and stretching as I did.

(Just click on the cheerful yellow link below)

The Woman Next Door {On Building Community}

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blessed and RICH in friendship

Often people look at what is in their checking and saving account to tell how rich they are. If the numbers are high they feel (a false feeling) of peace and joy. But, when looking at our lives that way only leads us to live a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  Daily those numbers will go up and down. That is life....nothing stays the same. All people seek for a way to gauge how blessed and rich their lives are, this is natural tendency.It is in how we gauge the richness of our lives that is so important. We are all blessed and rich in many ways, no one way the same as the next.

This morning I was blessed and saw how RICH my life is. At 8:30am ish here in Uganda and at 10:30pm ish in Davis California a SKYPE call took place.  Two friends chatted about everything under the sun for over 2 hours! Laughs were shared. Joys were highlighted. Ministry was discussed. Live was shared from 1/2 around the world.

If that is not a gauge of how rich a life is, than I do not know what is! God has joined two hearts in friendship and even with time zones, hundreds of countries, and a big ocean between them they were connected (and the internet connection was not BAD!).  Those 2 hours were a loving reminder of how much God has blessed my life. He showed me through my past that He has blessed me with a good friend who are  apart of my life here in Africa. Only God can take your past and intertwine it with your future. I truly believe that is how He planed for us to look at our lives to say "we are BLESSED and RICH." He did not plan for our bank accounts to do it; He made them a way for us to build our trust and faith in Him. But, friends, family, our community, and the body of Christ is a gauge of the richness of our earthly lives. It is a way to see how blessed we are on earth while keeping the focus on others and the eternal home we are waiting for.

MY LIFE IS BLESSED & RICH!!! Thank you Lord!!!
(Evidence of a blessed and rich life)
My daughter in spirit after she cut her toe on her flight back from Kenya

The lovely ladies that work at Makote Inn

Life long friend, Ann, on her wedding day!

Blessed with a loving and supportive grandmother!

Keri and Jenn....two ladies I LOVE!

Rachel and I, two hippies at heart

The one who completes me! Wendy!

My Little Love...Wendy's daughter Jaylee Ann

My Little Man, who is not so little any more, Erik Bromley

1/2 the family in AZ, JD's 21st Birthday! So Cal sister

RHONA! My blessing in the ST office

I get to love on children all over Africa, what a honor Lord!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Heaven in a CUP!

As shown in the photo....I cannot put it down! This is truly heaven in a cup!
As some of you know (from Facebook) I have not been able to sleep for the past three nights. Finally at 2 or 3am I can lay down but still not fall asleep. So to combat this horrid issue I have overhauled my diet, in hopes my body find find balance again.

Breakfast and dinner are in liquid form....SMOOTHIES! YUMMY! Out here there are tons of fresh fruits and I am taking advantage of that. This morning was a banana, papaya, and pinapple smoothie. Tonight..well that is what I wanted to share with you. It was not planed and was not a per-made recipe. Just took a few things that sounded good together and blended them. Well, what do you know?! It is a hit! Heaven in a cup. 
How to make your know heaven in a cup...
3 small bananas (ours are small out here so maybe just 2 if they are America sized)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter (organic is best...what else can I get out here?!)
1 to 2 Tbl of coconut oil (crazy I know but trust me!)
1Tbl Wheatgerm
1Tbl Moringa powder (full of iron and vitamins, instead you can add other supplements if you want)
Soy Milk.....enough to make it not thick

Blend it all together in a blender, pour into a glass...the bigger the better and ENJOY!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Speaking of Jesus (The art of not-evangelism)

I am not a book worm. I would love to be one. Often, I get books in hopes of become engrossed in them. Sadly, very seldom does that happen.

There is one book I was given and I am finding it very hard to put down. It is well written. It reads as if the author is just sitting next to you talking about the topic. Dare I say it...I have become engrossed in a book!

"Speaking of Jesus, the art of not-evangelism" by Carl Medearis is a moving book. Not the kind to get you up and out the door, off to save the world kinda of move. It makes you stop and think about what you believe in. Asks you to undefine what Christianity means. Moves you in a thought provoking kinda of way. There are countless quotes that have pulled me in deeper and deeper.

There is one quote that made my world stop....literally! I read it over three times, OUT LOUD.

"I don't want to redefine salvation. I don't want to redefine the gospel or even Christianity on the whole. I suppose I want to undefine them. I want to strip away the thousands of years of graffiti painted onto the gospel, turning it into a reasonable code of doctrines. The gospel is not an idea. It is not a belief. It is not a favorite verse. The gospel does not live in our church, it cannot be written down in a simple message, and it is not the sinner's prayer. The gospel is not a what. It is not a how. The gospel is a WHO.  The gospel is literally the good news of Jesus. Jesus is the gospel."-Carl Medearis

I have no words my mouth is just open and my head is shaking "Yes!" What has this world done to the gospel? 

I will not tell any are just going to have to read it for yourself! It is a great book and I highly recommend it! ME....recommending a book.  Now really...what has this world come to?!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

EZ WYP (Biodegradable Wet Wipes)

(Very excited to write my very first product review!)

Every one is jumping on the "Green" wagon and for good reason. We were put on this earth as care takers for God's creation. The only problem is there are many products now that are labeled Green but are not that effective, many products but NO EZ WYP. It is a great product!

Before I moved out to Uganda I went to a Green festival in San Francisco, my other home. There were many companies passing out their products, you know getting out there by word of month. As I passed by a booth I was handed a wet wipe. After cleaning my hands with it I saw well it worked I walked back to the both and got a business card. Once home I looked up the company on the web. I was impressed with the information they shared and how they marketed their product. 

I ordered two bags and two refill bags. With all the craziness of moving over seas, setting up a home in Africa, and just life, I forgot I had them. Not sure how I got by with out them for so long! Out here you wash your hands often. Many times there is not soap or even water to wash your hands, welcome to Africa. The EZ WYP case is easy to carry and use. Fits well in my bag and holds its own water (I use filtered water). The water and wipes go everywhere I go....and that is a lot of places. At church, at a meal out, out in the bush, on the road, in a plane, and just about everywhere they have come in handy!
(For EZ WYP video)

Up in South Sudan I have a friend with a little sweet 1 year old. When she comes down to Kampala next I will be giving her a case and a refill bag to try. If it is useful in Uganda and soon South Sudan just image how helpful they would be for you! As a mom, teacher, office staff, church worker, student and everyone else in the middle you will LOVE EZ WYP!

EZ WYP is easy to order. You can find info on their site and or perches some off Amazon. The price is also great! $7.99 on Amazon with free shipping for a bag of 50.

Hope you all will give it a try! If you are, if you have, or if you have questions leave a comment!

Why Product Reviews?!

If there is one thing I have learned on the field as a missionary word of months is the best review! Missionaries and Expats are always asking each other..."Where did you stay in _____?" "Have you eaten that the place on the main road?" "Where did you get your hair cut?" "Where did you get _____?"

I have said it many time, because it is true, things are different out here. You can't easily go to the Yellow Pages to get the name and number of a good hair styles or even locate car parts. The term living in community takes on really meaning on the mission field. Often I get asked this question and in return ask it myself.

So, what else to do on the world wide web than share your thoughts? There are some things that are useful and many that are not. To explore what these items are and what category they are in I have decided to write product reviews. I apologize in advance for the lack of WOW these pots may have. My hope is that they would be useful for those on the field, those coming onto the field, and those who support missionaries.

Keep your eyes open for the first review (coming soon to a computer screen near you)!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't Be a Cow!

Yesterday I had a quite normal “driving in Africa” moment. While heading into the office a heard of cows were walking along side the road I was on. Again, VERY normal for me now.  As I was about to pass them a big cow decided he was not satisfied with the greenery on his side of the road, with the rest of his heard. He left them on the right side of the road and crossed over to the left, right in front of my SUV. Thankfully have good breaks and stopped well enough before we became closer than I would have ever wanted to be with an African cow.
Yes, welcome to the new kind of traffic jam!

While stopped and waiting for this big-headed cow to finish crossing so he could enjoy the greens on the other side I saw his heard being beaten on the right side. The herders were telling the cows “NO.” They wanted all of them on the same side, which make sense to me. Once, the cow was eating his new greens and off the road I drove off. As I did my heart, head, and soul were thinking. The first thing that came to mind was “Don’t be a COW!”  A little puzzled by that statement I kept driving.

As I got closer and closer to the office that statement started to take on meaning.  How often do we choose to go off and do our own thing? Many times we do it without regard or thought of others. Our actions hold a consequence for us and the ones around us. We hardly ever take into a count “the others.” We just think that if we can deal with what COULD happen, so then we can do it and be ok. But, that is not how it works.  We are a body of believers. And a body works together. Each part has a job. When one part does not do its job the others feel it. Just like the heard felt it when one of them decided to find better food for himself. 
1 Corinthian 12:26-28

26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

Now I am not saying that God is going to beat everyone else around us because we have walked off to do our own thing, our own way. But, I am highlighting the fact that they will be affected. As a body we are all connected.  And the fact we are all connected is something that is often forgotten or casted to the side as of little or no consequence.

“Don’t be COW!” means stop and think about your actions. Think of how they will not only impact you but your bothers and sisters around you. How it will impact the ones who do not know Christ. The ones you work with you. The ones on your sports team. The ones who live on your street and neighborhood. They are all connected to you in some way and will feel the consequence of your actions.

More often than not believes have cared very little what for what their brothers and sisters are doing and how it will impact the body of Christ as a whole. The thought “as long as they are checking with God than we are ok,” because the norm. But, how many times have people said that and never asked that person if they are checking it with God? Asking them why do you feel the Lord calling you do this? Or even point them to scriptures related to the topic.  Many times it is because we ourselves have been off doing our own thing. Also many are afraid to offend. But, again we are a body! The foot in every right can ask the knee why it is not doing its job. Of course the foot needs to say it in love and genuine caution for the keen. But the foot needs to tell the knee how its actions are creating consequence for him, he is carrying too much, the extra weight is now making him not faction correctly. 
Romans 12:3-5

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

That…coming out of love I want to let you know your actions are impacted others needs to happen. We need to tell people to not be a cow! It is time we stepped up and encouraged one another, supported each other in their roles, and more importantly hold them accountable in LOVE. A great lie from the enemy is that our actions only affect us. Our actions and attitudes affect the whole body. It is time. “Don’t be a COW!” 
Colossians 3:14-16

14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nothing is Impossible!

Tonight I was blessed to attend a youth conference. A friend working with a local church invited me to come, we have gotten to know each other and I love seeing her all pumped up about something.

A team from her home church was leading a youth conference for the kids of the local church and surrounding community. There were a good number of youth there. The visiting team lead worship and had a great speaker to close today's events.

In worship a song was made me think of all my Short-Termers. Yes, I call all the STmers in Central Region "mine." They are doing the Father's work all over the region. The words of the song painted how they live daily.

Some are in the bush bush and other are in urban settings...but all of them live a life of faith and trusting that nothing is impossible with God.

Through You I can do anything
I can do all things
'Cause it's You who gives me strength
Nothing is impossible
Through You blind eyes are open
Strongholds are broken
I am living by faith
Nothing is impossible
I'm not gonna live by what I see
I'm not gonna live by what I feel
Deep down I know that You're here with me
And I know that You can do anything
I believe, I believe
I believe, I believe in you

They do not live by what they see...they can see beyond what is in front of them. Past things like poverty, malnutrition,  children living on the streets, HIV/AIDS, broken homes, children raising children, and lives shattered by sin.

They do not live by what they feel.....they ask God what to do with their mixed emotions, daily. They ask God to give them GRACE and LOVE for the days that are just to heard to keep working. They push back the anger when they are faced with the sight of injustice.

But they all believe that nothing is impossible with God. They have seen God soften hard hearts. They heard sinners sing for joy the day Christ came into their hearts! Chains are broken and they have been in communities that have done a full 360 because of that freedom!

They come out for months at a time, away from family and friends, all because they believe.

Call me byes, but the Central Region STmers are amazing! They are not prefect and will be the first to tell you so. Sometimes they want to pack it up and head home. But all in all, they are doing what they do because they truly believe...NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

Connor working in Mbarar, Uganda with a discipleship program
Kelsea in Mbarara, Uganda working with discipleship and MK education
Leah in Tororo, Uganda working at SMILE Africa

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The List

Dream List...
1. Enjoying the sun in Fiji
2. Seeing the wonders of the Aurora Borealis
3. Sing on stage (yes, even with my not so great voice)
4. Sleep under the stars in Alaska
5. Get the tattoo I have been talking about
6. Met my children and see them grow up
7. Visit my family in Finland (again, last time I was 9)
8. Go on a trans-Atlantic cruise 
9. Own a pair of obscenely expensive shoes
10. Go to a movie red carpet primer
11. Take a walking safari
12. Understand American football
13. Say I-Do with my best friend
14. Learn to play the ukulala 
15. Own a Land Rover (the old safari kind)
16. Attend a All Black in New Zealand
17. Host my grandmother's 90th  birthday party
18. Take my mom on an African safari
19. Name an OPI nail color
20. Raft the Nile river
21. Walk the Medina in Casablanca, Morocco
22. See the great migration in Tanzania
23. Visit all 50 States
24. Grow old with the man I love
25. Make a wish in a shooting star   
Have you ever had one of those days? A day when there was a song that just spoke to you. You could listen to it over and over again. The song was just want you needed at that moment in time. Well, today I had one of those days.

Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons is the song (sorry for the *F bombs, but sometimes they are reality). There is something about this song just hits all the right nerves today. This song has sent me into a music coma for the last few hours.....ahhhhh how sweet is the sound!

Weep for yourself, my man,
You'll never be what is in your heart
Weep Little Lion Man,
You're not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rake yourself,
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems
That you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?
Didn't I, my...

Tremble for yourself, my man,
You know that you have seen this all before
Tremble Little Lion Man,
You'll never settle any of your scores
Your grace is wasted in your face,
Your boldness stands alone among the wreck
Now learn from your mother or else spend your days Biting your own neck

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear? (x2)

Didn't I, my dear?


But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear? (x2)

Didn't I, my dear?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Language of Love

We all have a part of us that craves love. Something inside of use that just wants someone in this is wide world to see us for who we are. Someone who then will deeply love us.

This makes so much sense to me knowing that I am created in the image of God and He desires us to LOVE Him. It is only natural for a part of us to want love, just like our created desires to love us and we love Him.

Tonight, I am sitting on my little balcony looking out over my community. It is amazing what you can see and hear while sitting up here. I can see little kids running around. A worker heads home with shoes in hand after a long day of house work. I can hear  a family laughing together. A mom is walking up and down the lane with her little one on her hip. The sound of the city passes us by while all of us enjoy this moment in our community.

While sitting here, the family I hear laughing makes me smile. It is a family of three sweet kids, a Ugandan mum, and a Chinese dad. To say the least, this is a mixed family. The mom speaks Luganda  fluently and dad's mother tongue is Chinese. Their children are running around playing, while speaking English. In this family, the image of the Father's love for all His children and the language of love is shown.

God made each person in the family. They all have a desire to be loved. To show love to one another they all speak English. They have one language that is spoken as a family. They all can express their love for each other in this language. This family is not perfect, no family is. But, the family has chosen to have a language they all know and can express their love for one another in.
Call me cheesy but, this is a lovely reminder of how the Father has a language of love for each of this children. He knows them all so well, knows how to speak to their hearts.  We are so blessed to have a heavenly Father that knows us this intimately. There are many days I do not see how much my Father loves me. I am to busy. Seeking love from those in this world. But all along He is steady. He is true. His love never fails. How humbling that is. 

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6