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