Sunday, November 14, 2010
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are htose who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; and give you peace." -Numbers 6:24-27
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Today I found out that my Ugandan mom passed away due to a motor accident. I don't know the full details, but Ugandan roads are very dangerous and constanly there were accidents when I was there. The dad is now left with 4 kids to raise, the youngest only a couple months old and there is currently an American student staying with them. Please be praying for them.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This picture is from the village that we spent one week of our 4 month stay in Uganda at. Kapchorwa (the village) was AMAZING and my favorite part of my whole stay in Africa. Things that come in mind when I think of this village: No electricity. Great hospitality. AFRICA not as Westernized. Fresh fruit. Genuine people. Lots of kids. LONG church services. Playing with all of the kids. Describing the Ocean and seafood to my Kapchorwa parents while we cooked dinner. Drinking too much milk tea. Grounding fresh coffee beans. Learning their language and greeting people with CHICKASTE YESU!! (Praise the Lord!) Walking everywhere. "A visitor is never an interruption" lived out. Morning Runs to waterfalls as little school children ran along side of me until they had to turn off to school, killing a chicken, making futbols (soccer balls) from matoke trees(green banana like plants), not getting away from drinking only one cup of milk tea :P, Feeling so at home and comfortable there, having everything about this village being an exclamation point in my journal....So much. But the picture is of my little Kapchorwa sister and her buddies that would be over at the house all the time. They LOVED the camera and LOVED to dance. As soon as the camera went up they grabbed chairs or what ever was around them and showed off their greatest moves. Below is one of the many videos taken.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Stevie did so well reffing as well. There are so many rules and intense coaches to deal with yet he stood his ground. Ya! Thats my brother :). In one of the games, one of the coaches came on the field yelling at Stevie about a call he made, and he just responded with, "I am sorry but you have to get off the field, you aren't allowed to interfere like this." And these players were 10 year olds! Crazy intense. And STevies team won the championships taking home a medal :).
Here are some pics from the day:
And Renee is and AWESOME goal keeper with attitude and spunk of course :).
Friday, May 28, 2010
But looking back to the past, I recognize that I have been blessed with the opportunity to not only be apart of other families but also see the dynamics of how different families work- The Bothels in Stanwood while going to school in Everett, my aunts and grandma's house in Mt. Vernon, and a Ugandan family (The Bumanyes).
These experiences have all been great and God has grown me tons in different ways...
But through these experiences and being home after being gone for 4 months has also shown me that there is no family that could EVER take the place and the love that I have for my biological family.
And no scenery compares to Whidbey Island sunsets :)
Monday, May 10, 2010
Isn't he cute?!?!?!
Being back in America has had its both ups and downs.
Starting with the ups:
-As soon as I got off the plane in Jacksonville, Florida I was greeted by my sister and baby Henry :).
-This is my 4th day in America, and it has all consisted of chillin with my sis garrison and neph which has been awesome!
- We have been seeing soo many fun things. Going to the beach, walking the parks, drinking really good coffee, watching movies, going to the flea market, just staring into Henry's big blue eyes and making him laugh... Allie's new one with him, that got him into full on laughing last night while giving him his nightly bath was, "Who has stinky neck cheese?! Henry has stinky neck cheese!"(In a high pitched voice :P).And he has also just started to learn how to do rasberries. He was blowing big ones to my mom on the phone yesterday, and now Allie has to get a new one due to too much spit. haha jk. But she does need a new one pretty badly :P.
Such a good looking little family :)
-I got to celebrate Allie's First Mother's Day with her :D. Seeing how much Allie loves Henry only gets me praying that I can love my future kids in the way that she does with Henry.
-It has also been really nice to just simply chill and sleep off the jet lag.
- American food has tasted soo good all the time, even PB & J's. In Africa we got American food as a treat, so it feels as if I am eating treats for every meal :).
-I don't have to be extra careful of boda bodas running me over while running...
-I am taking real showers..with hot water these days
-There is so much access to SOFT toilet paper or actually toilet paper in general that I don't know what to do with.
Time for the Downs:
Uganda border coming back from our trip to Rwanda
- Like said above, eating American food has been all really good tasting but...what can I say other than that its American food. ITS NOT REAL :P. In Africa, my stomach got used to eating bread containing three ingrediants verses the kind I had for lunch today which has at least 20... (What the heck is Azodicarbonamide? I am eating that and I don't know what that is! Scary haha.) And for more information, maybe too much, it seems to be been going out the other end as soon as it goes in :P. FUN.
- It has been really hard to be present with my sis and neph as I have been so exhausted, and readjusting to American life, and missing Africa. I didn't think it would be this hard.Plus it makes me feel bad as I have such limited days here with them.
- realizing that I am out of shape after running what would usually be a normal run yet feel sore from it the next day.
-Not being able to be with my mom on Mother's Day for the fist time. :(
-Being faced with soo many more choices than in Africa causes my brain to overload.
Even baby sunglasses are still too big for Henry
Sorry to end on the downs, but really all in all as each day is going along, I feel myself readjusting more and more and I am really looking forward to going home and seeing the fam.
But for now, I still have two whole days with my sis and neph that I want to be completely present with, as I don't know when I will get to see them next.
*Thank you for all of your guys prayers during my time away and I can't wait to see you all!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I am soo glad that you are my mother.You r the best mom I hav EVER had and the best mother in the hole world even tho you kiss me way too much. I luv you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. Happy Mothers Day mommy!
Happy Mother's Day Allie!!!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We leave for Rwanda in about 2 hours and adventure on a 16 hour bus ride. I am looking forward to seeing and learning more about this country as my first time learning about Rwanda was through watching the film 'Hotel Rwanda'.
We come back after 10 days, and then have a few days of debrief in Entebbe.
If the skys are clear, we will be flying out I think on the 5th of May? London, to DC where a few of us stay the night in the airport. OH BOY! Never done that before.
..and shortly after that, jet leg and all...I fly to Savannah, Georgia.
I get to meet my little nephew Henry who just turned 3 months for the first time!!! And see Allie and Garrison whom I haven't seen in quite a long while either. A whole 10 days in Georgia with my nephew, sister, and brother in law. Sounds good to me :).
I hope my readjusting to American life and food and jet leg doesn't get too much in the way of spending time with them.
After a good 10 days, I then fly back to my home. Little Oak Harbor. Or actually Sea Tac airport, where I am hoping to meet my family, ..and Jessica :)
Upon arriving home sweet home.- Oak harbor, WA. Puget Sound. The Ocean 5 min away. Mom. Dad. Lindsey. Stevie. Carly.- Home. We are celebrating lots as it will be mother's day, Lindsey's birthday, my mom's birthday, and a farewell to Lindsey as she leaves for an internship in PA. Crazy! But a lot to look forward too.
I hope all is well for everyone! I can't wait to see you all :)
It seems like it was just a few days ago that I said hello for the first time to my Ugandan host family and now today was the day that I had to say goodbye. But I pray that todays goodbye was not goodbye forever.
At the end of the journal that NCU friends filled with encouraging notes and gave to me before leaving for Africa,Bethany quotes the words of her mission's Coordinator in Spain upon her last week abroad:
"The end is always better than the begining, because something has to come to an end in order for something new to begin."
-Julie Ann Brandt
This morning we leave for Rwanda at 5am. It is 3 am right now...no sleep today. But 16 hours of sitting in a bus will allow for some good down time.
Today while holding Dorcus for the last time, I whispered to her, "Dorcus, can you promise me that you will never forget me?" and as the little parrot that she is, she whispered back in the same tone, "Yah". I was then able to leave in peace knowing that she will remember me. Yet,then again, when walking back from church one day,with her riding on my shoulders, I asked her if she would like a big piece of my grandma's apple pie and scoop vanilla ice cream when we arrived home and she gave the same answer :P. Hmm pie and Goodbyes...pretty much on the same level.
Dorcus, there is no way that I could forget you.
The last day at home in Uganda started off well as i got a morning call from my REAL American :P mom and dad. Parents voices are of course always so soothing, but there is nothing like hearing them when in a whole world away. And My mom got to speak to my Ugandan mom :). Bitter sweet day. I am excited to come home, but also love it here so much that its hard to leave...and it only feels like we are counting down the days til the semester is officially over. :(
My Ugandan parents both went off to work so it was a fun hang out day with the siblings and eat matoke for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it was the last time that I was going to eat my mama's matoke, which is sooo good and better than any matoke I have had in Uganda. Probably because its fresh.
As my REAL siblings say, "Fresh from a chickens butt" when selling our chicken eggs, I would say that my mama's matoke is literally "Fresh from the plantain trees outside outside our back door." :)
As I leave...I can only pray that I can come back :).
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I feel like this whole semester’s theme of learning for me has consisted of redefining my idea of what it means to follow God’s call in your life.
We read scriptures from Exodus 2:23; Judges 6 and 7; 1 Kings 18 and 19; Jonah 1; And Mark 2:13-17. These focused on Moses, Gideon, Elijah, and Jonah.
After reading each passage we were asked which one we identified with the most. After all responding, we were then asked how come we feel as if we could choose from the 4 main characters when there were thousands of people within each passage?
The big thing that has been revealed to me is that a lot of times we are often so quick to raise our hands to a big radical calling to go overseas and serve God full time, but if God were to call us to a season of something simple, like work at a small café for a season and faithfully love the people around us in that environment, would we still be so quick to raise our hands in obedience to this?
I honestly don’t know if I would be…Before coming to Africa, I saw myself working full time overseas and definitely wouldn’t mind living in a mud hut…but with new understanding on calling and a new definition of missions, my insight and pressure to “Find God’s call upon my life has changed.”
How hard is it really to “miss” God’s call? Jonah ran away, Moses doubted, Elijah felt too weak, Gideon needed many signs , …yet God still fulfilled his will within each of them. And personally, when faced with a season of deciding whether I was supposed to continue school or do YWAM and I chose YWAM, God still was able to turn my heart around in His direction of school…which thus led me to an awesome semester in Uganda :).
So would it be safe to say that a lot of times we are more afraid of obeying and trusting in God rather than missing His direct call for us?
We are simply called to follow God in the surrendering of our control and abandonment of self.
God’s call doesn’t ultimately focus on a calling to a certain time or place… but rather how we spend our time in between our calling to go.
The term “being called” to here or there has been tossed around so much. Yes, people are called to go places, however it leaves those who have not “felt called” to feel like less of a Christian. This then puts the pressure on Christians to “find their call” and take life in their own hands so they don’t sound dumb when asked what their calling is and can’t give a specific answer.
*Jesus calls us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. How am I doing this well in my everyday life?
As one of my many weaknesses has been spending a great deal of time worrying about my future, and how God was going to effectively use me, it has literally strangled me and kept me from life both in America, and at times in Africa. And currently as my major is quite broad as its Global Studies, I have no idea what I am going to do for my future…
As to worry literally means to strangle, I have realized that this is not the life that God wants of me and it must be daily surrendered so that I might not fall back into it as I so easily do. The following quote by Camp in the book called Mere Discipleship has helped me in my “efforts” to practice the surrendering of my will:
"Submit yourself to God…Life in Christ does not mean a white-knuckled determination to “do the right thing.” Very often “doing the right thing” flows neither from a love of God nor from a desire to see the will of God made manifest, but from a desire to exalt ourselves before God and humankind. “Doing the right thing” may flow more from fear than love-fear of shame, rejection, or abandonment, or fear of reprisal from the rebellious principalities and powers of the world. But prayer undercuts this desire for control of others, control of ourselves, and control of what others and God think of us." –Page 175
"In their desire for a “better country,” they did not yield to the temptation to be “effective” at all costs, to do “Whatever is necessary” to “make things come out right.” And because of such faith, “God is not ashamed to be called their God”-Hebrews 11:16 (Page 168)
As I am finishing up the semester, my prayer is that I can return to America and live this out.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This past weekend most of the USP clan all headed to Jinja to raft on the Nile rapids and bungee jump into the Nile waters.
It was great! The water was like bath water, so you weren't freezing everytime you jumped or got tossed in... The clouds against the bright blue sky were unreal, the sunburns on our faces and super white legs (due to wearing skirts all semester) are just now starting to blister :P... The rapids were extreme, I got caught under the boat a couple times, and there was even complementary beer at the end!! OH BOY WHAT A DAY!
The next morning was bungee jumping! I woke up, took a look at the 144 ft jump...and debated whether or not it was worth the 55 bucks...Long story short, I jumped! It was one of the most amazing feelings I have experienced in a long time :). I wasn't really that nervous. Standing on the edge..and not being able to touch the bar above me that kept you from falling too soon kind of worked my nerves up a bit though. I kept looking down at the Nile, and the guy kept saying, ok, you can stop looking down now. haha. It went as fast as a count to three from the worker guy, and a leap out into the air with out stretched arms. Free falling went by soo fast before I hit the water and was pulled back up. When you come back up you swing over the water for a bit before some rafters below pull you down and unhook you. It makes you feel as if you are a hostage being taken into custody :P. I would definately do it again.
Before jumping you sit in this seat at the tower where they wrap a towel around both of your feet, and binding them together through wraping the rope around the towel. I was thinking...sweet, a towel and rope is what will be keeping me from dying :P.
Wahoo for being short and not able to touch the bar :P
Oh...and we didnt drink the beer for those who were wondering. :P
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
She asked me for help with her school fees. $150,000 shillings…about 75 dollars… I can’t give her money. She was crying, overwhelmed, and afraid that she wouldn’t be able to get the finances to go to school. The very thing that she had been waiting in anticipation for, as it took weeks for her test results to come in letting her know if she was accepted and what level she was eligible for. Now hearing the news that she was accepted, finances were now an issue.
When was the last time that I lost it out of hopelessness of $75.00? When have I felt helpless in a similar situation? I don’t think I really have… If I became broke, I know that I will always be able to call upon my parents or a close friend for a little help or loan. I don’t know what it’s like. I don’t know what it’s like to be faced with such responsibility as her parents were broke and struggling leaving her with no one to lean upon.
Why, when I hear an African asking for money, I only hear a needy cry? How come I only hear? How come it doesn’t lead me to compassion, but to only walk faster away from the begging with an assumption that they are only asking me because I am a ‘mzungu’ (rich white person)? How come I can’t really see? Because of the scales on my eyes I don’t see the tears behind the eyes flowing from a real broken heart… I don’t see the real reason why she was fighting them back hard… trying to remain strong.
A couple years ago I was at the place you go to get your license renewed (don’t remember the name) and I didn’t have the right amount of money for the license renewing. Long story short, I didn’t have enough gas in my car to drive all the way home, grab a dollar that I was short, and all the way back to the license place. And for just a dollar seemed ridiculous. So because of this, I decided to ask some of the people around me if they could spare me some change. At first I thought people wouldn’t mind handing off their loose change…especially it only being a dollar that I needed. However, I was wrong. Walking around the parking lot asking a few people sitting in their cars if they had a little bit of loose change to spare instantly aroused different emotions within me. The way they looked at me, and the tone of their voices as they told me no made me instantly feel looked down upon. And it didn’t help to have the ones who overheard me asking quickly roll up their windows to save themselves from this “little begger”. At that moment I so badly wanted to just explain myself. I wanted to shout out, “Hey, look I am not poor and I am usually not one to ask people like this…but this is my situation…” I wanted them to see me as an equal to them, who was just in a sticky situation. But no. I was humiliated and brought to tears when I ended up having to walk to a nearby thrift shop and ask the lady at the front desk for the dollar. If you wanted to know, I did end up getting the dollar… it just took a few seconds of crying and then fumbling over the words, “Mam, …um…this is my situation..and…can I pleeaassee borrow a dollar?” She smiled at me, got me some tissues and then compassionately handed me over the dollar. (The best dollar received in my life :)).
Being reminded of how I felt that day, I am reminded of what my friend Nester must have felt. When I was treated as “one of those beggers”, and looked upon as an object rather than Megan Hall with a real story and a real sticky situation I felt the realness of it. How did Nester feel today? The humiliation in the need to ask for help, and to talk to a counselor about not having the finances. Could she have felt the same way and I missed it? Forgive me God for looking at her as an object like the people in the cars looked down upon me. Forgive me for not really seeing her tears, feeling her pain and actually putting myself in her shoes. I have tasted what that feels like. Probably only in the smallest amount…but I remember how not fun and uncomfortable it was. And if I really am not allowed to give her any money as a USP student…How can I adequately say, “How can I be praying for you?”
The above thoughts and events ties in pretty adequately with the material we have been reading out of our current book titled Compassion by Henri Nouwen. Although the first 3 chapters that we have read line up with the topic of having compassion and living in solidarity with others, specifically what happened reminds me of what Nouwen writes on page 29:
“When we begin to see God, the source of all our comfort and consolation, in the center of servanthood, compassion becomes much more than doing good for unfortunate people. Radical servanthood, as the encounter with the compassionate God, takes us beyond the distinctions between wealth and poverty, success and failure, fortune and bad luck.”
The label “Unfortunate people” reminded me how my first reaction to Nester asking me for money was viewing her as an object and as much as I wouldn’t want to be quick to admit it, another needy African asking a mzungu for money. In class today, I was reminded further of how white people are viewed in Africa and the reason behind Ugandans asking whites for money for school fees. Mark Bartels quoted:
“10% of school children are sponsored by some white in the states or even elsewhere, so why wouldn’t they be drawn to ask you for money? They are “magically” receiving funds from the west and only know that a stranger white person who has money is providing the funds.”
Hopefully I don’t just take what happened today, and the remembrance of how I actually felt in the same situation and leave it as an experience. Is it possible to allow it to change my perception of people not just in Uganda but with people back home as well? With this question on mind, I am also learning that compassion is living in solidarity with others, and constantly putting yourself in others shoes. Nouwen would say that you can’t have compassion without community as all of chapter 4 is dedicated to this convincing point. Through this experience, I am reminded that compassion isn’t solving ones problems, but treating others how I would want to be treated, living in solidarity with others, and being moved to hearing them out and simply being present on an equal level vs. some sort of hierarchy level of greater power than others.
Henri J. M. Nouwen. Compassion A Reflection on the Christian LIfe. (2008)
Mark Bartels in Faith and Action class. (3/15/10) Class discussion on Compassion book chapter 4.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Ever since we have been back I have been wanting to write and share about my experience but every time I would go to start writing …I couldn’t. So much happened in a weeks amount of time, and so much thinking and processing on top of it has left me silent from blogging for a bit.
Where to start…
-I basically fell in love with Kapchorwa. I don’t know if it was Kapchorwa itself or the village part of it, but every aspect of Kapchorwa I loved. The people, the BEAUTIFUL view, the millions of banana trees and leaves, unrealistic trees that grew in artistically appeasing styles: Some had bright pink buds that stood out so distinctively amongst all the green that it was like food for the eyes J Other trees reminded me of the ones off of the Lion King (I miss that movie :P) and others made me want to climb as it appeared as if they grew forever as the branches disappeared into the sky as you followed them to their tops. Over looking Kapchorwa village you could see everything it felt like! Even our house at a distance :)
-The kids were even more camera hungry then the kids in Mukono, which I didn’t mind. Every time the many kids that gathered around our house saw that I had my camera out, they would grab whatever they could find at the moment, chairs, motors for grinding maize and coffee and started dancing. The videos are so hilarious.
-The eyes: Something about the eyes of the children caught my attention. They are so deep and bright and beautiful. And I will never forget their big, joyful smiles with their gap filled pearly white teeth :).
-My host dad is a headmaster of a secondary school and his name is Patrick. I will always remember our conversations each night while waiting for dinner and how his gap filling sentence always consisted of of, ”So…..In America… :P” I had a lot of fun explaining the different types of seafood that we eat, and clamming in particular. It is also believed by them that Americans are only allowed to have 2 children, so they were shocked as I went down my family line of seven :).
-My host mom is a teacher and a primary school and her name is Joy. She literally lives her name out in the way she lives: Joyful in everything she does. One night she offered me more beans, and being so full, I said no thank you...but jokenly she responded by saying, "Megan if you love me you will eat more." haha. We all laughed and agreed that she can't buy my love..and saved me from having to eat more beans :P.
-Can you guess how much my host parents make a DAY teaching?.2 dollars. How much do we make hour even off of minimal wage?
-But yet I discovered something that wasn’t hard to find during my visit. They are soo much richer than I am…Than most Americans. The way they view life, their hospitality, the way they welcome visitors so warmly, and always with tea or passion fruit juice. The joy that they have and the real laughter amongst their tight knit relations to each other in the village caused me to re-examine my life and my priorities... and I still don’t know if it’s even possible to fully unlearn my materialistic lifestyle by truly putting relationships first and live a life of simplicity.
-I really enjoyed being able to dip my feet into the village lifestyle and get a firsthand experience as to what living amongst the matoke leaves is really like. As of now I have a desire to raise my future kids in a lifestyle like this….but that’s a long long ways from now.
-Some of the cool things I got to partake in: Making coffee! (Roasting the beans and all J), Slaughtering a chicken, making a soccer ball out of banana leaves, eating chicken gizzards, standing underneath a huge waterfall, singing and yelling in a cave, being careful not to drown in all the rain at times, getting sunburned, bathing in an outdoor washroom, learning bits of their language (Kupsabin),drinking tea with visitors, drinking more tea, and then drinking some more :P, milking a cow for our tea, visiting Jonathan Beggs and his work place in Kapchorwa, eating the biggest banana I have ever seen or tasted in my life! Trying to carry a jerry can on my head, and playing with the many kids. :)
*This is long…but brief as there is soo much to share. Can’t wait to come back home and share more with stories and pictures!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
-Last friday I got to attend an all night prayer and worship time at Watato Church. So much to take in! Ugandans are soo alive when it comes to worshipping. Through dancing, praying as their lives depend on it...pacing (this is where you find a partner, hold their hand and move around the church praying for the topic is called out by the person with the microphone). I met a girl named Happy and got to pace with her :). Some of the things were questionable to me, like speaking in tounges over the microphone without an interpretation...and a lot of emotion.
-There were also a few dances that were fun towards the end that would be considered sunday school worship songs such as The saints go marching down and a Lugandan one that was almost like The Hokey Pokey...but worshiping Jesus lol. I also met a guy who was wearing a Seattle, Wa shirt! I was so stoked that I had to ask him where he got it. I thought maybe he knew someone from there...or visited there... but when I asked, he said he bought it at a shop. Seattle, Wa. shrits for sale in Uganda!! haha. But overall the worship night was a great experience...I was just more exhausted than I have ever felt in my life afterward! After sleeping a good 5 hours on sat. and Sat. night...My body still felt like a cement block on Sunday. I barely did some laundry only to immediately collapse on my bed and sleep throughout the rest of the night without dinner. By Monday I recovered and now full force throwing myself into lots of work we have this week.
-Currently I am reading "A Girl Soldier" which is sooo good. I used to have the hardest time reading books...but here thats like all we do for most of our classes. Read, discuss, and write papers on the books. I am starting to become a book reader :).
-Next week I will not be in access to any internet connection as we will be on our rural homestay trip in Kapchorwa, known as the place of a friend. I am really excited for it. The interns who have been there before said to be ready to spend a lot of time just chillin and talking with your host family. We get to pick a lot of coffee beans :) The view and scenery I guess is the most beautiful land that you could ever imagine looking at, and its very hilly with lots of creatures :).
-Some of the challenges during the homestay will be eating different kinds of foods...and a lot of it...due to a lot of visiting of friends of the family...and sometimes 8 cups of whole milk in one day! And also not being able to run...but I lay this down. Also, another thing is that one of my IMME friends, Amanda, encouraged me as she explained that she doesn't to go into the rural homestay as if it were a challenge to live simply and rural..but to really seek to get to know her family and develop relationship with them and learn their lifestlye. I am encouraged to seek to do the same.
-Its raining today :) I like it because its nice and cool. A good break from the extreme sun and rain means blessings. Many blessings today :P
-Also yesterday I attended a missions seminar taht was about Save the Mothers organization. Dr. Jean Chamberlain lives on campus and has done a lot of work through her organization that she started. Her goal is to eduacate as many people on the importance of safe labor. So many die giving birth.
*4.5 million die of births (mothers/babies) a year
when 2.5 million people die of HIV/AIDS
Check it out : savethemothers.org
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
-When I first got to Uganda, I asked the USP staff if people run here and where would be the best place. Their response was that not a lot of Ugandans run here and they think that those who do are weird. It makes sense as they said that their reason was the fact that Ugandans don't see the point of "wasting" energy when they could use it for doing productive work.
-But they directed me to the dirt track of the schools. On my first run, 35 hot min. around the track and lots of weird stares directed me to a different location known as Prayer Mountain. This is a road that leads up to the top of a mountain where pastors and people literally get alone with God and pray. Its really beautiful and peaceful! And the top that overlooks all of Mukono town..and Lake Victoria in the distance is sooo gorgeous! ( I have millions of pics that I will bring home to share). :)
- The only thing about Prayer Mountain is that its a mountain... There are a lot of huge hills! And even running up the first one cause’s beads of salty sweat to instantly pour down your face. As one of my fellow American USPer's, Amanda, has put it, "You sweat your body weight". But the joy of reaching the top and the view!! And then the fast down hills and your face now covered in sweat resembling fly tape allows you to catch a few friends and some extra protein if you are breathing hard with an open mouth :P and if you are are lucky you get some salt on top. Maybe even in your eyes :P Mmmmm.
A glimpse of the great view!!
- I have found that the best time to run here is at 5:30pm after classes and when it is just getting cool and a beautiful sunset for the eyes :). And plus since I have to be home and 7pm every night, it give me just enough time to get back, throw on a skirt, grab my books and walk back. (Even though lately I have been thirty min. late each time :S)
-Funny comments from people while running: The kids all yell-Hi Muzungo! followed by, Bye Muzungo!! Muzungo! Muzungo! And the older people give me weird glances..I don't know what they are thinking...I figure that because I am white and running makes me doubly weird. But my Ugandan papa also told me that in Uganda, if you are walking past someone and don't say hi, acknowledging their presence they they think there is something wrong with you. Sooo with running...I pass twice as many people...so I do a lot of pausing my ipod and waving and saying hi. Its good though because their facial expression of ..I don't know what they are thinking...and weird stares...instantly changes to friendly faces of acceptances and hellos :)
-People also have said things like well done! well done! and We support you! Keep going! One person also once said, "Are you ok? How come you are in such a rush?" Lol. Also, the other day some one yelled something that sounded like hot dog! Hot dog! But I don't think that was what they were saying.
- One time I got to the top of the prayer mountain and came across a house. A man was in his garden and he stopped me. He cut down a huge chunk of his jack fruit and held it out to me as a gift. I wasn't sure how I was going to run with it....but jackfruit is SOOOOO goood and I didn't want to be rude by declining his gift..so I accepted it. He wrapped it in banana leaves and tied it up crazy well and I went running down the mountain carrying a chunk of jackfruit and dropped it off at our IMME quarters. My family enjoyed the special treat that night :). You have to try it :)
- Another funny thing. My Ugandan mama has me iron everything! Even my running clothes and pajamas. And this weekend she looked at my dusty running shoes, and told me that every weekend I need to wash them. It takes soo much work! I wanted to fight her on it by telling her that they will just get dirty again...so I would rather not..and that new looking running shoes is actaully not that cool in America...hahaha but decided that I would probably be a better thing to respect what she wanted for the long run. CRAZY! So I am running with perfectly pressed running clothes these days and brandnew looking running shoes. :D
-Also another thing I have learned. DON'T RUN IN COTTON SHORTS!! I only brought one pair of none cotton shorts... and regretting it. I get a good case of "It looks like I wet my pants." :P
- Even more on running. My Ugandan papa once told me, "Megan the one thing I like about you is that you run and exercise." I was still getting to know them so it left me thinking, aw man, thats the only thing? hahaha, I know its not, its just how he worded it. My papa also said that because he is over 40 his doctor told him that he can't have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day! I think teaspoons are actually tablespoons...but still...thats like how much I have in one latte! Americans are also known as the 'people of sugar' here. :P Wahooo go us!
* So thats running in Uganda :) In all its BEAUTIFUL. hot. Refreshing after sitting in classes all day...and its A LOT different which makes it FUN. Hopefully I will have more to add as time goes on.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
ONE OUT OF MANY PICS FROM OUR PHOTO SHOOT :p
(My siblings new greatest hobbie is performing dramas and dances that they learned from sunday school when I get home from school. Of course I don't mind :)
Our weekend trip to Luweero. This is a group picture after Catholic Mass and some of the congeration. The kids were the cutest! (Look at the little guy in the brown suit posing. :)
I think three is the ultimate max that is going to load today.
I hope everything is going well for you guys in the states. :)
Also, if you have a sponsor kid...write letters! As many as you can! It means the world to them! I will write more on this later...but visiting Compassion kids this weekend and hearing and seeing how sponsor programs work, made me realize the significance of a personal letter to a child.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
-Last night I taught my family how to make s’mores. They loved them! But even the kids said that they were sooo sweet. Haha what kids say things are too sweet? My papa said that now he has to drink a lot of water, because the more sugar you eat the more water you must drink..
-Since yesterday, little Docus (1 year old Ugandan sister) has only wanted me to hold her, feed her and play with her J. She is terrified of her mom because she went to the salon and got her hair cut to get ready to start her teaching job on Monday. I feel bad for my mama because I can tell that she feels such rejection from her little daughter. It reminds me of the time in Mexico when my mom woke up terrified of me :P.
-This morning after having a cup of chai, I helped the house maid wash the dishes. In the middle of them, I pointed at the water and asked her what the Ugandan word was for it. She told me Amaiza (not the right spelling.) So I repeated it, and the whole family started laughing historically. My siblings were jumping up and down and repeating the way I pronounced water. I was soo clueless as they were rambling in Lugandan. My papa came out hearing the commotion and started laughing too. Apparently the word water sounds like faeces (poop) if the ending isn’t accented right. Haha, I think I will not attempt to ask for a glass of water in Lugandan at a restaurant until I practice how to say it correctly.
-I had a Ugandan pancake yesterday. They are more like fried cookies. It consists of cassava flour (green banana flour) and menvus (yellow bananas). You roll the dough out and cut it in little circles, and cook it in hot hot oil for 5 min. So many things are cooked it oil here!! It kind of tasted like fried banana bread.
- I think I am currently learning major patience still with the pace of life, and that its not about me, and how people react to me, but Christ, and bringing Him glory in every action and word of my day. Another piece of humble pie please?
-This weekend is our trip to Lluweerow. Playing with compassion kids and eating dinner with Ugandan missionaries. :)
-P.S. I have the cutest little nephew EVER!!! :)
(Caption blogging style is from the all knowing, butterfly catcher, elephant giver, Nate Ssepuya.)
*******My pictures won't load today :( ********
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Its also difficult trying to communicate differently all the time. So much effort and soo much time! Today I feel Ugandan anit-social. My flesh is screaming to just not socialize today and to stay bound to as much American life (Facebook, communicating with people back home, and blogging...or just reading and homework.) I wish I could have been there as my mom was talking Allie through her pregnancy and watch my parents expressions as we all eagerly awaited little Henry's birth. I miss home. I miss familiarity.
I apologize for writing about homesickness soo soon but I promised God that on this trip I will try to be as honest as possible about my emotions, feelings, and reactions to Ugandan life this semester, and currently, this is my status.
I am so thankful that I am here at this time though. God has already been teaching me a lot, and even through these current feelings, I am learning more about myself and feel myself growing. Lately, my greatest challenge here is not rushing everywhere. I am American, therefore I am always on the go. Africans take the time to pace...they seem to always have the time for you. They walk so leisurely that its hard to get used to...especially when I want to still fit so much in my day here. My goal for while I am here is to let go off rushing...let go of being so progamatic, and to put people first.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
12:00-1:00 Faith in Action
4:00-5:00 African Literature
5:30-6:30 Lugandan Lessons
10:00-12:00 Health and Wholeness
12:00-1:00 Community Worship (Chapel)
4:00-5:00 Intercultural Missions Ministry Emphasis group
8:30-10:30 Health and W
11:00-1:00 African Traditional Religions
2:00-3:00 Intercultural Missions Ministry Emphasis group
3:00-4:00 Faith in Action
11:00-12:00 African Traditional Religions
12:00-1:00 Community Worship
2:00-4:00 African Literature
Cohort Group 2 – 11:00-1:00
*Friday to Sunday are travel days or spending time with our Ugandan families.
Rural Home stay= February 19-26
March 12-13 = Jinja (Nile river and hopefully rafting!!)
March 26-27 = Rakai
April 22-March 3 = Rwanda
*Ugandan Address: Megan Hall: Uganda Study Program: Uganda Christian University : P.O. Box 4
Monday, January 18, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Today is Wed. the 13th and there is a problem... I want to blog about Africa all the time! But I hardly get a chance and the time too! So there are a pile up of events and stories that I am afraid are going to get lost if I don't write them down..but literally can't! So what do I do?!?
Since I don't have a lot of time, I am thinking that from here on out I will simply pick an event or topic and share it rather then trying to summarize everything. Above is a video (sorry its dark, or electricity went out) of my Ugandans family prayer and worship time that I get to join in.
I love it. There is no awkwardness, like who is going to pray..am I praying to long...too much..not at all....what am I going to say... I didn't pray haha but just their reverance to God puts me in awe. Charles who stays at the house as he is going to school knows the most english of the family, so as papa Joseph prayed, Charles translated for me in English. He started out with repentance as we have all fallen short. Then followed, was prayers of thanksgiving. The rain. Food. Safe journey to and from school. Good health. We finished with the worship song above-- Tunamusinza Nga Yesu - Aleluaia, Amina-- Which means, I will worship you always Jesus- hallelujah, amen-- (I think). But everything was so rich. And the way they speak their words are very genuine and ...rich.
Wed. is my busiest schedule.
8:30-10:30 is health and wholeness
11-1:00 African traditional religions
2-3 Intercultural missions ministry emphasis class
3-400 Faith in action
phew!! I am pooped!.. Its hard doing school and sitting in class when you are in Africa. But at least we get to learn about Africa.
The video is uploading right now, but I have to walk home before it gets dark, so I don't know if it will upload in time. Sorry if its not there!
And yes on the short call and the long call. I have never heard it before, so when my host mom ask me which one I was going to take, I had no idea until she explained it. :P
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I have to go to my first class today. It is still weird getting used to the fact that we still have to go to class here :)
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I am currently at the small Dulles Airport Starbucks. The time is 8:30 AM DC time and I have until 3:15 PM until I meet up with my fellow Ugandan Studies Program travelers. What do I do for 7 more hours!!!... Actually, what can I do would be the better question. If I had it my way, I would have my private body guard watch my luggage, throw on my running shoes, and take off with my other body guard runners and explore the great outdoors of DC. However, sadly, of all the things my parents helped me with, they forgot to find me body guards: P. So my options decrease to riding the baggage claim belt, walking up and down the airport with a 30 pound bag on my back, and a 50 pound suitcase trailing behind me, pick up my future husband, find some kids to play hide and seek amongst the hundreds of chairs, hop on a random flight, buy some rollerblades and skate up and down the airport, ride the little motor carts, run up the down and down the up escalators….hmm what else…
I think I might have a mild case of ADD or just addicted to running because after sitting since 6pm yesterday (11 ½ hours) minus the walking between connecting air flights, my body is screaming, run! Move! But I really can’t so I will have to persevere through this suffering :P.
Really, the reason for this blog while I am waiting to go to Africa, is to write why I am going anyways. I am actually not exactly sure to be honest. My dream to travel to Uganda, Africa specifically started in the 8th grade. At a summer camp, the speaker called up people who felt called to the world. I felt called, and I don’t know when God said Uganda, Africa, but through watching the Invisible Children Documentary, and being drawn to further research on the LRA, I began to only see Africa.
To say the least, this passion grew, but actually going was put on hold as I was finishing high school and getting through the first part of Community College. Before graduating high school, I had a plan in my head to get my transfer degree, and then do YWAM in Africa. When it came time to follow through with this plan I rigorously began searching through hundreds of different YWAM bases that specifically did their outreach to Africa. However, there was another big option to weigh as well. Further school. Honestly, I hate school. I struggle through it. So it did not look appetizing to me. I had these two decisions weighing on me for awhile during my last couple of months at Everett Community College.
I prayed and had many frustrating times of asking God what he wanted me to do. I would go back and forth from school…to YWAM. Making a long story a little less long… I stopped being torn by the two and just chose one, YWAM. (Who wouldn’t when the option was up against a big missions trip… your dream…traveling….or back to school?) I pushed away running scholarships, and even my parents influence to finish school. However, it was after I chose, and took a step in the YWAM direction, that God revealed to me where he really wanted me to go. As they say, God can’t drive a parked car. Once I chose YWAM, I don’t know how to explain how, but God stopped me in my tracks, clearly putting a red light up in my heart to where, if I continued through with YWAM, it wouldn’t be the step he had for me.
After eating a couple slices of humble pie, I can confidently say that switching to school from YWAM had to be God. I wouldn’t have chosen it on my own will. And oh geez as I am sitting in the airport upon boarding my flight to Africa, (what I intentionally wanted to do all a long) I am overwhelmed by the hand of God at work in the change of my plans. If frightens me as to how my life would be different if I didn’t listen to God’s tugging on my heart. I am sure that he would have still been with me through any decision with no doubt… but would it have worked out as well? Countless blessings have flown from switching direction from YWAM to school that I would have never dreamed of. Running xc with a fabulous new supportive team :). Great coaches. Experiencing dorm life, and Oregon and a Christian school in general. Studying Abroad in Africa for 4 months. The school basically paying for my trip. (Its cheaper to study abroad then stay a semester at NCU.) Super supportive parents :). Doing school at same time. And I am sure more then I recognize with my small human brain. And I am not even in Africa yet. :)
I learned a huge lesson this year from these events. When you can’t figure out what God wants you to do and you don’t feel like God is being clear in a specific direction, just go. Keep moving. Choose one of them. If it’s not his will he will put up a clear red light. Just be open to his redirecting. He knows us fully and loves us fully at the same time, which means he won’t leave us hanging :).
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11
I give God all the glory to everything that has gotten to me to here. I am definitely not the brightest (not said in a putdown of self) and if it wasn’t for God I would be doing a whole different thing… struggling with how I was going to raise money for YWAM… and who knows what else. There is no way that I got here on my own is what I am saying.
I am also especially thankful for my parents. I wouldn’t have been here either without their encouragement to continue school and their devotion to me and each of my siblings. Mom and dad, thank you!! Just to touch base on a few of the things they have helped me with… My dad spent hours upon hours getting this laptop that I am writing this blog on working. My mom busily helped me get paperwork in on time, shopping for the dress code there, skirts and other business like dress wear :P Lots of hugs and kisses. Tears when I left. I love you mom :). I could drown out this blog with everything they have done. They love us lots, and it’s obvious not in just the things they do.
Friend support. Thank you, thank you, and thank you for all your encouragement and prayers :). And Oregon friend’s who each wrote words of encouragement in a special journal. Dan, your devotional journal you set up for me and other support will carry me through even more! Thank you guys!!
This blog is long!! I get lost in reading long blogs….so I apologize….I hope future ones aren’t so long. I am not really good at the whole blogging thing…but I have to get good, so any suggestions to writing good blogs would be much appreciated. In the mean time, prayers that I make it through my last 6 hours of waiting until a 13 hour flight would be awesome :).