My Playlist This Week

Jammin’ ‘n Slammin’!

I think I’ve listened to Toby Mac’s new song more times than I can count and watched the video almost as many times! I don’t know how many times we’ve seen him perform live but I know the first time was not long after he went solo. Our granddaughter and grandson are fans of his also. I think maybe his video for this song is his best video so far! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the CD!

Crowder ❤️❤️. As soon as we got busy this week with so many projects all at once the devil started in from all sides. Problems with girls we love as daughters. Our own daughter that was being manipulated and teaching her stealing and hiding things from us was okay. Now those consequences have fallen heavy on our shoulders. Table saw that was needed for the training center broke down and Chris couldn’t keep it going this time. And people, there’s no Lowe’s, Home Depot or Walmart here! Electrical wire for the training center – no one had any! It was one thing after another of the devil trying to steal our joy. In the kitchen one of those days I just started yelling “run devil run”. Scared Raelee a little bit I told her he is real and he is trying to steal the joy we’ve had the past few weeks and I’m not going to let him have mine.

He also has new songs and they have been played almost as much as the new Mac’s songs! And am I the only one that doesn’t see red hair? 🤣

https://youtu.be/6TzECToPYIk

So these are songs I’ve played a lot this week! I love in “I Am” the chorus – “I am
Holding on to You
I am
Holding on to You
In the middle of the storm
I am holding on
I am!

There is another video to the same song “I Am” on YouTube that is very moving, from the movie “Son of God”

We started off last week, first a sit down with one of our Ugandan daughters and have a tough talk with. And then I had to had to have a talk with our other Ugandan daughter! I, and then with Christian had to have a difficult talk with her but we told her when she repents that God is there to forgive. We have forgiven her. He uses our pasts, I found myself in somewhat a similar position thirty-five years ago, before coming to Christ but He has used that situation that the devil could have used for evil, God used it in a very big way for good. We will always be by her side but there will be consequences she’s going to have to face. The consequences of my actions still affect people in my life that I love, but thank God He forgives and as His word says:

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:12

These are some of the songs that have helped me get through without wanting to run away (okay, maybe hide for a minute!). Music, especially songs that glorify God or say the words that your heart feels are important to me and sometimes I forget how healing and how encouraging they can be. Music touches the soul.

Don’t get me wrong – these past few weeks have been the most encouraging and exciting weeks we’ve had in awhile. Just not without challenges!

We’ll see what next week’s playlist represents! Bye y’all, and thanks to all the new friends who have started following our sometimes crazy antics!

Never Early…Never Late

Don’t give up!

If you’ve followed my blog for long you know all about the rabbit project. About four and a half years ago I felt God put it on my heart to raise rabbits to help with all the malnutrition here. The plan was to have a training class, to show how rabbits can be raised easily and inexpensively and they can feed their children and themselves meat every day. Because it was something new I was laughed at and if it wasn’t going to make fast and easy money then most people weren’t interested.

It is such a frustrating thing to see so many children that only have a corn flour porridge everyday, even when the family has chickens and eggs. But they are sold for school fees or to buy the flour so that they can make it stretch. There is no nutritional value in maize flour. And though the focus on education is important, hungry and malnourished children don’t learn as well if they aren’t healthy.

What I would like you to get out of this is, just when you are ready to give up, as I have been, God shows up. That’s the hard part, patience through the times you don’t see things happening in the way you envisioned or even thought was the vision God gave you. I’ve been struggling whether I was mistaken, that maybe the idea was just my own. I spent forty hours a week in the first few years trying to do all “I” could to at least sell some to help keep feeding two hundred to sometimes four hundred rabbits!

Then God gave me the answer and the blessing of seeing my dream of feeding those most vulnerable come true in a big way just as I was ready to give up!

The same Pastor friend that is working on the school for orphans and is already caring for about 134 teenagers and the few small ones found out we raise the rabbits. He was so excited he wanted to start training right then! And we were leaving in two days to see our son for two months! But the excitement he had that there was a way besides chickens and agriculture they could have their own food to feed these children was infectious!

Taking notes and soaking in as much information as they could!

Pastor and a teacher or two and some students started coming in the end of March for two days every week. They went through all the training of feeding and sicknesses, how to recognize and treat. And the fun parts of cleaning the cages and how important that is.

For the last three to four weeks they have built their own cages and are ready for some rabbits! I am so excited for them but I am blessed beyond measure that even though “my plan” didn’t go as I expected and on MY time frame, God knew. And this will be a blessing not only to the kids there at the school but prayerfully to their community once they see that they too can raise rabbits for meat easily and inexpensively.

We are thankful we have been able to bless this school, and these children who have no one else but this man who has been Pastor/Mother/Father to them all. As much as we can whether it is through the Hope for Girls or helping with raising rabbits or their school as they come along, we want to walk with them.

Thank you Lord and Hooray for Pastor Emerson and Global High School! As you have been blessed, you don’t even know the blessings you have given us!

Don’t give up. If you feel God has given you a calling, a project or a ministry just know it’s not always (rarely is!) in our own timing or understanding. But if we are faithful and keep at it unless He tells us to quit the blessings are beyond measure!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Faithful in What is Least

10 who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10

I talked a lot about Jenifer. She is our farm manager, volunteers to educate pregnant and new mothers, immunizes babies and more. To me she is Wonder Woman! She has raised five girls and two sons pretty much all on her own. She still has one boy left in his last year of school. We have seen her grow as a great and Godly woman since being here and mentoring and discipling her. She and her daughters for sure have grown so much in their faith. We are still praying for the sons that they come to know Jesus also.

From the five girls we have Haria, the oldest girl and is a midwife. Salima went to college and is now a social worker. I write about her often and how I wouldn’t know what to do without her. For four years of our time here she had been away at school, so the last two years she has really helped us to enlarge our ministry. Takia is a seamstress/clothing designer, Takamida is also in school to be a midwife and the youngest daughter Nswiba just started nursing school. The youngest boy, Ibra says he wants to be a mechanic. Good, honest mechanics (even in the states!) are hard to find. So that will be a good profession for him.

But this post is about Jenifer’s oldest son Nelson. I would say that now he is in his thirties. When we came here we were told he was a hard worker, he could dig a foundation or latrine in nothing flat! And he was responsible, whatever he was instructed to do he did. But as for other skills he just hadn’t had anyone to teach him.

We also support a school about twenty-thirty miles away. During our second year here they needed some of their classrooms remodeled and plastered. Christian took a group of guys from our village and worked with them. They learned the importance of creating a strong foundation, how important it is to do the job correctly so that the workers that come behind to do the other work (floors, ceilings etc) could do their work correctly. They learned this because they could see how the incorrect way work was done before they came to do their job made it job that much harder.

There have been other opportunities in building here on our property, and putting flagstone on our porches. Something they’ve never done before. Many in the village were so impressed that they could do such good work. They didn’t know there was so much talent in these young men. But they were being taught to do these jobs well and not just throw things together. Nelson is really only one of two guys Christian can put in charge of a job and know it will get done correctly and in a timely fashion. So they became known as “professionals”!

I just recently learned that because of the skills he learned working with Christian he is consistently working on building for people. Even just got a contract with a man to build homes and apartments for him.

I just wanted to honor this young man who took what he learned and used those skills so that he is now known not just here but in other places as a hard worker who is responsible, honest and gets the job done! We are really proud of what he has accomplished. There are many others that acquired the same skills but have never tried to apply themselves.

Almost Four Months!

Can’t believe that June will make four months quarantined in our compound. The only contacts we’ve had with are our workers, Salima, our kids, Salima’ sisters and Richard. Our village has been fortunate in a way that since they are mostly farmers they haven’t felt a great impact on their livelihoods. The ones that have felt the most strain are the boda drivers who really can’t work. Some public transport opened today but bodas still can’t carry people. Taxi vans can run at half of their capacity of people and have to be registered. And they can’t travel and pick up near border towns. I’m not sure if they were told they would have to do that ahead of time or if many just waited but there were long lines to get registered so not many on the roads yet. In our town because it will take time registering they cannot travel outside our area. I think it’s a good thing and they are trying to implement a system similar to city busses/bus stops so that there isn’t so much congestion with them stopping just everywhere.

So far Uganda has faired well as far as spread of the virus because of the quick response of closing the airport and at first borders. But there have been growing numbers now as they get some border points covered with the testing machines and stop cargo trucks then trucks from other borders have started bringing it as their countries covid numbers rise. We are still blessed, under three hundred hospitalized as of now, since the first cases in March there have been around eighty recoveries and no deaths. I commend the Ministry of Health and their diligence in testing. I pray that as the country slowly opens up, especially transport that the numbers stay down.

We aren’t sure when children will go back to school but have been so grateful and proud of both Salima for teaching and the children for being such good students for her! She keeps them busy both with school work and Bible study. They were reciting scripture to us today and explaining their understanding of what the scripture means. It’s not enough to just memorize, Salima is doing a great job in teaching them how we are to live them out.

Our bananas are ripening, one tree at a time! Sometimes there may be fifty or more on one tree and we can’t eat them all fast enough! So today Salima gave bananas to children around her house and to some of the widows.

We are getting a little stir crazy but really it isn’t as big of a change as for some people. I never know what day it is! I usually know my days by Sunday’s children’s services and Monday’s going to the prison. So that part is disorienting! Thankfully Richard has been able to provide us with all the food and supplies we need. We are just praying that the sacrifices of everyone for these months were not in vain and they can get back to normal soon.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Out of 97 confirmed cases there are only 18 active cases right now, others have recovered or where sent back to their countries (truckers before the countries they are from wouldn’t let them come back – making Uganda treat them) No deaths. 2080 finished 14 day follow up from quarantine. Under follow up 808. So far so good I think for an impoverished and vulnerable country of over 50 million people! Thank you Lord and President Museveni

Peace I Bring To You

I am thankful that our embassy here has been working with the Ugandan government and airlines – as the airport is closed – to be able to keep bringing in an empty plane to take Americans that want to go back. (There have also been planes taking foreigners to other countries) comments are so rude about Americans either being stupid or “deserters “.

We foreigners have had to make tough decisions when we left our home countries in the first place. We knew we would have to prioritize what we could fly across the world for. Think about that. Prioritize what would be of the utmost importance in going back. Whose sickness or death do we have to choose? Because it’s costly, both financially and emotionally. We know there will be sicknesses, emergencies, fears and troubles our families and friends will go through and we can’t be there for them. We’ve had to count the costs and we had to put it in Gods hands. And He has blessed us and shielded us.

It was not an easy decision to stay here when the virus started. We did pray about it. My parents, sister, son are all in the high risk categories. The other son lives in California. My mother in law works in a nursing home. We cannot live by “what if’s “ because we would be out of our minds with worry – all the time. We have to lift all of them to God – He can do what we can’t.

The Americans that are leaving I’m sure at this point is because of necessity, because maybe their parents or family have nobody else. Maybe they don’t have the faith we have and the assurance we are where we are supposed to be. We don’t have blind faith, we know what the possibilities we could face are. Some may just be panicking but the ones that are saying they are stupid or deserting are with their families in their own country and can’t comprehend what it is like.

Right now we are already getting calls and texts from people who are not in any different situation than they were already but are taking advantage and asking for this asking for that. Yesterday we went out of our way to help the workers by paying them early and paying in cash because we were concerned when transportation was shut down they wouldn’t be able to get to the bank. Or the banks might be shut down by payday. I know I’m not perfect, I know I make mistakes but I am 99% sure as I was counting each workers pay and putting it into an envelope for them I counted three times. Yet we had one (new) worker who has already started to show some problems come back and say I only gave him half. I don’t believe it but I can’t prove it. So next time we will make them all open them in front of us. We gave one worker his and his wife’s in separate envelopes and said make sure she gets hers, it’s not for you. This morning she came to wash and asked Jenifer why she didn’t get paid. Went through the whole conversation we had with her husband and she said “Oh, I just thought that was a gift”. They know. But because they usually get paid on the fifth I don’t doubt on the fifth some will probably try and use the same excuse. “Oh, we thought that was a gift” even though I thought I was very clear I was paying them early and in cash because things are changing day by day and We wanted to make sure they are able to get what they need. And there are some that are truly in need now but we cannot help. Especially when we try to help our community first and we can’t even help all of them.

It is especially important right now for everyone everywhere to turn to God. The panic and the worry will just make things worse. You can worry about a thousand things and nine hundred and ninety nine times out of the thousand won’t come about. Or more times than not the things that do happen aren’t even on your worry list.

We aren’t perfect in anyway when it comes to our Spiritual walk. We make mistakes. We take our eyes off God and start worrying about what “we” should be doing what “we” want to do. We’ve had to learn hard lessons when we didn’t first pray about it. We’ve gone on vacations because we wanted to and nearly died. I’ve looked at my husband at times and said “did you pray before we did this because I didn’t”.

I’ve written in my calendar the timeline of this virus as best as it’s been publicized and I saw that when we were wanting to go on a break – when we were so frustrated and wanted to get away that I reserved hotels and when I tried to buy the plane tickets something (the Holy Spirit) would stop me. The day after I came the closest to buying the tickets Kimuli fell from the tree and would have died if we weren’t here. But i saw it was also at the time the airport here shut down flights coming in and putting travelers under quarantine for 14 days in hotels at the personal cost of $100/day. God was protecting us.

We admitted last week we were looking at too many things lately through our own eyes and our life has been off kilter. So we made the decision to be more intentional in our spiritual life and as soon as we did that and fear left us, frustrations were less, anger was less the above problems started cropping up. That’s what the devil does. Don’t stop. Know it will happen. Keep driving and praying through it. Don’t give up and despair. That’s what the devil wants.

For now we aren’t facing what many around the world are facing. The president of Uganda started in the very beginning of February putting in place many things to protect the country and has been making changes as things progress. There are 44 cases, all in and around the capital and all traced back to the two planes that came in from Dubai two days before they shut the airport down. (Which by the way is where we would have changed planes coming or going) Half the cases came from ones in the mandatory 14 day quarantine in hotels. The others weren’t from high risk countries so they were only put on twelve day home quarantine. They believe they have tracked them all down now and are watching their communities carefully. There is no transportation- hasn’t been public transport for about two weeks now and keeps getting extended. Private cars were allowed to be on the road until people started taking advantage and using them as taxis. The President stopped that. He is trying to keep movement around the country to only emergencies to keep the spread down.

But we do face concern about families and friends. And the people around us. And having discernment as to what to do here.

I know it often sound like just something we say when we say Pray about it or “I’m praying for you”. It shouldn’t be taken lightly or said if you aren’t actually seeking God. If you aren’t seeking God in everything then who or what are you praying to? It’s an everyday, all day living and talking with God.

Matthew 6:33 says – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

He never said it would be easy. He never said we wouldn’t face sickness and tears and sorrow but when we seek Him and know there will be a day when we don’t have to face these things then we can find peace.

We are sincerely praying for the world – through this God is calling everyone to come to Him. He’s shaking the world to turn from their wicked ways and todays world is full of wickedness. He’s not the cause of this but He is the answer.

We are praying for those who don’t know Him to seek Him and He WILL find you. He’s there already. Waiting on you. We are praying for the faithful, stay strong, keep your focus on Him for peace and comfort. But it’s up to you, He doesn’t force anything on us.

I read this post to my husband before I posted – I usually don’t. He can read my blog or not! He said it was good and he felt fine to post. He warned me because I lay my heart open and talk openly about challenges that there will be people who may comment negatively. Be prepared for that. I know this and I haven’t ever had negative comments but it’s why I post on my private life blog and not always on FB. I see many people that only comment to instigate hatred and controversy. If you’ve read any of my posts I believe you will see my faith. And if you don’t agree you are welcome not to follow me. I respect your opinions but it doesn’t mean we should tear others down. Just move on.

We love you and you are all on our hearts always.

Some are new and some are extensions of laws put in place months ago.

Visitation Day

Saturday we got to visit our kids at school. We haven’t seen them since the end of January. They are all doing so well and we had a great day. The youngest is Elisa and he is a character. We’ve been caring for them since he was just a baby. He keeps us laughing! They get excited because we bring lunch, goodies, and pocket money for the canteen! I want to commend the school for taking precautions, before we could enter school grounds we had to get out of the car and wash our hands.

The oldest, Phiona will be leaving primary school at the end of the year and we have to make decisions about where she will go next. She has struggled all through school and is now 17 and is in what we would consider about the seventh/eighth grade. Secondary school is tough and we don’t think she’d do well so she is thinking about going to tailoring school instead. She wants to be a clothing designer. And luckily we have already put Takia through tailoring school so she could be a great mentor to her and she won’t be far away. It is going to be very hard either way for her to leave her siblings because she has been mother to them for the past five years since their mother died. We were encouraged that their father had started to come around but were just told he married his third wife and left. He left the second wife with them (here on the village) and she doesn’t like them. When they are home for holidays she cooks her own food and the girls have to prepare food for the six of them. Pray with us about Phionas future and the decisions we will have to help her make.

For once I am not just behind the camera!

Elisa put so much food on his plate!
He stuffed it in a bag for later and put it in his locker. Hopefully he ate it that night!
Salima gave them cookies and juice!
They are all growing so much!
Musale
Elisa
“Posing” with the three girls! Rebecca, Naomi and Phiona
Masale
Elisa the wild child. He opened and drank from three sodas for the kids lunches before we caught him!
Naomi is the second wild child, so hilarious! She is trying to use each of Salimas fingers to unlock her phone. They love to take our phones!
Naomi
Phiona

As it is harder to make blog posts there is sometimes more stories on FB. You can follow us on The Mandate Uganda on Facebook.