Raelee and I decided to record for you the story behind why we celebrate Resurrection Day (Easter). We’ve done it in three parts to try and get them uploaded by Sunday. (Please ignore the cat, she is in labor right now and a little freaked out, we apologize! – we recorded three times and she was worse in the other two!)
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.
I got on to our workers this morning, they all laugh and ask if we have corona, they call it Toyota too because here we have corona Toyota’s instead of Corollas. I told them that many people are dying around the world and we should be very thankful we don’t have the spread of it here so far and I think when you are laughing about it you aren’t taking it seriously. And when you aren’t taking it seriously that’s when the sickness starts. Christian made Jenifer hand sanitizer to take with her because she still has to go out and check on women that have given birth and give family planning shots. Salima too since she has been going to the hospital to visit Ndianga and visits widows. (It is stressing me out about the hospital) Ndianga has surgery last week and had to have some of his intestine cut out because it was dead. He is here in the Government hospital.
But we face many diseases here so most people are more careful than say America. We are already taught to wash, wash, wash and don’t touch your face. But since Raelee can’t remember to do these things she can’t play with her friends right now because they are out and in contact with many people. That’s the hardest part. She went into the apartment to give Salima something and didn’t come right back. I made her come back in and I hate it but we have had very little contact with the outside but Salima has. We of course talk to her and our workers but keep our distance and don’t touch. I gave out lunch money and came right back and washed my hands. (I always try to remember to but sometimes you forget after shopping…) Raelee asked why. I told her that money goes through a lot of hands and is dirty. Everything Richard has brought us that can be washed I have because a lot of it is imported, especially from China and India. These are things I don’t usually do.
So, we are praying for everyone around the world and especially America where all of our friends and family are. (Except Daniel and family but praying for them also because where they are doesn’t have the greatest medical facilities ). I am thankful we have a safe place to be and even thankful now that the thing we have hated before – isolation- is now a consolation.
Be safe, everyone. No matter what God is still on the throne and has not forgotten about you.
For months now Salima and I have been ministering to the women in our local prison. It is really heartbreaking to hear some of their stories. Women here are treated so badly, very few rights, mistreated by husbands. There is one lady that because her husband stole something and then ran away they have arrested her. If they are accused of not paying back a debt the accuser can come every week and give money to keep them in, which adds to the total they owe. And no way to earn money while on the inside. Currently there are three babies in there with their mothers. It’s been rainy and cold and these babies have no clothes so Salima took $15 and bought clothes and blankets for them.
For the past few weeks there has been a girl there that at first they said they put her in because she previously sold fries for lunch in front of a bar and then started acting crazy. So they thought maybe she was on drugs and were waiting to see if she would “dry out”. But after three weeks now she still hasn’t changed. I was sick and unable to go Monday so Salima and now because we have given her courage, the wife of the Pastor that has gone for years and preaches with Chris goes with us.. The story they now have gotten – and we aren’t all clear about it – was somehow she was doing some kind of “errands “ for some men for a while but one day they called her to come and she was accosted by a group of men and since then has been out of her mind. Crazy acting which is understandable if she can’t work through what happened to her. They haven’t found family and there isn’t much help for girls or women that are attacked in that way. She has been on my heart these weeks but right now we don’t know how to help. I want to bring her home but unless God is leading we don’t know all the consequences that can bring or if we could even help her. So please pray for this young lady. Prison is no place for a victim like her.
It is hard for me at times, anxiety of speaking to a group, sometimes feeling like a hypocrite when I go and speak and my relationship with God isn’t going so well and sometimes the heartbreak and helplessness I feel is too much to handle . But just showing up and loving these women have made a change in them and to me. So please pray for me to have strength, courage and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as I speak to these ladies. I am so thankful to Salima and now Rebecca for going with me. I can relate to the ladies in many ways just as a woman but they can also add to what I speak about in a way that speaks to them culturally also.
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!
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.
“Baby Christian” is growing up! He has the funniest personality. He’s been Raelee’s little man since he was born and hangs out at our house just about everyday. He’s been in Sunday School since he was a couple months old and he sings songs all the time. And loves to dance. Here he is showing off his moves!
When we got to the park at the Nile we didn’t see but one monkey. After the first banana was thrown out there were hundred that came. So many babies that were so cute. I had to use my very heavy 300mm lens to get the babies because when people come too close they climb onto the mother’s belly. There was one big one that started chasing Raelee, she started running and crying even though I was almost between them. I keep telling her to run to Daddo or just drop the bag! She made it to Daddo while I was throwing things at him! All he wanted was a banana. He got up on the wall and ate about six bananas! I wish the one was clearer, he was shoving all bananas in as fast as he could so he could have more!
We also saw fisherman doing their daily job to sell fish later.