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.
Thursday was two of our girls birthdays. They are sisters five years apart but share the same date! Their older brother and sister share a same birthday also. It was the first day we have seen them since we quarantined almost two months ago so it was a joy to see them. We got to visit for a few minutes but it was the highlight of the last two months! They are both (along with their sisters) are the sweetest girls, always joyful and have a huge love for Jesus and for their community. And us! They bring us joy but Salima is such a great and close friend to me. I think I might have been the happiest to see her!
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.
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.
This Friday we will start feeding lunches twice a week to two hundred fifty plus children! I’ve had a rough time sleeping the last few days thinking about this undertaking! I know that once we get a system down we will be fine.
I am so thankful to our board and to all that donate that we are able to feed the children at the school across the street. They get porridge in the morning but these children go to school until 5 pm. This lunch may be the only or the most food they get all day. Definitely the most nutritious. I am excited and nervous and praying that they will see that it is not The Mandate but it is God that supplies ours and their needs. We are just His tools.
I know my cooks are quite nervous – they’ve only cooked once for this many people and they had a lot of help. Salima and I will be helping the first few weeks and then Salima will help each week. I will help some, I also have to keep an eye on a certain student to make sure she does her work.
This week we have a praise report about some of the women in prison. Two had court dates and will be released next week. They need a lot of prayer because after being on, their families have abandoned them, they have no homes to go to and one doesn’t even know where her children are. I love it when I am with them, and they say that they feel loved and not forgotten when Salima and I come but it is extremely hard for me some days to get up and go. It hurts, I know some are innocent and are victims of the culture. But I go and let God speak through me and even though many times I cry most of the way home I am still blessed to be with women who truly love Jesus. My prayer for the ones released is that they take with them the things we’ve talked about, keep reading their Bibles and when they get their children they raise them to walk with the Lord.
Today is Independence Day here so the gates will be locked after 9 am – woohoo! We can stay in our pj’s all day!
I sent an email to my mother-in-law saying I was exhausted by 2 pm from all the dishes, water pouring, mopping, water pouring, bathing, water pouring. I got an email back saying “What in the world is water pouring?” Well, here you go Mother-in-Law.
In the morning I wake up and go outside to get cans of water. 3 gallon cans and 5 gallon cans. I am so thankful that our day guard pumps water everyday into these cans, sometimes a few times a day so that I don’t have to pump and carry them to the house. I then fill two kettles on the stove and if my thermoses are full, I use them to fill my sinks with water for dishes or cleaning. There can actually be many dishes considering I pretty much cook from scratch three times a day. We have to fill our bucket we use for flushing. Fill our handwashing station and water that is filtered for drinking every few days. I use 3-4 big buckets to mop the floor, every other day during dry season (usually) and 3-4 times A DAY during rainy season, depending if my two roomates are considerate when coming inside and take their shoes off. The problem is one person doesn’t wear her shoes half the time so I just get muddy footprints.
There is water to be brought in for cooking, for bathing. Heating it a couple to three times a day. It’s a lot. And the first month I would just cry, my back hurt so bad but now I am pretty used to it. Our friend from America brought a shower head that we charge up USB and a pump goes into a bucket of water and “Woohoo” we have a shower. I am probably the most excited because now it is so much easier to wash all that hair on Raelee! Ah, the small luxuries!
So there dear friends, is why usually I take a nap when Raelee does, if there is nobody pounding at my door needing something. Closed doors don’t deter anyone, they will just yell for 20 minutes in the window, just to tell us hi and ask how is here. And I fall into bed about 9 pm every night! Most days are good, and I don’t think about it, but some days I do miss running water but I love our new life and wouldn’t change anything~
Our filtered water, pour water into top bucket and it filters down into the bottom one.
Cooking here is challenging. If you know me, you know I am not a “made from scratch” kinda gal! Well, I wasn’t! If we want to eat, I have to cook, and there really isn’t anything quick around. We have found tuna, expensive tuna! And peanut butter and jam – no jelly, just jam – which is okay with me but my husband doesn’t like it because it doesn’t mix well with his peanut butter! But the bread we’ve found isn’t the greatest, it is all very dry. So, I have to start lunch around 10 to eat at a reasonable “lunch” time! Seems like I get done with that and it’s time to start on dinner, right after getting the water, and heating it to do the lunch dishes. All day heating the water and putting it in thermos’s so we will have hot water for dishes, and bathing.
Anyway, I am proud to say it took moving to Africa for me to learn to make my own tortillas and salsa. And they were very, very good! I even made a great guacamole, even though I am the only one that eats it. Ate it for three days! This meal will probably be a staple in this house until I learn more recipes for the foods available here!