25 October 2008

And Back Again

I'm back! And have been for a little over a week. I feel like I am finally getting back into into the swing of things.

Between Cheryl and myself we took over 7000 images. So, it's taken a while to sort through to give you a glimpse of our trip. The pictures following this post are of Africa only. Cheryl is holding the shots from Amsterdam hostage at the moment so as soon as she releases them I'll share them with you. Also, there are so many things I didn't blog about so they may show up now and then and I might even repeat myself.

Mom - You're amazing
Phyllis - So are you, the kids miss you already
Pee - You are my favorite sister...my only sister. I owe you big.
Dad - I know you pitched in a ton
Sivje - Pant-hemming-pick-up-line-wonder
Vanessa - YOU ROCK!!
Carol - Rick would have been lost with out you!
GG - Thank you for feeding my family
Fairchild Fam -Future In-Laws- Caroline swears she's marrying Zachery, thanks for the play date.
RICK - you are my best-fried. I could not have gone without your love and support. Thanks for being an amazing Daddy to our kids. I love you.


Joanna's Wedding

One of the reasons for the timing of our trip was attending the wedding of Pastor Robert's daughter Joanna. We even had special African wedding clothes made for us. (I'm the one with the triangular fluffy hair. My lying "friends" told me that it looked just fine (there are no mirrors in Uganda). Anyway, here is the proof that Christians are indeed capable of lying. :) (You know I love you guys). Ah, the beautiful bride.
Joanna's younger sister Joy

Fred and Joanna at the very PINK reception. The even put firecrackers on the wedding cake!
This guy was amazing. In Uganda, it's OK to sing along with your favorite song. So this guy was singing along with his song and all the while I was mesmerized by his bouncing USA belt buckle.
I found more kids...
Joanna's bouquet
Pastor Robert and Mama Joy
Two of the hottest African woman I have ever seen...literally.

Chicken Anyone?

Many of you remember the purchase of 1,000 baby chicks last year to help support Mama's Heart, our widow's ministry. Well, we are happy to report that almost all the chickens are alive and well. During our visit we saw the first harvest of eggs from these chicks...and yes, we prayed over them while we were there!On Sunday the women from Mama's Heart presented their "first fruits" to the church and gave them to Pastor Robert. This was a whole new take on meaning of tithing.
Happy Chicken!
The sweet woman who has given up 4 rooms in her house for these chickens. She feeds them and cleans their coupes.
A view from outside the "Chicken House."

Hangin' With the Kids

Oh the kids!!! They are growing so fast and they are sooooo healthy. They were so much fun. They were fascinated by my arm hair and freckles. One of the best parts of going to see our precious kids was getting to meet my sister Hawa. My parent's sponsor Hawa and she knows my mother as "Mama Lilly". So when I saw Hawa I was able to introduce myself as her sister. From then on, she was at my side! She was so precious.

This picture was taken just after our first meeting. She was still pretty shy! One of the kids peeking into the church

Me & Hawa, Shawn & Margaret and Lori + extras
The children at Twin Cities had a fund raiser during VBS. They raised enough money to buy each child at the orphanage a new pair of flip-flops or "slippers" as they like to call them. I love feet so I was inspired by their beautiful feet in their new slippers.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. These are Hawa's feet.
All of the sponsors sent extra money so the kids could have new wedding clothes made for Joanna's wedding. Hawa was the only one dressed in this beautiful red, which happens to be my favorite color.
Larry and I purchased new hats from Mama's Heart (the widow's ministry). Well, his is a hat and mine is a basket.

Personal Evangelism

The week of the crusade was a whirlwind. We started in the mornings in the outer parts of Bulanga by doing personal evangelism. I have to admit I was nervous! Let's face it, "door-to-door" evangelism is NOT an effective method in the USA. So I was very apprehensive. But knowing that we serve a BIG God I knew faithfulness was my only choice. The first day Brenda and I saw 16 people come to know the Lord. And that was only in an hour and a half!

This was our team in front of the new church in Bulanga.
This is my team; Me, Pastor Robert, Brenda and Silivia. As we followed Pastor Robert (I swear this man was receiving walking directions straight from God), we met this sweet family. They were so excited and so proud.
This is their brand new baby girl (she is two weeks old in this picture).Some kids I had to stop and play with.
Pastor Robert praying for an elderly woman who cared for her young grandchildren.
I was so touched by the striking difference in the color of our skin and yet our love for the Lord makes us family.
(These are the hands of Kim Thompson and our dear friend Samuel).
One family that became very special to Brenda and myself.
This is little Mumino and his Grandmother (and Brenda too!)
This grandmother is raising her grandson after he was abandoned by his father.
Taking a break at Pastor Godfrey's house
Lori and Cheryl relaxing against the news paper/wall paper.
It was so nice to get out of the hot sun! Uganda is right on the equator. We all came back with amazing tans (everyone but me!).
I was really missing my kids so I took every opportunity to hold babies. This sweet little girl was hanging out all day with her older sister (who was about 5).
One day our bus broke down. Well, if you combine me with confined spaces and heat you get silly. Here I am as "Aunt Jemima."
One of the cute kids spying on my through the trees. Me and my camera doing what we do best.

Teaching some of the neighborhood kids "Father Abraham"

A typical apartment complex.
This young girl was actually selling these bananas.
This week was amazing. God answered our prayers and we saw his face everywhere we looked. We saw a woman who was paralyzed - HEALED!! We saw another woman who was in intense pain from cysts and her pain was GONE. We saw it rain all around the village of Bulanga but not a drop in the center where we were. God did miraculous things!!!!

The Crusades

Every evening after our personal evangelism we would host a crusade in the center of the village. This area where we were was also the trash dump. There were pile of garbage around us that were on fire and smoldering. We were walking on garbage. The worst part was seeing the children running around barefoot on garbage. Drugs and alcohol are prevalent in Bulanga so more than once we saw broken glass and syringes.

Not many people would be around at the start of the crusade but once the music began the area filled with all kinds of people. This is my friend Steve (who was "borrowing" my camera)beginning the event.Brenda kneels down to talk to a child. Hands raised in worship.
No matter where we went or what was going on, there were always groups of children staring a you. We were called Muzungu's - White people.
Here we are trying to listen to the preacher...the interpreter was no help.

The hands of those who had gone forward to give their lives to Christ. There were about 150 over the course of the week.
Kim and Lori "blending in".
One part of the gathering crowd.
As exhausting as this part of the trip was, we were so amazed to see God break down walls in the heart of the people. People from all walks of life surrendered their lives. It never got old for me. I was always ready to go again.

Baptisms in Lake Victoria

One of the most amazing things about our trip was being able to witness the baptisms that took place in Lake Victoria. There were about 30 people from Bulanga who were baptized that day. I really enjoyed watching it through the lens of my camera. Here are only a few shots from that day.
The Pastors praying together with a new believer just before they began.
This is James.
He gave his life to the Lord on the first day of the crusade. Three pastors baptized the people. It was an amazing site.