Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An update on the local Bible translation project

This project was started as a joint WHM and Wycliffe venture over 20 years ago. At that time, the local language was not written down. The first 10+ years was filled with combing through the villages asking people to spell words based on the Bugandan language and alphabet. They used their findings to come up with an alphabet that fit the Lubwisi Language. They found that there are no Z's!

They then spent years learning local stories and proverbs to gain a grasp of how words and phrases are used. In the process, they have helped preserve the culture and language from being overran by larger and more economically advanced cultures! They have also made literacy more reachable for the thousands women here who do not speak English, the official language of Uganda. Most importantly, they are now beginning to teach the hope of Love, Grace and Forgiveness of Jesus in their own language!

The project continues under the guidance of SIL and through the hard work of several local pastors and community elders. They are among our closest friends here.

Click here for the latest update from our SIL friends.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Shirts I Wear

Last Wednesday I wore 4 different shirts. Sometimes I wear three shirts because I have sweated through each of them by the end of the day, but the changing of shirts last Wednesday was for different purposes.

I woke up in the morning and put on a nice golf shirt that would look sharp, but not be too hot, for my meeting with the Christ School Head Master. I am so grateful for the great job and much needed friendship that Edward has provided. We met for 3 hours discussing the past year, the re-hiring of personnel and strateged different plans about how to meet the financial needs of the school based on the amount of support and school fees that we might receive. After praying together, I left very encouraged and hopeful that the school might make it to the end of the year!

When I returned home to have lunch with Amy and the kids, Jessica came by to say that Dr. Sam, our new Ugandan physician at the Nyahuka Health Center needed help to surgically repair an obstetric tear. I am very grateful that Dr. Sam is here and that our health center has a constant presence of an Ugandan physician. He is hard working and eager to do what is best for the patients. He is also incredibly overwhelmed with all the demands, especially since he is just 24 and fresh out of his internship. So, to show some moral support, I pulled out my surgical scrubs from the bottom of my drawer and ran down to the Health Center. I found Dr. Sam and we discussed how we would repair the deep 4th degree wound. I then followed him to the theatre and was shocked to discover that the “woman” was a 10 year old girl who had been raped. I pulled Sam back out and we talked through the more important issue of caring for her as a person and not just her physical wounds. We then prayed for her and called together the surgical theatre team to set up for surgery.

While they were setting up, I ran home to put on a button down collared shirt with nice trousers to go to the Christ School Chapel. This was the last chapel of the year for many of our graduates who were finishing their national exams. I had the privilege to give them a going away message. I challenged them to take what they had learned here at Christ School and bring it to their family and friends at home. They have seen that God does love them. Because of this love, they have learned to love each other, despite their different backgrounds, families and tribes. When they go back to their villages, they will face many struggles, but they do not need to struggle alone. They need to run to Jesus and run to each other.

After the chapel, I put my surgical scrubs back on and returned to the Health Center. There, Sam and I repaired the wounds of the girl and discussed with the family how to care for the child. The horrible wounds and sparse equipment to fix them led to many nightmares that night. Please pray for complete healing of “Sara’s” heart and body.

Finally, I came back home and put on my favorite Navy Seal t-shirt and jeans with holes to romp around the back yard with my 3 favorite little people. There is nothing better than kid therapy!

We have been studying Colossians as a team this past month. In it, we are challenged to put on the clothes of mercy, tenderness, compassion and love. These are not something we wear naturally. We have to put them on. They are not something we own. They are given to us from Christ. On days like last Wednesday, I feel like I sweat through these shirts just as fast as I do my real ones. I am plum out of mercy by 9 am and I have to ask Jesus for another shirt of his to don before I can meet the next challenge. Thankfully, He is faithful and we toil daily with His strength! (Colossians ch2-3.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

new friends, old friends and mud puddles

Josh welcomed to dinner new friends Caroline and David, two church leadership teachers who were working in a nearby village.
Aunt Jess is a big hit at the "kids' table" (which you might notice is a travel trunk)
We are thrilled to welcome for the month our old friends from our Harvard School of Public Health days, Akindale and Dorcas with their cute little girl Iye.
Friday night Dinner together with new and old friends
It's rainy season!

Aidan and Iye, only a month apart, are dear little friends.
I think he is smitten!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcoming Josh and Pamela!

Today marks the One-Month-in-Bundibugyo anniversary of two new teammates, Josh Dickenson and Pamela Stephens.

As our flight from Chicago to London was cancelled (after 5, yes, 5 hours of sitting on the hot plane on the runway before a middle of the night cancellation!!!), we missed our connection with Pamela in London. The brave soul who had never been to London or Africa, happily took a tour around London and then trusted the driver whom we sent to pick her up in Uganda. A day later, we met her. Aidan must have imprinted on her as she held him during his jet lagged nap as he LOVES her and goes running to see her! Pamela comes from Virginia and was a dolphin trainer before she became a teacher. Her enthusiasm and love for teaching is evident and the kids adore her. She is diligently learning Lebwisi (not an easy task) and taking all of the nuances of life in Bundibugyo in stride. We are grateful she is here!

Josh joined us in Kampala just a day later. He was a champ as we did a sprint through the grocery store, stocking up on things he would need for his new life here. Having just completed his PhD in water engineering, Josh is the go-to guy for all things technical. After only one day here, there was a water crisis. Bundibugyo does not allow one to have time to acclimate slowly! Each morning, he can be seen working diligently learning Lebwisi and then working on a project in the afternoon. Today, I asked Aidan, "who do you love?" He replied: "Josh!" Though Josh has many skills and talents, our kids think that his best quality is that he can give a great puppet show!

If Pamela and Josh have made it here one month, they will do just fine!

A conversation with a missionary kid

While in Charleston, Lilli and her cousin spotted a small lizard on the wall.
Cousin: Hey, Look! A Geiko!
Lilli: What's a Geiko? That's a Gecko!
Cousin: Huh? What's a Gecko?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Man!

Aidan Birch Johnson turned 2 years old!
Named "Aidan" for the Saint Aidan who is credited for sharing Christ in Ireland; meaning "Light"
Named Birch for our friend Dr Birch Rambo, missionary to the DRC for over three decades, a modern-day saint.

Man, we are thankful for this little dude and we sure do love him!

Aidan shows that he is two!
He is quite the artist.
While waiting on me to come outside, Aidan closed the front door and pulled the bolt closed, thus, locking me and friend Gladys inside! When we told him to unbolt the door, he just laughed and laughed. It took a while to find an extra set of keys to let us out of our side gate. This photo is from our front window as I looked out and he looked in! What a trickster!
Aidan appreciates the chocolate pudding mixes that are sent in care packages.
We spend much time doing housework.
He especially likes to help Gladys.
And more cleaning!
The team enjoys the sunset view from atop the community water tanks.
Aidan is ready to roll the dough for pizza.
Pizza making time!
So proud of himself for blowing out the candles!
Aidan opens a special gift from Patton.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Aidan!

The road

After a few weeks of extreme joys and extreme disappointments, our little family made a spontaneous and very fast trip out of Bundibugyo to Fort Portal. The road (the same one which left me stranded for 5 hours in B town last week...another story) is in the worst condition as it has not been graded for over a year. I can almost hear Pat cry "Corruption is under my tires" as we drove it.

However, there is progress on the part that CICO is constructing. A few shots to show such progress:

This was once a small road that cut around two very steep mountains. The mountains have been cut into and what was once a valley is almost ready to be driven over!

A clear day's view all the way to the mountains of the DRC
Any guess what this is in front of us on our drive? Read the sign attached to it.
It is a barge!
We were behind three HUGE ferries/barges on the very sharp corners of the road to Bundibugyo district. Not sure where they ended their journey..or if they made it off the mountains!