Monday, August 27, 2012

finally all here...struggling together for God's glory

Rentry is hard. But lately, it has bordered on the ridiculous.
Sickness-Lilli with a kidney infection;
Vehicle Trouble-In Kampala, our car would not start when we were trying to get her to the hospital;
Critter infestation-one rat was so bold as to stand on my foot- Eeeeek!
Overwhelmment-First ones back to Bundi meant that Travis and I handled all of the water questions, CSB finances, USS needs, and numerous community concerns on top of our own unpacking and house maintenance.
Even our teammates were delayed reentry by canceled flights, dislocated elbows, and vehicle paperwork drama.

But we are all here. 
And that in itself proves that God is working and does have good things for the advancement of His Hope. Not that we are the saviors; we all fully realize that we are cracked pots, weak with flaws and neediness, and can only hope to have the Light of Jesus flow through those weaknesses.
However, the more I am here, the more I see that when God moves his children into places of darkness and desperation, then He does have a plan for the good of His people and His glory.

So, as we are now back, what has been filling the days here?
Overflowing pediatric ward (daily in the 50s for a ward that holds 27)
Nutrition program continuing to meet real needs
Daily rains; some of our neighbors are having parts of their mud houses wash away
Baby Cow mooing in the cow pasture (and sometimes under my clothesline!)
Hunger and beginning of school term 3 means that many people request money at our doors
The Waragi Gin trucks in Nyahuka Town with loudspeakers blasting music and encouragement all night for men to buy more gin to forget their problems
Haircuts for all, including 7 inches off Ann's hair
Great conversations with local healthcare workers over dinner at our house
Email conversations with many who are interested in joining us in Bundi
For me- laundry, laundry, and more laundry
Beginning of new school year for RMS
Discussion about new sickle cell prevalence study at NHC
Praying for one another
Collecting eggs from newly-laying hens on WHM property
Meeting with the Local Councilmen who are in charge of scholarships that are to come to qualified students of this district (and to ask where are those scholarships?)
Fixing broken doors and installing a fan (hooray!) at our house
Worshipping with neighbors at church
Burning brush piles (between rain storms) that are housing unwanted snakes
Birthday celebration for Lilli and Pamela (doggie and diva/movie star themes)
Planning, discussing, and guiding ministries with teammates
Beginning Kids Club on Thursday afternoons for Bible story, craft, and singing
Finding balance, rest, and time with kids in the midst of it all

Friday, August 24, 2012

lilli is eight!

Today, our Lilli turned eight years old! To celebrate her love of dogs, we had a Doggie Birthday Party. We are thankful for the kind-hearted, compassionate, truth-seeking, creative, courageous, and sweet girl that Lilli has become. She is truly a treasure that we celebrate!
Lilli makes doggie ears for Ann's doggie costume (as Ann has only one usable arm presently)
Doggie Costume Contest Contestants
Pamela comes as her pet dog and Chrissy as Clifford the Big Red Dog

Such a cute little dalmation
Pretty Puppies

Lilli won Best of Show

Our family as Lilli turns eight years old
Party Game of Hot Dog (think: hot potato)
And Pin the Bone on the Dog (think:pin the tail on the donkey)
The musical-firework-multi-lighted-flowers- candle did not quite function properly as Patton is pointing out!
Lilli still got to make her birthday wish!
Our Princess wears gum boots!
Dog Tired from the Party!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

two Bundi gals update

It is hard to believe that just 3 days ago in Kampala, Lilli was writing in pain with a canula in her hand for iv meds and fluids. Today, she put on her gumboots and skipped out to take the pet goat Moringa to the second day of third grade.

Thank you for praying for her. Thank you also for praying for our teammate Ann. We are grateful to report that she did not have the feared multiple fractures, but a dislocation of her elbow. She was a trooper as she made the 6 hour drive to the Kampala hospital in great pain.  Her arm is now set in a cast. Today, she plans to return to Bundibugyo.

Thanks for praying for these two Bundi gals. Lilli and Ann are two tough females who endure pain and hardship in order to live and serve in an out-of-the way place. Amazing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

sickness and injury...two bundi gals

Last week's family vacation provided the much needed uninterrupted time with the kids and the opportunity to be unplugged.

We are now on our way back into Bundibugyo.

However, Lilli is very ill.

After two days of not being able to keep any fluids (or food) in her, alongside other serious symptoms, she is now on iv antibiotics and fluids. We are grateful for the nearby local clinic/lab, the American doctor at the guesthouse who gave Travis a second opinion, and easy access to medicines. We are staying in Kampala two more days to allow her to gain strength to make the journey home.

Meanwhile today, one of our teammates had a serious fall and is now in the Kampala hospital having work done to repair the injury.

Would you join us in praying for these two Bundi gals?

It seems that it is always so difficult to reenter into service in Bundibugyo. We need your support through prayer. As always...desperately and fervently.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

chaos and vacation

After Patton's graduation from kindergarten, pack up and travel out of Bundi, 24 hours of a nasty stomach bug for PJ and Aidan, way too many near-misses in Kampala traffic, some great meals in the city, grocery shopping for the next 2 months, vaccination shots at 2 different hospitals, and a dinner with new SIL friends, we have our bags packed and are ready for a week of family vacation. After a very full and often intense few weeks (ok, months), we are ready for a little break. Travis did a great job of summing up the drama of tribal conflict, border insecurity, broken waterlines, famine and malnutrition, intern hosting, and CSB financial crises in a letter to our supporters:

"It has been a crazy couple of weeks here.  Thanks for your concern about the ebola outbreak.  We are safe, though the outbreak is in our neighboring district.  Pray for those suffering with the infection and for those who lost their loved ones.  Pray that the church can respond well with the hope of Jesus.  In addition to ebola, so much more has been happening these past weeks.  I firmly believe it is the prayers of believers that has protected us from significant calamity.

Over the past 4 weeks, there has been tribal conflict.  The king of one tribe moved a shrine into the territory of the other.  Fighting broke out and many of our friends were affected.  Thankfully there has been peace for the past week, but tensions are high and people are worried.  Be praying for all of our friends in Bundi.  It is rumored that President Musevini will be coming to help settle the conflict.

There have been rumblings of the ADF rebel militia regrouping across the border in the DRC, and another renegade militia threatening to "liberate" towns just across the river.  

Additionally, we have had significant problems on our district's waterlines. Due to progress of the incoming road, Bundibugyo Town has been without water for 6 weeks now. The main waterline to Nyahuka Town was purposely sabotaged during the fighting .  As a result, there is a cholera outbreak. Thankfully, there has not yet been a death in our local health center.  However, there have been several at the district health center in Bundibugyo Town.  Dr Josh, our WHM water engineer has been busy working with the lines that are affected by both the road and the vandalization.  Currently, waterflow is restored in our village but not in the main town.  Our village continues to grow in population and is beyond the current systems capacity.  With the insecurity across the border, it is possible the population could grow rapidly.   We have been seeking ways to partner with the local government. Pray that a District Water Board will soon be running and effective.

It is also "famine" season.  Despite the rich soil and bountiful rainfall, every year food is low in June and July.  This has to do with the cacao season and the government calendar.  Cacao is in its flowering season and so cocoa beans cannot be sold.  The government is at the end of the fiscal year and many salaries have not been paid.  Not may people in the area grow nutritious food.  Typically, people buy beans, porridge, matoke or rice in the market.  Without money, they eat the casava roots and yams that grow on their land.  These have minimal to no nutritional value.  As a result, children on the borderline of malnutrition fall into moderate acute malnutrition.  With the breakage of the waterline and the change of the rainy season, diarrhea illnesses and malaria abound. Children with moderate malnutrition get sick and fall into severe acute malnutrition.  This past week we have admitted a dozen children who are swollen with skin peeling on the verge of starving to death.  These are the ones that have made it to our door.  Dr. Jessica and I have been busy in the Paediatric ward treating patients. We have had mattresses strewn across the floor for the past month, so we are literally stepping over children to treat them.  Jess and Chrissy restarted the outpatient malnutrition program last week in hopes to catch children before they are on the brink of death.  They spend time educating the parents, sharing the gospel and giving food supplements.

Christ School Bundibugyo is also facing difficulties.  Over $15,000 of school fees have not paid by families this term because of the above problems.  We are struggling to pay teachers and buy food for the students. The Orphan Scholarship program needs 16 sponsors.  Many of you have received a letter from our teammate Michael regarding the financial needs. He has been hard at work telling the story of this key ministry. We are so thankful for the response you are giving to his letter.

So, please be praying for us.  Pray for us to faithfully be God's hands of mercy with our water systems and medicine.  Pray we can have avenues of peacemaking and reconciliation through sharing the gospel in the complex relationships between families and tribes. Pray for the students and teachers who are beginning the last term of the schoolyear. Pray we see where Jesus is working and join Him."

We are thankful for a team that works so hard to serve and love. It was especially moving to see so many of them to cheer on our kids at their RMS Graduation and Olympics. As we are far away from our families, these teammates act as surrogate aunts and uncles and our kids are like adopted nephews and niece to them. 

We look forward to a rest...see ya in a week!

Collegiate athlete and summer intern Summer teaches the kids how to high jump

Intern Emily with Kymigisha Harriet

It's "Take Your Goat to School" Day

Lilli begins the RMS Olympics with the lighting of the torch


 Olympic Jump Rope Competition

A new addition to the Games: Olympic "Squeeze the water into the next bucket"

A combined effort.

Such determination.

A member of the winning team

Summer was obviously the Long Jump Champion

The road out of Nyahuka Town has not been graded in over 2 years
The first part of tarmac on the flat part of the new road

Catching replays of the Olympic highlights online