Good news… your prayers are working and I can actually hear and feel the Lord reaching towards me to say “Hey Gina… I’m right here. Reach for me. Here’s my hand. Here’s my cross.” Ahhh, and it feels so good when I’m able to see him. Thank you for helping me keep my eyes propped open.
That being said, I wanted to let you all know that Arise actually has an amazing saint on the field, serving until March of 2011 in Uganda and her name is Jennifer. She actually has her own blog called “Walking by Faith” and I’ve gotten permission to post her entries to the Arise Blog. She’s serving there because Carl and I… but mostly Carl… really felt led to lead her to serve alongside of Renee with “Serving His Children” and then God worked out all of the details. As a result, I want to post some of her entries so you can feel as encouraged by them as I do… so here goes.
In His loving kindness.
~Gina for Arise Medical Missions
This is Lori, posting for Jennifer. Internet service has been intermittent in Masese – I have had a few brief emails (and phone text!) throughout the week to let me know Jennifer is well and she feels your prayers. On Friday they drove to a faraway village to check on previous patients. The patients were doing well but Jennifer was deluged with people needing medical attention and the nearest doctor is many miles away so it was a bit overwhelming. She would like to return with a medical team at some point in the future.
I haven’t heard what Jennifer’s schedule is like but I know that she finds time to pray every night with her roommate, Danielle. Please keep this in your prayers because we know how important time in the Word and prayer are and how easily busy schedules interfere. Also keep in prayer the internet issues so that we can hear firsthand from Jennifer what is on her heart, what the needs are, and so we can encourage her in the Lord.
In His Service,
MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2010
Hello to all,
Communication has been a challenge so far. I am still working on internet solutions, but was able to get connected at my new friends Tonya’s today. She is from Arizona and has been here since July. She is fast becoming a good friend, and not just because of her internet! 🙂 I have now been her just over a week. It has been wonderful and heartbreaking. Fulfilling and frustrating. The needs are so great and resources so small. And often, even if you have money, what you want can not be bought here. Some of the wonderful….babies sleeping on your chest, looking into your eyes and finding love, a baby waving like a princess, and church in the open African air. Heartbreaking, babies that are 2 1/2 smaller than an American 6 month old, sicknesses that can not be treated with medicine, kids who often live in fear, street kids, and so many lost souls. Fulfilling…going to a far away village and being able to help some, meeting the Lord in a quiet place, meeting others who share this burden for the lost, a sleeping baby with a full tummy, a wall full of after pictures hanging in the kitchen. Pictures of kids whose lives have been changed and touched by the love of Christ. Frustrating….not always knowing the answer, knowing the answer and not being able to get to it, feeling inadequate, having a child poop or vomit on the floor you just cleaned. All of it……..Worth every second and every sacrifice. I am missing you all and thank you for your prayers. This place is amazing and right where I am supposed to be. Thank you for your support, your love, your encouragement, and for the strength that all of those things help to give me.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2010
I am glad to know that there are people praying. Here is a glimpse of my schedule. Usually by 7 or 730 in the morning there are many babies crying and you know it is time to be up. We have a night “nanny” that is here and she is usually already getting them up and has breakfast started before I make it out of my room. After breakfast there are a great many number of diapers to change and then we usually take the babies out on the porch to get some sun. At 10 they all get a snack of some sort and go down for naps. That is the time when I try to get a few things done. If I can ( like now) I will write emails and then send them later when I can get internet. I share a room with Danielle. We have two sets of bunk beds. We are both sleeping on the bottom bunks and have some stuff stored on the top bunks. We have our own bathroom which is very nice, although no hot water. Please pray that I will get better at dealing with that. Danielle seems to be doing ok but I think she misses her own bed that she can sleep in without always banging her head on the top bunk when she gets up in the morning. The food is pretty good, I can deal with the rice and beans, a few of the local dishes have been a challenge. I am thankful for my pray time at night with Danielle. Last night we were talking about starting a Bible study with some of the missionaries in the area.
So back to the schedule. The kids (12 at present, all under 2) Get up and then we play with them or try to get them to walk and make their legs strong. Then it is lunch. In the meantime,people come and go and there are a variety of things to do. After lunch the kids will have another nap and then more porch time. Then dinner must be prepared and served. Then all the kids are bathed and put to bed around 8. Then cleanup, and try to have a little reading time or such. and then you fall into bed very tired. I will be trying to begin record keeping for the kids. Beginning with the two new ones that came a couple of days ago. They are a very cute set of twins. Two and a half years old and both around 6 pounds. The are so small and sweet and love to be held and cuddled. I can see how easy it is to fall in love with these children.
Yesterday we went to a village far from here. It was an adventure. We drove the new land cruiser and Renee impressed us with her off road driving skills. At the village the children followed us all over and just wanted to hold our hands. It was a very African village on the shore of Lake Victoria. We took care of a little boy who had a severe wound of his ankle from being caught in the spokes of a bicycle. We cleaned and dressed it and gave him something to prevent infection. I pray he will recover well. On the way back it rained. A LOT! Then we really got to see how well Renee could drive and what the car could do! Neither disappointed! There were several places in the road where the rain created small streams that we needed to cross. I only wish I had taken a picture.
So tomorrow will make one week here. I can say so far so good and God is faithful! If you want to call me you may do so. I now have a phone. I recommend using a calling card as it can be expensive! My number is 011 256 788 030 322. you can also send a text. Or if you want to communicate for free, just drop me an email. I will get back to you as soon as possible! Love to all…
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2010
Today was two weeks of life in Africa! How do I describe what this two weeks has been like so far? It has been wonderful and exciting, adventurous, difficult, stretching, better than I could have imagined, and just the tip of the iceberg to come I am sure. I have experienced the joy of going to church with a beautiful yet sick baby strapped to me African style, having the church pray for his healing, and the wonder of it all. I have been awoken in the middle of the night, despite my earplugs, by the most amazing thunderstorm and unbelievable amount of rain coming down. I live on the bottom of two stories and it sounded so LOUD!! The wind and the lightning we pretty amazing as well. I have ventured to the market to buy food for our babies, and learned how to bargain and not get charged more because I am a muzungu. I have participated in some glorious worship with people from all walks of life. Both at home with Danielle and Auntie Night with an acoustic guitar, and at church, with believers from all over Uganda and the world. All of us worshiping the same God in spirit and truth. I have experience new foods that have been really yummy, some cooked in places I would never have thought in a million years I would eat. I have ridden on the back of a boda(motor scooter) to get to town and go to the real market where the local people shop and been in wonder at the aisles and aisles of produce, hardware,clothing, tools, baskets,soaps, shoes and just about anything else you can think of.I have on our hill and looked out at the beauty of lake Victoria and been just stunned. I have begun new friendships that I am sure will last into eternity, and missed the ones I have left behind at least for now. I have been blessed literally to tears at the love of a few close friends who have cared enough to send me a word from the Lord at just the right time, even one that might be hard to hear. The will never know just how God has used them to speak to me in my moments of brokenness. Yes, there have been those moments too. I could write of many. It seems every day here is a new chance to be completely broken and feel useless and then allow God to come and do something in that moment. I pray that it will continue, but only if he gives me the strength to endure. I have had much of what I have been taught challenged and so much I never learned. Pray the Lord will give me wisdom each day. Pray for these babies, and pray for these people. Just a few steps from our front gate there is a mosque and many people lost in a dark and desperate land. There is tribal fighting to the degree that they are willing to kill a 12 day old child for the sake of a feud. (God intervened)The one thing that has become clearer to me each and every day that I have been here is this: JESUS is the only answer!!! Every where I look and every problem I see, Jesus is the only long term, sustainable answer to the problems we see. He is the ONLY solution. So thank you for praying for me, but PLEASE, PLEASE, remember to pray for them too. Every day this place gets a little more amazing,and steals away a little more of my heart. Miss you all….Jennifer
here is another. I LOVE this girl…I think she is just beautiful and has a joy to match!
Everyone asked before I went what was needed here and I had no clue. Well now I have a bit of a clue. The interesting part is getting it here. The answer to that is not easy. For things that can be bought here or in Kampala that is usually the better route because shipping is expensive and not always reliable. If there are teams coming or one of us is traveling back and forth ( like Renee is in December) then it is best to get with her Mom Lauri in Bedford, VA and try to pay to have an extra suitcase sent with a traveler. It is expensive – around 100 dollars or so, but usually the most reliable way to be sure something arrives. So, all that being said, here is a list of some of the things I have noticed in the few weeks I have been here.
Flour sack towels
single flat sheets and pillow cases
diaper rash cream
BABY WIPES (they run about 4-6 bucks a pack here)
fuzzy buns diapers in ex small and size 1
infant and toddler clothes especially onesies and sleepers
empty spray bottles for cleaning
a few small squeegees
triple antibiotic cream like neosporin
kitchen stick matches
hand sanitizer (a small bottle here is about 6 dollars)
cheap sunglasses are a neat thing that can be given out to local motor scooter drivers as a gift. It really blesses them and helps protect their eyes. I really don’t know how they live without them, but few have them.
large candles for when the power goes out – which can happen frequently.
I am sure that there are a great many things she could use but these are just a few of the things that I have noticed since I have arrived.
Thanks for your prayers. I am missing you all.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2010