Friday, July 30, 2010

GO Team Update...

Rick is ready for a big day at the hospital!
Lauren and Kathryn playing and praying for the dear little ones!
One of the Mamas with their little one who has hydrocephalus
What a team! Megan, Anna, Casie, Samantha and Lauren--all smiles...having the time of their lives...for God's glory!
Megan, Anna and Mandi enjoying morning chai! (Tea time)
Our GO Team has been busy today doing what is most important in Uganda....being with people....visiting mothers and children. Rick, Megan and Kathryn Lean spent some time in the Lab this morning. Zephaniah was so kind to explain the tests, equipment etc. Kathryn Hall and Mandi enjoyed being with the Pastoral team visiting and praying with the mothers and babies. Some of the team stayed with a grieving mother until family arrangements were made. Anna, Casie, Samantha and Lauren were busy with all sorts of things in preparation for Mbarara. Everyone, under Casie's direction, practiced Bible story telling....I think we are ready and excited for next week.
Please pray for safety as we travel to Mbarara.
Pray that many would turn to Christ as their Savior and Friend.
Pray that the mothers/caregivers would be inspired, empowered and encouraged and we spend time together next week.
Pray that we would continue to work together in unity! We are such a fun team together. It is such a privilege to work with these special team members. I feel your prayers! You are doing the important work...praying! Thank you so much! Keep praying for all the GO Teams that are serving with CURE International, please.
We are learning and experiencing so much!!!
We appreciate you all so much.

Pearl Pictures....

                                                                           Tea time!!!!!
Cutting Soap for the mothers to bath and wash clothes with!!!
Spending time with the mothers and babies!


Hello everyone: We are here in Mbale Uganda. Everyone is healthy and very joyful to be at the CURE Children's Hospital. Sam has taken 220 pictures we will give you a sample or two (when we can get the cables hooked up!) The team has been working together in unity and we praise the Lord for answers to so many of your faithful prayers!

You may be wondering why today's blog is called Pearls.....well our first morning in Kampala our devotional was on James 1: 1-6.....verse two in particular reminds us to count it all joy when troubles or temptations come our way......for there are great results when we reframe our difficulties into opportunities for growth in Christ's character!
So we were not surprised when some things didn't go the way we expected...ok...nothing major, don't worry....just little things...little struggles with our schedule, getting settled....jet lag etc. Everytime something unexpected happens or frustrates one of us...we look at each other and say PEARLS!!! That is our code word to remind each other that God is going to use these challenges or irritants to make something a pearl. Most of you who know me, know that I wear a pair of pearl earrings most of the time. They are white and perfectly round. White represents the purity of Christ...His righteousness....not our own, the round sphere represents the wholeness and fullness of God's character to me...His holiness, creativity....
Each team member is a pearl to me....I feel like I am walking around, working with an exquisite strand of pearls!! Beautiful people....!!! God is working in all of our lives. You parents have done a great job!! It is such a joy!
Today, after breakfast of omelettes, grilled cheese/onion/tomato sandwiches, chicken wings, fruit, bread, juice and tea/coffee we walked to the CURE hospital. It was a pleasant and cool morning to walk. We arrived just as the staff devotions began. Worshipping the Lord is very energetic and energizing! We clapped, sang, danced, jumped all at the same time! It was so much fun to worship the same living God and Savior in a different culture, different place and even different language. And the Lord understands us all! It will be a busy time today as we prepare for Mbarara clinic 10 hour away by bus. We leave Monday.Tonight we will go to a slum called Namutella....we will have time to visit with AIDS orphans and people who have great needs. We are excited to be invited to a church supper!  No crockpot chilli dinners here! Tomorrow the team is having a tour of Sipi falls...a little hiking and sightseeing. Sunday will be a full day of worship and completion of packing for the mobile clinic in Mbarara.
Please pray that we would enjoy strong health to complete God's Work here.Pray for us to process all these experiences into godly thoughts and actions in our daily lives when we return. Thanks for all your support!
Blessings!  And Pearls!

Monday, July 26, 2010

On our Way!

Rick and I said our goodbyes to our loved ones and got thru security just fine.
You will laugh when you hear my personal bag was three pounds over. I added paperwork for CURE in my bag to lighten my carry-on. Oh well, my carry on is now three pounds heavier! All is good! Please know that the team is pumped and ready for a challenge and to serve. Thank you for all your support shown in so many ways! Eileen Jeffries from
CURE called to wish all Bon voyage and reassure us of many prayers! Those of you who are staying to keep the home fires burning and paying the bills, we thank you so much. This mission is yours too! God be with you and give you peace while we are away.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Parting Prayer for GO Team Uganda 2010

My arms are full with two little ones in Gulu, 2009

As the GO Team departs tomorrow, please pray for us.....not just the usual prayers for safety and a 'good trip'...please pray that God would allow us to join His work in Uganda and be a part of accomplishing His will......this scripture reminds us that it is not about us....all of HIM! To God be all glory and honor!

Sam from Cure @ mobile clinic
May God be merciful and bless us. 
May his face smile with favor on us. 
May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. 
May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. 
Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world. 
May the nations praise you, O God. Yes may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God will richly bless us. Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him. Psalm 67 NLT 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shine the Light!

Rick helping with packing of Bibles
The count-down is getting closer and closer! In yesterday's blog, I shared about the many team players who have helped the GO Team get ready.  You saw the Bible Story telling panels....what are we going to do with this huge display?  One of our team members, Kasie, is organizing our team into groups so that we can not only tell Bible stories to the caregivers...but teach them to tell the stories. It is quite a challenge with those who are illiterate. The symbols that we colored represent various aspects of God's character and specific Bible stories.  Kasie and I talked this morning and we are pumped!
Fortunately there are staff members and others who are able to read English. It is such a joy to bring Bibles that have been donated by loving Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Bibles are heavy! Rick is bringing his second bag almost full of Bibles and helps for the Spiritual Life Center of the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda. We have had a few frustrating interesting moments trying to keep our bags at the 50 lb. limit. I appreciate Rick's patience and muscles as he hoists the bags on his shoulders to weigh them. Rick assembled a bunch of mini flashlights for us. I asked him to 'Shine the light' make sure they were working before we packed them.  That is what he did. In reality, 'shining the light' is what we are going to do.....Shining the light of Jesus Christ! Bringing the Light of the World, Jesus to dispel ignorance, darkness and discouragement.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins...Colossians 1:13,14 NIV
Rick checking out the flashlights!

All of this is so exciting!  Those of us who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are to be reflectors of  His light. What does that mean? 
Light shows the way....Jesus is the Way John 14:6
Light dispels darkness-reveals truth...Jesus is the Truth
Light is cheerful, giving warmth, encouraging growth etc....Jesus is the Life!

The GO Team is joining the CURE staff to share the Good News with caregivers at the hospital site and Mbarara mobile clinic. We hope that we will 'shine the light' of Jesus Christ with those we leave behind, our fellow travelers and people we meet in Mbale. May we...let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father...paraphrase of Matthew 5:16
May we shine the light of Christ's love to the hospital staff and each other too! We are growing into a team!
I can hardly wait to see Derek, the hospital Executive Director, Miriam the Spiritual Life Director, Florence the Nurse Manager and Elisha her assistant nurse manager, Juma, George, Joseph, Nelson, Collins, Katherine, Justin, Rachel, Rose, Esther, Corrett, Angela, Alex, Stephen x2, Nathan x2, David, John, Simon Peter, Immaculate, Moses x 3, Zephaniah, Sebby, Bonney, Annette, Angela, Helen, Bernard, Dorcus, Mary, Martha, Regina, Monica, Fred, Elizabeth (Betty), Peter Paul, Jonathan, and dear Yocolum.....and so many others.
Do I sound excited? Hope so!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Team Work

Many have been working on details for the GO Team Uganda for months! The actual going is a small part of what God is doing and going to do.......we the 'goers' have the privilege of having front row seats this summer to see what God is doing through CURE International in Uganda. So many of you who are reading this blog have prayed, supported financially, donated supplies, cut fabric, packed craft kits, painted Bible story panels, weighed luggage, organized tickets, managed logistics of team travels and accommodations.....the list is endless! Before I go, I want to publicly say a huge THANK YOU! Thank you for your help, prayers and interest in this aspect of God's workings around the world through CURE.
Sustainable craft kits....130?
Joann making kits--122...123...124?
Organizing supplies is a time consuming aspect of preparation. My sister Ruth and friends Ramona and Joann gave hours of loving service to the Lord for the sustainable craft. Mandi and Anna each made a sample bag ahead of time.....I cannot wait to see their finished products. The GO Team will have apart in training women in Uganda to have a skill that may lead to a small business and increased self esteem. Many women are blamed personally for bearing a child who has a disability! May this craft be a means of bringing some joy to their very difficult lives.

Another aspect of the GO Team's ministry in Mbarara Mobile clinic will be Bible Story telling. We want to help the women, especially those who are illiterate to know God and His Word through story telling. Team member Rick along with my daughter Anne, niece Rebecca and friends Shanna and Chris came to dinner on Wednesday evening. After we ate, under the expertise and direction of Shanna, we painted with fabric markers Bible Story panels. These panels are pictures that represent an aspect of the Bible's message.....through images. It has been said that 'God has set His truth in picture frames of life'.......Bible characters and events reveal the truth about God, His character, His standards, His ways and His workings. It is through Bible stories to the caregivers that we can explain salvation through Jesus Christ.

Anne, Chris, Shanna, Rebecca and Rick painting Bible story panels
 Thanks to all the team players whether they are going or are a part of God's work in Uganda. May you be blessed for your using your talents and plain willingness to do anything to help prepare the GO Team Uganda. Thank you again and again!

Getting Ready-praying together-prayer is the work!

Finally, brothers (and sisters) pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored... I Timothy 3:1 NIV

Through many years of Bible Study Fellowship, the Lord taught me the importance of prayer for any work for Him. Prayer is the work. Without prayer, communication with the Lord, there is no power to serve and there is no direction to serve. Without prayer there is only human effort.  
As we pray, we acknowledge our failings, sinfulness and need of cleansing, to serve.
As we pray, we acknowledge our need of God's help, strength and plan for the work.
As we pray, we acknowledge that God is Sovereign, powerful, kind, redeeming, loving.....He is the source of Life, Salvation and unity.  God is glorified....made large when we join Him in bringing that which is diverse, lost, lonely, confused....together in unity by and for Him. 
Thank you to all my praying sisters and prayer partners!  Thank you to all the prayer partners of all the team members. You are the backbone of the GO Team! Please don't get weary of praying for the GO Team....not just for health, safety, good times.....but please pray for the salvation message to go far and wide and be received by God's grace. 

Ruth and I sisters, sisters-in-law & sisters in Christ

Diana Harris organized a sweet prayer time at her home. She is front left and Wanda is front right.
Jacqueline, Me and Bobbie-praying sisters!
Patty, Charlotte, Me, Bettye, Amy and Elaine enjoying a group pose after praying for the GO Team Uganda 2010
Praying sisters for CURE International                                                                                                                                        

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who am I leaving behind?

Above is Paul holding 'Baby George'....who is now 18 months old. He was only 11 months in the pciture.  George is very fond of his Grandad! Last time we visited Peoria, he ran to Paul's arms! 
Of course Grandma is going to miss George! He is so cuddly and sweet. We love to play together.
Also above and to the left,  is a picture of Marie, Anne, Mark and Shannon holding George.
 The center picture is my beloved Paul with me! What a gift from the Lord, Paul is to me! He supports me in every way to be an obedient follower of Jesus a great personal cost.
Below is a picture of all the cousins in Kentucky. Aaron is in the beige sweater in the center, he is married to my niece Sarah on his left. Naomi is on his right. Rachel is next to Mark and Rebecca is in the green! We love our family get togethers so much! It is hard to leave the comforts of home and family. But when God calls, He will give me strength to endure to loneliness and pain of separation. God takes such good care of us....He gives us other 'family' by way of brothers and sisters in Christ! I am longing to meet all the members of the GO Team...we will become a little family working together with CURE host staff.  My heart aches to see my Mbale family too! What joy heaven will be when we all get together......and see Jesus!

Developing character....not comfort! It's not about me....God's glory!

Nathan is one of the staff at CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda, who works in the OR. We have become dear and sister in Christ! His family is delightful...they open their home to their own three sweet children plus cousins and other children at risk in their community. They are so hospitable! Life is hard for Nathan and his wife, Lornah. They have made many sacrifices to care for the little people of their community is called a slum area as the living conditions are very rustic, crowded and poor. Nathan and Lornah love the Lord so much! He plays the keyboard most Wednesday mornings for staff Praise and Worship time.

Elisha is a nurse manager, next in command to Sister Florence, who is the Matron....Head Nurse of the hospital.....I get my titles mixed up with American, Canadian, Australian and British systems! Elisha functions similar to a NCT, nurse-clinician-teacher. He is a very brilliant young man. He loves the little ones who come for surgery. Elisha, cares very much about excellent nursing care! He loves his God and Savior. Elisha, too has made many sacrifices to serve the LORD at CURE. He is more concerned about obedience to God than his own comfort.

Moses is a social worker. He is on special assignment at the CURE hospital. He is collecting data following up on children who have received surgery for spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Moses travels often in the rural areas, collecting stories and data from the families. He is one of the first people I got to know at CURE in 2004. He and Peter Sagabo drew me a picture of a rose and wrote sweet words on a piece of paper. That picture hangs in my study today! Moses has a passion for the people of Uganda. He truly desires a better existence for the disabled children. He also plays a 'mean' drum for staff devotions!

These are precious men of God. I count it a privilege to call them friends and brothers! I think they call me Jaja or Mama as I am a grandmother and mother......I am considered OLD by Ugandan standards! We enjoy tea, cassava chips, good conversation and lots of laughs together! I am so excited to introduce my GO Team to these dear ones.....and there are plenty others to tell you about.

For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT

Monday, July 19, 2010

What are we going to eat in Uganda?

This blog is just for fun! See my 'killer daughter Anne'.....last summer, she killed about 7 chickens and plucked them...singed them to get out the down etc. For some of you, this might be a daily task or something you did growing up on the farm. My Anne is a city girl. She is comfortable in Paris, Barcelona, London, Sydney.....but Mbale plucking chickens? Well, she loves to cook and especially loves to bake. Preparing a treat of chicken for the hospital staff was a new and exciting experience for her. As the GO Team Uganda spends a little time at the hospital, we will see new things and will have new experiences, too!  In this picture...Alex on the left is my Scrabble buddy....he beat me last time. It is so annoying as I am supposed to have a Master's degree in Science! He is very smart! Stephen on the left is one of the hospital chefs. He amazes me. He can cook anything in the roughest of conditions. I love his beans and rice! We eat beans everyday practically along with cabbage, dodo, 'sacumoweekie', or other greens. He has great talent too as a cake decorator....which is hard as most people don't have ovens in they cook on small stoves close to the ground. His specialty is wedding cake decorating. Anne is in the red skirt and Rebecca (a British medical student) is next to her. She was so much fun to have on the team last summer! (For the women on the GO Team, yes, her skirt is a little too short, especially for the mobile case you were wondering.) This picture was taken on the CURE Mbale hospital grounds.....the outside kitchen! Any one interested in Kitchen duty?

Sacrifice---what we must leave behind as we serve.....

There is much excitement in our upcoming GO Team adventure to Uganda. But, let's be is not all fun and white water rafting! There are many new things to learn. There are wonderful people to meet. There are many new responsibilities to undertake. There are many life lessons to learn. There are new understandings of God and His world to internalize. There are sacrifices to be made.....
leaving behind.....conveniences, comforts, family and friends....familiar language, familiar food, familiar accommodations, familiar way of viewing life.  What must I leave behind? What will I be missing while on this journey? My husband, son, his wife, grandson and two all the rest of the extended family. This picture shows my two daughters on either side of one of my four nieces! In the middle is my lovely niece I wish she was coming....maybe another time? Marie on the left is in France, studying French (of course) and ballet this summer. Marie will complete her time in France with a visit to some dear missionary friends in Auch. Anne on the right, is starting medical school the day we leave for Mbarara. One sacrifice I will be making is missing her white coat ceremony on Friday, August 6th......who would have known that when we planned this GO Team trip?.....God did!

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness(Matthew 6:33)......My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness(2 Corinthians 12:9).....the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Galatians 5:6b)

Searching for......God

These dear mothers come to the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda with their babies with the 'big heads' and babies with 'a hole in their backs'.
They are scared....
They feel cursed for having a baby with such a condition....
They feel worried for the future of the baby's life...
They discover that no money, no position, no political connections or influence...can help them out of this state of affairs.....
They find themselves in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar beds, equipment and buildings.......and discover......Other mothers/caregivers struggling with the same things.
Medical care that is hopeful, healing, restorative and realistic!
Nursing care that is compassionate!
Pastoral care that is wise and winsome......winsome so that they might win some people to the knowledge and salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seeds of the gospel are planted....watered and sometimes harvested in the lives of the mothers, caregivers and children while they are at the hospital! This sweet mother came from another African country. She claims to have another religion. We shared with her God's plan for a relationship with Him. What a delight to open the Bible and share God's truth! I had the privilege of sharing the Good News with this woman, her husband and baby. Although, she did not come to Christ at that time......our prayer is that this message would be nurtured in her mind and heard....springing up to eternal life.  God said in the book of Isaiah:

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

My Brother Nelson and pretty scarves?

Who is this smiling man? He is my brother, Nelson. We call him Pastor Nelson at the CURE Hospital in Mbale, Uganda. He is such a dear brother in Christ. We have so much in common and every time we are together we just enjoy 'visiting' and praying together. Nelson's passion for people is infectious. He loves to share the good news of salvation with everyone who comes to his home or the hospital.
Pastor Nelson trained as a nurse, so we like to share nursing stories. When we go together for the mobile clinics, it is wonderful to watch him in action.....administering first aid for aches, pains and cuts etc and spiritual first aid to those who need a healing word or comfort from the Bible.  Since, God's Word is a passion in my life, we love to sit over tea and share what we are learning from our studies in the scripture.
What is he doing? In this picture, Pastor Nelson was helping distribute scarves to the caregivers. The scarves had been donated by kind women in the USA. They had been prayed over and sent with God's love! This act of kindness was so well received that our GO Team Uganda is bringing some more scarves donated by women from churches in Lexington, KY. We hope to have the opportunity to physically give them to the mothers at the hospital and share Christ's love through this small tangible item. Thank you to all who collected scarves!

Jesus said:

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of thes little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Little children brought to Jesus

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.....Matthew 19:13 NIV

Everyday at CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda, caregivers are bringing their babies for medical and surgical intervention of Hydrocephalus, Spina Bifida and other conditions. What dear and precious babies/children! I love having the opportunity to cuddle them and speak with the mothers and caregivers. Their minds are so full of: why my baby....why now....what am I going to can I manage? Is this a curse for my sin, someone's sin? Is this a punishment?

 Everyday these dear caregivers and their little ones are brought to the Lord Jesus in prayer. These troublesome questions are listened to and answered honestly based upon scriptures. There are no pat or simple answers to suffering and disease, especially with the sweet little newborn babies. We try to communicate through the gospel story of the man born blind that their situation has the potential to honor God...His goodness, faithfulness, salvation and provision.  Even in the darkest moments there is a faint shadow of our Lord's very present help in time of trouble. The Spiritual Life staff make their 'rounds' daily to share the gospel, the love of Jesus and hope in God's provision for their situation. We pray that each one comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their own Savior and Lord.
Standing in this picture is Immaculate, one of the hospital chaplains (pastors). She loves the families and children who come to CURE and communicates Christ's love and plan of salvation in several languages! Immaculate is always ready to share Bible stories and pray with each one. Can't you see the joy on her face?!
The CURE GO Team Uganda will have the opportunity to see this emotional support and spiritual care in action at the hospital. When we go to Mbarara in western Uganda, we will have the opportunity to share Bible stories and the good news gospel message so, in turn, caregivers can tell their families about Jesus who desires to transform their lives!  What a privilege!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Taking God's Word to the nations.....

For many, the Bible is a dust covered and neglected book on a shelf. In travels with CURE International, I have observed that the one thing people clamor for is a personal copy of the Bible. The scriptures are extremely expensive in comparison to their incomes.
To see the face of a believer who receives their own copy brings such joy!
Several years ago, I met a pastor (James M), who is a headmaster of a government addition to being headmaster of a Christian school in Mbale, Uganda. He has a vision for his church to be used as a training center for church leaders. Each year this church hosts a pastor's conference and training times to refresh, inspire and encourage church leaders in God's Word. It has been a joy and privilege to teach at these conferences. The hunger for God's Word is so refreshing.....and makes for a great attentive audience!
Last summer, this dear pastor asked me if I could give a few hours every afternoon, for a couple of weeks to train Sunday School Teachers.  So, last summer after the GO Team returned home, we held a Sunday School Teacher's conference. I would volunteer at the CURE Children's Hospital in the mornings then go for a few hours to teach in this village church.  Sunday School teachers received a notebook and pen to take notes. The participants in this training time took ownership of their training and delighted in developing songs, acting out Bible stories and classroom situations. We laughed, sang, discussed, pondered, played and prayed together during the conference. It was so delightful to see pastors so concerned about the training of the next generation in God's Word. Upon completion of our sessions, each one received a certificate and a small book outlining the themes of scripture. We had many public school teachers attending to learn classroom techniques!
What a delightful, exhausting and exhilarating time! May God and His Word be made large in these Sunday School classrooms!
  Here is a young man who clearly wanted to show his respect and enthusiasm for the USA by wearing his Obama T-shirt-----as I showed my respect and love for Uganda by wearing a traditional African dress. Pastor James sensibly wore a suit:)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Pray-ers" and "Stayers"

Some go....Some stay....Some support....
Some are some of the ones who uphold me as I serve the Lord with CURE dear, dear husband Paul of nearly 32 years, my Mum and Pappa.  These precious family members along with many others, pray for me daily and even more often.  I can count on them to uphold the  GO Team Uganda in prayer during our preparations, mission journey and re-entry to Western culture.

My dear Paul, is a unique gift from the Lord to me and to CURE. He not only supports me but encourages me to obey the LORD in whatever He calls me to do. I know it is a huge sacrifice as we enjoy being together.  My absences leave him to cook and care for himself and Dusty the dog! I know there will be a huge reward for Paul in heaven for his quiet trust and generosity to God's work. 

Pappa is in a nursing home after several strokes and Mum visits him daily. Every time I travel, I ask the Lord to watch over them in a special way.  Pappa's health is very fragile and many can you leave?  Pappa's response would be... how can you not go?  The LORD has it all covered! I can trust the Lord with my marriage, my family, Mum and Pappa while I am away.

Forever Friends

Last February, I had the joy of spending time at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda.  It was pure joy to rekindle friendships and make new ones!

In this picture...

Cheryl Thompson is on the left, my new friend and sister in Christ. She is a nursing professor from York College. We loved sharing a cup of tea together and swapping nursing stories. Her loving care for her family, students and the Lord blessed my heart! FYI we nearly tried the fried ants when we went to the market together....I said nearly!

Next, is Miriam Ongom, she is the Spiritual Life Director of CCHU. It has been a joy to work alongside Miriam over the years. Her gracious gentle spirit and wisdom help to bridge the cultural gaps.  Her love for the children and caregivers is contagious! She also knows many African languages and tries to teach me some new words every time I visit. We love to share our hearts and pray together.

I am next in the explanation required!

On my right is Derek Johnson. He is a precious brother in Christ. He is a man who is wiser than his years. He has a gracious, generous and discerning spirit. Derek has the best smile around that encourages the staff, patients and caregivers. Derek and Miriam always make visitors feel so welcome.  We share enjoyment of Starbucks coffee....or any good coffee and Indian food. Cheryl and I were so blessed by the hospitality of these two dear people in February....thank you so much!

These friends are precious to me as we share the desire for physical, emotional and spiritual transformation in the lives of the children and their caregivers in Uganda....through excellent 'CURE care' including the love and power of Jesus Christ our God and Savior!

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's all about relationships!

Whenever I mention that I am going back to Uganda with CURE International, people ask....well what are you going to do? In response, it is easy to list a series of task, teachings or assignments the GO Team hope to complete, facilitate or work on......

Each trip to Uganda or anywhere overseas with CURE, it is all about people and relationships......which makes sense.....that's what the Lord Jesus was all about......people!

Of course, Jesus met people's needs as He went about healing and performing miracles. All these miracles were signs pointing to the Holy Spirit's power to bring that which is:

apart, broken, damaged, distant, different, estranged, sick, strained, discombobulated......

together by God's love bringing...

restoration, unity, closeness, friendship, redemption, healing, salvation and peace!!

My friend Esther is a beautiful testimony of God's faithful love and care. At one point, she was homeless and sleeping in an open-air church for shelter. She was rejected for her faith in Jesus Christ by her family.
Then the Lord brought her the opportunity to work at CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda. Esther began working as a general helper (we would call it housekeeping/janitorial work).  As she proved herself to be a loyal and faithful worker, the Lord gave her opportunity to study. Now several years later, she is an RN!  Esther always has a smile, a little bit of humor and a lot of love to give to her patients and their caregivers. She has a servant's heart always wanting to help me in some way. Esther is always there to help me out of my cultural and language difficulties....just because she loves me. 
 Even though she has endured many struggles, she is cheerful.  The Lord has provided her with her own little place and restored relationship with her family who have responded to Christ's gospel.  God's love is at work in her life.  I count it a joy and privilege that Esther and I have been special friends sisters in Christ since 2004! We are sisters.....we have the same FATHER!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken...Ecclesiastes 4:12

Rick sorting the cords for sustainable craft. Don't you love all the pretty colors? The bags will be beautiful....and strong when the caregivers make them from the kits!
Thanks Rick for all your help! You are a true Eagle Scout, you must make your parent's proud.

So glad that each team member obeyed God's call to join the CURE International GO Team in Uganda July 26-August 11!

All sealed up!

See the cord....? Rick is sealing the ends with a candle flame. It's harder than it looks! We only had a few burned fingers. These cords won't unravel anytime soon, that's for sure!

All tied up!

Here is Rick measuring and cutting the cords for the sustainable craft we will be doing in Mbarara, Uganda.

All tied up!

This week one of the CURE International GO Team members Rick came over to help with the sustainable craft for Mbarara clinic in Western Uganda It is a simple sewing project of a drawstring backpack. Simple, yes, once the materials are selected, purchased and prepared.
Every step of the way God was going before and giving favor through bargain prices, kind shop keepers and even crabby ones who softened (once they heard what we were trying to do).

The biggest challenge was cutting the cords....each craft kit needs two 66 inch lengths. Each length once cut needed the ends sealed by burning with a flame. On one of the ends we placed a safety pin.......there were more steps than any of us realized. Each kit will have its own fabric, cords, spool of thread and needles. Once we receive delivery of the spools of thread it will be all hands on deck to assemble. God has already provided several offers to help!

Truly the Lord is going before us!

It will be so exciting to see the caregivers make these bags up and perhaps learn something that could help support the care of their dear children....hence a sustainable craft!

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:6

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Middle of the night musings

When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19 NIV)

Ever wake up in the middle of the night overwhelmed with the 'to do' list?

Yes, that was me last night or wee hours of the morning...wide eyed and terrified! This verse is my go-to one that reminds me of what a great source of comfort and consolation I have in the Lord. It is the verse that helps me to capture my thoughts in obedience to Christ. No need to park my mind in worry-land! There is a source of comfort.

What is this consolation?
  • The strong character of our Lord...His wisdom, mercy, grace, love, power, ever-presence...
  • The strong actions of our Lord...forgiving sins, redeeming life, sustaining life, teaching...
  • The strong love of our Lord...Romans 8:28-35 Nothing can separate us from God's love expressed through Jesus Christ
  • The strong promises of Jesus Christ....if He is for us, who can be against us?
A friend blessed me the other day with the words from Joshua 1:9...

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

What a great reminder as we gear up for travels to Uganda. There are many details yet to be completed but with God's strength and in His time, we will get there!

Now that is truly consolation for my soul.....Joy!

With that...I think I'll go back to bed sleep!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fireworks and Freedom!

Friday night we experienced up close a phenomenal fireworks display at Lake Harrington. Our host had organized the most amazing selection of colors and sounds to entertain family, friends and their neighbors on the lake. It was super! What power---dynamite! We were thrilled. Then tonight, we attended a patriotic concert in Woodford county. What great ways to celebrate our nation's birthday!

How blessed we are to live in the United States of America!

As our CURE International GO Team travels outside of the USA, we have been training to serve the Lord with our eyes wide open. We will observe many cultural differences for sure. We will hopefully learn and share stories with those we meet. We will be challenged and blessed. We will certainly return with gratitude for the many blessings we enjoy in the USA.

The Declaration of Independence speaks of Liberty and Justice for all. Consequently, the USA is a nation established to provide opportunity for all.

*Opportunity and freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ

*Opportunities of education and employment

*Opportunity to live in security....

With opportunity comes responsibility........

*To share our material blessings

*To share our knowledge base and to empower those who have been marginalized by society due to poverty, ignorance or other discrimination.

There is the responsibility to do the right thing.

Our responsibility-my responsibility as I go to Uganda is to follow God's instructions in Ephesians 5:15-21 which include the commands:
1. Live carefully
2. Be wise
3. Make the most of every opportunity
4.Understand what the Lord's will is
5. Be filled with the Holy Spirit
6. Speak and sing the words that are a melody to God from your heart
7. Give thanks always to God for everything
8. Be willing to relinquish my personal rights out of respect for Christ

Yes, I enjoy liberty in the USA and liberty as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. With that liberty comes responsibility of relinquishing my rights to self direction and align myself with God's words and ways. OUCH!

To do that consistently----I'll be needing a power that is stronger than fireworks!
Thankfully, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available--the Holy Spirit's power-spiritual life giving and empowering to do the right thing---obey God!

What a freedom!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Travel Accessories

I knew a dear godly woman in Montreal who was a very snappy dresser. She once gave a talk on fashion accessories and making-the-most of what's already in your closet. She taught us how to tie scarves, drape shawls and match colors etc. I am afraid I have forgotten most of those details. However, the one thing that stands out is this,

Your best fashion accessory is a smile. It lights up your face. It doesn't cost anything. It makes you look 10 pounds thinner, as people are looking at your face and not your figure!

A smile!

In our travels to Uganda, a smile and a greeting is so important. It makes one feel so special to be noticed. Below is a little song that I learned in Jamaica and subsequently taught at several churches in Uganda. I plan on teaching it to our CURE GO Team so we can share it with the CURE Children's Hospital Staff and the mothers in Mbarara. Have put the explanations in brackets....

Smile a while and give your face a rest
(takes more muscles to frown!)
Raise your hands to the ONE you love the best
(Our Lord God Jesus Christ)
Then shake hands with those nearby
And greet them with a smile.......(Repeat as often as necessary!)

As you sing, move around to the actions by raising arms, shaking hands, greeting one another in Jesus' name....and of course smiling! I like to think of it as passing along the Joy of Jesus similar to some traditions sharing the Peace of Christ.

Psalm 81:1 says:

Sing for Joy to God our strength....

Smile today and tell someone why!

Friday, July 2, 2010

What to wear? What to pack?

What does one wear in Uganda? What's appropriate, comfortable and stylish? Our team is going to be noticed for being a group of 'muzungus' (meaning rich but locally refers to white skinned people). If we are going to stand out anyway, what does it matter how we dress?

Looking through my closet, I begin gathering modest skirts and dresses---nothing too flashy or expensive (not that I have designer/expensive stuff) and yet did I accumulate so many outfits over the years?
I ask myself...what look do I want to have on this mission journey---casual, business professional, world traveler, local Ugandan style, hospital scrub cool or that Team leader 'missionary' look?

Oh, oh.....the Holy Spirit whispered Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

That puts it all into is not so much what I wear, but how I wear it!
These virtues are 'outfits' that never go out of style or clash with each other.

You may be wondering.....but what about footwear? How many pairs of shoes will you take...which ones? All women in our family are very conscious of having the right shoes.....we drove to Cincinnati yesterday to get the right shoes for Anne's white coat ceremony. We are seriously shoe-conscious women!

Once again, I was reminded that the most important shoes I can wear today are the
gospel shoes mentioned in Ephesians 6:15.

Will they look good though? Yes indeed...beautiful feet!
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation.... Isaiah 52:7

Now I can pack! (And get rid of the excess baggage----it costs too much these days!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Twenty six days to take off!

What is this fifty-something, Grandma doing this summer? Planting a few flowers, enjoying the beach, entertaining Ethiopian friends, sending daughters to France, visiting Montreal.....and plenty more! But that's not all....can you believe it I'm getting set for another adventure in Uganda? I am so excited as our team prepares for departure. We are a group of ten people--varied in backgrounds, ages and interests yet all have a calling to serve God through CURE International in Uganda this summer.
We have been preparing for months learning a little about the culture of Uganda, the hospital and communities we will visit, getting shots, gathering supplies and making to-do lists.
The closer I get to departure, I am overwhelmed with the huge responsibility of taking 9 others with me to Africa. Although this journey is familiar to me, the unfamiliar future taunts me with 'what ifs?'
Ah...this where the rubber hits the road in my relationship with God....fear or faith?

I am determined to live by Philippians 4:13.

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

The Message Bible says it this way...I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Through Christ and in Christ (the Him and One of these verses) God's kingdom work and purposes will be done. Christ Jesus, the Son of God, powerful Creator, Savior and Sustainer of life is the source of energy to get the job done. So with this encouragement, today there will be total dependency upon God's wisdom and strength to work on team preparations and packing! Roll on July 26th!