Sunday, August 22, 2010

Serving together: Rick....last but not least!

Some one had to be last for my blogs on the CURE GO Team Uganda. Rick may be last but certainly not least. Rick's joining the GO Team was a great answer to prayer. I had been praying for someone to come from my area, specifically Lexington. It was such a delight to have Rick on the GO Team Uganda. Although I knew Rick over family dinners after church, it was so special to get to know him better through this journey.  Before we even left Lexington for Uganda, Rick had begun a journey of faith. I observed a wonderful transformation in his face and life even before we embarked on our first plane! Such a transformation cannot be accomplished by effort but by God's gracious intervention in our lives.
Rick bonding with baby!
From earlier blogs you can see all the help that Rick gave to our GO Team preparations. Rick was willing to do anything to be of assistance. He cut rope, singed rope, sorted get the picture. We bagged crafts, colored banners, packed....weighed bags...made lists and checked them twice. Through all this Rick was patient and most helpful.  He even traveled cheerfully with an 'old lady' like me. We had an adventure in Detroit after our first short flight. As we were trying to decide on a restaurant for lunch, a man overhearing our conversation invited us as his guests to the airport lounge. We were able to rest and enjoy the free refreshments in a peaceful atmosphere. The man gave us his card...he is the mayor of a town in Michigan! Go figure...God used this man to give Rick and me a calm start to our long journey.  Once we arrived in Mbale, Uganda, Rick was ready for whatever opportunities came his way! Rick spent time in the Lab at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda, learning about various tropical diseases and how to cross-match blood for transfusions. Rick visited with the mothers and babies. Although a little reluctant at first, he got into holding the babies, much to the mothers' delight! African women get very excited when the men take an interest in caring for babies. It is still quite a novelty to see a dad get really involved with the little ones. Rick set a new standard!  I was thrilled to introduce Rick to Dr. John Mugamba the pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital. Rick was very impressed at the kind welcome he received.

It must have been difficult for Rick to be on a GO Team with 9 women:) Well, you know..."Rick can you lift this?" "Rick can you help me do this or that?"  "Rick could you protect us on our walk?" He took it all in good humor. Of course the upside was all the attention he got from us.  He couldn't sneeze without several of us handing him a tissue, hand sanitizer and a cough drop!

Rick telling the Bible Story

Rick willingly helped with anything during the Mbarara clinic. He washed tons of dishes. He killed a chicken. He took a turn at the medical clinic. And to top it all off, Rick bravely told a Bible lesson....his first! The audience was very attentive and pleased that a young man from the USA would be willing to come and tell them Bible truths. To make this even more challenging, all the GO Team members had to speak through interpreters. That meant that each thought had to be stated in short phrases or sentences.  It was a challenge but Rick and the others learned quickly!

It was a joy to serve the Lord with Rick. I hope that in the future we may have the opportunity again. It will be very exciting to hear what is next in store for Rick for studies and career. Whatever it is, he will be great at it! This GO Team Uganda trip has changed us all.....for all eternity. Please check out the Shutterfly link.... for more great photos of Rick and the team!

  Thanks Rick for coming. Please don't be a stranger....we live in the same city!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Kathryn

Kathryn and one of the special babies at CURE Hospital in Mbale

Mandi, Kathryn and Maureen at Landmark Inn for Indian food in Uganda!

Mandi and Kathryn distributing pens to CURE Staff
As children we sang a song: "Make new friends but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold!" Kathryn is my silver and gold friend now!! It was a delightful surprise to have Kathryn join the GO Team Uganda this summer. It was delightful for many reasons. Firstly, most of the team members are was a great fun for me to have someone closer to my age and life experience. Secondly, Kathryn had been in the Peace Corps for several years and those experiences brought a richness to our team efforts. Kathryn was so helpful in our debriefing sessions at the end of our trip. Thirdly, Kathryn asks the most amazing, thoughtful and extremely hard questions!  I used to be scared by tough questions about my faith or about life...but now I see the wisdom in asking....seeking and finding answers....which may not be full or complete but at least hints leading toward reality and truth. For someone like me who has a firm confidence in God's Word, it is easy to get complacent and even sloppy in my understanding of God's ways.....thanks Kathryn for making me think harder! Sometimes as Christians, it is easy to think that we can check our brains at the church door! Please don't let that be me!  I learned some great things from Kathryn....she speaks plainly regarding spiritual matters.  Many of us, me in particular, can forget what it is like before coming to faith in Christ. Kathryn has a simplicity and depth in her words that God used to draw people to Himself.

Thank you Kathryn for your generosity in letting us post our blog from your Blackberry while in Uganda. Thank you Kathryn for your pictures, stories and videos of the mothers. The Polaroid pictures were a huge delight to the parents and caregivers. I am so much richer for spending time with you! Missing you!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Mandi

 Sorting supplies on Day 1 in Mbale

Mandi helping a caregiver get started on the craft
Mandi is a gifted leader and administrator. I am so thankful for Mandi. She was such a help to me on the GO Team Uganda this summer! When Mandi and I talked about the Uganda mission, she was wondering if there would be anything that she could do since we were going to the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda in Mbale. Several of the team members are nursing students or headed to medical type professions. Mandi need not have been concerned in that regard! What a joy to have such a gifted woman on our team. Thank you Mandi for taking the lead in the sustainable craft. What a great success the craft project turned out to be. The mothers, caregivers, CURE staff and even Medical officers were so excited and skilled in sewing the drawstring backpacks.  Mandi was great at organization and distribution of supplies, craft kits and treats while on the mobile clinic and while we were at the hospital in Mbale.  There is plenty more to know and love about Mandi than just her administrative skills!  Mandi has a fun loving joyful-playfulness with children. She seems to know how to capture their curiosity and attention. Mandi helped with the Bible stories, coloring and Sunday School songs in Mbarara. What a blessing to have Mandi's enthusiasm!
There were several occasions when Mandi was the photographer and captured the 'moment' for the team. Other times, I was blessed by her 'reminders'. As the Team Leader, I had many details spinning around my head. Mandi could be trusted to remind me of major and minor details. Thank you, Mandi. I'm missing you! May the Lord bless your work...whatever your hands find to do...I know you will do the work with excellence and bring much honor to God.
Mandi captured children's curiosity!
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Megan

 Megan possesses a quiet strength that blessed our GO Team Uganda.  Although I did not know her before meeting her in the airport in Amsterdam.....I enjoyed getting to know her! How thankful we were for Megan's nursing skills.  During the Mbarara clinic, there was a staff shortage. It was great to have Megan trained on the spot to assist. She did a great job. The medical officers were very pleased with her calm and efficient care. These clinics can be hectic!
Megan has a playful side too which endeared her to the children. I have a vivid memory of Megan playing 'tag' with some children in Mbarara. It was the end of the clinic day and we were getting on the bus back to our hotel.....I thought I was going to fall asleep standing up! Yet Megan was having the time of her life with the children.
Megan loving-up on a dear little baby!

 Megan is going to be a great nurse! I am so excited to hear about her progress and future ventures. The Lord will definitely have something special in serving or abroad!

Thank you, Megan for coming. We learned much together!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Katherine

Making chapatis!
Katherine was an adventurous GO Team Uganda member. She was willing to try anything and have as many experiences as possible. Whether it was hiking Sipi Falls, whitewater rafting, cooking, cleaning or killing a chicken! (I'll leave out the pictures of killing the chicken.  Anyone can check those out on our Shutterfly link)
Katherine is definitely keen on new experiences.
Katherine's heart is also tuned to new relationships as she made fast friendships with team members, staff, CURE caregivers and their children.  It was so much fun to see Katherine playing and holding the dear little ones. She attracted neighborhood children in Mbarara and had them busy coloring (shading as they call it) and listening to the Bible Stories.
Favorite activity--cuddling the babies!
Katherine loves doubt about it. What treasures these special needs children are to us! Katherine made sure the caregivers knew of her love for the little ones. Thank you! What a blessing!
Whatever the Lord leads Katherine to do in the future, she will do it with zest, joy and full throttle!
God's blessings as you follow His lead for your future studies and service to Him.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Serving together: Samantha (Sam)

Sam with Baby Jackie in Mbarara

Samantha is full of joyful energy! Before we even left the USA, I knew that we would enjoy our time serving the LORD together. Samantha has a delightful sense of humor that cut through a few tense moments. One time I was in stitches as she jokingly chastised the bus driver for being one hour and 40 minutes late! She said what I wanted to say but with such a sweet smile and innocence that the bus driver could not take offense! Samantha was very serious about serving the LORD. She threw herself wholly into caring for the mothers and babies at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda and the mobile clinic in Mbarara. She was enthusiastic about everything that we did......except the dishes. Sam was very resourceful and willingly traded chores so she could avoid that one! Sam was very careful about what she ate! Before we left she told me that she only ate skinless, boneless chicken breast meat.....would we be able to get that? I said probably not! But.....

Sam, here's your boneless chicken....I think that's what it is?
Samantha was one of our team photographers as she took more and better pictures than most of us. Thank you, Samantha for all the photos you posted on our Shutterfly site
 This is a classic photo of Sam with a baby on her back!
Samantha and I missed our hubbies very much. It is always great joy to serve the Lord. At the same time it is hard to sacrifice being without our spouses. Thank you for being on the CURE Uganda GO Team, Samantha. Your love for the LORD and these dear ones was infectious to all you came in contact with!
 I am missing 'y'all'.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Lauren

Lauren with a dear little baby at CURE Mbale Hospital

 It was great fun getting to know Lauren during the GO Team Uganda mission trip! Lauren is a team worker. She has a gentle spirit.....strength under control. I enjoyed her calm, competent and joyful spirit. Lauren was usually always smiling and 'loving-up' on the babies! We were guilty of making fun of her Southern accent from Arkansas! "Do you mean pin or pen?"
We were so grateful for Lauren, Sam, Anna and Kasie who helped with the CIC at the Mbarara mobile clinic. Lauren and I had some wonderful conversations on the long, long bus ride from Mbarara to Mbale. She was my right arm in helping when one team member was ill. Lauren is a great nurse! Lauren's love for vulnerable children and women is evident in her sweet concern and care given to mothers and their children alike. Thank you, Lauren for all your tender care to a grieving mother....your presence meant so much to her!  I am excited to see Lauren's nursing career and ministry unfold in the future. Surely, the Lord will use this CURE GO Team experience as training for something wonderful in her life. Thanks for coming!
 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Serving together: Kasie

Kasie loving the babies at CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda
Kasie is an enthusiastic GO Team member. Most mornings she would be the first one at breakfast, where we would share our love for the Lord Jesus together as the others arrived. We enjoyed our morning cups of coffee together! She has a gift for extravagant and picturesque writing. She should be writing these posts!
Kasie carrying a baby Ugandan style!
 Kasie is thoughtful and inquisitive. She likes to be aware of what's happening and jump in to be helpful. Kasie is a nursing student too and was most helpful at the mobile clinic when there were gaps in clinic staffing. It was wonderful to have Kasie take the lead with the Bible Story telling. She had the team organized in no time at all! The caregivers in Mbarara enjoyed learning stories from the Bible in order to teach them to their own children back in the villages. Kasie said that she will never be the same again after the GO Team experience. Like all of the team members, Kasie is asking God to show her the next step for studies, training and preparation for future service to God. I am missing our morning conversations already! You are so loved and appreciated!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Serving together: Anna

One of the blessings of being a CURE GO Team leader, is seeing people blossom as they serve the LORD! Anna is a gifted nursing student.  She is very tender, compassionate and cheerful with children which made her an ideal candidate for our mission at the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda. Anna taught Sunday School songs to the caregivers during our Mbarara Mobile Clinic. She helped with other nursing duties too...including assistance to the mothers caring for their child born with Spina Bifida. Anna is a fine seamstress which helped make the sustainable craft project a huge success. Thanks, Anna for all your willing service to the LORD.
Anna was very flexible and willing to serve in any capacity. No she didn't chop down a tree with this axe or 'slash' the grass with the machetes.  She was helping load our CURE 'coaster' (bus) for the trip to western Uganda.  We had a saying, "They who are flexible, will never be bent out of shape"! Indeed, Anna exemplified 'going with the flow'.  Now that the team has returned to their homes, I am missing Anna's smile and sweet gentle spirit! Her passion for obedience in following Christ is an inspiration to us all! Love you dear Anna! Thank you for the opportunity to serve our great God together!

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:2-3

Look for your favorite GO Team Uganda 2010 member in the days to come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back in the USA!

GO Team Uganda 2010 leaving Mbale for Jinja then home!
"Don't cry because it is over...rather smile because it happened." (Dr. Seuss)  It is always with mixed feelings that I leave my beloved ones in Mbale, Uganda. My heart is linked to the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda and the staff. Each visit draws me closer to the mission and staff members. 
How grateful I am for the love and partnership with CURE International! 

How grateful I am for the GO Team members....each one was unique and brought their special gifts to our time together. 

Many of you following this blog are interested in the real know,  the pictures that say the thousands of words to describe our wonderful time in Uganda. (Please see the hundreds of pictures on a Shutterfly link )

Thank you for all your faithful prayers while we were away. But....please do not stop! Our journey is not really over. We now have the responsibility to assimilate what we have learned and experienced into our lives. How will we be changed? 

The GO Team Uganda 2010 is in the process of re-entering daily life in the USA. Some have already returned to work, school, home and ministry responsibilities......just like that!  As we prepared for our return we prayed that our lives would be transformed in our plans for the future and to stay engaged in the mission of CURE International.  We discussed various ways that we could share our experiences with others with church, community and family. We discussed ways that our team could continue to impact the CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda.....praying, buying CURE crafts and anything that might help raise awareness and funds for the hospital. May God direct our plans to bring help to the children and to bring honor to Him.

As we return to the USA:
  • Please be patient with us if we seem "overboard" enthusiastic,  slightly depressed or sad.......we are trying to understand the things we have seen and heard. 
  • Please try to be patient if we seem 'spaced out'......our bodies have endured many miles of travel, many short nights of sleep, different food, different water and sensory overload everyday for the last 16 days or so!
The GO Team with the backdrop of beautiful Mount Elgon
  • Thank you for understanding if we can't quite put into words all that we have seen or done.....or if we talk your ear off until your eyes glaze over! It is all part of us getting the word out about CURE and the joyful, challenging and amazing experiences we enjoyed.   
  • Please help us to keep the stories alive by giving us an opportunity to share these with anyone who is willing to, community, family, work gatherings etc
  • remember is our picture gallery....please take a don't have to look at every single picture....try to find the ones with your loved one holding babies or in a random pose with a new friend...GO Team member or Ugandan!
  • If we suggest that we sell the house, its contents, the car and use the proceeds to sponsor surgeries in Mbale, will know that our hearts have been touched with the plight of the dear children and their caregivers! Help us to pray for wisdom and God's direction for stewardship of our time, talents, money and other resources....who knows?
  •  Meanwhile, help us to take the next logical step by faith.....nurture our spouses and family members, complete studies and commitments at work with excellence.....serve the Lord right where we are...and being available for His next assignment here or abroad! 
Thank you so much for the enthusiastic and encouraging comments! Look for the next blog to tell some stories about the people I enjoyed working with!!

Monday, August 9, 2010


We are on the homeward journey.
Rick, Katherine, Kathryn, Megan, Lauren and Mandi set off bravely for white water rafting. Anna, Sam and Kasie are having their own adventures in Jinja. I have the honors of watching the luggage and valuables at Kingfisher Hotel. I gave my local phone to the girls in town so they have an emergency plan. So please don't worry about them. They are being taken to an American style cafe for brownies and ice cream. I shall be content to have fresh avocados and citrus dressing.

What can I say as the team leader at this end of the journey?
Thank you to each team member! What a joy to serve the LORD together! You have all used your gifts for assisting the mission of our host staff at CURE Mbale. We can say with confidence that the LORD is our strength and joy. I am so very proud of each one.

Thank you to all who supported financially, those who loaned clothing, those who donated time and goods. Most of all thank you for your prayers. The Lord protected us from harm and serious illness. Katherine Lean had to receive IV fluids for dehydration. It has been a learning curve for all of us to keep hydrated. We began to hold each other accountable to drink a minimum of 4 bottles of water. All are in fine form for the rafting!

We are changed people...I hope for all eternity. We desire to assimilate these experiences to further God's kingdom work especially in cooperation with CURE international.

We praise God for giving us Heather Hunter to organize the team from State side.
Thanks to Derek Johnson for his care and organization in Uganda.
Thanks to sweet Miriam Ongom and her Spiritual Life team for the privilege of being partners with you in the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you to all the CURE Mbale staff and Administration.
Thank you Dr. John Mugamba for his love and expertise in caring for these precious children.

We will be setting up a site so that you can view the hundreds of pictures we took! God bless! Truly we have done this work through the strength of Jesus Christ!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our time at Mbarara.

How did we spend our days in Mbarara?
Our days began with breakfast, devotions and prayer at the guest house, where we are staying, at 5:30am. The CURE coaster (bus) picked us up at 6:15 for a short drive to the 'campus', the King of Kings Bible School.

Since school is on a break we were able to use these facilities. The mothers and babies and CURE staff slept on mats on the floor. Although the conditions were rustic, there was a joyful atmosphere as caregivers were treated to hot cooked meals, food for their stomachs and spiritual food for the soul. The GO team was involved with food preparation, washing dishes, nursing care and cleaning the site. But that's not all....we were so delighted to hold babies and help mothers get on the bus for the clinic.

The team divided in half on the clinic days. Half went to the clinic and the other stayed on campus.

Every clinic day half of the 'Mums' went to clinic appointments and half remained behind. The team members who went to the clinic helped weigh babies, measure head circumference and learned how to dispense medications. We listened to many stories of God's help through CURE to bring hope for these dear ones born with disabilities.
The team members that stayed on campus, prepared food and served lunch at both places. The GO team also played with the older children and played bubbles etc with younger ones.

At both locations there was a lot of cuddling of babies. It was a joy to affirm God's love and care for these special needs children. Some mothers were surprised that we would ' love up' on these dear ones. We tried to encourage the caregivers in every way possible. We taught Bible stories and songs. We are rejoicing with the angels as many Mums received Jesus Christ as their LORD and SAVIOR!

The sustainable craft was amazingly successful. The bags were so helpful to tote baby stuff around instead of the black plastic bags from the market. The caregivers and CURE givers made bags too....even the doctors! Thanks to my sister Ruth who master minded this craft. Ramona Maxwell, Joann Anderson, Ruth, Mandy, Anna and Rick helped in a huge way before we left the USA. All the GO team made bags and gave them as gifts for our new Ugandan friends. We will be teaching the sustainable craft to the Mums at the hospital tomorrow.

What did we do for entertainment?
The days were long at the Mbarara clinic and campus. The evenings were back at the guest house. We took our meals at the guest house some times by flashlight if the power went out. Well, we were easily amused, watching cameleon lizards catching bugs or observing a praying mantis. Go figure?! Naturally with the early start we went to bed early under our mosquito nets!

Surely, this journey would not be possible without your help. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR INTEREST AND SUPPORT!

Please feel free to post your questions. We will try to answer them. We are on the homeward stretch. Please pray that we will finish strong and continue to bring honor to our great GOD!

Sent from Kathryn's Verizon Wireless Blackberry to my sister's email who then posts our news.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Day at Mbarara and Personal Greetings

Hi every one. We are exhausted, but elated after a thrilling day at the Mbarara clinic and campus. We enjoyed playing with the children, assisting with the mothers, learned how to dispense medications, and cook the Ugandan way over a fire. We had a great time sharing the good news of Jesus and three women received Jesus as their Savior! We also danced and sang praises to God. Later in the afternoon, men and women alike enjoyed the sustainable craft. The team finished the day on the terrace. Some had fried goat and chips. We're missing you all. Here's some messages from the team for you to enjoy...

I am loving africa but really missin my husband, puppy, and all my besties! Can't wait to see yall! This has been such a great experience for me! Love u nathan... Don't forget me at the airport! Ashley u better come to the airport and bring my ya!
--Love samantha george

Hi family! If you read this I'm loving it here and I'm learning so much! I love you all and I'm missing you too. See you at the airport in 7 days!!
--Love Anna

Hello all my pa groupies who miss me ever so much... Africa is treating me well and I am having a good time. Keep praying and I will see you in a week. Much love

My name is NOT Mzungu!!! They won't let me stay so I guess I'm coming home next week... :) Love and miss YA'LL!!!

I'm currently hanging out with nine wonderful women in an exotic African I can't complain! Enjoying exploring my faith and helping others. I miss you and love you all more than you know!

I thought you might want to know I am eating goat in mbarara right now. Also I gained citizenship and found a comfy hut to live in with lauren and our seventeen adopted ugandan kids for after we get out of the peace corps. Sorry to break the news in a blog. Love yall to the moon and back! See you soon.

Soo, I've officially become a pharmacist here in Uganda... don't tell anyone back in the US! Haha, just kidding :) More stories later. I've been holding lots of babies and loving life here. Love and miss you all... See you soon!
P.S. Here's a special birthday shout out to Dad and Matthew since I won't be there :)

Ugandans are incredibly hospitable. Their smiles are as bright as the sun. Training moms at the clinic is great and the babies are little miracles. The land is remarkable and I have surely been innoculated with african blood that will draw me back again. Sending kisses thru the moon. See you soon! Xoxo.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mbarara Bound

 We are leaving for Mbarara on the hospital coaster. We are packed full with everything including the kitchen sink! We are very excited and a little apprehensive. There are so many new experiences to assimilate. We have seen God at work in our lives in so many ways.

Mbarara is to the left of Kampala and Mbale to the right near Mt. Elgon Park.
Saturday was a super day enjoying God's beautiful creation at Sipi fall. Everyone except Maureen hiked. One of the highlights was a cultural dance display. We all joined in the fun bedecked with vines. Well almost all of us. Rick and Mandi took pictures and video. We learned that the festivities were for circumcision ceremonies! Oh dear! It was a learning experience. There is some video footage I am willing to pay big bucks to delete of me dancing. The guide said I was a great dancer. I learned it all from my daughter Marie!

We ate dinner at Lanmark Inn. It was Indian cuisine. Most of us enjoyed it. The others tried it and enjoyed the garlic Naan bread. We had a hilarious finish to the meal. It was suggested that we have tea. It was brought in the largest thermos imaginable. Sam was doing the honors of pouring the tea.... and then there was a major thermos fail. Tea was everywhere! We all laughed ourselves silly!!

I am sending this from Kathryn Hall's blackberry and the bus is bumpy so more later about our Sunday worship experiences. We are all pretty healthy...just a few aches, no sickness. Thanks for all your support and prayers. We are keen to get to Mbarara to serve the Lord, the mothers at the clinic and the camp site. Blessings!

(Map added by the "blog fairy")