Well, after spending an unexpected month away from Gulu I’m back…. and busier than ever.

As some of you already know I went back to the U.S. when I received word that my mother was ill and did not have too many more days to live. I flew back to the States as quickly as I could and am very thankful that I had some time to spend with her and to say good-bye before the Lord took her home.

My mom was one of the strongest woman who I have known, conquering all kinds of adversity through her life. When she became determined to do something, nothing could stop her. She taught me well the meaning of perseverance. I will miss my mom.

While I was home I was able to visit with some family and friends but regret that I wasn’t able to visit with as many of you as I would have liked. Please, forgive me if I didn’t get a change to see you and say hello but as this trip was unplanned it wasn’t easy coordinating schedules and transportation. I am grateful though for the visits and get-togethers I was able to make and for some new friendships as well.

I appreciated all the care and pampering I was receiving while I there and for all the meals and attention given me. I never felt so spoiled and loved. I also filled a suitcase with the many gifts of sewing supplies that were graciously given and I am so thankful for all the other gifts provided. When I arrived in Gulu there was a big box of material that was delivered to me while I was in the States. It is all such a blessing!

A sold quilt!!!

When I was quickly packing for the States I threw in some quilts that the Te-got ladies had completed. I was thinking that I might get a chance to show these quilts to some of you. Since these were the first quilts that the ladies made there were some mistakes and the quality wasn’t quite what it should be so I really didn’t plan on selling these quilts. To my delight though, all the quilts did sell and I came back with a few new orders.

When I returned to Gulu and met with the ladies they were very excited to hear this news and are now more motivated than ever to complete more quilts.  I am now very busy cutting material and trying to increase the projects.

One of the gifts that was given to me to bring back to the women was some reading/magnifying glasses. The ladies were especially happy with these and they had a great time with many laughs trying on different styles and strengths to find a pair that could help them in seeing to thread a needle.  

Word must have travelled through the village that the ladies quilts were selling because this week I’ve had about 30 new women come to class, wanting to join the project.  I was also told that there are women in another village who would also like to join but distance is an issue.

Some ladies walk miles to come to the project.

A very busy day!

This week I had upwards of 50 ladies with 23 being new trainees.  The others were working on 8 different projects in progress. On one recent day I was very busy moving from one project to the next, taking down names of the new ladies and  trying to squeeze in some basic sewing training while helping the more experienced women with their projects. By the end of class we all agreed that I can not handle this many ladies at one time and give everyone the attention they need.

We decided that I’ll go to the village a couple of hours earlier and work with the new “Beginners” for the first couple of hours before the “Intermediate” group shows up, then my attention will shift to them.

Since I’ve been back I have spent a lot of my time just cutting out projects and the last couple of days cutting the “beginners” projects. My shears are starting to give me blisters!

Shortly after my return, the women, in order to show their respect and condolences at the lost of

A recently completed quilt

my mom, honored me by presenting me a goat, which was then taken away and prepared for our meal together for later in the afternoon. This is an Acholi custom as was the collection of money they presented to me for which I was truly humbled. They were truly showing their love and I am so blessed to have their friendship.

The meal was delicious and I was especially enjoying the goat meat. I’ve discovered that goat meat is one of my favorite meats. I was so disappointed that our dinner and time together was cut short when my boda-boda driver started insisting we leave. There was a serious storm approaching and if we didn’t leave ahead of it, we might not have been able to leave at all that evening. I was still chewing on goat’s meat when I was whisked away but I made it home before the first rain drop fell on me.

Current project

My last visit to the village resulted in getting caught in one of these storms on our way back to town. This was not a pleasant ride at all! It was very heavy rain with lightning and thunder the whole trip back. The road turned into a rushing stream..I think this is what’s called flash flooding… and it became very slippery. I am so fortunate to have an excellent boda driver as he did get me home safely, albeit soaking wet.  The next time he looks at the sky and says it’s time to leave, he won’t have to tell me twice.

It is the rainy season now in Uganda and it’s usual to have storms pass through almost daily. This usually occurs anytime from late afternoon and throughout the evening although it can rain anytime of day. During the sewing classes this means having to grab our projects quickly and run for shelter. We then all try to squeeze into a hut and resume the projects but with little room and no light it’s almost impossible to work.

I have recently been talking with the headmaster of the primary school in Te-got about using the school library, at least on Saturdays, for the ladies quilting project. This would be an ideal room as it’s big and with lots of natural light. It also has a blackboard which will be helpful when I

School library

start to teach the women how to cut  material for their projects. We may even be able to use the library on Wednesdays also. If not, I think I’ll need to look into purchasing a tent.

I already have had one table made and placed in the library and would like to have at least one more along with bench seats. In February I had contracted with a carpenter to have a table with two benches made and was arranging to have these moved to the village once they were completed. Unfortunately, I had to leave quickly for the States and never got to see the furniture before it was delivered. Well, the table came out very nice and I’m happy with it but the benches definitely were not what I had ordered…or paid for and I am now waiting for the carpenter to correct his mistake. Since I would like a duplicate table and benches made he would be smart to do so.

School library

In exchange for the use of the library I would like to be in the library one day a week to tutor.

I think this room has great potential for both tutoring and for the women’s project but it does need some work. Right now the library/school has more books and curriculum than it does bookcases so what I would like to see is for one of the walls, the back wall of the room, to have built-in bookshelves with maybe some storage space under the shelves. In having all the books, curriculum and musical instruments stored in one area this would open up the library, providing more organization and giving more room for the ladies group. I’m sure I could squeeze out some of the storage area for my sewing supplies too so I wouldn’t have to transport so much with each trip.

I thank each of you who are praying for me and ask that you continue to pray for this project, that the women will soon see the financial rewards of their hard work. I also ask for prayer for myself as I feel I’m under a spiritual attack and have been battling feelings of discouragement. I know though that if I fight this battle in the name of Jesus, I will win. Ephesians 6:10 – 17

I know it’s been too long since my last update and I apologize. The last couple of months have been pretty busy and power has not always been available when I am able to get on my laptop. I’m working at getting some kind of back-up power.

I can’t believe that it is March already but it has been a busy time since my last update. I think I’ve spent a lot of time cutting out material for all the different quilt projects the women are working on.

January's projects. These wall hangings are the same pattern as the practice pieces. We thought we would try using the pattern in a small quilt.

The ladies quilt/sewing project has been going very well and I know they really enjoy working on these. I meet with them a couple of times a week for what should be for 3 hours but we usually go for 4 to 5 and I’ve noticed I’m coming home later and later in the evening.  We always have a great time though and try to end the meeting with a devotional and some bible reading.

In January we completed a couple of wall hanging size quilts and are currently working on several different projects, some wall hangings and some table runners.

A new project...and a new design.

Working on a table runner. Agnes is there with her new baby girl, born just a few days before Christmas.

A recent class...or maybe we should call it a "quilting bee"

Back in June 2010 I wrote about receiving a generous gift of over 300 books of curriculum and children literature. Well, I was finally able to deliver these books to the Tegot Primary School. The headmaster was very excited and happy to have these and told me the curriculum will be welcomed by the teachers and will be a great resource for them. Due to many years of war (with Kony/LRA) the school had lost much of their curriculum and books.  He was especially excited that the literature books were at the reading level for his students.

No, the cat wasn't included!

This school enrolls students up to the P7 level, which I think is equivalent to grade 7 in the U.S. There are 719 students and 13 teachers. This equates to a teacher to student ratio of 1:55. Yaks! I’m not sure I could do that job. The teachers work under limited work conditions too..no electricity..no computers..little curriculum and resources..and limited supplies of pens, paper, chalk, etc.

A previous ECM missionary worked hard at getting the library restored at the school before she went back to the States. I recently visited the library and am very interested in picking up where she left off. It’s a good size room with lots of light and potential. I think it could easily double as a library and a tutoring area. It has a blackboard that just needs some paint and I think the only thing else needed is a table and benches..and a little organization. I also see it as doubling as a sewing center on Saturdays and some of the mothers have expressed wanting to learn English so let’s add an “adult learning center” to the many possibilities.

In January, I and a couple of high school boys from my neighborhood, painted the blackboards in the school. The boards were pretty warned down and painting them was something I wanted to do since I got here. I think we were able to paint seven boards.

A freshly painted board.

During ECM Bible clubs on Saturday I would sometimes practice some math problems with the children using one of the blackboards but the board were so worn it was difficult to see what I had written. I’m not sure how the teachers managed. Now, with new blackboard paint the chalk is nice and clear. I think we painted about seven boards.

A few days before the new semester began (January 31) I arranged to have some of the sponsor children come to the school for a “clean-up” day. We swept the classrooms, wiped down the desks and cleaned up the grounds a bit.

The school headmaster and school committee is kind enough to allow ECM to hold it’s Saturday Bible Club

Tegot Primary School

at the school so I though this was a way we could all say thank you.

The last couple of months found me becoming more involved with the ladies than just in giving quilting or sewing lessons. There were trips to the hospital to visit one lady who went in for surgery and another who had a stroke. I’m sad to report that Doreen didn’t recover from her stroke and has gone home to the Lord. During a January sewing class, another lady received word that her husband passed away suddenly. So, in addition to hospital visits there have been visits to grieving families to pray with and to try to offer words of comfort.

Evelyn's new bike.

Here’s Evelyn’s (the Tegot ladies group chairwoman) new bike. (Well, it’s her’s as long as she is chairwoman.) One of Evelyn’s responsibilities is to visit and disciple the women through-out the village. Some of these women live in remote areas and one can walk several miles on a trail before reaching someone’s home. I know, I’ve done it a few times! A bicycle will make these journeys easier and will allow Evelyn to reach more ladies, more often. We went to a bike shop in Gulu town and she picked out the bike she wanted. She thought that this was the sturdier, more reliable bike. I would have picked out something totally different so I’m glad we did this together.

Early in February the director for ECM, Lorella Rouster, visited Gulu to do some work on the Tegot sponsorship program and to make some changes to the program and the staff who oversee it. None of this directly effected my ministry as the work I do with ladies is independent of the ECM sponsorship program.

The dry season began sometime mid-December and up until a week ago there hasn’t been any rain, just dry and hot. I think temps were in the upper 90’s to 100 but I think now we’re heading back into the wet season  that officially begins mid-March. It has been very dry and VERY dusty. My visits to the village is usually on a boda-boda and by the time I return home, I and my bags are completely covered with dirt.

The dry season is also a time, I think, when critters come in looking for water. Recently, I encountered a black snake in my bathroom. I went looking for some heavy gloves so I could pick him up (he was only about 15 inches long) and put him outdoors but by the time I found the gloves he was gone. I have no idea where he went!! Then, when in the village I had scorpion pulled off me. I’m glad someone else noticed it as I wouldn’t have recognized it as a scorpion. I’ve only seen pictures..never the real thing.

I’m still having lessons with my scooter but I think I’m ready to take it out on my own. I hope my teacher agrees! I’m a little concern though about getting out of my neighborhood without running down a child so maybe a few more lessons are in order. I also have my bicycle now and have been using that to get around town and to get some exercise.

I have been staying healthy though and I thank the Lord for the good health and for his continued protection during all my boda rides and with my encounters with poisonous critters. I’m so grateful that I haven’t had any major health issues. My only problem seems to be in making sure I eat enough…and eating properly. I have lost all my excess weight and my weight now is pretty much where it should be but it would be so easy to keep losing. This is something totally new to me as I’ve always had to work at keeping the weight off. It must be all the healthy eating…fresh fruits and vegetables..very little snacks or junk food…no Vermont cheddar cheese..no fatty foods!!

I want to sincerely thank you for the packages I have received the last few months that have been filled with wonderful sewing notions and other goodies.  These are truly appreciated and the supplies are being put to good use. It is almost impossible to get quilting supplies in Uganda and sewing supplies in general are limited. I recently found some hand sewing needles from China but they weren’t very good and broke at the slightest pressure.

Here’s a short video taken right before Christmas. The ladies were in a celebration mood as they anticipated Christmas. They are here singing a praise song. I hope you don’t have a problem viewing it. My internet connection is very slow as I do this blog so I can’t play it to test it out and I’m not sure how it’s going to play. 

Is it really Christmas?

It has not felt like the Christmas season to me as I’m still wearing sandles and enjoying beautiful summer weather.  It is getting hotter though as we enter the dry season. Christmas time to me means sloshing around in winter boots, cutting down your Christmas tree in the snow and then enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate to thaw out. I just can’t get my mind to register that it’s Christmas when I’m enjoying 80 degree plus weather.

There are signs of Christmas in Uganda though, the stores are all nicely decorated, people are talking about Christmas and the radio stations are all playing Christmas music. I’ve noticed merchants selling small artificial Christmas trees and decorations…and there are banners hanging everywhere announcing “Boxing Day” on December 26. Now, of course, I thought this meant there was going to be a big boxing match the day after Christmas…ha..ha. I have never heard of Boxing day before but apparently this is celebrated in several countries, the UK, Australia, Greece, Canada, and Uganda to name a few. (How did I not know about Boxing day when it’s celebrated in Canada?)  This is another day to spend with family and friends opening gifts…I think!

I have spent about 4 weeks out of the last 6 weeks in Kampala but not all in one trip. It was back and forth several times and this isn’t an easy, quick trip. Driving your own vehicle from Gulu to Kampala takes around 5 hours and when taking the bus…well that’s another story. Going from Gulu to Kampala wasn’t bad but coming home required 9 hours on the bus.  This bus had “issues” and I wouldn’t want to repeat that ride anytime soon.

I did enjoy Kampala and the trips weren’t without some adventure….  I had my camera confiscated by the police for taking a picture of the Nile river…I forgot you couldn’t do that at this location..but did manage to get it back. We broke down during one trip and was being towed when our tow truck broke down, of course, in the middle of an intersection.  I was chased by a camel and I discovered fried grasshoppers (nsenene). They are now my number one snack…I’m not kidding…I really do like them!

Enjoying some nsenene as an appetizer before the meal.

This guy got upset with me when he discovered I had no food in my hand.

Yes, I had a good time in Kampala but was very happy to get back to Gulu and continue my work with the ladies.

My new scooter...it's bigger and heavier than looks.

During one trip I was able to purchase a scooter and a couple of sewing machines. During another trip I got word that my shipment was finally in Kampala so I had to stay and work with the shipping company while my cargo went through Customs and the Uganda Revenue Authority. I was so happy to get these boxes and to see they survived the trip in pretty good condition. Thank you to all who was praying for the delivery of this shipment.

On my first trip to Kampala I brought Evelyn, the chairperson for the Tegot ladies group, with us. This was her first time to Kampala. We also visited Entebbe airport as she wanted to see a plane land and take off for the first time and we went to a wildlife sanctuary. I had the best time watching the chimps as they seemed to entertain us.  I know she enjoyed the trip but I’m sure she found Kampala much different from life in her village.


George of the jungle!

This lion looks too comfortable

My third trip brought me to Kampala with one of my fellow workers. She has been sick with a stubborn infection for several weeks and the doctor in Kampala wanted her to return to his office for further testing. Being weak and tired she didn’t want to travel alone so I went with her.  She has since left Uganda to fly home to the U.S. to seek medical help there as she is still not getting any better. I ask if you could please pray that the doctors will quickly discover what is causing this infection and prescribe the correct medicine as she does want to return and complete her one year obligation.

The sewing project with the ladies from Tegot village is doing very well with many of them completing their practice piece.

The first group of ladies to complete the training project.

They have been more than ready to start a “serious” project and we are currently working on a couple of wall hanging size quilts. I am thrilled at how much they are enjoying this quilt making. I look forward to the days I meet with them because we have such a good time working together. I’m sure it would even be better once I learn the language..ugh!

Second group to "graduate"

This week found the women exceptionally happy thinking about celebrating Christmas. I have some great videos of them “singing while we work”. We really had a fun time. As soon as I figure how to get these on my blog I’ll make them available.

I received some packages this month that included a variety of sewing items and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to get these items. They were all well needed and very much appreciated. THANK YOU!! I think the women especially liked the sewing needles because that meant I could stop being so “stingy” with my supply.

Well, as I write this it is now Christmas day in Uganda! I want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and hope you get to spend it with family and friends as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Trading Apples for Papayas

Tegot-atoo hill and village

Well, mid-October finds me still waiting for my cargo that was shipped back in June. I’m told that it’s in Mombasa, Kenya; sitting on a vessel that’s waiting to unload. I think it’s been sitting in that port for 3 weeks now. I understand there’s a huge back-up in the port so who knows when it’ll get unloaded.

I’m just grateful my boxes made it to the right continent as the vessel I had first been told they were on docked in China weeks ago. This made me a little nervous…to say the least! I was wondering where in the world (literally) were my boxes.

Once unloaded in Mombasa, the shipment will go through some security checks and then should be sent to Kampala, Uganda where I can pick it up… but I’m prepared to go to Mombasa if need be. These boxes contain a lot of ministry supplies that I could be using now. I’m trying to stay patient!

I will be going to Kampala soon, if not to pick up my cargo at least to buy some needed supplies AND to look for a scooter. God provided the funds needed to make this purchase through the generous giving of a supporter and I want to say thank you to those friends. I know you have a great love and concern for the people here.

The ladies sewing training is going very well. I’m up to 45 women in training. As I wrote about in my last blog post, I broke up the ladies into two groups and this is working out well. They assigned themselves to either a Wednesday or Saturday class. I notice though that some women from my Saturday class will come to Wednesday’s training and vice versa. They know they won’t get individual training if it’s not their scheduled day but come with their sewing to just be part of the group and to get help from each other. They really seem to be enjoying these classes. Most spend all morning in the field farming and I’m sure by the afternoon they are hot and tired so I admire them for their committment.

Meet Agnes. Soon she'll be sewing better than the teacher!

There’s about 20 or 25 who will soon be ready to begin some real projects.  I now need to get some tables and chairs and get us off the ground. The projects we will start soon will have to be kept very clean and dry. Umm..maybe I should also get a canopy as the rains can come quickly.

Recently, a mother came to my Saturday class in tears, pleading for help for herself and children. This wasn’t the first time she had approached me so we arranged to meet with her and her family the next day.

This woman had an all too familiar story. Her husband abandoned the family and she was alone raising 4 children, ages 12 to 2 and a grandchild, age 7. Her daughter left her with the grandchild, Sarah, when Sarah was an infant. The woman breast-fed the baby, not knowing she, herself was HIV positive. Now, both the grandmother and the granddaughter are HIV positive. This woman also has cancer of the lips and requires an operation. The family has very little and is living in dire conditions.  The children are not in school because there just isn’t enough money.

While we visited we also shared the gospel with this woman. She once attended church but knew that she now wasn’t walking with the Lord and wasn’t sure if she had salvation. We talked with her and read some passages from the Bible, both in English and Acholi and prayed with her. Praise God, before we left she accepted Christ as her savior.

We will now work at getting the children into ECM’s child sponsorship program. Once a sponsor is found for a child, he or she will then be able to attend school, become eligible for the food program and receive medical care when needed. If you would like to know more about this program please visit www.ecmafrica.org.

October 9 was Independence Day in Uganda. I discovered that they celebrate pretty much like us Americans celebrate our independence, with a lot of good food and fireworks. It’s their most important holiday, next to Christmas. (I think we can say the same.) This year was their 49th anniversary. I and the other missionaries were invited to celebrate with the family of one of our ECM team members. It was a day of great food, dancing, games and meeting new friends.

Ohh..autumn in New England...can't say I'm missing it though because I know what comes next!

It’s apple season back in the States and I would love to have a bushel of Cortlands right now. It’s also papaya season here in Uganda and next to my New England apples it’s my favorite fruit. So although I’m missing the apples, the papaya is more than filling that craving.

Meet my "adopted" mama. She's as feisty as my mother.

As small and insignificant as this may be it’s just one more way God is providing and blessing me by filling the voids that were created when I left my home, family and friends to move to Uganda. As much as I miss my family… my friends… my church, the Lord has brought into my life so many more people to help fill those empty spaces in my heart. I’m so thankful for His love, mercy and grace.

I am also thankful for all of you, for your prayers and your generous support. Together, I think we can make a difference!

Ki pack Lubanga

Praise God!

…and I have much to praise God for in the three months that I have been in Uganda.

My adjustment to living in a new country; learning a new language; and adjusting to a culture so

ECM Gulu

different from my own has been an easy one and so far going rather smoothly. I have to credit the people of Gulu in this as they have gone out of their way to make me comfortable in my new home. They have welcomed me with open arms and I am truly humbled by their love and generosity.

Praise God!

I’m in wonder as I can see how God has prepared me for living in Uganda, years before I even knew where Uganda was on the map.

Praise God!

Within the first two weeks of living here I find a rat living in one of my luggage bags. All my life I have had an “exaggerated” fear or phobia of rats and their smaller cousin, mice. I remember praying and asking God not to send me any place that had rats. Well, I have not only dealt with that rat but have also managed to live with mice and bats. God may not have taken the rodents away but what He did do was take my fears away.

Praise God!

I have never been a fan of motorcycles, thinking them as very dangerous and praying that my sons would never want to own one. Well, now I find it’s me, their mother, not only enjoying riding them but wanting to own one (a little one..like a scooter). Here in Uganda they are an economical mode of transportation and can sometimes pass through these roads easier that a vehicle. They’re also fun! ….and yes, I have purchased a helmet!

Praise God!

As I make my adjustments and learn the language my work with the widows and mothers out in the


village continues. Currently, I have only been able to visit them one day a week but will be increasing the number of days that we meet. I have about 35 ladies interested in sewing and in quilt making but am now finding that I can not give these ladies adequate training and teaching in such a large group. When you add in the language barrier it makes it even more difficult.

I know that I need to move my language learning along quicker to eliminate this obstacle but even after that teaching 35 ladies at once is


difficult so what I want to do is to split these ladies into three groups and meet with each on separate days.The smaller groups will allow me to give more individual instruction and direction.

Right now I’m trying to work out the transportation issues on getting out to the village and back again. We are in the rainy season and the last thing the road to this village needs is rain. It pretty much makes the


roads impassable with a vehicle…unless maybe your driving a HumVee.

So, I’m thinking about purchasing a used motor scooter or “small” motorcycle. At least with a scooter I can always walk it through the bad spots. Well, maybe I can! I tried walking just myself through one of those bad spots the other day and didn’t make it. I fell head first into a large mud hole. I was dripping with mud. Oh, what a mess! At least I was able to provide a good laugh for the rest of the team….and passerby’s.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy working with these ladies. They are working hard in their training and are taking it seriously. Last week I discovered just how important this training is to them. I shared with them about my desire to have a building built that


would be used for their vocational training and for tutoring their children. They were so excited at the prospect. Right now we are meeting outdoors and sitting on mats placed on the ground. When it rains we all move into a hut but with 20 to 30 people in one hut and no light it does not make for a good  training area. We will soon need to move up to some tables and chairs but since we can only work outdoors it can only be when it’s not raining. It rains pretty much daily here!

I was completely overwhelmed and I’m feeling a tremendous amount of responsibility after recently being told that they consider my coming to help them an answer to their prayers, that God choose such a time as this to send me to give these widows hope for their future. Their biggest prayers is to be able to raise healthy children and to provide them with an education. Isn’t this the prayer of every parent?

Please pray that the training we are doing today will soon produce a source of income for these mothers in the not to distant future.

I do feel that it is for these ladies and their children that God has led me to Uganda and my main focus will be in ministering to them, however, there is so many other ministry opportunities here. The local municipal hospital for one.

We were asked recently by a friend to visit his sister in the hospital. She is 23 years old, has 3 children and has HIV. She was in the hospital suffering from mouth sores and wasn’t able to eat because of the sores. We visited and prayed with her and then went out to get some necessities, like food. The hospital provides medical care but nothing else. No food or water, no pillow, no blanket or mosquito net.

In one of the markets we found some drinkable yogurt and brought her some of these along with some other needed items. It turns out the yogurt was the perfect food for her as the cold yogurt was soothing on mouth and it was easy to swallow. After a few days she was well enough to be released.

Last week the ECM team rescued a mother and her children. Two of the children were very malnourished and the youngest did not look like he was going to survive too much longer. The little boy is about age 4 and his sister is 12. The team was able to get them to the hospital where the children received the proper nourishment and care. I went to the hospital yesterday to visit them and the mom, Grace, was all smiles and both her children had marked improvement.

Praise God!

Now, we would like to find sponsors for the children. Sponsorship will provide food for this family and school for the child sponsored.

While at the hospital I also met and spoke with a young girl, 14, who had tried to commit suicide the night before because her mother no longer had the money to pay her school fees and she would have to drop out of school. Her mom is not only taking care of her children but her grandchildren from an older daughter who has recently died. The girl’s name is Sheila. Please pray that she will come to know that God loves her and does have a plan for her life if she would just come to rely on Him to meet her needs.

Almost daily there is a new opportunity to help or minister to someone in need. Some of the requests are urgent needs such as for medical care or food and some are financial pleas from (mostly young) people to help them with school costs so to have a hope for the future. There have been very few looking for a hand-out and most are very willing to work for any assistance we can provide. These young people are just looking for a helping hand to build a better future, for themselves, their family and for their country.

The requests are many but the finances are limited so we do need to have discernment on how and who we help so I ask that you pray for us in this regard.

I am so grateful to those who are praying for and or supporting my work here. Please know that you are important to me and that I am praying for you also.

My desire is to update this blog more frequently and I will work at doing that but sometimes scheduling, the internet and electrical power are not working together. This makes it difficult but there is room for improvement on my part!

In the village

Last week we met with some ladies in a remote part of the village. We had hiked about 1 1/2 to 2 miles into the bush to reach them.

These ladies are all anxious to learn a skill or trade.

I had brought a book with me on African designed quilts and was showing them the different types of quilts from various African countries. They were intrigued with the different designs but noticed that the book didn’t include a quilt from Uganda. When I assured them, that in time and with practice, they could one day sew a quilt like those in the book, they were anxious to start learning. They want to make sure that one day a Ugandan quilt will be represented in a book.

So, this will be one of the first training projects. Quilt making! I already have a small,

Mary is showing them the practice piece.

easy project ready so they can learn and practice.

This week we had a much bigger group but I was able to start some basic hand stitching training. There are over 20 ladies interested in the quilt making.

One stitch at a time

Practicing our stitches

Saturdays, we meet with the ECM sponsor children and have been using a “Wordless Book” curriculum. Each week is a new lesson on one of the colored pages. So far, we have had 5 children profess their faith in Jesus Christ.

Now that the children are studying for their school exams before they go on August vacation we will try to help tutor some of them this coming week after Bible club.

Since the ECM water team left Gulu early in July I have been busy learning the Acholi language and learning to drive in Uganda.

One of the ECM missionaries was approached by some high school age boys while walking home one day. They told her that they needed a soccer ball for their school and could she help them get one. They were neatly dressed in their school uniforms and were well-mannered. She was impressed by them. She asked them to come by the next day for her decision. After discussing it with me and the other missionary we decided that we would be buy them a soccer ball (or two) if they would be willing to give us some Acholi language lessons. They agreed so for the past week we have our hourly lessons, then spend a few more hours practicing.

When I walked to the little market close by to the house, I decided to practice one of the greetings they taught us. “Etye ninin” I greeted the ladies at the market and they were all smiles and thrilled that I finally learned something more than my usual one word greeting. “Etye ninin” means “how are you”. When they responded back I was even able to respond with another  greeting.


These young men are very good teachers.

I can even count to 10 in Acholi.

Ingonyo Yesu ? (Do you know Jesus?)

Imito ngonya Yesu? (Do you want to know Jesus?)

Amito pwonge ki lok pa Lubanga. (I would like to teach you with word of God.)

Now, for the driving! Oh boy, I think that will be harder than learning the language!

My biggest concern about driving in Uganda was having to drive on the other side of the road (like Great Britain) with the driver’s side on the right hand side of the car. Well, it really isn’t that difficult. My problem is in learning to share the road with all the other vehicles, boda boda’s (motorcycle taxis), bicycles and people and not getting stuck in the mud holes. On my first attempt at driving I ended up sideswiping a bicycle. I’m go grateful that the rider wasn’t on it at the time and that I didn’t damage it..

…and I think there are people in the center of town still laughing at my driving skills. I won’t even tell you what happened there.

I’ll keep practicing though as being able to drive is going to be a necessity.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of walking or sometimes when I’m in a hurry I’ll take a boda boda.

I’ve been attending the Gulu Bible Community Church. The church is a mission minded church with one of the pastors coming from Kenya. They have a 8:00 a.m. service in English that last until 10:00 a.m. and then the next two hours are in Acholi.  I attend the 8 o’clock and sometimes stay for the 10 o’clock, for either all or part of it. The music for the 10:00 gets a little more lively and I enjoy listening (and moving) to it. I just found out that the church also has a Swahili service at 12:30 and lasts for over four hours.

The church is about three miles from my house so I take a boda boda to church but usually take my time walking home, discovering shops I hadn’t notice before or finding new routes home.

A view of my neighborhood

This Sunday while walking home I had to get out of the way of a run away bull. He was just looking for greener pastures. I also had a new short-cut back to the house. I quickly named this the “Bat Path” though. The tall trees lining the path and acting as a canopy over it are also home to hundreds of bats. This could be the one place where I’m not bothered by a mosquito. There’s never a dull moment and there’s a new experience every day it seems.


Please pray for me for the following…

that I don’t overlook opportunities to minister to people here;

that I learn the language quickly;

for my driving;

for my training the ladies in sewing;

and that I take my anti-malaria meds on schedule.

I praise the Lord that I have remained healthy and have not had any serious “food” adjustments and considering that I have eaten pretty much everything that’s put in front of me I find that pretty amazing.

Thank you all for your love and prayers.

Congratulations, to the ECM “water well team” for their hard work and diligence. There are now two new water wells in the villages for people to have fresh water.

A working water well

Back in the States it easy for me to take clean, fresh water for granted. Just turn on the faucet and it’s there, ready to drink. That is not the case here. First, if you are fortunate to have plumping and running water in your home, you still need to boil the water before drinking it and it doesn’t always come out of the faucet nice and clear.  If you don’t have plumping, you have to take your Jerry cans and go to a well, then you lug the filled cans home.

The other day our house was without water for a few hours. I turned on the faucet and nothing came out. Oh no, now what do I do? I can’t bathe, I can’t wash clothes, can’t flush the toilet.  I looked for a Jerry can but couldn’t find one in the house and even if I had and I found a well, how would I carry it home? Those things are heavy when filled with water. Fortunately, the water came back by evening but I think it was a warning to prepare for those times when there is no running water, which I’m told they will come.

So, if no running water in my house is such an inconvenience for me how would I ever survive if I couldn’t even count on a well? There are people who are still bathing, washing clothes and drinking from the same stream.

I’m sure the people in these villages are very grateful to this group of people who came from New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and some states in-between to make life a whole lot better for some folks here.

As important as these water wells are here, my prayer is that many will come to drink of the living water, this water, once they drink it they will never thirst again.

As Jesus said…But whosoever drinks the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14

I have uploaded more pictures and you can see those by clicking on the FLICKR PHOTOS on the right.

I’ve been here three weeks now and it’s been a busy three weeks in trying to get around in Gulu; in settling into my house; traveling with the ECM water team that’s here to install water wells; and in meeting and getting to know the children and ladies of Tegot-atoo village.

I am also enjoying getting to know the ECM Ugandan workers. They are a great group to work with and have been so helpful. There’s Simon, Mary, Erik, Tony, David and Dennis. Simon I met back in 2008 when I was here and he is in charge of the Gulu group. He’s really on fire for the Lord and for helping Tegot village. Mary I have just come to know and from what I see it’s Mary that keeps things coordinated and moving smoothly. Erik, Tony, David and Dennis are a great group of young men and I know I’ll enjoy working with them all.

Since the ECM Ugandan staff has been busy working with the water team (that is here to install water wells and filtration systems) and are not fully available to the long-term missionaries yet, I decided that I would tag along with the water team as I can’t do much without an interpreter or driver. This however, has given me a chance

Digging for water

to meet some of the people in the outer villages and their children. Once we arrive at an area where the pump will be installed some villagers usually come to greet us and their men quickly join the men on our team in digging the bore hole for the well. Some ladies have come out too and lots of children. I have had the opportunity to present the wordless book to a few children and two, Sandy and Eleanor responded to the salvation message.  In addition, one man on the water team lead two men to Christ. One of these men had once been a soldier in the LRA rebel army. Praise the Lord!

Who can resist this smile?

Currently, there is one water pump working and the second is near completion. Both of these pumps are in remote areas so I believe these pumps will be a real blessing for the villagers living near them.

ECM Sponsor Children

On Saturday mornings we meet with children who are part of ECM’s sponsorship program for the Saturday club. During this time we give a bible lesson, sing Acholi praise songs and teach the children our songs. It has also been a time to play with and get to know the children. The boys love the soccer ball and the girls have fun trying out the frisbees, whiffle ball and bat. They also enjoyed me reading to them. Currently, there are approximately 70 sponsored children. This past Saturday we started teaching the Wordless book, one page a lesson, starting with the gold page and five children came forward to accept Christ.  I really enjoy the Saturday Club.

I’ve met some of the ladies from Tegot when the water team went to give lessons on clean water and water hygiene. One of the ladies, Evelyn, seems to be a spokesperson for the others and has some special requests. The ladies would like bibles in the Acholi language and Evelyn would like a bicycle so she can ride out to ladies in the remote areas and minister to them. They also would like some warm clothing for when they are out in the field farming early in the morning. We are currently pricing the bibles which have to be purchased from Kampala. I was able to find one Acholi bible at a bookshop here in Gulu.

Evelyn is the spokesperson for the Tegot ladies

These ladies always honor us by killing and cooking a chicken for us, then serving us a meal before we leave. They will move us to a hut that is set up just for us and there we eat a delicious meal, although I’m not always sure what I am eating.

One day we all went over to Lira. Lira is about and hour and a half from Gulu. ECM has recently began ministering to a group of albino adults and children. We went and listened as the adults and the parents told their stories of how difficult it is to be an albino in Uganda. Albinos are missing all or most skin pigment and this makes it very difficult for them to be out in the sun. In Uganda it is pretty difficult to avoid the sun. We saw a couple of ladies who were disfigured from the effects of the sun due to skin cancer.

Children from Lira

It is very important that parents keep their babies and children covered from the sun. Hats, sunglasses and very strong sunscreen are a must. The team purchased sunglasses and some of us were able to get a few tubes of sunscreen to bring out. I’m upset with myself because I had a few ball caps I had packed and never thought of bringing those to Lira. I will remember these next time though!

Albinos not only have the extra physical problems and hardships to endure but there is also a lot of emotional and physiological problems with albinism. These people are largely rejected by society so attending school or finding employment is very difficult. Many times their own families will reject them thinking they are a curse. Fathers will deny paternity and mothers will even abandon their baby. The biggest danger though for albinos in Uganda and eastern Africa is being killed and their body parts used by witch doctors to make expensive potions.

The stories we heard from the group that gathered was heartbreaking.

I’m also busy finding my way around Gulu and checking out the best shops for prices to shop. I can even walk from the house to town and back without getting lost. I also experienced my first boda boda (motorcycle) taxi ride. I’ve been hesitant as the boda boda’s have the worst safety records but my first two drivers were very good and went slow for me. It wasn’t bad at all and beats walking in the humid weather!


My house is pretty comfortable and with some paint and TLC it could be pretty nice. There are three of us ladies sharing the house and we each have our own room. In addition, there’s a living room, small dining area and extra-small kitchen. The bathroom is two rooms within one with a shower room and a toilet room. It only took us two weeks but we finally figured out how to get hot water.

The other morning I opened one of my duffel bags that was in the storage room and got a whiff of what I thought was a dead animal. I thought the bullfrog came back and got trapped in my bag. After further investigating I discovered the critter was alive and it turned out to be a RAT. To those of you who know my phobia concerning rats you are probably surprised that I didn’t get on the next plane home. However, God is giving me the courage to deal with it.

The electricity seems to be off more than it is on and when it’s on I haven’t had the opportunity to get on my computer but I’m starting to learn the time of day or night when to expect electricity so I’m timing myself a little better. I hope to be able to update you more frequently.

God is providing me with all kinds of helpful people and this is making it easy to adjust. The Ugandan people are so gracious and so quick to assist you. Though, they can’t help laughing at my attempt to speak Acholi.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

I’ll get more pictures up soon too!

Finally, in Uganda!!

Arrived in Uganda on May 30 and currently staying near Kampala until June 2 when I head up to Gulu. I don’t have too much time now to do an update as internet time is limited right now but everything is going great and as soon as I settle in Gulu, I’ll be able to write and tell you more.

I just want to thank you for all your prayers and support!

God is so good!

Rescheduled to May 29!

Today was the day I was scheduled to fly to Uganda, however, earlier this week I had made a decision to postpone my flight until later in May. The reason being that the sale of my house was delayed and I didn’t want to leave until I felt more comfortable with the sale process. I have been feeling disappointed that I have to wait another month and wondering if I had made the right decision, but I knew that I wanted to leave with my mind more at peace and not feeling like I was leaving with too many loose ends undone for my family.

Well, it appears I made a good decision as my flight tonight would have been delayed anyways. Due to political unrest and demonstrations in Uganda these past couple of weeks, Every Child Ministries has asked myself and one other long term missionary scheduled to fly Uganda tonight, to wait until after the presidential inauguration on May 12. When you have demonstrators in Kampala it makes it very difficult to maneuver through the city and highways tend to be blocked and this would make it difficult to travel north up to Gulu. After the inauguration, things should quiet down.

At this time I’m rescheduled to fly out on May 29.

Today, the violence in Uganda escalated with many people injured and two people lost their life. Below, is a current news report describing the situation.

At this time I’d like to ask if you could pray for Uganda and for the safety and comfort of ECM staff and missionaries currently in Uganda. These demonstrations are making it very difficult to travel through-out Uganda.

Riots Erupt in Uganda After Brutal Arrest, At Least 2 Dead










Published April 29, 2011 | Associated Press

Army troops and police fired live bullets at rioting demonstrators in downtown Kampala on Friday, the first time the Uganda’s growing protest movement had reached the country’s capital. Red Cross officials said at least two people were killed and 120 wounded.

Riotors burned tires in downtown streets as security forces fired tear gas and guns, and a Red Cross spokeswoman said 15 of the wounded and been hit by live bullets. Battles between protesters and police were also reported elsewhere around the country, including at Kasangati, just outside the capital, where the country’s top opposition leader lives. The protests are the first serious demonstrations in sub-Saharan Africa since a wave of anti-government protests swept leaders in Tunisia and Egypt out of power. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has vowed repeatedly that his government will not be taken down by protests.

You can read the rest of the story at Foxnews.


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