Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MIXED UP WORDS

Even though English is the official language of Uganda, many of the words used are not what we would use in America.  Today Keith went to Kampala with some other missionaries, so I asked him to pick up just a couple of things at the store.  One of the items was corn starch, however, here the box is labeled "corn flour."  I wrote on the list "corn flour" but forgot to explain to my husband exactly what I wanted.  When I saw a bag of corn meal instead of a box of corn starch, I stared at it for several seconds before figuring out why I did not get what I asked for.  Then I realized the confusion and had to chuckle at our communication problem.  Let me share some other words or phrases that may cause confusion.

* A torch is a flashlight.
* To advance your car means to back up.
* A nursing home is a medical clinic.
* Pants are undergarments.  Trousers is the correct word for the outerwear.
* Dismiss means to fire someone.  We do not dismiss the congregation after church.
* To knock someone means that you ran into them.
* A sitting room is the living room.
* To shift means to move.
* A boot is the back section of your vehicle.
* A jerry can is a jug that comes in many different sizes.
* A kyo (choe) is an outhouse with no seat - just a hole.

So if (or when) you come to visit, don't be alarmed when I ask my son to bring me a torch, and don't be frightened when the gas attendant asks me to advance the van and I put it in reverse.

Monday, March 26, 2012

YOU'RE SO FAT!

One of the "blessings" of traveling for a year on furlough is all of the good food we get to enjoy.  However, we travel many, many miles and that does nothing to work off all of the extra food.  Needless to say, I lost count how many of our nationals have told me, "Mama Shane, you are so fat!"  If nothing else, that one statement really makes you want to turn right around and head back to the States where you are sure not to hear such a crude statement from your close friends.  Lest you get offended for my sake, let me clarify this - it is NOT offensive in Uganda to tell someone they are fat, but rather it is a compliment.  To be fat is to be wealthy and able to take good care of yourself.  When Keith lost 130 pounds before furlough, the Ugandans were very confused as to why he would do such a thing.  (By the way, he has already lost seven pounds of his "furlough fat."  I haven't been so successful.)  To them, being fat is a good thing.  However, being raised in a culture with the opposite mentality, being told "you are so fat" really helps to humble oneself. 

This week Keith decided to paint our guest quarters, so once again the paint brushes are at work. One of the challenges of including the children in the work is keeping up with each one.  "Mom, I can't find the scraper."  "What did you want me to do with this box?"  "How did you want me to do this?"  "Can you come look at this?"  I think I started nine projects today and totally completed only two.  But what a joy for children to learn the value of working and working as a team!

One of our goals has been to eradicate our house of the rats.  Thus far, we have killed seven.  Every night we have to be sure that the eggs, bread, and bananas are put in a cupboard, so that there will be nothing but the trap bait for them to feed upon.  Today we put poison in our attics, so we are hoping to get rid of more before the week is over.

On Wednesday we will be having a college graduation for one of our students (the last Ugandan who spoke on our dvd).  In going through the graduation garments today, I realized that most of you are probably preparing for graduations, too.  Hence, we have a request for you - if you have a way of obtaining tassels, caps, hoods or black gowns, we could certainly use them. (Perhaps a graduation company would even donate some!) The tassels we have had made here are pathetic. The caps are ok, but look like something from a kindergarten graduation. All of us missionaries here share the suitcase of graduation supplies, so this is an opportunity to be a blessing to many missionaries and Ugandans.

Thank you for praying for Victoria and Kristy.  Victoria is still in much pain but is on her way to recovery.  Because they detected the malaria early and began medication, Kristy, also, is doing better but will probably feel weak for several more days.  May we all remember to pray for each other more and more.

Friday, March 23, 2012

SETTLING IN

While we look around and see how much we still have to do to get unpacked, yet we rejoice at all that has been accomplished this week.  Pictures are back on the walls.  New curtains are hung.  We are all sleeping in our own beds, and at the end of each day, empty boxes are gathered up.  We gave ourselves three weeks to settle in, so we have one more week to put our house in order.  Then ready or not, school must start back up.

Everyone has found their way of fitting back in, except for Savannah.  She doesn't remember much and has asked several times when we are going to our other home or when are we going to Uganda.  This surprised me because she was the one who talked most about going home while we were in America, so I assumed that she remembered it.  Although she is excited about the "new" toys being unpacked, I find she is more clingy and wanting to be around me more than usual.  Many times a day she asks what she can do to help me, as she wants to be by my side.  I find myself saving little jobs for her that will make her feel needed.

Shane and Stanley have been a big help with the painting.  Although Keith's patience has been stretched at times, it has been a good learning experience for them.  They have also pruned the trees, stained book shelves, and carried the many boxes from the storage room into the house.  Perhaps when we pull out the school books, they won't mind it so much.

Something that I have had a hard time with is getting meals fixed.  It isn't the fact that I haven't done much cooking for a year, but I have forgotten how much is involved in cooking in Uganda.  When I get all of my sauces, mixes, and other pre-made foods done up, I believe things will go smoother.  But coming back to nothing at all is a little more difficult.

One of the joys of unpacking our trunks from the States is to remember who gave us what and to pray for them.  So many people had a part in us gathering supplies to bring back, and we are most grateful for them.  Yesterday our children pulled up a video clip on Keith's phone of our church choirs singing "Here Am I, I Will Go."  Keith and I walked away crying.  (Pass the tissues.  I'm crying just thinking about it.)  We appreciate our home church and pastor and are missing them so much.   Although we have longed to come back home to Uganda, it has been hard at the same time.  My intention is not for you to feel sorry for us, but perhaps to give you a glimpse of how much a missionary's heart is torn in two.   I left behind a couple who had just been saved and who someone else will get the privilege of discipling.  Our children made an abundance of friends while traveling, then they come back to just a handful of children in the church.  In the States I was playing grand pianos, and I come back here to playing a keyboard whose keys don't all work.  We ate at restaurants where we didn't have to chew our food carefully lest we break a tooth on a rock in the beans or rice.  We washed our clothes in every type of washing machine without thought of whether or not the electricity would stay on for the load to finish.  Never once did we have to hang our clothes outside to dry.  Our days didn't begin with the checking of rat traps or cleaning up eggs that the rats had gotten into.  We bought what we needed at one store without thought of whether or not they would still have a product next month.  Facing the foreign field after living in America IS difficult.  But while we live each day, we lean not unto our own understanding of "what am I doing here?" but "what more can I do for Christ?".  Everyday frustrations are so insignificant when compared to our neighbor's eternity after death.  Because He lives, I determine to live for Him and to please Him. 

I would like to ask you to pray for two ladies.  Victoria is the wife of the man on our dvd that spoke Luganda.  On Wednesday a cup of hot tea was accidentally spilled in her lap burning both thighs.  When I visited her on Thursday, she showed me the pills the doctor had given her for pain and for infection.  But when I asked her what the cream was on her burns, I was shocked when she showed me the container.  It was fungal cream for athletes foot, ringworm, etc., that had salicylic acid, benzoic acid, and menthol in it.  I advised her to wash it off immediately and use what I had brought her.  Today she is in much worse pain, and I believe it could be from the fungal cream. The second lady is our fellow missionary Kristy Applegate who has come down with malaria.  They had been living in our house while we were on furlough and moved to the village to be near the orphanage upon our return.  It has been tough for them as there is no running water or electricity, added to the fact that their house is not finished so they have been staying in one of the orphan cottages.  I know both of these ladies would appreciate your prayers.

Thank you for praying for us.  We truly value your love for us.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WE'VE ARRIVED!


Thank you to all who have prayed for us.  We arrived safely in Uganda with ALL of our luggage.  Praise the Lord.  It is nice to be home.  Our church provided us a nice welcome-back meal on Sunday, and we enjoyed seeing everyone again.

It will take us about a month to get settled in.  We need to paint the entire interior of the house, as well as make repairs, unpack (we had totally packed up our house before our furlough), and restock our cupboards.  Pineapple and bananas were at the top of our list of what we missed about Uganda, and in just two days we have eaten three pineapples and four hands of sweet bananas.  You really should come see us, if only for these to two fruits.


Several of us have suffered with the cold/flu, so we covet your prayers concerning our health.  The children are lending help in painting, unpacking, sorting, and cleaning.  We are taking a couple of weeks off from school, but I think they would almost welcome some school work after two days of manual work.

One of the beautiful things of being on the mission field is having a continual awareness of being thankful for "little" things. Our electricity was scheduled to be off Monday night, and it did turn off around its scheduled time. Keith & I had taken a one-day trip to the capitol for a massive grocery shopping day (moving back into one's house after a year is like getting married - everything has to be purchased). I started praying and told the kids to pray that electricity would return so that the food would not spoil. IT DID! During the middle of the night, it went off again, but once again, it came on after some time.  The schedule this month is for it to be off from 6pm - 6 am on the even days, and then off all day every third day.  (This is something that we DIDN'T miss while in America.)  Although the electric company comes up with a schedule, this doesn't mean that those are the only times it will be off.  I think they make a schedule more for an explanation of when it is off, they can blame it on "load shedding" (turning one section of the country off to supply electricity to another part). Something that we discovered today when we had an electrician here to help us fix some electrical problems was that our neighbor had tapped into our security lights that are on our compound wall and was using our electricity.  No wonder our bill has been higher than other people and why our back-up batteries weren't lasting as long!


Many of you have promised to come see us in Uganda in the near future, so we are looking forward to your visit. Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GOOD-BYE, USA

God's mercies NEVER FAIL! He has been so gracious to us during this year-long furlough that we can only sit back in wonderment that He loves us so much.  Does that mean we have not been without problems and difficult times?  No, but He has never left us nor forsaken us.

After leaving the beautiful state of Idaho, we had some meetings in Montanna where we enjoyed great fellowship with a couple who has visited Uganda several times.  We left at the beginning of a snow storm in preparation for a long day of travel in our journey toward Oklahoma.  For those of you who have never been north, there is little else but dirt and trees between Billings and Cheyenne.  After eating lunch on the outskirts of Cheyenne, our van refused to start.  A mechanic came and confirmed Keith's diagnoses: the fuel pump was out. The temperature was 30 some degrees with wind gusts up to 50 mph.  It was cold!  We continued to hang out in McDonald's, while the mechanic would work for 10 minutes, jump in his truck to warm up, and then repeat the cycle.  Then the grim news that a brace had broken and would not arrive until the following day.  We tried calling Baptist churches in the area but received no answer.  We tried a Baptist help hotline, and they weren't able to find any assistance in the area either.  Looking around, we spotted a motel within walking distance, so Keith walked over to see if they had a room available.  As he was discussing our situation with the lady at the front desk, a man in the lobby offered to drive over and get our luggage.  How thankful we were for this kind gesture and also that we were able to have a warm place to sleep.  Because of the delay, we had to cancel our Wednesday meeting for that week but knew that God had protected and provided for us all along the way.

We finished up January with a missions conference at my sister's church in Oklahoma, so our children had a great time with their cousins. As we were driving through Ft. Worth, our back tire fell off and passed us on I-35.  Keith was able to maneuver safely to the side, and then went to find where our tire landed.  Within 2 minutes, a policeman had pulled up behind us.  He had been called to an accident that was a couple of miles up the road, but radioed in to say that he would be staying with us since we had a van load of kids.  A supporting pastor that was just a couple of miles away, came and picked up the children and I, while Keith waited for a truck to come get our van.  Several parts had to be replaced, but we were back on the road in less than 4 hours. 

We are now two days away from leaving.  (I had begun this post several weeks ago!)  Our lives have been very busy with packing, catching up with friends, and general moving responsibilities.  Our health is taking a beating, so we appreciate your prayers.  We have had a great time with each of you in the States and have been blessed beyond measure.  We love being missionaries and are grateful that God would choose to use us in such a manner.  Be sure to stay in touch with us and remember that you have an invitation to visit us.