Thursday, October 9, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UGANDA!

52 Years of Independence!


One of the hardest things for us to understand is the non-patriotism spirit of Uganda.  Nothing special is planned.  No patriotic decorations are available.  It is just another work day.


In our church, we are trying to instill in the people a thankfulness for their country.  One of the ways we attempt to do this is by having an Independence service.  We use this as an outreach for the community and an opportunity to invite government officials.


After singing a couple of songs, we have trivia time.  Keith spends a lot of time trying to come up with new questions each year.  This year we gave away radio t-shirts, nail clippers with the Ugandan flag, key chains with the Ugandan flag, and coffee cups that looked as close to African colors as we could find.  (It is hard to find items with the Ugandan colors!)


Then we have the judging of those who dressed up in red, yellow, and black.  We see quite a few football jerseys (soccer) and then others who you really have to look hard for in their outfits to find all three colors.  It is a really fun time.


Any government officials that come are invited to give a short speech, and then Keith preaches.  Afterwards, we enjoy lunch in our cafeteria.


We had beautiful weather and over 200 people in attendance.  Praise the Lord for the freedom in Uganda to have a church...to preach the Gospel...to freely tell others of the independence everyone can have in Christ Jesus.

Happy Birthday, Uganda!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAVANNAH

Her birthday breakfast request of pancakes got a candle.
How is it possible that our youngest is now seven?  When I look at Savannah, I think she must be very close to what I was like since I, too, was the youngest.

A glowing watermelon cake
I was glad she picked a watermelon cake, as I have been wanting to do that one for awhile.  I was thinking, "This will be quick and easy, right?"  Well, I believe the marshmallows must have been old, as they refused to melt in a nice puddle of goo.  Instead, they became a blob - literally!  I mixed in the rice crispies as best I could with the spoon, but then ended up having to finish kneading them in by hand.

Finally, the last bag has a clue of where to find her gifts
About two years ago I played a game for Shiloh's birthday of him having to guess from 10 boxes which one his present was in.  For every box that was incorrect, he had to stick a piece of gum in his mouth.  Savannah requested it for her birthday this year (except we did gift bags), and she ended up going through every bag.  I'm not sure if you can tell from the above picture, but her cheeks are bulging from all of the gum!

Mini Appetites?
We had a "mini" theme for her party consisting of miniature food: pizza, cake, donuts, cookies, carrots sticks, sundaes, and drinks.  I was so thankful for Shae-Lynn's help in making everything.


Our six children are truly a blessing from the Lord, and we delight in each one.


WE LOVE YOU, SAVANNAH!

Monday, September 29, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD STENSAAS AND STANLEY

82 years - combined, that is.  Keith's dad and Stanley share a birthday, and today they are 82 together.



With Dad turning 65 this year, we decided that his birthday required an extra special celebration - namely a surprise party with a Swiss Family Robinson Theme (as that has been his all-time favorite movie throughout the years).  Alisha and Mom did a great deal of work, then Matt's family and us showed up on Thursday to help with the final preparations.


We all had a great time, as we always do, and made some precious memories.


We celebrated Stanley's birthday on Friday with the family, but, of course, we still had to make his cake for his actual birthday, right?


After enjoying so many rice crispy cakes through the years, the kids are beginning to run out of new ideas.  Hence, Stanley was quite stumped as to what he wanted for this year's cake.  Me, too.  So, I decided to try something different and ended up with Ice Cream Rice Crispy Pie.



We all agreed that it was very delicious and will be making this again.


So, Happy Birthday, Stanley.  We love you so much!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

19 DOGS AND COUNTING

I am not an animal lover.  I am not an animal hater.  I just tolerate animals.  When I was younger, I had the chore of cleaning up after our dogs and cats.  I guess that is where my non-love for animals began.

Two pregnant dogs

However, living in Uganda, we have always had dogs for security reasons.  My husband loves to play around with the dogs, but when it comes to them giving birth - that is thrown over to my department.

Dixie with nine puppies

For the first time, we had two of our dogs expecting at the same time.  Our large dog gave birth on Wednesday with nine out of the fourteen puppies surviving.  Today our dachshund gave birth to her usual five.  (I may be prejudice, but the dachshunds are so much cuter!)  Hence, we have 19 dogs in our possession right now!

Ann and her five puppies

Actually, the birthing sessions began last week when I was called to help another missionary's dog as she gave birth in their yard, yet they were out of town.  I took our three boys with me, and they were a great help in transferring the puppies to a safer place.  The father is extremely aggressive, so some of us distracted the father while the others helped move the puppies and the mother.

Cleo's puppies

After watching so many births this week, I can with all gladness say - Thank You, Lord, for giving me single births!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

ANOTHER ONE?

We are very fortunate in planning birthday parties that all of our six children have different months for birthdays. However, Keith and I share a month, as does Skyler.  Hence, August is very busy for us.

Being the last born, there are precious few pictures of me.
Keith tried to pull off a surprise birthday party for me, but a woman knows the heartbeat of her home and can quickly detect when something is up.  Why is the spare fridge stocked with sodas?  Where did this extra wheel of cheese come from?  Why would my husband tell the girls they need to clean their room?  But my husband does get an "A+" for trying, right?  We really had a great meal and time of fellowship with two other missionary families.

Good thing we have number candles, right?
My darling daughter took over making my rice krispy cake 3 years ago.  Rather than a shape this year, I requested caramel - chocolate - peanut butter - rice krispies.  Aahhh - SO very good!  She even made the caramel from scratch!

Rice krispies on the left - cheesecake on the right.  Both delicious!
Then our dear visitors, who were away for all three August birthdays, wanted to do something special for us.  On their way back to our house after visiting some village churches for 2 weeks, they stopped in Kampala and bought a strawberry cheesecake.  Unbeknownst to them, my family does not like cheesecake with the exception of myself.  So, I told my children to first taste my piece before deciding if they wanted their own.  Since it wasn't a true American cheesecake, my family loved it!  The restaurant that made it is Jewish owned, so I'm not sure if this is the way Israelis make cheesecake or if this is a Ugandan-improvised version.  Regardless, it was a big hit.

With Judith, one of the children I disciple.
Thank you for all of the birthday greetings sent our way this month.  
We are truly blessed by so many friends.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SKYLER

When children are born on the mission field, the 5th, 10th, and 15th birthdays are noticed more than usual.  Why?  New passports!  Skyler has reached the milestone of his third passport.  We have some good laughs going back through old passport photos.

Swim Time
As I mentioned yesterday, Skyler shared his birthday party with Keith last Friday.  He decided on a volcano cake for his party.  One problem, though, was that I had a terrible time getting the lava to turn from pink to red.  I ended up using so much food coloring that it made the frosting taste awful.  No problem.  We just scraped off any red and ate the chocolate cake.

The volcano is on fire!
Because rice krispies and marshmallows are very expensive here, I only make the rice crispy cakes for our family.  I thought I would just make another volcano, but Skyler decided he wanted something different and chose a turtle.

10 year old Turtle

Looking back through the past year of photos, I came to the realization that I need to make it a point to take at least one photo of each child each month.  Either that or hire a photographer to follow us around!  Sad to say, I couldn't find many pictures of Skyler!

Skyler, Charles and Shiloh
Skyler is our "Energizer Bunny."  He loves to play and play.  Yet when he sets his mind to getting something done, he really does a great job at it.

Hard at work removing the old window screens
I think if he had been a first or second born, I would have been too worn out to chase after any more children!  Everyday he asks us to play tetherball or basketball with him.

Hmmm...I think he might be trying to roll his tongue
We love you, Skyler, and pray that you allow God to use you in a great way in your life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEITH!

I've never really tried to before, and even this year hadn't planned on it.  However, I was actually able to surprise Keith with a birthday party.


He knew that some other missionary kids were coming over to celebrate Skyler's birthday, but he had already made plans to take some of the radio workers out to eat.  With him gone, not only did the missionary kids come, but I secretly had invited their whole families.  When Keith walked into a darkened house and heard "SURPRISE" as the lights came on and we began to sing to him -- he couldn't believe that they were all there for him.



However, today is his real birthday, and the kids and I really had a hard time deciding what to do for his cake.


Since he has been enjoying his new grill that someone blessed him with, we finally decided that some "meat" would be an appropriate rice crispy cake.


We as Keith's wife and children are so blessed by his presence in our lives.  We have great times together, while at the same time, he inspires us to strive for more godliness in our daily walk with Christ.


He has such a giving and forgiving heart.  It was a blessing to read the many cards and notes given to him by our church members that spoke of how much he has helped them turn back to and remain close to God.


We love you so very much!


Happy Birthday, Keith!

Friday, July 25, 2014

GRANDCHILDREN IN DISCLIPLESHIP

Sally discipling Judith. Patience discipling Steven.
One of the great joys we experience is being able to disciple those whom we have seen saved.  But even greater still is seeing those we have discipled began to disciple others.  My soul winning partner is a lady I led to the Lord several years ago.  Last year I had the privilege of discipling four teenagers who are now on our soul winning team, too.  The joy of it all - all four of them right now are discipling children we have recently seen saved.

Patience discipling Steven.
A couple of weeks ago when I arrived at the prison/police barracks, a girl who has faithfully been coming to church came running up to me saying, "I want to get saved today."  It was my privilege to lead her to the Lord and to start discipling her.  While I disciple Judith, one of the teenagers I disciple hangs around waiting until I can talk with her.  When another child expressed desire to start discipleship, Patience eagerly asked if she could be the one to work with him.

Eli - the ever-present fun distraction.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to train these young ladies.  Please pray for this young generation of Christians that they will greatly influence their country for Christ.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

WORLD CUP FINAL - IT'S OVER



It is hard to believe that it has only been a week since the World Cup Final.  However, our bodies are grateful.  With the games being played halfway around the world, some of them lasted until 2:00 in the morning for us.  Keith always opens up our house to our church members during the World Cup, and they are welcome to come over anytime to watch the games, and we provide soda and popcorn.  For the final game, though, we projected the game onto a large screen in our living room and provided supper for over 50 people who came.

First, however, there is the preparation.  I just happened to have several helpers on hand.

Skyler cut out soccer balls to hang on the walls.

Shiloh made a soccer-ball chain that we hung in the living room.

Shae-Lynn made the answer key for one of the pre-games we had for the Ugandans to play.

Stanley helped me make tags for the straws and miniature flags for the corn bread muffins.

Keith assembled the kebabs.  This is the only picture we have of the little flags that we used for the cornbread muffins.

Then it was time to cook.

Keith grilled the meat. Thanks, CCBC visitors, for the grill!

This is the g-nut sauce. It made quite the mess, but it is SO good!

Sarah cutting pineapple.
These ladies cooked a large pot of rice outside.

I snitched one of the first kebabs for the cooks in the kitchen to sample.

Then it was time to eat and cheer for our teams!


This is a calm picture.  Any of the exciting pictures were just too blurry from all of the movement.

We praise the Lord for a house that enables us to host so many people.

Neither Keith nor I are "football" fans (soccer to Americans), but we enjoyed cheering for the U.S. and African teams.  We had such a great time of fellowship together, and our church members greatly enjoyed it, too.  Perhaps in 2018 we will see one of the teams we cheer for actually win!