I’m sitting here in the living room of our home in Kotido, listening and singing to Kenneth, Chloe, and Kerri play the guitar, as we all worship in community and harmony. Today I feel extremely whole. So much has happened in the short amount of time that we have been here in Uganda, in Karamoja, in Kotido. I'll try to give an update until now and not be too long-winded...but those of you who know me know that's kind of difficult. :)
So, the Enemy sure didn't want us to get here to Kotido, no doubt. Just a briefer of what all Satan threw our way...Kenneth & Kristi's initial flight from DFW was canceled and they left a day later, my flight from Brussels got messed up and I left a day later from Brussels; in Kampala, Uganda, Kerri and Andrew had to wait for a package to arrive so the rest of us met up in Jinja. Kerri and Andrew went to take the bus to Kotido where we would meet up with them at our home...well, they were told to get on the wrong bus so it took them an extra day to get there. Then it took the rest of us (me, K&K, kiddos, and Chloe) about 4 days before we could leave Jinja b/c we were following friends to a halfway point called Namalu. When I say the dirt roads we traveled were horrible, I kid you not. Holes upon holes upon holes...our car almost got stuck twice and should have gotten stuck but God saw us through it. We were praying like crazy! Then, the very last thing...when we were 15 min. from Kotido, our tire FELL OFF our car, sending the tire rolling across a field to which a jumped out of the car and took off running after it. Lol. That part was hilarious to ALL of us. Kenneth and I stayed behind to work on the car and wait for the mechanic to come...when all of a sudden a truck with about 25 men came and helped get the tire back on. Yadda yadda...we FINALLY made it, driving like 10 mph. Ha. We prayed that night with Rainbow Mike and some of the other people from Shalom Reconciliation Ministries (the orphanage) and just rejoiced in our entire family making it to Kotido.
Our first week here was a time of gathering EVERYTHING for our home, down to dishes, silverware, beds, mosquito nets, food of course, lanterns (no electricity), etc. Most things you can think of for your home, we have had to get, even getting basic furniture made (kitchen table, bookshelves). Now having most of it here, we feel more organized. The first several days were challenging, learning the town of Kotido, which shops to find everything...we've finally gotten our water filtration system going so we continue to refill our water bottles about every other day. We've gotten a schedule going for all 6 of us adults to keep this ship afloat with who's doing dishes, cooking, sweeping/mopping, making town runs to buy food, washing clothes. Those of you who know me really well would be so proud of me...I've learned how to cook already. Haha. Yes, I've been cooking. And it tastes good. We hand wash our clothes and line dry them. We don't have refrigeration and are limited in the fruits, veggies, and spices that we can get, but we make it all work. Life is good.
We have neighborhood children at our gate all throughout the day, wanting to "play with da children", calling to us saying "mzungu, mzungu, how are you" (pronounced ma-zoon-goo...which means "white person"), wanting us to come and play with them outside our gate. Andrew and I have been going out daily and playing with these kiddos in the afternoons. Language is still a barrier but we all get by. I'm enjoying getting to know these neighborhood children. Chloe and I are starting tomorrow working with Shalom to take new pictures of all the orphans, update their info, and take video of them as well...all for updating the website in the States. This task is actually going to take a month or so b/c not all the children live at the orphanage. In fact, only about 4 of the 40 children affiliated with Shalom actually live there. There are different types of orphans here: those who have no parents; those who have lost one of their parents and the remaining parent cannot provide for them; those whose parents have been killed by warriors; those who's family can't afford to take care of them. So, these children are forced to live on the streets. So Rainbow Mike, who started Shalom Reconciliation Ministries, began getting to know these "street kids" and now has 40 children that are sponsored or trying to get sponsored so that they can have food to eat, clothes on their backs, school to attend, and hopefully eventually reconcilation with their families. So, all that to say, that a lot of the children live in villages far away where it takes several hours by foot to make it to Shalom in Kotido. So, we will be taking many day trips to visit all the children in their villages, in their schools, etc. I'm really excited about this and getting to know these kids on a greater level.
We met most of these kids on Saturday and heard a lot of their stories. Man, was I humbled. The realization that these kids (anywhere from age 8 and up to around 19 yrs old) choose to love Jesus Christ over their families...to hear the hardships that they've endured at such young ages but to hear the magnitude of faith in Jesus that they have...to hear how so many of these kids have lost one or both parents from warrior raids and how they are pressured to become warriors at such a young age...man, I just can't even begin to tell you how good I have it, even when I think I'm having a bad day. These kids are amazing. Simply amazing.
Well, I'm sorry if my blog is a bit scattered but it's getting late and I'm trying to remember all the things that I wanted to blog about. Oh well. Another day. :) Please continue to keep our team (family) in your prayers. My health is good and so is the rest of the fam. A couple of us had a few days of not feeling well but we're all good now. :) I ask that you pray for each of us to continue growing, to clearly hear God's voice and what He wants us to see/hear/feel/know/do while here in Kotido...that we would be obedient to His calling...that we would never stop seeking Him over anything else. I'll leave you with the chorus of one of the many songs we all sang tonight:
"I am the rose, I am the lily, I am Yours, I'm Your beauty. There's gonna be a wedding, it's the reason that I'm living, to marry the Lamb."