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Today is our last day in Uganda.  Leaving is different this time.  When I left in October, I knew I would be coming back.  This time, as I leave an even bigger piece of my heart in Uganda, I’m not sure when I will be reunited with it.  I know I will be back, but it may be a long time.  That is hard.

Leaving Buloba yesterday was just as difficult.  As I said goodbye, I told my friends that it wasn’t “goodbye” but “until next time,” but even as I said it, I wasn’t sure when “next time” would be.

I should be an expert at leaving.  I have done it a lot.  I have moved from city to city.  I have been on many mission trips, some where I was ready to go home and some where it was a struggle to get on the plane.  This time I am struggling to get on the plane.

It’s hard, because I know God has so much in store for me back home, but I love Uganda.  I think it’s harder for me know because my life has been in such a transition for the past year, and it would be easy to stay here.  It would be easier to be in this place instead of going back to the unknown.  It would be easier to be here where my heart is alive than to go back to the uncertainty.

I know in my heart that it is not time for me to stay here, but I want to, and that doesn’t make it any easier.  And, no matter where I go, my heart will always be tied to Uganda.

So, I won’t say “goodbye” but “until next time.”


Tonight we had Chick-fil-A for dinner.  Meet Chick-fil-A



On Sunday, Pastor Isaac got a phone call from Sylvia’s family letting him know that Sylvia had a chicken for me.  When he told me, I was so taken off guard, all I could do was laugh.  I didn’t want to be rude, but I have never had anyone give me a chicken.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I asked Pastor Isaac what I was supposed to do with a chicken, and he looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Eat it.”  I definitely felt like a stupid American.

Pastor Isaac told me that when someone gives you a chicken, they are giving you the most important thing they have.  Chickens are how people make money and feed their families.  It is the best gift I have ever been given.  So, we decided that we would receive the chicken on Monday.

Monday afternoon, Sylvia’s dad and little sister showed up at the church with a chicken and pictures of the family.  They told me that Sylvia had raised the chicken and she was the one who took care of it.  She gave me the most important thing she owned.  I was so humbled by their gift that all I could do was say thank you, thank you, thank you.

I was reminded just how much our hearts are tied together.  This family is my family.  Matthew 6:21 says that where our treasure is, that is where our heart is.  My heart is here in Uganda.  My heart is with Sylvia and her family.  I may give them $35 a month, but they have given me the best gift ever–LOVE.

Today was Center Day!  It is by far one of my favorite days of the trip.  Center Day is when all of the kids in the sponsorship program come to the church and have a Bible lesson, worship and play games. I sat in on the P1 and P2 classes.  Today the memory verse was 1 Peter 2:24 “By His stripes we were healed.”  It’s a beautiful thing to watch 40 Ugandan children recite that verse over and over.  I needed that verse today.  I needed that reminder of grace this morning. After lunch we played like crazy.  I got caught up in some crazy Ugandan “Duck, Duck, Goose” game and face planted in front of about 100 children.  Luckily, I wasn’t too embarrassed when they all pointed and laughed at me.  After the kids had a good laugh, they helped dust all the dirt and grass off of me, and the teacher quickly changed the game. I learned two things… Ugandan kids will always outrun you. Always look where your feet are going, because there might just be a hole there. Tomorrow we will be going to Gaba Church for worship then heading to Buloba for church and the rest of the day.  Hopefully we will have an opportunity to sit in on a youth service and visit some of our sponsored children’s homes. Here are some photos from the past few days for you enjoyment

Getting water at the old well

Getting water at the new well On Lake Victoria headed to Bethany Village Students in Social Studies class at Bethany Village Learning the memory verse at Center Day Lunch time at Center Day (yes, that is a whole fish minus the head)

In Uganda when crazy things happen, they say “TIA: This is Africa.”  That pretty much sums up yesterday and today.

Yesterday, we planned to go to Bethany Village in the morning then to Buloba for the afternoon.  We left for Bethany a little later than planned, but that is pretty normal here.  We took the boat across Lake Victoria to Bethany Village and stayed there for a little bit longer than we had planned.

Bethany Village is a very unique ministry of Gaba Church.  It is a place where orphaned or homeless children live and go to school.  There are 198 children currently living in Bethany Village, and there are only 11 house mothers/parents for those children.  Most homes have between 10-15 children living in them.  The school is also open to the surrounding villages, and over 400 of those students attending the school are part of the ARM sponsorship program.  The vision of Bethany Village is to raise up the future leaders of Uganda by providing a Christian education, a home, and skills for these children.

Bethany Village is one of the most amazing places on the earth.  It makes me stop and question what I am doing to help raise the next generation of American leaders.  It stops me in my tracks when I look at the dedication these administrators and house mothers have to these children.

When we left Bethany, we were about an hour behind schedule, and our boat ride back across Lake Victoria hit a few snags when the engine stop working.  For a while there we thought we might have to paddle back to shore.

By the time we made it back to the house, it was too late to travel out to Buloba.  So, unfortunately I did not get to meet with the women.  I was a little upset about it, but I realized that God knows what is meant to happen, and maybe the most important thing was my willingness to share and be vulnerable.  And, I’m sure I will have the opportunity before I leave here.

Since we didn’t go to Buloba, we decided to walk up to the Loving Hearts Baby Home and play with the children.  The Loving Hearts Baby Home is a place for children up to 3 years old who are up for adoption or in the process of being adopted.  I didn’t get the chance to go there in October, so it was a nice treat to get to see it.  We played with the kids for hours, and I got to hold the most beautiful baby girl.  She was only 4 wks old and couldn’t have weighed more than six pounds.  It was great to just sit with an innocent child and simply love her.  It was the way the afternoon should have been.

Today, we spent the whole day in Buloba, since we missed being there yesterday afternoon.  We hung rain catches all day.  It was hot.  I was sweaty and a little sunburned, but, it was great.  We had many great conversations and experiences.  I love going to someone’s home and giving them something that not only will impact their physical life, but will be a constant reminder of God.

The Living Water is the one who not only provides drinking water but Living Water.

I think that is beautiful.

For the final TIA moment…On the way home from Buloba we stopped at this store in the  not far from the house because several people on the team wanted to buy machetes.  So there we are, a van full of white people, sitting on the side of a busy street with people and goats walking all around us.  And, at one point David and Eddie (or drivers and guides) were not even in the van.  Then, someone says “You know there is something suspicious about a van full of white people buying 20 machetes.”  The moment was priceless, and the scary thing was that it is true.

**I had planned to add pictures to this post, but the power is out, and my computer is about to die….so, the pictures will have to come later.

I don’t know why I’m always amazed that God is always about 20 steps ahead of me.  I should expect it by now.

Yesterday our itinerary read something like this: eat breakfast, get adjusted to things, eat lunch, go to Buloba, return to Kampala, eat dinner, sleep.

My first trip pretty well adjusted me, but everyone else only got a few hours to adjust to this

Yesterday afternoon, we went to Buloba Community Church.  It was great to see so many familiar faces and be swarmed by kids.  We walked down to the old well, which I didn’t do on my last trip.  It was really interesting to see, and puts things into perspective when I turn on my faucet and water flows freely out of it.

On the way back to the church, I got to stop at Sylia’s house.  She has grown up so much, and she is such a beautiful girl, and I am so grateful to be a part of her life.

Then, Pastor Isaac showed me the schedule for the week, and I was scheduled to speak with the ladies at the church on Thursday.  I had no idea and was pretty taken off guard when he asked me what I had prepared.  So, I sat down with Mary who leads the women’s ministry, and we began to talk about what the women there at BCC struggle with.

First, she asked me to talk about parenting, but I let her know that probably wouldn’t be the best idea, since I’m not a parent.  Then, she turned to me and said that these women really struggle with anger and forgiveness, and it would be great if I could talk about that.  I could have fell off of my bench.

The subject of forgiveness has been coming up in my life consistently in different places for the past 4 years.  I struggle with forgiving people from my past for deep wounds that I still carry with me.  I have been working through the process of forgiveness in my own life for years and it is a day to day decision that never seems to end.  For someone who has a hard time forgiving, I know a lot about it.  It is the place in my life that is most vulnerable, and today I will be sharing that with these beautiful Ugandan women.

The idea of opening up about my struggle with forgiveness with these women honestly scared me to death, and God knows that.  He likes to stretch me and challenge me.  He always seems to put me in situations where He asks, “Amy, do you trust me?” And, I have to answer yes.

Going to Africa isn’t hard.  Sharing my story is hard.  Being transparent is hard.

Please pray for me today as I share my heart with these women.  Pray that God would break down our cultural barriers and speak truth into these women’s lives.  Pray that God would speak truth into my life through these women.

I’m not sure if today is day 1, 2, or 3 of our trip, but it is our first full day in Uganda. It always amazes me how traveling can completely mess up our sense of time and location.  Our trip was longer than normal because we had to make a little stop in Rwanda.  But, on the bright side, now I can say I’ve been to Rwanda (can I still say that even though I’ve only been on the tarmac?)

It was comforting to step out of the airport into the smells and sounds of Africa.  It was like coming home.  I have missed this place and the people here more than I realized.

This morning my eyes are tired, my legs are tired, and my mind is hazy, but, I am ready for the day.  I am excited about planting my feet on African soil.  I am excited about seeing my friends in Buloba and holding the hands of 20 little children at the same time.

I am exhausted, but I am expectant for what today has in store.

Tomorrow is a big day.  It’s the day I leave for Uganda, and it can’t seem to get here soon enough. I can’t wait to rest my eyes on this again.

I was talking to my aunt the other day and she commented that she was excited I was going to be with my people again.  I told her they are more than that…they are my family.

So, tomorrow I am going to see my family that I haven’t seen since October, and I can barely contain myself.

Monday is a big day for another reason, too.  It is July 11, 2011.  Monday is 10 years since my father died.  Somedays it seems like he was just here yesterday, and other days it feels like his memory is fading away from me.  With every year that passes and as our family moves further and further on, it gets harder to keep him alive in my life.  Beyond popular belief, time doesn’t heal wounds; it just makes it harder to remember what we’re missing.

I’m sure tomorrow will be a difficult day, but I can’t think of a better way to honor my father than being in Uganda.  I know he would be encouraging me to go.  I know he would be proud of me.  And, that makes missing him a little easier.

Please pray for us as we leave on Monday.  Pray for our safety as we travel.  Pray that we would fall in line with what God is already doing in Uganda.  Pray that we would honor God in all that we do.  Pray that lives would be changed for eternity.

Tomorrow is a big day, but it is just the beginning of many more big days to come…