Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feb. 26 -- Grace and Lydia

Feb. 26

I don’t even know how to fill you in on all that has happened the last 10 days, so I will start with the normal family news. Grace ended up with Dysentery. She had blood in her stool (actually one really bloody one – like a women’s period) so we had it tested. She is fine now thankfully. The only thing we noticed with the Dysentery was the little bit of blood in her stool and extreme crabbiness now and then. Today we decided to bring in another sample because the medicine is done but she still has diarrhea. Guess what she has now – yeast in her stool. I have never heard of that. It is a intestinal fungus and she is now on Nystatin pills. She acts just fine so I am glad we decided to test her again. I am glad people are praying for her because I am not sure what we have around here. I think we will get Lydia tested too just in case.

Grace was singing away tonight with her “hymnal”. Our girls love to sing! Graces favorite is “Alive, Alive”. She was telling her doll the other day, “I going to spank your butt.” Whoops, guess she has heard that before. Lydia saw me putting some books for babies away tonight and she asked if I was saving those for the brother she was praying for. We explained very simply why Joanne had to leave to Lydia then the other night she told Uncle Tim, “Joanne had to leave because a bad man did not nice things to her.” The girls play all day and make HUGE messes. Lydia is still a little pack rat collecting everything from weeds to price fruit snack wrappers. They play house a lot. Grace is either the baby or daddy. I wish I could bottle some of them up and share them with you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Feb. 19 - Valentines Date

Feb. 19, 2008
Last Friday night, the day after Valentine’s Day, I planned to show my wife more appreciation than I had shown her in a long time. I spent the afternoon making dessert - Finnish Apple Tart. I had the drinks ready (tropical punch and 7up). Lydia even fell right to sleep - which never happens…Oh yeah, it was going to be a good night. I started to fill the bathtub for phase two (it takes a long time to fill the bath tub) when I discovered that the water heater had been turned off so we could use the generator earlier in the day, as a result, there was no hot water. No problem, still had to do phase one so I flipped on the water heater and began to set up the porch. We had porch lights, music, drinks, dessert. We had just settled down and were enjoying dessert when I heard Grace calling from bed.
I arrived to the bedroom just in time to see Grace vomit all over her pillow, pillow case, sheet, mattress cover, bug net, bed frame, wall, toys, and floor. I called for Mandy so Grace turned to look my direction and vomited on that side of the pillow too. Mandy arrived to take Mandy. I took the whole bed apart, sheets, frame, mattress, and washed it all. Before I could get the floor and wall cleaned up, Grace walked into the dining room and vomited all over her second pajamas and the dining room floor. Back to the bath tub for her. I cleaned up most of the dining room mess using a broom and dust pan (quantity). Then got out the bucket, rag, and brush to finish the bedroom mess before cleaning the dining room floor. So, 45 minutes and a whole lot of sweat after paragraph one ended, I finally had the mess contained to one laundry tub full of nasty looking things. Mandy told me I should be glad I have a Shaarda nose. Oh yeah, anyone in the mood for romance?
Things got pretty tense Saturday as Grace’s fever reached 104. Thankfully, by Sunday she was doing a little better, although very crabby. Today she acts better than she has since Friday, but has been passing blood with her stool. The doctor gave us two medicines for her so hopefully she will be completely healthy soon.
Things here have been very heavy and frustrating lately. Our good friend has been through some very tough times and it has affected our family greatly. The girls’ Bible study did get going Wednesday, but not without some confusion. I was supposed to lead Timothy Institute training, but it was cancelled due to things outside of our control. The Bible College students are supposed to go to Karamoja for outreach in two days; now it seems like even that might not happen due to confusion about the timing of their return. It just seems like every way we try to move forward, there is opposition, resistance, and set backs. These problems are beyond what I would say is normal; I truly think there is spiritual opposition. I try to take this as encouragement, since it means we are doing things worth opposing; however, in the midst of it I find it very heavy, frustrating, and sad. I have found myself reduced to prayer now more than ever. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord” is much more than a cliché at this time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Feb. 12 - Mandy's Journal

Feb. 12

I went to Amecet with the girls last week (and we go most Sunday’s to sing). There is a new born there that weighs about 3 pounds. It’s mother died in birth. What a sad way to start life. I held her and she is SO little. Her head is the size of a large orange. How frail life is and how wonderfully God has made us. There is also a one year old girl there that is only 9 pounds. It is a toddler in a baby’s body. So malnourished. She is sweet. Sometimes it is work to go there and meet new kids and volunteers but I always am glad I made the effort. Sharing God’s love with those who need it is always a blessing.

Friday night we had our missionary fellowship (every second Friday of the month). We had a really nice time. There seems to be the regulars that come and then new and occasional people. Everyone brings food and it was so good this time. It is good to fellowship with people in the same situation as you. We can encourage one another.

We had coffee at Beth Manes last week. The girl love going there and playing with Katherine. Beth spoiled us again with great food. She is so creative and hospitable. We are having them over this week for Valentines. I hope I can entertain like her.

We went to the mountain Saturday for a picnic but when we got there construction people came running and told us we can’t be there. They were blowing up the mountain (parts of it) for rock. They are starting the three year road project here. I will be VERY sad if our mountain isn’t climbable when they are done. It is so beautiful and a place for escape for our family. We resorted to a mountain/hill in town for our picnic but it didn’t work so well. There wasn’t enough space to sit and kids and adults came up to watch us. We got a little frustrated. But we did have great smores back at our house.

Oh, Tabitha said people are saying that the construction people need 50 heads for their machines to work. Yes I said heads. Basically the rumor is they would be taking (kidnapping) kids or people to sacrifice for the project. We told her it isn’t true. The Chinese are running the job and we have never heard of them doing such a thing. However, it is common enough in Uganda that people believe it. It happens here. How sick and terribly sad.

On a better note, we have hot water again. Our hot water heater when out back in October and the part finally came in. I love hot water! We have been heating water on the stove for too long. It has also been raining here some. It is nice to see the clouds and have relief from the heat.

Lydia was sick again. About 7:30pm she said her stomach hurt and laid on the couch. Her temp was at 99. I gave her IB Prophen and by 8pm she was sleeping. At 9:30 she woke up throwing up and her temp was at 104. High temps are so scary. We called home for people to pray. What would we do if it went up? Josh and I prayed over her too. It was a long night. Her stomach was cramping, she had diarrhea, threw up, and peed in the bed. But by morning her fever was gone – praise the Lord! What an answer to prayer. She still laid low and has diarrhea but she is herself again. No one likes it when their child is sick but here you can feel pretty helpless and alone. I prayed a lot that night and had to trust Lydia to God. It isn’t always easy, but she belongs to Him. It was another reminder that God is with us. Thanks for praying everyone. We felt your love.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Feb. 10 -- Mandy's Journal

Feb. 10

I forgot to tell you that Josh is now our churches assistant pastor. Yes, the other week after church they had a meeting with the leaders of the church. The next week after church they announced that the people assigned to each positions. Besides assistant pastor Josh was assigned youth children and education. I was assign children and women’s ministries. Ok, so I have a little problem with this. Most of the people assigned things wont do much of anything. But for me I take it serious and feel responsible. The problem is I didn’t ask to do this. I have enough on my plate right now. I do like our church but the sad reality is that it is too far from us to get really involved. I have started to pray about meeting with the women on Wednesday afternoons and doing the Mark Bible study I am doing with the hostel girls. I hesitate because of the time commitment diving there and back, taking people, the women speak Ateso so I’d need an interpreter, and I get tired thinking about it. What I have to figure out is if my hesitations are from God telling me it is not the right time to do it, or is it satan trying hard to keep me from God’s work. Josh is great. He just encourages me to do it. Even though it means he will have to watch the girls in the afternoon and in the evening for Bible studies. I will pray about it a couple more weeks but so far it has remained on my mind (heart?) and that is how I know God is telling me to go forward.

I have been really surprised and very saddened about the knowledge or lack of that leaders and teacher have here. I knew they don’t have our standards but I am amazed at that fact that teachers are teaching at a Christian school when they don’t even know where Moses is found in the Bible. They don’t know how to tell Bible story. The kids show you what they learned in school but they can’t even read what they wrote. Almost all the kids in a class get under a 50% and think they are doing well. I am thankful I am not a teacher. I would be pulling out my hair here! I am fully frustrated hearing about it. How can anyone learn when the teachers need to be taught first?

Grace is potty training! She has done pretty well. She wears underwear in the morning, diaper for nap, then undies in the afternoon. She goes quite a bit on the potty. But we have plenty of accidents. Surprisingly I don’t mind because I am sick of cloth diapers. Grace just needs to get to the point of knowing she has to go and stopping it until she gets to the potty. For now we will just have to have her try ever 20 min. or so. Now when Lydia goes potty Grace stands there and says, “I am so proud of you!” I guess she has heard that a bit this week. Did I tell you Grace can say most of the Lord’s prayer? She is doing great with Bible verses too. She now knows, “Don’t just listen to God’s Word, do what it says” and “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard that you oh Lord are strong and that you oh Lord are loving.” She just learns them as we teach Lydia. I even heard her singing an Ateso song today. Grace also likes to line things up now. Anything from shoes, books, to little people.

Lydia asked if they could have a baby brother. I wondered if the question would ever come. She told me she has a sister but needs a brother like baby Moses. She said she would ask God if we could have one. That is a good idea.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Feb. 3 - Mandy's Journal

Feb. 3, 2008

I have been in need of a break. I have been dreaming about all I could do with my husband and kids if I was living in MI because there really isn’t anything fun, new, or special to do here. We could go to town to the same few shops with people staring at us the whole time in 90degree weather. Sorry, I don’t mean to complain. I know that I am SO blessed. So, we took the girls down a bumpy road for 30min. to Lake Kyoga to go fishing. We have never done it before and I wanted to do something special with the girls. It is beautiful out there. We didn’t catch any fish but we did have a nice time. The other fishermen there getting their boats ready caught tiny, little fish for our girls to put in a bucket. Grace liked that. Lydia wanted to fish so we made her her own “fishing pole” that she loved. No fish for supper but we tried and Lydia said she had a really fun day.

(After fishing we thought we’d go out to eat in town. The restaurant didn’t have any of our first four choices so we had to go with what they did have. After waiting fifty minutes in frustration, our food did come. Anyone having fun anymore?)

Lydia has totally impressed us. The other day at lunch Josh was asking her math problems. Like, I have four pieces of pizza and you have four if I give you two how many do I have and how many do you have. She got everyone right! Josh asked her about six different add and subtract questions and she would just say the answer. I was amazed she could do that.