Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Praise the Lord!…..”

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It is Saturday night here in Mbale, all of us are in bed by now…or pretty close to getting there. We leave first thing in the morning for Mbarara. We’ve had to pack just necessary items into duffel bags now and leave our luggage behind at CURE. Our bus leaves at 8 am.

I’m just going to share my heart tonight and see what comes out. I hope to run into the hospital to get Internet service for one minute to post this.

Let me catch you up with Friday…we spent a large amount of time packing the bus with supplies for Mbarara. We had time to minister to mammas and babies here too. It seems that we were all separate, but always ministering in some way.

As soon as I got there, I went with Benita and her mamma to be discharged. She is in the previous post, pictured. When I walked in the baby ward, I went to her bed and found little Benita laying on her side. She was sleeping, and straight as a board. Mamma was nowhere to be found. I sat on the bed and began to rub her legs. A doctor came over to me and shook my hand…..

“Praise the Lord!” he said.
“Yes!” I replied.

“No, in our culture when you greet a Christian you say ‘Praise the Lord!’ now, you try it!”

I took his hand, “Praise the Lord!” I smiled.

“What do you do in your country?” he asked….

We just shake hands and say, “hello.”

Talk about a sad moment…I was convicted that I don’t celebrate and greet the presence of another believer like that.

So, I say to all of you back home reading, “Praise the Lord!”

Mamma came into the room and saw me with Benita. She smiled so big! She took my hand and put her head on my shoulder. I love her. She loves me. And we can’t understand what the other says…..she scooped sleeping Benita up and put her in my arms.

Mamma smiled bigger.

I took her to be discharged and the doctor gave her medicines for her and the baby. He told me that they treat all of the babies for worms. My stomach turned.

We then went to physical therapy so that mamma could learn to help Benita. The therapist laid Benita on the bed and began to bend her stiff legs. Benita began to cry…

And so did I.

The therapist told me that Benita has now developed cerebral palsy because of the damage to her brain.

I have hope for Benita. I held her head up as the therapist sat her on a chair. Mamma watched intently for how to help Benita.

And now it was time to go. I had packed a shirt and skirt to give away, so I gave it to her. Along with a baby blanket someone sent with me. She was so happy.

I walked to to the gate to get a ride home. The guard helped her and I turned her towards me.

In front of me stood a woman who came to CURE with no hope. She was leaving with the light of Jesus in her eyes…and a smile. She has hope now.

“Amari!” I said. I took her hand and gave her a white bracelet that I always wear. I put it on her wrist, pulled the cords to tighten it, and hugged her.

“Amari,” I said again.

“Amari,” she smiled big.

I turned around and walked the pathway back to CURE. I was so overcome with tears. I couldn’t even see to walk….nor could I turn around and look back at my new friend.

I will see her again.

Let’s move on…. Our team has learned a song and African dance to sing to the people of Mbarara. (I’m laughing now). Let’s just say….white girls can’t dance. :). The song however is really beautiful….it is a praise to our King.

You know what I love so much about CURE Uganda? No matter where I go throughout this facility…someone is always singing a praise. It could be a doctor, nurse, tech, cook, cleaner or office staff…..praise, praise, praise never ends! In fact, it’s so different here, they don’t even care how you sound. It’s all beautiful to Him. When we finished practicing our messages the other day, Miriam looked at the four of us and told us to sing our own altar calls. As it turns out, Sarah Rose, a beautiful singer and staff member here, will be singing during the altar calls. I love the way they view worship here….its like He does!

So today…Saturday…..we hiked the most beautiful place in the whole world. Sipi Falls.

We left out early this morning and met Joel, our guide at the Sipi Falls Resort. This was a tough hike. Many of us slipped as it was very muddy. At one point we were behind the falls under the roar of the water. I kept hearing, “even the mountains cry out….”

We were experiencing God’s beautiful creation.

Many people still live on the mountain. They would come out of their huts and wave at us. The children had tattered clothes on….sometimes just a shirt.

This was a great day for us. We needed the peace it brought.

This is our last night at wash and wills. We eat dinner every night across the street.

We have two girls celebrating birthdays this week…Meagan and Ashley M. I told the other girls that I’d like to do my family’s birthday tradition and share with the girls things that we love about them. We would share the number of things to equal their age. We bought them gifts at Sipi Falls. I got two extra banana cakes that we had with tea today and cut them into tiny pieces. FYI there aren’t many sweets out here.

We surprised the girls with our words at dinner. They were very touched.

Meagan cried and said, “y’all don’t even know me and you say these things!”
Ashley teared up too.

Yet, I think I cried the hardest as I shared with Ashley how much it meant to me for her to sit down next to me the first time I met Benita. I was crying as I held her and kept rocking back and forth, at one point Ashley was rocking too and crying with me, without a baby. She kept fixing the baby’s sheet as she had eliminated herself on me. Ashley is a rock. I’ll never forget her saying it was ok. I shared with Ashley about how I had seen this moment of looking this child in it’s eyes, way before I had gotten to Uganda. God put her their that day to lift up my arms, like Moses. I shared that with her.

We all shared with Meagan about how much joy she brings. I love her because she is just real. She doesn’t pretend to be someone shes not. I have borrowed everything from her…she always puts others first.

We had beautiful things to share with both of them….because we’ve seen their hearts.

“We miss you” to our family and friends. I’d say we all have a touch of homesickness, but right now we lean on each other…and that’s okay…because not only did God call each one of us, He formed a team. And our team is strong and knows how to lean. Tonight we got even closer.

I know that my life has been forever changed here in Uganda. When the Lord called me to “the darkest place in the world”, I now know what He meant. I cannot express enough to you how much it means to get a comment from home. At times we are emotionally drained….your comments make us laugh, cry….and sometimes let us feel your embrace. We couldn’t be here without your support of prayer. Mr. Knight, thank you for the reminder to “carry His name”. I. Often hear Christy Nockels sing that in my head and it puts my eyes back where they belong….on obedience and love for my King. I can feel the enemy’s attacks at time, and I pray my way through it. I keep hearing Jenn Johnson sing “forever and a day” from Bethel Live. One part of the song says, “give me visions to see things like you do….and I will love you all my days….forever and a day”. I’d give anything right now to be able to hear that.

I am very tired…I type these at night as I lay under the mosquito net in the dark. I know how much this means to everyone back home, and it’s my honor to do this. We miss you all!

I shake your hand and say, “Praise the Lord!”

Now you say it…..

Love,
Tumusiime 🙂

“Thursday at the hospital….”

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I am blown away by how many of you check the blog! I can’t thank you enough for your words of encouragement. The girls light up and smile when I tell them someone from home has commented.

I’m going to do the best that I can here to successfully blog about this day….but, I don’t think I can adequately express how touched we all were by the moves of God that we saw today.
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Also, I may not have every team member covered here, as we are assigned to different responsibilities around the hospital.

My day started off with Lena, my roommate, telling me that she thinks it's funny that I'm 39 and her parents are 38….therefore, she reminded me that I'm older than her parents. "good morning to you too, Lena!". 🙂

We walked to the hospital and started the day with devotions. This time we were split up around the hospital.

So, Emily, Ashley R and myself joined part of the staff in Outpatient. About 10 of us gathered around a desk. One of the doctors started singing a song and we all joined in. It was so peaceful as the wind blew threw the windows. Pastor Nelson spoke to us about the importance the people from the hospital and back home praying for us as we go “to the front lines” to minister to the people of Mbarara. We don’t take that lightly…knowing that you are at home praying for us. If you are awakened to pray, rest assured that you are being prompted by the Holy Spirit for a reason. We are expecting salvations!

We leave early Sunday morning to travel to the front lines. We will be working over 14 hours each day.

Pastor Nelson spoke to us, he charged us to bring our messages to Mbarara with all power and authority. It is not us who speaks, but God. He didn’t know this, but the three of us he had in there, are three of the four delivering messages to the people of Mbarara. He wrote our names and dates down to pray. Lena is day one, Ashley R day two, me day three, and Emily day four.

I joined some other team members on the front porch of the outpatient center to minister to moms waiting on treatment for their babies. One mom was from Gulu. She had been rejected by the father of here baby and told by the witch doctor to throw the baby in the river. Instead she came to CURE. We spoke with her and another girl from Jinja about Jesus. They both looked hopeless. Immaculate shared with them about Jesus becoming their hope and Savior. The girl from Gulu got called back to see the doctor. The other girl continued to listen. We shared scriptures and testimony with her. Immaculate asked her if she wanted to get saved…and she said “yes!” our team touched her and she repeated the sinners prayer in English. It was a beautiful start to a beautiful day!



Other team members were in the ward. Ashley R said that another mamma came to know the Lord today. Lena also shared a salvation story with me.

This mamma really touched me today…I was able to share with her how someone from home had donated a surgery in Wards honor for her. Miriam helped me translate to her about Kim and her son born with hydrocephalus. She looked through his pictures and was so touched by him. She became a Christian last year. Her husband left her with this baby. She also has twins that are 6 years old. She cannot work because no one will care for her child. Her brothers help feed her, but she literally has nothing.

I first saw this mamma at tea and went over to hold her baby so she could set her porridge. She let me. This baby’s head was so heavy that it hurt my arm. Emily came over to hold her head up. Ashley M came over and fixed the sheet around her body. She had no diapers for this child. She was only in a baby doll sweater. I held this baby and began to cry. She was twisted too. She couldn’t lay straight. I rubbed her head and all I could say is “Jesus loves you….Jesus loves you…”. Tears ran down my face. She calmed. Peace came over her. I asked my two team members to lay hands on her and pray with me. I knew this was the child for the surgery. I found Miriam and she helped me speak to her.

She was so touched, she asked that I come home with her. She held my hand and I told her that I am her sister and I love her. She had Miriam write down directions to her village so that I can find her one day. I asked her if she was serious…she didn’t understand. “Is that from your heart?” Miriam translated that for me. “Yes!” she said.

I told her that one day I will come. I will.

Much of our time here is packing for Mbarara. We’ve packed sleeping bags, nets, supplies….a lizard even jumped on Sam as she picked up one of the bags!

We were given African names today!

I am “Tumusiime”‘ Means “let us praise Him!”
Lena is “Mbabazi” means “Grace”
Sam is “Amara” means “Love”
Kasie is “Aching” means “born in the day”
Meagan is “Akello” means “I have brought”
Emily is “Tumwebaze” means “let’s thank Him”
Ashley R is “Birungi” means “Beautiful”
Ashley M is “Apyoyo” means “Thank you”
Katie is “Ayebale” means “Gratitude”
Mandi is “Kansime” means “Let me thank Him”

We have been schooled in African vernacular….we learned how to use the “pit littrine” or “squatty potty”. To go #1, we see “a short call”. #2 is “a long call”….Ha!!!! Demonstration follows….

We all stayed pretty busy today…Thank you once again or your prayers. We love you all!
Amari!

(This may be my last post as we are not at the hospital on Saturday. We hike Sipi Falls on Saturday…some of us are dying to exercise! We leave for Mbarara early Sunday morning. I would be surprised if we had any Internet connection there. Continue to pray! We feel His presence.)

These are the from Passion Conference 2011 that the attendees signed. The “lesus” are here with the donors’ words.
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“Our first day at the hospital….”

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The day started early with a nice breakfast across the street. African tea, fresh fruits, and cereal….with warm milk. 🙂

Then we walked over to the hospital. The day starts with worship there. We all gathered into the chapel and were greeted warmly. The staff and mammas join in worship too.

Everything here is open air and a very relaxed way of life. I love it. So, the chapel has open air windows with a nice breeze blowing through. It was really neat to worship in this way….

I loved seeing everyone in there….kitchen staff, moms in hospital robes, doctors, lab workers, spiritual staff, etc. They all came to praise the Lord. They say that every day starts with Him.

The music began. Two women were up front in their scrubs and began to sing….and then clap. One of the techs began to play the drum. Before I knew it, I had my hands raised and tears streaming down my cheeks. “Hallelujah” they’d sing….

We serve the same God. They know Him like I do.

This was one of my favorite worship services ever. It was perfect.

We then had some orientation, had tea, took a tour, had tea again…..helped unbox and organize things for Mbarara…we leave this Sunday. We got a detailed instruction on how to use the “pit latrine”….aka “squatty potty” by Simon Peter. We got instruction for how to bathe out of a basin….(don’t think I’ll be washing my hair in Mbarara…) The girls on the team involved with nursing got their instruction on what they will be doing.

All in all, it was a great day. I love it here.

I leave you with this….all of us want to tell you….

“Amari” (I love you, in Lugandan)

And hey, Rob, Mandi wishes you a happy birthday. She asked me to send that to you via blog. 🙂 I got your name confused a couple of times and told her that I was going to wish Chad a Happy Birthday….that probably wouldn’t have went over so well, huh?

Thank you all for your comments. We read them this morning. We miss you all.

Beautiful things are happening here.

(to my children: Anderson, Avery and Ellie, I miss you all very much! I am praying that you all are overflowing with joy! Amari! You must not be getting any of my messages, so, I want to FaceTime you on Thursday around 7:30 am your time, 2:30 pm my time.)

“Stasia and her bracelets….”

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It is a little after 6 pm here in Mbale, Uganda. We have just returned from the hospital to shower and get ready for dinner. I have a few posts that I would like to share….

but this first one is freshest and has touched me so deep…

We have been told that we may hold the babies and take pictures of them. The mother’s actually love it. I was so struck by this one little girl. Her head appeared as if she had hydrocephalus, but the back of her head protruded farther than the normal hydrocephalus baby. In fact, she has a different diagnosis than hydrocephalus.

This afternoon, I sat in the learning center with Katie and made beads with her for necklaces. The ladies here are taught to make jewelry, so that they can support themselves. These women may not be allowed to return to their village for choosing to save their baby’s life.

In the center, I sat with Immaculate (“mama”). She works here. We have the same testimony….she hugs me and says I am her friend. I love her. One of the mammas came into the center with her baby, Stasia. They are from Kampala.

I held my arms out to Stasia and she came to me. She is 8 months old and was fascinated with my name tag and bracelet.

Before I left home, Kim (our story is in previous posts….she has a baby stateside with hydrocephalus) called me over to her home. I had already been there, on my last day home, but she called me back. “You have to come, I have something for you to take with you.”

When I got there, she handed me tow sets of beautiful bracelets. One for me, one for “a mamma”.

“Whoever the Lord tells you to give them to, do it,” she said.

As I held Stasia, she chewed on my bracelets….and the Lord said to give them to the mother.

But I couldn’t find her…she had left the building.

Immaculate told me that her stomach is very upset. The mamma is very nervous because Stasia has surgery in the morning. “What if it doesn’t work?” “What if it comes back?” Her face showed her worry. I know that her pain was deeper than that.

I told Immaculate that the Lord told me to give something to Stasia’s mamma. Immaculate took me by the hand, Ugandan style, and took me right into the baby ward.

She called Stasia’s mamma over to us. In her native language, Immaculate told her that I said God was going to heal her baby. She told her that God told me to give her the bracelets. That someone had made them for her.

For the first time, I saw this mamma from Kampala smile.

Peace came over her face.

She knodded a thank you to me.

We left, still hand in hand, and I asked Immaculate what she said….

“Shannon, that was a big thing to that mamma. In our culture, that was ‘a sign’. She has peace now. She knows God is going to heal her baby.”

If I came all the way to Uganda for this mom and child, then I’d do it all over again. This woman had hope today. I saw hope on her face when I left.

Stasia grabbed the bracelets and started chewing on them again.

What a day. Thank you Kim for being obedient and sending those bracelets. Kim’s heart is tied to this woman she has never met….she knows her pain and sleepless nights.

She’s walked the same path.

This mamma saw Jesus today.

I wish I could explain to you the common look that I see in these womens’ faces of Uganda. It is beyond sadness. I don’t see bitterness. I asked someone today if they noticed it too, she said “Yes…..it is the look of no hope.”

My God, My God… No hope. Oh how He has tied everything together for me. Hope is rising in Uganda, dear friends. In the simple act of giving a bracelet, a woman’s countenance changed.

She has hope that God will heal her baby girl.

“Father God, I thank you for this opportunity to be your hands and feet. Thank you for this team and staff from CURE. I ask you, in the name of Jesus, heal this little baby….make her head normal. I bind fear from this mamma, no weapon formed against her will prosper. I speak peace to her and to Stasia. Lord, thank you for a holy visitation. Thank you for turning hopelessness into HOPE. I praise you for the great things you have done. Amen.”

“First morning in Mbale”

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What a great nights sleep after so much travel. It is a little after 5:30 am here in Mbale.

After a LONG ride from the Entebbe airport yesterday, we settled in at Wash and Wills. We had tea at 6:30 pm and then dinner at 7 pm. I enjoyed African tea….no coffee here. But Oh how I love the tea! Everyone one who knows me well, knows that I love warm milk. (yes, I know your stomach just turned 🙂 ) But, African tea is warm milk, some hot water and a tea bag….with a touch of raw sugar…..heaven!

We met Miriam, CURE’s spiritual director at the hospital. She hugged each and every one of us. Her smile could wrap around the world. She was a beautiful sight after such a long journey.
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Today will be the first day at the hospital. We are about to head over for breakfast and devotion. Pray for all of us. Some girls have thrown up from travel sickness, fatigue, etc. No one is staying sick though. Pray for Ashley R, her ankles are very swollen…..like they are picture worthy swollen.

The sky is amazing here. I have never seen so many stars in my life. Last year I heard the Lord say, “the sky is different over there”. Wow, it’s beautiful.

(break)
We are here now at the hospital. We have been greeted with warm smiles and big hugs.

Chapel was great.
Worship was awesome! I will write more later. I only have Internet at hospital.

LOTS OF TEARS!!!!!

“Well….we made it to Uganda!”

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Good morning everyone! I have now had the wonderful pleasure of meeting your loved ones, and now they have become mine as well.

Let me catch you up on what’s been going on for the past day and a half.

We all met up in London much later than we expected. We had individual instructions to meet up at a certain gate at Heathrow, but unfortunately, this turned out to be a gate that was difficult to access. Our plans were to go into London and see the city, however, it took hours to finally find each other. Therefore, we all ended up staying at the airport until our flight last night after 9 pm.

As I thought about this change of events last night during our flight, I realized that for some reason God closed the door to the 10 of us going into the city. I always thank Him for times such as these, for I know His hand of protection is upon us. We also had about a 40 minute delay in taking off last night. We are all in His hands and His timing.

Right now, we are flying into Entebbe, Uganda. We are about an hour out. It has been difficult to post anything, as wifi was hard to get in the airport. I pray that when we land I can send this out.

We are all very tired. As for me, I have slept about 4 hours in the past 48 hours. We all feel pretty grimy as we’ve had the same clothes on. I’m dying for a shower. I’m seated next to Meagan right now and she has skillfully applied deodorant in flight with great discretion. I must say that I am jealous (yes pray for me) as my carry on is about 8 rows back on the other side of the plane with everything I need in it. Ashley M and Sam are right behind me, the plane now smells like perfume. 🙂

Some neat things happened yesterday right before we boarded for Uganda. We met another mission team headed near Rwanda. They will be working with an orphanage. On this flight we have several children with us from Uganda. One in particular little boy is my daughters age. He had his bare foot propped over his sister’s leg during the night last night. Looking at his little foot made me think and miss my little Ellie. When we took off, many of these children cheered. They have such joy!

I felt apprehension as I boarded the plane last night. I felt the enemy attack me. I was watching 2 Little Ugandan children cry, that coupled with my fatigue, I could hear the enemy say, “you really want to go there?”. Their mama was giving them some milk and they had their mugs out in front of her. This milk was precious to them. “you really want to go there??” he’d say. I prayed against the attack, and boarded the plane. Within minutes I was asleep…..I don’t even remember the whole demonstration on where my oxygen mask will come from. I laugh now because I like to see the attendants do their arms as they show where the exits are. I wonder if they secretly want to bust out laughing.

I slept right through it.

Because He gives His Beloved rest.

This is a neat group of ladies…all strong and determined. It is an honor to wear CURE’s name on this mission, but more to wear the name of Christ. Praise God!

We are about to disembark and then ride about 6 hours to Mbale. I looked out the window in the night around 3:45 am and got my journal out. I don’t know why the Lord had me look out in the night. I saw the most magical city…Istanbul. Lightning danced all around it. It looked like the most magnificent Christmas ornament. I thanked Him for that moment and He spoke to me about the attack.

I leave you with this scripture…it’s on my heart and I asked sweet Meagan to look it up “no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you shall confuse every tongue that rises against you in judgement…” Isaiah 54:17

His words always crush the enemy. It’s up to us to seek Him.

(Keep In mind that we are 7 hours ahead of EST….and calls or texts are extremely expensive. I will post updates as the Internet access allows).

No worries though…..He already gave me the verse to cling to!

“Fruition”

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Today is the day.
Today is a day of fruition for me.

Tonight I will board a plane for London and come face to face with the fruit of a seed that God Himself planted in my spirit.

I am on the way to Uganda. I have such joy in my soul!

I wanted a great revelation to share on Mighty River today. Something so powerful….

But yet, this is simple words…

to offer encouragement to you.

Three years ago, the Lord spoke about going to Uganda to me. To the world, it seemed crazy….but I held it in my heart and believed. Over the years, the Lord has whispered instructions for the call.

It was up to me to obey.

Each step has been done without knowing the next. The love for my sweet Savior gave me the courage to step upon each unknown next step…

For He only lit up one step at a time.

Oh Beloved, I love Him with everything in me.

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” Psalm 18:32-36

Whatever He calls you to do, He will equip you.
And the only person you need to believe in you….

Is Him.