Lots of exciting things are going on here in my little piece of Uganda! I’m learning how to live the jungle life, I’m learning how to teach second grade and preschool, and I’m learning how to not offend people with my cultural ignorance. Part of my responsibilities here includes homeschooling Nate (2nd grade) and Emma (preschool). Emma can now count to 12, which is quite the feat for her short term memory.. And if you catch her at the top of her game, she can tell you what letter we’ve been talking about all week (a). But if you catch her in a weak moment you can forget it, she can’t remember for the life of her. She’s doing well with colors, but has a block against yellow for whatever reason. It’s never been a color I like either, so I can understand I guess. Nate can now tell time, he can count by 25’s, and he’s becoming a pro at borrowing/carrying. Nate can’t keep his common/proper nouns straight and gets verbs and nouns way confused. It can be quite a mess, but I have no doubt that we will eventually conquer that grammar. Nate and Isaac are way into the marine biology and I love it. It’s amazing how well they remember things they enjoy learning about ;). They like to show off their knowledge about plankton, currents, and tides, and like making a current in their cereal and calling it “school”.
I am also learning to get used to running out of water. Water is in short supply these days, so to get a good shower is quite a treat. If I get desperate, I’ve learned how to efficiently wash my hair with a trickle of water. It’s amazing how much you really don’t need when you learn to do without. With little water also comes little power, which means no fixing my hair or any of those luxuries us Americans are used to. It’s actually quite freeing to do without things like that!
SOS’s main ministry is training pastors so they can in turn lead and shepherd their own people, but SOS also just started Legacy Christian Academy, which is a primary school. As of now they have kindergarten and grade one, and each year plan to add another grade. To have such a quality school in such a poor area has really made these people feel like they are worth something, and has greatly enriched the villages and community surrounding us. As a whole, SOS really focuses on discipleship- which I love. Every day there is a group (or groups) doing Bible study in the village, in different homes. Fellowship and study of the Word is not limited to Sunday morning church, but it’s extended into every day and in all kinds of ways. As for me, I am continuing to pray about how the Lord wants me to get involved and trusting that He will open and shut doors that come across my path. It looks like I am getting ready to start a Bible study with a group of 10-16 year olds, and I’ve already begun to form relationships with many people in my village (Kubamitwe) and the villages surrounding me.
On a slightly different note, today in particular has been interesting.. We had all the teachers from Legacy over for pancakes this morning. They were kind of "weirded" out at the thought of a pancake, but they seemed to like them! Then this afternoon I went into Luwero, which is a small town close to our village. I had my first Ugandan meal, shopped for produce at a market, and came home to find a worm in my hand. I think I am officially Ugandan after having a worm dug out of my hand! And to close out my day, tonight I have been put on a volleyball team for a big tournament.. Those of you that know my athletic abilities are probably cracking up at the thought of me playing volleyball with a bunch of Ugandans.. I’m going to try my best to represent the states well, but I can’t promise anything.. I’m thankful for school days, but also thankful for days off of school and a chance to be more involved with the village!
The Lord is teaching me that the bigger things in life are always accomplished through the little, every day tasks. There is still cooking, cleaning, dish washing, and all of the small minuscule things to be done. Life goes on, and things that seem to be insignificant become what consumes most of my time, but I’m learning to keep my mind “stayed on the Lord” (Isaiah 26:3)-whether I am washing dishes or having a conversation with someone. It’s all just as important; it’s just the way and the attitude in which I choose to do it.. So I have made it my goal to strive to “do everything as unto the Lord”.
I have thought a lot about the Scripture that says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). All of my life I have lived in Paducah, and I’ve never really had to re-establish myself somewhere. It’s easy for me to get plugged in in my hometown because I know people, and I know how things work. Being uprooted and placed somewhere totally foreign presents lots of exciting things and lots of joys, but also lots of challenges as I’m trying to establish myself here. I’m re-learning how to greet someone, I’m learning that huge field fires that make it rain ash aren’t a big deal, and among many other things I’m learning to do life in a same, yet totally different way. It’s awesome and it’s challenging, but everyone needs a good challenge every now and then, right? In the same way that I have been challenged, I want to encourage you to continue to press on and find joy in the seemingly insignificant things that life throws at you. The Lord will establish your steps, and when you choose to do something for His glory, He will use it. Whether you are parenting kids, doing homework, going to class, working, or doing dishes in the jungle, it all matters. He sees, He knows, and He cares- don’t let satan tell you differently!