Thursday, October 27, 2005


I don't think I ever experienced "process" as I have since moving to Uganda. Order and rules are things I don't really mind.
Okay, they are, in fact, things I adore.
But, the processes of Uganda have threatened to catapult my love of such things into non-existence.

"Process" here takes on many forms...and I do mean FORMS. To pay one bill the other day I had to stand in a line for 20 minutes to pick up "the form"...which must be filled in EXACTLY correct...and has some interesting blanks:Surname, First Name, Specification (?)....

After solving the riddle of "specification", I stand in another line for 20 minutes. The teller takes my money, proceeds to fill another form in triplicate, rubber stamps everything in her path and then hands me my receipt.

The next step in the process that the service you have paid for with great struggle, will now be cut off due to non payment. Which requires another form...another line...more triplicate...and FINALLY...on a good receive the service you have paid for--be it water, power, phone etc.

Now, as fun as all that is...there is another process in Uganda I detest more. Business Meetings.

Think, "EXCRUCIATING." Business meetings are long drawn out speech-fests where men (and occasionally women) state, re-state, and-- in case you didn't get it--re-state their opinions. Usually in very hot buildings ,at lunch time, while your stomach growls.

So, when our newly appointed benevolence committee at church asked me to attend and participate in the writing of the policies, I braced myself for the worst.

But I was surprised.

The committee consisted of me, Ronald, David and Dick. Dick was quickly asked to be reporter (scribe) and David was asked to chair. Ronald said a prayer and we began.

We did a lot of policy discussing and document wording...but the true process of the day...well that was something all-together different.

I watched a miracle. We were gathered to discuss two very hot topics in Ugandan culture. Money and problems. Money--hard to come by. Problems--everybody has one.

I heard these three brothers of mine discuss these issues, from a different perspective than most.
* I heard integrity ("we must be honest at all costs. down to the shilling!" "No one in our own families or our own selves can benefit from this committee!")
*I heard brotherhood("go ahead David, I interrupted you." "What do you think Dick." "Ronald makes a good point")
*And I heard submission ("I disagree, but I will stand with you.")

Hmmm....God's Spirit at work? Yep.
Transformation at Jesus hand? Definitely.
Another Standing Stone to amaze me in this journey ? Yes.

I was challenged, blessed, inspired, deeply grateful and well, pretty stinking repentant. In a day filled with processes I almost, cynically, missed the most important. Him. "Processing" any who are willing and even many who are not. Working us, changing us, guiding us, forgiving us...drawing us to Himself.

Transformation. Newness. Freedom from all that holds us back...

Now, that is a process I wholeheartedly embrace!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Machine

When we first started our life in Africa, I had much to learn. My credentials for life in the Third World were not incredibly long.
My husband landed here ready to go. His Eagle Scout-years of camping-mountain climbing- survival training Self was prepared and SO VERY thrilled to tackle life in difficult conditions.

My list of credentials started as: Loves God. Willing to Learn.
After a crushing case of salmonella and parasites that we could not seem to get rid of , and dealing with the Kenyan public transport system on a daily basis-- my list of credentials dwindled to : Still loves God.

By some miracle...that list proved to be enough in God's hands. And I did begin to learn how to survive on this continent.

One of the first skills to master here was laundry. Of course, I had done laundry before. In machines-- already attached to water and power-- that worked when you pushed the buttons.
My first laundry facilities here were two basins, a jerry can and a clothes line. I constantly thought of Granny, Mam-ma and every Little House on the Prairie episode I ever saw, as I tried to make my laundry attempts efficient and effective. Besides the fact that I began to despise bluejeans (ever tried to wring out a pair--ugh!) I found the laundry task difficult and trying.

God helped me did Nerea, Peter and Rebecca...precious souls who scrubbed, twisted, wrung and hung our clothes through those early years.

With the birth of our first child, came a new dimension to laundry. Pampers and Huggies were not available here yet, so we were left to cloth diapers. And our laundry woes increased.

It was at this time that we purchased a wonderful piece of equipment that our Ugandan friends referred to as "The Machine".

It is a Maytag and it was old 7 years ago. We recently traced its history, and discovered that it has been serving Africa missionaries for over 35 years. That's a long time for a machine to work in Africa.

The Machine has been through alot, washed so very many clothes and even housed the wayward rat on occasion. It has plugged along in its duties all these years and though it sounds like a jet engine taking off when it is in the spin has made our clothes clean.

Several months ago, The Machine, began to make a different kind of noise. A noise accompanied by a strange burning smell....and, well, a smidgen of smoke.

I prayed over The Machine. Asked God to give it just a little more life. But, sometimes, the answer is no. The Machine has stopped spinning and though I gingerly fill its tub with smallish loads, I know we are on borrowed time. Very soon The Machine will stop all together and go to Maytag heaven. (?)

So, I write you today amidst mountainous piles of dirty laundry. We are back to hand washing and wringing, and despite our best efforts("I know you have worn those jeans 7 times, Kinley, but one more day won't hurt!")...we can't keep up.

I hope a New Machine is in our future. Until then, I guess I have more to learn.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Bushara Island Camp. A beautiful, peaceful, serene setting...overflowing with life in the form of the Cash family for four days! Located in the southernmost part of Uganda, very near the Rwanda border. I had never traveled that far south before...what a beautiful place it is. Rolling hills, cool climate, gorgeous views. Delightful.

We walked, read, played cards, played frisbee, had a campfire, played on the playground...the kids had so much fun...we all agree it is a place we hope to visit again.

(all pictures by Jeff Cash)
Snack break!

View from our cabin

Boat ride to the island!

Girl time...

Blessings and joy...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Do You Know?

--the childhood games I played and names I gave my dolls?
--the things that make my Mom smile?
--the things that IRRITATE my Mom?
--the feel of my Mom's and Dad's hugs?
--my Dad's favorite hymn?
--all the words to "Preacher and the Bear"?
--how Mam-ma sounded when she sang in church?
--all the contents of Mam-ma's purse? (Certs in the center)
--the smell of Granddaddy when he comes in from the shop?
--the FEARFUL noise of lawnmowers starting?
--funny details of family trips--Brownwood, SixFlags, Disneyland and Hollywood, Nashville.
--how it feels to be the youth minister's kid?
--the smell of Mom's stew on a cold West Texas fall day?
--the sheer delight of shouting MOJO with an amazing community supporting kids in a really FUN game every Friday night?
--the camp friends who shaped and shared our Faith every summer for years?
--where the painted Santa Clause and Elves figures go on the coffee table?
--when to decorate the Christmas Tree? (Thanksgiving Weekend.)
--when to open Christmas presents? (Christmas Eve of course!)
--what irritates me?(horny toads, locusts, breathing outside my door..."Moooommmmm, please make her move!")
--every hairstyle I've had: the good, the bad and (ugh!) the ugly!
--all the words to "Sound of Music", "Karate Kid" and "Annie"?
--the history of Monahans High School class of '65?
--what made Granny laugh? (you!)

Cherise Knows. She is my sister.
And while there are many things she does know...I wonder sometimes if she knows

--how much I miss her every single day!
--how Target runs with her on furlough are my FAVORITE THING!!!
--how proud I am of her faith and the beautiful way she lives it.
--how proud I am of her mothering--her dauntless (okay, sometimes daunted:-) way of tackling the issues and continuing on to make good lives for her boys
--how cool I think she is!
--how beautiful she is!
--how blessed Wade, Bryson and Cason are to have her in their lives?
--how often she makes me laugh?
--how much I depend on her friendship?
--how very much I love her?

Happy Birthday Cherise! I think you are the greatest. I'm so glad you are in my life. I just wanted you to know.

Who do you love today? Do they know?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pebbles and Stones

Several years ago, Jeff and I watched the Focus on the Family video series filmed in Israel. It was a great series, but one of the lessons I remember most was about Standing Stones.
At many of the major happenings in the Israelites travels and wanderings, they would be instructed to take up stones and set them "there". These stones served as reminders so that those forgetful Israelites would be reminded of the Rock. A memorial that "God did something amazing here."
They were instructed to tell their children and their children's children so that each generation would remember the MOMENTS when a Heavenly King interevened on behalf of a worldly people.

I love this. The MARKING of an occasion. What a great idea. (God has alot of those!)

So, here I am at an occasion. Ten Years in Uganda. And I have spent many minutes over the last days looking at pictures, reading old journals and remembering our wanderings these last years.

Two things amaze me.
First, the unbelievable number of Stones in this journey. The breathtaking, exhillirating moments when I can say "God moved here." I cannot believe that He allows my weak eyes to see it. I do not deserve such an outpouring. And yet, He delights in revealing Himself.

The second thing that amazes me, is how often my eyes are diverted by the pebbles in the path. The distractions. The hassles. The problems. My own struggles. My sin. Before I realize it, I am engrossed in the pebbles at my feet and complaining about the ones that are in my shoes and I completely miss the Stones. God forgive me.

Today, I want you to see some of our Stones. This is not an exhaustive list. If you want that, come and see us. We will wander around with you here and tell you more stories---show you more Stones.

But for now, praise God with us over these unbelievable outpourings of Him. His goodness and His mercy on a weak and sinful people. He is Good.

DSC_0041 (2)
Ronald and Dick
DSC_0032 (2)
David Kabiito teaching the children on Sunday morning
DSC_0013 (2)
Silas and Isaac
Fort Portal Town Church
Cash 10 year Rwenzori view dinner
Fellowship with Christian Missionaries
IMG_0266 (2)
Andrew and AimeeJo

May God grant you many Stone Sightings today and may your pebbles be few!