Friday, September 29, 2006


Have you ever had a gun held to your chest? Or soldiers mad at you, following you....calling for your death?
Have your children hid under their dead electricity transformers...or in ceilings... to escape the AK-47's and pangas (machetes) brandished by those who hate them....simply because of their tribe?
Have you ever moved three times in a year in order to evade and avoid slaughter?

Kibi has. All of the above.

Life in Eastern Congo is quite beyond my understanding. Extreme Anger. Evil Unchecked. Death.

Today we reunited with Kibi and his wife.They arrived in Ft. Portal after two days of travel. She is suffering from what sounds like ulcers and gall stones. She has been in physical distress for a long time. And has one more day of travel to get to a hospital that can help her. She fears the surgery, but can no longer abide the pain.

Kibi, Angelika and their children were faithful members of the church here for several years. They were refugees from Congo and together we dreamed of furthering His Kingdom in their home place. For about two years Angelika and I would meet to study. Kibi had to translate for us. And over time our study grew to include other Congo refugees and all of Angelika's children. I would share a lesson. Then we would sing.

The glorious sound of Congolese voices. Those folks can lift the rafters (or mabati roof as the case may be!) They revolutionized our worship as a church. And the Swahili and Lingala songs they taught us are still favorites.

That was two babies ago for me. And, what probably seems like a lifetime, of fear, panic, physical suffering and loss for her.

Yet, today, again, we sat in a living room here in Ft Portal...listened to promises of hope and faithfulness from our King and sang... of our need, our love...His Ableness.
We also shared in prayer. Derrick, Jeff and I prayed for her. She prayed for us.

She and Kibi shared of their horrors. And God's Hand...protecting them even up to now.
They spoke of their Savior. The prayers that have protected and prolonged their lives. And His sustaining embrace.

Nothing like a huge dose of real world to set my attitude in place. When I came home...I held my children tighter. Praised God for the security of our last few years. And decided that power outs and the complications those involve...really don't matter at all.

Angelika would be blessed by your prayers. Please pray for her physical healing. Pray for her children waiting for her in Congo. And pray for courage.

Please also pray for Eastern Congo. We have an Enemy, friends. And he isn't Congolese.
He is Hate. And Lies.
Love and Truth...destroy all he sets about to do.
Our true reality is that Our Hero stands ready. To redeem whatever crisis or evil we choose or fall victim too. He is always watching...always caring...always there.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fixin' Up

We are feeling quite accomplished. In the last week we've (and by we, I mean Jeff) repaired three generators...our television...and set up inverters to run a few lights and electronics.

In the amazing spirit of all Americans...we've given ourselves OPTIONS! Choices!

At least, for the time being.

We haven't nailed the internet yet. It clicks off and on over and over as we blog and email...making for many happy moments.

We discovered the source of the problem though. Seems 7 spans of phone wire were stolen between here and Kampala. That's alot of wire. And makes connecting...ummm...impossible. It seems the phone fairies have been at work...because we have the connection back.

I love it when something broken gets fixed. I think I have a running repair list in my head. I don't even realize its there until I can remove something from it. I feel a definitive release of burden.

So the generators are running, the inverters are set up, the television works again....and the internet is surfable for the moment.

We've done great with the electronics.

Now, can someone tell me how to keep a two year old in his bed?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Moment to Praise

The dirt on the floor rises in puffs under the shoes of every person who passes.

The wooden shutters slam randomly in the wind.

The Rutooro praise song sounds above the chickens calling to each other outside.

In the air are the scents of curry and onions being cooked nearby, dirt, and unwashed bodies.

The songs flow one after another. Rutooro, Runyankore, English, Swahili.

"Hakuna Mungu kama wewe."

Ugandan voices sound loudly next to me. Accompanied by the sweet voice of my six year old.

"Tunasema Asante. Tunasema Asante. Tunasema Asante. Wewe Mungu Wangu."

Someimes, even after these many years, a moment hits me.

I am in Africa.

And it feels like home.

The adjustment here is continual.

And often excruciating.

But, today I gave deep thanks.

Praising Him Who brought us here... keeps us here... works despite us, here.



Thank you.

You Are My God.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Contented Sigh...

The power is on today...and it makes me so happy.

Just thought I'd share.

Anything making you happy right now?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'll Play!

Book Tag...

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (Faith at work when it was really, really HARD!)
The Savage my Kinsman by Elizabeth Elliott

Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean by Linda Cobb
(I have taken Sharpie black ink of my walls thanks to this dear woman!)
and everything by Dr. Suess

Surviving on a Desert Island by Jeff Cash (yet to be written!)

I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
and everything by Nicholas Sparks

How to Repair Power Lines in Third World Nations

Stephen King novels...TOO SCARY!!!

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
anything by CS Lewis

Authentic Faith by Gary Thomas
Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel (great ideas! and funny!)

Black, White, Red series by Ted Dekker
Wisdom Hunter Randall Arthur
Brotherhood of Betrayal Randall Arthur
Mark of the Lion Series Francine Rivers
Strong Women Soft Hearts Paula Rinehart

If your name starts with Lori Clark (this is the third time you've been tagged...come!!!) Patty, Jeff, Lulabelle or Homer....Your It!

Can You Hear the Trumpets?

Trumpets are fantastic instruments. Some of my best friends in High School played the trumpet.
And they played them well!
Trumpets can be jazzy, melodic, mournful, powerful and LOUD!

From my friend Kristine, I read this on trumpets today:
"I love the story in Nehemiah about the Jews rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. ...Nehemiah told them, 'The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!' Neh. 4:19-20
You are standing along the wall in Uganda, and we are manning our post here in Tyler, TX. Even though we are widely separated along the wall, we are always listening for the sound of your trumpet, and we join you there in prayer. Our God will fight for us!..."

Today I sound the trumpet--a call to prayer for:

Three plots of land.

And the dreams of a small town church.

In Tooro culture, the purchase of land and any construction...are accompanied with an Expectation.

Many Batooro people believe that land is controlled by spirits.

Spirits of ancestors who are buried there.

Spirits the owners and previous owners have appeased and called on for generations to allow the construction and inhabiting of the property.

This belief, while foreign to most Western mindsets, is a core belief for the people to whom we minister and serve with.

Early this week, Jeff, Ronald and Dick gathered in Advocate Chambers with lawyers to finalize the purchase of three plots of land.

The day after the purchase Jeff, Ronald and Dick along other leaders of our church gathered on the land to celebrate the conclusion of a very complicated purchasing process...

And to enter a Throne Room.

To ask our King. The One true God. The Lord of Lords. To reign supreme.

In our hearts, our World View, and our church family.

In an overt act of Faith, these 12 Ugandan men praised the One Who continues to challenge and transform their lives.

Not the spirits they have been taught to appease.

Will you pray with us?

That on this land a tabernacle will exist. A place to honor our King.

That no Golden Calf will misdirect our attention.

But that our worship and communion will honor HIm Who is Worthy.

Both now, and forevermore.

Please praise HIm too!

He has given us a great gift with this land.

We are so thankful!

To God be the Glory!

Monday, September 11, 2006

We Remember

God Bless America.

Dear Father,

We need You Oh so Much.

Deserve You Oh so Little.

Seek You, Anyway.

Because You are our Hope.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Something to make you smile...

In school today, Isaac and I were learning about and discussing the color red.

As we colored his red apples...I asked, "What else is there that is red?"

He immediately replied, "Target!"


That's my boy!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tent Dwellers

I was never a camping kind of gal.
I did it.
Knew what it was about.
But it never was my thing.

So, when it came time to marry, I choose an Oregonian Eagle Scout who thinks, no, BELIEVES...camping is synonomous with living. The outdoors-the only real place to be. Tents-the best things in the world. (sigh)

When his brothers asked us what we wanted for a wedding gift, Jeff chose a tent. An REI dome tent (now lovingly referred to in our family as" The Kickin' Tent".)
And though I am not the tent connoisseur like my hubby, I have to agree that our tent is cool.

Much to my surprise (and my husbands!) I have become quite a great camper. I can sleep on the ground, pee in the bushes, cook over a fire and set up a tent!

It's funny.

At one point in my life, I actually agreed to be a Full-Time Tent Dweller.
When we moved to Uganda we brought a three room tent. We were going to live in it while we bought land and built a house.
We never ended up living in the tent though.

I've been thinking about all this tent stuff because of a recent Bible study.
Our Biblical predecessors, the Old Testament ones, were well aquainted with tents.

Sarah. All the Israelites traveling with Moses. Jael.


Jael's isn't a very popular story.
For obvious reasons.

We teach on Sarah-and we focus on her willingness to follow her husband. (and to live in a tent!)
We teach on Rahab-we focus on her declaration that God is God.
We teach on Mary-and we focus on her submission to God's difficult and BLESSED call on her young life.

But what in the world do we focus on in Jael's story?

Jael married into a family that had a history with Moses. They were in-laws. Distantly.

Jael was married to Heber. Heber was a descendent of Hobab. Hobab was Moses brother-in-law. (Hobab was a guide for the Israelites in the desert. You know. The wanderings and grumblings.)

So, Jael probably heard many stories around the campfire.

At the time of Jael's story the Israelites had ticked God off yet again. And they were currently sold into the hands of King Jabin and his "cruelly oppressive' army commander Sisera.

Jael's husband, Mr Heber, had pitched his tents in an area where the Israelites were living,but was buddy-buddy with King Jabin, and still had distant connections to the late Moses.

It's a messed up world.

If you don't believe that. Ask Deborah.

She was The Judge. The Go To Lady. All the Israelites brought their problems to her and she heard their cases and made decisions. Sound like a fun job?

She apparently did it very well. And was very wise.

You gotta know she heard stories about Sisera.

Deborah wrote a song, later on, and she describes how Sisera's Mom expected and accepted Sisera's behaviors.

"Where is my son?"
"Are they not dividing the spoils?....a girl or two for each man...colorful garments for Sisera...colorful garments embroidered...for my neck...?"

Sisera is known as a warrior who ravages, kills, takes the loot and the women.

Fast forward through history and you see this story repeated.
Currently it is the excruciating truth of Congo. Sudan. Northern Uganda.
Warriors who take women as "the spoils".
This behavior creates many problems.
For everybody.

Deborah had received a command from the Lord that Barak (Israelite Army commander) was to attack Sisera. And that the Israelites would win. Finally.

Sweet relief. Salvation. Praises?

Not exactly.

Barak balked. "I will NOT go, if you don't go with me!"

Deborah scolded and said, "Okay. I'll go with you. But because of the way you are handling this, Sisera will be given to the hands of a woman."


So the battle ensues. The Israelites led by belligerant Barak are in fact wiping out the bad guys.

Sisera's men were suffering and falling to the sword.

Men who had obeyed Sisera's ruthless commands. Carried out his oppressive orders. Fought for him for years.

And brave warrior, honorable soldier and loyal brother that he was...

Sisera ran. Abandoned his chariot and ran.

He found a tent, got a drink and went to sleep.

His men were dying.

Sisera snoozed. Exhausted.

But not before he told a woman to stand guard for him. A woman.

Maybe not a wise choice.

Jael was the hostess.

She, of course, knew who Sisera was. And what he was about.

Remember, Jael's hubby was King Jabin's buddy. (King Jabin=Sisera's boss)

Sisera thought Heber's tent would be a safe place.

I don't think Jael was happy to see him coming.

I know if Mr. Cruel was loping towards my tent flap me and my "woman-ness" would find a place to hide.

Not Jael. She went out to meet him and welcomed him in.

It was obvious he had been in battle.

And obvious that he was running.

He asked for water. She gave him milk.

Showed him where to rest.

Tucked him in.

And drove a tent peg through his temple. Pinning him to the ground. Dead.

It was God's will that Sisera and his army be destroyed that day. Not Jael's will. Or Deborah's.


Now, I know Deborah knew that.

But, who told Jael?

I don't know.

She is honored as a hero none-the-less.

Deborah calls her "Most blessed of women...most blessed of tent dwelling women."

This phrase, "most blessed of women..." is repeated later to describe Mary the mom of Jesus.

No small praise, this phrase.

Did Jael know Sisera's army was destroyed?
Did she kill him because he was obviously deserting?
What would her husband say?
King Jabin?
Was she afraid for herself and the other women in her camp?
Had Sisera hurt her before?

The answer?  We don't know.

It doesn't say.

Just tells us the story and says Jael is blessed.

Maybe, Jael isn't the main point.

Evil men. Rebellious people. Brutal murder.

God. The Holy Contradiction in a very, very dark place.

God. Still watching in the days of intense rebellion.

Take a stroll through the book of Judges someday. If you can stomach it. NOT a pretty Bible story here. Just grief. And hurt. And ugliness.

And God.

Still watching. And acting. And hearing the cries of His children.

There are some common messages in my processing throught these Old Testament women studies.

1.God ALWAYS sees. And when He acts, it is deliberate and decisive.

2.Don't mess with God's people. (not just the Israelites anymore....) Even when they are being stupid. They are God's. And He is watching.

3.God adores women. And chooses, throughout the Old Testament, to REDEEM the lives of those who are not worthy(according to His own law). Rahab, Tamar, Bathsheeba, now Jael (she is called Blessed!) As if to show us,"THIS is what I have in mind, folks. Redemption. Not perfection.

4. God, so often, chooses surprising vessels to fulfill His purpose, here, a non-Israelite woman.

I'm left with this:

God's faithfulness is Amazing. His compassion and desire to be good to us, unfathomable.
He keeps His promises, even when He is mad.


Be Nice.

You may need to rest in someone's tent someday. Be sure your kindness precedes you. Or else keep an eye on their tent pegs.

And what we have seen on this Earth does not compare to what awaits.

Mercy beyond comprehension. Justice for those who've chosen their own way.

God help us all!

(Bible story taken from Judges 4-5)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Today, we took down the bed.

The baby crib.

For the first time in 8 isn't being used.

I thought it might be emotional.

But, I had alot of helpers on hand...and I spent most of the memorable moment trying to keep Silas' fingers from being pinched.

So, its gone now. The bed I prayed over so often. Prayers for healing from fevers...prayers for comfort in teething...prayers for protection and safety...prayers for Faith and submissive hearts...FERVENT prayers for more sleep :-)...

And I don't feel sad.

I've LOVED our babies. Having them and cuddling them. Changing them and singing to them. Teaching them and watching them. LIving through, surviving and thriving through their "baby-ness" has been the fulfillment of one of my deepest dreams.

I am so thankful for the generosity with which God gave these into our home.

And for the years God has given us to continue knowing them more.


On to the next!!!