Thursday, July 31, 2014

In the Shade

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The graceful lifting of the elephant's ears works to cool down his body temperature. The slinky body of the crocodile slides into the murky waters. The hippos lounge peacefully next to the equally powerful water buffalo. And the lioness wanders from the hot sun to the cool thicket.
All things wild come to a resting point under the hot African sun, and we are doing the same. Our work has halted and we are regrouping before our transition back to home.
What have we learned, while in Uganda?
1.  God Cares. We saw the poorest of the poor and those who came to help them. There are no government agencies to bail them out, but people like you and me who come in the Name of Love. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
2.  God Calls.  Most everyone I know feels insignificant to world events. Yet The Lord anoints each of us daily to be His ambassador to a hurting world.
3.  God Provides.  On the days we felt like we had nothing left to give, He replenished our stores... both emotionally and physically. Even when we thought our supply of eyeglasses was too low to be sufficient.
How will you respond to the God who cares, who calls and who provides? He alone is adequate to meet your needs. Abundantly!

July 31 2014 Thursday

On the way to our safari we saw banana trees and tea plantations. Finally we got to the hostel and we were all ready for bed. It wasn't the nicest place but we had a roof over our head, beds, and nets. We got up the next morning at about 6:00 or 6:30 to ride in the van. I was ready to see God's beautiful amazing creatures. Our driver,Richard, put the roof of the  van up. I had a quick idea of sitting on the roof but it came and went until I saw Anna fearlessly sitting on the roof of the van. I sat on the roof with pillows to cushion the bars on the top of the van. I felt like a fearless bird on the roof. I has to call the elephants out from hiding in the tall grasses. We saw a family of thirteen all together. We drove for a little while until we saw water bucks eating and sleeping. We saw a skull of a waterbuck and some other bones. I was hoping that we would see a lion but I was happy with we just saw the leopard. Our driver was even surprised to see a leopard. He said that we were lucky to see it. Richard and Ben drove us right to where some lions were. They were far away but it was still cool to see them walking around. We kept driving in the cool day and I was still on the roof and that is when I noticed that God made this beautiful world and it is our responsibility to keep it clean and heathy. Don't you think God loves us. I mean look at this beautiful world. Look at the stripes on a zebra to the spots of a cheetah or even the long neck of a giraffe. If God loves the small animals don't you think he loves us.

The grass withereth, the flowers fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.
~Isaiah 40:8

                                ~Rachel McEntire

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Off to safari - Tuesday, July 29th

Began our day very early, as safari vans picked us up for the 11 hour drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park.  Our ride included a stop at a grocery store to get bottled water for ride.  Just as in most other shopping adventures in Uganda, we had to get through security to shop.  Our drivers, Richard and Ben are quite personable and drive quite safely. After driving through a brief rain, we stopped at the Equator.  We all took pictures of each other, some straddling the famous north-south line.  It just makes for a memorable moment for sure.  Mbarara was our stopping point for lunch. The menu included some American sounding foods such as the Apple Bacon Salad which I ordered.   It was actually a couple of leafs of lettuce with several large pieces of "bacon" (not cooked crisp enough for me), slices of a nice crisp green apple, a few rings of purple onion and some Ugandan style honey mustard dressing. Not too bad, I'd say!  And on the side, I tried the deep fried eggplant. Most of the group liked it.  Back on the road again, we drove through several small towns including Igara which I think is where we began to see several tea plantations.   We also saw several banana plantations. I was impressed with the use of the land! Planting was even neatly spaced on the side of the mountains. Next thing I noticed was a lake our guide called Crater Lake. There is no inlet or outlet - very interesting!  Once we entered the Queen Elizabeth National Park area, our safari actually began as we saw elephants, water bucks, a leopard (lucky us!), lioness, water buffalo, and antelope.  By the time we reached our "sleeping quarters", we had had a long tiring day!  So blessed!!
Norma Jean

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28,2014

Monday,Monday....sounds like a song.  Today was catch up day.  Catch up on laundry, some more shopping, and napping!  I participated in all three!  So since this was a rest day I would like to reflect on the past few weeks and some of  the people I met that inspired  me.
  Generous was the pastor of the church in  Kasubu.  This woman's faith and her servant heart for trying to make an impoverished village better.  She knew the only way possible was through her trust and love for her Savior Jesus Christ.  Her drive and love of God was inspiring. She has life forever.
  Mosses and Sundae are our two drivers who have been with us all two weeks.  Mosses smile is so contagious that you can't be sad around him.  He is kind and soft spoken. He loves Jesus and his life is one of a true servant of God.  Sundae is the enforcer of the two.  Younger in years he took charge the one day when the crowd got unruly.  His village in Gulu was our last visit and he is so proud of the village.  The church of God is on his family's land and his love for our Lord is very noticeable.  He was so excited to have us there that his wife Grace went up a week before to make preparations.  The people of Gulu do not have a lot in material things but their faith in God who is the hope of all was very evident.

  Out last Home visit was to see Doris who was a grandmother taking care of her grandchildren.  She has the faith of a giant.  She struggles every day to provide for her family, her hut is small,  her grandchildren have to help her with daily chores.  She was collecting firewood to cook over when we arrived.  The bag of food we brought her was an answer to her prayers.  She could now feed her family for the next few days.  Her faith that God would provide her needs was inspiring and touched my heart.  She looks to her Savior every day!  She ended our visit with a song of praise to  God.
  Pastor Tim Stevenson and his drive and love for Uganda.  His family have dedicated their lives to be servants and to see the Church of God develop and grow in many regions and villages.  He is driven to make a difference in this world and listen to God's calling.  He has to run this compound while his wife  is undergoing chemo treatments in Canada.  Even when he is not feeling well he never loses his sense of humor.  His drive to finish the race and hear well done faithful servant is one that truly inspires.  Colleen you are always in our prayers!
  Finally my team,  every one who is on this trip was chosen.  The team started out as 11 with the Ohio three, and we still are 11 with the interns who are here.  Each person on this team has shown their faithfulness that God will provide each day strength, endurance, healing, patience, love, His faithfulness that my team inspires me.  Each day God handles the details of the day and shows up in big ways. I love you all and have drawn closer to each of you.
  There are many more that have touched my life and I am forever changed.
  My last thought,  I have seen poverty and disease here, but what I will remember most is the faith of these people that God will provide, and a determination that their faith in not in vain.  I challenge all to look at your life and do you have a servants heart?  Do we notice a person in need or are we to busy in our own lives?  These are questions I ask myself.  I hope that I become a better servant and my faith is evident in my life.  Just my thoughts!   Lana Lanphier

We leave on safari early Tuesday morning and will be gone for three days.  Back late Thursday night!

No blogging till we return.   Lana

Now Is The Time Of Worship

July 27,  2014

Sunday began with an early breakfast.  Sundae had to pick up 8 goats.  We were giving them to members of the church that were in need.  Never saw how he got them there.   It kind of made me chuckle inside.   We were wrapping up our time there.  It would be hard to leave.  We had been there for three days and had started to build relationships with people there.  For each one of us, I am sure there is at least one person that is imprinted on our mind.  For me... It was Oketbush.   Better known as Bush.  Every day when we arrived it seemed as though we sought each other out.   Then everything was going to be okay.  He was about ten.  He became my interpreter.  He was a leader amongst the crowd of children.  He translated for me, organized activities, and helped me pass out candy which was a hard task to do.   The other children looked up to him.  This young man had no one to support him so he could not go to school.  Like many of the other children.  Somehow he learned how to read.  The book he chose to read was the Bible.  Amazing!

It was a time of to worship.  Music playing...  People dancing...  The Word of God proclaimed...  Two very distinct people groups coming together to worship as one.  Joy and excitement was in the air.  Anticipation to have a meeting with The Lord.  In appreciation for the work we had done there, they gave us a goat.  The question that ran through my mind was, "How do we get the goat to Kampala".  That was simple.... On the top of  our vehicle.  It was a eight hour trip back to Kampala.  It was an interesting ride home.  We picked up chickens along the way.  I have to admit this is something I will never forget.

In all it's forms... today was a day of worship!!!


Gulu - Saturday, July 26

Psalm 26:12 GOD's Word gives us firm footing, and equips us to bless His Name.

What a powerful anointing on the time with the Pastors' Wives! I talked about the benefits of journaling and used material from Moms In Touch International, and Kathi Lipp's book, "I Need Some Help Here!" We shared concerns with each other in small groups, and prayed for one another and for our children and grandchildren. It was beautiful to hear them read Scripture in their own language, and to know The Lord will multiply that in the women's hearts. The Busti Church of God Women's Connection sponsored the journals given, and ladies... you would have loved the smiles when they received their gift of pen and journal! What do we have in common with women of another culture? A love for The Lord, concern for our families, and a desire to connect with each other!

Winifred & Margaret, local TAPP coordinators, took four of us on TAPP visits (Ugandans living with Aids).  We took gifts to each one, including local food staples and sugar, which is a special treat for them. They were super excited to receive other items, including Abbey-Fest T shirts, soap, coloring books & crayons, small toys, candy, toothbrushes, lotions and more. The women shrieked when we gave them hand fans made by individuals attending the Aspire of WNY day program! They just loved the cool breeze as we waved them in their faces to show them how they work. Even a hallelujah was shouted a couple of times.  Some of these visits were difficult emotionally. Aaron is a 14 year boy who has become partially paralyzed and is not doing well. Paul's HIV has taken over his body, leaving him unable to get around, and his skin is falling off.  Deginna is gaining strength and wanted us to know that a rape caused her Aids.  This is only three of the seven we saw on Saturday.  While physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting, I am so glad that I was able to bring a little joy and love into their lives!
Norma Jean

Over thirty Pastors and other church leaders gathered for the conclusion of the hygiene conference and the Pastors conference. We began the conference by identifying the district leaders, to whom we gave Arlo Newell's book, The Church of God as Revealed in Scripture. Following this presentation, we then gave out Life Application Study Bibles in the New International Version to the Disrict Leaders and Pastors. After clarifying who was considered a "real" Pastor, I lead a session in which I showed them how to use this valuable study tool.

Following that session, we looked at Acts 2, and talked about "The Church that God Blesses."
It was a blessed time together during which I discovered that the churches in Uganda are facing some of the same struggles as those of us in the United States. Issues like church people watching from the sidelines, gossip in the church's, jealousy, etc. I believe that it was good for these Pastors to be reminded of what God had in mind when he birthed the church.

The day ended with a supper together before we turned in for the night. It was a rich day that was arguably our busiest day of this trip. We managed to dispense another 76 glasses, Teresa held a mini children's conference, in addition to what we have shared above. A good day in which God was clearly present!

P. Roy

July 25

"The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing...Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.  Say to those who are fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear! ...He will come and save you.'  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing...They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
These portions of Isaiah 35 speak of a land that was once ravaged and desperate, that was now being restored and rebuilt.  They are reminiscent of the area that we are visiting this weekend; a land torn apart by war and plunder and fear.  Our driver, Sunde, is from this area, and it is evident that returning to his homeland stirs up much emotion and meaning.  He spoke of the horrors that occurred here, and also showed us the mango tree that served as his classroom.  He told us that the roads were empty and people would hide in fear of the rebels.  These atrocities only ended about 5 years ago, when the insurgents were finally kicked out.  Though there is much healing and restoration still needed, it was a living testimony to see people walking and doing business and laughing.
It was a very active day at the Gulu Church of GOD and for our team.  Pastor Roy and I helped with a pastor's and leader's conference that hosted nearly 50 participants.  Tim Stevenson brought greetings to the congregation in his witty and endearing way; I conducted a hygiene workshop and Roy brought an update from the recent national conference that he attended in Oklahoma City.  I could tell that the direct connection through Roy was meaningful to those in attendance.  And, of course, there was jubilant praise throughout the day!
The ladies split up into two teams to go on visits.  One group went to see the jjajjas (a grandparent) and the other group went on TAPP visits (Tumani AIDS Prevention Program - Tumani means Hope). They brought each one that they visited a package with gifts and food.  These visits mean so much to those who are being visited, as they rarely receive visitors, and it was obvious that they had a great impact on our team members as well.
Dinner and devotions under the generator-fed light bulb hung from the rafter rounded out our busy day, after which we headed back to our hotel for a well-deserved rest (once the booming dance-party music next door ended around midnight!)

- Keith McEntire

July 24

Today began with a leisurely breakfast while we waited for some work to be done on the van.  Morning turned into afternoon before we headed off to Gulu, a village in the northern part of Uganda.  The eight hour trip was filled with the smells of smoke, dust and exhaust.  Some of the sights along the way included a variety of small stores and markets, goats and long-horned steers, stereotypical huts and people carrying anything and everything on their heads.  It's incredible to observe how many things can be strategically balanced on a bicycle or motorcycle!  The severe rattles of the van were headache-inducing and the bouncing has the potential to shake any loose! : )   We took a little snack and bathroom break (oh the joys of the "squatty potty"!) about halfway into our trip.  The most famous landmark that we witnessed was the Nile River!  It was gorgeous and majestic, powerful and wide.
The journey was long, especially the second half, because the road was so treacherous.  I kept pretending we were off-roading:)  just imagine traveling down the worst dirt road in Pennsylvania - now add large potholes, numerous trucks, motorcycles and people!  As darkness descended the intensity of the driving increased. We are so thankful for our trusted and experienced drivers, who were able to negotiate the road with great skill.  We finally pulled in to our hostel (mini hotel) where we would be spending the next three nights. I can't tell you the relief and excitement we felt when we saw that we had nice rooms with their own bathrooms with a REAL toilet!
We dropped off our things and headed to the Gulu Church of GOD where we would be conducting the workshops.  The ladies there had prepared supper for us, which we ate right in the church building by the light of a kerosene lamp.  I am reminded that life can be like this ride:  full of adventure, bumps, beautiful sights and not-so-beautiful smells.  Sometimes the road is smooth, pleasant and easy. Sometimes it's so rough you feel like you've been beat up.  But whatever the case my job as passenger is to embrace and enjoy the ride, and trust the driver.  In our case it was our drivers, Sunde and Moses, but in life it is GOD.  The journey isn't always easy.  It may feel out-of-control, and even frightening sometimes.  But in the end there is a great reward.

- Melissa McEntire

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Off to the Village of Gulu

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we will be off grid for the rest of the week as we are preparing to leave for Gulu in northern Uganda. This is the village where our driver Sande is from. We will blog again on Monday. Thanks for your continued prayers. And know that we have been, and will continue to pray for our church family and the family of Kathy Lawson as her body is laid to rest tomorrow. Thank you Pastors Scott and Danika for ministering in such a loving and compassionate way!
Pastor Roy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23 - A reflection of what God is doing

Today was the last day for Rob & Carol Robison and Donna Morhous to be with us. We spent the day shopping at the Open Market and the shopping mall in Kampala. It was good to have a day to relax after an intense several days scurrying to see as many people as we possibly could in the eye clinics that we did.

Since I can't imagine that anyone wants to hear of our shopping exploits, I want to just reflect on some of what God has done during our time here so far. In Joshua 3, as the Israelites were preparing to cross the Jordan river and conquer the land that God had promised to them, Joshua challenged the people by saying on the eve of their conquest, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

Since before we left New York and Ohio, respectively, our team has been praying and been prayed for. We have consecrated ourselves by submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit to do through us what we would not be able to do on our own.

We have witnessed miracle after miracle. Like the woman named Agnes, who has likely been legally blind for over 30 years, but who left the clinic with glasses and the ability to see clearly for the first time in a long time! Edward, who came with glasses that were no longer effective, and who couldn't see without them, also left with the ability to see! On Monday and Tuesday Rob, who was in charge of dispensing glasses, informed us that we were running dangerously low on the segment of our eyeglass inventory that most people had been needing. On Monday night we celebrated that no one left the clinic without glasses who needed them. And there were over 125 who came! On Tuesday we weren't sure that we would be able to last the whole day with what we had left. However, after praying that God would multiply our inventory, just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish, we saw yet another 130+ people and NO ONE left the clinic without glasses who needed them!

Our God is indeed an awesome God! He reigns in heaven above. With wisdom, power, and love our God is an awesome God!

It was hard to see the Ohio group leave us today, and yet we were able to part ways victorious because having consecrated ourselves, we have seen God do amazing things!

As we leave for the village tomorrow for hygiene clinics, pastors and women's conferences, as well as do T.A.P.P. and Grandmother visits we continue to look to God to do even more amazing things!

Tuesday, July 22nd - Kisugu Eye Clinic

After a nice "pancake" breakfast, we headed to Kisugu for our last eye clinic with our Cincinnati team. This part of Kampala is what we westerners would call the slums, or ghetto! The poorest Ugandans were living in clay & tin rooms built right next to each other. A railroad track ran through this section of town with tiny stands selling foods and various goods. A woman named Generous, who runs the TAPP program in the area, as well as various other projects, organized this clinic which we were excited to do! Our setup worked well for Dr. Donna and our various stations. There were many people patiently waiting for us to begin.  The volunteer interpreters were run through the clinic first and given Abbey Rose T shirts. Very few people here spoke any English.

I began my day in the registration area trying to figure out the issues with people's eyes. I have learned a great deal during these clinics!  We were able to see 50 people before lunch. Generous led us all through these "alleys" to Kisubu church where the women had prepared our lunch.  There is no way I can fully express how visually appalling & overwhelming this part of the journey was!  Peering through doorways, some partially covered with cloth, I could see some pots, mats, and children. We had to duck under clotheslines, step over puddles of who knows what, and avoid trash piles! There were small children everywhere! But when we arrived, we were greeted by jubilant women doing their African shrieking.  These women entertained us with wonderful dances that only our Melissa can duplicate!! We had a lunch of beef, potatoes, rice, "coleslaw" and fresh pineapple, and there were enough forks for each of us!  The TAPP program has just begun in the church (a way for women with aids to make crafts to earn an income) so we were able to purchase a couple of items before our trek back to the clinic. Melissa and Lana enjoyed another squatty potty adventure, braving the stench and hitting their heads, but no falls!

The Rissell's sponsor child, Hope, was there to be presented gifts. The awesome part was she wants to be a cosmetologist and Brenda & Daniella had sent combs and barrettes! She beamed with joy!  Roy videotaped her thank you message and she laughed when she saw herself!

I began the afternoon playing "traffic cop" moving patients around and registering some occasionally.   The crowd was growing and getting rowdy outside the gates on two sides of the clinic area. Children's arms and faces poked through on another side. One little girl with a growth on her face and neck had the biggest smile which melted my heart!  Soon the police were called to keep control of the situation as all these Ugandans wanted to be seen and knew we weren't going to be able to help them all.   Out last patient was a local pastor so grateful to receive glasses!  As we began packing up, Sally & Melissa handed out our remaining sunglasses almost getting knocked over by the crowds! A bit scary but Moses, Sunday & Logan kept us safe!

So in four days of full eye clinic, we gave out approximately 650 pairs of prescription glasses and many more sunglasses.  It was most fun to see the children who were proud to wear their new sunglasses!  I forgot to mention how we had prayed over all the glasses at the beginning of this day.  We were extremely low on some scripts, but by the end of the day we had not turned anyone away due to not having what they needed! Hallelujah and Amen!!!

God is good! Blessings to all!
Norma Jeann

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saturday July 19

Hey team supporters!  We returned to the same location so the workday started easier, as we had left our equipment at the church.  We saw 86 Africans through all the stations and getting them prescriptions  and many more with sunglasses.  We came expecting the majority of our patients to speak English, but it became the minority.  There are 52 dialects here and they mainly spoke Luganda, so we needed interpreters at each location.... Sigh....... But, we did not work the details out. God did.  At each place we were pleased to welcome enough volunteers to interpret for each station.  We had not factored that in at all.   God did.  Today a lady came through needing help with her legs.  Well, that wasn't something I could help with, but Pastor Roy stepped in and anointed and prayed to the Great Healer.  God has provided ways to grow our faith as we have seen so many needs met.  There was no internet for 3 days.  When I came, I thought there would be no phone or internet service.  As we have driven around from place to place, it still surprises me to see the internet ads everywhere in the city streets and to see people in the villages who have a cell phone.  We returned late to our mission house, did dinner together and devotions and then practiced singing for church tomorrow.
"When I said, my foot slippeth, Thy mercy , O Lord, held me up."  Psalm 94:18


Worship Ugandan Style

Sunday, July 20

The internet was down for the weekend, and our posts were lost in cyberspace on Monday, so hopefully these messages will reach you this time...

After a breakfast of crepes with Nutella, we split into groups and headed to two different churches.  Rob and I, along with Sally, Norma Jean, and Donna went to Mutunga Chuch of God with Logan Stevenson.  The rest of the group attended Bakasa Church of God.  When we arrived at church, we were greeted at the van with joyful tribal shrieking.  They were so excited to see us!  We were escorted to the first two rows of chairs where worship had already begun.  These people really know how to praise God with song and dance... Lots of dancing!  A group of children sang and danced, another group performed a dance, and a young man wearing a "Snowboarder" shirt danced also.  We're certain that he has never hit the slopes, but after seeing his moves, Sally said she's pretty sure that Michael Jackson is from Uganda!  For our portion of the service, Logan introduced us, Sally brought greetings from our churches, Donna shared a testimony, and we sang two songs (with no dancing).  Rob gave the message on compassion based on the story of the feeding of 5,000, and at the end of the service, we were able to present Pastor Pia with a Life Application Study Bible.  She was thrilled, and plans to be the first in line at the eye clinic on Monday so she can receive a pair of glasses to help her read it!
 Carol Robison

Our group ( Keith, Roy, Anna, Lana, Teresa, Rachel, Colleen, Madison (the interns)  & I) all went to the Bakasa Church of God. We loved the way they worship! So much joy & expression! And dance! There were two children's choirs & then a men's choir. Then they had a couple that just got engaged so the brought them in front of the church with great song & dance, then prayed over them! It was very cool to see the importance they place on marriage. (I talked to the man later & he told me he had to pay a bride price of 7 cows for his bride.)
Keith preached a sermon- also on the feeding of the 5000- just like Rob- planned by God I guess...
He did a great job making the sermon very interactive using three boys from the crowd.
Pastor Roy also presented the pastor (John) with a bible. He was thrilled! It was such an honor and a blessing to worship with these wonderful people!
Melissa. McEntire

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday clinic in Bukasa

Monday and we are off to Bukasa where some of us worshiped yesterday.  We got a late start as we were waiting for our ride.  We arrived about 10:30am but after set up the first person started through at noon!  We stopped for Lunch at about 1:30pm and only 25people had gone through and it seemed like we may not be able to process many today.  Our awesome God had other plans!  We  saw 100 more people which made the total to be 125 plus extra sunglasses for many more.  Here is the cool part, although that is awesome, we had glasses for everyone and there were a lot of happy people.  We had given a lot of readers away and common prescriptions but He found a way for everyone to get what they need.Faith, I have grown to know that is the only way to live.  Every part of this trip God has shown up and showed off.  This is my first mission trip but God has blessed me in every way!  From getting me through long plane rides , giving me a peace beyond understanding, to keeping me healthy.  God is big and when you don't box Him in He will show you how big!  We are remembering the family of Kathy Lawson and our church family.  We are praying and are sorry we are not there.  I think Kathy would tell us, it's OK and keep being servants for God's work!  I love you all but it is time for bed as tomorrow we are back at it again watching God provide what we need.  God bless!  Lana Lanphier

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday July 18 -First full clinic day

Today is Friday, July 18.   Last evening we completed a short trial run clinic at the Stevenson's home. We tested and provided glasses for 13 of the workers that assist the Stevenson's with their mission here in Uganda.

This morning we left for the village of Busujja.  A short 1 hour ride.  (That translates to about 1 and half hour in Uganda time)  When we arrived we were quickly greeted by many people anxiously awaiting our arrival.  We got a late start waiting on all of the vehicles carrying our equipment but we are learning to let God take care of the details .  We finally sarted the clinic at around noon.

Before we started our clinic a small group of children from the village shared a song and dance for us. We were  all impressed with the moves and flexibility of these children.  Pastor Roy desperately tried to join in with the dance but we convinced him that we were not equipped to put his hip back in place if he tried to dance with the kids.  Maybe he will do an interpretive dance after he returns.

Teresa led all of the children in the village with a great rendition of  My God Is So Big!  They learn QUICK and followed her every move even if it wasn't part of the song!

We had to wrap up the clinic for the day at a little after 5 pm so that we could make our way home through the Uganda traffic safely.

We helped 58 people at the clinic today and look to provide funding for 4-5 critical surgeries for cataracts.

Tomorrow we will return to this same village to finish our time with these people.

It is impossible to not fall in love with the children and the people we all interact with. It is exciting to think that as I type this blog many of he people in the village are sitting and reading their Bibles with their   new glasses.  Keep praying that God will continue to take care of all of the details for us .  With Love,  Rob Robison

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's 6:37 am and the sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing, and exotic birds making their uniquely native sounds, fill the air. People are already beginning their commute to work, many on foot, and the sounds of their feet shuffling down the road have awakened these animals from their slumber.

When we arrived on Wednesday, Anna was at the compound waiting for us and helped to open the large iron gate that protects the Stevenson's residence. It was so good to be able to wrap her up in our arms and give her a long hug. Unfortunately, however, she informed us that my maternal Grandmother died the day before while we were flying to Ethiopia.

My grandmother was a beautiful woman, kind and loving in so many ways. There was one relationship that she and my grandfather had that stands out as I reflect on their lives. Nancy and Leroy were talked about often, and if you didn't know them, you would assume that by the way my grandparents talked about them that it was a typical example of friendship between four people. iIt wasn't unusual for my grandparents to either go to their home for an evening of cards or for all of them to go out to eat at the American Legion or some other place.

I don't remember exactly, but I think it was a car accident that changed Nancy and Leroy's future, causing them to live their remaining years wheelchair bound. Grandma and Grandpa took it upon themselves to help them in a variety of ways with physical activities that they could no longer do. They would take them to doctors appointments, the grocery store, but did so without ever making Nancy and Leroy feel like objects of charity. They were friends in the true meaning of the word. When it became more of a challenge to meet them at the point of their need, Grandma and Grandpa didn't back away, but continued as friends as if nothing had changed in their relationship.

I remember the times that I was around Nancy and Leroy, and in spite of their obvious handicaps, they clearly enjoyed life. I would like to think that this was due, at least in part, to the gracious way that my grandparents served them as friends.

As we serve in a village just outside of Kampala for the next 2 days and then again next week, I would ask you to pray that we can serve people who have great need, with a grace and humility that demonstrates the genuine nature of the love of Jesus Christ. I don't want these precious souls to feel like "objects of charity" but rather to know that we love them regardless of any differences that exist. I would also ask that you pray that their infectious joy for life would rub off on us.

It's easy to slip into a prideful way of thinking here in Africa when we sit before a plateful of food that doesn't inspire us, or as we work out the lingering effects of jet lag. We can so quickly be deceived into thinking that we are making great sacrifices when we don't have the conveniences of home, like a toilet seat or a shower whenever we want to take one.

Help us Holy Spirit to remember that it is in your power, not anything that we have done, which enables us to experience any measure of success. As we desire to help people see with their eyes as well as with the eyes of their hearts, remind us of who we are in light of who You are, and also Whose we are as we go out today in the name of Jesus, and the power of The Holy Spirit. Give us grace and peace and joy so that people will like what they see, and, as a result listen to what we say about you God. May you receive all glory and honor and praise!

Blessings, P. Roy

Thursday & School Visits

We awoke to sunshine and a symphony of birds today. Psalm 17:15 declares, "I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake." We certainly can agree that we see God's hand all around us... tropical plants teeming with colorful blooms, welcoming faces that beam at us when we arrive at each location, a feeling of belonging.
I've been surprized at the lushness here. The bright red-orange dirt mingles with palm trees and varying degrees of greenery.
And the people! Oh, the people! Every skin color imaginable and so many! Everywhere you look in the city, there are people in the streets, on boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis), and hanging out of the windows of mini-buses.
We began the day with orientation. Our missionary host, Tim Stevenson talked about differences in cultural norms, learning to see the world from a different perspective, and ways to deal with jet lag. We brainstormed different ways to respond to new environments, and sketched out the schedule ahead. Tim & Colleen have been on location 29 years, longer than the current government. Their influence has been a sweet presence here. Tim says, "First impressions will change 50 times the first day!"
Moses and Sundae drove us to the school where Melissa will be teaching. Heritage International School is on an amazing campus with 340 students. We also had the opportunity to see their housing, a lovely place to settle in for the year ahead. As we stepped through the gate, a little boy ran into Melissa's arms, like he had been waiting for her arrival! It was a healing balm, to an otherwise sick gal... she's been out of sorts since our layover in Ethiopia. After thinking through the symptoms, Keith & Melissa determined it to be the side effects of her malaria meds, and switched to a new prescription.
After another hairy ride through the city (Keith says we had at least 125 "near misses"), we arrived at the Kasubi Church of God and School. We were fed a big meal and given a tour. Teresa, Rob & Carol played a type of hacky-sack ball game with some children, and Patrick (Director of Church of God schools in Uganda) showed us the Theology degree he earned after receiving a Bible from Roy, four years ago!
This is getting too long, and the internet is sketchy, but I wanted you to know that your efforts to support our trip are already reaping dividends. Tonight, we had a trial run with our eye clinic, and saw the joy on faces of staff workers at the Stevenson compound, who benefitted from our practice!
Love to all,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tuesday and Wednesday.... Reaching our destination....

Greetings in the precious name of The Lord Jesus Christ, We left our hotel in Canada at 6 :30 a.m. Tuesday and arrived in Uganda at 1 :30 p.m. Wednesday. Most of the time was in the air since we covered 7,126 miles. Just checking in alone took 3 hours because we had so many bags of mission gear. And it took 3 hours to let them let us leave the airport once we got here. We took 200 bars of soap, 600 sunglasses, 2000 prescription glasses, and 70 bibles. We were amazed at the diversity of people groups on the airplanes! We sensed a sweet presence since we have arrived at our compound. Although we haven't "worked" yet...we are exhausted from travelling and carrying and training on the plane. We can see God uniting our hearts as a TEAM. With great expectations, we trust that The Lord has great things in store. IN HIS HANND ARE THE DEEP PLACES OF THE EARTH, THE STRENGTH O FTHE HILS IS HIS ALSO. PSALMS 95"4 HEY EVERYBODY.... !!! So excited to blog with you and share this experience with you. This journey so far has been a great one. Words cannot begin to describe the way I feel inside. I stand amazed at the goodness and the faithfulness of God as He is working out every detail of this trip. God has joined us together in the most perfect way. One person less and one person more would completely change the dynamics of this team. I find strength in this team. Sensing the presence of God as his people are praying. Thank you! It is so awesome to be a part of this work.... made possible only as the church came together as one. Upon reaching the compound we were greeted by a german shepherd. Had the chance to play soccer with him. We are home.... in the center of God's will. No greater place to be. Seeing the diversity of people on the plane overwhelmed me. Wow!!!! See the creative hand of The Lord God Almighty and this was my thought... His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness. He made intercession for the whole world!!! How great is our God! He died for each one! Thank you for sharing this journey with us.... In His Care..... Love you all.... Teresa and Donna

Monday, July 14, 2014

We're in Toronto eating at Swiss Chalet. So anxious to get on that plane to Uganda tomorrow morning! Rob,Carol, and Donna arrived safely too. Cold pool to swim in and several games of Uno added to our afternoon fun. Catch up to all tomorrow! Blessings, Lana & Norma Jean

Preparing for our trip to Uganda, East Africa

Dear Prayer partners, Welcome to our blog. In the coming months we will be posting prayer requests and updates as we prepare for our trip to Uganda, East Africa. We will leave for Toronto on July 14, and depart for Africa the following day. Dr. Donna Morhous, Carol and Rob Robison will coordinate our eye clinics, which will be our primary project, Keith McEntire will lead the hygiene workshops. Keith's wife Melissa, their daughter Rachel, along with Norma Jean Angelo, Sally Ferguson, Lana Lanphier, Teresa Stevens, and myself will assist with our projects. While in Africa, Sally and I will be leading conferences for Pastor's and their wives. Keith, Rob, Teresa, and I will be preaching at various times as well. For now, we would be honored if you could pray for Donna, her husband Jeff, son Jeffery, and their soon to be daughter Ella as they go through the adoption process for her. Please pray for Keith, Melissa, and Rachel as they will be staying in Africa so Melissa can teach 1st grade at Heritage International School in Kampala. Keith is still trusting God for the role that He has for him while they serve the next two school terms in Kampala. Also pray for Tim and Colleen Stevenson, our missionaries located in Kampala as Colleen has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She has had one chemo treatment to date and is anticipating surgery sometime in June. This is a very challenging time for them as she has gone back to Western Canada and Tim is trying to coordinate interns and workcamps while trying to find time to join his wife. Pray for our team that we will continue to bond together in such a way that we will be seen as Holy Spirit filled servants, equipped with God's power to make a difference in the days leading up to and including our time in Africa. Blessings, Pastor Roy Ferguson