You know how time has a way of slowly but steadily slipping itself aside? Well, I sure do and I've found it to be one of the greatest difficulties of keeping all of you up to date. So here's to a post about the last few months in review! Since there is an overflow of words that could be used to describe the last three months, I'll save you a hefty novel and try to stick with some pictures instead.
In December two of my very dear friends flew halfway around the world to come and experience life here with me. It's hard to express the kind of love you feel when those in your life sacrifice their time, money and significant holidays just to be with you. With the helping hands and full hearts of my friends we were able to do some really neat things for our church and the community.
The four of us gals got to take part in holding a three day youth conference at our church for the surrounding churches and community. When we went forward in planning this conference I didn't realize that what we were doing was really a new thing for so many students. Youth conferences are common here in many churches but they really only consist of praise & worship, prayer, workshops and preaching. The students can sit through 4 preachers with only praise & worship in between (I'm not sure how they do it)! So when we had team competitions, game hour, and demonstrations in our preaching, it was really a new thing for them!
It was a lot of work for all of us at the church but it was a total blast! And I heard so many testimonies after the camp about all that the students had learned and how much fun they had all had together.
Game hour. Thanks to our gifted Young Life leaders, we were well equipped with silly ice breakers and team games to keep everyone plenty busy!
We also have had the sweet opportunity to begin a new venture with our HIV+ women (FAITH women). We started learning new crafts together to help support them with sustainable income.
It began with Krista teaching them how to make bracelets one day and then we started exploring other venues like weaving mats, money purses, and making paper beads for necklaces.
After Christmas we held a second annual program for our FAITH women called "A Day to Remember". We rented out a space in a nice hotel, had them dress in their finest gowns, painted their nails, made bracelets, painted cups with their names on them, shared a delicious meal, worshiped together, did skits and showered the love of God upon them. It was such a treasured time with those women!
A new ministry that Julia has helped spearhead in the secondary schools is teaching students how to play American Football and playing flag football together on a weekly basis. We play every Monday and Saturday at the schools and every Tuesday at the church. It's been one of my favorite things!
Some of our church members playing together.
Some odds and ends: We've done A LOT of traveling in the past months. I've traveled to northern Uganda, all the way down south, to the East (we stay in the West) and a lot in between! We've had some cool opportunities to visit some of our project sites (mainly with fish cage farming). We visit the local communities, meet beneficiaries and see the progress of our work as an organization.
This is one of our communities that will benefit from the fish cages that we're working on completing.
In the last few weeks before my friend Julia flew back to the states (she had been with me for the last 5 months), we focused hard on our health program. So we set up to do HIV/AID prevention in two secondary schools.
We battled with our sound system, intense rain and too many students jammed into one place but we learned a lot as a team and took hold of a vital opportunity to talk and teach about this epidemic.
The weekend before Julia flew out we also planned a medical mission out in the village of one of our daughter churches. It was two exhausting days and a nonstop flood of people needing medical attention.
I got assigned to be the Pharmacist for the two days and was quickly affirmed in my decision to not pursue a medical career. Haha, it was an incredible honor though to bless that community in the capacity that we were able to.
We closed out our final days together with a candle light celebration for Julia with our church members.
It was an incredible last five months together with Julia. We've experienced great challenges, disappointments, adventure and unimaginable joys together. I had to part ways last week with this dear friend of mine and it feels like something is lacking without her here but I look ahead to the months to come and even greater adventure in this beautiful land.
My deepest love and appreciation to everyone who has supported me and the work we're doing here. Your prayers, financial blessing and encouragement have sustained me and the work I've taken part in here. Thank-you for blessing me and this country!