Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Greetings!  I again have those three ingredients necessary to blog:  Electricity, a computer, and an Internet connection.  Yay!  

I am settling in here, in both home life and work life. The ease of the settling-in process is entirely due to the goodness of the Lord in giving me a wonderful roomie and a wonderful mission team.
My home here is "Welldone Cottage," which belongs to my roommate, Heidi Davison.  Here is the front yard of the cottage, as seen from the porch.  Isn't it beautiful?  If it weren't for Ugandan bugs (who LOVE me), I would probably set up my workstation outside.  The cottage itself is a pleasant, western-style, four-bedroom house. We have lots of windows, which stay open 24/7 to catch the breezes.  By the way, one way you know you're not in the States is that ALL the windows have screens and iron bars, but not all of them bother to have glass.  Here's a nice view of the house, courtesy of Heidi.  If you look closely at the photo, you will see what looks like some sort of lattice work on the windows.  Those are really iron bars.

I have a comfortable bedroom, which came already nicely painted, thanks to the person who had it before me.  Even the bed sheets are carefully color-coordinated to the walls.  Thanks, Laura Beth Chapman!  

Is the house "western-style" on the inside?  Well, that depends on how picky you are.  What are some differences?  The city water shuts off every day between about 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.  As with most houses in this neighborhood, Welldone Cottage has a water tower in the back yard which fills up with water every day while the water is on.  The tower feeds water to the bathrooms -- although don't expect high water pressure! -- but does not send water to the kitchen, which means yes to showers (and going potty!), but no to doing dishes after dinner.  Darn the bad luck!  Also, the hot water heater feeds only the baths, not the kitchen.  And, of course, the electricity goes on and off.  There's supposed to be a schedule, but Umeme, the power company, feels no need to hold to the schedule.  The first week here, power was off more than it was on.  This last week, power has been been mostly on.  You just don't know.  The good side of living here, though, is that you don't miss electricity as much as you would in the States.  You don't need air conditioning (honest!), and plenty of light comes into the house during the day.  We worry mostly about keeping our laptops charged up for work and keeping the food good in the refrigerator.  And I worry about blow-drying my hair.  (Heidi is blessed with beautiful naturally curly hair.)  Oh, and if the electricity is off long enough, we will lose hot water to the showers, but that happens very rarely.  

One more small difference:  you don't really watch television here.  At least Heidi and I don't.  We have a small TV to watch DVDs on, but we usually end up watching those on our computers.  But no TV shows.  Again, darn the bad luck!

There are other differences, such as the esthetics of the workmanship in the houses (workmen here go on the theory of "If it works, it's good enough"), but my Internet connection is getting shaky, so we'll leave that topic for another day, along with talking about how my work is coming along - very well, thank you, now that my printer is working! Oh, and I have photos of the beef wrapped in the banana leaves!  I know you're all waiting for that.

But just in case you're wondering, have I really given up much material stuff to come here? No, I haven't, especially when you consider what people have given up through the years to get to serve the Lord.  But what very little I may have given up, I am overjoyed to get to do so. Check out Philippians 3:7-11.  I couldn't say it better than Paul, who gave up so, so much more than I ever will.  

Again, please pray for me that I serve the team well.  Thanks!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Greetings from Uganda!

I am sitting in the living room of "Welldone Cottage" writing this blog, hoping that the Internet connection stays on for just a few more minutes! (Doesn't look good, but we'll try.) To use the Internet in Uganda, you need three things: a computer, electricity, and a working internet connection. Today is the first day since I arrived that I have had all three!

I have been in Uganda a week now. The jet lag is gone, and the culture shock seems to be going okay. Today I walked into town ALL BY MYSELF to buy some needed supplies. I estimate that I was overcharged no more than about 5,000 Ugandan shillings - or about a dollar - so I think I'm doing good! I didn't have to walk - I could have ridden on the back of a boda, which is a bicycle with a seat on the back, for about 500 shillings, but I decided that I'm not brave enough for that yet. The boda drivers weave in and out of traffic, and, well, it makes me nervous just to watch them.

Let me tell you a little about the country: Uganda is an unbelievably beautiful country. (I would show you a photo or two, but one of my bags is still MIA, and naturally it is the bag with the software and computer cable for my camera.) Mountains, tropical bushes, palm trees of course, gorgeous flowers - my front yard looks like a park. Ugandans are also beautiful and very polite and friendly, which is amazing, as life here is very hard for most Ugandans. Sadly, that makes labor here very cheap. It also make labor necessary, as we comparatively affluent Westerners must use guards to protect our property. Even missionaries are considered rich. And we are, by Ugandan standards. More about this later.

The mission team has been wonderful. They have helped me settle in and have already begun working with me on what my responsibilities will be. Tomorrow I will walk to work and hopefully begin being a productive member of the team! I have a really great roommate. Heidi has been in Uganda before, and she is the one teaching me all the ins and outs of the culture here. She took me to market and we bought two kilos of beef from a man in a stall with sides of beef hanging all around him. I was okay with that, but when the man took our money and wrapped the beef up in banana leaves, I decided on the spot to become a vegetarian.

Hey, my Internet connection is getting shaky. Better go for now. By the way, I have changed my settings so that you can leave comments without joining anything, so please comment!

Love you all, and thank you so much for your prayers!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Yes, I'm sitting in a quiet corner at Heathrow Airport, feeling quite chipper, actually (note the smile on my face and not too much of that "deer in the headlights" look), and I thought it would be a good time to post my first official blog. It's not as if I don't have some spare time - my flight to Entebbe leaves at 9:10 pm, and it's 4:15 am now. Well, okay, it's 4:15 am Fort Worth time, and it's 10:15 am London time. But that still gives me ten hours to play with.

So I am branching out, technology-wise, taking little baby steps. I bought 24 hours of internet time from Boingo Hotspot - Heathrow does not have free wifi - and I have felt quite proud of myself for figuring out how to do that AND how to upload a photo of myself from my phone. I would be even more proud had I remembered to pack the digital camera cable in my overnight bag instead of somewhere in my 200 pounds of checked luggage so that I could have uploaded a good photo from the beautiful digital camera my family bought me just for that reason, but, hey - baby steps, remember! Well, I gave the man sitting across from me something to laugh about as he watched me try to get a decent photo from a razr phone.

The flight from DFW to Heathrow went well and actually seemed shorter than it was, probably because I spent much of the time trying to sleep ("trying" being the operative word.) btw, I knew I was on British Airways when I asked for tea and they gave me a cup of freshly brewed hot tea instead of a cup of hot water and a tea bag. Also btw, perhaps it's the accent, but the British flight attendants all seemed so polite!

When I did my Bible reading this morning, the first words of the Psalm I was on (I try to read one Psalm a day) were these: "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples." (Psalm 96:1-3) Wow! I feel as if the Psalmist wrote it just for me. The Lord is giving me a new song and He is sending out to the nations. Thank you, Lord! Please pray that I am faithful and that I am a good servant.

I'm not going to talk about my actual leave-taking on this blog. It's still too recent, and I don't want to cry anymore right now. I'll talk about that later, but thanks to everyone who participated in that leave-taking. Thanks for your love and your well-wishes and your prayers. A special thanks for my darling daughter Jenni for getting us all together on fairly short notice.

I think I'll go wander around and see what cool stuff the shops at Heathrow have to offer. Talk to you again soon!