Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Saturday afternoon

The boys are teaching Battleship to one of our guards on the back deck while the banana leaves rustle outside.

There are so many things I love about our lives here.

This means you!

Where do boys learn this stuff?

Had to put some of these words on his next spelling test, but I've gotta give the kid some credit for sounding menacing. (Who knew his room was government property?)

I do have some idea what might make it "highly flammable".

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Valentine

It was almost dinnertime tonight when my friend Semei--our rather lifesaving Financial Administrator at the office (even running our payments to the electric company)--coasted through our gate on his motorcycle. He's always got such a wide, easy smile. And he had something even better resting between the handles: A cushioned manila envelope with my name in red Sharpie. My dad's handwriting.

I knew it would come! I'm thirty-two now. I live in Africa with my husband and four kids. But every year, my dad sends me a valentine.

This year, it had a purple crew-neck women's tee in my size (can't get new ones here) and even some neutral lipstick and gloss (thanks for the help, Mom!). Even better, there was a sparkly pink card inscribed with my dad's characteristic mix of lowercase and capitals. They say he is "so proud" of me.


Love you too, Dad.

Prayer, answered

In the mornings when I shuffle out to my back deck with sleep in my eyes and a blanket on my shoulders, I can watch the smooth pink of the sun rise over the fourth-biggest lake in the world. It's a great time to pray for Uganda, because I can see some of the city beneath me: roofs of terra-cotta or corrugated tin, the silhouette of acacia trees, smoke rising in dusky ribbons from cooking fires. I pray against the corruption that seems to permeate so deeply, exacting its tax from the backs of the poor and orphaned. I pray that God would relieve extreme poverty; that Jesus would be King in the hearts of Ugandans.

It's sobering, there from the wicker couch my husband bought for me, gazing out on a slice of the city waking up for another day. I never really see the city change, apart from the weather. It's been a year now. So I admit to some discouragement that has washed over me as I continue to pray (or in all honesty, sometimes fail to continue) when things seem the same as before, despite a year of hard work and some personal heartache and costliness. In fact, they seem worse, because I'm more aware than ever of their depth, I think--which is still deeper than I'll ever really know.

I want to pray big prayers, because I think God works through them. I think of Daniel, and how his apparently "delayed" answer to prayer was actually deal to an intense spiritual battle. I think of Samuel, and his words in 1 Samuel 12:

For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you...
I also can't count the times I've looked over the chaos and pain in the crush of Kampala and thought of a reaction of Jesus': When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. At any rate, the one-year mark has been a bit of a reality check. I've been convicted of my own lack of faith when I'm slogging through moments of discouragement.

But a cool thing happened at my rather long appointment at the embassy (which, BTW, is not really the little slice of America I was hoping for. Well, except the extensive security measures. Even the TV was a Chinese channel). I introduced myself to a couple I'd seen at church. Turns out the guy's working with International Justice Mission, specifically with judges and lawyers to work against corruption in a 10-year plan. It was almost as if God had His hand on my shoulder, a knowing smile on His face. And You thought I didn't hear you. Pretty cool for the couple and me, I think, to find out that God had us working together before we'd even shook hands.

Tonight I'm thankful for a God who keeps working, seen or unseen.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I call it the "exhausted mzungu stare"

Oh, yes indeed. The mzungu "I'm-stressed-enough-that-I'm-going-to-my-own-quiet-corner-of-the-house" situation needed a bit of intentional strategy over here. Today on is my take on Chillin' with my Husband: Time for a Plan.