Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In the Classroom

The kids are now on a school break until mid-January.  I had intended to post these a while ago, but better late than never!  Here are some pictures of us in our respective classrooms.

 Here is Okello, working hard on his Math, in his Grade 3 class.

Nadine and Juma in their Grade 7 class.

The Grade 9 class.  Every morning I spend time with this group, having devotions and praying together.  It's amazing how much I have learned from these students, and learned about them as they share their prayer requests.  It's even more amazing how I have come to care for them so much... I'm sure any teacher out there can attest to this.

Here they are again... with me. 

So here you are... a little taste into the classrooms we spend most of our days in!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Outings in Entebbe

We have in the last couple of weeks enjoyed some outings in a town called Entebbe.  Entebbe is a quiet, quaint town.  We enjoy going here as there is no traffic jam!  Entebbe is about 20 km from where we live.  When you fly into Uganda, you will land at the international airport in Entebbe.  The town is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa.

Two weeks ago we visited the Wildlife Education Center.  This place reminded us a bit of the Greater Vancouver Zoo, though quite a bit smaller.  The animals here are indigenous to Uganda, and most of the ones in this Center have been rescued.

Red-tailed monkey (cute heart-shaped nose!)



The Elder Tree - where the elders of Entebbe used to meet.

The kids and Emily sitting at the Elder tree.

Shoe-bill (same height as Okello)


Enjoying a camel ride.

Sharing the playground with the vervet monkeys.

More monkeys on the playground.

One must always pose for these...
Entrance to the Wildlife Education Center

Last Thursday, October 9, was Independence Day for Uganda.  We had a nice day off and decided to visit the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe.

A beautiful large tree (with a beautiful young girl).

Colobus monkeys (sorry - not a clear picture) - they are beautiful black monkeys with long white hair, and more rare to find.  For those of you who would like to learn more about them, click here.

The Kapok tree.  It's huge.  It can grow to over 150 feet.

Thought the vines on this tree look neat (with a hotel in the background...).

Checking out Lake Victoria.

On the shore of Lake Victoria.

Swinging on a vine (and Okello is a bit freaked out...).

On a termite hill.

Relaxing by the waterside.

Out for dinner at a lovely restaurant in Entebbe.  (Welli enjoys eating fish!)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

But I Trust in Your Unfailing Love

Pain.  Hardships.  Troubles.  It's everywhere.  There is no place in the world that can avoid difficult times.  It is all around us.  And there are times when it is more heightened than others.  It has been especially close around us with people we serve with:  loss of a loved one... severe sickness... miscarriage... financial hardships... relationship issues... ministry struggles...  So often there are just no words.

When you and I are going through difficult times, what do we do?  Where do we turn to?  Everyone reacts in different ways.  Some hide.  Some talk.  Some recover quickly.  Some get depressed.

In the last couple of weeks, Bible reading has found us in the Psalms.  The psalms can be such a place of encouragement to turn to in times of trouble.  King David (or other writers) often would cry out to God.  They expressed their feelings to him:

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.  
Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." 
(Psalm 4:1)

"Give ears to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing." 
(Psalm 5:1)

Here's the thing:  David doesn't leave his cries, his complaints, his anger, his fear, his distress, just there.  No, he turns it around and praises God!  He thanks God for what he has done in the past; for God's faithfulness.  Though he feels so low, he remembers the truth about God.

Psalm 13 is a good example of this:

How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,'
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Now look, I am no expert on how to handle pain.  Each experience is different.  I am no expert in how to help people when they are going through difficult times.  But I do know the peace and comfort God brings to those who turn to him.  

Jesus says in John 16:33b says, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

~ Dolly ~

Friday, August 15, 2014

School in Uganda

School in Uganda has been an amazing experience!! I thank God for the people he has given me in my life to help me fit in. After one term I have noticed that there are many differences that have had large impacts on me. Here are a few.

First of all, school itself. We are going to a Christian School. At our public school in Canada we wouldn't learn or even talk about any gods or God. Now at Word of Life International we have daily devotions or quiet time. We have Chapel Time. (Papa is the Chaplain!) We also have Bible as a subject in class.  Lastly we have Bible clubs as well. 

School assembly out on the basketball court.  I'm leading in a time of prayer.

Secondly, no gymnasium. We don't play gym games but the up is we are always outside playing.

Games on the basketball court.

Thirdly is homework. There is a lot of homework, and in Abbotsford there have been many teachers of ours who don't want us to have homework. They even say so, so now getting maybe 1 or 2 hours a day seems like too much. But we have great averages for the three of us so it all makes sense. I got an 84% average and Nadine got 89% average for the term.

Then there is lunch. We don't bring our own lunch. There is a lunch hall which gives us a nice lunches but not always your typical Canadian meals.

Okello eating lunch in the hall with his friends.  We had "Crazy Friday" that day and that's why we are not dressed in our uniforms.

Lastly the classrooms. We have no lockers which means we have desks with insides on them. Most of the classes have chalkboards. I like the feeling of the classrooms.  (I'll get my mom to take a picture of us in our classroom when we are back next term.)

This is the lower primary block (preschool to grade 3).

So that was my blog post about WOLIS. Word of Life International School Uganda. I hope you know more about our school in Uganda.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

And the church begins!

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
Psalm 122:1

What a joyous day it has been meeting together at Word of Life Fellowship Church.  We have now officially started! 

We have been having a core group of 40 people (20 adults, 20 children) attending the Bible studies throughout June.  Today about 130 people came (about 80 children and 50 adults)!
The Director of Word of Life, Thomas Obunde (on the right), emceed the service, and Gilbert Nkamwesiga assisted with translating into Luganda.

We had special visitors come all the way from Jinja (a 2-hour drive one way when traffic is good), from Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels (click on link to see what's been going on in their ministry).  Barb is a dear friend of ours from Northview Community Church in Abbotsford, BC, and she wanted so much to be a part of the opening of our church.  So Edwin and the kids came!  What a delight!  Here Edwin (center) shares about their home and their desire to come and celebrate with us (along with little Alan).
The children from Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels sing a song for us in the service.
Praying for the children as they leave for Sunday School.
Pastor Welli preaching, along with Fred interpreting in Luganda.  Today he shared from 1 John 1:1-4.  He will continue through the book of 1 John for the next couple of months.
Teacher Grace leading Sunday School.  Here they have settled down after playing a few games outside.  This picture doesn't show all of them... there were 75 in all!  (Please pray for more Sunday School leaders...)
Pastor Peter Mugabi (on the left), the Secretary General of the Baptist Union of Uganda, came to dedicate the church and to pray for this new congregation.
Fellowship in the Dining Hall afterwards, with freshly made mandazi and samosas and sodas for everyone.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for this church.  This is only the beginning!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

To Start a Church... Please pray!

It has been my intention to post on our blog more often than I have.  And many have expressed they want to read about our life out here... even just every day things.  For us, life and ministry intertwine all the time, as is to be expected as missionaries.

This has been on the forefront of our minds in the last few weeks:  the start of the new church at Word of Life Uganda.  It's not easy... We knew it would be that way.  There is a lot of work before us, and we are excited for what is ahead!

For the whole month of June, we have been meeting for Bible studies on Sunday mornings, inviting the community to come.  A few have been attending already.  And there is a core group of people from Word of Life that also attend.  We've been enjoying these times!  It has been very much like a church service, only that Welli gives a short devotional that leads into a time of Bible study.  The kids have also been having Sunday school.  We are so thankful for those who are already getting involved!

In fact, on the second Sunday that we met, a gentleman who came the week before invited a friend.  We have been studying together about who Jesus is... and they said it just made sense to them now.   I had posted on Facebook that day:
"Word of Life Fellowship Church officially launches on July 6.  We have started meeting on Sunday mornings for Bible study in anticipation of this and a few people have been coming from the community.  Today was the second time we met... and 2 men gave their lives to Christ!"
We ask for prayer as the services officially start in two weeks.  We are excited about this, but also overwhelmed with the work that it takes to put things into place.

Please pray:
  • That we would be a church that preaches the Word of God faithfully.
  • That the community will be open to hear the Word of God.
  • That those who attend will grow in their faith, know the God's Word more, and become a community of believers -- brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • For wisdom for Welli as he prepares sermons each week.
  • Thank God that we have those who are already willing to serve in the church:  ushers, Sunday school teachers, behind-the-scenes prep for Sunday.
  • For more who would be willing to serve, especially in the areas of music/worship and leading Bible Studies.
Thank you so very much for your prayers.

Friday, June 6, 2014


It's been a while since I've been on the blog, and I've just realized looking at it that I didn't post anything in May!  That's simply too long a time, especially when it was my goal to post regularly.  A lot has changed in the month of May, with the kids going to school and myself working too.  I will write about that soon.

Truth be told, there's a lot I could write about.  There's usually so much in my head that I don't even know where to begin.  Sometimes I think of crazy and funny things going on, that my friends and family in Canada would get a kick out of reading.  Other times I think more seriously about spiritual things or how I miss people and life in Canada.  A lot to sort through in my mind.

For today, I thought I would keep it light... and write about food.  For friends that live here in East Africa and read this, maybe you will find this strange, because this is life for you.  Yet you might learn something as well from a Canadian perspective of someone who is adjusting to not only eating different, but shopping and preparing food different than I'm usually used to.

First of all, I cook almost everything from scratch.  No such thing as convenience foods (or if there are, they are simply outrageously expensive).  This isn't bad though... eating this way is much healthier.  But it is more time consuming, and sometimes when I'm just too tired to cook, I have to anyway.  For us, a quick dinner when we are tired is usually eggs and ugali.  There is no drive through or takeaway close by.  We would have to drive to Kampala for that, and it's not worth fighting traffic to do so.  There are cooked foods we can find and purchase ready to eat, such as barbecue pork or chicken on a stick and chapati.  It tastes good.

Don't get me wrong... there are options!  There are some great restaurants.  We have some favourites already... and many more to try out yet.  There is even a KFC in Kampala, and another to come in Entebbe.  There are some great coffee shops as well.

You can find a lot of things here you would find in Canada, but often at a price that I don't feel good about spending.  I can find tomato sauce to make pasta, but it's half the size and double the price.  The same is for cottage cheese... half the size, double the price.  So, a favourite dish of the kids, lasagna, has not been eaten now in four months.  (It's time to go check out an Italian restaurant, I say!)

I was excited at first that we get the Food Network Channel on TV here.  But I find that I don't watch it so much... it reminds me of food I cannot make!  Oh well... Again, getting adjusted to a new normal.

The kids used to complain at first about the way things taste different... the meat tastes different, the milk tastes different (Juma already wrote about that), but of late they haven't said much, which shows me they are getting used to it.  And I'm getting better at cooking various things.

As I said, I do make more from scratch, including flour tortillas (an item I have not found in supermarkets here... been told of a good Mexican restaurant though, which we also still need to check out).

These are the joys of adjustment.  And I will continue to keep working at it!

Until next time....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Things that are different - Juma

There are many things that are different for me living in Uganda.  I would show you all of them but I will only show you four.  (It takes sooooo long to upload pictures!)

1. We drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right.  Recently Okello, Nadine and I have gotten mixed up because we are so used to going to the same side as the driver.  Then we realize that there is no door on that side of the van.

2. In Uganda there are many mosquitoes.  They like me and especially Okello.  It's annoying and we don't want to get malaria.  So we sleep under mosquito nets.  Surprisingly, I got used to it very quickly.

3. Notice the next picture of milk says, "Full Cream Milk."  That and whole milk are what you find in the stores.  Sometimes you can find skim milk but not often. We haven't seen my favourite milk, 2% milk. This milk is very rich and I don't prefer it so we add cold water to our cups of milk.  Or, my mom makes chai, which is tea with milk (see picture below milk).  We have chai at breakfast and as an afternoon snack. I am starting to get tired of it.  But Papa will never say no to chai. 

4.  We now have a dog!  In Canada, Papa said that we would not have a dog because of where we lived.  Now we have a guard dog for security.  Right now he's still a puppy and he likes to play, as you can see in the picture.  His name is Lobo, which means "wolf" in Spanish.  He is very jumpy in the morning but then when the evening comes he is tired, which is interesting because that's the opposite from me.  I don't want to run around with him in the morning, but I would rather in the evening.  He is a good dog and I'm happy that we have a pet.  I didn't think it would be this fun.  The only thing I don't like is cleaning up his poop. 

I'll show you more some other time.

~ Juma