Monday, November 29, 2010

Overwhelmed by Needs...


While people in the U.S. are consumed with buying the hottest new products for Christmas (and waiting HOURS for stores to open on Black Friday….), I am living in a completely different world here in Uganda. And sure, I’m a typical 23 year old girl, so I enjoy shopping…but I have to say, I don’t miss the western world’s push to buy the latest, trendiest things this holiday season.

It really puts things in perspective for me when I talk to my neighbor friend who is 18 and a single mom of a 1-year-old baby; she’s struggling for money and yesterday literally ran out of food and is completely on her own to provide for her baby. I also am finding myself trying to encourage a girl whose mom is ready to give up on life and is daily telling her children, “it would just be better if I ended my life….” because she owes the landlord a few months’ rent.

The last few days, I have been overwhelmed by the needs that I see around me. It’s easy to ignore the need and make excuses. I’ll be honest, one excuse I find myself subconsciously making is: “If I help this person by giving them food, etc---then the entire neighborhood will be knocking on my door, and I can’t help everyone.”

But over the weekend, God keeps reminding me that I can’t sit back and do nothing. He has blessed me with more than I need—so how can I not give to others?? Even if I can just help a few individual people, that’s what we’re called to do! I find myself worrying about the results—“what if this happens?” or “what if this person does this?” but the results are NOT up to us. If we’re obeying Him, He’ll take care of the rest.

Really take a minute to read the excellent John Piper quote below. Be challenged. Be encouraged.

These photos show children whose parents have either abandoned them, given up on them, or have died. They’re “the least of these”—even the government hardly wants to deal with them. But He thinks they’re beautiful. [please notice how thrilled they were to receive a simple TOOTHBRUSH.]

James didn't say "True religion is converting orphans." He didn't say "True religion is making orphans mature and successful adults." He said "True religion is visiting orphans." Results are God's business alone. Obedience is ours by His grace- by faith in future grace. When we grasp this we will be freed from our earthbound way of thinking & released to minister to the ones who are least likely to thank us.

– John Piper


Friday, November 26, 2010

"Welcome home, eat some grasshoppers..."

My poor, neglected blog! I will try to faithfully update it more often....!

It's definitely not easy to be away from family during the holiday season. Pennsylvania -----> Africa is slightly far! My family was at the forefront of my mind all day, but I refused to feel sorry for myself. Even though I miss them, I'm thankful that I have a family to miss. Skype is a fantastic invention, and I took full advantage of it almost felt like I was in Pennsylvania with my 15 family members (extended fam too). Thanks to a relative's webcam, I saw my family for the first time in nearly half a year!

My Thanksgiving menu this year was....unique. Wednesday night, I returned home to Kampala after a 10-day trip to Kenya (absolutely fantastic; many photos will be posted soon). My Ugandan neighbor greeted me Thanksgiving morning and said, "Welcome home, we missed you! I made you something special...." and before I knew it, she was handing me a plate containing grasshoppers. Don't believe me? See the photo for yourself....!


I took a deep breathe and told her, "I'll be honest--I need a minute to mentally prepare myself for this, but I'm gonna do it!" and before I knew it, I had eaten about 15 grasshoppers...there was no way I could finish the entire plate, though. Surprisingly, they taste somewhat sweet, and if you can get past the fact that the eyeballs are staring at you, then it's fine. Although maybe next time I'll dip them in Nutella!

Here in Uganda, I was blessed to celebrate Thanksgiving with two American friends, plus a few of their Ugandan friends + German friends. We cooked Thanksgiving dinner without power (we lose power quite often here)--as the sun was setting, I was outside the flat (taking advantage of the remaining natural light) mashing potatoes with a glass jar. Everything came together well, and we had a blast.

Today, I had the opportunity to see a familiar face from my hometown in PA! My friend, Andy, is Ugandan (but currently lives in the U.S.) so he's here working on a neat photo project. It was great to catch up with him over lunch. You may be interested to see Andy's brilliant photography (Ugandans expressing their voices, re: the upcoming election)!


You may or may not know this about me, but I absolutely love live theater/dance performances/etc. Tonight, my roommate and I went to a Modern Dance festival in the city. It featured dancers from Rwanda, the Congo, and of course, Uganda. The dancers were quite talented, and I can't help but wish God gave me a bit of dancing talent so I could move like them! ;)
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!