Sunday, July 10, 2011

You haven't been to church until you have been to church in Uganda & apparently it is winter in Kenya....

Ok so today is Monday… I am going to just do one big post for yesterday and today which is actually very appropriate because it has all been one big so long day.

Yesterday morning we got up and went to Return Ministries to have church with Pastor Samuel and his family there. They greeted us and were all so excited to have us worship with them. Pastor Samuel’s mother was leading worship when we arrived, and his father gave a short testimony. That was a huge honor to meet them because he made it clear to us the night before that he wouldn’t be where he is without his parents instilling values in him.

They sang a few songs in Lugandan, and then they sang “He Knows My Name” and “Your Grace is Enough”. I will never be able to sing those songs again without crying. To hear all those people from such impossible circumstances singing “remember your people, remember your children oh God”… was very moving. The Pastor Samuel gave an excellent sermon….his son Israel came up and got in my lap and fell asleep….it made me feel right at home. J

The ladies had made us all a snack of sodas, chipati bread and sam….something that was like an eggroll …..sort of. Then we shopped in their little market in order to further bless their ministry since that is their main source of funds to support all of the kids they take care of. I felt right at home, in a church with people from 2 different continents most of whom I had never met, under a tent, in the middle of Africa.

Then we loaded up the bus to head to the airport. We should have had about 3 hours to get there and get checked in…..but this is Africa. We got stuck in the worst traffic jam I have ever seen, right after the biggest rain storm I have seen since being in Africa. It was a HOT MESS.

As the minutes ticked away, we all got a little more worried about making our flight. I am going to venture to say that there are not a whole lot of flights that go from Kampala to Ethiopia every day, so we could have ended up spending the night in a …..lovely airport.

We finally got there and by the grace of God alone we had time to get checked in to our flights on time ish…however, there was NO WAY for us to unload ALL of our 44 bags off the truck, get through security, get to the counter, get them all checked in etc….but we met an angel in the airport parking lot named Kenneth who saved the day for all of us! He waved our truck load of bags past the police, and let them all come through security. Then they checked them 2 by 2 to each of us who had already gotten our boarding passes….literally in the nick of time we all got through security AGAIN (no idea why they do it twice) and boarded the plane. They held it for us and we left about 30 minutes late….but all is well that ends well!

We got to Ethiopia around 8:30pm and didn’t get on our plane to Kenya until a little after 11pm. So, we arrive in Kenya at about 1:30 in the morning….and we still had to fill out paperwork to get Visa’s…this was not a joyful time, but we got it all done, we all were approved and on we went to again collect our really lot of bags.

Two ladies who are from Canada are interning right now at Hope Community Center so they met us at the airport….at 1:30am….bless their hearts! Then we all went out to the parking lot with all of our luggage which was then hoisted by a group of strong dudes on to the TOP of the bus we would be riding in to North Kinangop. We all loaded up and prepared for about a 2 hour ride and a 2 hour nap, but apparently due to fog (I don’t know because I was knocked out asleep) we didn’t arrive until 6am. The drive that was supposed to take 2 hours took 4…..welcome to Africa time.

When our bus pulled up, the kids were already peeking out of their windows anxious to see us, and the sun wasn’t even up. But, a bunch of boys kindly came and hauled in all of our bags for us so we could get settled in quickly. We were able to all find a bed and sleep for a few hours before time to worship with the kids and help serve them lunch.

We had a surprisingly nice few hours of rest, and then we jumped right in. As we have found at every place we visited, watching them worship is just amazing. Once again, the leader Lucy asked for someone to “share a word” ….and so I preached my second sermon! We then had songs, crafts and games with the kids for a while until it was time to do worship again and then dinner time.

Kenya is COLD. What? We could not believe when we crawled off the bus this morning that we could see our breath. Like it is COLD COLD. Apparently the location in the Rift Valley is what makes it so cold here, but not one of us was prepared for that. Not to mention, that they have no hot water, and squatty potties….which, if you have never experienced one, you will just have to wait for the pictures to fully understand! So, I an just going to go with the flow and not shower while we are here….
So we all sat down with Lucy who is the director of Hope Community Center. She is really an awesome woman who has built this place literally from the ground up. She took in one child about 10 years ago and he is now grown, has gone to school, and is back serving there as the Pastor. Truly amazing stories. HCC “charges” a certain amount of money for all volunteers to stay there to cover room and board, but really it is considered a donation to the ministry. So, she passed out a list of projects and how much all of them would cost and ask us to decide (right then) how we wanted to use our money. We found one project on the list that we had enough money to totally complete so we chose to do that first. They already have a couple of greenhouses, but they needed another one because they have to grow a lot of their crops inside because it is STINKING cold there.

Lucy also explained that they really needed a new baby house, because the hospital is constantly taking in babies and they just don’t have room to house any more than what they have….but the truth is, many babies die in that hospital, so Lucy has dreams of being able to take in many more by building a new building for babies, then a new one for toddlers…so we put the rest of our funds toward the new baby house! Lucy does not fool around. When we told her our decision, she IMMEDIATELY got on the phone and called someone and said “we will build the new greenhouse in the morning”. Then she called and ordered a truck load of rocks to start the foundation of the baby house! She gets right down to business.

So, we are off to snuggle in our beds, under many many blankets…..I don’t know if I mentioned, but it is crazy cold here.

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