Traveler

Ugandan Easter Sunday

We began our Easter Sunday walking around to other churches in Lugazi.  We stopped by the Catholic church and listened outside their door.  Love the music and atmosphere here of these Christian churches. Then worked our way to Pastor Francis at the Cannon School. We met him the previous night and he invited us to come to his service.  He began with a song and my favorite line was “Their are mountains to climb. For us we shall see an open door” His message was about conversion that leads to a turning point that changes you to have a new appreciation for your life. Then you end up exchanging it for something better. The question he asked us is “What is the gift I can give to Christ today?”  I strive each and everyday to be a better version of myself but then I just want to become God’s version of me. He shared Luke 19:1-6 where Zachaus made a commitment to Jesus to climb the tree. He dropped his reputation and wanted to please God not man.  So he was blessed by Jesus by repenting of his corrupt life. If we fear public opinion we will miss the visitation of the Lord.  We are to risk everything we can to become the best version of ourselves and to become God.  When we get out of our comfort zone we may see God. We then walked over to our church building and their meet some wonderful saints.  It is a small branch of about 58 baptized members. Most of the primary children come on their own without anyone. These children will be the future of this branch I’m sure of it if they continue to come. The children love to come and they love primary and they love to learn about Jesus and to just feel good.  The spirit welcomes them even if they come by themselves. It was fast and testimony meeting so I felt prompted to get up and share my testimony with them.  I talked about how God loves his children no matter where they are in the world and its good for each of us to step outside ourselves and recognize that the world is a much bigger place and we have alot of give.  We are all born with many talents and gifts but we can’t hide them.  Its our duty to share and bring happiness to people. We then went to Sunday School class and this 21 year old young man gave the lesson.  It was so incredible and the spirit was so strong I didn’t want to leave after he was done.  He spoke with such ease and confidence and without any notes.  He talked about serving in the family. Especially the husbands because it creates love with your wife.  Come to find out he has only been a member of the church for 2 years.  I was even more impressed and noticed the branch president coming up to him after his lesson and giving him feedback on his lesson and then a few pointers.  This branch president is preparing him for his mission which he said he will go on in one year. In Relief Society is was just the President and Sandra and I.  Very small intimate lesson but yet another powerful lesson.  I have come to understand that the lessons we teach in church don’t have to be this glorious presentation.  The church doctrine is meant to be simple and let us each deliver it that way.  I truly felt that from these saints here.  Simplicity was key in their...

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Uganda Day Two

As I woke up from the first night in Uganda in my mosquito net I just looked outside and couldn’t believe that I was actually there.  I just sat and prayed and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to get myself to this place. The day started with meeting some of the artisans at the workshop.  As I approached them for the first time I surely got a warm welcome and I felt so loved by these women.  Leslie and I were the only ones there until the other 3 would arrive the next day.  So I began to put myself to work.  I worked along side with Ruth making barkcloth bags and she taught me what to do and I quickly learned. Had a few mess ups but overall I was congratulated on my hard work each time. As we sat and worked the women asked me about my family.  I shared with them my pictures and talked about each of them.  Then they asked me how I celebrate Easter because it was the next day.  I told them about our church service and how we celebrate Jesus resurrection. I then shared how some Americans do an Easter egg hunt and fill plastic eggs with candy.  They thought that was fun because candy is such a novelty here.  The instant thing I remember seeing in these beautiful people is their smile and their teeth.   They have such white teeth and I finally put two and two together and realized that they don’t eat junk like candy and lots of sugar!  Boy do we have a problem in America. Later that afternoon we walked to the church building for a branch activity with the saints in that area of the world.  We watched the movie, “Meet the Mormon’s”  As I sat and looked around while I watched I couldn’t help but feel such a closeness to these people.  I had only been in Uganda for a couple of hours and I felt their love for me. I got to hold a baby girl and I just didn’t want to let her go!  She was just perfection to me and I just made sure she was enveloped in my love for her.  This was the first big thought of adopting from Africa.  I never considered it but now that I see their situations I felt an overwhelming love that I could give to a child not from my own blood line.  Who knows what will happen later on but adoption would be...

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Uganda Day One

My adventure begins at 4:30am. My bags are packed to the max as I’ve used my scale at home to measure it. I’ve got the TRX bands, jump rope, resistance bands and timer packed to engage these women in exercise to move their body in movements they have never done before. I have paper plates so that they can learn about proper nutrition and use all the food groups which protein is growth, carbs are energy and fruits and vegetables are protection.  I love the terms used because with each type of item you put into your mouth you are either eating it for growth, energy or protection. I packed crayons to have the women draw out the different foods that would be allowed in each group and divide it up on the plate visually. I have paper so they can either draw or write out meal plans and then I’ll share how they can take one meal and repeat it each week say on Monday morning for breakfast to ensure that they know that one meal a week is balanced and healthy. I also brought for each of them a kitchen item to have.  A vegetable peeler, tongs, or paring knives. Lastly I packed books for the community library that we are designing and setting up within the artisans workshop for their use as well as the community.  So just a variety of chapter books, picture books and simple reads. My 2 pieces of luggage are set to embark on an experience of a lifetime.  One that will be remembered because this is my first trip away from the North American continent but also my first service and volunteer mission. My friend, Leslie Kawai, told me about this opportunity of serving the women and children in Lugazi, Uganda with a company called Musana.  I instantly I knew this trip was finally my time to go.  I’ve always wanted to do a humanitarian something for quite sometime.  The stars aligned and I was able to commit to coming and oh how I am ever so grateful I followed my prompting to come. We arrived at the SLC airport to begin our long 36 hour journey but had a few stops on the way. The first was LA and we had a 6 hour layover there. I suggested we leave the airport and find a cute brunch place by the beach. I yelped it and found Cafe Milan in Playa del Rey. On our drive over with our taxi our driver was from Bangladesh and is Musilm and began our conversation with what brought him to the US.  He was picked from a lottery to come over and start a new life here.  Out of the billions of people they only allow 5,000 applicants and he was picked. So very small odds and he is so grateful. He shared about his religion and we asked if he practiced it at all and he said “I’m trying”.  Well in mind those words have created a new meaning for me. You either do or you don’t. So Leslie began to share with him about Mormonism and what we believe and bore a sweet and simple testimony of the Book of Mormon and gave our taxi driver a small copy of it. I was in awe of how simple and easy it was for her to share.  She said that when she travels she brings a copy and prays that someone in her path will come along that she knows God has prepared for her.  She’s such a beautiful example of Christlike love...

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