Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas letters

Today (Saturday-November 23) we spent the day in the village with all of our sponsored kiddos. We were helping them write letters to their sponsors thanking them for their continued support and wishing them a merry christmas. Just as an FYI if you sponsor a kid please please take time to pray and thank The Lord for the people that help your children write to you. Let me tell you first hand it is NOT easy. We had an early start this morning and all crammed into our two vans and headed to the luwero district of Zirobwe. We had all been split up into teams to work with the different age groups. I was paired up with Christine that you met in my last blog and we had p.5 and p.6 so they were in upper middle school. Anytime we go out there is always exciting and today there was added excitement due to the fact that even though I knew it was going to be hard work that there was a blessing in disguise somewhere. So- as I am trying to working the positive- I put on my big girl skirt rolled up my sleeves and prepared for that patient endurance talked about in Hebrew 10. (; we were given a templet to work with and had children write out the best we could- some came back with perfectly structured letters while others took all day that is when your countenance begins to show. There were quite a few children that I had never met before but also some that are always hanging around the church.

I immediately ran into my African mom and she said Shananeee with a big smile on my face and hugged me a lot and then simply said, "I like you a lot" I do t know what it is about that phrase but the simplicity and straight forward aspect of it makes me so overjoyed. No big ordeal just straight to the point. I remembered I had a job so I got back to helping the kids write letters (so hard when you don't keep your focus) a few moments later Dora, Grace, and Jennifer were walking towards the church.( Those are my girls and mama lukas daughters.) so I saw them and ran to say hi! They all smiled and said hello I asked them about their week and just small talked and I said Ndi musanyufu okoba!!!! Which means I am so happy to be here to which they all look at each other and giggle because of the way I pronounce it or they think it's funny to watch a mzungu fail at luganda. I really feel at home here and I am learning little by little how to make small talk. The only problem I have come across is when I get to a point in the conversation where someone tries to keep talking to me in luganda and I have not a clue what they said so my default response is always, " Mmmhhhmm" with a big grin on my face. Lol. Probably not the smartest idea. I walked into the church with the girls and mom said something to her and Dora brought over the most beautiful gift I could ever receive and said here Shan this is from my mom. I was confused at first but Mama luka came over to me and told me she had made it as a gift for me. Literally my favorite people out there I am sure you already got that though.

When Christine and I were working with writing letters she had remembered to tell me that her dad had a garden out in Zirobwe and that she was bummed I couldn't meet him today and she sent Luka to go get some pineapples from her dads land. She explained that I loved pineapple Nyo Nyo Nyo (so so so much much much) ..he cam back with four HUGE pineapple. Not long after that a lot of the kids were done with letter writing so we handed out porridge and buttermilk rolls. I was still helping the older kids revise their letters and this is when I really started enjoying helping with letter writing. Each of the older kids sat around together and worked on their letters together as a community it was so sweet. They helped one another out when they were struggling and if someone wanted to give up or just not do it they began to encourage one another. It was an example and a reminder that is what the body of Christ should look like. It was a challenge to be looking for ways that I can connect with people this week and pray for those who are struggling.

New foods I tried today:
G nuts or ground nuts- they look like they have a peanut shell and you bite it open just like a peanut shell but they look like little mini brains inside of it they are soft and chewy and resemble the flavor of peanuts just slightly. Someone told me today that if you drink them with cold Mountain Dew that they are the best!
Berries: they call them strawberries and they look like grapes they taste nothing like either. (: Kennedy brought me a whole bag of them but then decided he wanted them back I was not at all offended

We are headed back in the morning for Sunday school and we will be working on the Christmas skit.

Be praying for our guesthouse and the necessary funding to come in for that. ALSO WE STILL ARE NEEDING FUNDING FOR OUR CHRISTMAS PARTY THAT IS SO CLOSE. If there is anyway you can be involved please contact me directly!! Continue to pray for our MST's, staff members, and volunteers as well as we finish up this years work. And may our break be a time of refreshment as well as a time of reflection of Gods grace I'm our life.

Also side note if you read this far: Thank you. Sometimes I ramble on like now but I know that someone somewhere is reading it may The Lord bless you in more ways than one!! (:

Uganda Shan aka Muwala Wamusumba

Thursday, November 21, 2013


What's New?
It has been a very long time since I have updated you on what is going on and for that I apologize. Things here in Uganda, Africa are going incredibly good at the moment but at the same time it comes with its own sets of trials. In the last couple weeks we have done a lot of resting and getting back into our normal routine from what we had been working with when the Ignis team was with us. Some weeks back we had a slight change in some of our staffers-some we're let go while others were added to the team: Christine- a super fun and energetic girls who loves to color coordinate everything and she is so stubborn her personality it a lot like mine and I have loved getting to know her in this short time she has worked here, Victor- he is our new PR who has a huge heart for The Lord and a great sense of humor always gives an encouraging word, Viola- our cook. Need I say more?! She is incredible as well and so humble, and lastly Rose who is our sponsorship coordinator she is soft spoken but also is very sweet. They have been a great addition to the team and I feel like they have been working with us since the beginning. Scott- one of the. UK leaders is still hanging out we us here working alongside Wilson and trying to get the Ebenezer primary school that is right next to our land out in Zirobwe. They are constantly working on meetings and any problems that arrive here in ground(please keep them in your prayers).

Have there been any new volunteers?

After the Ignis team left we had a girl arrive from the UK named Becky she had been studying to become a doctor and was just finishing up her pediatrics and we were able to clean wounds and pull Chiggers out that were in the village. She was very excited to share stories of her several other short term missions she had been on and share with me about her relationship with Christ and how her mission trips helped her spiritual growth. One thing that I learned from her was that everyone should be accepted and to always include others. She was a huge encouragement and an incredible source of joy in the mere two weeks that she had been there. Last Thursday the day Becky actually left we got a new volunteer from the states named Jose he is in his 30s works in real-estate and has travelled all over the world and decided it was time to give Africa a try he is here for two and a half weeks and is working hands on in the primary schools. The kids love listening to him talk since he is originally from Puerto Rico. Next week we have a girl named Amber who will be with us until December, a boy named David who will be here for 6 months, and one of. Hannah's friends is coming to see her!

What have your challenges been and how can we pray for you?

A couple things have been challenging me in the past couple weeks. First of all it seems like my energy is beginning to wear out. I don't have that same renewed strength day in and day out. It seems as if I am not as excited as I was when I first got here. Also some relationships with on the ground team that have been kind of bugging me. I knew there would be challenges but they were most definitely unforeseen ones in the beginning. God is working and doing big things in my own life though he has taught me the importance of spending time with him more and to be growing spiritually, to take time to meditate on the word in my free time and to not worry what others think or say about me, to remember to glorify God in any and every situation. I am still loving the village it is my favorite day of the week when Sunday comes around and I get to spend time with all of my favorite kids and mamas they seriously always shine the light of Christ no matter what the situation is. Continue to pray for our Christmas party we only have $150 out of the $2,000 we need so pray that the. Lord provides just like we know he always does.

How have you adjusted to the food? And have you found any sources of good snacks?

The food has been fine. It actually seems to get better and better. Sometimes it gets too much of the same thing and I want to eat something else ( that's where your incredible donations of snacks have come in). It's so nice when I haven't totally loved a meal or it gets boring to go grab some wheat thins or cookies that have come in a care package. Tuskys (the albertsons of Uganda) has all kinds of snacks and munchies definitely not the selection of home but it definitely has done the trick.

What is your favorite thing to eat/snack on?

Bounty (it's like a almond joy without the almond) bars and I actually have ventured out and eaten ground beef in a patti form and in a biscuit almost like a cheeseburger. The cheese here is very gross but our chef cuts up all kinds of veggies to go on it too yum!

Have you been homesick?

Yes, I miss my family A LOT ---BUT I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I am able to Skype with them often and what's app and FaceTime

Praying for you all often and so thankful for the Lords continued grace. I am that'll for today and hopeful for tomorrow. (:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Heartbroken Happy?

We used the Sunday school shelter for the first time today. It has been a work in progress for the past couple of weeks and today was the first Sunday we had Sunday school under it. For the past two months we have been using the primary school next door known as Ebenezer. The same school we teach at every so often and where a lot of our kids go to school. 'Mualawa musumba' means Daughter of a pastor -so that is what all the kids call me now instead of Shannen. After Sunday school Luke came to me and said would you walk to our home I have a gift for you. When we got to the house Luke went inside and came back with long sugar cane that was twice my height that he wanted to gift to me. He said "I want to you to have this I asked my mom yesterday." (Now what I didnt know-when I asked Joseph about it later is that Luke really wanted me to have one so he asked his mom if he personally could give me one and he would work to earn it) also that this is how they make a living, they sell sugar cane to pay for basic needs like food. It is such a huge blessing to give that they willingly give. Part of me wants to deny it when they give me gifts like that immediately and tell him to sell it for food but I never do for two reasons: 1) it is rude culturally 2) I could not not except a gift from their sweet faces. I thanked him with a 'Webale Nyo' (thank you very much). Jennifer was still upset so I picked her up and she was reluctant to have me hold her but I held on anyways and took her to the shade, gave her some water, and because we were quite a ways away from the church I pulled out a granola bar from my purse and split it between the kids- they hadn't eaten at all before then. They ate it so quick. We stood there for a short moment in silence when Luke piped up and said, "In which month do you leave?" When I told him March he replied quickly with "mom was wanting me to ask you if you would spend your christmas with us here in Zirobwe at our house." This is where my heart broke and I was so happy at the same time. They have little to offer but they wanted me to be with them for the holidays since I am not around my family. I explained that I was going to Kenya for a month over Christmas so I wasn't going to be around, but you bet I would be there with them if I was going to be here in Uganda. I asked them if they could have anything what would they want for Christmas their response says a lot about the condition and the culture that they are apart of here is a list of things that they told me: rice, matoke (cooked banana), chicken, soda, and beans. This is a part of every meal I have and this is the only thing that they asked for. I am planning on buying everything on that list and getting them each a present that they get to open. My heart breaks and is also so incredibly thankful for he love that this family shows to me every time I see them. Grace is the one that is so protective of me. Even when mom tries to hug me or sit with me she always pushes them off and says my shannenneee!! Instead of getting gifts this year I am going to give until I can't give anymore.