Saturday, January 9, 2010

When I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hands hath made- How Great Thou Art

This year Christmas looked a bit different for me. Not only did I attend 4 different churches in 2 weeks time, but I also did so with my parents! We certain experienced different sides of life in each of those. We went to a Pentecostal Christmas Cantata on Christmas eve which was a HUGE show and was very well done. We went to the Anglican All Saint’s Cathedral on Christmas morning and heard an excellent sermon by the Kampala Bishop. Then on the next Sunday we went to the Orthodox Cathedral on the other side of town- my parents are Orthodox and wanted to experience a service here and meet some people- little did they no that we were to sit through a 4 hour service with no more than 2 bible passages said in English. The last was at our Kisugu Branch of Africa Gospel Churches (AGC), which my mission starts. I hadn’t been there in a long time, but it was good for my parents to see more of what my normal services are like. I usually attend KIU’s AGC and there are usually over 1,000 there, but with a mostly Kenyan population, most of them have headed back home for the holidays.

The weather was also quite different. Mid 70’s and cloudy with a bit of rain. On the East coast of the US, where I suspect most of you reading this are, it was cold and snowy, as many people dream of. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed it!

My parent’s presence was such a blessing as they got to experience some unique aspects of my life here. They met people I work with within my mission, my co-workers at school, my current 1st grade students (plus some students from last year that I treasure like Wasswa, Ha-rim and Ruben), Susan (who I am teaching to read-see entry below), and some of the AGC pastors and their wives (including Rebecca who makes the paper bead necklaces). Although they didn’t get the opportunity to meet any of my KIU friends, they did pass by the campus so at least they know what I am talking about when I speak of KIU now. In addition to meeting so many people, they also got the privilege to see several areas of this amazingly beautiful country. I brought them to the Entebbe Botanical gardens where we saw so many cool things! There were cinnamon trees, enormously tall palms, baobabs, Gerber daisies, vervit monkeys & colobus monkeys, storks, and so much more! Then my parents treated me to a safari at Murchison Falls! It is so beautiful up there with so many different terrains. We saw lots of animals such as water buffalo, Uganda Cob, Water buck, giraffe, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, wart hogs, and LIONS (up close and personal)! There were also tons of beautiful birds and got a special treat of spotting a genet cat walk up to our table after dinner one evening!

While I was wandering the rocks of the falls where the great river Nile converges and pours down hundreds of feet at an alarming rate and power though a gap around 20 meters wide the wonderful lyrics of How Great Thou Art rolled around in my head. The force of the water was loud enough for me to sing through a few stanzas as well without anyone noticing This creation that HE CREATED truly is an amazingly beautiful sight, enough to make a soul sing 

Before they left we also ventured to Jinja to see the Source of the Nile, Bujigali falls and some of that cute city. I really enjoy it there. My parents helped out in organizing the library at school and my mom even came in and told the story of Epiphany of January 6th while my dad sang “We Three Kings”. It was a really neat time to share and a good way of teaching the children more about seasons in the church calendar. Some people didn’t even think there really were 12 days of Christmas, thinking it was just a song. It’s neat to see people learn!

While my parents time here wasn't always as beautiful as a flower, it was an eye opening experience to them I think. We got into matatus (15 passenger vans that they stuff with at least 16 people) and made our way down to Owino market (check out my article on jeans to discover a taste of what it's like), even drove through Christmas eve traffic. People say that it's unlike anything they've ever seen elsewhere. Some call it overwhelming chaos. Some call it adventure. I think of it as another glimpse of God's world that I am privileged to live in for the time being.

check out my pictures to the song "How Great Thou Art" on my facebook page:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Joyful, Joyful we adore thee

Joyous Christmas! I know, this is not the usual “Merry Christmas”, but as I sat in church this morning, we were reminded to think of it as more than that. It’s not just a “merry” thing. This commercial world that we seem to live in at times may think of it as such, but we know more.

“Merry” is defined in the Oxford American Dictionary as “cheerful and lively”. While the worlds’ most amazing life was brought into this world on this day, Christmas is more than lively. It’s more than cheerful. There was a lot of cheer that came forth from this truly glorious occasion over 2000 years ago. However, it’s SO much more than that. It’s magnificentbrilliantheavenly. But at the same time, it was humblemeekmild. This Wonderful CounselorMighty GodEverlasting Father, and Prince of Peace was born so that He could be with us. He humbled himself to not only be born in a place where animals eat mush, but then give completely of Himself for us. It’s too much to even fathom.

Just a tid-bit from my Christmas e-mail that I sent to my friends and family. If you're not on that list, but would like to be, don't hesitate to ask! I remain, ever hungry for Him, and striving to be joyful always.