It Is Never The Same – Krista

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Refugee Settlement houses and gardens

For the third year in a row, I have co-lead the Uganda Mission team with Amy, and together we are sent out via my church in partnership with local NGO’s and Ugandan people. We have never been the same since we started doing this together.

The mission and projects each year are never the same.
The teams are never the same.
The process to prepare is never the same.
The ways in which God works in each of our lives is never the same.
Uganda is never the same.
Amy and I are never the same.
Our community of supporters are never the same.

It is just never the same year in and year out.

It truly takes us a full year to plan the project, prepare the team, fundraise, go on the trip, and debrief afterwards. Whether we take 6 people or 13 with us, it is intense and we make no apologies because it is worth every bit of it once we are there in country or on the other side.

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The entrance to the reception and processing center for the refugees.

One hilarious moment in Uganda this year, I was lightly chiding two team members for not knowing something that had been communicated several times to them. Without losing a beat, one of them responded with, “To be fair, you send us a lot of information.” – I busted up laughing and proceeded to extend some more grace and patience as I re-explained what they needed to know. The reality is, for months upon months we DO share loads of information. We have meetings, send countless e-mails, they read books and give reports to the team, and hundreds upon hundreds (upon thousands?) of text messages (#willtimeverseethis?).. It IS so much information.

Our information spans from health needs, like shots and malaria medicine, to getting visa’s, what type of physical condition they should be working towards, what proper hydration looks like…
We have endless documents that have been slowly created over the years that tell them what should be packed, tips and trainings on fundraising, how to answer questions, and personal growth challenges like fasting, praying, and leading a team devotional.
Which doesn’t even include the on-the-ground preparation information so they can better understand the project and culture once we are there!

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Our team at the 4th Annual Race for Hope 6k Run/Walk an Cookout in June.

We never lose sight of the fact that our team is made up of the entire spectrum of personalities, gifts, strengths, weaknesses, fears, anxieties, backgrounds, and cultures. Some team members have been every year with us repeating, and others have never in their life considered doing anything like this! – So, we are strategic and intentional about teaching everyone, encouraging people to try new things, and sometimes we just ask them to trust our process without first understanding.

Amy and I say every year, “The Uganda mission is what our team’s mission is, but the people we take with us, they are the OUR mission.” We do everything we can to pick, cultivate, train, prepare, pour into, support, encourage, and lead the people who come with us. It is intense, and we spend a lot of hours talking through and strategizing how to best lead each person and the team as a whole. We spend so much time praying for and over each person, which includes processing through scripture we feel is uniquely for each one of them, and then we give them a journal with a few of our prayers and the scripture we have been praying for them.

Yet, no matter how much we prepare ahead of the trip each year, there is just something about actually going that opens the eyes of everyone we take with us; and that is what gives my intense physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion overwhelming joy. I love getting to lead the team each year. I am always amazed that God let’s me do this with Amy, but I am also deeply honored that the team of people follow me, especially the ones who return year after year. I am not perfect, and I am not exempt from the inevitable in-country meltdown, or the post-trip emotional chaos that is returning home. Yet, I am always amazed and grateful that the team trusts us and chooses vulnerability.

We are never the same.

Amy and I are never the same, our team is never the same, and Uganda is never the same.

To date, through our missions teams across the last four years, and because of the hundreds upon hundreds of people who have financially supported us, we have funded, and in some cases built 15 clean water wells and one Maternity Ward/Urgent Care facility in Uganda. That means that, somewhere in the vicinity of 5,200 people now have clean water, and an un-countable number of people have improved access to healthcare. Ugandans and South Sudanese men, women and children across generations are healthier in tangible ways because of the years of work we put into this trip, and because of the support we get from so many people around the world and in Uganda!

But, no matter how much work we do, how many amazing things we get to build, or the people we partner with; each year I am more convinced that it is Amy, myself and our team that are changed forever. We go to love, support, encourage and help, but we are the ones who are changed, honored, and blessed because of the experience. It is humbling in ways that really are hard to articulate.

No matter how many years I do this, the challenge comes in accurately putting into words what has happened. How do I share well all that God did, the world views that shifted, the sparks of life and new vision, passions that were ignited or discovered for the first time, new relationships that were formed, injustices that were witnessed, and so much self-discovery?… How do I learn and share so that other’s get to also learn?

I don’t know. I still stumble and babble my way through sharing with anyone who asks with no more eloquence than I did years ago. Each year is unique and different, and I am never the same, but my struggle to share it all well stays the same.

Because Amy and I know intimately the struggle with returning home, the difficulty in process and sharing what happened, on one of the last couple of nights we are in Uganda, we do a re-entry training preparing to come home. Over the years we have cultivated this training, added to it, and made it much more comprehensive than when we first started…. But, even still, sharing examples, questions to help process, creating timelines, and giving tips on how to accurately navigate the emotions and relationships we encounter when we get home; it doesn’t remove the struggle. No matter what we do to prepare the team, in some ways, it feels a little traumatic to return home to the busy chaos of our schedules. Uganda removes so many distractions simply by lack of power/wifi/cell service etc.. There’s just less competition for our attention, but also we build into our days so much more time for God, and life back home just doesn’t lend to the same cadence.

Each year, I think it will be better and easier to return home after Uganda.
Without fail, every time, it is not better or easier, but instead it is uniquely challenging, and really emotional and difficult in new ways. I think the only thing I get better at, is giving myself the space to navigate jet lag and self-care so that I am able to begin to process…  But, even my process looks different each year.

One week out, I have only really just begun to process all that God did in and through me this year in Uganda. So, unfortunately if you ask me how Uganda was, it’s really anyone’s guess what will come out of my mouth… You might get a funny story, a ridiculous situation, or intense feelings… My responses are never the same!

So, now what?

Well, we are still in need of some funds to complete the Maternity Ward/Urgent Care Facility for the Imvepi Refugee Settlement! It is SO CLOSE to being fully funded and completed!!…

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Nikita and Elijah giving the medical donations from their companies to the doctor and nurses that run the current tent health centers.
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Our team literally standing on the foundation of our 521 supporters! (as of the day this picture was taken)
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My brother and I sharing in the joy and excitement of our supporters and the progress made on this project!

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But also, we already had to submit our application for 2019! Insane.

We don’t yet have our project nailed down for what we will be doing next year, but we are already starting to get that going and working with our on the ground NGO’s and contacts to figure out what next year’s project will be.

So, stay tuned as we continue to post blogs from different people on our team this year. They will be sharing thoughts, pictures, lessons learned, and who knows what else!

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My prayer brick installed in one of the walls. Psalm 147:3.

Thank you for following along with our journey.
Thank you for supporting us financially, with prayers, and for caring about what we care about!

I am full of so much gratitude and love for you all!

-Krista
Team Co-Leader
#ugandaexcited

Ps. Apologies if there are parts of this that ramble or don’t make sense…Still struggle bus emotions and thoughts so, this is what you get! 😉

It Is Never The Same – Krista

This is Really Happening!

Amy keeps laughing and marveling at the fact that, “This is really happening!”

The Maternity Ward/Urgent Care Facility is underway!

Long before we ever get to Uganda, and for a decent while afterwards work is happening! Stateside we are fundraising, and still need funds (please donate here), in Uganda is the real hard work of clearing land, laying stone, mixing and pouring concrete, and laying bricks!… And that’s just so far!

We are amazed at all that the Lord is doing, it is actually quite overwhelming to stop and look at the timing of everything. Every single time we needed to send money ahead so that work could start, continue or materials could be ordered we miraculously, by the blessing of the Lord had the money donated that week. He is going before us literally to start this project before we get there, and by prompting literally (on last count) 462 individual people to donate money to support our project and team!

SO! With that as the backdrop… Three weeks out from today, we will be LANDING in Entebbe Uganda, aiming to get a few hours of sleep, and then make the long drive up to Arua in the far North West area of Uganda.IMG_6773

The preparation for this type of project and trip takes a full year of planning, preparation, work and of course fundraising. – At the beginning of the planning process, it always feels a bit like getting ready to hike the largest mountain, navigate crazy terrain, traverse waterfalls, and often doing it all blindly in prayer and faith while leading a team of people behind us!

This year’s team is full of incredible people.

I (Krista) always say that getting to know, love, and then sharing the full year of learning and experiences of a project like this is my favorite part. We are a unique group and so full of varying personalities and perspectives, but, it has been so fun to see the constant within the team to be encourage and support first, followed by lots of laughter, prayer, and so much love.

At this point, it looks as though when we get there in three weeks, we will be joining the construction team in laying brick on the interior walls, mixing and pouring concrete/cement for the outside sidewalk area around the building, and likely plastering walls. It is always a unique experience to learn the Ugandan way to do these things (especially if we have never done anything like this stateside!). One of our big goals as a team though is not to push our American timelines or methods, but instead learn… learn, support, and work hard!.. But, also we want to build relationships with those we are working with.

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The update picture we received on June 13th!

We believe it would be a waste of time to go, build a beautiful Ugandan Hospital for the Imvepi Refugee Settlement in zone 2, and not to walk away with friends and stories to share from these incredible people.

This is really happening! We have no idea all that the Lord is going to do in and through us on this trip in just a few short weeks, but, we are full of holy anticipation and excitement.

So, at this point, we are getting a lot of questions somewhere along the lines of:
How can you support us?

Here is our short answer:
1. Prayers – For travel, health, safety, the Ugandan workers, our team, finances, the refugees, Pastor Bob and Sue (our on the ground contacts/partners/planners and friends), the team leaders (Amy and Krista), our team’s spiritual formation, and against spiritual attacks.

2. Finances. We still need about $26,000 to cover the last couple of phases of construction. (Our team’s expenses are fully covered, and the first two phases are mostly covered).

3. Send us encouragement. – Seriously, commenting on our social media posts, asking questions, write us notes.. whatever it is, the physical presence and engagement of those we love is HUGE.

4. Follow along with our journey! – We love all that the Lord is doing in each one of us, in Uganda long before we ever get there, and there is a building excitement and anticipation of what will happen while we’re there (and after we get home)! Follow along and be a part of what is happening!

Thank you to every single person who has donated,
shown up, encouraged, and prayed for us on this journey!

We aren’t even at the mountaintop high and God’s faithfulness is beginning to overwhelm us!

So much love and gratitude,
-Krista
(Team Leader)

This is Really Happening!

Day 15: Reflecting on Uganda

 

I have been trying to come up with words to reflect and summarize our time in Uganda. I have a torrential waterfall, much like Murchison Falls overflowing with feelings that flood through me every time I try to share.

How do you summarize or share something that wasn’t just life changing for you personally, but also for 14 other people?

On one hand, it is simple to say, “It was amazing!”
Another, possibly more accurate description would be, “It was incredibly hard from every possible aspect, but God showed up in equal measure.”

Before we left in July, I had been praying for everyone on our team for months.

When I started praying in December, it was more generic, “Lord, be with ____ today.” And then, as I got to know them better, my prayers became specific and nuanced. But, about six weeks out, I started praying that our Lord would give each of us a greater awakening of who He is, who we are because of Him, and that we would have a greater awareness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

In hindsight, I probably should have been a bit more specific, and in the future I will probably be more intentional about the words I choose. I absolutely feel like all of my prayers were answered, but in a way that meant the trip was incredibly difficult, and yet, through it all God was faithful, and he showed up with gentle but incredible force.

For years I have maintained that trouble, persecution, trials, difficulties often act as a greenhouse for God to show up. – Uganda was no different.

Every day we had a new challenge, some interpersonal, others health related, some were directly connected to why we were there, and then others blindsided us and needed some massive amounts of prayer for wisdom. Each unique problem felt like we were presented with the option to take the blue pill or red pill… Choose stress, frustration, and giving into the emotions or instead, press in to God, through prayer and petition, and rely on one another even more. – Spiritual warfare at its finest.

There was not a day that went by that I did not find myself both thanking God for showing up and surrounding us as a team and individuals, extending extra grace and tangibly sending the Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage us.. But, also overwhelmed with the gravity of some of the situations we had to face.

Never in my life have I been so aware of spiritual attacks, and equally as aware of the presence of the Lord surrounding both myself and others.

Some of the things we faced are simply not meant to be shared in a public setting with people we cannot have a conversation with; other challenges are not mine to share.

However, to help give you a glimpse:

Challenge:
Right at the beginning we had busted out a back window of the rented vehicle. – In Uganda the difficulty is actually replacing it with authentic car glass that will shatter correctly.

God’s Grace:
We had raised extra money and took it as an “emergency fund” and were able to replace the window within 6 hours with little to no stress because of the donations we had received.

Challenge:
After four days of drilling, and an absent local community, one well was caught in the middle of a community dispute about the location. There was beginning to be pressure on the team to abandon the well location and start over. – If we had to do this, the only well that had hit water at that point would not have been able to be completed in the time we had.

God’s Grace:
A community meeting was called after dark at the well site on the fourth day, and the Holy Spirit showed up. The women of the community rose in defense of the well location, and fought for their needs and ultimately won.

Challenge:
One site’s auger bit got stuck at 16ft, causing the team to have to dig a 6ft in diameter pit by hand with pickaxes that broke on the regular down to unstick the auger bit. (***Update, the pit ended up having to go to a total of 31ft, then they started auguring again, hit water at 40ft, and completed the well depth at 55ft! – The third well is now complete 3 weeks after we left!)

God’s Grace:
The community rallied and men joined in daily to help with the efforts. It was one of the most beautiful examples of people literally fighting for a need they have, but also creating space for the team to bond with their community. The Holy Spirit also seemed to extend extra grace to that team, giving them confidence, so much fun and laughter, and peace about the ever increasing realization that they would not be able to complete the well, but that it would be completed after we left.

Challenge:
Rocks, clay as hard as rocks, more rock, bending and breaking tools.

God’s Grace:
Because of the donations that were sent and the abundance of support we received prior to leaving, we were able to replace everything that broke. And, eventually, slowly, little by little we were able to hand drill and chisel beyond each level of soil or rock.

Challenge:
So much discouragement, insecurity, fear, pain, physical illness; more than I can accurately explain in a blog post.

God’s Grace:
Every single time, before we encountered any issues or problems, someone lead a devotional in the morning that tied directly to what we needed to hear, or someone shared a word or passage of scripture that resonated and sustained us through.

And, these are just the things that we dealt with as a team; this does not include the individual problems, challenges, or struggles we faced and prayed through.

So, reflecting on the trip hasn’t been simple or linear either. As I have begun to work intentionally at creating more space for my own process, I began reading through my journal and prayers. I had already forgotten, or simply have no recollection of praying for some of the things I prayed to our Lord for!

A few nights ago, I was asked how I was feeling, at first I sidestepped with my usual answer of giving a few valid, but not the total picture answers. Soon though as they pressed gently, I began to ramble through my feelings of being overwhelmed, still trying to find space and time to process, and then found myself in tears as I ended my ramble with, “I just miss Uganda”.

I miss the organization we work with, the work we did, and the people there. I also miss the simplicity of focus I needed to have. In Uganda, I only had a handful of things I needed to manage and focus on, in my normal everyday life the focus is in the hundreds daily.

But, if I’m being honest, what I miss most is our team’s daily togetherness and intentionality to love well. It isn’t easy, nor is it glamorous for 15 people to live and do intimate community together (especially in Africa); actually, it’s really hard and it pushes you and requires you to grow in ways you never expect! However, there is also an element of “rightness” to choosing to live and love others intentionally in a true and very real community of believers.

Since getting back three weeks ago, there is a great deal of spiritual warfare still taking place for many on our team and for the organization we work with in Uganda. Please continue to keep all of us in your prayers as the Lord is still on the move.

(click the images and scroll through)

Thank you for your support, for your encouragement, prayers, money, and for loving our team so well for the last 8 months as we have prepared and then gone to Uganda to provide clean water to three communities! We cherish you and your support more than we can communicate to you.

Thank you for sending us to Uganda for 16 days that changed our lives forever.

~Krista
(Team leader for #WaterWarriors)

 

 

Day 15: Reflecting on Uganda

Final Checklist Preparations

I love a good checklist.
A checklist for preparing and packing for Uganda.
A checklist for work activities.
A checklist for wedding planning.
A checklist for the grocery store or weekend tasks.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” rings true in a culture that demands each of us to be efficient multi-taskers. Plus as an ENTJ, my love of checklists and crossing items off my checklists is inherent to every part of my being. (Did I mention that my “J” score is really high?) The first time I went on a mission trip back in 2010, I prepared the only way I knew how, I took vigorous notes at team meetings and following the packing list completely—even adding some of my own items that I thought I needed. My checklist was my security blanket. When I moved overseas more than 2 years ago, I made checklists months in advance. I visualized and strategically planned out what items I needed in my luggage, what items could be in a shipment, and how much I needed of each item until I could order them on Amazon.

People have asked me how my trip preparation is going. Asked if I feel stressed or overwhelmed. My answer is the same, I’m good. I feel no real stress. While, some stress has snuck in, it’s been more so related to wedding planning and not Uganda preparation, like what does a capital G and Q look like in cursive. Luckily, my workload at work has slowed down to manageable level—otherwise my answer may not be the same. Although it probably would. I have been on multiple mission trips and traveled to a lot of places overseas. I have never been to Africa, so I know that it will bring its own challenges, but responding to unknowns while traveling has almost become a known to me. I feel confident in my ability to prepare, and I have full confidence that God will show up and show off because that is who He is and what He does.

But as I was packing yesterday and finishing addressing my wedding invitations, I still felt no nervousness, no real stress—except for those stupid cursive letters I don’t use regularly. However, something hit me today as I was finishing items on my checklist, God told me to stop and to pause because He had a message for me. I realized that my Uganda trip had become a “checklist item” on my wedding planning checklist. While Uganda preparation had its own checklist, it had somehow found its way on to a different checklist. My wedding list centered on things to do before and after Uganda. Uganda had also somehow made it on to my travel checklist—my first country in Africa and my international travel for 2017. My confidence in my ability to prepare for a trip and my trust in God almost acted as blinders to what God was doing and showing to me right now. I’ve been working for the last few years on relinquishing control to God, and in a lot ways I have made progress. And, that amazing trust in God to do His works is a direct bi-product of that. But, God is always pushing us to learn new things about His nature.

I had lost sight of preparing my heart and my Spirit to serve. I had lost sight of the true goal of a mission—to learn more about the things that break God’s heart and how our heart should be breaking for the same things. The people getting access to clean water were just numbers to me. Just an item on my “to do” list that in my mind read “Dig three wells. Help 100s of people. Check.” Each of those people are worth more than a number on my checklist. They are people loved by God, and I should feel completely honored to get to know them, even if I never physically meet them. I still have a few items to check off my list, but my focus is now on preparing my heart and my Spirit and not on successfully completing that checklist. Focused on each individual who God will bless through these clean water wells.

Yes, God can still move through checklists, but God loves to move in the stillness. We just have to make sure we put our pens down, find stillness, and then listen.

~Ami

Final Checklist Preparations

Uganda Preparation and The Team

Missing one team member!

We are a mere three weeks away from leaving for Uganda to dig three clean water wells for 16 days!

Before each person joined our team, we prepared them for how much would be involved in getting ready for our mission in Uganda. Often joking about “owning” their life for the first 7 months of 2017 (haha but really)!..

  • We have had meetings all year,
  • We have read and given reports on a collected book list,
  • We have been intentional in creating space for people to invest in what we are doing.
  • We have been creative in our fundraising and storytelling.
  • We have been getting shots and visas,
  • Attempting to teach our bodies to drink the appropriate amount of water each day,
  • And of course, preparing our minds and hearts for what is to come.

As the leaders, our goal is to prepare without over educating, so, we have shared movies, articles, and passed on stories and information via friends from Uganda to help everyone get an accurate picture of what is to come.

We do not want to go to Uganda feeling like the work we put into our three wells has saved the country in our short time there. Instead, our goal is to be three little drops in the bucket of support that works to lift up the people of Uganda a bit more.

We are a unique and diverse group of people, men and women, different ages and ethnicities, spanning feelers and thinkers, extroverts and introverts (and somewhere in between). We are believers, followers, and lovers of Jesus of varying lengths. I am not sure there is a more diverse group of people to have gone on mission together before (ok maybe slight exaggeration!)

 

Everyone on our team has stepped out and purposefully sought after unique things in the preparation for this year, it has been so fun to watch everyone’s journey and faith change!

Missing our third leader Sally.

As the leaders of this mission team, we have set up expectations to help our team push themselves beyond what is even listed above. Everyone will take a turn leading a team devotional, they will get the chance to share their story with everyone, as well as write a blog post while we are in Uganda so that the myriad of viewpoints will be captured for you to follow along!.. And that isn’t even counting their official team roles! (First Aid, Prayer, Encouragement etc..etc..)

What can you do to support us?

Pray for all 15 of our team members, all 6 Ugandan drillers, and Sue and Sunday:

  1. We need to hit water three times!
  2. Health is always something to be taken seriously in prayer while in another country!
  3. That we each are able to create space to be fully present mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to experience what God has for us.
  4. Pray for our friends, family, and housemates that remain behind carrying on normal life while we are gone.
  5. For the communities that these clean water wells are going into, that it would be a blessing, but also a community building and rallying force for them!
  6. That the clean water would save lives, and create space for girls to go to school.

At this point ALL the money that is donated will be given to Mission4Water to continue to dig clean water wells long after we leave on July 21st!

Every year I am blown away by how quickly time goes. I always think I am prepared, but somewhere between “it’s so far away” and every day life, the trip sneaks up on me and then suddenly is right around the corner!

If you want more information about what we are doing, read this post, but also peruse through our blog or search #ugandaexcited on Facebook and Instagram!

Blessings,
~Krista (and the leadership trio)

Uganda Preparation and The Team

Learning More About Uganda and Missions

If you are interested in learning more about the country and region, or just interesting things we have collected along the way; below is a bunch of books, articles, documentaries, and videos that will help to give you a greater understanding of Uganda, as well as Africa, and missions in general.

Books recommended to us:

  1. The Teeth May Smile But the Heart Does Not Forget – This is an interesting perspective on the Yoweri Museveni, the current president of Uganda who has “won” elections for the last 30 years.
  2. Wizard of the Nile – Perspective on Joseph Kony and his rise to power and some of the political turmoil which drove him to what he did
  3. Kisses From Katie – A feel good story of a pretty incredible girl who started an organization in Jinja, Uganda
  4. Girl Soldier – Story of a child living in Northern Uganda during the LRA’s reign of terror
  5. Having People, Having Heart: Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda – The title nails it
  6. Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most – Founder of Compassion International one of the most influential child sponsorship programs in the world
  7. Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment, Can Last Forever – Another book by Compassion International founder
  8. When Helping Hurts – Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor.
  9. African Friends and Money Matters– A look into some of the cultural behaviors and practices that we just might not ever understand/accept/rationalize and things to expect regarding money and gifts. Our team is encouraged to read this book.
  10. Aboke Girls – The kidnapping of 139 secondary school female students from a boarding school by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 1996.
  11. War Brothers – Based on true events about the capture of Ugandan schoolchildren forced to serve as child soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
  12. First Kill Your Family Told by those who suffered. This illuminating expose examines a forgotten region of one of Africa’s most promising nations—Uganda.
  13. Developing Uganda 

We also have recommended these movies:

War Dance – (Was on Netflix at one point)

Queen of Katwe – (Is on Netflix)

Remand Documentary

Articles and videos worth checking out:

Water throughout the world

This is linked to Congolese refugees a friend works with in Uganda.

Who are we partnering with in Uganda?

Mission4Water 

Lead by Sue (and Engineer Sunday)

#Ugandaexcited

Learning More About Uganda and Missions

Are You Patient Enough to Wait?

Before I get into my thoughts, just as a bit of an update:

We have and have not hit water!

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Left side #TeamAmy. Right side #TeamKrista.

#TeamAmy hit water on the first day, literally only a few feet into digging!…(what?!) Which inevitably made #TeamKrista full of joy and jealousy! 😉 Haha #TeamKrista spent ALL of day two digging through sandstone and have yet to hit water… but we are prepared and preparing our Mission4Water men for the dance party that WILL happen once we do! #TeamAmy spent all of day two slinging mud and slipping in it!.. We aren’t sure who’s winning the soreness and difficulty factor at the moment.

Ok, now onto some of my thoughts…

When we arrived to Rukungiri on Monday, there was no power, which means the lights were running on a generator, and the water was ushered in via Jerry Cans. – What an interesting welcoming to see and experience first hand how water dictates your life.

Also, as a side learning moment, when the generators are running the power, it is hit or miss if you will have a working outlet… Which then caused us to huddle on Amy’s bed to send updates because between all ten rooms, there was exactly one outlet that worked. Just one.

So, for the first day or so, we had limited power and no running water; which means learning to bucket bathe and shave… Then saving that water to use to flush our toilets… And, because I love sharing all things that keep it real, mostly if it leads to a funny story (Africa style): After two days of traveling, your body is ready for some good toilet time!

When you begin a mission such as this, your goal is centered around water. You prepare for months to understand and provide water; but, let’s be honest here, in America it is actually entirely unfathomable to accurately comprehend how much water dictates everything. EVERYTHING. It is simply something that cannot be understood because water is a subconscious element of life, just like air; we just don’t have to think about it… at all. So, to start out our mission with water problems, and then realizing we are the beneficiaries of someone else filling 20+lb Jerry cans full of water, then heating up the water, and putting ONE for each of us outside our room (ten rooms)… You cannot help but instantly see the missional need play out before you.

After a full day, we had power AND water!

Glorious water running through our pipes!

It was time for a real shower (after you flip the switch and wait 20 minutes to allow the water to heat up somewhat). However, when you shower, you still stand in a plastic basin to catch as much of the water as you can, in order to use it to flush the toilet later should the power go out again. (which it has)

However, they do not have shower curtains, which means there’s a very real danger of slipping and hurting yourself, because of all the water splatter in the bathroom (or in Krista speak: killing yourself for others to find you in your full glory!!!!).

Yet, we seem to be experiencing feast or famine in regards to water (both in life and at our drilling sites!)… Once the power came back on, and we got water, my toilet still would not work.

The hotel staff came to work on it, for hours, literally hours. At one point, I stopped into my room to grab something, and water was everywhere in the bathroom and they were BAILING IT OUT INTO BUCKETS! I couldn’t help but start laughing, which I’m not sure the hotel staff understood although I assured them it was ok… But I mean really, ALL the water everywhere.

They finished up well after dark and just before bed. Yet, when I returned to my room I realized they did not fix it, they had simply turned the water off, to wait to return later. With one liiiittttllleee problem, they had turned off toilet water, which proceeded to leak, one drop at a time… everywhere.

(Thankfully there’s a slope from my room into the bathroom, which prevents it from actually flooding into my room.)

Our team has spent quite a bit of time joking about me canoeing down the hallway in my suitcase wishing them all a good morning!

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The night before attempt to keep the water contained… It was still just a small puddle at this point.

When I woke up this morning, the towel I had rolled up and closed in the doorway was sopping wet, and there was almost an inch of water collected in the bathroom over night.

One drop at a time.

It is now the following day, and they have been working since basically yesterday trying to fix the problem. My toilet has been disassembled, reassembled, parts replaced, etc… But, guess what? – The power is out again.

Guess what you cannot do while the power is out?: Check to see if the toilet is working properly. Haha So, unexpected water adventures… in my bathroom.

However, in Amy’s room, her shower drips… Each drip is collected into a basin in order to flush the toilet later if the power remains out.

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Amy’s washing basin collecting drops from the shower.

A drop in the bucket actually matters.

But, it only matters if you are patient enough to wait.

Can you wait for the water to collect to be useful? – Or are you too impatient to wait for the full bucket?

What if you are one drop in the bucket, but you are too impatient to wait?… There’s very likely someone else collecting your drop, and patiently waiting for the rest of the drops to be collected.

People say, “what good are you doing? It is just a drop in the bucket.”

Let me assure you, now, unlike any other time in my life, I understand how much a drop in the bucket actually matters.

A drop in the bucket can provide life.

A drop of life giving water changes the course of everything… if you are patient enough.

Are you patient enough to wait for drops in the bucket?

Are You Patient Enough to Wait?

37 days, and I am absolutely Overwhelmed.

37 days until we leave for Uganda again.
37 days until I step foot back into the country that has such a big place in my heart.

As I sit back and think through all that is about to happen, about this trip, about all that has already happened, my heart and my spirit are completely overwhelmed, but in the absolute best way possible.

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I am overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have donated to this cause; to the wells that we are digging and to everyone’s trip costs. We have the some of the most amazing friends, and family (and strangers). Through our 2nd annual Race for H20pe alone, we were able to raise enough money for both of the wells that we will be digging while we are in Uganda! And, we were even able to forge a relationship with HumanKind Water, who came and hung out with us on race day, donated water, and walked away as new friends!

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I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness. Over and over, He continues to show up and show off. He continues to remind me that He has called me to this, and He will bless this trip and my efforts; and through the stories of my nine teammates, I get to see and hear that He is doing the same thing for them. That we are each uniquely called to this trip, and He is showing up and providing for them. I am already seeing and hearing the ways that God is stretching them, and strengthening their faith via this trip, and we haven’t even left yet!!

I am overwhelmed with excitement. I’ve told people over and over again,

“If you have never seen the look on someone’s face, the first time they see clean water…your life will never be the same after.”

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We dug two wells last year, so I got to experience that twice, and I still get tears in my eyes, and chills just thinking about those moments, about the absolute shouts and screams of excitement and gratitude as the well is commissioned and handed over to them… AND, I get to go back and do it all over again! I get to do this! Plus, as an added bonus, I get to witness my teammates experiencing this too. I can’t wait for them to have those moments. – I am so excited for them!

I am overwhelmed with anticipation. The more I think about and pray about this trip, and this team… the more I am counting down the days. I cannot wait! Knowing all the ways that God has already shown His faithfulness to us, all the ways He has already shown up, and showed off… I am filled with Holy anticipation at what all is to come on this trip.

We will dig two wells; we will provide around 700 Ugandans with clean, safe water for the first time in their lives! That’s what we are going there to do, and I can’t wait for that. But, I’m also so excited about all of the ways that God is going to use us while we are there in the lives of the people we get to work with, and the ways He is going to use us in the lives of one another on this team.

Thinking ahead to this trip, my eyes fill with tears, happy tears. I can’t wait for the relationships that will be formed, and the ones that will be solidified. I know that everyone of my teammates chose this trip, because they wanted to make a tangible difference, and they will. But, I am so excited to see and hear about all the ways that they are blessed through this trip and through this experience. God is good and faithful!

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I am so grateful, that God has called me to this!

I. Get. To. Do. This!!!

~Amy

#UgandaExcited #OnMissionEveryDay

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37 days, and I am absolutely Overwhelmed.

With God (2015)

Originally posted on August 24, 2015.

“With God every project succeeds!” These were the lyrics on the back of a work truck that I noticed today as we were driving to our work site this morning. I’m always amazed at the speaking of God even when I am not intentional about hearing Him. What impeccable timing He has to give me the perfect message for what’s going on in my life at that time….building a well in Uganda!

I can only imagine what God would say to me if I made it a point to focus on Him in all that I do. I hate to think about all the missed God messages because of my carelessness in seeking Him. It has been and continues to be my prayer to seek God with intention in every aspect of my life. Through my seeking I desire to know Him and to strengthen and grow closer to the God identity in me. So much so that I’m not frustrated or  bothered by the challenges of life but rather welcome them as an opportunity to be a part of God’s story for His glory!

With God every project succeeds!

We are half way through the building of the two wells in the subcounty of Barr in Lira, Uganda yet we did not come this far without challenges. The other day we arrived at the worksite to find out there was an obstruction, a large rock lodged down the pipe of our well. It was surmised that a person(s) from the village, perhaps a child out of curiosity threw the rock down the pipe.

Uncertain if we could undo the damage, we proceeded through with our physical corrective measures, but only With God! Our team leader Amy gathered us together and proceeded to pray over the project and resolution to the overnight event that had temporarily halted our progress.

We proceeded to follow instructions to chip away at the lodged rock with hopes that we would dislodge it from our pipe and continue building the well and still finish it according to schedule. We worked with a determined mindset and a willingness if necessary to redo three days of hard work.

We continued to persevere using the apparatus to chisel down the rock into pieces to be removed from the pipe. Within 20 minutes we hit the jackpot, chunks of rocks were pulled out.

Sometimes obstacles and setbacks allow us to see the power of God at work. It’s a reminder that what seems impossible is more than possible with God!  We can get caught up in the work, reaching the goal, or accomplishing the task that we lose sight of the purpose of our work.

Reading that signpost today, was a reset of my mind to put God first in all things. It was a prompting that in all things seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all other things will be granted. It’s a fact, “with God every project succeeds”! So in my project of life I go it not alone, but With God!

Almost Ready Well

Written by Kimberly

With God (2015)

Most Welcome (2015)

Originally posted on August 23, 2015.

Greetings are natural and expected even if it’s nothing more than a formality. “Most Welcome” is a greeting that is definitely a formality in Uganda, yet it is an expression that has been imprinted on my heart with expanded appreciation since arriving here.  I not only hear welcome I feel and see welcome throughout Uganda!

When we arrived at Kanberra Hotel in Lira, I immediately developed a relationship with Phiona the receptionist who was exemplary of the Uganda term I was sure to hear again, “most welcome.” My request to charge my cell phone prompted the response, “you are most welcome.”  During one of my most welcomed conversations with Phiona I told her we stayed in Kampala at a place called Banana Village. She was very familiar with it and proceeded to educate me on a few things. She told me that Entebbe where we landed means “take a seat” and Banana Village was a place of welcome. Phiona related it to inviting someone to have a seat in your living room as you do with family. She told me Kanberra was also a place of welcome. Quite naturally I expect the welcome experience in the hospitality business, but I saw it in the Uganda culture. I feel it in the gentleness of their tone and the warm spirit that subconsciously begins to soften me.

While building the well and meeting the people in the community “most welcome” was not spoken but rather experienced. The children greeted us with their presence at the entry point of the worksite. Others waved and smiled at us as we drove off in the van. A few extended a helping hand. An elder in the village offered his seat to me in the shade. What an Entebbe moment! My most heart warming experience of “most welcome” came when the female children as young as 2 or 3 years of age would extend their hand and bow with a quick curtsy. With each wave, smile, gesture or word I found myself most welcoming Uganda into my heart!

As we traveled around to visit the various private schools in Lira, we were greeted by the officials and the staff with the words welcome, you are most welcome.  From Kenframa to Amazing Grace and finally to the Uganda Christian Nursing Institute those words were a common language. It was obvious the extension of such a greeting and a warm reception to our given title of friend was customary yet the words resonated with me. It was an energy, a spirit that made me reflect on “welcome” from a different lens. I began to consider the perfect demonstration of “most welcome”…Jesus! The author of what it really means to welcome. Jesus welcomed us to life eternal with Him. With arms stretched out, He welcomed us into the holy family!  There’s nothing like the welcome of Jesus!

So the Ugandan’s most welcome is their walk in the truth of  Hebrews 13:1-3 which reads, keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Entebbe Uganda you are family!

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Written by Kimberly

Most Welcome (2015)