Monday, August 31, 2009

The Languages of Uganda

Sharing pictures from home with new friends.

In case any of you are truly curious, here is the answer to the poll (see left sidebar): "What is the official language of Uganda?"

Drumroll, please...

English is the official language of Uganda.

And, here is some more information from Wikipedia: "Around forty different languages are regularly and currently in use in the country. English became the official language of Uganda after independence. Ugandan English has a local flavour." (That is for sure! Although many do speak English, they have such heavy accents, it still can be difficult to understand them, until you develop an "ear" for their English.)

"The most widely locally spoken language in Uganda is Luganda spoken predominantly in the urban concentrations of Kampala, the capital city, and in towns and localities in the Buganda region of Uganda which encompasses Kampala...Swahili, a widely used language throughout eastern and central east Africa, was approved as the country's second official national language in 2005."

So, there you go - now you know a bit more about Uganda. : )

Friday, August 28, 2009

Have I forgetten something (or Someone)?

As I think about preparing for a year in Uganda, I have had such questions as: "Do I pack a year's worth of shampoo?" Or, "How many flashlight bulbs should I bring?" "Do I need a new camera?" "What kind of mosquito repellent would be best?"

There are so many details to think about when planning for a trip - I am sure a lot of you can identify with me in even planning for a weekend away. But, when I think about being gone for a year, in a place where customary conveniences are, well, not so convenient - the whole process can be mind-boggling.

But, I don't want to get so caught up in the details and preparations, that I overlook or lose sight of how God wants me to really prepare - from the inside out, starting with my heart.

I have been thinking quite a bit about love lately. Over the past few weeks, I have had several streams of thought about this topic, and I will try and divert them into one flow - so bear with me.

Lately I've been listening to an audio book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. (I highly recommend it if you have a chance to read it.) When I first saw the book awhile ago, the title intrigued me. I had a sense it was about the "crazy" kind of love we should have for God. And, sure enouugh, Chan does cover this in his book. Basically he says, because we have such an awesome, majestic and holy God, He deserves all of our love and all of our lives - every part of them. He loves us with an incredible love, but we...well, we don't often reciprocate in like manner. Not that we can even love like He does, but we often give Him the "leftovers" of our lives. I know I do.

In fact, I have done it just this week and just today.

If I say I love God, then how am I showing it to Him? Does He know it by the time I spend with Him, or by the way I put Him as a priority in my life? Does He see it by the way I obey Him and extend His love to others? If you love someone, you desire, you strive to please them. Cost nor sacrifice are an issue - they are irrelevant when you truly love someone. So, if we really want to show our love for God, where do we begin? The following verses give us a clue.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your may be full." - John 15:9-11
Abide: "To remain stable or fixed in a state; to continue in a place; sojourn."
I haven't been doing much abiding lately and I know that is where God wants me to be - continuing, sojourning, staying in Him.
So, I am going to take some time now and take my mind off of travel plans, shampoo, etc. and go spend some time with Someone who has been waiting for me. Is He waiting for you, too? be continued.
P.S. I encourage you to check out for more about Chan's book.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Did You Know?

If you would have asked me several years ago to find Uganda on a map, it may have required some searching. Yes, I knew Uganda is a country in Africa - but the continent of Africa is rather large and has a total of 54 countries.

I have learned some about this East African country in the last couple of years, but am still learning and want to continue learning.

I thought some of you might be interested in perusing some facts as well. So, with the help of Google and Wikipedia, here is a small "buffet" of information.

  • I was excited to learn that Uganda is similar in size to Oregon - my home state! It is 91, 136 square miles. (By the way, Oregon is 98,466 square miles.)

  • Uganda ranks as the 11th largest country in Africa in terms of population and 38th among the world's countries. In 2007 Uganda's population was estimated at 30,900,000.

  • Uganda was once a protectorate of the United Kingdom, so yes, they do drive on the left, drink black tea and call cookies "biscuits" and flashlights "torches." :)

  • Uganda is bordered by five other countries - Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Uganda is on the East Africa Plateau and the elevation averages 3,250 feet above sea level. (Oregon's average elevation is 3,300 feet.)

  • Forty-five percent of Lake Victoria is considered to be in Uganda. The lake is also in Kenya and Tanzania.

  • Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake in the world and the earth's third largest lake. Its surface area is 26,600 square miles.

  • Lake Victoria is the source of the Nile River - the world's longest river. (I had the opportunity to visit "the Source" - the spot where the lake flows into the river - pretty cool!)

  • There are approximately 3000 islands on the lake, including Lingira Island where I stayed.

Okay, so I don't want to overwhelm you with facts in this one post, but to give you a bit of an intro to this fascinating country. I plan to share more about Uganda in coming posts, including some about its history and hardships and the people.

By the way, check out the slideshow to the upper left of photos from my first trip to Uganda. I will be adding more pictures in the future. Enjoy!

Oh, and don't forget to take the poll, too!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A P.S. to "Trekking to Tupelo"

I thought after I wrote the last post and included all of that interesting information about Tupelo that I should have at least told you how to pronounce it. And, a friend's comment made me think of it again. So, in case any of you were wondering, here is how you pronounce Tupelo - "TOO-puh-low." (Now say it 10 times fast. ; )

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trekking to Tupelo

I am bound for Uganda...via Tupelo!

I received a "green light" this week from Global Outreach International with an official invitation to their Missionary Orientation Training (MOT), Oct. 5-9 in Tupelo, Miss. This is a required training for anyone wanting to serve with Global for longer than three months.

My good friend Amanda Taylor (who is now in Uganda) went to this same training last October and seemed to really enjoy it. I am looking forward to it as well. I also enjoy visiting new places and have never before been to Mississippi. I don't know much about Tupelo, except that it is where Global is based, as well as the American Family Association (, a really good organization.

Well, with help from Wikipedia, here are some other interesting facts about Tupelo (that I am sure you simply cannot live without).

~ Tupelo is the seventh largest city in Mississippi. It is the largest city and the county seat in Lee County. Population is about 36,200. It is in the upper northeast corner of the state.

~ It is the birthplace of Elvis Presley. (See photo above.)

~ "The town was originally named Gum Pond prior to the American Civil War, supposedly due to the high number of tupelo trees, locally known as blackgum, that grow in the area." - Wikipedia

~ "One of the largest automobile museums in North America, the Tupelo Automobile Museum opened on December 7, 2002, Pearl Harbor Day, and was designated the official State of Mississippi automobile museum in the spring of 2003. The museum is home to more than 150 rare automobiles, all of which were the personal collection of WTVA founder Frank K. Spain." - Wikipedia

~ Tupelo's nickname is "All-America City."

Okay, well that was just for fun, though there will be a quiz later. Just kidding. : )

On a more serious note, I would appreciate your continued prayers as I continue moving forward. I know there is a lot to do and I can get bogged down in details. Yet, I know God will continue to guide me a step at a time.