Tuesday, February 16, 2010


 An entomologist would have a ball in Uganda.

 Their favorite subjects of study are everywhere - in the air, the dirt, the water, your food, your bed, your sheets, your drinking water. You cannot escape from these...little critters. If you don't like bugs, don't come to Uganda. By the way, an entomologist is someone who studies insects.

  Of course, there are the mosquitos, infamous for being the carriers of malaria. Malaria, according to dictionary.com, is "An infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating, caused by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito." Sounds fun, huh?

  Unfortunately, malaria is a major killer here in Uganda and many other African countries. According to some information I found on the Internet, malaria kills an estimated 320 people every day in Uganda. The sad thing is that this disease can be easily prevented, but such prevention is not common or widespread.

 Then there are the roaches, probably my least favorite of the bugs. I was introduced to them as an infant when we lived in the inner city of Houston, Texas and I think they left a bad impression on me then. I am getting braver, though, and can actually kill them myself, rather than calling for backup help. : )

  The lake flies are like big gnats and are harmless, but are still pests. We have them on the island. They come out in droves at night and are attracted to light. This becomes a major irritation if you are wearing a headlamp and they find your eyes, nose and ears. Their numbers ebb and flow according to how much moonlight there is. I don't entirely understand this concept, but it makes me thankful for when we see more of the moon. I have books at home which have pressed lake flies on some of the pages, "collected" during my first trip. : )

 If you leave any food out - uncovered, these little bitty sugar ants will find them. These tiny harmless creatures are really amazing - how quickly they find food, how they enlist others to help them, how they work together, and then how they transport their finds. Follow a trail of ants and you will find the piece of popcorn that fell on the floor last night or the grains of sugar that were accidentally left behind.

 There are other creepy crawly creatures, here too, but I am writing a blog post and not a book. : )

  I have never been much of a fan of bugs, but am learning to live with them. I was thinking about a spiritual application for this multi-legged subject and was reminded of sin. Sin can creep in and show up in the most unsuspecting places. It can sniff out where we might have left a crumb of temptation and can create a trail that will lead to no good. If you leave an opening, it will likely push its way in. But, prevention is definitely possible!

 Maintaining a close and consistent relationship with Jesus can help eradicate sin in our lives. As we allow the light of God's Word and His Spirit to flood our lives, it pushes out the darkness. Oops, changing analogies, but I think it goes along well. : ) 

  God says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. (I John 1:9.) Also being open with others about our struggles and temptations, can help stomp out sin in our lives. Sin, like malaria, left untreated, can be deadly. But, eradication is definitely accessible and best of all, it's free of charge. Because Jesus already paid the painful and costly price on the cross, we can know freedom from sin. With His power, sin can be stomped out and eliminated. Praise the Lord for that!

 So, the next time you see a little critter, be reminded that we can indeed have victory over sin!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

From Busia to Bujagali

 Hi My Faithful Followers,

  Sorry I haven't written in awhile, but I have not had consistent Internet or computer access. But, I received my new laptop this week!

With my new laptop, which my church, Westport Community, graciously purchased for me!

  The past week has been a busy one. Last Tuesday I came from the island and then on Wednesday joined a group of six SHIM members in traveling to the district of Busia, to a small village area, where we held a three-day youth seminar. Our theme verses were 2 Timothy 2:20-21.

 "Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work."

  We centered our messages around this theme and although we didn't coordinate our messages, God did. : )  I shared about Joseph and the journey God took him on to mold him into an honorable vessel. The youth seemed to receive and be encouraged by what we shared with them. We were graciously and warmly hosted in the home of the pastor and welcomed by those of the village and church.

The church where we held the youth seminar. As you can see, it is not yet completed.

  We were near the border with Kenya and at one point, saw some of its hills. The three of us girls on the team returned to Jinja Saturday afternoon, via a dusty, hot and crowded taxi. These particular taxis remind of a Volkswagen bus, except smaller. On the side they say, "Licensed to carry 14 passengers," though they often carry 18-20 people.

 This past week we welcomed Andy, Karina and David Smith. Everyone was so excited to have the SHIM family reunited again! : )

Everyone is amazed at how David has grown. Of course, he is a charmer with his sweet personality and three-toothed grin. : )

David Andrew Smith - almost 8 months old.

  On Wednesday, I and a friend, Katie from America, ventured to one of my favorite scenic spots in Uganda - Bujagali Falls. It is not far from Jinja and is a beautiful spot as the Nile River rushes down rocks on its journey to Lake Victoria. It is a favorite recreation spot for kayakers and whitewater rafters. I went here three times on my last trip and took so many pictures that my family became tired of them. : )

Me at Bujagali Falls

  I am now back on Lingira Island with most of the SHIM team and a couple of American visitors, including Katie from South Carolina who is doing a two-month internship to earn her master's degree in public health, and Shanna Sullivan, from my hometown of Oregon. Shanna will also be staying until March and has been doing a variety of things since she arrived at SHIM. We discovered her talent for mending and have been paying her for her work with "special food items" (like Rice Krispie treats) not normally found in Uganda. : )

 I am excited to begin my work with SHIM's child development program and will be dedicating my time in the coming months to better linking sponsors with their students and helping organize the program's other aspects.

 I wish you all could see the beauty of Uganda. Pictures don't do it justice, but I will close with this sunset photo, taken from the nearby camp of Kyoya. Blessings from Uganda!

Sunset on Lingira Island