Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I've Been Published!

I was honored to be featured as a guest blogger over at "One Bright Corner"! My article "We're All Below the Poverty Line" was featured yesterday (Tuesday)! Visit to read it. You will have to scroll down a bit to find it, as they are featuring a new post every day this week.

And, while you are there at "One Bright Corner," become a follower of the blog. It is one of my favorites as I am often blessed, encouraged and challenged by the posts. : )

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blessings Kindled by "One Bright Corner"

I am blessed when Christians are faithful in the place where God has put them. I am inspired by those who shine the light and love of Jesus at home, work, school, and as they go about everyday business. I am challenged by the lovers of Jesus who take every opportunity to be a witness and tell of His goodness and faithfulness in their lives.

I have been blessed, inspired and challenged many times by Lauren and Mikaela as they "brighten" their corner regularly at their blog,

This week they are celebrating the second anniversary of "One Bright Corner," and they have lots of special surprises in store. Today they announced a giveaway, which you will definitely have to check out. :)

And, I hope if you visit their blog, you will also follow, because I have no doubt you will be blessed whenever you enter their "corner."

Update on "Pray for Peace"

It is with much gratefulness to God and to those around the world who prayed, that we had a peaceful weekend. Aside from some minor clashes, the elections for president and members of parliament went smoothly and with little violence.

After voting went on all day on Friday, and counting began that evening, the final results were announced Sunday afternoon. President Museveni was re-elected by a wide margin (taking 68% of the vote), to serve another five years as Uganda's top man.

Lower level elections will continue into March and we will continue to seek God for His peace and protection in Uganda.

Thank you to all who prayed!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pray for Peace

On Friday, Feb. 18, Uganda will hold its presidential election, to elect a leader to serve a five-year term in this East African country. In the days and weeks following, lower level leaders will also be voted into office. This process will continue into March.

Having never been in a foreign country during a time of elections, I am not sure what to expect. It seems African countries are notorious for coups, civil wars, and unstable elections. Recent examples are Egypt and Libya in the ousting of their leaders. But, the violence after Kenya's 2008 elections surprised onlookers, and sadly resulted in approximately 1300 deaths as well as 650,000 Kenyans being displaced. It seems disorder and upheaval can be quickly sparked on this vast continent.

Smooth and peaceful elections have been a regular item of prayer for the Shepherd's Heart family for a number of months. We are taking necessary precautions, and continuing to trust the Lord in the days ahead.

In the town of Jinja, where I am staying until after the elections when I can return to the island, things are relatively quiet. Vehicles carrying supporters of various parties and candidates can be heard blasting music or their "propaganda" as they cruise the streets. I have heard the country's police and military forces are ready and on stand-by in case any uprising occurs. However, the campaigns leading up to this year's election have reportedly been more peaceful than in the past, so hopefully that is a good sign.

Current president, Yoweri Museveni has been in power in Uganda since January 1986, when he seized control and was then sworn in as president three days later. The first national elections under Museveni were held in 1996, with subsequent elections taking place in 2001 and 2006.

As a "mzungu" ("white person") I am not supposed to have an opinion on the elections and who takes power. However, there are definite changes that need to be made, like stamping out government corruption that hampers and hinders government and services at all levels. However, I am grateful for the religious freedom that has been upheld under Museveni's rule.

For whoever assumes the highest seat in Uganda, it is my prayer that this individual will be God-fearing and will make serving the people of Uganda his or her highest priority.

Will you join me in praying for continued peace in Uganda, in the days and weeks ahead?

"He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars." - Daniel 2:21

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saying Farewell from Afar

I don't remember how I met Carol, but I know it was some years back, most likely as my family volunteered at the library or the senior center, or participated in community events and gatherings. I do know that Carol was one of those people that once you met, she never forgot you, and you never forgot her.

Whenever she happened to see me or my mom, she always took the time to ask about us, what we were doing, how we were, etc. It was if we were the most important people to her at that moment. Even after I left for Uganda, Carol faithfully asked about me, as well as my sister Leah, who has been away from home for several years.

My mom told me of Carol's declining health in December and how she had to leave her hometown of Clatskanie, to be cared for by family elsewhere. I was surprised and saddened to hear this news as Carol seemed full of life and the near picture of health the last time I saw her. But, that was more than a year ago.

Because mail is so sporadic here, all of what I send to the states I ask folks going back to the U.S. to carry with them and mail from there. A missionary friend left here on Jan. 18th, and with her three cards, one of which was for Carol.

The card arrived Jan. 24th, the day Carol died. She never had the chance to read it. But, her daughter mentioned its arrival when she hugged my mom at Carol's memorial service last Friday. I hope that its message was a blessing to the family as I spoke of what a blessing Carol had been to me. It was as if I was saying goodbye as I wrote the card, though I hoped I would see Carol again.

I had similar feelings when, Jerry, a dear lady from church was promoted to heaven last May. I loved Jerry's ever-ready hugs, smiles, encouragement and humor that greeted me each Sunday morning and whenever else we happened to meet. She was one of my faithful cheerleaders as I prepared for Uganda. When I learned Jerry was in hospice, I sent an e-mail message hoping it would be read to her. I am not sure she ever heard it.

I had only known Jerry for a few years and she wasn't someone I always chatted with, but she was someone I always imagined would be there. I thought the same of Carol, too.

It is hard to think of going home and not seeing these two precious women around town and at church.

I asked my hometown newspaper to send me Carol's obituary, which was a beautifully-written tribute to a beautiful woman. Carol was not known for being famous or exceptionally talented. She was known for her care, her ever-present interest in others, and her love for friends and family. I can only imagine that the church was packed for her service - filled with people who had been touched by Carol and her care.

Here is a portion of her obituary:

"Carol not only enjoyed a career in nursing, but carried the ‘caregiver' personality into everything she did and to everyone she met. She had a sharp eye for the needs of others and could make anyone she met feel at ease and important...Family and friends were everything to her.

"She was a mother who combined great strength along with warmth and compassion. She raised five boys and one girl - all of whom adored her and counted their blessings regularly for being born to her. Her favorite saying was, 'If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.' She not only quoted it, but lived by it.

"She also lived her faith and relied upon her Christian belief to get her over the speed bumps in life as well as to celebrate the many joys. Carol may not have been rich or famous, and she lived what could be seen as an ordinary life, but in a very extraordinary way. She has touched all those who had the good fortune to know her. She had a true zest for life and she will be missed greatly."

I have learned that one of the drawbacks of living halfway around the world is the inability to quickly be at home when dear ones like Carol and Jerry pass away. It is hard to say goodbye from afar.

Even as I do miss these women, I am so thankful that they were a part of my life, and I benefitted by their love, care and examples.

In tough times like these, I look to Jesus, whose presence is not hindered by time or distance. I wrap myself in His comfort and pray the same for those closest to those who say goodbye to this life.