Thursday, July 21, 2011

Busoro fire Fort Portal, Uganda

 Famous poem by puritan Anne Bradstreet, on July 7th 1666.
It's called "Upon the Burning of My House".

In silent night when rest I took, 
For sorrow neer I did not look, 
I waken'd was with thundring nois 
And Piteous shreiks of dreadfull voice. 
That fearfull sound of fire and fire, 
Let no man know is my Desire. 
I, starting up, the light did spye, 
And to my God my heart did cry 
To strengthen me in my Distresse 
And not to leave me succourlesse. 
Then coming out beheld a space, 
The flame consume my dwelling place.

And, when I could no longer look, 
I blest his Name that gave and took, 
That layd my goods now in the dust: 
Yea so it was, and so 'twas just. 
It was his own: it was not mine; 
Far be it that I should repine.

He might of All justly bereft, 
But yet sufficient for us left. 
When by the Ruines oft I past, 
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast, 
And here and there the places spye 
Where oft I sate, and long did lye.

Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest; 
There lay that store I counted best: 
My pleasant things in ashes lye, 
And them behold no more shall I. 
Under thy roof no guest shall sitt, 
Nor at thy Table eat a bitt.

No pleasant tale shall 'ere be told, 
Nor things recounted done of old. 
No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee, 
Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee. 
In silence ever shalt thou lye; 
Adieu, Adeiu; All's vanity.

Then streight I gin my heart to chide, 
And didst thy wealth on earth abide? 
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust, 
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust? 
Raise up thy thoughts above the skye 
That dunghill mists away may flie.

Thou hast an house on high erect 
Fram'd by that mighty Architect, 
With glory richly furnished, 
Stands permanent tho' this bee fled. 
It's purchased, and paid for too 
By him who hath enough to doe.

A Prise so vast as is unknown, 
Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own. 
Ther's wealth enough, I need no more; 
Farewell my Pelf, farewell my Store. 
The world no longer let me Love, 
My hope and Treasure lyes Above.

Kids room/boys room

Beauty, Ashes and the Sovereignty of God

This was my future home and guesthouse where I was planning to live and work from in Fort Portal, Uganda with the Women of the Proverbs. 
However, late last Sunday night i got a call on my cell phone from my boss Scott Myhre in Kenya, he said, "There has been an explosion..." A prayer shot through my brain, please God, not St. Paul's School dormitories, where Kym and Lydia are boarding!) "...Sam Kasule heard a loud noise and went outside to find a fire in the former Chedester House! Pat, the house has completely burned the rafters collapsed on fire and everything inside the house is lost!" I asked if anyone was inside and he said "No, no one was inside!" Praise GOD! I thank God that no one was in the house! This is God's covering and gift. All most everything I owned was in the house since I moved it all from Bundibugyo in March before I left Uganda. I only cried in thanksgiving for God's mercy in sparing anyone from being in the house and that it was NOT St. Paul's school dorms. Stuff can be replaced for the most part, loved ones can't. Along with Pastor Sam, church elders and Jeff Cash, Church of Christ Missionary, (who has petitioned the district MP for Fire truck for years) he gathered a group of fire fighters and came to the house.  They tried their best to battle the flames with water from the rain tanks but it was all lost.   

On Monday morning I caught the 5:30am Shuttle to the Dallas Airport. I thought continuously about the implications but never worried. I talked the whole time to God, "God, what are you up to?  I know You have a plan. God,You are in control, not me! Give me faith to believe that You will provide for Kym, Lydia, Joyce and I. " I remembered the verse  from Isaiah 61... "I will give you a crown of beauty in exchange for ashes," as i considered the losses. I remembered the hymn from the day before, "Oh, how He loves you and me."  God is giving me much faith. I drove home singing with the the cd, "Blessed be the LORD..., He gives and takes away, Blessed be name the LORD, Blessed be your HOLY NAME!"  As Hunter said in a recent sermon..."this is one where i have to throw away my 'what would Jesus do bracelet'".  Typically I would react with anxiety, emotion and fear, but God is giving me a deep and abiding sense of His goodness, sovereignty and love over these last 48 hours.  Thank you for praying for me and for us.  

Pastor Sam Kasule and the church family are planning a day of pray for the Project and the plans for my future and WHM's presence in Busoro. Jeff Cheryl Cash our dear friends, missionaries with the Church of Christ cried tears of sadness for the losses as they sorted through the remains, along with the church leaders trying to secure a few remnants like Solar Panels before it gets looted.  I asked Cheryl to search for the girls late father's Army ID. This is a critical document for me to have in order to apply to the Army to receive his pension for the girls. When they went in to the office room and stood in the remains of ashes and soot, Cheryl prayed. Then Jeff reached down and picked up a hand full of papers, there it was, burned on the edges but with some legible information.  Thank You GOD! Sam will report this to the Police as they document the losses. Praise GOD for this find! Cheryl and Jeff also recovered about 100 photos and a few letters from my mother.   Jennifer also reminded me," We can only lift our arms in faith to say that He had a reason for clearing out this path, this house, completely.  Your vision and calling still stand." Scott said something similar in telling me that there is no reason to change your return plans to Uganda in August. This was a great relief and joy to hear him say. I miss the girls and hope to talk to them tomorrow as I have organized with the Headmaster to call them on his cell phone.  
I am deeply grateful for your kind words in the loss and prayers of encouragement. Let us hold unswervingly to our faith in Him (that He gives to us!) through all suffering, difficulties and uncertainties. 


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fwd: Happy Birthday South Sudan!!!

This post is from my friend Heidi and i just couldn't help sharing it with you on the Blog. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOUTHERN SUDAN! 

8 July 2011

 Ladies and Gentlemen…..

 Drumroll please…….

 In a matter of hours, The Republic of South Sudan will become the 196th nation in the world, and the 55th country in Africa.  In a matter of ours, July 9th will dawn and South Sudan will celebrate it's Independence Day, just 5 days after we celebrated the anniversary of our own country's Independence Day.

 How in the world do you start a new country?!?!  This is my question.  Luckily this is not my job and there are people who think about these things for a living J And, luckily these folks share their thoughts in layman's terms in publicly accessible forums like the internet!

 Karen Masso recently posted the following link to the website of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS).  Here, if you have questions like I do, you'll find all kind of information, including a helpful summary of what comes next – "What's next for the new country."

Here's a few tidbits from that document:


·     Background: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005) brought an end to 21 years of civil war in Sudan and decades of struggle between the northern and southern parts of the country – this Agreement established the opportunity for a Referendum (January 2011) giving the South the chance to vote whether to remain part of Sudan or secede and become their own country.  The vote was deemed open and fair  and was overwhelmingly in favor of secession – 98.83%.


·     His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit will be sworn in as president of the new Republic of South Sudan.  (That's him in the cowboy hat – evidently the hat is his trademark).  He has been First Vice President of Sudan since Aug. 2005.


·     The flag of the new Republic will be the flag which has represented the Sudan's People Liberation Army (which during the war fought against northern Sudan on behalf of the South).


·     The new currency – South Sudan Pound – will be put into circulation in coming months.


·         South Sudan is not starting from scratch. For the past six years, the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has enjoyed considerable autonomy, with an elected Assembly, Government and a functioning judicial system.


·        South Sudan is comprised of 10 States, each with their own Governor.

·        The official language of South Sudan will change from English AND Arabic, to only English.


·        Southern Sudanese Assembly members currently in the Government of National Unity in Khartoum will leave their posts and join the South Sudan Legislative Assembly in Juba.


·         The Government is committed to the concept of soft borders with the North, allowing freedom of movement for pastoralists and traders who regularly traverse the North-South boundaries.


·        Some critical issues in the CPA remain unresolved such as the final status of Abyei, arrangements for the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the demarcation of the North/South Border. These issues are still subject to negotiation, with the support of international mediators such as the African Union High Implementation Panel.

 Teammates have said today feels like Christmas Eve in South Sudan, celebratory festivities in preparation, and excitement is in the air!

 Please join us in praying for South Sudan! Praying for joyous and peaceful celebrations tomorrow, for peaceful and just finalization of border issues still in negotiations, and for this process to lead to the prospering of the people of South Sudan.

 Thank you for your partnership in God's work in South Sudan!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Community Family Fun Night!

 I am still North Carolina with a month and little over a week until my return to Uganda on August 10th. "I've been Ganda too Longa!" 

A month or so ago Molly inspired me to have a party and show a movie outside. So with that great idea on the 24th of June I invited my community at church,  the nearby Ardmore neighborhood and anyone who stood still long enough, to "Come and Celebrate Africa!"  I had two goals for the event: Community Fun, and to raise awareness for the Women of the Proverbs project.   

Some wonderful things happened that night! 

Kathy K. suggested we have a Raffle, then over the course of a week and a half created at least 12 sets of beautiful African style necklace and bracelet sets to raffle off! Kathy and Paul K. (I call, my other family) also donated colorful West African clothing from Mali. So with the help of Salem V. and her family, plus Jitka H., Kathy R. and Marie along with Kathy and Katie they sold over 320 tickets. Paul K. MC'ed the Raffle with 28 items, including a couple of donated African statues and a mask!

Jean Eubanks, a Chef I met at church agreed to prepare goat meat stew. I chose this because it's a common Africa sauce eaten with food. After we made Jean's connection to Mr. Chaudhry an established Butcher in Siler City, he DONATED 60 lbs. of goat meat! Our menu for the evening was Taghdeghena sauce with chicken a favorite sauce from Mali made by Kathy K., Goat Meat Stew, Beef Stew both prepared in an African fashion, Gnut sauce from Uganda, Beans, Chapati prepared by my new Kenyan friend Purity Rachugo, Cooked Green Bananas, Rice of course then Plantains prepared in a sweet way (Judy J.), Pineapple, Mango, Watermelon and Papaya Fruit Salad, Chocolate Cake squares a donation by our own Dewey's Bakery then lots of Brownies made by friends (Kim D., Jeanie W., Gayle S., Nan B., Isabel G.)  to represent Cocoa the cash crop in Bundibugyo!  People brought their lawn chairs, blankets and appetites and enjoyed Goat Stew and cooked bananas for the first time ever! Gabby M. and Maddy H. agreed to face paint African Mask designs on kids and to my surprize even adults joined the fun! The face paint Art work was bright and colorful! 

To cool the palate, Bev and Dave M. provided the Sno-Cone Machine and the kids manned it providing a few hours of fun! I booked Olivia Sledge a dance Instructor to provide us with an African Dance Demo. She came to the event with four drummers (two Ghanaian men who were very happy to eat Goat Meat Stew) and two additional dancers! Yay! It was African festive indeed! A good number of men, women and children participated in African dance and we all enjoyed watching! I added a Ugandan hooting sound during the dance just to accent the happiness of drumming and movement! It was spectacular! 
Colin Tribby an instructor from the Forsyth County a School System joined the Drum team and they played together for more than an hour! It was great fun! After the excitement of the Raffle Josh K. prepared for the movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" set up on a screen in the grass. Several families stayed to watch the movie until the end. With the help of Molly J., Katie K., Lou C., Amy S., Carla S., Debbie B. and many others, we washed pots, brought in tables, chairs and food. God smiled on us with a lovely and lightly cloud covered summer evening! Thank you Papa! 

I was exhausted for the next two days but very happy! The Community Family Fun Night was a great success with both goals accomplished! I am grateful for everyone who danced, ate, face painted and generally had fun! I am also grateful for the new and old friends that came that night, the gifts that were given to the WOP project and the generosity of Helpers. I could not have done it with out you! And of course those who bought raffle tickets, thank you! 
My hope is this that wherever the Women of the Proverbs project is mentioned, God will get the glory!