We’ve been in Jinja, Uganda for just about two weeks now and we are adjusting to life here quite well. Some things are different and some are kind of the same. The girls are making new friends every day! The became fast friends with the first girls they met. They are from a very neat family and the girls are Paytyn’s and Morgan’s age! They’ve already had a playdate with these girls and also enjoyed a sleepover! We have also been introduced to many other kids, some Olivia’s age, over the past few days as well. There is no shortage of friends for them, that’s for sure!!! Klint and I had the pleasure of meeting a British family that has come up with a way to educate their kindergarten age daughter for this next school term. They have a relationship with an Australian teacher that is coming to Jinja to teach a group of kindergarten age children. We have decided to send Olivia to this school and we feel really great about it! She’ll be learning to read from an Austrailian teacher with some kids that have a British accent….there’s no telling what accent Olivia may end up with! Ha! Paytyn and Morgan also have a new chore. Since we do not have a dishwasher, the girls now take care of that after each meal. They are doing a really great job at it! I was really impressed with how eagerly they took on this new chore with no complaints! I haven’t heard a lot of fussing either….well a little! One change in life is that we do not have tv anymore. We can watch movies, but not regular programming. I am pretty much blown away at how well the girls have adjusted to this change! They have began to use their wonderful imaginations through putting a puzzle together, playing Barbies, playing with Mbusa and teaching him a few American games, playing outside etc… They are actually putting together a Lego town as I type this! I am so pleased that instead of burying their faces into their ipads, they began playing as kids should. It’s blessing this mama’s heart! There is a neat little restaurant here in Jinja that is American owned that serves American food, but has a Medieval theme. They have been showing the USA World Cup soccer games and we’ve attended a couple. We’ll also probably end up celebrating the 4th of July there, too. They are having an ice cream social! Yum! Vanessa, her coworker Lori and I attended a introduction ceremony for our friend Tom and his bride Irene. Wow, what an event that was! In Uganda an introduction ceremony is essentially an engagement party, where the two families meet and formally agree to the future marriage of the bride and groom. A lot of pomp and ceremony surrounds this day, a joyful and exciting time for the couple looking forward to their future together. Preceding the introduction ceremony, the groom must write an official letter to the brides father, asking for permission to marry his daughter. An appointed aunt, dubbed the Ssenga, performs the role of mediator between families for all interactions regarding the marriage and ceremony. When approved, the bride’s family invites the groom’s family to celebrate at the introduction ceremony. The introduction ceremony is quite a game, with the groom’s family pretending to be looking for the bride among each round of women the brides family presents, guessing which woman she is, and often the brides family must look for the groom among his family as if they are surprised to meet each other. Each family is represented by a spokesman, and they playfully bicker back and forth during the long ceremony, according to cultural traditions, and act as the official MC’s for the day. These spokesmen’s antics contribute to making the ceremony unique and memorable. You are expected to wear the traditional dress, called a gomesi, which is a long silky dress with pointed sleeves adorned with a wide belt. I was so pleased to be able to jump right in to the culture here! I’ve enjoyed researching what an introduction is all about because VERY little of it was in English, so it was a bit difficult to following along. I encourage you to do your own research, there is much more to it! Please enjoy a few pictures that I took from Tom and Irene’s special day! Getting dressed in my gomesi We had the honor of driving the groom and some of his wedding party to the introduction! Lori, Vanessa, Tom and myself These ladies are part of the introduction where the groom’s family has to politely say that the bride isn’t among any of them. This happens a few times throughout the ceremony with different groups of ladies. The beautiful bride! She was sparkling all over and just radiating happiness! This is a traditional Ugandan meal of rice, matooke (made from plantains and tastes a bit like mashed potatoes), pork, gnut paste, fried chicken, sweet potato (it isn’t orange), chapati (very similar to a tortilla), banana and Mirinda (tastes just like orange Fanta). This meal was sooo good, I especially liked the pork…..and Mirinda!
Klint has been doing an amazing job of getting things done around here! He has had a plumber over to the house to fix a few things, secured insurance for our van, obtained a post office box (which requires a passport photo, a referral, and you can’t get the key for a month!), he’s learning his way around town VERY well, he’s taken the van for some repairs, and made a couple of market trips (not at all like going to Market Street) etc…. Klint wrote a blog post about what he has been doing, so if you would like to read more about that read it here.
We are attending two church services at the present time. I think we might do both for the foreseeable future because I don’t think I could choose between the two! They both offer such wonderful things! The church that we attend on Sunday mornings is called Acacia Community Church. They meet under a thatched open air structure which I really enjoy! They have a wonderful praise and worship team made up of Ugandans and the pastor is a very gifted Bible teacher from the States. It’s not very different from the way we normally do church, except the prayer requests are taken from the congregation before the sermon and they are NOTHING like the prayer requests we are accustomed to hearing! We’ve heard requests for protection of a young pastor that is preaching out on one of the many islands in Lake Victoria that has been beaten for spreading the gospel, for prayers for a young mother that is clinging to life after giving birth, and for prayers that the enemy will not be successful in hindering a ministry that is out on one of the islands. It is a different world, but we’re happy to be here with our eyes open looking to see what God has for us to do.
The other church we’ve attended is a home church that meets in different family’s homes at 3pm on Sundays, this makes it possible for us to attend both. We end up going to church all day, but none of us seem to mind! I love it because it seems like this is how the early Christian church must’ve done it. It felt so real and intimate to worship our Savior in this way. We were blessed to hear the testimony of a former LRA soldier that was captured by Joseph Kony’s army. We listened intently to his story with tears in our eyes. He endured unimaginable things, yet still accepted Jesus as his Savior. He was leaving the next morning to go back to Northern Uganda where he is from, so he sat in a chair in the middle of the living room and we all prayed over him. There were prayers for his safe travel back to the north, for the continued healing of his heart and mind and for ministry opportunities that he might have with men that have gone through the same fate. I know that God has BIG plans for this amazing young man. Please join us in praying for him.
I wanted to give an update on what we’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks as we settle into life in Uganda. It’s been a pretty easy transition and I thank God for that! I know that we will have hard days ahead of us because you can’t see what you see here and not struggle inwardly, the enemy is hard at work here and NOTHING happens as easily as you think it should! If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for hanging with me! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d be happy to answer them the best way I can!