Monday, November 10, 2008



then Jesus came to them and said, "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything i have commanded you.  and surely i am with you always, to the very end of the age."    -matthew 28: 18-20

Sunday, November 9, 2008


sitting in masi, in a small shack, with two of my friends from zimbabwe... we laughed as we could hear the boy next door entertaining the two younger children in the cresh (daycare).  

he was repeating the same xhosa phrase over and over again - louder and louder, almost signing the words as they left his mouth...

"siyabulela owu nkosi yam"

i asked them to translate and their reply made me smile.  i stopped to remember where i was - a place with so much need... and yet there are reasons to be thankful - there are reasons to have joy.  so i sat there in awe of how God has provided, not only for myself, but for those here in Masi.

and so together with this young boy...

"siyabulela owu nkosi yam"    

---- "we thank our God"----

for friendships formed
for laughter
for consistent faithfulness
for food left on a doorstep
for prayers answered
for a job for the day
for a face from home
for the celebration of baptism
for the encouragement from others
for a loaf of bread and bologna
for miracles of healing
for new opportunities
for hope

may we never cease to say (louder and louder)...


Sunday, September 7, 2008


who is behind the hard exterior?
who is behind the distant gaze?
who is behind the kind eyes- that have seen much?
who is the man across the train?...

it's an interesting thing... riding the train.

it's about people... all strangers - all in their own world - all going about their own business...  and yet, there is a bond that i feel.  

a bond of commonality - not in how we look or act or probably even think.  but a bond that we are people - all trying to get from one place to another -  and although it may be small, we are coming together in a common purpose which in some odd way makes me feel like i know them... makes me feel like i have this unspoken connection with them... makes me think that maybe if i saw the man on the train again - that we could share a conversation about how the same God that loves me - loves him too... just maybe. 

i like the train...

Saturday, September 6, 2008


"but this is not the destruction of a hopeless people.  it is about hope in the midst of despair and intervention by God in a hell where escapes seems an impossible dream." -faith mcdonnell (Girl Soldier)

i recently read the book Girl Soldier - a story of hope for northern uganda's children... an incredible account of one girls existence during the terrible reign of the LRA (lords resistance army) and the history around her emotional story. 
it brought me back to my time spent in uganda this past june... it reminded me of the sadness i felt for the people there who have endured so much... it brought tears to my eyes as i imagined the lives of my ugandan friends written into the pages of the book... it gave me a deeper understanding of those that have survived and forgave and overcame... it made me think.
it gave me hope...
because in the midst of despair - those that have so little, whose lives were threatened, those in which survival was hard even before the rebels came, those who persevered through unbearable circumstances - because in the midst...

they have hope.
"there is a defiant set of the thin shoulders among the children who make their way into town with whatever meager belongings they have to help them get through the night.  the defiance shows even when those shoulders are stooped in despair and depression...
there is a defiance deep in their eyes, even though the beautiful brown eyes that should flash with spirit and humor are dulled by fear and monotony.  their is defiance in the strong, high, clear voices that can still laugh or sing sweet songs while a symphony of evil is circling their heads...
this defiance has not been lost in many children because it is a gift from God.  it is the strengthening of a child's will and the ability to preserve that comes from His unseen, and maybe unfelt, embrace.  it is his Holy Spirit that whispers to a child's spirit, 'you are not invisible to me.  i am your protector.' "  -faith mcdonnell (Girl Soldier)
it is a hope that is within this defiance...

the people of uganda and the people in the townships here in south africa are not so different.  i can see this hope - as faint as it may be - in their eyes... and it is beautiful.  a quiet strength... holding onto God - the one constant. 
a hope that rises up saying - "God has not forgotten me".
Romans 5:5
"and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

*photo by Chelsea Gentry

Saturday, July 19, 2008


i felt a deep sorrow today...

the acholi people in northern uganda have experienced over 20 years of war - due to the conflict between the ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army. and the people have lived in fear. fear that the LRA was near, fear of what might be done to them, fear for themselves, and fear for their children - as countless have been abducted in the area.  often the parents were killed or brutally beaten and many children were forced to join the LRA and perform horrible acts of violence - a "child army". many acholi people have fled from their villages and homes to live in the internally displaced person (IDP) camps, and the mortality rates are extremely high - due to malaria, AIDS, and continued violence.  


a face adorned with a smile - became solemn
eyes full of joy - became eyes with deep pain
a vibrant person - became timid and meek

war... that's what it will do to you

we walked over to a cluster of trees away from the crowd- the three of us sat down in the shade. not quite sure how to begin - he thought for a moment and simply started reliving the most painful day of his life through simple words - yet extreme detail.  

pain so real - so personal - so common... too common actually- for these people that have now become my friends.  i can't begin to grasp the shock and sorrow patrick felt as he watched his parents beaten to death or the physical pain that he endured as the rebels then turned on him. the sadness is beyond me, yet we shared the experience with one thing... our tears.  we sat there silent, hearts heavy - tears filling our eyes... streams... filling again.

a moment i won't forget.

the acholi people have started to heal...
and patrick has forgiven the rebels...


because of Jesus.

a Jesus that was beaten... and with unconditional love forgives us.

there is no other reason, but-



87 years old...

beautifully worn face

eyes of deep wisdom

laughter of a child

hard working hands

feet unable

generous heart

joy in her smile

sitting regally

asking questions

telling stories

pigeons cooing

sunlight streaming

shadows forming

quietly praying

tear in our eyes

87 years old

... today a believer!

Saturday, July 5, 2008



June 9- 25 2008

*17 days
*20+ people
*7500 miles away from MI
*34 hours in flight
*7 hours time difference
*2 stuffed bags
*8 hour bus ride to Gulu
*23 acholi words/ phrases
*4 words actually remembered
*20 mangos in a bag
*2 churches
*1 orphanage
*500 salvation story bracelets
*1 rat "friend" named Nigel
*90 lbs. of snack food
*1 monkey in a hotel room
*4 Samuels as translators
*1000+ laughs
*1 bright green chameleon in the road
*1 older woman that stole my heart
*8 baboons by the Nile
*50 ants on my legs
*1 letter a day from the "post office"
*countless: children- smiles- dances- songs- stars in the sky- flies- drier sheets- bottles of pineapple mirinda- huts- mosquito nets- dirt paths- plates of rice & beans- dollars exchanged to shillings- water bottles used as toys- conversations with people- tears- words translated- wounds tended- chairs for welcoming- new brothers & sisters in Christ...

*1 wonderful trip

*1 amazing GOD