Friday, May 21, 2010

We Were Robbed

This past weekend someone broke into our house while we were away.

We hear about these things all the time, and robberies like this are especially common here, but I was surprised by three things:

1. My own attachment to things. They were just things, but they were my things.

2. My own shock when we discovered the thief. Should we be surprised by the deceitfulness of man? After all, "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

Things stolen: iPod, 2 cell phones, solar lantern, frozen chicken (?!), one bra (?!?) and $500 cash.

3. The local police are using GPS technology to track the phone that was stolen and arrest the user!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tacky Night

One of the best things about living in new places is the people we meet and the friendships that are formed. One of the hardest things is saying goodbye to these friends...

Jeremy and Tamara became fast friends - they are a wonderful couple here with Equip working in the slum. We've witnessed them experience very difficult times in ministry and yet persevere in love and serve in the Lord's strength. We've seen them endure the heartache of having no children to becoming parents of two Ugandan children and now one on the way! The Lord has blessed us through them in so many ways!

Danny has been a big part of our family this past year. He was part of the Fall 2009 EMI intern group here in Jinja and felt called to stay on to help us with the Mto Moyoni project after his was through. He's been living with us since December and was such a huge help on the job site as well as a wonderful friend and encourager in our home.

We'll miss these people so much, but feel so blessed to have had them as a part of our life this past year.

Here we all are (plus Danny's brother, Brian, who was visiting) on "Tacky Night". We all scrounged through the fabulous clothes section of our open air market here in Jinja and didn't have too hard of a time coming up with these fab outfits.

Left to Right: Phil, Danny, Brian, Jeremy, Emily, Tamara, (Evelyn hiding), Jonathan

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sipi Falls

We took a wonderful, relaxing trip to Sipi Falls on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in Eastern Uganda last weekend. We celebrated Emily for the terrific mother that she is, hiked around the beautiful falls, and enjoyed thoroughly the cool weather and delicious coffee of the highlands. Here are some pics.

First Buildings Complete!

This project has been a deep yet rewarding challenge for me. While I am glad to be wrapping up now, I am so thankful for the relationships and for the experience.

Our first two buildings are in use now. I had a good friend of mine bring his camera over to take these shots.

Jonathan's Birthday!

Our son is now FIVE! It is a delight to have Jonathan in our family - he brings such joy to us and as we watch him grow we are amazed at the God who created him.

The day before his big day we celebrated his birthday with Elijah, Judah, and Hannah Jore who came over for a morning of fun and pizza lunch. We had a water balloon fight, decorated cupcakes, watched our chameleon eat 3 flies, and played tape the tail on the donkey! What a blast! The only downer was when I found Evelyn sobbing in the corner because it wasn't HER birthday party (just a few more days, Eva!).

On his actual birthday Phil took the kids to the pool (Jinja Nile Resort), and we let Jonathan choose where he wanted to go for his birthday dinner (this was a BIG deal to him), he excitedly chose "Ling Ling" - the Chinese restaurant in town. Miss. Kelly and Uncle Danny helped us celebrate. We played baseball with Jonathan's new water bat while we waited for our food, and our waiter kindly ran to the store and bought us some candles to put in Jonathan's cake (since we left the bag of party goods on the table at home).

Birthday morning - watching PBS kids shows with Eva.

And the celebration continued... The day after his birthday Phil took him on a Nile River rafting trip! Our friends John and Zane came along on this special Father-Son trip. Their guide took them over some thrilling rapids and also let them jump out of the boat and swim in fun coves along the bank.

It's hard to believe he was three years old when we left the States! It's been an adventurous year and a half for our little guy! Hot season and malaria in Sudan, swimming in the Indian ocean, bus trip to Congo, rafting the Nile...I think it's safe to say he's done more than most kids his age :).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Theft on the Site and Interesting African Village Perspective

Two weeks ago we had some materials stolen from the site. By our store-keeper's records we were missing 24 sticks of 2x4 and one small steel beam. After questioning the men on the site and our night watchman, my foreman Fred launched an investigation. With the surprisingly enthusiastic cooperation of the village leaders, Fred soon found 18 sticks of 2x4 on a neighbors property. Our men identified those 2x4s as ours, and the neighbor eventually told the village chairman that he bought the 2x4s from Simon, one of our laborers and a fill-in weekend watchman.
Simon was found and questioned. He initially denied the accusation, but when confronted with the evidence against him he confessed. When pressured, he also confessed to having stolen and sold the steel beam, as well as the remaining 6 sticks of 2x4. At the judgement of the village council, we reclaimed our 18 sticks of 2x4 and the steel beam, but since the remaining six 2x4s had already been used to build a roof, Simon agreed to repay us in cash for those pieces. He will also have to return the money he took from the neighbor in exchange for the 18 2x4s he sold.
Obviously, we all felt very betrayed. Many of the men in our crew requested that Simon return to publicly confess and ask for forgiveness. When it was discovered that the materials were missing, the whole crew became very nervous, as it meant that they could be implicated in the theft and may lose their jobs. But there were also some very interesting and thoughtful things that happened next.
It was suggested by some that we turn Simon over to the police, and I discussed this option with Fred. He told me that the village council had discussed this option in their meetings with Simon and concluded that it benefits everyone much better to deal with the situation personally and quietly. The village Secretary said, “We would turn this man over to the police, but after he served his sentence, then where would he go? He would return here!” The chairman agreed, saying quotably, “After all, he is us!” What he meant, of course, is that he is one of us, a member of our body, and we should make a decision that benefits every member of our body.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I overheard my men calling out to our store manager for a “coloba” one day. This is how I spelled it in my mind, and I asked them what it was. They couldn't explain it, but when the store manager pulled it out I saw for myself. A crowbar.