Wednesday, October 29, 2008

(Baby holding my finger)

(girls hard at work)

(girls in their bedroom)
(what we took them from)

(the road to Awer)

(Beatrice, one of our girls sewing at Mama Shekinah's house)
(Florence, one of our formerly abducted girls who now lives with us)

(Pauline, cooking in our house)
(Mama Shekinah praying for a girl in Awer camp)

I've only been in the States a few days but have already compiled a list of things I miss about Uganda. I just spoke with the girls who were in counseling class today at Mama Shekinah's and making beads and baking and just almost cried at how much I miss them already.

Top Things I Miss about Uganda:

  • The sound of my girls laughing in the kitchen
  • Going home to a place that is actually my own
  • Hearing the girls say, "Welcome back," as if I'd been gone for days
  • Dancing around with the drums in the morning
  • Baking ginger cake in the afternoons
  • The way rice and beans does not mess up my stomach as much as Western processed food (hello Pepto Bismol)
  • The rainstorms in Gulu
  • Being on the back of a boda boda racing through the streets
  • Being on the back of a boda boda in a rainstorm :)
  • Everything raw and real and closer to the truth of life than I've ever felt
Attached are some pics I wanted to upload earlier, but am now able to because of hi-speed internet. Not one of the things I missed about Uganda :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I will be State-side October 25-November 13th if you have a group you would like me to share with about Zion Project so that we can continue to do our work here on the ground.
Please email me at or you can try calling me at 540-908-9301

Monday, October 20, 2008

Very rarely do dreams actually come true. So when they happen we have to be careful to stop for a moment, breathe in, and give thanks for the miracle of our lives aligning with our purpose. This has been a journey of deep hope and deep disappointments. A journey of love. One that is unending and unrepentant in what it asks of us. But today, the dream became a reality, the thing that I hoped for, became a part of my life.

Today we danced to a drumbeat. In our home, we danced and we laughed and I realized it was actually happening. Today I watched them grow young again. And all the fights with the contractor over why I have two shower heads and no hot water, and all the boda boda rides in the mud, and all the times I cried at what I could not give them when they told me of their all seemed worth it. I'd do it all over again, a hundred times.

I watch Janet shaking her hand-made shaker---a girl whose chest was crushed in by being stepped on over and over again by rebels....and I cannot believe we have come this far. Now, we are not just surviving, but we are beginning to live.

Pamela leads us in the songs and just when we think we are finished, she begins another...she doesn't want to stop. I am not forcing them to sing, not forcing them to be happy for me, the white person. Here, we are just a family and we are happy because for the first time we have hope.

Our house is a bustle of activity. With six girls and eight children inside and 2 women and 6 kids outside....we're like the African version of the Brady Bunch. With much less pig tails. The girls are teaching me to cook things I never wanted to learn to cook, and they show me their sewing skills Mama Shekinah has just taught them, so proudly that I want to start crying all over again.

All in all, we are loving 10 girls and 12 children day in and day out and it doesn't seem like a very big start, but for me, and for us, its all that matters. One life at a time....going deep with a few and I couldn't be happier than if we had a center with a thousand girls. I was born to do this.

So when the babies cry at night, I just smile because I'm happy the house is full.

I'm not a special person. I'm very flawed and yet I realized what a big difference it makes when one person finds their purpose and follows it without giving up. And even for those of us who don't know what our purpose is...we just start by loving someone and slowly, a life changes. What greater legacy to leave....

Jesus started with 12. I've got 10. But I think its a pretty good start. Me not being the son of God and everything.

For now I've gotta run home for lunch before class starts. I've never been happier to say that.

So for all the cynics, believe me, I understand...

but don't give up.

When it comes, and it will come, its what you dreamed before birth...what you've been waiting for all this time, without settling even when it was hard not to settle. It may never be perfect, but it can be close. So be brave. And fight for it.

Here, these girls are fighting for their future. I am too.

So believe in us. And believe in yourself.

Maybe someday we'll be together teaching each other about what can happen when the world is brave enough to hope.

Note: Big thanks to Kelli Brazzel for coming over and doing some medical treatment for our girls. If you're interested in volunteering contact

Note: I'm going to be in the States in Charlottesville and DC for two weeks due to a family emergency...until Nov 13 and am looking so forward to seeing family and friends. Please contact me via email during that time if you want to get in touch with me.