Better Than Yesterday

It’s been over three weeks since leaving California and I can’t believe how fast it has gone! Each day is so sweet and so full with different activities that I don’t know where to begin. Blogs are challenging for me because I never know how many details to give and which stories to share, so bear with me as I lay out the foundation and try to answer the basic questions.

I’ve been living with Bishop James and his wife, Mama Joy. All of their children are adults and have moved out of the house. I've had my own room and am finally feeling in a routine with them. We have breakfast together in the mornings before heading our separate ways and regroup around 9PM over tea. We pray together before meals, before we leave the house and before bed. I’ve enjoyed spending time with their granddaughter, Nicole. She loves playing games on my phone, beating me in cards and braiding my mzungu (white person) hair. 

Since my dad left, I have been spending quality time with a variety of people. There is a core group of people that have quickly become family and I am so thankful for them. Although it seems like I haven’t been “doing” much, I’m learning that building relationships is key to a solid foundation in a new place. Uganda is going to be my home for many months so it’s important to establish relationships… I have felt very welcome in this place. I seriously love it here so much and am so thankful God is still wrapping his blanket of peace around me. I believe it is because so many people are praying for this partnership and for everyone involved. I do not feel alone and am still so well loved and supported from loved ones 10,000 miles away.  
            *Side note: I have been sleeping so well at night and that’s because I believe people are praying for me during the day in the U.S., which is nighttime for me. So thanks for all the prayers! *

What have I been up to? My days have been full of learning new things, which is something I thoroughly enjoy. Whether it’s how to pick the best live chicken at the market to cook (flip them upside down and compare the weight, then blow on the feathers to assess the fat…) to peeling irish potatoes, to bathing using one small bucket, to learning the rukiga language, to tuning into the Holy Spirit… there is never a dull moment. Our cultures are really quite opposite and I have to remind myself to breathe through the differences. For example, most African countries are considered to be “warm” countries and the U.S. is considered “cold.” This means that here, people always come before tasks, even if that means you’re late to something important. In the U.S., we are very time-oriented and will often give orders before asking how someone is doing. Or if/when we do ask, it’s just a quick “How are you?” then “good” response. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but we can definitely learn from each other.

Favorite quote: “African germs are slow too” – said Pastor after eating food that fell to floor.

I’ve been getting involved with the worship team at church and helped lead worship this past Sunday. Ugandans are amazing and lead worship together without any sheets of music! Everything is by ear, so I have been trying to adjust to that way of worship (prayers please). I have also attended cell groups that meet every Wednesday night, which is just like a life group or small group. We also have Bible study on Friday nights, which have already been a blessing. There will be more blogs to follow with specifics on how my faith has already been growing. People think “mission trips” are wonderful to serve others and get life in perspective. Although this is true, I truly feel like the blessed one and am being shaped and stretched living here. I also love that I know I am here for many months! Usually by this time I start wrapping up a trip, or am a 1/3 of the way done. However, this time I’m just getting started in this journey.

The person whose thoughts are consumed with God and his kingdom will have perfect peace instead of anxiety and worry. When we find ourselves anxious or worried, we can be sure that we have lost a God–centered mindset.

Answered prayers:
-Quality friends (although the majority are guys and I already love them like brothers… be praying for some girlfriends to connect with)
-THERE’S A GYM IN TOWN! For those who know me, you know this is important and is one way how I care for myself. Stories/pics to follow. (*BPM fam you’re always on my mind).
-Easy transition- maybe the hard part will still come, and that’ll be okay. But for now, I’m thankful for a smooth adjustment here. Third time’s a charm? J

Continue to pray:
-Hospital logistics- government still working on paperwork
-For patience while learning the tribal language 
-For wisdom and God’s guidance to help further this partnership
-My stomach cannot handle the meat here. Pray for protection and health. 

Why the title “better than yesterday”- Pastor D. spoke this past Sunday on tools we can use to determine spiritual growth in our lives. He gave an example of how he has this friend, who, when asked how he was doing, always responded “I’m better than yesterday.” What a lovely way to respond. Each day we need to be striving to grow in love with Jesus our Savior. Each day is a new opportunity to walk closer with God and to be more filled by the Holy Spirit. You are either drawing nearer or farther… you can never be stagnant. So I pray that as you read this, you will be determined and challenged to be “better than yesterday” with me as we seek our heavenly Father.

With love,
~Lianna Joy


  1. Hi Lianna. I enjoyed reading your words and learn about your adventures and experiences. Praying for you. Grandmas LIz says hi. :)

    1. Hi sharon and grandma liz! <3 <3 Thanks for the prayers. Sending love from Uganda

  2. Lianna (at least I know I have the right twin this time--usually it's a 50% guess) thank you for your blog. I thoroughly enjoy your positive spirit. Your vibrant attitude reaches across the many miles.
    We continue to think of you and pray for continued blessings--your own blessings and the blessings that come through you to everyone whose life you touch. You are amazing!

  3. Just love reading about your journey Lianna! Praying for you this morning.

  4. Love it Li! You sounds so happy and healthy....but I'll definitely keep praying for your guts! And for some great girlfriends to share life with. LOVE YOU!- Danelle


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