Kobuzire- You've been lost

"Kobuzire.” “You’ve been lost.” This is a common phrase in Uganda, meaning “Hey, I haven’t seen you lately.” At first I wouldn’t know how to respond. I would think to myself, “I’ve been here. If you wanted to see me we’d meet up.” However, I’ve come to learn that it just means “Where have you been? I’ve been missing you.” Well, I haven’t blogged in months so it does feel like I’ve been lost… but I've been around! 
First time in the water for Pastor Dickson and he went down a class 5 rapid 

In May, my sweet college friend, Sydney, came to visit for a week! We had a fun road trip to Jinja and spent the 10 hours laughing, singing, braiding hair and staring up at the sky through our sunroof. We also enjoyed white water rafting in the Nile and other social gatherings with fellow youth in the community. Sydney encouraged me and spurred me on! Her timing was perfect and I am forever grateful she took a week from work and saved up for a trip to Uganda.

In June, we welcomed a team of 4 from Bethany Church. The pictures and stories seem endless, so check out the youtube link for a recap of their time in Kabale.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUbGHbp4kmA&feature=youtu.be . It’s not easy going to a new country and it can even be scary. However, this team came with so much excitement and enthusiasm and were willing to do and try anything! They were already eating liver and street food on the first day in town. They embraced bucket showers, African time, African massages (aka "bumpy roads") and so much more. They returned to Bellflower knowing they have a family here in Kabale and were eager to share all that was learned and experienced.
Bethany Team 2018! 

It was harder than I thought to say goodbye to the Bethany team. They brought so much love from home that I was left longing to hop on the plane with them back to California. However, I knew my sister, Beccy, was soon to be arriving. 

The day Beccy arrived, I waited at the airport and stared in the same spot for over an hour anticipating her to turn the corner and exit the airport. It was so so sweet. This has been the longest and farthest we’ve been apart, so our excitement to reunite was an understatement. I thoroughly loved showing her my Uganda home and introducing her to my Uganda family. Ugandans give names to people depending on their characteristics, how they were born and family name. The name for "second born" is nyakato. The "first born" twin is called Nyangoma, so people were so happy to see the twins finally together. 

After a week of adventuring around Kabale, Beccy and I  traveled by boda (motorcycle) with our packed backpacks to the bus stop. From there, we had a 8 hour bus ride to Kampala, which continued our adventure and was the start to our backpacking trip to Spain. 

We walked over 100+ miles along the Camino Del Norte in Spain
I hated leaving Uganda and was so thankful my sister was by my side to help me adjust to new land. However, I was also so ready to get away for a few weeks and really have time to reflect and process these past 6 months. No better way to do that than hiking through beautiful scenery with a backpack and your sister! It was the trip of a lifetime! What was even sweeter was meeting up with my mom (Nalongo: "mother of twins") and grandma De Young in the Netherlands. God surely blessed us and gave us time to rejuvinate and just BE together. What I enjoyed most were our quiet mornings (that lead to afternoons) together talking for hours over good coffee. 

My grandma shared about a time when she was a young girl and woke up in the night scared from the sounds of war planes droning overhead. She remembered God speaking to her, saying “Mine is the kingdom and the power.” She then returned back to peaceful sleep. What a mighty and faithful God we serve. He does not change like the shadows, but forever remains the same (James 1:17). The same God who comforted my grandma that night 70 years ago comforts you and me.


Ik ook van jou (i love you) 

So here I am back in Kabale. It’s been over a week since I returned from the Netherlands and I’m very grateful to be back with my Ugandan family. It took a couple of days to adjust to the culture  (aka the hole in the ground toilets, street life, all of my **boda friends), but by the grace of God I am fine. I am no longer volunteering at the hospital as I was allowed to work there for six months.  I am now working at the Community Development Department (CDD) and am helping to launch a new Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project.


**When you walk past boda stages (where the guys sit on their motorcycle waiting for customers…), they always so “My friend, my friend.” 


The best hug in the land 








This project will be implemented in three communities around Kabale and will focus on preventing shunting in children. It is a four-year project that has already been implemented in Kenya (also through World Renew) and has been successful. The project coordinator, Jane, and I will take a motorcycle to these villages every week and will be working with the village health teams (VHTs) and community chairmen to help integrate new health practices for the women and children. We will be educating on different topics including breastfeeding practices, immunizations, nutritious diets, water and hygiene. Please be praying with us as we are in the second week of launching this project in the communities. I believe God will use these teams to enhance the quality of life for these women and children who live in remote villages.



The original plan was to return to California in July, after my 6 month term. However, I will be extending my stay another 6 months and will be returning to LA after the New Year (early January). I believe this was God’s original plan as He provided enough funds through generous family and friends to extend my time here. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it… but thank you for your prayers and support!! If you’re reading this, you are a part of this journey, and I am grateful for you.

Praises:
  • Baby- One of my friends delivered her third healthy baby girl. She was prepped on the operating table for a C-section, when the baby was delivered naturally. Mukama asiimwe (praise God)
  • Healthy- My Ugandan family of 6 is healthy and strong. Pastor Dickson is finishing his semester at Bible school. Agie is 7 months pregnant. Rachael is studying for high school exams. Ably is ministering at the PAG church. Baby JJ is wearing his "dutch slippers" and is now the coolest Mukiga around. 
  • Maternal Child Health Project- MCH project is launched! 
Dutch boy JJ 

Prayer Requests:
  • Trust- I am learning (the hard way) that I cannot trust man, for they will let me down. Pray that I continue to place all my trust in my Abba, who will never disappoint me.
  • Visitor to California- After so many visitors in Kabale, it is time to invite someone to Bellflower! Please pray for this opportunity as we take the next steps towards this trip.
  • Kabale Assisted Living Home- I believe the Lord is calling me to establish a home for the elderly here in Kabale. How? When? Where? I don’t know… I’ve started processing this idea with many people. Please pray for wisdom, guidance and clear direction from the Lord. 

"Kobuzire" (You've been lost). My response (Ndio). I'm here :) 






God Sighting: While flying from Belgium to Kigali, I thought I recognized a guy as he entered the plane. We made eye contact and both looked twice, but proceeded to our seats. All throughout the flight, I'm thinking I know this guy (who sat right behind me and across the aisle). Once in Kigali, Rwanda, he finally said, "Lianna?" and I said, "Ben?" Such a small world! and such a BIG God! I met Ben last May in Michigan at World Renew's headquarters before leaving for Uganda. He was an intern at that time. We ended up meeting again in Kampala, Uganda and had a great time catching up over dinner. The possibility of us being on the same flight from Europe, let alone sitting near each other on the plane, seems impossible. He helped me transition back to Ugandan life and encouraged me immensely. I thank God for this encounter and know it was Him who planned the entire "coincidence." 

Comments

  1. I KNOW what that best hug of the land is like!! My boy is now home from Iraq. Actually, he is on American soil but in Louisiana. He had a short 15 day stay with us so I know the excitement and sadness of such a visit. You know longer see each other and the goodbye happens. As a mom, you want your children to follow their dreams. You are doing that and I bet you mama's buttons are popping! We all are so stinkin proud of you girl! Your APU family stands behind you as you minister to the lease of these in Uganda. Go in the LOVE OF JESUS!!!

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