Whitney Lassie • Marybeth Sudan • Macy Phenix

Whitney Lasse • Marybeth Sudan • Macy Phenix
Restoration Gateway, Uganda

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lizards in class

So you just never really know what each day will hold here in Africa. Like today, Mary Beth and I would have never thought that we would have to conquer a HUGE lizard in our nursery class .... but yes, this is just a normal occurrance for an African. This morning in our nursery class, I was calmly teaching our students about the letter blend "sl." We were talking about words like "sleep, slide, slap, slingshot" when Mary Beth walked over to the bookshelf to calmly grab a set of flashcards. Yes, a lizard about the size of my forearm and hand was resting in the bookshelf and on the flashcards!!! Mary Beth screamed and then all chaos broke loose. The kids were running around the classroom screaming, Mary Beth and I were screaming, and we left it up to a 10 year old boy to deal with the lizard as we stood on a desk. Needless to say, after the lizard jumped from the bookshelf, ran under my backpack and around the room, we finally got it out. This is our lives... T.I.A.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We love you Artie and Rusty!!


Happy Father's Day!! I love you sooo much and am so proud, honored and blessed to call you 'dad'! Thank you for everything you have done for me. You have always been so faithful to support me in everything I set out to do! I am so thankful that we have been able to step forward from daughter to father, to friends! It is so true dad! I love getting to spend time with you, sit by the fire and just read with you or sit on the porch and have one of our "talks" which you are so sweet to endure! You listen to me (even when I'm talking a million words per minute and in twelve different directions) and you are so patient with me! You are so honest with me which I love! And thank you, thank you, thank you for being a father who I can trust. I have no fear in coming to you and honestly seek to be so transparent with you! I love you so much, dad. Thank you for being who you are and even choosing to be more like Jesus. I am so proud of how you walk so humbly...and in that I have seen Jesus transform you in the ways that we (our family) so need in this time! Your life is marked by the grace and mercy of our sweet Jesus! I Love you!

B., 445


Happy Father’s Day!!!! I love my Dad. I really don’t even know where to start with how incredibly awesome my dad is. There are so many things that I love and adore about him. One of the things that I have begun to truly love about my dad over the past few years, is that my dad is so much fun. He brings life and joy to almost any circumstance or situation. I LOVE family vacations and even just being at home with our family, and one of the reasons I love it so much is because my dad is so much fun. He makes me laugh unlike anyone else. If you know him, you can probably relate. He is the life of the party, an entertainer, and absolutely hilarious. Another thing that I love and cherish about my dad is his incredible work ethic. He is such a hard worker. He pours all that he is into whatever is in front of him, whether that be work, his family, church, or who knows what. He is going to give every ounce of what he has to make it the best. I love that about him. He is a supporter and encourager. He has loved and supported me in anything and everything I have wanted to do, whether that be soccer practice, or spending 8 months in Uganda. My father continually pours out love, encouragement, and support in every area of my life. He has pushed me and challenged me to be a woman of God. He has shown me through his life what it looks like to live a life serving the Lord. He has provided and lead our family with love, integrity, and ultimately to the feet of the cross. I am so thankful and blessed to have such an incredible dad. I love you so much. I wish I could be there for sing Happy Father’s Day!!! I love you dad. I couldn’t ask for a better father. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me and our family!!!!


Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Friday, and I am unbelievably blessed...

For those of you that are unaware, Macy and I are teaching the 'Top Nursery' class. We teach from 8am to 1pm with a thirty minute break in between, at which time we all take tea. I have taken on the math portion of the class and Mace is teaching English (and extraordinarily well, you should know).  We are at the end of our third week teaching and we have absolutely loved it thus far! We have twenty students, all between the ages 9 and 12. (All the students have been placed at levels according to their understanding of the material, not necessarily their age. For instance, we have a fifteen year-old boy in P:1, which is first grade level. It's sad, but necessary!)

Well, today Macy went to Gulu with the Conally's (the new family that moved here at the beginning of May) and I took over our class for the morning. And really all this entry is about is the experience that I encountered this morning...

I walked to the school at 7:50 this morning to prepare a few things before class began. As I opened the door to the class room, all of our twenty students were dispersed in the class room with their eyes closed and some with extended hands, while one of the sweetest girls to exist-- Fiona-- stood at the front of the room and led the class in worship. No adult was in the room, no exciting song was being sung...it was just an old praise song that they knew. Every kid was singing in perfect harmony (something that I believe is just a natural gift for Africans....not once have I heard an African sing out of harmony!). Even as I entered the room no one looked up, everyone was so engaged in with the Lord it was unreal! I walked to the back of the room and joined in as quietly as I could and recognized how tangible the presence of God was in our classroom! After the song finished they all burst out into passionate, independent prayers that proclaimed so much trust in their friend, Jesus! As they prayed allowed I heard several different voices praying for Macy and I, others were praying for Restoration Gateway as a whole and the mom's of their houses!

Honestly, as I stood in the back I just started laughing to myself...overwhelmed with joy! I thought about how ridiculous it is that we concern ourselves so much with experiencing things in religion, elevating ourselves in our knowledge and even comparing our closest friends' walks with Jesus versus our own! And then there are the children. The children of God. The ones who Jesus himself told us to be like in faith. I was laughing because these children, who are just now learning English, are standing in this room...on their own accord... praising their sweet Jesus in English! Everything was so unbelievably simple! Their vocabulary is small, there were no instruments to create the atmosphere....only their hearts were there and their sweet voices as an offering of themselves in humble submission to their Savior, the only Father they have ever truly known. And the presence of God was SO there!

How simple it can be and how complicated we make it on our own.
Hope you are blessed by this in the way I was, have a great weekend!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The trip to the big city!

Update! So this past weekend Macy, Whickey and I ventured to the big city (Kampala) to send Whitney off to the States! It is has been so sad for Mace and I to say goodbye to Whick...we feel like a piece of us is missing and it has been even the tiniest bit awkward trying to do things as two instead of our normal three. So Whickey if you are reading this....know that you are missed!!

Well, in our "vacation" to the city it was quite a culture shock even though it is only four hours away from RG and Karuma. We never really understood how much of the bush we actually live in....but it is about as bush as you can go! Kampala had all of these things that to you are basics and I would guess that you don't even notice them in your daily life..but to us these things have been non-existent in the past three months.

cold drinks (still no ice, but at least cold)
women wearing makeup
knees being shown
a grocery store
grapes (which were fifteen dollars)
a light switch
hot water
a fan
high speed Internet
indoor shopping
place mats
a salad
us not being the only white people
johnny cash playing on the radio
a radio
soap dispenser
paved roads
houses instead of huts
a sink in a bathroom
and a million more things that I cant even think of right now!

And of course on this trip we had another AFRICAN EXPERIENCE...we rode Bodas! Bodas are motorcycles that serve as taxis here in the Ug. But let me start off with our night: Harriet, our African friend who works as the social worker here at Restoration Gateway, made the trip to Kampala with us. We separated ways during the day but met up Saturday night for dinner with her boyfriend and cousin. This was when the adventure began... we hopped onto a taxi (a van taxi) which in Africa they fill to the brim and we literally had Africans sitting on our laps! We took the taxi for a short trip to a Boda corner (which is just a group of boda drivers hanging out on a corner) and two of us hopped onto the back of one boda and two on another. In all honesty it wasn't as scary as I had imagined and am now almost fond of riding on a motorcycle (I'm sure my parents love hearing that! ) but it was for sure my first ride ever on a motorbike! Exhilarating! We rode the bodas to the restaurant where we were to meet the boys and it was called "Hakuna MaTata" (Lion King reference) where we had a very Ugandan meal of pork on a stick and casava, metoke and avacado. We felt like young Ugandan women hanging out with our Ugandan friends at our favorite restaurant on a Saturday night! We felt very much a part of the culture. It was awesome! It was for sure an unforgettable adventure!

All of Kampala was a great trip, but we are glad to be back in life here....as simple as it is I might have to say its the best place to be!!