Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crazy Kampala Days.

After lunch on Friday we went to Kampala. We went to the ARA ( American Recreation Association) and slept there for the night. In the morning, my Dad went to a car place to get a wheel alignment and we went to swim. It took a long time, and my Dad had to come get me for a dentist Appointment. He came on a Boda-Boda ( a motorcycle) and we went to the dentist.
The Dentist looked at the tooth that was hurting and said that they would have to pull it out. So they pushed and pulled and it finally came out with a lot of pain ( they put Anesthesia in). So we went back to the car place and it still wasn't done. So we waited until it was done.
On the way home the tire wore the air thing down. I heard it clicking and asked my dad what it was. He said it was just the new tires. Turns out, it was, but in a bad way! So we kept going. Then at the end of the day we went to the car to go to the next place we were going to stay. The tire, a new tire, was flat.
So we got another guy to help us. The bolts wouldn't budge. So we got some poles and then the bolts came off. Then the jack we had didn't work. Then after a while another car pulled over and they had a better jack so we got the tire on but then the car wouldn't budge. So another guy came to pick us up and brought us to the next place. The whole thing took about two hours. The next day we left back to New Hope. Now that was a crazy day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The days seem to fly by. Here we are, in Africa! It's exiting to meet new people, plan fun things, take beautiful vacations, all the while knowing something big is happening to the lives of people here. I've experienced many embarrassing moments in the past few days, by just trying to be friendly. I'm not saying that trying to be friendly is bad, but the more you do it, the more you learn from your mistakes. I'm not the most social person, so it's hard to find friends.
I've been learning Luganda, the local language. It is very hard but I'm picking up a few words here and there, sometimes enough to figure out what they're saying. It's amazing, that here, the younger the Westerner, the easier to pick up the language and the accent. I'm sorta in between 'child' and 'adult', which means I'm picking up the language but not as fast as someone younger than me. Maybe that's not true because my parents keep telling me I'm the farthest along than anyone in our family. I don't know.
Hard work is the key to survival here. I remembered the passage in Genesis that says 'you will live off the sweat of your brow' or something like that. It is very true here. Our family group, my dad, Micah and I were mounding for sweet potatoes. When I say mounding for sweet potatoes, I don't mean we are looking for sweet potatoes, I mean we're gathering dirt to plant the sweet potatoes with. This proves to be hard when you need to gather lots of dirt in one place, get all the weeds out, and continue to the next spot. At the end, if you do it right, you will have a nice long mound line. Micah got dirty from playing in the mounds when we were finished. I got blisters from handling the hoe. Oh well, my hands aren't as blistered than as when we first came. I take that as a good sign.
Please pray for us as we settle in. Our house will most likely be finished by the end of this month, we still need to get furniture and paint, thank you Aunt Sherri, MorMor and family for putting our tubs together. We have them and are loving the M+Ms!
Please also pray for our hearts toward each other, it's hard on emotions to move from one place to anther halfway around the world. Thank you everyone for your support!

-Kara :P

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Musana Camps

Camp? Campfire? S'mores? Uganda? Who knew? We just got back from Musana Camp yesterday(Uganda time) and are already missing our friends that live there. But no worries! They are coming back to New Hope in about a week. When we really will miss them is when they go back to camp! One person had brought biscuits, chocolate, and marshmallows to camp and we had S'mores over the campfire!
Musana Camps have a trail down to Lake Victoria, and three trails down to the same stream. The first trail leads down to the beginning of the stream. It bubbles out of the ground and is one of the sources of the Nile. The second one the men go down to bathe, because the camp was running low on water. The third one was not a fun trip.
Before I talk about it, let me introduce. . . DRIVER ANTS!!! I know, some of you are probably thinking, "Whats so bad about Driver Ants?" First, let me say whats bad about them. They bite you and it bleeds and it hurts. Whats good about them is that they go in a line like cars and almost all the time, unless they blend in or go under something, you can see them so you can avoid them and not get bitten.
Now, for the story. One of our friends came along with us to the third part. On the way down my dad didn't see them and I almost walked through them. I warned everyone and after I saw them my dad kept a better watch and found some more. We must of walked through them because when we got past them my sister got bit. On the way back up no one got bit, although I almost did, but it was more of a adventure.
The last weeks have been very fun. I've played with friends and other stuff. Uganda itself is fun, except for Jiggers and Driver Ants.
Micah Peterson

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Causing a Political Stir in Uganda

I thought I was doing something that was difficult but I certainly didn't think I was going to cause a political stir.
When it rains here in Uganda, it rains hard packing down the soil that may have just been turned over for planting. So, soft dirt turns into something resembling concrete. Soil also tends to dry out quickly after a rain making it difficult to keep it moist for any length of time. Farming God's Way teaches that it is important to have ground cover for your garden to 1. Retain moisture 2. Keep the rain from compacting the soil 3. Replenish the soil with the decaying ground cover.

I decided, the best ground cover for my new garden would be banana leaves. There they are, stacked on top of my car. All I had to do was to drive back to my new garden and dump them off...through the villages of Wabatunda, Wakayamba and Kabbubu.

What does this have to do with politics? That's what I wondered when Jennie Dangers told me I had just made a political statement. What does banana leaves have to do with politics? I just thought people were staring at me because I was a Mazungu driving with a huge pile of banana leaves. Jennie corrected me and said that anyone who wanted to support the incumbent would put banana leaves on their car or boda-boda (motorcycle).

The last thing I wanted to do was to get involved in politics especially since even in Kiwoko (just 2 km from New Hope) there was violence during the primaries just three weeks ago. Just goes to show, you can make a statement...a BIG statement...without even trying. Thanks Jennie.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


After 5 whole days without power, WOOP! It's on! That means a lot, because when the power's off, we don't have a fridge, and when we don't have a fridge, we don't have cold food. Bummer. Anyway. Power's on, and that's what counts.
We are having fun. The past two weeks have been break time from school for the kids, which means I haven't been helping in the classroom. We have still been doing school, although we haven't been doing very much. Two or three hours is all we need for finishing our school. Mom and Dad get to go to school almost all day, being in the institute.
Everyone's been doing well, the only sickness we've had is the stomach flu (that what Mom, Dad, and Micah got) and just the regular flu with body aches and sore throat (I got that, as well as Mom). We've been having an awesome time with our extended family. Last night, we had all the kids over to watch a movie, which happened to be Cars. They thought it was pretty funny that the cars had eyes and could talk. Anyway, we had popcorn and snickerdoodles for snack. It was great!
Thanks everyone, for praying for us. The only prayer request that I have, is constant power. That might help a lot.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heart Surgery!

No, I haven't taken up the medical profession. I didn't do so well through biology anyway. And no, my heart is perfectly fine, as far as I know. Although, drinking whole milk right from the cow probably doesn't help it much. Though, four hours of soccer with kids one third my age probably balances it out.

Actually, the heart surgery I'm talking about is the week we studied counseling at the Institute of Childcare and Family. Last week, Uncle Jonnes (the co-founder of New Hope Uganda) spent a week with us looking at the heart of God for helping people. Two statements were foundational: "Whoever defines life for you determines how you live it." AND "Whoever defines mankind determines how you fix him/her."

Both of those statements present a challenge to the average mindset for counseling. If God defines life, then it is God that has to determine how to live it and if He defines humankind, He also determines how to fix us. The question came, "Who defines life for you?"

After four days of looking at the truth of the Bible and God's heart for His children, we entered a time with Daddy Father. We were to look at places where we believed Satan's lies about who we are and who God made us to be, to praise and thank Him for who He is, to meditate on God's Word, to confess and intercede and surrender, to worship and thank God and then ask Him for the next step.

It was this next step that threw me off balance. I realized I had honored myself and what others thought of me, seeking my honor and often not seeking God's honor in moment by moment activities. I really wanted to understand what God had next for me so I looked up honor in my concordance but before I even got there I was broken. It hit me what my name is that I had not lived up to but God had given me in the beginning: Timo - honoring and Theos - God. God met me and called me into my name, to live into honoring Him. Please pray for me right here, not for my honor but God's.

The first picture is two twin girls from our family group, Babirye and Nakato with Kim, and the other is a sunset outside of the house they are building for us. Only by God's grace, Tim

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jigger and other stuff.

A week ago I was washing my feet (my feet get dirty all the time) And I saw a little brown spot. I tried to wash it off but it wouldn't come off. I had heard about Jiggers but I had never seen one. I asked my mom if it was one. She said it could be, so we went to the clinic the next morning. The lady there didn't say if it was or not, she just started digging. It turned out it was, and the eggsack in my toe was about the size of a small pea. Then their was another one in another toe, but we caught it young so it didn't hurt as much.
Their are lots of options that I could of got them from. Kibedi, our compound worker, said it might be from the chicken house, as I've been wearing sandals in there. One of the teachers from the school said there is a boy in the first grade that had one, so that one might of burst and I could of gotten it from that.
I've been helping in the Primary school in first grade on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even
though the teacher only have me hand out books for help, it is still fun. I do whatever work the
children do, just for fun. The children have gotten to like me so much that whenever I walk past
the school room when i'm not there they yell my name when they see me.
I've gotten a lot of friends while i've been here. I've made friends with Andrew from
Jonathan family, almost all of the Ebenezer family, our family group, and many others. Most
whites get assigned to a family group, and we've been assigned to the Ebenezer family group.
Our house is getting built mpola mpola( meaning "slowly slowly" in luganda). Until our
house is built, we are living in the Mcfarland's house.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our New House

Many have been asking about our house that is being built. We have been living the house of a family that is currently in the States on furlough. They return at the end of December. Obviously we have to be out of their house by that time. The work on the house is going well, as you can see. This is the progress they have made in two and half months but this includes a very large cistern that should adequately fill all our water needs even in the dry season. The house is all brick (because of termites and boring bees-not because they aren't funny either) except for the rafters and trusses.

Though it looks like it is about done. The longest part of the construction is the inside. They have not yet put the floor in nor plastered the walls, not to mention the plumbing and fixtures and electricity. There is a lot to go but we are already preparing the ground to put in a garden since rainy season has just begun. We should have vegetables by the time we move in.

Please pray for finances for the house. We still have a bit to go since we have to furnish it and get a kitchen prepared. Pray also for a team to come before December so they can bring some things from the States (MUCH cheaper).

I also included a picture of the forest cobra we killed three weeks after we arrived. It killed 7 of the chickens before we got to it. It was almost seven feet long. I realized why people fear snakes and especially cobras when we were trying to poke at it and slowly draw it out of its hole under the chicken house. I was about 5 feet away when its head popped out mouth open then flared its hood. That was a little too close but I guess I distracted it enough so someone else could get a smack on its head. Uncle George, holding it, was the one that found its lair.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Further updates

Grading 2nd grade math papers at 13. Who knew? I am currently helping two days a week in the P2 (second grade) classroom and grading papers and helping out the teachers with their work. My thumb gets cramped sometimes. :P

It's exiting to see what God is doing through me. I know I will be helping a lot during our time here, even if I don't know it at the time. Even by making friends, God is using me.

Life in Uganda is getting more and more exiting as we live here. Our house is going up very quickly, sorry there are no updated pictures right now. Puppies that we saw 3 days old are now 4 weeks old and are going to their new families. Micah and I would of loved to get one but right now we are staying in someone's house and taking care of another dog. If it is God's will, we will get our pets over time.

We have our new extended family after many weeks of waiting! The Ebenezer family will be our brothers and sisters for many years to come. The family father and mother are great care givers and have two children of their own. Auntie Florence, our family mother, is also cooking for the Institute. Even through all the suffering she's gone through, God's light shines through her and encourages me through my times of trouble.

Please pray for our compound workers, Kibedi, Justine, and Fiona. Kibedi almost lost one of his boys due to him running away. Pray for this boy's heart. Also pray for Justine and Fiona's family, as Fiona's husband had to go through surgery. Pray he will recover quickly and will be strong again.

Missing everyone back home and know that we are still here and doing well! With all the sickness going around, we have not gotten Malaria but only a slight stomach flu. Thank you for your prayers!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poverty and Abundance

I heard the dog barking and went out to see who it was that was coming from behind the house. Sheepishly, the boy who worked hard for me but stole our fruit, got off his bike and walked slowly over to me. I welcomed him and was genuinely glad to see him since I thought I would never see him again. He immediately apologized and handed me some money. He told me he had worked for another of the staff and the staff member had told him to bring the money to me to pay for the fruit. I had asked this staff member for advice since he knew the boy.

As I talked with him, encouraging him about his hard work didn't seem to be lifting his spirits at all. I told him I would like to have him work for me again. My heart broke, though, when, as he walked away, he turned and said, "Uncle? Am I forgiven?" I then knew a bit more of Jesus' heart. "You are already forgiven."

I was struck by 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 as the Apostle Paul essentially told the Corinthians to give out of their abundance not their poverty. I'm realizing how I need to keep receiving from Jesus in order to give/sow generously.

With all that in mind, how do I pray for the workers building our house who have not worked the last two days because someone stole the concrete bags left at the sight?
Only by God's grace, Tim

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When Helping Hurts

Walking through Kampala on Thursday sparked a conflict in me that has always been there but just got more pronounced. I walked by two men both sitting on the ground, both without legs. They had their hand out. No question in anyone's mind, they were begging. I have often walked by situations like that without a glance. My heart was torn by the disparity of my life. I was walking by with four bottles of soda for my family to enjoy for our family night together along with well over one million shillings, a small portion of our monthly salary but far beyond a years wages here in Uganda.

I had no doubt I would encounter this dilemma but it has been compounded by a book suggested to me by both Keith McFarland (principal of the Institute of Childcare and Family) and Jonnes Bakimi (co-director of New Hope Uganda). It is called "When Helping Hurts-How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself" by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert. I understand that material poverty is not the only poverty and in fact, as a westerner, I struggle with, what they would call, "poverty of being." Essentially a "god complex." Admittedly, my heart can think, if I have money or possessions, I can alleviate this person's problems because all they need is a little financial boost and their life will be better. When, in fact, I don't have a clue what they need. Does that excuse my need to get involved? On the contrary, it forces me to get further involved.

I haven't gotten all the way through the book but am only 1/3 through but facing the paradox in my life and situation. How do I help? Truly help without going deeper into poverty myself or sending someone else deeper into poverty. There is no question I must help and especially help the poor and needy but how? My favorite interrogative. How?

Case and point: a young boy from the village came to ask for any small job I might have. I gave him some work and he worked very hard for over an hour. When he was done, I asked him to take the tools to the shed. I kept an eye on him since I didn't know him very well. Unfortunately, he came out with my machete, walked over to one of our fruit trees and cut down a rather large fruit, went into the bushes and began to eat it. I was very disappointed and went out to talk with him about his hard work, the fairness of my wages I had already paid him, about trust and relationship, and about stealing. Poverty. I have it. He has it. Just in different ways. How do I alleviate poverty without hurting both of us. Any ideas are welcome...
Only by God's grace, Tim

On Sweet Potatoes, Grubs, and becoming 'Madame Muzungu'

It is not common, after reaching adulthood, to acquire a new name. I suppose marriage might be the exception for a woman, but nicknames and new names are generally in the past. However, here in Uganda, I have received a new name. Benevolently bestowed upon me by shopkeepers, venders and generally anyone trying to sell me something. I am, to them, 'Madame Muzungo' (Mrs White Person). Possessor of limitless amounts of money and obviously being in the need of everything from produce, clothes, sheets, dried fish and even a young white crane. I cause quite a stir when I walk through any market, a trying experience for one never liking attention. I have always preferred to blend into the background. I found out quickly that blending in is a bit difficult here. Although I do it better than my husband and children. Micah's white blond hair in particular is like a flashing neon sign 'MUZUNGO, MUZUNGO, MUZUNGO'.
Speaking of the market, that is where people sell and you buy sweet potatoes. A simple proposition. On my first market trip, after tagging along with a more experienced Muzungo, I decided to break out on my own and buy some sweet potatoes. After considering the number of people in my family, I decided 3 large sweet potatoes would suffice. After approaching a friendly looking lady who unfortunately spoke as much English as I spoke Luganda, I asked for 3 sweet potatoes. After looking puzzled for a moment, she brightened, said something rapidly in Luganda and began filling the largest plastic bag she had with most of her sweet potatoes. After trying various words and gestures to communicate the idea that I did not want kilos of sweet potatoes, I gave up and watched her fill the bulging bag. After the bag was full, she smiled and said "three Thousand" holding up 3 fingers as I had previously done to ask for 3 sweet potatoes. It was then I realized I had ordered three thousand shillings (1.50 $) worth of sweet potatoes instead of three. I also learned that three thousand shillings buys a bag of sweet potatoes big enough so that it is difficult to carry. After smiling weakly at her cheerful face, (she had just sold almost her entire inventory of sweet potatoes to one Muzungo, why shouldn't she be cheerful?) I staggered over to Tim to deposit the bag in stronger arms. To his amazed expression, I said, "I just found out how NOT buy sweet potatoes." I must add, however, that the workers helping us were very appreciative of my mistake as we had several meals of sweet potatoes and beans. Quite good, actually,
Another thing we learned the hard way was the fact that papaya go too ripe very quickly. Which is NOT a good thing, as I will explain to you. Tim and I have enjoyed the ripe papaya here, the kids not so much. I hear it is an acquired taste. Since the kids have not yet acquired the taste for papaya, despite their mother's efforts in that area, we don't eat papaya very quickly. We were told chickens like overripe papaya, which we found odd, but decided to test the theory. I happened to have a VERY overripe papaya on my counter that I decided to cut into pieces for the chicken. I quickly found out why the chickens like overripe papaya. As soon as I cut into the papaya, Juice and bits of the papaya began to fly out at me. Thinking I was being very messy, I cut again very carefully with the same result. Bits of papaya were flying all over, including on my shirt, arms, counter, floor, etc. It was about at this time that I realized that these bits were not papaya at all, but jumping grubs that were rapidly vacating the papaya. It was that point that I realized why the chickens liked overripe papaya, it is because it comes with lots of yummy grubs. (from the chicken's perspective, of coarse) I however was not as appreciative (who knew grubs could jump, anyway?!!!) and my remarks brought Tim and the kids running to the kitchen, well within range of the acrobatic grubs. Before the kids could realize what was happening, I threw the cut papaya into a bucket and yelled at the kids to run it out to the chickens. So the chickens got their papaya and the kids didn't learn what the little flying yellow pieces were until after they came back into the house. Which was good, because they would have never taken the bucket out if they knew. After all, we certainly didn't want the chickens to miss some perfectly good papaya grubs! Kim

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh, rats!

Oh no, you say! Oh, yes. Kim went out the the storeroom last night at about 10:00 to put the dog in her kennel for the night. All I heard was, "Oh no, Tim!" As I got up quickly and said, "What's wrong," (I knew by her tone of voice it wasn't pleasant) she responded, "That was NOT a mouse, that was definitely a rat. It was too big to be a mouse. I just saw its back end and tail disappearing over some of the things on the shelf."

There was a brief moment of silence...then over the top of the items on the shelf came a small (5 inches + tail? I know small is relative but when you've seen the Chicago river rats as big as a cat, 5 inches is small) RAT. I expected a battle and pictured in my mind, grabbing the baseball bat that was near at hand and smashing every item on the shelf and the shelves themselves before I got the little turkey (or RAT as the case was). But before I knew what was happening it scurried over things as fast as it could and made for its only SAFE exit...the way it came in.

Houses here have vents near the roof that are no more than a foot long hole framed with wood and covered with screen. Here in the storeroom, however, the wire from the solar panel enters the vent leaving a small gap in the screen around the wire. Apparently this little (or large if you don't believe in Chicago river rats) invader had pushed it's way through the screen to access a veritable smorgasbord (okay, Sven, we aren't in Sweden anymore) of storage food from powdered sugar to other grains. Though Ugandans have made it a rule to be very hospitable to visitors, I have to put my foot down here. How does one say, "You are NOT welcome" to a visitor in Luganda?

I realized duct tape and baling wire is probably as useful here in Uganda as it is in the States. I read Ephesians 3:2,3 this morning, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." I KNOW Paul wasn't talking about RATS!!
Only by God's grace, Tim

Friday, June 18, 2010

Having a good time!

Being in Uganda for about a month and one day, its been really fun. On Thursday we went to Kampala for Kara's birthday to the Fairway Hotel and swam in their pool. Friday night we went to the Samuel family for their family gathering.
In the past few days, I have been making a lot of friends that I did not think I would be friends with. In the last month we have been getting more and more used to living in Uganda. Only one month out of a few years and we have been having a really good time with our friends.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New house

Construction crews continue working hard on our house and they are moving along far. Actually we are planning on clearing our garden and planting some fruit trees within the next few weeks. Their amazing work digging the huge cistern by hand impressed me not only by the difficult, labor intensive job but the precision with which they dug it. Thank you for your prayers for this place. We pray it will be a place of joy and peace for all who enter and we pray it will be built with integrity, quality and efficiency. Please pray for the workers and their hearts, also. Our Luganda is so limited and their English is so limited right now, we don't have an opportunity to talk with them with much. Pray God works in their hearts through His hand and His Word.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ugandan Wedding

Yesterday (Sunday-it has taken me three days to try and download a video from the wedding) was a new experience for us. We attended a Ugandan wedding. Actually it began during our Sunday morning service. Normally the service starts at 10:30am and gets over at 1:00pm. The wedding began during the service that was also Family Day at New Hope. It was a perfect setting especially since the couple were not believers when they got together and had never had a wedding before God and His people.

What a celebration! After the church service got over the couple took pictures and everyone that was from the New Hope community went home to get their plates and forks then came back. The wedding "reception" got under way and it was interesting to see some similar traditions but also the Ugandan traditions. We were pretty hungry by the time we had lunch at 4:00 and the wedding was still going on. Unfortunately, being the green westerners we are, we didn't make it all the way through. It was still going strong when we left at 4:30.

The family is so important here at New Hope. From the nuclear family as a core (parents with children) to the larger family (all who believe), the family is core for understanding our relationship with our Father but also in relating to each other. This wedding was a good example. The nuclear family wasn't the only important relationship in this wedding it was also the larger community including the church but also the village. Wow, what a difference than the States. We very rarely have community involved unless it is smaller towns.

Kim and I are looking forward to our five months in the Institute of Childcare and Family where we live family and learn family from a biblical worldview rather than our western or Ugandan point of view. We have already experienced the love of the family here in the dinners we were invited to when we got here, in the greetings that are part of the culture and also in the friendships we have grown even since we arrived. God gives us love, security, patience, grace, wisdom and joy when we submit to Him working through family. I hope I'm learning and receiving these.
Only by God's grace, Tim

Friday, June 4, 2010

What it's like

I've had a lot of people asking what it's like here in Uganda. To tell the truth, apart from the humidity, heat, and vegetation, it doesn't seem much different than America. Yes, always wearing skirts and the food and such is different, but it doesn't really feel like I'm half way around the world. It seems like such a small world sometimes.
Here are some pics of our "pets" right now. We are getting fresh eggs every day from the chickens. Mounty, our rhodesian ridgeback, is a great guard dog. She is shy, but is very affectionate when she gets to know you.
Right now, some of the American kids here are shooting a video, sort of professional. Most of the American and English kids are the actors. So far it's been fun. I'll let everyone know when it's been posted on YouTube.
Thanks for everyone's support!

With love,

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Wow did we get rain! I guess that's understandable when you are in equatorial Africa in the rainy season. Our neighbors, the Vogt's asked us to take in their wash hanging on the line if it started raining. They would be gone a few days and their house workers leave at 1:00.
Just as I drove into our drive with our groundskeeper (Kipeti) after a trip to Kiwoko (my second drive) it began to rain. By the time we began to get the wash off the line it was beginning to rain harder and by the time we got under cover it was a downpour. Then I realized I didn't have the key to their house so I gave all the wash to Kipeti and ran to our house to get the key. As I looked up coming across our yard, there were all of the McFarland's chickens OUTSIDE the chicken coop. So much for house sitting. Oh well, this is the third time, we'll get them back in. By the time I headed back to the Vogt's house, it was a torrential downpour. As I was putting the clothes into their house, I realized I hadn't shut the shutters in our house. Just then I looked out the window and saw Kara running down the drive in that torrential downpour toward our house. She was running to get out of the rain but also running to get the shutters closed. I ran to help her get the shutters closed. Thankfully nothing had yet gotten THAT wet.
We got all the chickens back. And as I write this we are getting another rain. Whoops I left the mower out. Gotta go. Only by God's grace, Tim

Explaining snow

I'd never thought I'd be trying to explain snow to someone. It's hard, not that I think many people have tried. It's just been a natural thing for me, snow. Every year during winter time it snows, and preferably during Christmas.
During one of our hard rains that we've experienced in the past two weeks, our compound worker, Kipeti (pronounced Japetti), came inside to take cover from the wind and rain. Dad showed him some pictures of family, friends, Colorado, and other such places. Explaining snow to him was harder than I ever imagined it would be. He asked us "How do you hold it?" Well... gosh I never thought of that. How would you explain snow with just a few seconds to think?
When he saw pictures of our house he said "it's so big!" in America, our house isn't that small, but it's smaller than many houses in the US.
He was always asking questions, even why there was no snow in Uganda but there was snow in America. I felt very grateful at that moment for being so well educated. Thank you Lord for such blessings!

With Love,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shopping in Kampala

"Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever." 2 Chron. 20:21

We praise God for His provision both for our protection and for Kara and Micah. Kim and I took our first shopping trip into Kampala and left the kids at New Hope. Thankfully we went with other Americans and Uncle Dan, a Ugandan driver. Food and electrical differences cause the initial challenges.

Our challenge with food is not just doing our standard American menu but having enough familiar so that our cuisine changes slowly. No Mac n' Cheese, though. Because of traffic and distance (1 1/2 hours) and multiple stores and multiple people shopping (6 of us plus Uncle Dan), it is a long day 7:30am to 6pm.

Our challenge with electrical is the conversion and step-down (220V to 110V), after shopping for surge protectors and converters, I believe I may have fried our 4-in-1 copier, because I didn't look whether it was dual voltage or single. Unfortunately, it was only 125V. Yeowch. I don't know whether it is reparable or not. Tough and expensive lesson.

This morning, reading the story of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah (2 Chronicles 20) God's Word impressed me with his heart compared to his counterpart Ahab, ruling in Israel:

"After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
'Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.'" (vs. 21)

To put the singers and worshipers at the head of the army was a practice of the day but Jehoshaphat's faith and the faith and obedience of the people was blessed by God but the next line struck me:

"As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." (vs. 22)

"As they began to sing and praise..." Amazing, the faith and trust in God that they would go to "certain doom" singing and praising. Grow that faith in me, Lord.
Only by God's grace, Tim

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Good Land

Waking up to the crowing of roosters is going to be a common theme, at least for awhile. But as the sun lightened the horizon, I looked over the valley right out our front yard and realized the beautiful country our great God had brought us to.

Yesterday, our family took our first trip alone into town. Yes, I drove (on the "wrong side"-the left side-of the road) shifting with my left hand and trying to remember that the blinker is on the other side also. Thankfully it was raining so the road, virtually one lane, was clear of vehicles, buses, pedestrians, bicyclers, motorcycles, etc. Kim did great at the shop buying beans, posho (a ground maize meal) and g-nuts (a ground nut paste) for our workers, Fiona, Kipeti (pronounced Chippeti) and Justine.

As I began to read Deuteronomy this morning, I was stopped at chapter 8 verse 10,
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you."
I have to remember God's goodness as I sit and watch the sunrise and hear the sounds of the morning waking up. But God says remember and obey. Even as I get accustomed to driving on the left side, as we are going to the market where I don't know any prices nor do I know Luganda (even though they speak English), as we begin to try and understand the culture including having workers in our house doing work that we could do (at least right now before we get into the Institute, start homeschooling and begin working outside the home)...I have to remember to listen. I can't neglect the people God has already put in our path:

Andrew who came over to the house Sunday and said, "I need to play with Micah"
A staff member who needs guidance
Kipeti who told me how pleased he was with an American who discipled him but then moved back to the States.

"Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land..." Deut. 8:6,7

That He is. Obey.
Only by God's grace, Tim

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Visiting here last year, we had a lot of fun, even though we were missing are animals. Then when we got home it felt like we were coming back home. But then after a couple months it felt like God was telling us " This isn't your home". So we prayed about living in New Hope and soon we had places for all of are animals, vehicles, and all of are other things. Then we got tickets to go on May 16. Then we had last minute things to do. But eventually we got here. We got to the guest house, unpacked, and it just felt like we were home. We are now living in the McFarlands house and planning to build our house in the secondary site. We are planning to have furlough in 2-3 years and go back to the States to visit friends. We will have a lot of fun.

Only by the grace of God,

Finally here at New Hope!

And yes, finally. After over two days flying and hanging around in the airport with less than ten hours of sleep, the jet lag is catching up to us. We were living in the guest house until the McFarlands moved out of their house (going on furlough). We are taking care of their dog, chickens, and house until they return. And as for their car, we own it!
God has worked out many things for us to prepare us to come here. One example would be our car/cars. Before we left we sold both of our vehicles to friends, and for that exact amount, we bought our car here. New engine, old car, just what my Dad was praying for.
It's been fun here, hot, but fun. This weather is unusual for the rainy season. Boy and if this is hot... I'm going to be steaming in the next few months!
As the McFarlands are going on furlough, most of the other American families are also. God must of set that up. With the white families gone, getting to know more Ugandan kids is more likely. I already know a few, and Micah has some pretty good friends.
Missing everyone back at the US! Can't wait to see who's going to visit!

With love,
Kara Peterson

Monday, May 10, 2010

Faith and Figuring

I ended up in Luke 17 this morning wondering why Luke had put these three stories (pericopes) together in one place. It was interesting that the NIV has the heading "Sin, Faith, Duty" above verses 1-10. Luke seemed to be putting a person who makes another stumble (though he can and should be rebuked and forgiven) next to a person with just a little faith and then shows the example of the Samaritan leper and the Pharisees.

I think I saw the tie-in. The Pharisees being the example of the stumbling block, asking a lot of questions and wanting the answers but Jesus says the kingdom of God is right here. We have an opportunity to live out the kingdom of God. It is caring for others, loving others. Living each day carrying our pain and rejection, our frustrations of the day, our headaches of daily worries to Jesus for relief (i.e. the lepers). Then, in faith, when we obey and are healed we turn back to Jesus to praise and thank Him. In turn, He heals all (Greek word for "heal" also meaning "saves"). I think He saves us from our arrogance and pride.

When it is all said and done, as the servant in verse 10, we can only respond, "I'm only doing my duty." Humility.

I needed this today with my cares and worries and stress and headache. To cast all my cares/burdens/infirmities on Him and obey, moment by moment, gentle prompting after gentle prompting and then when He heals/saves to thank and praise Him, it is the only way of life in chaos.

Praise You Jesus for healing and saving. Only by God's grace, Tim

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Strength to the Weary

I was pretty weary last night after having an all afternoon early birthday party for both Kara and Micah at the same time. It has been a long time since we had sixteen kids in our house at the same time. Our kids enjoyed it and were grateful. Dad was tired though.

As I got up this morning, thinking about all that needs to go on today, the Spirit took me back to Psalm 29 where I was yesterday and I wondered about what was going on when David was writing it. I looked in the ESV study bible we have and I appreciate their perspective. David may have been observing a thunderstorm come over. I took that and ran with it. It was a good perspective to think of that thunderstorm rolling over David out in the fields and little David calling out to the heavenly beings to give glory in the right place, to the God of the Universe. Then he ends the psalm, possibly with the flood of a fast, strong thunderstorm pouring water through the dry gullies to the point that David uses the word for flood that was used in Noah's time. And even in that God is giving strength to His people.

The next stop was Isaiah 40. I saw my fragility next to the power of God but I didn't fully realize my weariness until I got to verse 28:
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
(that's what David was trying to get across in Psalm 29)
He will not grow tired or weary,
(that's good because I need someone to lean on)
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary,
and increases the power of the weak.
(this is where I realized how weary I had become, yet it will be God strengthening me)
Even youths grow tired and weary,
(that's good to know because I think I'm still young but I have gotten weary)
and young men stumble and fall;
(Lord, hold me up. Matthew 11:28-30 comes to mind)
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
(Yes! Praise and thank You, God)
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

The interesting thing in all this, is that one of the things that has most concerned me lately is selling our van. I had not yet gotten the title though we had paid it off almost 2 years before. I have been trying to find out how to go about getting it from Kansas. This morning, Saturday (go figure), the moment I sat down to have quiet time with God I noticed an email came in on my Blackberry...from Kansas that they had not received my lien release. I faxed it and as I was writing the above blog about Isaiah 40 I got another email saying they had received my fax and would have the title in the mail on Monday. Praise God. Now I don't have to get a Power of Attorney to sign the title for me after we leave.

This is just a little way of how God has been caring for even my anxieties and strengthening me tangibly...even as I write about what His Word tells me.

"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!" Psalm 29:10,11

Wow! Only by God's grace, Tim.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Isaiah 6-Empty house

I was reading Isaiah 6 this morning and realized I don't have a grasp of my uncleanness like Isaiah did but then I got to verse 11:
"Then I said, 'For how long, O Lord?'
And he answered:
'Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken."
I started thinking about how empty our house is appearing and what it is like to have lived in a place and then have it empty, deserted, and people taken away. I have never felt at home in any house like I have felt in this house and it grieves me leave it.

I know I have to hold this world with open hands. God seems to keep returning me to that point but it is sad to leave. To remember that I am a stranger here and this is not my home, is so essential. I have to return to longing for an eternal home and when I do the grief is not so sharp but still there.

My mind goes back to the words we have said to the kids: We have to not only think about the things/people we are leaving but what God has for us ahead of us. He is not taking away, He is giving in addition. If we had never left Clay Center, we would have never met the people of Colorado Springs. If we had never Colorado Springs, we would have never met or experienced...

It is interesting that the next chapter in Isaiah contains:
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

I know God is faithful. As we are packing and thinking about leaving, I keep telling Kim that I'm glad I'm doing this with her. It makes it easier to move knowing she is going with me. How much easier to know that Jesus is going with me.
Only by God's grace, Tim

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Post-Garage Sale

Our garage sale is done. Praise God. Both that it is done and the wonderful result. Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Other than books we probably got rid of more than 90% of what we were trying to sell. We also sold most of the furniture we were trying to get rid of.

It was difficult going through things that I had held on to much of my life. My dresser was the hardest, I think. Dad got it from the men's dorm when he was in seminary and I've had it all my life. I realized it on the way to the lady's house who couldn't transport it.

Praise God that we sold our van and our car. Praise God we had someone look at our house today. We are trying to rent it. Praise God we have places for our animals. And praise God that our support continues to come in.

It is now one week from when we move everything out of the house and stay with my Aunt & Uncle in Woodland Park until the 16th. Lots to do before then. This Saturday, Mountain Springs Church is having a dessert as a goodbye. If you're in town, we would love to say goodbye.
Only by God's grace, Tim

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Our Way

We leave for Uganda on May 16th!