Sunday, February 27, 2011

Heart of Worship

Wow, these past three weeks have been awesome.
The main reason? I have officially joined the Heart of Worship team. The last worship night was just Saturday, thanks for all the prayers because while I was in the choir I didn't feel the least bit nervous, even though I was the only white person in the band. It seemed perfectly natural.
Maybe I should make the worship teams clear, there are three. The first one is the worship team for the Sunday service, I don't know if they have a name or not. The second is the one I am in, the Heart of Worship. We are made up of entirely teenagers (except Auntie Hannah and Uncle Ronnie who help in the training and practices). We sing on the worship nights, the last Saturday of every month. Only once and a while do we sing on Sundays (like this coming Sunday). And last but not least is the Echos of Hope. They are made up of the younger children and Auntie Grace who leads. They rarely sing, only on special occasions like Easter and the Ugandan Thanksgiving.
So anyway. About home? We are settled in. Still no other furniture but the table, couches and beds. We have grass planted and are ready to plant more as soon as it rains. Speaking of the rain, we had two huge storms and are praying for more, it made tons of mud but filled out cistern a lot more, thanks for the prayers!!!!
What other news is there... Not much I suppose. Ali cat had two kittens almost four weeks ago. Their eyes are already open and they are starting to explore a lot more. School's going good (quite boring as usual) nice and steady.
Please pray that a thief or a borrower will be caught, there was a ladder stolen or borrowed from the Biedler's house. I don't know what is going on over there but there was also some sugar cane that was growing but has now been cut down. The compound worker is getting frustrated with this.
Thanks for all your prayers so far!

Friday, February 25, 2011


I know many of you have heard us speak of our family group that we belong to. This is a big part of our life at New Hope. I thought it might be interesting to introduce everyone to the family throughout the next months in a series of blogs, each blog highlighting a different member of the family. That way you could get to know them and know how to pray for the family and each individual. Let me start with a brief introduction.
Our family is called Ebenezer family and consists of nineteen children ranging from ages 5-18. They live together on a family compound with a family Mother and Father, a married couple, Florence and Godfrey Musambu, who have two children of their own. Aunt Florence and Uncle Godfrey live in a separate house with their children, Brian, 12 years old and Jonathan 18 months old. The rest of the children live in round huts with up to 7 beds in each house. The boys all fit into one house and the girls are split into two houses. There is a round open air hut or banda with a large table and chairs where the children eat and do homework, or just hang out. Also in the compound are various structures. There is an open air cooking area where the meals are prepared in large pots over wood fires. There is a storage building for the food, chicken coops, a pig sty and outdoor pit latrines. Around the compound is the family's farmland and fruit trees such as banana trees, guava trees, and papaya trees.
A typical weekday might look like this: up at 5-6AM for study and preparing breakfast. (the children take turns cooking their own meals) School starts at 7:30 and lasts until 2:00PM for the younger ones and 4:10 for the older ones. After school the younger children come home and rest and do various chores around the compound. When the older children come home, they immediately get changed and go into the gardens to work until about 6:30. Then they come home and bathe and have devotions. Dinner is usually around7:30. After dinner they study until they go to bed which is around 9:00 or 10:00 for the younger ones and even later for the older ones. On weekends, the schedule is a little different. They get up around 6:00 or 6:30 and go to the gardens to work until about 10:00. Then they have breakfast and begin chores of washing their clothes and cleaning the rooms and compound. When they are finished they either rest, study or are involved in various activities. Saturday night is a game night. Sunday they go to church from 10:30 to 1:30 and then play soccer, study, rest or are involved in various activities. The weeks are very full for them!
I probably need to explain the school system The kids start official school in Primary 1, which is like first grade. They are generally about 7-8 years old, although the ages vary depending on when the family can send them. Education is not free here, and many families struggle to afford the school fees and uniform. The primary school lasts up to primary 7, when they have to take a test called the primary leaving exam to see if they graduate from primary and can go on to secondary school. The secondary school is much like our middle school and first two years of high school. There is secondary 1 through secondary 4. At that point they take a test to see if they will go on to the last years of secondary, secondary 5 and 6. The first years of secondary are called '"O" levels and the last two years are called "A" levels. At New Hope, they take a year off from school between the "O" levels and "A" levels to receive discipleship, mentoring and work in internships. This helps them transition to "A" levels and to get a more focused direction for future schooling. It is also a valuable time to own their faith as they will have to go to boarding school for "A" levels since New Hope does not yet have an "A" level school here on site. This year has proved very important for the students, and is an area Tim has enjoyed being a part of.
Many people ask what the kids normally eat. Breakfast is a porridge of cornmeal called posho. Lunch consists of posho flour made into a more solid form that you can eat with a spoon served with beans. Dinner is the same. They also eat whatever fruit is in season and occasionally vegetables from the garden mixed in the beans. On special occasions like holidays, they have a variety of other foods such as matoke (cooked bananas) with peanut sauce, rice, potatoes and meat, usually beef or pork. Chicken is a delicacy here and rarely served. They also occasionally have Micah's favorite, chapates, which are a sort of thick, bready tortilla. They drink water except on special occasions when they have sodas or a koolaid type drink mix.
The kids laugh a lot and love to play and hang out with each other. The boys particularly like football, which we call soccer and the girls like games. They have all grown to like basketball as Tim has taken them to play several times. Riding bikes is also a favorite activity. And like most kids, they really like to watch movies!
Well, I hope you have a better idea of what life is like in our family group. Stay tuned for my next blog when I highlight a member of the family!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wild ox

Never thought I would be close to identifying with an ox. I was sitting peacefully in our living room and suddenly heard "Aaahh"...the sound of the herdsman who grazes the cows near our house (now that we are out in a cow pasture, literally).

Without any other warning, I watched as an enormous bull, Big Ben, charged through our compound, past our tire swing and put on the breaks near our banana trees-young banana trees, not old enough to hurt a bull banana trees. Suddenly, with the grace of a ballerina, he spun on one leg and, with horns the size of a stadium goalpost, he began to thrash our banana tree. He didn't give it a little punishment, he gave it a licking. I was tasting the sweet small bananas that would never be born.

Before the tree was completely destroyed, Ben did his pirouette and pranced off like he had just enjoyed a pleasant conversation.

When I read Psalm 92:10 and had to laugh.
"You have exalted my horn like that of a wild of ox..."

I don't understand the strength God says He gives. Does it mean stamina or physical strength or something more?

Working with Investment Year students is a joy. This is the year after they finish the equivalent of American 10th grade or so. Here at New Hope they will take a year out and explore their faith in classes and with mentors, they will start a small business (making and selling burgers here on site, etc.), they will interview and hold three different consecutive jobs beginning here at New Hope then moving offsite to other selected jobs that fit with their skills and gifting. They have to go through interviews etc. These teenagers are challenging and bright, deep but also lighthearted. Do I need the strength of a wild ox to work with them? If strength can be measured in wisdom, definitely.

I also led the staff, last evening, in a time of listening-listening to each other and learning to listen well. It served a number of purposes. They shared their stories, very briefly, asked questions and hopefully got to know the other staff in the process. Meanwhile they were practicing listening to the children we are caring for. I loved watching them care for each other and actively listen to each other. I think, hopefully, some will find it easier to share their hearts. Do I need the strength of a wild ox to work with the staff? If strength can be measured in wisdom, definitely.

I know I have nothing and it feels far-fetched to think that I could ever have the strength of a wild ox in any form. Maybe I should settle with the strength of a domesticated ox who is good to use for plowing. Actually, that is exactly what Big Ben is when he has a yoke on. Wow that reminds me of Matthew 11:29-30! Maybe I won't ruin a banana tree that way.
Only by God's grace, Tim

Friday, February 4, 2011

Regular life?

The past few weeks have been as it has always been. Going to church on Sunday, doing school through the week, going to the family group and eating there every Tuesday, having family night(just the four of us) every Friday night, and playing with friends. Last week, on Saturday, we went to Entebbe and swam the whole day at Lake Victoria Hotel. We spent the night at the Airport Guest house and did some shopping in Kampala on Sunday. We got home around five in the afternoon.
Last Friday, the eleventh, my Mom went to a lady's dinner and didn't get back until very very late, so we didn't get to do family night, but we are planning to have it on Sunday night(as I'm typing it is Sunday). Yesterday, in the morning, we went to the family group to work. Then we went back for game night, and also to eat there.
The past few days have been fun, but they have also been not so fun. The not so fun parts was that five days a week we do lots of school. The fun parts are that I play with friends every day, pretty much. Also that we go to the family group. I have lots of fun with the kids there. Yesterday, for example, we had lots of fun with them, and I think that they had lots of fun with us.
Please pray for us, especially for rain, as our cistern, our water holder, is very very low. Thank you for your prayers!

Micah Peterson