Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas and an Update on Malachi

This Christmas was much more enjoyable than last year. Last year we all were gloomy with the homesick bug. This year we enjoyed a late lunch of goat, rice, chapattis (thick tortilla thingy), and sodas with the kids at Shalom Home. For dinner we ate impromptu breakfast burritos with the Williams. It is such a blessing to have people that we are close to to celebrate with, and do “life” with. We had a special visitor during dinner....a 4 inch creepy grasshopper, that created chaos which led to screaming leading to extreme laughter (at least for me).

The boys at Shalom are preparing the rice (all 30 pounds of it).

The goat....

The boys are very excited!!!

Can you find Samuel and Joshua?

Malachi Update:

If you remember a month ago we left Kampala, after a hectic medical ordeal with Malachi. Upon leaving we had 2 options. 1) We could go to Nairobi, Kenya for more testing or we could 2) wait for a month and retest his lab work to see if things cleared up. We choose the later. The "wait and see" approach seemed the best fit because we (doctors included) were all in agreement that it was most likely a virus causing havoc on his system and in his results.

The day following Christmas we drove to Lira, about 4 1/2 hours away, to get his blood retested. We were trying to avoid going all the way to Kampala as it is not an easy journey (12 hours) and is quite expensive. In Lira we had his blood tested for general things like white blood cell count (WBC), red blood cell (RBC) count, etc. We were hoping that all would come back normal. Unfortunately this did not happen. He is still anemic according to his blood, and there are some other concerns. However outwardly he is not showing severe symptoms that need immediate attention. He is having random fevers now and then, has a decreased appetite, and weight loss. He is also tired a lot of the time due to his anemia. The question now is to find out what is causing the anemia. It looks like something is causing his RBC’s to break down. It is possible that it will take several more weeks for everything to be normal from the previous virus, but the random fever, and poor appetite are a little alarming to us. These random fevers were even occurring before this whole ordeal. So we were left with more questions than answers. Now what?

We were finally able to consult with a couple doctors, and one is advising us to get a more detailed Full Blood Count that we had done before in Kampala with Liver Functioning, etc. Cody is going to take Malachi to Kampala to get some tests ran on Monday. Either way the tests turn out it looks like Cody and Malachi will travel to Nairobi, Kenya in February to meet one of the American doctors we have been consulting, unless we find something new that needs immediate attention. We would appreciate your prayers. Pray for wisdom, and direction.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Cuisine

Rather than doing a normal update, I thought it would be fun to share with you what our eating menu is like. After over a year of living here we have all gotten much more used to the food and the lack of variety, although I still have a way to go. Over time I have become more and more thankful for the food we have even during the times I am tired of eating it. God has taught me a lot about food while living here. My perspective has really changed, and I am grateful. Reading about the Israelites being in the wilderness brought a new level of conviction for me, based on my circumstances here. I've never really fussed about food until moving here. God had given the Israelites manna each day to live on. They started to grumble because they were tired of manna. I was/am very convicted by this. Here I am, complaining about the food I have and I am not eating the same food for every meal, not to mention the fact that I HAVE food, many people here don't. The Israelites were not looking to God and thanking Him for his provision, but were moaning about what they didn't have.

Here is what we eat during the weekdays:
Porridge for breakfast. This particular one in the picture is made of millet, but we also have some that is made from corn and soy. We add sugar to it and the kids really enjoy it. It is cheap, easy to make, and you can make it quickly.

Our lunch menu is mainly one of 3 things. Cooked cabbage with tomatoes and onions over rice or posho, eggplant with onions and tomatoes over rice or posho, and Skuma with tomatoes and onions over rice or posho. Skuma happens to be my favorite, it is similar to collard greens.

Beans and rice for dinner. We have really started to love beans and rice. There was a point where it was getting old (eating the batch of moldy beans didn't help), but we have learned to change them up and add different spices to make them taste different. They are cheap and super easy to make. After sorting them we just let them cook on the coal pot (like a camp fire) for 3-4 hours and they are soooooo nice.

Our weekend menu is much different. We make enough beans and rice on Friday night to last for lunch on Saturday to honor the Sabbath. For breakfast we buy fried bread from town, and then we eat out for dinner. This is a real treat because we sometimes have chicken and french fries. If not chicken, then beans and rice. Sunday we eat pancakes and I a make a homemade syrup made from sugar, cinnamon and flour. It is really appetizing. For lunch we will eat stir fry, spaghetti, soup (pumpkin soup is the favorite right now). We have also made some yummy bean burgers, and we can make tortillas, so we occasionally make veggie wraps or bean tacos, minus the cheese of course. But we use cabbage instead of lettuce and it is quite nice. Really there are a lot of options for us to make. We have learned to be creative and use the things we have. We can also bake some things on the stove top. We have made cakes, brownies, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits. Some things we can not buy in Kotido so when we are in Kampala we stock up on supplies such as spices, vanilla, cocoa and powdered sugar.

There you have it, if you thought we were suffering in the area of food, you are wrong. We really are not (even if you have heard me complain). We may not have as much variety as we did in the States, but we have food, and for the most part it is really tasty! The things I miss the most would be cheese and fresh veggies. However we are looking forward to the spinach and lettuce we planted. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy a fresh veggie salad!

Here is a picture of the bean burger with potatoes. They are really yummy but takes hours and hours to make, so we don't make them very often.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Happy Story

As most of you know we have been helping foster 2 babies whose mother's had died giving birth. They have been staying on our compound as we were helping teach a family member how to care for the baby. They have been here since the end of July.

Here are pictures of them when they came:
Akiar and his father.

Reema, who was just hours old when she came to our house.

The grandmother of Akiar, has been here for almost a month now and has been doing such a great job taking care of him. She has really bonded to him and it is such an answer to prayer. With her presence here and her exceptional care we decided the only we were offering the babies was physical needs. These needs could still be met but in the village, in their home. We thought it is best for them to be back in their village so that the family could all be together again. We talked to both of the grandmothers and they agreed.

It is a bittersweet thing to see them go. It was quite emotional to take them back to the village. Especially Akiar. The last time I had been there was in July when he was very skinny and his family didn't have much hope for his survival. They all think differently now. It is amazing how differently everyone is. Akiar, his grandmother, and myself.

You see his grandmother would come to visit him when he first came. One visit I remember sitting with her as she held Akiar. Tears began to fall down her face (rare in for this people group). I comforted her and asked her what was wrong. She told me she misses his mother and that life was harder because she was gone. She shared with me that sometimes she wished that Akiar would have died instead of his mother because he is so much work. From her point of view her feelings seemed justified. Her daughter was a great help to the village and her work was impeccable for the cycle of survival. I explained to her that children are a gift and that God has a plan for Akiar. I think she understands that now. She has seen how God has kept him alive, and that he is such a joy. His face lights up when he laughs and often times you will hear him giggling. In the last month that she has been here, I rarely hear him cry because she takes such good care of him. Meeting his needs. A transformation.

When we get to the village we are greeted by extended family. Many of them have not seen him in months and they are all amazed, and grateful. It was a joyful moment for me and I'm glad God let me be a part of it. I also got to see what a sacrifice the grandmother had made by staying at our home in Kotido with Akiar. She is the woman who makes sure everything happens in her clan. As she looks around she explained to me that while she was gone a lot of things didn't get done and people were not doing her job. In other words things have really fallen apart. My heart is happy that Akiar meant enough to her.

Here is Akiar with his aunt, if you don't remember Akiar means life in Karamjong. (He is wearing the same hat from the picture above (: .)

Here is Reema (Mercy in Kiswahili) in her village. Her grandmother is holding her.

A family member will be bringing the babies once a week to pick up milk and other supplies. We will still be able to monitor their progress, and see them. Please pray that God would use their lives for His glory and that we would use these relationships for His kingdom.

With the babies and there families gone it is rather quite around here. Although it is a well needed respite!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Last night during our family devotions Samuel volunteered to pray for our requests. While praying he remarked, "Thank you God, for the great life you have given us." I swallow hard and hold back the tears, and my heart echos his prayer. "Yes God thank you for this great life you have given us."

Going through the hectic ordeal with Malachi was really eye opening and gave me a deeper sense of thankfulness. In my worry and fearful thoughts I couldn't help but to be thankful for all the resources that were accessible. Especially the ability for Malachi to see good medical care. It may not have met the standards we were acquainted with in the States but compared to our neighbors in Kotido, phenomenal is an understatement. How could I be ungrateful? My thoughts kept wandering to the many mothers who have brought their sick, diseased, deformed, handicapped and dying to our gate for help. I was grateful because unlike many of these mothers we had the opportunity to get Malachi better health care and we even had options to go out of the country. Options. Not a word many people, especially these mothers we had seen, would even know.

Many times I also take technology for granted. It can truly be such a wonderful thing. Especially with the way "snail" mail travels here. I have a computer giving me the opportunity to email and to blog so people could know how to pray. And many friends and family were standing beside us. WOW. I am humbled. Many people all around the world were praying. Really? We are so blessed; God you are so good. While we were seeking God for answers I wanted to resort back to my old controlling self (okay I probably actually did resort back a time or two) of just finding a solution and "figuring it all out" but I could feel God wanting to take me to a deeper level of faith. Funny how I want to see His power and might but not with my own kids. He loves Malachi more than I do and has the whole world in His hands. I try to let go...while thinking of Abraham and what God ask of him in sacrificing Isaac.

I want to abandon that controlling mind. Abandon the self reliance. Abandon what makes sense and replace it with God's will. I don't want to follow what makes sense or what seems practical but I want to follow the voice of God and what he desires for our life. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself, "self, whatever the outcome of this situation I want you to glorify God." So He takes me deeper. Deeper into faith, deeper into His love, deeper into His presence, deeper
into Thankfulness.

I am always reminded it's in the pickles of life we get to see God's power. It is in the pickles of life we get to see God's miracles. The size of our pickles might be different but we all sometimes find ourselves in the same place. Times when we don't have the answers, when we have no where else to go. He pries our fingers from our will and replaces it with something extraordinaire. In surrender, face down on the ground looking up to Him (right where He wants us) we ask, "What next? Direct us God, for you are God and we are not!" We keep trying
to live this life thinking we have all the answers and resources and God continually says, "Nope" And our faith grows, and He is glorified. It only starts with a mustard seed. I know if you are a practical person like me none of this seems to make sense. Listening for the voice of God? Waiting for His direction? Let me tell you; I have learned God is not about practicality. Just read the Bible, or even the Gospels for that matter. Jesus, the son of God, God Himself came down in the flesh and was born in a barn. Practical? I think not. God, Your ways are higher than our ways!

And Here is the latest on Malachi: We are home in Kotido now. After getting another blood test it was more looking like a bad virus that would resolve itself. We will repeat the blood work in about 3 weeks to see if this truly is the case.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What We Know

Finally after a long process we got more answers today and they were positive. His results looked much better and there is improvement and we were able to rule out some severe things. We are really relieved. We have one more test to run but we are not really worried about it. I have a lot to say about this whole process but I am extremely tired, and am basically ready to crash from this whole ordeal. Again we are so grateful for everyone's help and support during this time. I will hopefully be able to write more soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Had tests today

We had some more detailed tests done today but unfortunately we will not find out the results until tomorrow. We were really hoping to know more today. Once we know more we will post to let you all know. Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's the Next Step

God is so faithful. Electricity has been a problem in Kampala and so last night I had to charge my computer in the lobby area of where we were staying. Someone sparked conversation up with me, and we were talking about Malachi's health issues. Well it just so happens that an American Pediatrician was sitting next to me. I asked her if she would mind looking over Malachi's blood work and such, and she was more than happy to help. She looked over everything we had and what different doctors have been emailing us and helped give us direction on what to do to rule things out here in Kampala, she even wrote some things down for us to tell the doctors to look for. Not only that but we are still in communication with Dr. Bill Bevins who has been amazing in helping us sort through this whole thing. He has gone to great lengths to help us through phone calls and emails. We are very grateful for the steps God is leading us to. With that we are taking Malachi to a special doctor tomorrow to rule out a certain disease. We are hoping and praying this will give us more answers so that we can then make a decision on where to travel and what to do next. We are grateful for all of your prayers, and words of encouragement. That's all I have for you now, and with limited power I'd better go. After we find out the result tomorrow I will try to update my blog so that you know how to pray and what the next step for us will be. Pray that this test will indeed give us some answers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pray for Malachi

I hate that lately our lives seem like such an emergency. I know it must be draining for you as it is very draining for us.

After returning home from Cody's medical fiasco we enjoyed 2 weeks of getting back into a routinue. However during this time I seemed to be aquiring some odd symptoms. After recovering from Malaria I started having numbness in my forearms. It was on and off. I was also very light headed, forgetful and had a hard time focusing on things. We talked to a doctor who said I should just rest. After several days (more like a week) of resting, I was tired of doing nothing and wanted to get on with my life. In some ways I seemed to be improving. Some days were better than others. After a couple days my numbness and tingling seemed to be getting worse, and we were really praying about what to do. Traveling to Kampala, staying there, and getting around is not a cheap or an easy matter. Not to mention we were just here.

Malachi's sickness was also not improving so we decided that we should make the journey south so we could both see doctors. After several blood tests things are not looking good for Malachi and doctors are advising us to travel to better health facilities for extensive testing and to find out more answers. It is looking rather serious (don't want to post possibilities on the world wide web), put we are still hoping for the best. We are asking for your prayers. Pray that God would give us wisdom on what to do and where to travel, who should travel and financial provisions. Pray for healing.

We know that God loves Malachi more than we do, and we are continuing to walk by faith.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Tragic Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a oh so far, and extremely arid land lived a woman. For the sake of this fairy tale we will call her Lucy. Lucy lived a rough life. From the time she was little, life was a struggle. She was a product of her environment, and her lifestyle. Lucy started having children when she was still just a child herself. She has 5 little bumpkins, with no prince charming. Her greatest enemy is a potion that many in her land struggled with. This potion has control over her life, and has caused considerable pain.

One day while Lucy was sitting outside her house a tortoise slowly hobbled by. The tortoise saw on her face that life was hard and she needed hope. He stopped to talk with her because he wanted to help and share with her where the source of hope was found. This tortoise happened to talk because after all, tortoises talk in fairy tales.
“Good day,” he said. She lifted her down trodden head and nodded.
The tortoise continued, “It looks like life has been rough for you.”
Lucy quietly replied, “Life has been hard for me and a lot of it has been because of the choices I have made for myself.”

The tortoise stated, “Our consequences can be difficult based on the choices we make.” Although the tortoise had grown up in a different land he too had lived through consequences of his previous sinful life.
Lucy began to look down at the dirt again and picked up a stick and started drawing in the dirt, no longer acknowledging the tortoise. She was hoping he would leave and stay all at the same time. After an awkward silence the tortoise began to speak again.
“I know someone who can help.”
Lucy had her doubts, but was somewhat hopeful and for some reason had begun to trust in the tortoise in their short time together.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yep, but you have to leave your home so we can go to find the Great King.”

“I don’t want anything to do with men.”

“Don’t worry, this one is different.” He is very trustworthy. I was weary to meet him at first too, but trust me he will be able to help straighten out your life and offer you comfort and hope in the gravest of circumstances. I am one of his servants and delight in following after him and the prince, who was wrongly accused and killed. The prince did not stay in the kingdom like most princes do. He became like a servant helping people. He healed the sick, helped the poor, and went everywhere teaching people how to live life and to serve the king.”

Lucy’s curiosity drew her in. “Really? Wow, that doesn’t sound like any kingdom I have ever heard of.”

“What do you say? Follow me to this King?”

“Why not, I need a new life, and there is nothing for me here.”

So Lucy and her 5 children followed the tortoise. With ambition, and optimism filling their eyes they were on their new journey. The tortoise was nervous about the voyage, for he knew it was long, but he kept his hope high as the Prince and King had told him to do.

As the days went by the journey seemed like it would be easier than the tortoise thought. Lucy had obeyed all the rules the tortoise had set for her. There was also a special bounce to her step. It seemed to her like it would be a worry free excursion.

Along the way they would stop to rest and eat. Lucy had nothing so the tortoise always graciously shared what he had, for the King had given him everything anyway. After eating the tortoise would sit beside the cozy warm and bright fire where he would then take out his book the King had written. Lucy had seen him open this book each night. Once he was finished reading he seemed refreshed and ready to tackle the next leg of the journey. After several weeks of this Lucy asked with curiosity, “What is that book you read?”
“This is a letter that the King and Prince wrote together about how to live your life. It teaches me how to serve them better and how to live my life. An instruction book if you will.”
“Will you teach me about the book?”

“I would love to.”

And so as they continued on their journey they would stop at night to eat and rest for the night. During these times of respite the tortoise continued to get out his book and read it to Lucy and her children. They enjoyed the book very much and Lucy started to find hope and healing from her addictive and destructive lifestyle.

After about a month of their travels, Lucy started to desire her potion again. The kind that made her do crazy things.
Lucy asked, “Can you help me to fight the urge?”
“I will show you different instructions in my book, and you can ask the King himself to help you. He is very good at helping people with addictions but it might take quite some time. You have to be patient and listen to ALL the book says to be released from the draw of the potion. You must also listen to me and stay right behind me. There are people ahead in the forest where the road splits who love this potion and it has ruined their lives. All day long they drink it. They can not even think straight anymore because they live their lives for the potion. They even steal things in order to get money for this potion.”

Lucy bent her head for she didn’t want the tortoise to see the shame on her face. She too had stolen from people in order to get money for the potion. Her shame swelled even greater thinking about how she had neglected her children. Now memories came like a dam that suddenly broken. She remembered being under the potion and how she treated her children and what she had done. It was haunting really. She then remembered how she had been many days, maybe even months without the potion. How clear she could think. How her children were happy again. How proud she was. Lucy kept putting one foot in front of the other.

That night Lucy lay awake in the stillness of the night with her thoughts as loud as the marketplace in the morning. She was fighting back urges, and old lifestyles that led to destruction. She liked following the tortoise and liked the friendship they had created. She enjoyed listening to his book. After wrestling with her thoughts and emotions she finally fell asleep.

The next day after taking a short break, the tortoise explained to Lucy that soon the road would get harder. They would get to a road where there were two paths, and after the crossroads there would be many mountains. He reassured her that it was worth it and the end it would be the grandest feeling and experience she had ever known.
Wrestling again with her thoughts she followed behind him.

They soon came to the crossroads the tortoise had talked about. The tortoise started to pick up his pace for he knew he was slow, and also knew that he wanted to get by the unrestrained forest before her temptations for the potion overcame her. His hope was that if he could just get her past the forest the rest of the journey would seem effortless.

After they stepped foot into the forest the tortoise could smell the potion, and what happened next will change the course of the whole story; not allowing it to end in “They lived happily ever after,” as most fairy tales do. A woman came from behind a tree with sly eyes and greeted Lucy and asked her if she wanted to sit and have some potion with her. Lucy looked at the tortoise, then at her children. The tortoise said something out loud, which sounded like he was talking to the King but Lucy couldn’t quite hear it because of her thoughts. The tortoise quickly ran over to Lucy and pulled her by the arm.
“I won’t let you do this. You have come so far," he announced.

“But we still have a long way to go. You said so yourself.”

“It will be a lot of hard work, but remember I told you it would be worth it. Please don’t give up now. You have also come so far. You need a new life, and your kids deserve a better mom.”

“You are right,” And with that Lucy looked up the road and started walking. The tortoise decided he should hold hands with her continuing to give her support for he knew there were many more potion lovers in the forest trying to lure people into their slavery of misery.

They had traveled very far through the forest and it was everything Lucy could do to put one foot in front of the other. The tortoise looked back at her children and they had more than fear in their eyes.

Right before the last tree, out popped two very handsome men, each holding potion in their hands.

She could no longer resist the temptation. She ran over to the men and grabbed the potion, swallowing it down quickly. With every gulp her children felt the pain hit hard, knowing that things were going to go back to the way they were. The men convinced Lucy to go into the woods for more potion, and she accepted despite the pleas from the tortoise and the pain stricken eyes, and scared silence of her children. The tortoise decided he would wait for her hoping that in the morning she would have a change of heart with repentance, but when the morning came nothing, and no one came out of the forest. The tortoise opened his book, and tried to give comfort to the children, and himself. They waited several days, until finally Lucy came stumbling out of the woods. She looked haggard, as those who have been drinking the potion for days naturally do. The tortoise told her it was time to continue the journey. Lucy looked down as she had done before in shame and said in a small voice. “I am not going with you.”

The tortoise fought the tears of disappointment and replied, “So this is the life you would rather have? What about your kids?” They stood looking at each other several moments, and the silence cut deep into the heart of the tortoise knowing there was nothing else he could do. Breaking the quietness the tortoise stated, “Alright then, I can not force you to go. I deeply care about you and your children so I guess the only thing I can do is to love you like the prince of my kingdom loves, and listen to his advice in his book. I will continue to visit you where ever you are. I am always here for you, but I will continue the rest of the journey on my own. Know that this road to the kingdom remains and you are always welcome to follow it.” With that the tortoise turned to leave. His legs felt heavy and part of him wanted to just curl up in his shell for several days, but he knew he had more people to help and more people to take to the kingdom. He also thought he heard the King whisper, “I know how you feel,” and with that the tortoise felt sorrow, thankfulness and comfort all at the same time.

And so this is the part of fairy tales where there is a miraculous change and the problem gets solved, but not in this story. At least not yet.
The End

For school we have been writing Fairy Tales in light of learning about Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I was inspired to write a fairy tale (I know it is more of a Tragic Fairy Tale) to express some thoughts.

Lucia is no longer living with us and it is better for everyone. We no longer were able to help her, but the relationship started to change in that we were enabling her addictions. While we were gone she really spiraled out of control. I would ask that you continue to pray for her and her children. When I visit her she tells me things I want to hear but her actions are not yet different.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Long Awaited Update on Cody

It has been a looonnnnggg time since I blogged last, and so I apologize. I didn't renew our internet and was just checking my email and such from Cody's phone, but was not able to do excessive amounts of typing. I had intentions of updating my blog when we returned home but on the way home from Kampala I started not feeling well. Malaria. Here is the long awaited long story short from last blog post. Cody was in the hospital for several days. Once they released him they wanted us to stay "south" so that he could continue to recover at a close distance and also so they could do some testing a week from his release date to ensure that everything was back to "normal." The Williams, Misty, and the rest of our crew (our boys), met us in Jinja, as that is in our opinion the best place for recuperating. Cody was having weird symptoms, but doctors assured us it would just take time and they would dissipate.

After a week Cody returned to the hospital to discover that is renal function was satisfactory, and his blood levels were mostly normal. His liver levels were still a little off (no one ever informed us before they were abnormal but apparently they were....explaining his yellowish color). All this meant we were free to go home. I was very ready at that point, or rather several days before, to be home back to a routine and such.

He now is mostly feeling good. He has frequent headaches, but they seem to be becoming fewer. We are all trying to just rest and take it easy for a while.

A lot of people are wondering how we are doing? Honestly.....extremely well considering the circumstances. Many times I was surprised at myself and the fact that I wasn't falling apart, particulary in my sleep deprived state. Everyone was praying for us and encouraging us enormously during the whole thing. Living here has made me stronger in God, and tougher :) Uganda is also becoming more and more like home for us. We have made some great friends and of course have built preeminent community with Williams. There were some times of sheer frustration (particularly with the ATMS in Kampala), but they seemed to be few compared to the blessings. We also knew before we came to Uganda life would be hard and that we would make sacrifices. Did I think I would go through so many health issues? No, but God has been good. We really have nothing to complain about compared to Paul's missionary journey in the New Testament. It is just part of following Jesus and living in the area we do.

I was able to capture some different "kodak moments" from Cody's phone so here are a few good ones.

Our Emergency Flight with MAF (Mission Avaition Fellowship). The airstrip was a nice dirt strip. Our pilot was amazing! When we were standing and waiting for the plane, from a distance I could hear the plane coming to get us and then when I saw it, joy and relief filled my heart! Janaya, Eliana, Cody and I are very grateful that MAF was so prompt and easy to work with.

The views from the plane were phenomenal. We could see the Karamajong Manyattas and they looked amazing from the air. We made it to Kampala in one and half hours compared to our drive of 12 hours. It was sooooooo nice!! (And less bumpy)

Cody started to regain strength, was able to sit up on his own and have a conversation. I was so happy I had to take a picture. He is drinking vanilla milk after not eating for 8 days. Yummy! And it was cold! Even better.

Eliana in the Trauma room at the hospital. I think if she could talk she would say, "I'm tired of all of this!"

She is better after having a warm bath in the hospital room!

With Much Gratefulness,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

He Is Getting Better

I know many of you are following and praying along with us so here is the latest. Cody is progressively doing better. His kidneys are slowly healing, so he is starting to feel better. He was able to get out of bed and walk around a little. There is still some pain in different areas that are unexplained but we hope with time they will diminish or we will find out what is causing it.

The team is coming down from Kotido to be here with us. I am really excited! I really miss the boys. Misty has been AMAZING in taking on the responsibilities (and craziness) for us back home.

I know I have said this before but it is worth saying again. Thank you for all your support. The emails, the FB postings, etc. It has been really encouraging to me. It is hard to have to be in a medical emergency in another country but everyone's help and support has made it easier. I really have an amazing family in Christ.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cody's Progress

Just wanted to inform everyone that Cody is getting better! Hooray! This morning he woke up and was alert and talking. He was even able to eat a little. He is still very weak and goes through bouts of extreme weakness but comparatively it is much better. He still has a fever on and off so they are trying to find out where that is coming from. He is also having some pain in certain areas and his blood pressure is really low so they are still investigating that as well. Thanks again for all your prayers and support! I will continue to post updates.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's going on with Cody

Sigh....what a long day. Actually what a long week. More like 9 days. I will try to inform you as best as I can in my sleep deprived state. Last Wednesday Cody started to feel sick, but his malaria test came back negative. Cody still suspected it was malaria because his symptoms were similar to when he had it before. He decided to take some natural remedies to see if that helped and he thought it was. He would feel okay for a while and then would be feeling sick again. Saturday morning he woke up feeling pretty good so we thought it was all over. We suspected that maybe it was the flu as it had gone around our house. Sunday he took a turn for the worst, and I took him again to get malaria tested. It was plus III which means nothing to most of you, but it basically means the malaria parasites were numerous in his blood. He was also testing positive for typhoid. We were able to get him on meds and fluids right away. After a day and half things were not getting better and in fact he was really miserable and was not doing well. Couldn't keep anything down. Things didn't get progressively better so I decided that we would take him to the nearest hospital about 2 hours away. Once there they did some more testing to find out a whole lot of nothing. For me it was hard to see him in the state he was in. He was very confused, slept all day, and was in a lot of pain. One night he was having hallucinations. It was physically and emotionally demanding for me because here you take care of the patient and provide food for yourself. I was up with him all night making sure he didn't pull out his IV or fall out of his bed. I would also have to unhook him from his IV so he could use the bathroom, or vomit. I got 2 hours of sleep and 4 the night before. Again after finding nothing wrong, my heart ached. Really? After the doctor told me there was nothing abnormal I decided I wanted to take him off the quinine treatment, as it is really harsh and many of his symptoms sounded like a severe reaction to the drug. (i.e. chest pain, loss of hearing, deliruim, vomiting, diarrhea etc). When malaria is so severe doctors think that quinine is the best. I am not so sure for Cody. By this morning (Thursday) he was not vomiting, and I did get more sleep, but his fever returned, bring alarm to me. Why a fever? They were also giving him antibiotic for the typhoid so he shouldn't be having fever (not to mention the test for typhoid was not negative). At that point I decided that I wanted to take him to Kampala for further testing and to be at a more advanced facility. When morning broke, I started making arrangements to getting him to Kampala as quickly as I could. I knew driving was not an option. I called MAF (mission aviation fellowship) for an emergency flight and they were there within 3 hours. It was amazing. The emotion I felt when I saw the plane land on the dirt strip was indescribable. For Cody it felt like the longest plane ride but it was only 1 and a half hours seeming minute compared to the 12 hour drive. Once at the hospital in Kampala more tests revealed nothing was wrong (malaria and typhoid were both gone), but I knew otherwise. This is not my husband. He has been sick for 9 days. Hasn't eaten anything in 7. Hasn't had a legitimate conversation with me since Saturday. Why is his hand numb? Why is he swelling so? Why the fever? Why does he sleep all day? They ran more tests. The newest results are that he is having kidney problems similar to kidney failure. This is due to malaria and then the drugs on top of that. The doctors do not think it is severe enough to put him on dialysis but they are keeping an eye on it so that if it were to get worse they can take appropriate actions.

How am I doing? I am relieved to have a diagnosis, but now I pray he gets better because the pattern so far has not been in our favor. God has been so good to us in this whole process and I am so thankful for all that he has done. Thankful that we were able to bring him to Kampala.

It has also been a true blessing to see the body of Christ come together to help us in this ordeal. The prayers, the support. Misty is staying back with the boys and I have Janaya and Eliana with me. The Williams have been helping in lots of ways. Family and friends back home doing everything they can. It reminds me of the church in Acts. Truly a blessing. I will also add that I am tired. Taking care of Cody has been draining as it is like taking care of a dementia patient, but being in Kampala should lower the burden.

Now we wait for him to get better. Thanks for everyone's prayers. They have really meant a lot to us. We feel really loved and supported. I will try to keep updating the blog so you know the progress.


Friday, October 7, 2011


Today marks our year anniversary for being in Uganda. Below you will find what Cody wrote for our newsletter.

Last year on October 6, we boarded the airplane in Denver, Colorado with 14 suitcases, 5 kids (with number 6 on the way), excitement, and fear. We were following God’s command for us to move our lives to Karamoja, Uganda. Our hearts were burdened for the desperate state of the Karimojong people. We knew there were risks when moving here. Those risks, though, could not keep us from obeying the voice of God. In Acts 21, the apostle Paul is warned against going to Jerusalem, but his response was a great encouragement to us. He said “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. . . Let the will of the Lord be done.” We did not know exactly what awaited, but knew that God would be glorified in our obedience to follow Him. Our journey differed from that of Paul because we did not come to Karamoja with the anticipation of death or imprisonment. We came here full of hope that God would speak bring the Karimojong to Himself. That they would become disciples of Jesus Christ and follow Him as he asks people to do in his word.

What We Have Learned
In our fist year, we have experienced much that has brought us great joy and also great pain. Our home sits in a community engulfed in a kind of poverty that is not present in the western world. People starve to death here. Babies are thrown aside by loving parents because they have no way to care for the child. In the midst of this all, the name of God must be glorified. We must treat Him as holy while living here.

The Torah
Our family, along with the Williams’ and Misty have read through the Torah in its entirety this year in house church. It has definitely been ordained by God for us. We started doing this because it was what Jesus did and all of Israel would do. It was in the Torah that people came to know God’s character, and in turn, Him. In the Torah, Moses struggles with a difficult people whom are sought after by God, but choose to prostitute themselves to other gods. Through Isaiah God says, “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices.” We have seen how the human heart is rebellious, but God is showing us how he continues to pursue them. For us, righteousness is found in our obedience to God. This obedience is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ, which reconciles a sinful world to a perfect God. But it is the obedience that God desires. Even Moses is found to be disobedient at times, but in humility returns to show the holiness of God through his life. Showing us this, God makes it clear that He is good and holy even if we don’t completely understand. He is God, after all.

Loving People
Through all we have experienced, the central theme here is that these people need to be loved. We have loved many babies and even brought them into our home to care for them. We have loved the alcoholic who was destroying their life. We have loved the terminally ill who was left in town to die. We have fed the hungry, given water to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger into our home, clothed the naked, visited those who are sick and in prison and we have loved them all. We have loved the unlovely. The thing they all need is God. We have loved an lost, loved and saved life, but are finally inadequate to make any lasting difference. Only God can save the soul and give them hope. We have therefore learned that our good deeds apart from obedience to God are as filthy rags. They will all pass away, but what God does will remain. MAY GOD REIGN IN KARAMOJA!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Twins, Lucia, and pictures of family time

Achen showing all her teeth. She has almost 6 now.

I thought the best post would be to update you on some things. First of all while Cody's family was here we went to visit the twins, Loma and Achen, in the village. It was so good to see them. They are doing really well. Loma is still having some troubles with his lungs but it is nothing severe and he is on an antibiotic. They look really healthy and their mom has done a great job taking care of them. It was such a joy to see them doing so well.

Lucia has been going back to her village to visit and after talking with her we all thought it was best for her to go back to her village permanently. This was a mutual decision, and we think she will be happier around her people. We also think she will have more purpose and things to keep her busy. It is getting close to harvest time which will be a great time of celebration for her and her village. Her leaving is a bittersweet thing for me. I have really enjoyed having her company, and there were many times she made me laugh. Especially the way she would come into the house and just babble off in Karamajong like I understand every word. She will be coming to visit us once a month when she gets her medication, so we are happy that we will continue to see her often. Please pray for two things for Lucia. One, that she would have a yearning for God. She was a part of our Bible time on the compound and such, and I would describe her as the seed that fell on rocky soil from the parable that Jesus tells. She didn't seem to really have a yearning to know God and to follow Him. Two, pray that she will gain weight and have an appetite for food, she is still super skinny.

We had a great time visiting Cody's family. I wish I could share lots of pictures with you, but they just don't load fast enough, but I picked out a few:
Of course we took them to sliding rock. This picture of John and Janaya is great!

Just another day at our house.

Cindy holding Akiar.

Our journey to Kotido. It was loooonnnngggg, but we made it! It was like a bumpy safari without the animals, and without comfortable seats :) John, Samuel and Cody were in the front.

Keli and Eliana

Our 4 wheel drive went out on the way to Kotido so the way back we got stuck, but it wasn't bad at all. Right after we started pushing the car, to get it out, another vehicle came by and pulled us out. None the less you can't come to Uganda and not experience getting stuck at least once :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reflections on the "Hiding Place"

I wrote this a couple weeks ago. Some of my thoughts in my journal:

I read 1 Thessalonians before going to bed. Chapter 5 seems so practical.

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

The next day I continue reading the book “The Hiding Place” which is a story of Corrie Ten Boom. I am toward the end where her sister and her are moved to a new concentration camp. Their conditions got worse from the last concentrations camp. They had smuggled a Bible into their barracks and would read it to the other prisoners. As they got to their new cell it was filled with noxious soiled straw where they were to sleep. Fleas were jumping all over them and biting them. Betsie, Corrie’s sister, asks the Lord right there to show them how they can live in such a way. Before she finished with the prayer, the answer came in the scripture they had read aloud earlier that day which happened to be 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. Here is the dialogue:

“That’s it Corrie! That’s His answer. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances!’ That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!”
I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul aired room.
“Such as? I said.
“Such as being assigned here together.”
I bit my lip. “Oh yes, Lord Jesus!”
“Such as what you’re holding in your hands.”
I looked down at the the Bible. “Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all the women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.”
“Yes,” said Betsie. “Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!” She looked at me expectantly. “Corrie!” she prodded.
“Oh , all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds.”
“Thank You,” Betsie went on serenely, “for the fleas and for---”
The fleas! This was too much. “Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.”
“Give thanks in all circumstances,’ “ she quoted.
“It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances,’” Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas.

God is continually teaching me to give thanks in all circumstances, not just the ones that seem easy to give thanks. I have read 1 Thess. 5 before but with different struggles in my life I realized how I can loose my joy and begin to focus on the bad when there is so much good around me. A common theme for me while living here (if you haven’t noticed). Just like Corrie I find it hard to give thanks in all circumstances but when I stop and ask God how I can go on dealing with different circumstances......

I can give thanks.

Something else I learned from reading about the life of the Ten Boom’s is being thankful for the opportunity to share the word of God and the gospel. It is really humbling to hear about their situations in the concentration camps and yet it was so important to them to share the word of God to others. They were not worried about themselves and their circumstances, but rather the situation of others around them. This is not always my attitude. Many times I am worried about myself and my comforts, forgetting about the spiritual condition of those around me. My heart yearns, "Empty me Jesus. Empty me of my selfishness, empty me of the comforts I hold on to, empty me of my foolish emotions, empty me of myself. Fill me with your love, your meekness, your compassion, fill me with you!"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We are down south getting supplies, getting dental work done, renewing visas, and waiting for Cody's family to come in, so I thought I would share some pictures while I can. Enjoy.

Joshua cutting onions. He tried to use goggles to prevent his eyes from watering. Didn't work so here was the second attempt........

It also failed. The next time he tried both together.

Samuel holding a sunflower from our garden. One of the only things we were able to harvest, due to the soil condition in our yard, and not enough shade :( There is always next year!

And you thought roads in America were bad. Now you see why we need a good vehicle. And to think this is not that bad! We did make it around those 2 trucks that were stuck.

Malachi and Eliana

Janaya and Rikot Williams

Carter and Slash. We finally were able to find him a tortoise for his birthday and he was so excited. The sad news is that he is now MIA after Carter played with him outside and accidentally left him there. Those tortoises are faster than they look, just ask the rabbit.

Joshua and Janaya teaching Lokong and Lopiye (Lucia's sons) how to write.

Eliana is almost 5 months if you can believe it!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To See a Rose Among so Many Thorns

Tomorrow Akiar celebrates his 2 month birthday!

I make and nonchalantly distribute 9 bottles a day between the 2 babies staying with us, but for some reason this time I stop to "smell the roses". Something I don't always find myself doing because I feel at times I am surrounded by thorns. I have seen the thorns of babies dying in my arms; with that I stop to look at baby Akiar, and realize he is a rose.

Akiar is the baby that came from a large village about 7 miles from Kotido. His mother died giving birth to him and his family didn't give much hope for him, in fact they didn't even name him, expecting he would die. Another local NGO had given some supplies to help care for him, but his family had a lack of knowledge in caring for him. Here in Karamoja newborn babies don't survive without their mothers. He was a robust 10.5 pounds when he was born but after 2 weeks was down to a dwindling 6 pounds. They didn't know you should feed him more than twice a day.

His older sister and him came to stay with us when he was 2 weeks, and we are teaching and helping her to take care of him. It has been a rough road for little Akiar. After getting food and doing better, he had a severe case of pneumonia and then malaria. For a while it seems he was sick all the time, even suffering from different rashes. Not to mention his body was having a hard time on the formula.

His grandmother happened to come visit when he was very sick with pneumonia and again she gave up on him surviving. She ended up having to stay with us as she fell very ill while visiting for the day. We took her to get malaria tested and not only did she have malaria but also brucellosis. We were able to get her an IV and treatment from our house making it easier to care for her. Her staying for 2 weeks gave us the chance to share the gospel, and more of our love. Now when she comes to visit she smiles and has a hope for his survival. His uncles, and other family come to visit, now knowing he will survive.

As I stop to look at this beautiful rose God has planted, I am overcome with joy at the opportunity to get to see him thriving. Another rose pops in my mind-The opportunity to share the word of God with his sister and his family. For her to see Jesus's love in action.

Misty did a good job of naming him "Life" in Karamajong. Thank you Jesus for giving him life!
God has brought him through so much and he is now thriving instead of barely surviving.

The roses are there, you just have to stop long enough to look for them. You may even sometimes have to pick through the thorn bushes to find one.

Akiar's father coming to visit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hear from the Kids

I thought it might be fun to involve the kids in my blog so I had them answer the question, "What is your favorite thing about living in Uganda?"


"Swimming in Jinja first and then sliding rock second. Well maybe Red Chili first and swimming in Jinja second, then sliding rock 3rd."

"The thing I like about Uganda the most has always been my friends. My friend's names are Ezra, Zion, Izzy, Rikot, Veah, Selah, and Donian and there are more. They are really nice to me, they play with me. Most of the time, Ezra and Donian play football with me.

"The thing I like most about living in Uganda is a rock called slide rock. We sometimes go there to play with our friends."

"The thing I like most about Uganda is when I make friends and play football (soccer) with them. The other thing is when we go to football and play and then after that my dad tells them about Jesus. The other important thing I like about living here is helping people who are in need.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lucia had her Baby!

Monday afternoon Lucia started to go into labor. She walked to the local clinic where they sent her back home to collect some things. We were on our way home from Jinja so were not able to help. She ended up delivering the baby on the road near the police bariks. A gentlemen assisted her and cut the umbilical cord for her. The baby was almost 7 lbs, so praise the Lord for that! She named the baby Michaela.
We have had some difficulties with Lucia since then. She didn't want to nurse the baby and was drunk for 24 hours (before we made it home). I was having to monitor her quite closely once we arrived home and made her nurse the baby since she had not done so yet. She is being rebellious about several things and it is beginning to show that she is having desires to go back to her old lifestyle. Please pray for her. Pray that her faith would take root, and that she could resist the temptation to follow her desires, but rather follow the desires of God. Pray that she would continue to want to be a good mother and would give love to her new daughter and her other children.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Village Amoung Us

Cody and I have been working on updating our website. It is not yet complete, but there is a page that we made titled "The Village Among Us" This page has more information about who is staying with us. Lucia the elder lady living with us has been very welcoming to the newest babies and said she would be happy to help with making them feel welcome. She also stated that she has felt things in her heart that she has never felt before. It is really exciting to begin to see the change in her life and heart.

Our website is On the left you will see all the links. Click on "Our Village."

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have been updating you all on what is going on here at the village in our yard. So here is what has been happening this week:

Loma and Achen continually get better. The chemical burn from the glucose IV is healing, but it will take a couple more weeks, since it is a burn. They are gaining weight and Loma is able to sit up on his own like his sister. I almost cried the first time I saw him sitting. A lot of smiles around here including theirs!

This is Loma. Not the best picture because he just finished crying. He doesn't like when we have to bandage his head, or when we take the old one off :(.

Nagwe is back from the hospital (2 hours away). They diagnosed her with Tuberculosis and she is getting treatment. She has begun learning how to make glass bead necklaces, and has told us several times she really enjoys making the necklaces.

Winnie, the woman who works for us has not been feeling well. She was having some severe pain and had very high blood pressure. We were concerned there was something the clinical officers couldn't see with the limitations in medical equipment. We took her to the hospital that Nagwe went to. They did lots of testing to find out she has an infection somewhere in her body. We are hoping to take her to Kampala with us when we renew our visas in September to do further investigation to the root of the problem.

Lucia still hasn't had her baby, but I am guessing any day now she will go into labor. In the meantime she has done really well with making glass bead necklaces, and she is now able to buy her own food, and to not rely on us. We are trying to teach her how to save money so that she can send her children to school. Her character continues to transform and we are very grateful for the progress she has made while being here.

We are all doing well. Eliana is growing like crazy and starting to grab for things. They are all looking forward to the arrival of Cody's parents and Aunt Keli in September. Malachi asks many times throughout the week when they are coming because unlike the other kids he doesn't understand how far away September is. We will be traveling next week to take Nikki and Kristen back. I have enjoyed them being here so much and I have realized how much we need more laborers. If any of you are interested in coming here to serve in different ways please contact me by email We have lots of different projects and such that we need help with. Please be praying for more laborers, and pass the word around if you know of people who would love to serve with us here in Karamoja.

Lucia's daughter holding Eliana.