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Thursday, July 12, 2012

life at home: "re-entry"

It never ceases to amaze me how difficult the "re-entry" back into my normal life can be.  My body clock is SO off...i am wide awake every morning at 3:30 am.  I am FREEZING. who knew that your body could get use to no air condition and then when you have it again...you FREEZE?!?!  My husband is SO glad to have me back....have I mentioned what a rockstar he is?  he took my kids (6) and 3 friends to the lake for the night of fourth of July....R.O.C.K.S.T.A.R.  The other night, he made me promise that I wouldn't ever take off and leave him for another man...and leave  him with all of these "crazy kids!"( hahaa)  But most of all, the time table of America.  every thing moves at a CONSTANT pace...we go from one thing to another.  BY THE CLOCK.  One of the most bittersweet things about Africa is there is NO time frame.  life moves on each and every day minute by minute.  if you are late..it is okay.  EVERYBODY is late.  plans change moment to moment and nobody cares.  HERE..if a plan changes, you have to contact the person, then they have to contact three more people to change their plans and the chain reaction ends up affecting like 30 people for just one change of plans!  If you are in Africa visiting, it is refreshing.  If you are there adopting, it makes you want to put a gun to your head!! Coming back home to children that want to "go and do each and every minute of the day" is about to kill me...especially since I am up for 18 hours of the day.  Katie often tells me that bringing her two youngest to America is much more difficult than having 13 in Africa and that is the reason..the pace..it is much more slow.  So, I am up at the crack of dawn, complaining to you.  In reality, I am SO thankful to be home.  Absence DEFINITELY makes the heart grow fonder.  I LOVE my family and my life.  I LOVE knowing that HE has me in the palm of HIS hand and that I can feel HIS presence each and every moment.  I LOVE having to rely on HIM for every single thing in my life...because, the truth is, my life is MASS CHAOS (another revelation while being gone!)  I love my husband more that life itself...did I mention that he is a rockstar?

As I think back over my time away, there are a few things that I want to  live by daily.  The needs around me are TOO many.  So, I have a choice.  to feel COMPLETELY overwhelmed.  OR to meet each need as I am faced with it.  each person.  each appointment.  each bath.  each meal.  each  medicine.  each  NEED by itself, with nothing attached but what is RIGHT in front of me every minute of the day.  It is baby steps through life.  we are NOT guaranteed tomorrow, only today.  SO, I will live each day, moment by moment.  NOW, the hard part is dealing with everyone around me.  People want commitments for the next 3 weeks.  A timetable...that is how America works.  The thought of it makes me feel like I am drowning.  I will not fall into the pit of DEMAND.  day by day...survival.

I want to remember how 98% of the rest of the world lives.  Some with no water or food or clothes.  BUT with a smile and thankfulness that they are alive.  I want to HOLD onto the JOY that only HE can give me rather than the empty happiness that the world has to offer.

I want to CLING to HIS word and HIS promises that HE will NEVER leave me NOR forsake me.   When my days here on earth are DEFEATING, that HE will give me the perfect amount of strength!

I can't forget the mother who locked her 12 month old twins up in a hut  from morning til dark to go out and search for food.  Their empty eyes, peeling skin, and swollen bodies from being so malnourished.  The look on their faces as I spooned food into their mouths and when the bowl was empty..they cried for more....  bowl after bowl after bowl.

I will never forget the twins that were covered in open wounds from syphilis.

the children that tested positive for HIV....will they get the meds that they need or die?

REALITY....we all need a dose of it.


Deuteronomy 4:40
Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.






Friday, July 6, 2012

A fabulous day and a little clarification

I received an email from the US, that I am so thankful for.  I never know who wants to be mentioned on my blog or who doesn't, so typically, I steer clear from any mention of names unless i have permission.  All of that said, the person that asked us to bring the formula and diapers to Damalie was Brantley Freeman with voices4thevoiceless.org.  I LOVE what this organization does.  I LOVE their hearts!  They have been collecting funds to  purchase land and BUILD Damalie a permanent place to care for all of the babies that she has in her custody.  When we met Damalie the first day, she told us that she had some friends for America that we helping her to have a permanent place.  However, she HAD to move into a place with water and electricity by this past Monday or the children would be taken.  SO, all of that said, the house that we rented on her behalf is just temporary.  She will only be there until the new place is built by Voices 4 the Voiceless.

While we are just an extension of what is already being done for this ministry, it helps my heart to see the body of Christ joining hearts in providing for people in need. HIS timing is perfect.

I spent a lot of time yesterday talking to Damalie about logistics of licensing, legal papers on all of the children, how money will be spent (not given straight to her but through the correct channels) that will best benefit her and these babies.  She has a clear picture of what has to be done to care for these babies on the Ugandan side and what has to be in order for us to help on the US side.  I am thankful that Voices 4 the Voiceless had already laid the groundwork so that she is able to understand.  The need in her home is SO great.  We have some doctors with us that examined the babies yesterday.  Several are severely malnourished, a few had malaria, syphilis, eye infections and diarrhea are common and we were able to test for HIV.  While a few showed to be positive, not nearly as many as I thought MIGHT be, so it was a blessing.  We spent the rest of the afternoon helping to feed dinner.  I am thankful to see that she has Ugandan women to help, and hopeful that the children that we diagnosed with sickness can get the meds that are needed and get better.


We are closing in on the last few days of our trip.  pray for our hearts to stay open for what HE has for us, and that we can see things clearly..just as HE sees them:)





Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Uganda day 3




 We have fallen in love with baby David at Katie's house.  Grace and I can't keep our hands off of him. This is a pic of him and his mom with Grace.  He is malnourished, so Katie is giving him formula and feeding his mother so that her milk is becoming more rich and substantial for him to be able to flourish:)



We spent the morning in town shopping for African paintings and other fun souvenirsJ  After eating lunch in town,  we headed into the karomojong village with Katie to pick up a lady that has a baby that had been burned.  She had a kerosene lamp burning  in her hut and it fell over and caught the foam mattress on fire that the baby was laying on.  It burned one side of the baby’s body.   When the mother brought the baby to Katie, the burn was packed with rabbit fur ( a custom this village has done for many years when they have a large wound.)  Katie took the baby to the hospital and the doctors refused to treat the child.  So, of course, Katie took the child home and pulled the hair out one by one with tweezers for hours upon hours. Katie redresses the burn each day, and it is actually healing really well. 

After dinner, I went into town with Katie and Anna Bliss.  We went to the store to buy drinks and snacks for a man that has a hurt leg. As I walked into the hospital room, I was OVERCOME with the WORST stinch I have EVER smelled in my entire life.  The smell of rotting flesh is like NONE OTHER!  From his knee to his ankle is open flesh, his shin bone is the color of charcoal and all around the edges is green goop…. We are not sure WHAT exactly has happened, but DO know that there is two choices.  1) amputate 2) strip the leg down to bone and muscle ONLY and treat it every day for the next year to make sure that infection doesn’t set in after it is all cleaned out.  We will know tomorrow what they decide. 

Never a dull moment here….

Uganda day 4

I could barely get my eyes open this morning!  Who knows?  Maybe it was the smell from the rotting leg from last night that sealed my eyes together?!? (haha)

I went into the karomojong village with Katie this morning.  There was a little part of me that was dreading it abit.  Every time I leave there, I am SO overwhelmed with the needs, and I feel SO helpless.  I feel a bit of anxiety on what my part is in the BIG picture of these people’s lives.  I pray for them, but it never seems to be enough.  The teenagers on our trip, stayed at Katie’s house with her girls and baked cinnamon rolls, banana bread, and cleaned out her pantry and medical closet.  Susan, Renee, and Julie all went back into town to purchase mattresses, brooms, formula, diapers, and medicine for the babys home that we found earlier in the week. 




We had bible study with the Amazima “bead ladies.”  Katie is teaching them about the names of Christ.  She sent a plaster (band aid) around the circle and  asked in what way the band aid described Christ.   She taught them that Christ is the “HEALER” in our lives.  How does He heal?  By prayer, by miracles, etc…What does He heal?  Our sicknesses, our heart…heals us from  addictions.  IT WAS STRONG.  She had them read scripture and applied it to their lives.  I was in awe of how applicable she made it to their daily lives.  When she was finished, they asked the “vista” to pray.  I WAS SO HUMBLED to be sitting in a circle with these women,  much less, to be lifting them up to my sweet Savior in prayer.  My dread of the morning turned into thankfulness.  I am SO thankful that He had me right there in THAT moment to feel HIS presence in such a mighty way.  The red dirt smothered feet, tattered clothing, smell of burning trash, and the naked little bodies running all around brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. 

We returned to Katie’s and picked up the rest of my group.  We headed straight over to the new baby’s home that Renee, Susan, and Julie bought in town today.  The lady that runs the home started crying as we pulled through the gates with a van filled with MORE goodies for her and her babies!  We changed diapers, folded clothes, and promised her that we would return on Thursday to test all of the baby’s for HIV/AIDS.  Once again, tears were flowing as she explained that she desired to test them all, but it was going to cost 200,000 shillings to do it and she did not have the funds.  I AM SO EXCITED to be a part of this “GOD walk”

There is absolutely NOTHING like it!!




Sunday, July 1, 2012

Who knew? HE did. Uganda day 2


Please bear with me, because there are really NO WORDS to describe what we experienced today, but I am going to do my best. 

 The group that Grace came to Uganda with (Christ Presbyterian Church) was contacted and asked to bring formula and diapers to a lady that was running a babies home.  Upon arrival, they contacted the lady and asked her to meet them so they could pass it off to her.  After a series of events, they just decided to go to her home and give it to her.  When they arrived they found a lady living in a small home, with 14 babies all around the age of 6 months., and one 18 months old.   As, they talked to the lady and she shared her story, they learned that her husband is a pastor, they have 4 children of their own, and her heart is to help abandoned children.  (most from parents dying of AIDS or other  circumstances)  She spoke of her love for Christ and that she knew that HE had provided for them thus far, but couldn’t help but be anxious of the probation officer’s return. Over the past year, she has come to be known as  “that person” for the police or friends to bring these babies to .  The roof of her home was full of leaks.  There was one corner that stayed dry when it rained, so that was the corner in which she would move all 15 babies when the storms come each afternoon in the rainy season.  She had NO running water.  No electricity.  While talking to her, they realized that while she had papers showing that she had followed all of the legalities to have the children, and was abiding by the rules that are under Ugandan law, her facility in which they lived  DID NOT meet the requirements.  She was keeping chickens in one room as a means of bringing in money to feed the children.  The probation officer told her that he was going to return TODAY (Monday) and take the babies if she had not removed the chickens (which she had) and gotten water and electricity in her home.  The leaders from CPC asked her if she had another place that she could move and she told them about a new home up the hill that was available for rent but didn’t know any details.  The leaders of CPC walked to the home, knocked on the door and asked the man living there if it was available.  It just happened to be the landlord and he said that he would be willing to move out if he had renters.  They asked what the monthly bill would run and he explained with electricity and water it would cost around $400 a month.    At that moment, the spirit moved, they told him that they would commit and the deal was done.  When they returned to the babies home and told Demali their plans, she dropped to her knees and SOBBED praising Jesus for his provision. They came back to the kids that were on the trip and told them the story.  Each child on the trip has committed to a month.  Their goal is for each child to raise $400.00.  To watch these kids get SO EXCITED to share this story and raise the funds to help this ministry care for these abandoned babies was TOO much to bear. I thought my heart was going to burst right out of my chest! 

AND THEN THE FUN PART CAME…..We all loaded up,  drove to the old home, took the baby beds apart, packed clothes, mattresses, food, diapers, and formula AND MOVED THEM INTO THEIR NEW HOME!!!  (rainstorm and all!)   THE BODY OF CHRIST was at work in a MIGHTY WAY right before my very eyes!  I seriously could hear angels singing from heaven!!

 LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, we walked each and every baby up the hill to their new home, where they now have water, electricity, and no leaky roof!    Demali kept saying “I thought you were just bringing me formula and diapers, HOW did this happen!?!”  She cried all day long.  Through her tears she praised Jesus over and over again.  By the end of the day we were all exhausted physically and emotionally.  Our hearts were full.  SO FULL, that we could hardly breathe.  I cannot wait to go back later in the week and see the babies all settled in to their new home. 

As I looked into each of the babies faces, I couldn’t help but think of Caleb and Joshua when they were just as tiny.  Those children all belonged to someone just a few short months ago.  A mommy who loved them with her whole heart, just as I love Caleb and Joshua.  And  the one thing that I am clinging to is that these children have a Jesus that loves them more than I can comprehend.  He has sent a lady to care for them and love them each and every day.  He has sent a group of teenagers from the other side of the world, who have opened their hearts to help provide for these children and I got to see the WHOLE story unfold right before my very eyes!! 

Who knew?! 

HE did.










Uganda Day 1


My brain is still in somewhat of a fog.  Every year I forget how LONG the flight to Uganda is!  After a good nights sleep,  you hit the floor running and your eyes and heart are seeing things that are ONCE AGAIN unimaginable. 

We pulled into Amazima’s sponsorship/praise and worship right as they were beginning to eat.  Each year there seems to be 100 more children there!  Katie’s program is now up to 582 childrenJ   It is so neat to see  the children that once had hollow eyes and empty bellies to bright eyes, full bellies and hearts full of joy.  What a sweet, sweet blessing.  It made my heart SO full to hug Katie and her girls.  It started raining and Katie and I stood under a tree and got SOAKING wet just catching up on life.  She holds such a BIG part of my heart.  I am so thankful that God gave her to me as a friend.  It is such a special gift. 

Grace’s group was already there playing with the children.  To pull in and see THIRTY people from my hometown was so SURREAL.  Seriously?  We are all in Uganda together? As I looked around, some were playing on the playground, some were looking at the baby pigs, others were talking to “Franko the monkey”   It was one of those “W.O.W.” moments.  I couldn’t help but think back four years ago when that piece of land was completely empty, nothing on it.  We had NO IDEA that Amazima would grow like it has, much less Katie would have written a book.  Who knew?

Abbie, Kate, Grace , and I went on a walk/run this morning.  There was a young boy STRUGGLING to carry a large tub of water back to his hut.  We came alongside him and helped him carry it.  I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW HEAVY IT WAS!!  As we walked onto the trail to his home there was an additional bottle that he had already carried to that point.  It took all four of us to carry what he had carried all by himself.  I couldn’t help but think of the HUNDREDS of children that I have seen carrying those big bottles on their heads.  Who knew?

And then it hit me…HE knew.  THIS had been HIS plan all along!  While  I am going through life each and every day…just surviving…HE is planning each and EVERY moment for HIS glory.  AND HE has every moment of this trip planned out….and I can’t wait to see  what He will do.






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suzanne
I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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