All About My Time In The States
I am sorry that I have not written this earlier. I meant to write about each church I visited and each family I stayed with but we were on the road so much and every place we went there were people wanting to show us around and hear us share so it was very hard to find any downtime. We had such a great time sharing on behalf of Sonrise, raising financial support for the care of the babies and meeting so many people who are involved in God’s work all across the country. Here is an overview of everything that happened during my time in the states and some updates on things at Sonrise since I’ve been back:
Eldridge Baptist Church
My first place to visit from Mobile was Eldridge. My sister Rebecca drove while I stared and tried to take everything in. It was all still very overwhelming for me. The different types of trees, the beautiful roads, so many sign posts telling you which exit to turn off. So we got to Kayse’s place at night in the rain but praise God for Rebecca’s good driving because it was raining heaving and so foggy. She could hardly see but she braved the rain and we got to Kayse’s safely. Blake and Kayse were so happy to see us. Kayse cooked a wonderful dinner of Lasagna and cake (of course). We had a good time talking and visiting with them. We spoke at a Wednesday evening service. I shared with the church about my testimony and what we are trying to do at Sonrise and encouraged them about why they need to be involved missions. Later we displayed some crafts and beads for sale. We were so blessed by all the people praying for us, buying the beads, signing up for sponsorships and just asking more questions about Sonrise.
From Eldridge we went to Lexington, Kentucky to visit a dear friend Auntie Helen Lanier. She has helped to sponsor me and some of the other children from Good Shepherd’s Fold over the years and her son helped sponsor Ivan through seminary. She welcomed us warmly and introduced me to a dear friend of hers who currently has a children’s ministry in Uganda. Her friend runs an adoption agency here in the US so it was wonderful to talk to her. She has already gone through a lot of the processes that I have to go through for adoptions such as the legal paper work for her home. It was a very good contact to have especially since Sonrise is pursuing international adoptions. Aunt Helen fed us so much food! Also, while we were there I got to see the big horse park in Kentucky and some pretty big horses.
Jordan and Ben
From there we went to visit our friends Jordan and Ben Curtis in Louisville, Ky. They are in school at the Southern Baptist Seminary. We got lost and spent about two hours trying to figure out where we were haha. They were such a blessing to us. Jordan cooked us a big dinner and then later that night we went out for coffee!!! Of course I ordered for hot chocolate instead. We went to a down town cafe which is the rough area of the city so that was interesting to see. They helped us find a gas station where we could buy phone cards so I could call home. It was great to talk to everyone. We got to sleep in the next day too which was great because we were so tired.
Josh and Kim Moody and First Baptist Gardendale
From Louisville we headed down to Gardendale, Al. The Lord provided several opportunities for us to share through our friends Kim and Josh Moody. We shared at a bible study class at First Baptist Gardendale and displayed the beads and sponsorship info again. I also spoke at a ladies’ Beth Moore Bible study which was such a blessing. Josh and Kim have three little girls. It was so refreshing for me to spend sometime with little ones there. I just love it when I am able to spend sometime with children and I was missing all the Sonrise babies so much. We ate some very good home made dishes at the Moody’s house. I got to carve pumpkins for Halloween and see how they light up the pumpkin. That was pretty neat. We also got to meet all the people from First Baptist Gardendale that were going on a trip to Sonrise in November. All I can say is that we were truly blessed to have the privilege of spending some time with these friends. You are all such a blessing to so many children in Uganda. Thank you so much for making me to feel so loved and to get to meet you and your wonderful family members.
Emily and Rich Houser
When I came back from Birmingham I went to New York to visit Emily. I was so amazed at how big New York is!!! I did not get to visit the city center but could see it from the airport and also while flying in. I could not believe my eyes!!! While flying up there in that plane I asked myself many many questions. Why me, a girl from absolute poverty in a village in Uganda? How could I be flying over this big city and be here to share with others about the needs in Africa and to encourage others to go out and share Christ in Uganda, Africa or even just with people around where they are? Who am I to be used by a holy God? I really don’t deserve it. I just burst out in praise to our God while looking at that big city and that beautiful blue sky and the clouds. What a mighty God we serve that he created that big blue sky and the clouds. And the way He provided for my travels all over the USA. It is really a miracle.
I shared at Emily’s church and it was so encouraging because they had so many projects already in Uganda yet still they invited me to come and share what the Lord is doing at Sonrise. Again we displayed the crafts and beads and people bought them to support the babies. It was amazing to see my Mzungu brothers and sisters singing praises to God in LUGANDA!!! They had a song they were singing and they were singing it so rightly in Luganda. I could not believe my eyes. Emily organized a dinner at a community house were she invited her friends and people to come and hear about Sonrise.
I left New York and returned to my parents in Mobile. The next day we went to a fair!!!!!!!!! Goodness I have never seen so many things to play with in my entire life. Goodness it is just a big party of just GAMES. I was really amazed. I wanted to experience the tallest and scariest rides of all. So I went up on a tall tower which kind of drops. I really felt like I was falling. My knees were really shaking. Excited I went on to my next ride. I went to a big swing that swings you while rotating. Goodness I thought I was going to die. By the time the minutes of the ride were over I had tears in my eyes and ready to throw up. I threw up a couple times and then got motion sickness. My mom gave me some medicine and then I went back to rest. I was feeling so bad. After an hour and a half I went back inside to eat. They have good food at the fair. I ate fries with cheese on top and a funnel cake. That was soo good. We played some more and got to see some weird people swallowing swords, walking on machetes etc. What a night.
Mark and Christiana Sly at First Baptist Cochran
A few days later we went to Georgia and spoke at Cochran First Baptist Church. I spoke at a college group as well to the church. The church had a Halloween party for the community as well. It was so beautiful to witness the church sharing the love of Christ with the whole community. Again there was so much food, and cookies! We went trick or treating with the Sly boys. They got so much candy. I wish we could play that kind of game here in Uganda except you may not get lots of sweets but instead maybe fruits from people’s yards. I also met with a team coming to Uganda this summer and we had African tea prepared by Christiana. She has really mastered how to make the African tea really well. I was surprised. We sold a bunch of necklaces at the church it was wonderful.
Wilmer Baptist Church
Our God is an amazing God. We were supposed to be speaking at a certain church but it ended up getting cancelled. We were supposed to have lunch with the missions pastor at Wilmer Baptist and while we were eating he asked if we would all like to come and share at Wilmer that Sunday. We were so excited. We gave praise and Glory to God because he made away for us to share at this church in no time. Our time at Wilmer went very well. People were so touched. Earlier that week we had spoken to the youth group and then this Sunday we got to speak in the main service. The response was overwhelming. So many signed up to sponsor children and we sold so many necklaces. Some of the highschool kids took some necklaces to sell at their school. One of the girls, Taylor Jemison decided to do a project at her school for Sonrise and they are making t-shirts to raise money. God is good.
For my birthday we had a big fundraiser at my grandma’s church. My mom prepared lots of food and we had a giant cake. My brother Brian’s band played, the Underhill Family Orchestra. We invited lots of people to come and listen to me talk as well as see the video about Sonrise. A lot of people bought beads here too. It was a fun time and we raised lots of money.
Desperation Church and Charli & Stacey
We went to Birmingham again and visited Charli Cox a friend that has been to Uganda before and Stacey who had just returned from a trip to Uganda with First Baptist Gardendale. They are both bringing a team in March. We spoke at Desperation church. The people there welcomed us with open Arms. People gave generously and we had an amazing time of prayers. Charli took us to see the biggest statue I have ever seen in my life. It was a statue of a man made of steel because the place we went too used to be a steel mining place. It was beautiful to see Birmingham city from up there. So beautiful and extremely overwhelming. We got to see the salon where Charli works and meet all of her co-workers. My goodness what a fancy salon!!! We also went to eat at a pancake house. Then we looked at the mall which was of course much much more developed than the ones here in Uganda. We had lunch with Charli and Stacey. So much food!
My Mom decided to have an early thanksgiving because I was supposed to leave earlier than the real thanksgiving. Wow it was so much food. I usually don’t like turkey but I loved the way my mom made it. It was so good. So much good food! Writing about it now I am getting hungry. We had some family members come over. I got to meet some of my dad’s brothers and sisters that I had never met before. It was a good family time. We ate all day and still there was so much food left!
I did my last shopping at Dollar tree with Mom and she could hardly get me to get out of there. I love that shopping place everything is 1dollar! I also bought so many nice skirts for the ladies at the American Thrift store. I love shopping there too.
I had mixed feelings at the airport because I was so sad to leave my family but I also could not wait to get back to my babies!! I wanted to bring four bags but it was too expensive and not worth it. I decided to check take only 2 bags. I had to check them only up to Toronto and then check them in from Toronto to Nairobi. I had to ask the attendants at Heathrow to check them in up to Entebbe. So many planes. Jetlag and long hours of layovers but I loved every minute of it because I got to walk around. The only challenge was I had so much cheese in my backpack and candy. The back pack was so heavy. I had two laptops in my laptop bag. By the time I got to Entebbe I was aching so badly but I was glad that I could carry them with me. One airport personnel joked and said that I should have brought some crackers to go with all that cheese I was carrying! When I got to Nairobi you could definitely tell that you are in Africa because it was super hot and I was sweating so much. The airport was loud with conversation yet at all the other big airports they had even more people but it was still super quiet.
When I got to Entebbe I could not wait to get my bags I was worried that they would be lost but they were not. I was so happy. They did not let Betty and ladies come to the waiting area so I had to walk up to the parking area. I was thinking they were on African time but they had been refused to get near because of security reasons. It was a day when Muslims come back from Mecca so the airport was swarming with Muslims returning from their pilgrimage to Mecca. Security was tight at the airport. When it got to me then guess what….They were like ‘you are smelling like America and you have gained weight’. And I smilingly said ‘thank you’ 🙂 We got home after so much traffic in Kampala. All the babies were dressed nicely and waiting for me and all the ladies. They had all kinds of decorations up. Toilet paper, papers, banana plants with flowers outside the gate. It was beautiful. A bunch of my friends were there too. We had a big lunch. I was so glad to see baby Paul for the first time!
Because we have so many new babies Ivan decided to hire a new lady. So I got to meet her. I really like her. Her Name is Santi. She is so hardworking as well.
Since I came back we have admitted two new babies. Baby Randy who is now sick in the hospital and also baby Samali whose mother just died recently. It is crazy busy now with the new babies and so many of them walking. They are pulling on everything. It is so hard to keep up with all of them. The Ladies are leaving tomorrow for their two weeks Christmas break. It is going to be tough without them so please pray for our strength, for a safe journey for the ladies and that they will come back safely.
Pastor Ivan, my brother, planted a church but it is right in the middle of a lot of Muslims and they are all opposing it. So the council has refused to let us have a temporary shelter for the church. We are looking for grounds near by where we can have the church shelter. These are rich Muslims and they are bent on bribing the council so that we won’t have a church there. The church members have been meeting in the dining room at the children’s home if it is raining and if its not raining they are meeting outside under a tree until we can find a place to rent. Please be praying that God will make away for his work to continue.
Legal Paper work
We praise God that we have the probation letter recommending us for NGO registration now. The paperwork for legalizing us for adoptions is going well. Please pray that the Lord will quicken the steps. Most of all we thank Him that we now have the money for this whole process.