Thursday, 27 March 2014




As you well know, between my weekly travels to and from the islands and around EA I am not the best at keeping up with this blog, so I have made a trip across the ocean to come share some of the personal stories, update face to face on what God is doing in the Ssese Islands, answer questions, thank people, and share ways to be involved. I am in the US between now (end of March) and April 24th and I am available for meeting with individuals, groups, churches, etc... I will be in the Philadelphia area, but also traveling some, so if you are interesting in catching up or having me come to share with you and your friends, or if you want to know where I'm already planning to be, please send me an email ( and we can arrange!

Ministry is difficult between these rural islands without the support of others both through regular prayer and finance. This time around we are looking for more partners in the ministry so that God's work in the lives of people in East Africa can continue! If you or someone you know is interested in contributing, there are several options.
  • Commitment to regular prayer (daily, weekly, monthly) 
  • One time gifts
  • Monthly contributions
  • Gifts toward specific projects
  • Personal gifts
You can find out more on how to GIVE by following the link attached to the word "Give" (follow instructions to designate it to "melanie musselman support") or by contacting me personally for more information and specific needs via email ( All gifts and contributions go toward making possible God's work which He's called us to specifically in developing pastors, churches, community health, and women's and children's health within these remote East African communities in Lake Victoria. 

Lives are being saved, redeemed, and transformed and I'm happy to share more with you in detail...

Thank you for you continued interest and support and may God bless!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

“…But time can be a greedy thing – sometimes it steals all the details for itself…” Khaled Hosseini wrote in his book, The Kite Runner, when referring to the loss of memories to time.

So true that with the quick pace we run at, the time between events and recounting them leaves enough of a haze to somehow loose the details. Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve recounted to you stories from here, but that does not mean that they have not been happening! So, I am sitting here to do my best to try to steal back some of the details and provide you a few glimpses back into what God is continuing to do in the Ssese Islands here in Uganda! Enjoy the short stories!!

Our two very special girls...

(Remember the photos from the last entry of these two beautiful faces? I told you I'd tell you more…)

Pastors wife with a bag of help to feed the mouths!

Pastor and his wife, at Mukaka have been busy taking care of the two young girls (two and half and three and a half years old) while their own children are grown. About four months ago the girls’ mother was brought to the attention of this couple in the church when she was very sick. The father had died of AIDS a few years earlier and the mother’s disease had progressed leaving her too ill to care for herself and her daughters. The pastor, also the Community Based Volunteer (CBV) in this camp, together with the believers in the church and some from the community decided to unite and help. They brought what they had to assist in different ways since there was no family remaining who would agree to care for them. The pastor took the children, another from the community agreed to care for the mother, and several contributed toward the expense of feeding two more mouths. They continued these efforts and remain a beautiful example of Christ’s care and value for children within this and other island communities. Sadly, a week ago the mother passed away and now the children are left with relatives who don’t want and are not able to care for them well. Please continue to pray for the pastor and his wife who want to take the girls in and care for them if the family will agree!

Alice with little Joy, one of her sunday school kids and a gem we find each time we visit!
The church at Kagonya is slowly growing again after many of the believers had fallen away in the community, discouraged by lack of leadership or having moved to other camps following the fishing industry. Francis and Alice Kiyimba, our teammates, have their home a Kagonya and view this community as their very own. Particularly over the last year God has spoken to Alice on many occasions about the church body its need for strength and unity to fight against the strong powers at work around them. Francis and Alice have taken it upon themselves to spend as much of their time as possible teaching, leading, and encouraging the believers there and Alice has been leading a children’s Sunday school for some time now and over her holiday began an adult Sunday school that meets prior to the worship time. A few of the members have begun fasting and praying every Saturday and some have started working collectively to identify and care for sick people in the community. They are putting into practice what they have learned over the years in bringing what little they have to offer physically, whether food, skills, time, or knowledge, together to demonstrate the physical care of Christ and use the opportunities to pray for people, share the gospel truth, and educate on topics such as health care, sanitation, and planning. One success story as a result of their efforts in the past few years is that the believers have cared for the needs and schooling of an orphaned girl in the community who is now twelve years old!

Early this year while visiting Kakyanga clinic run by the CBV and his wife, a mother and baby were brought to the attention of our team. The mother had delivered a premature baby who a few days after birth returned weak and unable to suck and swallow, quickly dehydrating and incapable of adapting to the camp environment. The mother has other children and the father was doubtful this one was his so he was refusing to provide food or care for them. Together the CBV, nurse, mother, pastor of her Kamese community, and the team made a plan for her to take the baby on the public transport to the mainland that day. The plan was that she would travel to a hospital with facilities to care for a premature infant near the woman’s home village where she could receive the support of her family while her children were cared for by a community member. Though frightened of the outcome of the situation for her baby and children, she was dedicated to doing her best to care even if the baby would die, which she was confident of at the time. The team shared the truth about Jesus with her and she accepted prayer before the CBV and pastor helped her board the boat. Fast forward a few months, we arrived at Kamese one afternoon to visit with Pastor and found the mother and her children, even baby Giovani, now plump, healthy, and nursing well! The mother is full of joy and grateful for those who came along side her to demonstrate compassion and assistance when she cared so much but felt so helpless. She happily accounted to us all of the details of how she, the health care team in the hospital, and the family had worked together diligently every day for several weeks to fight for Giovani’s life. Mother and children now are a part of the church body at Kamese and this beautiful woman is not quiet about her testimony! She and her children remain in a difficult home situation, however she has learned and the community as well has seen the possibilities that come when we unite to demonstrate and fight for the value of every life. (Photos to come of this chunky fella soon…)

Kitobo Community landing site
Kitobo and Banda in the recent months had an extended visit from a false prophet who returned to Kitobo after a few years ago coming to Banda where he had deceived and robbed the believers when he left. He spent several weeks in the Kitobo church wanting to preach and requesting that people bring the believers from Banda to Kitobo church to be prayed for and that they would receive blessings. Thankfully the pastors joined together, warned one another, took seriously shepherding their congregations, and guided the believers in the truth in God’s Word during the time this man stayed in the camp until he moved on to another place. 

Over the past year Pastor from Namasengere, Pastor from Kaya, and Pastor from Semawundo have given testimonies of God’s work in their marriages. Since their attendance at a Transformation of the Heart Conference and a weekend of follow up at Boyovu, God has worked in the couples’ lives to expose their hearts toward their spouses. They are learning to forgive one another and to begin to trust each other with shared finances, phones, business, issues in the home, and children. The road is long and difficult, but all have expressed their praise to God for beginning to uncover and change things in their hearts and relationships in the past and present.

Pastor and wife and baby Blessing and her brother from Kamese
If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you may recall that Pastor and his wife at Kamese have experienced some hard times over the past year, however are not quiet about giving testimony to the power and faithfulness of God in their camp. Less than two years ago the church at Kamese blew down in a windstorm and God has provided through the believers coming together to rebuild along with the help of AIM. The church is now nearly rebuilt and this time out of brick to be a more solid structure and a visual representation to the community that God is a permanent fixture in the ever-shifting communities. About a year ago Pastor’s wife went into labor with bleeding complications in the nearby camp clinic while he was at a pastor’s conference and she was in need of an emergency cesarean delivery. This family experienced the provision and love of God through the pastors who came together and brought a boat to carry her to the mainland where she safely delivered a beautiful baby girl named Blessing! Finally, the couple had been struggling to provide food for their family through farming and a small home business. At the Transformation of the Heart Conference, Pastor was convicted by the Holy Spirit to restore relationships with the family he had not seen for 20 years and his wife found herself aware of her need to entrust her business to God and believe in His provision. Since that point, Pastor’s family relationships have been restored and their business has been thriving so they also have been able to care for and help others in their camp, including Giovani! They are now humbled, and joyfully outspoken giving glory to God for his work. (Kamese Pastor and family photo)

Our CBV at Bossa, an individual who cares deeply for people in his community and is a practicing Muslim, actively connects people with necessary healthcare on the mainland. He regularly attends and participates in the trainings at Boyovu whenever he is able. Early this year he contacted the Ssese Islands Team about a big problem he was caught in and called to court over. He came to AIM for wisdom, advice, emotional, and spiritual support as he was in the middle of a divorce and was called to court with threats from his wife and the potential of loosing his children. This I believe gives testimony itself to what God is doing in the hearts of those directly related to and impacted by the Gospel teachings and truths over the years.

These are just a few of the recent stories that remind us that God is not finished here! I am honored to know these people and walk together in our difficult places and I am thankful I have the opportunity to share with you their stories…stories that tell of a much bigger story taking place in our world and time! God is not content to leave us as we are and He’s clearly redeeming day by day each of us as we learn what it means to grow in His image and demonstrate Him to those around us as He works to redeem His creation to Himself. Thanks for tuning in…I hope you’ve appreciated the read and that it’s also left you thinking of that bigger story and holding on to some of those details that time tries to steal away from us!

Thank you to all of you who are involved in financial or prayer support to make this all possible!

Before too long! Until then…peace to you!
Melanie Joy

Mwelaba! Kwaherini! Bye for now! See you again soon!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Well look who it is!

Hello hello! Just want to touch base and say hello from home and let you know I haven’t forgotten about you! I’m sitting down for a few minutes on my day of rest…ha ha! That’s a funny sentence, but a true one! I have sat down more than once today and am thankful for each time I do so and let my mind wander and return before continuing whatever is the next thing on the list to get done before my eyelids close tonight! Anyway, there goes my mind off wandering, ha ha! I am still here despite my absence from this page! I continue traveling between the Ssese Islands and realize that I’ve been terrible about including you in on what’s been going on! Forgive me!

So here’s a quick glimpse of the week…tomorrow I head back out to Kagonya community to one of the churches for the day and then to Boyovu where we’ll be gathering our Community Based Volunteers (CBVs) together for two days to review a training they participated in earlier this year about HIV/AIDS in the church and the church’s response. I’m sure there will be lots of interesting and lively conversations about the challenges faced and solutions discovered! God is at work! I’ll return to Kampala late in the week, God willing, at which point I have every intention of writing up a variety of brief stories to share with you how He’s been at work over the past few months. I hope it will help to bring you back to speed with what’s going on and how best you can join us in making it possible through prayer and other means.

I’m off to finish up packing to be on the road by 630am tomorrow heading toward Lake Victoria…Once I’m back from our very own Gilligan’s Island Episode this week…I’ll tune back in!

Upcoming stories will include details about God’s work in the lives of the above beautiful joyful faces…

Monday, 22 April 2013

"All of these lines across my face Tell you the story of who I am So many stories of where I've been And how I got to where I am..." STORY by Brandi Carlile

        S T O R Y

I used to say that God has given each of us a story to write and live that is unique and is meant for us to share with others shamelessly. Somewhere along the way I forgot my own words and I became lost in the despondency of the story that is my own without and forgetting the primary Author who is not stuck inside it with me, but exists both inside and out of my experience. I recently finished a read through Donald Miller’s book (gifted to me from my little bro, a shout out to you Caleb) A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Ironic how appropriate the timing of some gifts can be, and it never ceases to amuse me! So now I’m considering how to stop getting lost in the depressing elements of my half written story and learn to live and write a better one that tells as much as possible through the words and deeds that flow.

You know it’s hard to be fulfilled in this line of work sometimes, ha, or maybe it is my attitude? Anyway, the challenge I mentioned above and the fact that I have the choice to make it a positive experience or a negative one leaves me with a large challenge and standing at a door of opportunity. Needless to say, it has left me contemplating a few things these days…

This past month, well two now since I last posted, have held a variety of things. The following words are a little recap on the events of the story the past few months… The March chapter was made up of visits to islands where I spent time in the fishing camps and continued to teach with Alice about basic nutrition. It has been a good topic, or so it seems. I pray the information and values are penetrating deeper than the sessions in the communities which appear to be positive…God knows. Our other colleague has been ill and is looking at several months of recovery time until she will be 100%, so the rest of the team continues praying for her and pressing on as we are able. Some of my tasks have recently expanded to include writing on the teams’ behalf; newsletters, meeting notes, etc… It comes some what natural to me and has opened doors for me to get to know people I interact with at a deeper level and challenges me to be more observant for the positive things in our experience.

Toward the end of March, I was blessed with an unexpected opportunity to visit and observe some maternal neonatal child health (MNCH) and other medical ministries in Ethiopia. I spent a week tagging along and talking with very hospitable and gracious doctors and nurses who are involved in working with un-reached people groups in remote villages providing what medical care they can for the sake of people understanding the God who created them. It was encouraging to learn about some of these people and meet those with a heart to treat them with dignity as such! Came away with a tip or two about what works with MNCH and medical care in other rural areas, which was helpful to challenge my mind to look at “the possible” in the midst of “the unlikely”, if you know what I mean.

The April Chapter started with an unexpected opportunity to take care of a woman and her child coming from DRC and needing a place to stay and some medical care. I am thankful for opportunities to BE HERE for times such as these. I love having a home that I can open up and extend God’s hospitality and generous care for me to others.  The following week we hosted an over night fellowship at our boyovu island camp for pastors to come together and reconnect, be taught in the Bible, and share the struggles and joys of ministering in their camps and churches and pray and support one another. We hope to be able to do this on a quarterly basis as God provides, as those involved were grateful and encouraged.

Most recently we have begun to develop a relationship/partnership with another ministry from a local church and organization that has also been working for seven years in islands within a different but close district of the lake to where we work. Island Mission Uganda has been providing regular clinics, HIV testing and counseling, immunizations, treatment of children 0-17 years, and community development projects. I will share more about this over time as we hope to become more involved in the weeks and months to come with the practical medical provision and care that this team provides weekly! So far I have accompanied the team to run mobile clinics twice. I anticipate you’ll be hearing a lot more toward these ends as we look to merge and expand as God provides the way.

This partnership has already started to open some new doors of possibility including relationships with the local health system and potential opportunities to gain experience within. As of last week I was included as one of a few representatives from our two organizations to go to the main district island to meet the health officer. It was a good experience and one in which we were able to begin linking our work in with the local system which will be necessary for it to be embraced on a sustainable level. Today an article was included in the local paper from an interview with that health officer who again recognized and described the population and challenges accurately as we have experienced them being transient, complex, and suffering from significant figures of illnesses, including 30-40% HIV prevalence. (See The New Vision for the article)

On the Kampala home front, mom gave a sewing machine that was first used by a creative young fella this month, I’ve been cooking lots in my free time, catching up with some friends, thinking on life and story, and motorcycles, jetskis, and unexpected surprises have made for some weekend fun between the island work too!

The story continues…I’ve recently learned more clearly how little I ever envision big pictures of the future. I tend to move and think day-to-day, goal-to-goal. So, recognizing that fact, I don’t know what’s next or what the future will hold, but I expect that I’m going to try to take what’s coming in front of me and use the bits and pieces to write a better story or maybe it’s about letting the primary Author actually have the freedom to write this character’s story without too much fight. Anyway, some things to think on I suppose…

I’d like to leave you by sharing a few thoughts from the book I noted at the beginning of this entry. The following quotes are the words of Donald Miller.

“I don’t ever want to go back to believing life is meaningless. I know there are biochemical causes for some forms of depression, but I wish people who struggle against dark thoughts would risk their hopes on living a good story—by that I mean finding a team of people doing hard work for a noble cause, and joining them. I think they’d be surprised at how soon their sad thoughts would dissipate, if for no other reason than they didn’t have time to think them anymore. There would be too much work to do, too many scenes to write. [in their story].”

“Where there is an absence of story, or perhaps a bad story, a good storyteller walks in and changes reality. He doesn’t critique the existing story, or lament about his boredom, like a critic. He just tells something different and invites other people into the new story he is telling.”

“Our story demanded that we change, and so we did.”

Hopefully you’ll hear from me again in May to hear how the story is coming along!! Take care and be challenged and blessed to do something different and out of the ordinary…along with me…

Toward the end of the day of seeing 60 maamas in the Ethiopian village antenatal clinic...Got to hear lots of little heartbeats and celebrate with these maamas and sadly discover a few prayers go out to them...

This nurse is a gem God is using in Ethiopia doing several things, but who now also accompanies those who operate this chopper to go to un-reached people groups and provide medical care.

Sometimes stories require a big leap :)

Erias exercising his creativity...

Partnering = Your strengths meet my weaknesses and my strengths meet your weaknesses...see what can come of it! Time will tell. Another gem who I've been blessed to cross stories with...

Thursday, 28 February 2013

What happens when you start to RISK, CARE, DREAM, and EXPECT...

You end up in places like this: 

View from the front door of our house at Boyovu
That sometimes look a little like, but even feel more like this:

Storm moving in as we crossed the lake in our little 40hp canoe... 
Omusumba  driving us safely home from the Bufumira Health Center and Semawundo Camp visit as the storm rolled in and threatened us!
Learning and experiencing things like this:

"Sometimes you'll never know the value of a 
moment until it is a memory." 
-Dr. Seuss

This week I was graciously reminded of this truth when I went to visit the sick brother of one of the teenagers I’ve come to know and care for over the past few years. While at Mengo Hospital catching up with the nurses and doctors whom I worked with a few years back and have maintained friendships with, I stopped by to see this patient and his maama who was caring for him. This young man reminded me that actually we never know how much a little thing, a little moment, a little visit, a little gift can mean and the volume it speaks to someone laid up in a hospital bed. I needed that reminder! It is the little things, those little moments and opportunities that Christ shines through so practically and yet we’re so quick to miss his presence in them. How true that upon looking back we see the value! 

This week I caught up with a few of the teens (one of who’s brother was the above patient) that have been a big part of teaching me how valuable little moments with special people are in the scope of eternity!

In my every day life outside of the islands, in my home and neighborhood in Kampala, God graces me with opportunities to love on and be loved on. I’m thankful that I get to be Auntie to so many and practice being a nurse providing care, comfort, and advise often in the course of everyday interactions with those around me. Here’s a little glimpse into one recent blessing of this little guy you’ve gotten to know if you’ve followed my life the past 1.5yrs. On this particular night Abdul was sent to “musawo’s” (my) home for the night because he hadn’t napped and was dirty, snotty, tired, and stubborn and maama needed a break! Turned into a little blessing for me to care for this guy until he was fast asleep and I carried him home…

First things first...Bath time!
After bathing and eating and reading, he was out like a light!

“…abused so long, institutionalized by their slavery so fully, that they had lost their capacity for a vision of hope…Sometimes we are just too broken to hear and believe.”
-Chuck DeGroat

Even amidst the brokenness making it too hard for us to hear and believe there is hope, value, dignity, and possibility of change, we find Jesus entering and opening hearts and minds to receive health care teaching. Here is a little glimpse into our various classrooms…sometimes under the shade of a tree in the middle of the camp, sometimes on a hillside, and sometimes even in a pool hall/bar, wherever we can gather people in a public place with shade! I’ve rejoined the team in the islands moving around the camps, following up with and encouraging our community-based volunteers, but also resuming teaching in the camps. The group gathered usually adds up to between 5 and 10 people maximum at the start, but by midway through the teaching anywhere from 20 to 50 have gathered of all ages to learn and participate! Here we are learning about Nutrition, how to care well for our selves and others by intentionally providing good and important nutrients on our plates!

A quarter of the class at Bossa...
A quarter of the class at Kagonya...My maama and baby company!
Demonstration...which of these people here need to eat well the most?
Ani ku bano yetaga okulya obulungi okusinga mu ne?
Bar/pool hall turned...CLASSROOM at Kusu!
 I’ve spoken of this couple before…In fact we have a bit of history walking with this particular family and camp. Pastor is one of the faithful ones serving with in the islands whose church building at Kammese blew down in a storm last year and is in the process of rebuilding it there. During my time away he and his wife accompanied the rest of our pastors and wives in the islands to a week long retreat which they all came away from encouraged, challenged, and ministered to in many ways. They have not come away quiet…God is using what they learned about the Father’s heart toward them to restore families, marriages, churches, communities, and much more! They’ve come away radiant and walking in the light of Truth. His wife was pregnant last year and upon the time of delivery had complications and was delayed in getting to the hospital on the mainland. She was fortunately rushed to the mainland hospital reaching only in time for a Cesarean Section that saved both her and the baby’s lives. This is an unusual story, one I thank God I had the opportunity to hear first hand from her this past week and encourage her to share with other women that they may learn and go early for care and delivery! Why? Because they and their little ones are THAT Valuable!!

Little gorgeous healthy 6 month-old Blessing now says hi and thanks for the prayers for her and her maama! She is the last of 6 children to this blessed family serving the Lord faithfully in Kammese Camp!

 Blessing and I both thank you for your continued prayers and support to make such moments so valuable and possible! God bless you as you bless us and so many!!

Melanie Joy

Saturday, 2 February 2013


RISK more than others think is safe.
CARE more than others think is wise.
DREAM more than others think is practical.
EXPECT more than others think is possible. 
–cadet maxim

What does this look like in your life? Attempting to figure out what it looks like in mine...Looks like we're on the adventure together finding out...might take years and lots of miles!

I'm back home in Uganda as of a week ago, following 4 months of leave (aka. home assignment) in Tanzania and USA, where I was able to spend time with many of you who are reading this right now and unfortunately not with some of you who are reading this too. Either way I am thankful for the time and have been reminded of how blessed I am to know many of you and have you in my life as well as have the opportunities that are laid before me.

I am preparing to return to the Ssese Islands this week for the first time since being back home. I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell in the next week or so, but in the meantime I only ask that you consider praying for me and our team as we reunite and particularly as I re-acclimate to the team and work transitioning back in, but hopefully with more creativity and risk...

Thank you Thank you for everything, your thoughts, prayers, and support making the impossible for many a little more possible! I'll tune back in soon to give a little recap of my leave as well as some stories from the lake and neighborhood!

God bless and keep us all in His grace...

Note: Lake view from a distance...
Abdul says thanks for making snacks and toy trucks possible!!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


So much for tuning back in a day or two I am two weeks later after traveling from Philly to Utah to Boston and back! Thanks for your unmeasurable grace and patience with me!

I plan to give a more detailed account of my time in the US once I’m finished this home assignment period and am heading back home to Najjanankumbi, Uganda...only a few weeks from now! I’ll be sure to include snaps to narrate some of the moments that have blessed me!

The past weeks and months have been full of opportunities I could have never planned, moments of celebrating with those rejoicing and praying with those on their knees. It has been a healthy time of reconnecting with the body of Christ here in the US and particularly with my sending church, Liberti and our focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ who came as a child for the purpose of redeeming His broken creation to restore peace and provide a way for us all to be restored to the image He intended, to make all things sad come untrue. This ultimately is my only hope and that which spurs me on in my life and work! It is easy to loose sight of the Truth when I’m not weekly/daily being reminded of them directly, so I am grateful for this time home to come back to my identity and be reminded of the Truth which is the hope for which I practice as a nurse and care for the children and people around me.

Before Christmas rolls up in a week and I wrap up my time here in the US visiting my family and friends, I'm touching base to...


With that said, I also want to THANK each of you for your love, support, examples, encouragements, and prayers over the past two years! Without you, none of the relationships, learning of language, culture, and medicine, and extension of Christ’s compassion and care for men, women, and children would have been and continue to be possible.

On January 08, 2013 I will be on a flight home to UGANDA! I am planning to continue in the community health development work in the Ssese Islands with Africa Inland Mission, which I have been involved with the past two years focusing on Maternal Child Healthcare Development in the rural fishing camps. I am looking at another 1-3 years at this point and ask you to continue to join with me in this work by prayer and financial support as you are able and as God lays on your heart.

Prayer Needs: As I return to Uganda at the beginning of the year I will send some specific ways you can continue praying for myself, our team, and those we work with. But as always please pray that we would keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and that God would give us wisdom in our lives and work.

Financial Needs: Below I’ve listed a few ways/funds to which you can contribute as a monthly or one time gift. If you are interested in being a part of the work and ministry through giving, please feel free to contact me or click here to see information on GIVING toward "Melanie Musselman"
    - Monthly support
    - Vehicle fund
    - Work funds (for medical/teaching supplies and travel expenses)



melanie JOY

Nothing like the nostalgic warm feeling of this season in NE America
Decorated the tree with my Maama, placing these old childhood
ornaments of my brother and I on the tree...

Happy White Christmas from snowy Utah

This was a happy Thanksgiving with family and friends from
Elverson, PA, USA and UGANDA at the
beloved Maama and Taata's home!!