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!!