Friday, November 27, 2009

Kibaale and Thanksgiving Pictures

Here is a feast of pictures for you to enjoy over the weekend, friends!
Love to all!

Joy, Josh, Dean, Holly (left to right of course)
Playing ERS (Egyptian Rat Screw...AKA Rat Killer)

At a primary school in Kigaale

Nuf said.

On top of a big hill!!! I think this might be looking towards Tanzania, but I am not sure.

Girl Hikers! Kristina, Jen, Holly, Joy, Hannah, Julie, Danielle, and Rebecca
(Sorry if I spelled your name wrong!)
Boy Hikers!
I forget the first one's name, Boniface, Phil, Davis, Dean on top of Brian, Josh, and two others!

Yeah, we made a pyramid.
All of IMME!

We played American Football and Brain tackled Danielle (her legs are on the left). It was pretty awesome.
There are papyrus fields everywhere! And they are amazing!

Mk, everyone, guess what movie we watched on Thanksgiving on the side of our directors house???

Kristina and I were COLD! And it was probably in the 60's oustide. I know, pathetic.

FOOD! Well, dessert. I made the apple crisp with Kristina and Deanna.... it's in the silver pan.

*All photos courtesy of Brain "BJ" Longmore

The End!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Morning Everyone!

It is 7:45ish in the morning as I write this, so many of you are actually heading to bed soon. That still seems weird to me.

This weekend I was in Rakai, a district of towns in south-eastern Uganda. I was in Kibaale, a town very near the Tanzanian border (I saw the border, I think, when we hiked up a big hill). The purpose of this trip was to visit the Kibaale Community Center which is run by 5 Canadian missionaries and a whole bunch of Ugandans. It is a really neat place. They have 2 primary schools (K-7) and a secondary school. They also just recently opened a clinic that treats a wide range of medical needs, and they have a sponsorship program for kids in the community. Overall, a pretty great place with really great people!

While at the community center we did a lot of hanging out and relaxing… because for the first time our program didn’t pack our weekend full of speakers and events. They gave us lots of free time in a beautiful place. So we read, and chatted about lots of things, and climbed a big hill, and played really strange games. I could tell that we had been together a lot at this point, because we talked about such a range of subjects, ranging from casual stories to more intimate questions. It was fun to realize how close we are. And then I got a little scared because it dawns on me again and again that I am leaving in just 3 weeks, and will no longer be surrounded by them everyday. And I don’t know what I will do with that. But one thing I have been learning the past 3 months is that it isn’t my job to guard my heart, that is God’s job and he does it really well. Even though that leaves me feeling open and vulnerable to pain and wounding, I am learning that it is actually better this way then keeping all the pain and hurt far away from me. So I am trying to remain here, in Uganda, with my friends in my heart and mind and not worry about what I will do when they are all gone. However, I still do a little… or a lot. I could use prayer in this area.

Also, I am hitting finals time! And while I don’t have any exams, I have about 8 papers due in the next two-ish weeks. Yikes! So please pray that I will be disciplined and inspired and will get them done! And that I will be able to balance papers with my social life and time alone.

That’s all for now!

Love to all!

Oh, P.S. pictures will come later in the camera broke so I am taking them from other people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Patience in Kairos

Let you heart rest here for a few minutes

We found a dollar in Uganda
What has the word come to?

Good Morning, Friends!

Over the past month or so I have been reading the book Compassion, written by Henri Nouwen and his friends Douglas Morrison and Donald McNeill. I have read a fair amount of Nouwen and am always astounded and impacted by what he writes. But this book has been ridiculously impactful. I have been reading it with To Be Told by Dan Allander sort of as companion books. And they work together like WD40 on a bike chain.

Along with that, I realize that my blog title might be a tad bit confusing to people. What the heck does In Kairos mean? It’s not an island near Greece, if you were wondering. Compassion has helped me understand Kairos a lot better than I did. So, this blog post is going to be a little different (if you hadn’t already figured that out) because it is going to be more introspective and contemplative, rather than a summary of events (I did go to Kampala again this weekend, and then made chicken soup and mashed potatoes for my family).

Kairos time, as I understand it, is God’s time. I took a class on keeping the Sabbath a year ago and our illustration for the difference between out time (chronos time) and God’s was this: as we live we are rocks in a river, and the river is time rushing past us, but as God lives time is a rock, steady and unmoving, and we are the river rushing past time. I know that probably doesn’t make immediate sense, and honestly I do not know the words to explain the understanding I have of it. My understanding is on a heart level, so I feel the understanding, but I do not have the language in my brain to communicate my heart. But just keep that picture in your heart, or brain, as you continue reading.

One of the last chapters of Compassion is called “Patience.” When I first saw the title I wanted to laugh, and then not read it. I hate being patient, because it makes me feel powerless and trapped. Or when someone tells me to be patient I just want to slap them in the face because it seems like an answer you give someone when you want them to feel better or you have nothing else to say. Also, I really do enjoy instant gratification… even though I know that long-term stuff is usually way better.

So, as I started reading this chapter I was expecting to feel guilty about my lack of patience and challenged to have patience more often. But that has not been the case. The authors, instead, redefine patience. They are defining patience within compassion, and their definition is as follows: “Patience means to enter actively into the thick of life and to fully bear the suffering within and around us. Patience is the capacity to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell as fully as possible the inner and out events of our lives.” In other words, patience is the opposite of our fight or flee instinct. Patience asks us to stay, to experience whatever is happening within us, or within those around us.

This was surprising for me to read, but also so challenging. I am a flee-er. I usually do not want to stay and fight through something; I want to flee it. And I especially don’t want to sit in something hard without having a way to fix it. I want the bad feelings out and gone, and I want to return to homeostasis. However, redefining patience in this way changes it from a virtue some people have and others don’t into a discipline everyone can work for.

The authors also point out that impatience is always related to time. Always. We are impatient when a speaker goes over time, or when a class is nearly finished. We are impatient when our flight is delayed, or our friend is late for our coffee date. This is because we are constrained by chronos time. In our culture (North American) we are trained to be efficient with our time. We can even take classes and read books on time management.

So where am I going with this, and why am writing about this in a blog? I had hoped my time in Africa would be time away from time, chronos time. I hate being constrained by time, and rushing from place to place because time demands I must. I am tired of being the rock and having time rush past me. So I thought in Uganda this would all be different, and that I would be living in kairos time. I hoped it would be time out of time. Time in God, time with God, time that didn’t insist on going past me, time that stayed still and calm, and gently moved with the inklings of my soul.

But Ugandans have jobs, go to classes, work hard, and are constrained by time. While their time works a little differently, it is still within the confines of 24 hours in a day. And I forgot that I would be in classes, which means every day is scheduled, and due dates creep up on me and attack when I least want to do the assignment.

But what I realized while reading Compassion is that kairos time is not dependant on a location or culture. It’s not even dependant on my schedule. Because I have to still live in chronos time. The world I live in demands it. But that doesn’t mean I have be controlled by it, nor does my life need to be dictated by it. Kairos time is more about my heart-set. And the question I really need to ask myself is am I rushing around, attempting to be efficient, or am I in communion with God and the Beings on this earth? Am I just trying to keep up with the pace of this world, or am I letting myself sit with people, sit with myself, in moments of joy, pain, shame, heartache, abandonment, gladness etc. That doesn’t necessarily mean dropping everything I am doing, though often it does. It is more an openness of my heart to allow these events to remain in their fullness until the event is passed. That is what kairos is, and I hope to always be able to remain in Kairos.

Blessings on your week!

Love to all!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going Crazy near the Equator

Hello Everyone!

I made it through a week of a million papers, or 5, without too much damage done. I did go a little nuts and got most of my hair cut off! More to follow on that one, along with pictures, of course.

So, since last week was so utterly stressful a few friends and I decided a sleepover/movie night was in order on Friday night. We also decided this would be the night to cut my hair off. So we got Pringles, chocolate, and orange juice at the Supermarket and then headed to Jen and Danielle’s house. Besides us girls, Drew and Josh also came (don’t worry, they didn’t spend the night). Once we arrived at their home we made African tea (basically black chai tea with a lots of sugar in it. We drink this at least twice a day, everyday). Actually, first we talked for about what movie we were going to start with. Our choices were: the Manchurion Candidate, a political thriller/sci fi, or Just Like Heaven, a cute chick flick. We decided it would be best for the girls if we started with the thriller and ended with the chick flick. However, before we even started the movie or the tea Drew and Josh wanted to cut some of my hair off. Why I agreed to this I have no idea, but I did. So they each cut off a pigtail and I was left with a really great reverse mullet for a while.

So the movie. Weird. That was my first impression. But then it was kind of scary, so I had to hold tightly to my Moose. Overall, though, it was a greatly entertaining movie that took a lot of thinking to try and figure out what is going to happen. Brothers of mine, you would probably like it a lot. But for those who don’t like violence and death, probably don’t watch it.

Ok, after the movie Drew and Josh went home. Girl party! Sort of. We ate dinner… well, Jen and Danielle did. My stomach was churning for some reason, and I threw up (again!!), so I chose to not eat that night. Don’t worry, it wasn’t parasites and I was fine the next day. Once they finished eating it was time to finish up my hair! We searched around for the scissors and couldn’t find them. Uh oh! I remembered that Drew had them last so we called him. Josh answered and said, “Well, the good news is that they’re not in Drew’s pocket. The bad news is they’re on our table.” Shoot. Scissors are not a common commodity in a Ugandan household. Your are much more likely to find a machete than a pair of scissors. We discovered that our options were a pair of manicure scissors, or a pair of scissors the size of sheep-shearing scissors, and much much duller. Crap. The manicure scissors won out. 3 hours later Jen had handwashed her laundry, and we had finished Just Like Heaven, and my hair was finally cut off! It was 1 in the morning by now. Straight to bed we went.

The next day we went into Kampala with a few more people. Weird day. Really weird. But awesome. We went to a craft market to get stuff for our families (sorry, I can’t tell you what it is because my family reads this), and then went to watch a movie at Kampala’s only movie theatre (that we know of). We thought we were going to see Surrogate, a movie with Bruce Willis that looked like a cross between iRobot and the Matrix, but it wasn’t playing until later. So we instead went to Blue, a Bollywood movie we knew nothing about. In the opening scene a man wrestles a shark and wins. That was probably the highlight of the movie. After about 20 minutes of it we left. It was just bad. But, we convinced the ticket lady to let us come back at 4:30 to see Surrogate! And man, it was WAY better! I recommend it, in fact. It is set in Boston and I was sitting next to Manny, who lives in Boston! So he knew all the places in the movie. It was great. In fact, the whole day was just random and spontaneous, which made it fun.

So the next day, Sunday, I got to go to a performance of Ugandan cultural dances in Kampala. This was AWESOME! Woman were balancing 8 pots on their heads and still dancing really well. Amazing! And the MC of the event could probably make it as a stand up comedian in the ‘States. He was really funny. Also, this little 2 year old girl kept wandering around the stage during the dances. She was cute and liked to dance, but there were a lot of close calls when she almost got trampled by the dancers. In the beginning I was wondering where her parents were. But then I realized that I was in Africa, and this kind of behavior is pretty much normal. They did eventually come and get their kid.

Overall, a great weekend. And yesterday I cranked out two more papers. Woot!

Onto this week! More papers, a presentation, and probably a lot of socializing.

Love to all!

Drew, butchering my hair.

Josh, doing the same thing... with help from Drew.

Then Drew took the scissors... so these were our options...yeah.

Finished!! Those were the scissors we used. Yikes!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No News is Good News!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry this is so late this week. It has been insanely busy! Also, I do not have much to report on because not much has happened other than writing papers and reading books. Even though I had all of last week to work on these assignments, I spent a lot more time reading books that fed my soul than reading and writing for school.

But I am so excited to have everyone back! I have also been spending a lot of time just talking with people here and catching up on the last week of their lives. It has been really fantastic to be able to do that. Being without these people for a week made me realize how much I love them all! And I have been appreciating their presence a lot more this week than I have before.

Um… that’s about it. We have reached the more-than-halfway point, and I think in about 6 weeks I will be flying home. I don’t know what to do with that information yet. So I am not going to think about it too much.

Um… yeah. I don’t even have any new pictures, either. But when I do I will put them up!

I guess have a good week, everyone! And feel free to send me notes or funny jokes or anything this week. I am going to go write a paper about polygamy now. Woot!

Love to all!