Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I semi-longish video that captures my entire year spent in Uganda.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Long Live

New Creation Centre School
As many of you don't seem to know, I have recently returned back to California. I have been back in America for just a week now and am finally beginning to adjust to the 11 hour time difference. Not much is going on since I am absolutely jobless and really have nothing at all to do. I've been playing a bit lot of guitar and talking to as many of my students as possible on Facebook. Facebook has been such a blessing in being so far away from my students. Things are good. I am content in being home, ready to find a job (anyone know of anything?!), and am excited to see what the future holds. God willing, the near future will involve being back in Uganda.
Primary 4

Anyhow, nothing else to expand on really, so I thought I'd share with you my last few days in Uganda. 

Primary 5
About a week before I departed Uganda, we were playing Peter's all time favorite game outside, which included glow stick and jumping, and Carol broke her leg. We have successfully played the game in the past with no injuries, but accidents happen and kids are kids. It's bound to happen. Carol breaking her leg led to me spending even more time with her than usual. She is always at my bedroom door wanting to hang out, so with a broken leg, she sat there at my bedroom for as long as possible just chatting with me. I know she absolutely despises that cast on her leg, but I think it's going to teach her to appreciate the help and care of others.

I had been dreading my last day teaching at the school so I made sure to plan a fun party for all the kids to make the goodbye not so sad. In the morning my class reviewed quite a bit of math work before heading out for a walk together. It still amazes me how far my students have come over the past two years. They are responsible, respectful, and good-hearted kids. I remember when Taylor and I first started teaching them, we were calling parents into the school because their kids were so ill behaved. I am proud to say that I have the best behaved class ever.

Primary 6
Primary 7
After lunch was when the party was to begin. We began with a game of Balloon Burst (my class' favorite game) which involves tying a balloon to your ankle and then attempting to burst others' balloons without your own being burst. I don't think that the game is actually called "Ballon Burst," that is what my class calls it, and they ask at least once a week for us to play it. Everyone was beyond excited about the occurrence of everyone playing. We then played a water bottle race which wasn't as exciting before a trivia game. The students had to answer questions about me to win prizes. I am quite impressed at how well they all knew me. I then read them a story, shared some verses with them, and then gave them all little gifts. We took group photos, laughed together and then went our separate was. 

Saturday was thankfully one last day of Football. We were meant to play basketball but that fell through, so football it was. Many students came out since they knew it was the last one, which I am grateful for. After football, which I took Peter, Henry, and Joseph to, we headed back home where I began to finalize my packing. Of course with Carol and Margret standing nearby. 

The children asked for me to lead devotions and then I gave each one of them a gift before we also took a group photo and said our last goodbyes. Saying goodbye to Margret Mae was probably the most difficult because of how upset she was. I personally was content about my goodbyes, I'd been praying for contentment for the entire year, and I know this was God's plan. I sat Margret on my bed as I finished my last bit of packing and talked to her about not being sad about me leaving. That God had blessed us with SO much time together and that no matter how far away from each other we would be, we would still be best friends.

New Creation Family Home
I gave them each hugs and said my goodbyes and I was off on my way back to California. Flights went extremely well and here I am.

As I look over at a photo of all the girls in NCC my heart does hurt. I truly miss everything about being in Uganda. I'd get on a plane this very instant and head back out there if possible. But, I am also content in where God has me at the moment. I know I have a future in Uganda and I'm just waiting patiently because I know it's not a race. 

I am beyond thankful for the past year and everything that's happened within it. The good and the bad. I have been absolutely beyond blessed in so many ways. So here is to a wonderful year, what is yet to come, and for Patrick, Will, Emma, Jordan, Betty, and Joseph all having Facebook. Thank you technology. 

Long live the walls we crashed through
How the kingdom lights shined just for me and you
I was screaming long live all the magic we made
And bring on all the pretenders, I'm not afraid
Long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
I was screaming long live that look on your face

{Margret Mae's current favorite song}

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would live and teach in Uganda. I've always dreamed of a life full of extremes, never thought of any impossibility. And as I look back on the past few years, my life has been full of wild dreams and all of them have come to be. I’ve found that I truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

When you delight yourself in the Lord, He will indeed give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). When you delight yourself in the Lord, your desires become His desires. My desires have change as I have truly delighted myself in Him. My desire has become to set the world on fire for Him.

I want to love the unloved.
I want to bring hope to the hopeless.
I want to educate the uneducated.
I want to feed the hungry.

As the days wind down of my time out here in Uganda, my heart begins to hurt as I face goodbyes. But I am beyond excited for what the future holds. Because dreams, they seem possible to me. I can do all things through Christ who strengths me. I head back to California with some big dreams that I know are possible. 

I wanna set the world on fire until it’s burning bright for you
It’s everything that I desire, can I be the one you use?
I am small but, you are big enough
I am weak but you are strong enough to
Take my dreams, come and give them wings
Lord with you, there’s nothing I cannot do
I wanna feed the hungry children
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
And mercy in the Father’s hands
My hands, my feet, my everything
My life, my love, Lord use me
I wanna set the world on fire

I’m gonna set the world on fire.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Ironically, this was the last  page in this notebook.
As I sat down on the taxi to head home from the school yesterday afternoon as usual, I popped my headphones into my ears to drown out the hustle and bustle of the taxi stage and mostly to relax. I put my iPod on shuffle and began thinking about my realization I had the previous day.

For some reason, the previous day I had felt the need to look at my passport. When I flipped through it I made a major realization - the realization that my special pass was expiring on November 25th. I had never taken the time to really, really look at it after all of the issues of getting the special pass. I just assumed they gave it to me so it would last until my departure date. I was wrong. Three months from August 25th it would expire. November 25th. My flight back to California was scheduled for December 16th. It was perfect. I would be able to finish the school year and even have two weeks to say all of my goodbyes.

Within the blink of an eye, everything changed. I emailed Peggy, the woman who handles LOBO flights, and told her my situation. We decided to take precautions and book for November 23rd, to avoid issues at the airport. And it was done. Everything changed.

I am now leaving on November 23rth, technically the 22nd is when I will leave for the airport since my flight is at 1am on the 23rd. I will not be around for final exams and I will not have those two weeks to say my goodbyes. It was a hard thing to swallow, but as Betty wrote to me in a letter less than a week ago, “The God that we serve is never too early and never too late, but always in time.”

God’s timing is perfect.

And with that, I find myself content, but also sad in the fact that I am leaving Uganda in just 31 days.

The past ten months have been the most amazing of my entire life. There have been some majorly difficult times, but they have all made me into who I am right this very moment. I don’t think I could ever possibly put into words all that I have experienced and perhaps that’s the beauty of it all. That it’s mine and mine alone. I have everything here in my heart to hold onto for the rest of my life. I can share things with you, answer your questions, but in the end, it’s mine.

No one will ever know what it’s like to have a friendship like I have with Emmanuel. No one will ever know what it’s like to take an afternoon walk with Joseph. To hold your student down on the hospital bed while tears stream from her eyes as she looks at you in fear as they clean the burn wounds on her hand. To laugh with your students until it hurts over a story you wrote about them. To feel the warm sun hitting your skin, and wind in your hair as you ride to the hospital on a boda one October afternoon with Mercy.

It’s mine. I know how it feels. I know what it looks like. I know the sounds. The smells. I have it all. God gave this to me. It’s been such a blessing to be here. I have learned so much and I am thankful for all of it. The good and the bad times. The rain and the sunshine.

And although I am thrilled to be able to go home into the loving arms of my family, it’s going to be treacherous saying goodbye. But how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. And it’s not really a goodbye, but a see you later anyhow.

I know I will be back here to Uganda, I know it for a fact. I mean this is already my second round. I just don’t know when. And I’m content with that, because I know God has a perfect plan and he’s never let me down before, so why should I doubt him now? God is good all the time, and all the time God is good, and that’s his nature, wow!

I am going to miss everything about this place. Even the posho and beans rolex. I am genuinely excited to see what God has in store for me. And I am excited to continue serving him…in California.

And into my headphones sang the words, “Between what might be and what has been, it feels like the beginning of the end.”

So here is to the beginning of the end. I have some fun things planned for the kids over the next month that I know will rock their worlds. I am going to enjoy every last moment I have here until I get to embrace my family in the San Francisco airport and that evening watch the California sunset from my bedroom window. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lemons and Lemonade

Today was visitation day at Grace High School where many of the students in the Loving One By One (LOBO) Ministry attend secondary school. LOBO has its own primary school, New Creation Centre, which is where I teach, but once the students complete primary school, they are sent to Grace High School for their secondary education.

It's always such a joy being able to give the girls hugs and visit with all of the kids that I've taken long to see. And I especially enjoy seeing Joseph and Betty. I've written about Joseph before--great kid! --Betty reached out to me at the beginning of the year--she had started writing me on Facebook when I was home for a few months last year, and then came to visit me at New Creation Centre at the start of the school year.

Betty is in Senior 2, so I never had the opportunity to get to know her, because she hasn't ever attended New Creation Centre during the time I've been teaching there. But through letters and visits, we've been able to get to know each other fairly well.

It is easy to say that Betty is one of the kindest and most loving people I've ever met. I even hear the other girls rant and rave about her. Esther was telling me a few months back that Betty is the one who will always approach someone if they are going down the wrong path. She is the one to reach out to those in need. She's got a smile that could light up this whole town and a head on her shoulders that's going to take her far in life. I absolutely adore her to say the least.

Anyhow, she blessed me with a two page, handwritten letter that I read on my ride home from the visitation. I wanted to share the letter with y'all for numerous reasons.

I am such a big advocate on children being provided with education. Betty is a sponsor child, and without sponsors, she would not be able to attend school. This girl is so bright and is going to change so many lives. She is already changing lives of those she goes to school with. With this opportunity to attend school, she's going to be able to pursue her dreams, instead of being stuck at home struggling for money. This girl amazes me. She is wise beyond her years.

"Hello Auntie Kelsey,

Praise the living God and how has been your work at NCC? I hope everything went on good on your side. Back to me, my term three at school began so well because of the nice gifts, letter, and the pocket money you gave me cause for sure you helped me so much because for sure that day I left home with nothing apart from my transport which I was given to use while coming to school. And really I was happy in my heart, however much I did not show you back, for sure you helped me a lot and that was the money which I was using at school and I promise that I will grow in my relationship with God as you said so and also just know that I am also so proud to have an auntie and friend like you and you will always be in my heart.

Auntie Kelsey may God really bless you and your family. Auntie, the God that we serve is never too early and never too late, but always in time. What I know is that the God we serve can never let us down.

You are the kind of person who is always there to help somebody in need! May God bless you for that.

You are a person whom somebody can count on. You never let somebody down. You are courageous, God fearing, you always correct somebody's mistakes, you are beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made, a few to mention. You always give, because when you give out something to somebody, God rewards you in abundance. I want to stop here by saying I love you, don't give up, continue praying, cast all your burdens to God, have faith and continue being good and helpful and God will surely bless you

Never close the book of your life when God has not finished writing your story. Never hang up when God is still on the line with you. Life is an adventure experienced in stages. Today's lemons are the ingredients for tomorrow's lemonade. Today's seeds are tomorrow's harvest. Each day, each moment, God is working out his purposes in our lives. Stay focused, your best days are yet ahead of you. Just hold on to the prayers my dear auntie.

Jeremiah 33:3

Love in Christ,
Bethinah Betty"

I never really understood the true impact sponsoring a child could have. These children are provided with an education which is something that changes their lives drastically. Many of their families struggle greatly trying to simply put food on the table, yet alone pay rent. Providing school fees for numerous children is just not possible for many families here in Uganda. But with sponsors, children are blessed with the opportunity to attend school, which will help them to get a good job, change lives along the way, and ultimately change that cycle of poverty.

I am so thankful to be able to teach students who have been blessed with sponsors. And I enjoy watching each of theses children grow in their relationships with Christ and become the people he desires for them to be. I am thankful for Betty and her loving heart. I am thankful that she is a good example to those around her. She is a living proof of God's great love.

Thursday, October 9, 2014



I have found myself saying this word to myself on numerous accounts over the past few days.

When Term Three began, I realized that it was my last term teaching my class. I also realized that I only had a few months left of Football Saturdays, and even less time messing around with the kids in the P7 class.

Throughout the year I have spent every moment possible with the students of NCC. I couldn’t ever get enough of them. But lately, I’ve found myself excluding myself from them. I leave school as soon as possible, spend lunch in my classroom working on lesson plans, or sitting in my room distracting myself with some TV series.

I thought maybe it was because I’ve been dealing with issues, that frankly shouldn’t be my issues, but I’ve realized it’s not that. When I first caught myself saying “detaching” to myself, it hit me. It hit me hard.

I’ve come to the realization that next week is mid-term exams. Term Three is halfway over. P7 has just three weeks left at school. And I leave Uganda in 68 days.

In 68 days, I say goodbye.

And I’m not ready to say goodbye.

So I’ve been detaching. Like a band-aid. I’ve slowly begun to pull it off, instead of all at once.

But I’ve also come to the realization that every day I spend detaching, I am later going to regret.

So it’s time to focus and time to reattach and enjoy every moment I have left with my favorite kids.

And now that I’ve been honest about how I’m feeling…I am going to go outside and light some sparklers with the kids to celebrate Uganda’s Independence day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Wrote a Book

School is back in sesh. Woo-to-the-hoo! 

After what seemed to be the longest holiday ever, I am happy to back in the classroom teaching. I was amazingly surprised to see that ten out of my eleven students showed up on the first day of school. Nothing too exciting has been going on besides the story I am about to share with you. I was going to keep this story I've written to myself...but I thought it was blog worthy, I needed something to blog about, and well I thought it was funny and wanted to share. So here you go...this is my book that has been based on a true story...

--> I Don't Have a Title <--

Last week my teacher surprised our class with a class pet. I was hoping for a bunny or fish, but she gave us rocks. I actually thought mine was pretty cool. He had eyes glued on his head with a crooked, red and glittery mouth. Anyhow, we tried to convince Teacher Kelsey to go down the road to buy a pet rabbit, because let's be honest, no one wanted a rock as a pet. What do you even do with a rock? I did make headphones for my pet rock, which I named Transporter Pt.1, out of ticky-tack from behind a poster on our wall. Although Teacher Kelsey made me put the ticky-tack back behind the poster.

Emma and his pet rock, Transporter Pt.1
She is always telling us that the posters fall off the wall when we take the ticky-tack, but what she doesn't realize is that they fall because we play rough in the classroom. The only reason our Bucket Filler poster was on the floor this morning was because Richard was on the desk fighting Leonard. 

Back to the class pet situation; teacher Kelsey said a big "NO" after we asked about a pet bunny. She claimed that if we couldn't take care of plants, then there would be no way we could care for a rabbit. Perhaps we had killed the plants, but she could have at least let us have fish. Those are simple to care for. You don't have to walk a fish or clean up its stinky poo. 

Since there was no convincing Teacher Kelsey to find a more suitable pet for our class, I took to the task myself. I had already given Teacher Kelsey her own pet kitten, so I couldn't repeat that one. But I did remember seeing some fish in the creek down by my house the past weekend, and like I said, fish are easy to care for. There's no way Teacher Kelsey could deny our class a pet fish if she had accepted the kitten I gave her. 

So after school, after the whole pet rock situation, I dropped my backpack at home, found an old ice cream tin and raced down to the creek. It took some effort but I managed to catch three fish. All that was left was to surprise Teacher Kelsey the bext day at school with our new, and much better, class pet. 

The next morning I woke up extra early to ensure that I would have plenty of time to get the fish to school safely. When it was time to leave for school I slung my backpack over my shoulders and carried the fish in their ice cream tin as carefully as I could. I managed to carry them all the way to school and into the classroom without spilling all of their water, and set them on my desk to wait for Teacher Kelsey to see.

"Oh, wow!" she said as she placed her lesson books on her desk.. You know, the “oh wow” where the teacher pretends they are excited. Right then I knew we had some convincing to do. I explained that I brought a class pet that was simple to care for and that I had even caught a Mad Fish. Those are the hardest fish of all to catch. But she clearly didn't understand that Mad Fish was a type of fish, not a just a crazy fish. It made no difference when the Mad Fish jumped out of the ice cream tin in the middle of our math lesson and began flopping around the desk. Thankfully Isaac picked it up by the tail and plopped it back into the water. But only moments later Vanesa spilled the whole ice cream tin of water onto Teacher Kelsey's books. 

Convincing Teacher Kelsey that having fish as a pet was not going as I'd hope. She picked up the ice cream tin and walked the fish right out of the classroom. She said it was disturbing the class, but I think it was just adding some much needed excitement. Who wanted to practice subtraction anyhow? Boring. 
Our pet fish

When she returned to class she informed us that she had dumped the fish outside, giving them a proper home where they would no longer disturb our class. After all my hard work of catching the fish and carrying them all the way to school, she just dumped them. I spent the remainder of our math class staring at the subtraction problems in my notebook, trying to not think about what had just happened. The bell eventually rang marking break time. As the other kids raced out of class, I slowly arranged my desk neatly, before I headed outside to join them.

When I walked out to the school yard I saw Leonard and Isaac from my class staring into a large orange bucket. I decided to go over to see what it was they were look at. Leonard yelled to me, “Emma! You must see this!” To my amazement inside the large orange bucket were my three fish.

I should have known that Teacher Kelsey was tricking us about dumping the fish. Especially after the time she scared Isaac by putting a fake centipede in his English book. She had liked my class pet and even found a better home for the fish. I will admit that the ice cream tin was a little small for them. Now there is room in the large orange bucket for me to bring even more fish! The other students loved the fish and we even have our pet rocks sitting on our desks in our classroom. I think Teacher Kelsey still likes the pet rocks best.