Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in Uganda








                         Welcome to our little Thanksgiving celebration 
here in Uganda!

I'm so thankful you stopped by for a moment 
so you can 
see a little glimpse of our day.
  
I had the privilege of having several sweet friends 
join me at my home.

In bible study I have been sharing about some 
American traditions and 
I was so excited to make a feast and 
share it together.

We went around the table as we ate and 
talked about what 
we are thankful for this year.

I have been looking back and thinking what 
it was like last year.

I never would have imagined what it would 
be like just one year later.

I am so very blessed.

So many things have happened this past year that  
I am just blown away by the way God works.

He is always faithful and he continues to 
amaze me day after day.

I was so thankful to stop our normal routine
 and just reflect on what 
God has done this year.

I anxiously look forward to next year and 
all that it will bring.


We celebrated with chicken, 
stuffing made from scratch,
mashed potatoes, 
homemade green bean casserole, 
and maple carrots.

Of course this was the first taste for my sweet friends 
to have many of these American dishes.

We also had homemade Pumpkin and Apple pies!

It was so fun to see what they liked and to just share this day together.

They have told me they now wish to take this tradition of a meal; 
being thankful for their families.

From my home to yours - may your Thanksgiving 
be so very blessed!
Lots of love from Uganda,
Xo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Alicia



It is with a heavy heart that I dedicate this post to my sweet friend Alicia.

On November 5th I received word that my sweet friend went to be with Jesus.

Although my heart is aching with the news and the reality of not seeing her 
physical self here on earth anymore is starting to set in..

 I rejoice that she hurts no more...

In my heart I hold all the memories we shared and my heart aches with the loss.

I want to cherish those special moments...

My roomate Macey and I have been sharing Alicia stories as our hearts grieve
from not having her in our lives anymore.

We remember and we give thanks for 
every special moment we had with her..

Alicia was born with Cystic Fibrosis and 
although she struggled everyday with her disease,
you never would have known, 
she is the most selfless person I know.
She was all about others and 
never was thinking about herself.
She gave her life to serve Jesus..

My memory flashes through images of her laughing 
and the silly little things she would do.
---------

In March of 2012 I journeyed alone to upstate 
New York 
for my grandma's funeral.

My Grandma had passed away and 
I didn't want my Dad to be alone.

So I flew across the country to represent the grandkids.

I arrived and my Dad picked me up from the airport.

Staying in my Grandparents old house 
there was no internet access.

So off we went to get some Ice cream 
and connect to the internet.

After being served, the girl behind the counter 
struck up a conversation.

I shared that I was moving to Uganda and 
she was shocked.

{I guess I looked more like
 12 years old than my age. ha!}

After sitting down she came around 
the counter and to my surprise
she pulled out a chair and sat down.

She questioned me about moving to Uganda..

Before I knew it we were friends!


I shared about my passion and love for 
Uganda and the Ugandan people.

We got to talking, exchanged phone numbers, 
and swapped information.

That night I received an email from Alicia.

She said she wanted to go to Uganda with me!

I was shocked! But so very excited..

It's not everyday you meet a stranger and 
leave with a new friend.

But that's just how Alicia is.

I don't think she ever ever met a stranger and
 didn't leave with new friends.

--------


In June 2012 we journeyed to Uganda on the  IVO GO Team.

We roomed together and shared many secrets, 
stayed up way too late and shared our dreams.

She fell deeply in love with the country and the people.

She had a passion for serving the people 
and her smile could light up the room.

I will never forget watching her dig 
jiggers out of orphans feet.

Even if a little one was dirty or even dripping wet in pee, 
it didn't bother her.

She would scoop them up and hold them close! 

Truly being Jesus in the flesh.

When we returned to the states we kept up on 
frequent phone calls, text messages and emails.

We became lifelong friends sharing a 
bond and passion for Uganda.

Later that summer my family journeyed to 
New York this time for several weeks..

Alicia and I were reunited and I will always 
cherish those sweet summer memories...





Attempts of match-making {major fail!}, 
late nights at the drive-in, 
watching the Olympics from London,
and many trips to get ice cream.

--------

Later in the fall I got a message that she would be 
joining us again for the 
GO Team in January of 2013.

I was so very excited. 
She would be apart of my moving here!

We promised each other we'd be roommates again.

On the January trip I got the most exciting news.

Alicia knew God was calling her here to serve in Uganda as well. 
She shared with me that the January trip was her scouting trip for where He would be calling her.

She didn't let her Cystic Fibrosis stop her.

She fully trusted God in where He was calling her.

She said He was leading her here and 
I couldn't have been more excited.

Instead of being an ocean apart soon we'd both 
call the same country home.

Alicia moved to Uganda in June of 2013.

Diligently serving the Orphans of Uganda as a missionary nurse.

She spent 4 months serving the people and 
changing many peoples lives.

Including my own.

------

Alicia was a selfless person.

Always giving herself to serve others,

I can still remember the night I laid in 
bed groaning with a high fever..

As soon as she found out I was sick she 
dismissed herself from dinner 
early to come watch out for me.

Every few hours she would nudge me awake 
and force me to drink water.

I refused the water and yet she wouldn't 
take no for an answer..

She was diligent nursing me back to health.

Seriously, the sweetest friend around.

-----



When rooming with her here in Uganda,

I woud awake in the night to find Alicia with

her head lamp on writing away in her journal 
and reading in her Bible.

-----
One of my favorite memories we shared was
 the night we found a lizard in our room.

We are both highly afraid of lizards..

But then the unthinkable happened -

The lizard dropped from the ceiling...

We screamed as we searched through 
our bed sheets trying to find it...

The only problem is we didn't realize 
how loud we were screaming until 
the neighbor next door came running over 
and banging on our door.

I opened it, to find a very nice british man 
in his boxers ready to defend us
 from whatever harm that had come...

Imagine his face when we said we had a lizard in our room...

He wasn't very impressed and was actually pretty upset at us as 
he went muttering back to his room.

We shut the door and burst into giggles.

 {Side note: running into him at breakfast the next morning 
he still wasn't nearly as amused as us. }
-------




We spent many nights talking about our past, 
relationships 
and our deep desire to serve the Lord.

We would sit on our porch over looking the
 city of Kampala while rats 
would scurry around the bushes.

But as long as we had our Chex mix and 
dark chocolate M & M's everything was okay.

Deep into the night we would share our dreams...
-------



I wish I could go back in time and have 
just one more day with her.

I miss her so much.

I remember the mornings we'd get up and 
watch the sunrise as we read our Bibles.

She was the type of friend your comfortable 
with even in the silence.

She had a zeal for life and serving the Lord.

She never would let her CF stand in the way.

Even when she was weary she would get up bright
 and early to go serve at the baby home.

------

One night as we shared at our team meeting 
she said something I will never ever forget..

She shared with me how proud she was of me 
and giving my life to serve the Orphans of Uganda.

She walked over to me and took her necklace off 
as she placed it on my neck.

I looked down to see what it said:

"Take the Road less traveled, Uganda"

We both cried as we hugged each other..

She said she would be praying for me in the days ahead.

----

My heart aches not having her here.

I miss her in so many little ways.

You gave your life willingly to serve the Lord fully - 

no matter the cost.


I am so proud of you Alicia and the life you lived.

I love you and will always miss you.

Your Legacy and life lives on in each one of our lives.

Uganda will never ever be the same because of you.

I can't help but imagine what it was like for you 
when you saw Jesus face to face.

 I look forward to the day I see you again.

I love you Alicia.

-Xoxo