Sovereignty Sovereignty

The day was unpredictable, but throughout it all one thing was certain: Our God is Sovereign.

You see yesterday Jim arrived back in Nakaale.

Today. We needed a doctor at the clinic.

We had a young man who encountered a snake while biking today. This snake got tangled in his wheels causing him to fall and cut his leg quite badly.

While we were looking at his leg and preparing to clean it, Adiaka ran in telling us there was a critical patient and we needed to come NOW. The mother was crying holding a limp child in her arms. We rushed the child into the office, examined to find the cause of the illness, and tried to get the story out of the frightened mother. The mother had gone to search for firewood, and when she returned she found her child lying motionless on the ground. No matter how many times and how many ways we asked the mother denied that the child had been sick at all prior to this morning. We did our best to stabilize the child, and find the source of the problem. Unfortunately none of our tests showed any abnormalities, but there was definitely something wrong. The best we can tell is that the child must have taken some toxic substance by mouth whether it be alcohol or petrol or what we will never know. We did what we could and then transported them to the district hospital for continued management. Dr. Joseph was there, consulted with us, and agreed that it was most likely some sort of poisoning. They will give the child fluids and provide watchful care tonight.

In between caring for the child and transporting them, we were able to clean, stitch and bandage the wound of the man who had the bicycle accident. He will heal *smiles*

The child is still alive, and I am praising God. I am praying that He will protect this child's life and restore health once again. I am praying for God to protect the other small children left to care for themselves while the adults go about the tasks for the day.

In the beginning, throughout it all, and in the end I am thankful to be a child of the God who is Sovereign.

The day the staff members got shot

Thursdays are the days of shots. Every week we have an immunization and antenatal day at our clinic. This week our staff members got a little bit of a surprise. They were "victims" of one of the immunizations. You see Jim found out that very few of our staff members have had tetanus immunizations since infancy. As health care workers, their risk of encountering tetanus is increased, and Jim decided it was in everyones best interest to be immunized. You would have thought he asked them to take a bullet in the arm rather than an injection from a small needle. The reactions varied, but NO ONE was excited to receive a shot in the arm. One by one they faced their fate, and were shot, twice, simultaneously. One shot from a needle, and the second shot from a camera. You see these momentous occasions must be documented. Some took it like champs with hardly a flinch, and others... well.... others reacted :)

So you see our staff members were shot this week, and I don't think they will every look at Thursdays the same. Don't worry... we gave them sweets when all was said and done. Sweets everything better whether you are 3 or 33.


When I first met Toto Lopeyok (Momma of Lopeyok) and Lopeyok I never would have guessed that they would be a source of joy and encouragement every week. In fact, my first reaction to these two was quite different. I was angry. Angry that a mother could find a few hundred shillings more important than the life of her son. Angry that her hungry stomach was more important to her than her son's empty stomach. I was grieved that this poor two year old was fighting for life, and his mother wasn't helping him.

You see this Momma showed up with her son one Tuesday wanting to have him admitted to our malnutrition program. He definitely qualified for the program with a MUAC (middle upper arm circumference) around 10 cm, and his height to weight ratio over -3 standard deviations from normal. The looked ill. He was listless, dehydrated and too weak to even sit on his own let alone walk. His tiny limbs were completely unable to support his large belly distended with hunger. Despite the fact that they qualified for the program, and it broke my heart to look at him so sick from hunger we had to call the director of the program to see if we should admit them. Why? This mother and child had been a part of another clinic's program, and the child was not improving because the mother was not giving the plumpinut properly (either selling or eating it herself). As a result she was chased from the program (or discharged is how you say it I guess). The director said to give her another chance, but to warn her that the child MUST improve or she would be discharged once again with no more chances.

Every Tuesday they come to the clinic. For the first few weeks, Lopeyok was sick. One week he had severe pneumonia and was struggling to breath. One week he was dehydrated from a stomach flu. One week he was sick with malaria. And then one week he arrived looking alert, active, and healthy. His belly was still disproportionate to his body, but his arms and legs were getting bigger. He even managed to walk while holding on to his mother's fingers! The weights plotted on his chart keep going up and up! He is still a good couple of kilos away from the target weight, but he is improving. His mother is grateful! Now that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I gave Lopeyok a blanket when he had pneumonia, but still... she greets me every week with a huge smile on her face, and Lopeyok is right there with her smiling at me and shaking my hand when she tells him to greet. That precious smile melts my heart.

So I keep on keeping on with this malnutrition program, and I think of Lopeyok and his mother every time we have to discharge another child as non-respondent to treatment. Every non-responder breaks my heart, but I pray that they will return with renewed vigor to follow the treatment plan like Lopeyok and his mother. I pray that God will protect the little babies with their bellies full of hunger. I pray that our clinic and malnutrition program will show them the One who gives food that satisfies eternally.

Shoe polish anyone?

So there are days that I wish I had the power to change my skin color. You see my skin color alone makes me stand out in this place, but sticking out isn't the big issue. It is the fact that because I am white I must be made out of tum-tums (candy) and money. Although it sounds like a lot of fun to just give away all the candy and money I can, it is not helpful. Sure it might make their day today, but did I really solve the problem of hunger? Did I really solve the problem of not having money today? More importantly, how did I help their heart? If I had all the money in the world, and could solve physical hunger, would it matter? Friends, each one of us needs to seek the living water. The water that satisfies. The water that lasts forever.

I cannot change my skin color. I cannot give candy or even food to everyone I meet on the road, but there is something I can do. I can pray to the King of Kings to redeem these people and satisfy them with the living water. I can share Him with those I meet on the road. That is what it is really about. It is not about me feeling harassed for assistance because of my skin color. It is not about me. It is about Him. In that knowledge, I can carry on.

Th day the dogs, goats and a snake came to church...

Church here in Nakaale is a little different than my experiences back home. Okay so a lot different *smiles* We have a shelter with a tin roof, concrete floor and concrete benches for a church "building". It looks something like a picnic shelter.

This past Sunday was a prime example of the differences. There was a pretty good crowd by time the service started, but people just kept on coming. Men, women, children, and even some animals joined us. One of the mission's dogs had managed to evade the cage that morning, and found her way to church. It usually isn't a problem until another village dog comes to church and there is a need to defend the territory. Unfortunately a few village dogs came to church as well, but the dog squabbles were kept to a minimum as well as the distractions. The children come and go as they gather little berries for a snack or get distracted by a friend. There are a couple of adults in the church who are good about maintaining order among the children, but if they are absent the pastor's have been known to stop the sermon and remind the children to quiet their mouths.

We begin worship with prayer and then sing a few songs. The songs are in Karamojong. The singing is accompanied by the beating of our hands (clapping), the beating of the tambourine and the beating of the drum. Most of the songs are arranged in such a way that a leader sings a line and then the congregation repeats the line or a chorus of some sort. After singing, we quiet our hearts and then listen to the pastor's preach. Like I mentioned before there can be distractions, but after a while you tune out the children's chatter or the dog squabbles. However there is an interruption large enough to stop the sermon: a snake. This past Sunday there was a snake that was slithering just under one of the girl's feet! Thankfully she noticed it, got up and moved out of striking distance. The snake was maybe a foot long, but it still posed a threat. The pastor stopped preaching as people moved to see the snake, and Bob stepped up to solve the problem. He stomped the snake, smashed it's head and threw it into the fields with a stick. Crisis averted, people settle back into their seats, and the sermon continued.

Friend's how many pastors do you know back home who could pick up right where they left off and finish of the sermon with gusto? I was impressed.

The goats came to visit for Sunday school. When I say came to visit, I mean coming right up next to Pastor Albert and bleating (or whatever noise it is they make) right in our faces. I don't know how much experience you have had with goats, but they can be load and very disruptive.

So ... there is a glimpse of our Sunday morning worship, and I am grateful we don't have dogs, goats and snakes at church EVERY week :)


Devotions had just finished and people were getting set up for the day. I was in the pharmacy checking to see what medications were needed for dispensing today when someone said “Doctor, I think there is an emergency.” I glanced out the door and there was a man running through the gate carrying a child.

There was a flurry of activity as they were directed back to the section where we start IV’s and told to lay the child down on the table. Everyone gathered around to watch as Dr. Jim asked the translators to figure out what had happened, Rachel worked on starting an IV, Moses obtained blood for a malaria smear, and Mark got the child’s temperature. Apparently the child had begun convulsing this morning, so they brought her straight to the clinic. She was seizing, so Jim got some anti-seizure medication and gave some while others were doing their tasks. I stood back taking it all in and trying to figure out if I could help. The child was hypothermic so I decided to run to the ward and get a blanket to get the child warmed up. I returned a few minutes later with a blanket and hat to warm the child. The child was very sick: she continued to seize despite the medication, her lungs gave a picture of pulmonary edema or aspiration, and her body was limp aside from the clonic or tense part of the seizures. I was afraid the outcome would not be good, but remembered that we serve the God who heals so I began to pray for this one.

By the grace of God and the wisdom of the doctor, the child began to regain her body temperature, the seizing stopped, the breathing cleared, and the child slept. Within 4 or 5 hours the child was awake, agitated by the IV and talking with her parents. When I returned from lunch I met the family walking down the road with a child who looked completely different than the one who had been carried through the gate just a few hours earlier. Kire Ejok Akuj. Surely God is good!

Ipei, Ngarei, Nguni…

Today was a slow day at the clinic. Dr. Jim and Nurse Albert went to Nakapiripirit to attend a meeting regarding the malnutrition program we are doing. “Those ones of concern” is the name of the organization sponsoring it, and they had called for a meeting to discuss how the program was going. I stayed behind with the rest of the staff and we saw maybe 25 patients today. I spent the day observing different staff members do their job, unlocking the pharmacy store for more supplies, and just talking with the staff.

The best part of the day though was when Lokwii and JB decided give me my first Karamojong lesson. It started with counting from 1 to 10. Ipei, Ngarei, Nguni, Ngomwon, Ngkan, Ngkanikapei, Ngkanikarei, Ngkanikauni, Ngkanikomwon, Ngtomon. We laughed and laughed as I tried to train my tongue to say these “simple” words that were so challenging to me. I “learned” to count to 20 today, how to ask “Where are you going?”, how to respond when someone asks where I am going, and word like my friend, my brother, my sister, my mother, my father. I think we will have to review this simple lesson several times before my tongue will be used to it. ☺ They had fun, promised to spend any more free time teaching me, and told me it was ok to learn slowly slowly. So here is to the adventure of learning Karamojong. Wadu wadu. Slowly slowly.

A Walk

I walk out of my house and slide the latch on the door into place with a clank. It is 7:40 and I am heading to the clinic for the day. The night watchmen have left, and the compound is relatively quiet as I head for the gate. I open the section of the gate that is for people walking, and pass through being sure to pull it closed behind me. I continue down the lane and see ladies walking down the road with bags of sorghum on their heads. As I reach the road, I am greeted by two schoolgirls who saw the Mzungu (white person) coming and decided to wait and walk with her. I can greet in the local language, Karamojong, but that is about it. Unfortunately I haven’t learned how to say I don’t understand or I only speak a little so they continue to try and ask me questions as we walk down the road together and dodge piles of poop left by the goats or cows. As we walk on I catch the phrase, “What is your name?” and tell them my name is Jenny. They laugh and try to say it. I don’t understand what they are asking me, but through broken English they finally ask “Where are you going?” I point down the road and tell them “I am going to the Clinic.” They reply to my inquiry of where they are going by saying, “School. Alamacar.” They then begin to point at my bag and grab at it, and ask what I can give to them. They ask for my water. They ask for my pencil. They ask for my book. All their requests are met with the response, “Mam” which is “No” in Karamojong. At this point, we meet others walking down the road and greet them. I meet the old man Peter and greet him, I meet Lucy and greet her. She asks me in Karamojong why I have not washed my outfit yet. She is the one who washes our clothes, and she knows this one has not been washed since I wore it last. Oops J I missed getting it out in time for her to wash yesterday because she came earlier than usual. Oh well. Tomorrow it will be washed. By this time we are at the crossroads and I part ways with the schoolgirls and head to the clinic.

This is a typical walk and I usually do it four times a day. I go down in the morning for work, back and forth for lunch break, and then back home again at the end of the day. It is frustrating to not be able to communicate, and hard to always be asked for things. If it would help them, I would give them my belongings, but that would really just hurt them. So in my walks I resolve to learn the language to the best of my ability so I can communicate with these ones and give them one thing that won’t hinder them from being responsible: my conversation, my time, my friendship.


So this is my bonda, I'd post more pictures of the inside, but the internet is refusing to upload them. Maybe later. Enjoy my one lonely picture :)

I owe you how much?!

So if you are from America like me, getting used to the currency here in Uganda is a bit hard. You see it is not uncommon to spend thousands of shillings on a meal or on your groceries. In fact, my total at the supermarket this week was 70,000 shillings. Ito! (as the K'jong say). Granted these things are basic cabinet stocking items and will last for a while, and when you translate it to USD it is significantly less. The current exchange rate is approx. 2000 Uganda shillings to 1 USD. When you sort it out... it really isn't so bad, but my oh my it hurts my brain to see all these big numbers. :)

Housing here in this new home

Life here in Karamoja is just different than life in America as you might expect. The other missionaries and I live a very comfortable life style, but there are still changes, challenges and new things to learn about life here vs. life at home.

I am living in a bonda which is basically a big round hut with a thatched roof. I have three windows, one door, two bunk beds, one wardrobe, one bookshelf, one desk and one papason chair. It is very nice, and actually one of the coolest (temperature wise) places on the compound. It is typically between 75 an 80 degrees Fahrenheit inside my house. The outdoor temperature has been between 85 and 90 I think. I haven’t checked really checked. Part of bonda living also includes outdoor facilities. I am not the biggest fan of the pit toilet and outdoor water spout, but I will learn to be in time. I am glad I get a shower house with running water! I do not have my own kitchen, but there is a kitchen in the main house that I can share with any visitors or other singles who are here on the compound. So far I have just been enjoying the company of others and eating their good food J Soon I will have to pitch in, but it is nice to have a bit of time to enjoy fellowship and not have to worry about what to have to eat.

I really don’t have to worry much about adjusting to “my new home” for long because I begin house sitting for one of the missionaries tomorrow for the next three months. They are heading home for a time of rest, relaxation, and fund raising. I will have a nice big house with indoor plumbing all to myself. I will be very spoiled by time they come back J It is a good thing “my bonda” is cooler than their house, or else they might find me living on their couch when they arrive home.

Home in Karamoja, At Last

I descended from the plane and was greeted by the smell of Uganda. It is hard to explain, but it is an acrid sort of smoky smell. You know what I am talking about if you have been here. I arrived approximately 12 p.m. Tuesday evening your time (EDT), and 7 a.m. in the morning here. I was so excited to be here. Traveling seemed to last forever, and it made it all the longer since I was stuck in the Airport FOREVER (awake the whole time) and then couldn’t sleep on my second flight. Oh well, there is no what to do. I waited for a while in line to get my visa, and then headed to collect my baggage. It was very easy to spot my luggage since I was almost the last person through to collect luggage, Walking through the doors with my luggage secured I saw a familiar Mzungu face, two of them actually. Pastor Al and James were there to fetch me. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to see smiling and familiar faces (I had a few to many hours on my own).

Wednesday (the day I arrived here) we ran various errands in Kampala, and then head back to the airport, checked in at the flight motel, and relaxed for a bit. The T’s went to fetch Laurie (Mrs. T) from the airport later on that evening, and I stayed back and got ready for bed.

Today the T’s and I ran a few more errands on the way out of town and then headed to a city about two hours from the capital. We met up with Dr. Jim and Jacob there, transferred my things to the other car, and then went our separate ways. The T’s are taking a few days of R and R and I headed to my new home. It is so good to be here, and start settling in. We didn’t get in until just before dinner time, so we unloaded, cleaned up and ate dinner with the Eldeens. Kris and I talked for a few hours after dinner which was really nice.

Thank you all for your prayers. I am so happy to be back. To be settling into the place I will call home for the next year. Don’t forget to keep in touch.

*tick, tock*

Time is passing by, and it has taken summer with it. My departure for Uganda is just around the corner. I think I started counting the days a little over 2 weeks ago, and now I am suddenly realizing that I only have a little over 2 days before I board the plane! Where has the time gone? Whoops... I have only saved approximately 1,000 things to be done in these last few days :) I wish I could have fit more in the past two weeks, the past month, but even so the days have been full. Unfortunately, I do feel as if there are 1,000 things to do and hundreds of people to see and I know that it won't all happen.

To my dear friends and supporters, thank you for your love, prayers and financial support. I am sorry I haven't been able to spend quality time with each and everyone of you, but please accept my heartfelt gratitude. It is through you all that God has provided for all my financial needs for the upcoming year. I know that God will continue to provide for my needs physically, spiritually and emotionally throughout the next year. I am excited to see how He will provide, and I know at times He will use you all in new and special ways to encourage and strengthen me. Please don't underestimate the power you have in this endeavor through prayers and thoughtful emails or cards.

This leaving part has never been easy, but I have also never left my home for a year. It is hard (as many of you warned me), but I know without a doubt that this is God's will for me at this time. Oh how I wish I could gather all my friends and family in one place instead of this loving of multiple people in multiple places, this separation for a time, and all of these good-byes, but I can't. Not for now. However, I know that a time is coming when all those who are in Christ will be joined together, in one place, for eternity! Praise God!

So I guess this post can be summed up by: This leaving and preparation is hard, and I love you all. In the midst of this "hardship", let us look forward with great joy to the day we will all be joined in the throne room of our King!

"Fear not, you worm..."

After a long and eventful day, I laid my head down to get some much needed rest when panic made me sit up with a fright. I leave in 17 days.

I tried lying in bed for a few moments listening to our neglected dogs play (at 12:30 in the morning mind you), and forcing my heart to be still. To stop freaking out. To sleep. This was all just because I was tired right? It didn't work. I got up sat in the dark loft for a little while praying, and when the dogs quieted down I returned to my room. I opened a new journal that I have been saving for this coming year in Uganda and began to write, two pages later I came to an end. Next, I opened my Bible and began to read. I started in Isaiah 41 because of the famous verse 10. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." However, the verse that jumped off the page, made me laugh and calmed my soul was verse 14.

"Fear not, you worm, Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel."

Except it kind of read like this:
Fear not, you WORM, Jenny, you woman. I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

I can do no more for my current fears than a worm can when it sees a GIGANTIC human foot approaching to squash it in a matter of seconds. It is pretty humorous really to be reminded that I am no more good for my fears than a worm for his fears. It also reminded me of the sermon Sunday night, Fear what? If God is for me, WHO can be against me?

So here is to putting an end to the fears and concerns I have about how everything will be accomplished in the next 17 days, and how I will survive a year in Africa. Do you realize that a year is a very long time and there are lots of things I will "miss out on"? But I am confident that this is where God wants me to go, and what He wants me to do, so why should I fear? He is on my side! Praise His glorious name.

And here is to cherishing every moment of the next 17 days (and even more so the following 365 give or take a few in Africa).


It was a hot day, the road was dusty, and my feet were tired from working at the clinic. Lunch of rice and beans was a welcome resting point. As I ate my lunch, I reflected on all the things I had seen since I arrived in Uganda. Breaking into my thoughts, Kris Eldeen, asked what my plans were after graduation. I told her how I was hoping to get more experience in pediatric nursing. She invited me to consider coming back to Uganda after graduation to work in the clinic. 

I arrived home after my time in Uganda praying and seeking counsel about the possibility of returning to serve God in Uganda. Through the counsel of my parents, pastor and members of the mission board and exploring the possibility further, it has become clear that God is calling me to Uganda for the coming year.

I would like to invite you to partner with me in my mission to Uganda.  I will be leaving on August 24, 2009 to spend one year in Uganda working with a team of missionaries ministering to the Karimojong people.  I need to raise $9,000 to cover the cost of supplies, travel, insurance, and living expenses.  Would you pray and ask God how He would have you be involved with this mission? If you would like to partner in this mission financially please leave your name and email address in a comment. 

Thank you for prayerfully considering how you can partner in this mission endeavor. 


About Me

My name is Jenny. I am a sinner that has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and I want to share the grace and love He has shown me with others. I am a nurse living and working in Uganda, and I am praying that God would make Matthew 5:16 true of my life.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Enjoy snippets from my journey as I step out in faith day after day.