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Momma always said…

Momma always said two wrongs don’t make a right.

There was a post on an expat social group where a guy was posting that he wished that people wouldn’t call him Chinese because he is actually from Korea. He was stating that it was annoying that everywhere he seemed to go he would have people try and talk to him or label him to get a reaction. People reacted to his post saying that he should just get used to it and that they didn’t mean any harm. Other people said if he didn’t like it he should go back “home”. A few people chimed in saying they also get called names labelling them as a certain race whether accurate or not they either said they didn’t care or it was annoying. Another expat then made her own post about this particular persons post saying that she was concerned that no one seems to care about racism and that only those people belonging to that nation could do something about it. But she also got a lot of resistance and people saying it wasn’t racism. That it is very minor compared to all the other things in history done to Africans.
So my mind went through a few questions.
What is racism? Can you define it or does a dictionary define it? Meaning can racism be something that makes you feel uncomfortable, ashamed, angry, sad, defensive etc.? Is racism the right word? If someone is labeling you and it is true do you still have the right to be offended.
If I was a minority in the situation does that make it worse? Is labelling okay? If someone means no harm from the word they use to call you does it make it okay?
Is it okay to sometimes correct them, or ignore them?
All I know is that it is never okay to let someone else’s actions consume you, allow you to lose control, to act in a way that is out of your character, harbor hate, or retaliate in anger.
All over the world people were created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27. No matter your nationality, outward appearance or even the condition of your heart; God loves you, has a plan for you and created you.

Matthew 22:37-39 …“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The problem we face as a nation is that some people still do not understand the first, as they do not love the Lord; thus making it hard to love others. We need to do our part and show them what that LOVE looks like.

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Why we give an allowance

Today was a perfect reminder of why we give allowances at our house. We started this process of giving money for completing chores about a year ago. The idea was they would be given required house work daily and at the end of the week they would get payment for the work they completed. They then had to tithe each week 10% and they couldn’t spend the money until the end of the month. For discipline problems they had to pay money as part of their consequence. If they broke, lost or damaged something it was them to pay for it.

The value of money is something people can easily take for granted. For Tendo it has helped calm down his anger problems because there was one week he had lost everything he had earned and came to the realization that if he didn’t make some changes he was going to be broke. Happy is learning that he needs to listen more and also talk more as he struggles with understanding, guesses and then when corrected doesn’t always take that correction constructively. Today we were getting ready for the start of school tomorrow; last term we purchased all new items for the boys. Kitiibwa did not return home with some of the items that were purchased, so today he had to buy the replacements. He started sobbing as he handed over 26,000 shillings the cost of his school sweater (about $9 but when you get 7,000 shillings a week that is almost 4 weeks of work gone). Sure we feel bad when they feel bad but then we remember in the long run it is building character. For the littlest ones they understand that if they want a new toy or a treat it is them to buy it.

This Christmas all the money earned during the month of December went to the purchase of a gift for someone else. When kids get money they can learn to give back, to give to God what is His, to give a gift for a friend, teacher, sibling or parent. Sure they could choose to spend it however they want, but if we show them how blessed they already are, they may see that they should want to give back to others. What we are trying to help them realize is that we are meeting all their material needs with food, shelter, clothing, shoes, schooling, water, transportation, recreation and more. More importantly we are trying to show them love, Christ’s love and unconditional love, the type of love that focuses on the overall well rounded human being that God has entrusted to us to raise into God fearing, caring, selfless human beings.

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A Universe Divided

Why pro-life vs. pro-choice is always a dividing issue, and why no politician will ever change that, only Christ.

“You don’t know, what I was going through when I had an abortion.” “What if the mother would die?” “What if it was a result of rape or incest” “If it is illegal women will still have abortions, just in an unsafe way.” “There are so many people who want babies.” “How can you kill an innocent child?” “It doesn’t have rights until it is born, or unless someone was trying to have a baby.” “Jeremiah 1:5”

Many of the arguments I have heard for abortion is that it is for the woman’s health, they were raped, and their child wouldn’t survive out of the womb. In the world most countries only have abortion legal for those specific reasons. The problem is that abortion is happening for many more reasons than those mentioned. The issue is that no one for abortion is advocating for the unborn child. They are advocating only for “women’s rights” because they have said that because it is not born, that “fetus” as they like to call it has no rights.

The argument on the side against abortion, is saying the child deserves to have someone advocating for it. They are not saying that go ahead and kill the mom and save the baby. They are saying don’t kill the baby as the first choice. There are other choices.

The real issue is that there are not enough people educating woman on prevention, health risks in having an abortion and overall the counseling that needs to take place before and after abortions. It is not about shaming someone, it is about loving each other. However, we cannot go around pretending that abortion is okay by legalizing it and having no restrictions. Abortion should be a last resort, not the first choice.

Inform yourself Abortionfacts.com and many other resources are available to make a more informed “choice”.


October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.

If you think about all the women who have decided to try and have a baby and then lost that baby, you will have a hard time convincing them that they didn’t have a human being in them.

Life at conception. Jeremiah 1:5

Those that have been pregnant and lost that human life don’t label that child as no one. It was their child, it was unborn but it was their child. The moment you get pregnant your body changes. Chemically, physically and emotionally you are changed.

How can you say that it is not a life that should be protected? I as a parent would give up my life to save my children, the same goes for a child who is not born. God performs miracles, the first miracle is conception that is life.
God can use your mistake, your traumatic experience, your choice for his glory. If you are a believer in Christ, I don’t understand why abortion would ever be okay. I don’t know why someone would believe that their body is their own, it is NOT it belongs to God. That unborn child, that born child, you belong to God.

If you don’t believe in God, I pray that one day you will seek to know Him. Why, because He is your creator and He chose life for you.

#chooselife #chooseadoption

*One thing I would like to say is that regardless of your stance on this issue, God loves you and we as Christians are also called to love you. So understand I will still pray for you, I will still care about you and I will still respect you.

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Life Matters-The success of our Future

Why is it that sports are the key to success in the lives of so many? Why if you are good at a sport that equals success in life? We give scholarships and recruit people to play for “our” team. We want to win! You see it all over the world, where someone who without a sports scholarship would have “failed” in life. Why is that? Why is it that we as a society think that we should only be helping those that essentially can help us? Why is it that we push kids through high school and college to get their education, but only if they are the top performers at their sport or talent?

Why do we not invest in everyone regardless of their talent? We find that here in Uganda with Rising Star. We can fairly easily find support for children who are good athletes. Schools will pay for their education in order to get the “star” athlete to compete for the pride of their school. But what about those that do not have an athletic bone in their body, sure they may like to play but they are not at the “top” level of performance. Well one might think they can focus more on their academics to make it further in education. Study harder to get good grades and earn scholarships that way.

I want to challenge our thinking as a human race. A profound thought….what if we treated everyone as equal when they started school. Picture this you are the teacher of a classroom of 3 year olds and you know everything about these kids, what country they come from, how much money their parents make, what kind of house they live in, what kind of meals they get at home, and a multitude of other information. Then you decided that no matter what obstacles they start out having because of whom they were born to, that you would cater to their every need. That you would make sure they succeeded in life because you invested in their life. That you in fact leveled the playing field of sorts; that every child was given the opportunity they needed to succeed. You went above and beyond the norm and you made sure that when they left your class they were set up for success.

Imagine that every single person in their life, invested in their life. Their parents, their educators, their doctor, dentist, coach, pastor, neighbor, relative, policeman, store manager, and stranger. Imagine that no matter their relationship to one another, everyone worked together to make sure that child succeeded. That child and every child that crossed their path. You see it is not impossible for us to enrich each other’s lives, to make a better future and successful nations. It takes individuals to invest outside of the “stars”, to make everyone a star.

At Rising Star and at Acacia my goal is to treat every single child with the respect and decency they deserve. To learn their story and to make sure that I give everything that I can offer to make sure that when they leave my care they are set up for a brighter future. What is your role in making the future brighter for our children? My prayer is that we can lead by example and start a new way of thinking that every life is valuable, that no matter the predisposition they may have that we make it a level playing field of opportunity for success.

#livesmatter #dosomethingaboutit #changetheworldforgood

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American Pride

When we study History, one would think that we would learn from it. I just got done watching a movie on the Olympic athlete James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens, called the “Race”. Find out more about him… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Owens

You would think that it would make me reflect back on how the Nazi’s were so horrible. What is really horrible is that fact that we were doing the same thing and some respects still are on a subtle level. At least the Germans were not hiding their hatred, Isis is not hiding their hatred. But why are Americans still struggling to admit that they are prejudice of those who are not White, Male, and Christian?

The Olympics is a time when we are all about USA, no matter what that looks like. People cheer for the USA to win. It becomes everyone else is the “bad” team and USA is the best team. I will admit we at this house have been cheering and celebrating the victories of the Olympics. My kids even are pointing out the American flag and cheering for the “good” guys. But are we the good guys?

We have so much diversity in the USA and we put the blinders on when it comes to sports. We forget about all the obstacles that athletes of different race, gender and economic status have to face. We forget that many of these athletes have to work twice as hard as others just to get recognized. They only can complete because they are so good, one would be stupid not to have them apart of their team.

But what happens when they miss the mark? What if they don’t win the Gold or the trophy, or the title of Champion? When they don’t have their uniform on, how are they treated? Before they are “discovered”, how were they treated by the masses? Human beings, Americans who have families, bills, and responsibilities on top of the immense pressure to be the Best.

Every four years people watch on television and cheer for USA. We need to be cheering for more than just the athletes, we need to be proud of more than just winning. We need to be “proud to be an American”. Right now I don’t know that I am that proud of anything that Americans are doing or have been doing over the years.

How can we as Americans be worth rooting for fulltime not just every time there is an Olympics on TV. One thought would be to respect each other, pray for each other, forgive each other and listen to each other. I still hold onto the hope that America will one day be a nation that truly is united as “One nation under God, indivisible with justice and Liberty for All.”

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Contradiction or Adaptation?

This thought came to mind while Jacob was playing soccer, “He doesn’t take charge and get after the ball.” Then I thought, “He is always taking away things and taking charge in other situations.” It made me think of how confusing it is to be a child (okay and an adult), to reason out when to act in the right accord. We are taught to share, through taking turns and being kind when we play. Then we are told to take charge, go get the ball and fight for it. We are told to wait in line and not to push ahead, hold the door for someone and let them in first. Then we are told, you have to take a chance and pull out otherwise you will be stuck and go nowhere in traffic. Be proud of who you are, but not too proud, putting down what other people are.

There are many more examples in life where it seems life is a constant contradiction; but is it really? I hear all the time that the Bible is full of contradictions, but is it really? In life we are constantly put in different situations and we have to decide what the best response for that specific situation is. You can have a different response to the “same situation” if even one factor is different. Life is not full of contradictions, it’s full of endless possibilities and we have to prepare for them all. We will fail and pick the wrong response, but we will have another opportunity to learn from those past mistakes and react differently.

We can dwell on all the mistakes of the past, worry about the mistakes in the future OR we can allow past mistakes to shape us into the future and keep daily working on not making the SAME mistakes. Because face it we are going to make mistakes, it’s how you deal with those mistakes and change them into something great. My hope is that I continue to teach my kids to make choices based on the situation at hand. To learn from their mistakes and to live a life full of possibilities, not blame the world of contradictions.

 

 

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Uganda year one recap

 

Two weeks left until school is out for the end of the year holiday. Our family starts back up at the end of August. This past year has been an amazing experience for us all. Jacob will be starting kindergarten and he has benefited so much from being in preschool. He can read and write, is so creative, grown taller and has made many friends. Parker will be starting school in the 3 year old classroom part-time. I will be her teacher along with 8 other students. She also has grown and is so imaginative, playful, friendly, and looks up to her brother. I have enjoyed balancing all things educational, from creating fun learning experiences at Rising Star, to volunteering two days at Jacob’s school and studying for my teaching certificate. Matt has been on the field and out in the field with Rising Star Ministries. We have seen so many blessings and opportunities for our ministry and feel the kids are benefiting greatly from the necessary improvements this past year.

What I can take away from this past year is that you can never plan for everything. I don’t know why we think we can. Parker has lived in 3 different homes in her 3 years of life, we hope that only one more move is in the future. We have done a lot of work to the future Rising Star Ministry site and it truly is taking shape, minus a major feature the building. We hope over the next year or two that we will start utilizing that space more effectively as a space for ministry. My plan in the next year or two is to be working 4 days a week at school and 2 days a week at Rising Star Ministries. I am wanting to hire an Ugandan teaching assistant to work during the week to help with the after school program. This will allow for me to not be overwhelmed by all the hats I have been putting on, and allowing for more staff to help with any language barriers.

One major accomplishment on the part of my side of the ministry is the new books that my mother helped purchase for me. I first learned about “Bob Books” from Jacob, he was learning how to read with these great books. So I have about 10 kids that range from Kindergarten to 4th grade that I have been teaching how to read. They came to me not knowing how to use Phonics to sound out words, but by guessing what the word was by either pictures or repetition. Dauda makes me the most proud, he started the year in 3rd grade and got demoted mid term back to 2nd grade. He started learning the sounds the letters make and then quickly was able to blend. He has enjoyed coming and reading through as many “Bob books” as we will allow. We are impressed not only with his reading ability, but also his ability to help his peers. He can explain what a book means in his native language Luganda, and we are working on him being able to speak more English.