Grace Notes

Training the Palate

August 25, 2007 by Lissa Eggleston | 0 comments

February 5, 2004

Greetings My Friend,

One of the goals we have here at the village is to train the children’s palate’s to enjoy a variety of foods.  In their culture, there are several staple foods, but beyond that many never have the opportunity to explore.   In the dining hall, the lunch meal consists of national food that the mamas and children really enjoy.  When posho (like very stiff grits) is served, the mamas smile and say it will make a good nap for the cottages.

DSC00362 (Small) Trying to plan menus that are filling, healthy and enjoyable has presented us with somewhat of a challenge. Carolyn was very excited recently because she had figured out a way to make macaroni and cheese to be served at our evening meal.  The cooks did a great job of preparing it and we expected everyone to really enjoy this new treat–after all, who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese?  DSC00361 (Small)

Well, we heard nothing about the new dish from the mamas or from the children.  A few days later I was hauling some of the aunties who work during the day helping the mamas back to their village.  On the ride, I asked, “How did you and the children enjoy the macaroni and cheese?”  There was not an immediate response so I turned to Auntie Janet and asked her again.  You need to know that Ugandans are always eager to be polite and to please, so Janet turned to me with a big smile and a lift in her voice,  “Oh JjaJa, I think we have enjoyed it very much, only one has vomited!”  I thought I would never stop laughing at that and I almost ran the Prado up the side of a bank before I regained control.   Now, when Yoweri finds out that we are having macaroni he whines, “JjaJa, not the maca-ronees!”DSC00614 (Small) (2)

Well, I dropped Janet off at her place and proceeded to take another helper to her home.  As we traveled she said, “JjaJa, I am wondering if you would give me the advice (pronounced add-vice)?”  DSC01113 (Small)That was her way of saying, I want to speak to you privately for counsel.  I told her that I was willing to help if I could.  She is a precious friend and I have come to love her dearly.  She shared with me that her husband who had abandoned the family about six months ago, had returned the night before.  She said he was very apologetic and asked for forgiveness for wanting to flee from the crushing that poverty had made to his sense of manhood.  He despaired when daily faced with his inability to raise school fees for his children or to feed them adequately.  He felt trapped and unable to break out of the hopeless circumstance.  The pressure to provide when it was impossible to find a job took its toll and he ran. During all the months he was gone, Pastor Fred and his wife Susan stepped in and provided for this family.

DSC02371 (Small)Now it seems, he is ready to return home and she is more than willing to receive him.  Her dilemma was that he wanted to resume physical intimacy with her.  She remembered talks that Pastor’s wife had given about the way HIV is spread, so she had refused him and explained to him that she was not going to allow that until he had had a blood test to determine his status. She asked me if it was true that the virus could be passed between husband and wife that way.  I told her that Susan had given her true advice and that she had done the right thing. Her husband proclaimed his fidelity and said there had been no women in the six months, but this dear woman bravely resisted.  Jane, she was thinking rightly but the truth is she has no resources to carry out this plan.  Like everyone here, she struggles financially–there is never enough money to cover just the bare bones basics of life.  Her sons and daughters have not been able to attend secondary school this semester because she has no money for school fees.  When I dropped her off earlier this week, there was no food in the home.  I stupidly asked why she didn’t get fresh vegetables since they are so plentiful and cheap.  She responded,  “JjaJa, what difference does it make what the price is if I have no money at all?”    She added, “JjaJa, a meal of eggplant and tomatoes does not fill a hungry stomach through the night and day.”  The custom here is to drink a cup of chai in the morning and wait until very late in the evening to eat one meal that will hold you through the night and next day.  DSC01128 (Small)

Since it has been my job to take people to Ebenezer Lab, I knew that a reliable blood test costs more than this little family could ever raise or justify.   How could she come up with 9,000 shillings (at least 3 days wages) for blood testing when she has children who are not getting enough to eat?  It is through difficult choices like this that AIDS has claimed Africa.  DSC02373 (Small)Anyway, I told her that I would transport she and her husband to the lab and pay for the testing and praised her for her wisdom and for standing up in a gentle but firm way.  It takes one day to get the results, so I trust God will protect her until this is settled.  Friend, you are on my mind and in my heart–may He help renew your heart today as you prepare for prayer tomorrow.

With love,

For Behold, I Bring you Good News of a Great Joy

August 23, 2007 by Lissa Eggleston | 0 comments

December 27, 2003

Dear Friend,

In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,

like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions. (Deuteronomy 32:10-11)

DSC00994 To be the apple of God’s eye is an astounding thought isn’t it?  How confident we can be when we know that His love treasures us in the way that these verses describe.  I think these children here must be the apple of God’s eye!

Christmas was different but it was a “good” different.  In many ways, it was  more like Christmas than any I’ve ever experienced.  So, while it was not familiar, it was deeply meaningful. The mamas and the children were wowed and their reactions made my Christmas!  Christmas morning,  I arrived at the dining hall to put on the turkey.  I took your recipe book with me to show the cooks who had never roasted a turkey how to manage this new treat.  I was so thankful that I had packed that treasure.  DSC00997 I prepared the dining hall for worship, and then had a sweet time of prayer with the other ROS.  We were so glad that our friends from Wakiso Central Baptist were coming to the village to lead us in worship.  Pastor Fred planned not only to preach but to bring a choir to make the services very special.  They were 37 minutes late (my old time conscious self was keeping track) and the children were becoming a little squirmy.  I decided that we should begin, so I followed the African custom of opening worship with a praise and thanksgiving time. How glad I was that the group was late!  It gave space to two our mamas who were eager to stand and proclaim that this Christmas they had something that they didn’t last year.  DSC00995They spoke not only of the blessing of having a job and a reliable salary but of having a call and a sense of purpose in their lives. It was a deeply emotional time and one that ministered to my heart so much.  I found myself longing for this personal sharing to be part of our worship times back home. With time still available, Mama Jenipher then shared a song that she says strengthens her soul called “Stand by me Jesus”.  God was already moving in our midst when our friends from Central Baptist arrived. The Junior Choir sang 3 wonderful, spirited songs which captured the children’s attention.  Pastor Fred delivered a sermon that asked and answered this question:  “Here in Uganda where there is serious illness, poverty, death, war and pestilence, what is there to be merry about?”  He led us in considering that in the midst of all that is difficult –the difficulty is swallowed up in the blessing of knowing and being known by Christ–the Light of the World. I was fed once again on the miracle of the Light breaking into the darkness and the darkness not being able to overcome it. It was a great morning of worship! DSC00998

Afterwards, we had a huge buffet with roast beef, turkey, Kaloo (hamburger and millet flour), Matoke (a banana type staple), white sweet potatoes, green beans, chapati (thick tortillas), jello, macaroni and cheese and soda.  The children ate until they were sick and the mamas mounded food on their plates like field hands. Jenipher’s family knew that she was spending the day with Mzungus and so they told her not to forget Nehemiah 8:10!  I had to go home and look it up and was astounded that they knew it!  That verse says,  go and enjoy choice foods and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is sacred to our Lord.  For the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Isn’t it interesting that we well-fed westerners only remember the last part of that verse?  Hungry people see great hope in the first part!

One of our little boys named Jovan could not get over the privilege of being allowed to get up from the table and get anything he wanted off the buffet line.  He is a stocky little guy who will win your heart in a minute.  Jovan04May (WinCE) Today, he ate and ate.  DSC00889 (Small) Finally, Teopista told him he must stop or he would be sick.  With his most determined face and firm command of preschool English he responded, “For me, I want more!”  When he said “more” it sounded like “Mow-wah”.  Casey and I have rolled with laughter over that moment.  Now whenever we want something, we say, “For me, I want more!”

I broke the normal schedule and announced that we were going to nap until we woke up rather than making everyone wake at 2:30 for a snack time.  They were thrilled.  We took pictures of our friends piling into one truck and heading back to Wakiso for their next worship service.  I thought it would be a great idea to get all the children in one shot–that was a hoot–it took 5 tries to get one with all of them sort of facing forward!16kidsMerryChristmas (Small)

I too came home and napped and then got up and made some rough curtains for Casey’s room out of material that Christine Miller had left here in our home.  When we cleaned out cottage #5, Stu offered me the treadle machine that had been stored there.

Sarah gave Mom a phone card and she called on Christmas Eve which was sweet–she was so proud of herself for being able to dial all those numbers and then to have success in being able to reach us.  God graced the call and it was not interrupted or ended abruptly as sometimes happens with international calls.  She cried some and my heart was very heavy with homesickness then.  Jane, that is enough to get a flavor of what happened here on Christmas.  I am anxious to hear of your time.

There are sixteen children in Uganda who now know that Christmas is “Happy Birthday, Jesus” and that he was born to Mary and Joseph and that shepherds and wise men came to worship this glorious little King.  I pray God will use those meager beginnings to grow the heart of worship in them.  I feel as though I neglected my own family to make Christmas for these here–but they insist that they do not interpret this Christmas as loss but as gain.  We opened the gifts you sent during a 15 minute window that I had before returning to the dining hall to do the next thing.  I am so grateful for those gifts my friend, you have fed our souls and satisfied our need for the rustle of tissue paper–Casey was thrilled and Mike spent the time I was napping watching the race tape!  James is becoming a little sullen with us all and I pray that that is just his way of expressing uneasiness about returning to school.  I pray that God will make this releasing easy on both our hearts. He did say, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas” and wished that it didn’t have to be celebrated so early in the morning!

I enjoyed pondering verse 17 of our Psalm today, it says, “when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness”Psalm 17:15.  May it be so for both of us today dear one–I cannot describe all the ways I miss you right now.

Rejoicing in our Savior’s birth,

August 16, 2007
by Lissa Eggleston

Top and Bottom of the Morning

December 6, 2003 Greetings! The day started with me practically in a panic but it has calmed down and I have managed a nap!  It was raining cats and dogs at 5:00 when I got up this morning.  I headed out … Continue reading