Sunday, July 24, 2016

Buwundo Village

At Esseza's (Esther) house

Buddies and a little buddy from the village

Jaja (grandmother) of Petu (little girl in left corner)

We visited with two families in the village... they came out, offered chairs and benches for the adults (men sit first), children and women sit on the mats if there are not enough seats.  The hostess kneels and shakes everyone's hands and welcomes us.  Very humbling to see their gestures of hospitality ... when quite often I forget to offer my guests a seat and sometimes worry that they may stay longer than my limited free time and attention may last.  The children love it when we take a picture with them and then show it to them.  

More scenery

We went to the market in Jinja yesterday... Lisa needed talapia, so... they cleaned it for her right there

This morning walking to church

I am having trouble accessing my phone pictures to upload them to the blog.  I have a lot more on my Facebook page and will make them public so that you can see them.  I apologize for this, but I just can't seem to get them on here.

michelle and emma

Friday, July 22, 2016


Newest addition to GSF staff,
with Emma, who held him before we 
even got to our rooms

Looking out from David and Lisa's house toward GSF

We are here!!  It is 1:02pm in Uganda, but only 6:02am in Atlanta.  So while you all begin to wake up and start your day, I will give an update of our trip.  

We arrived in Entebbe Wednesday evening around 10 local time.  We got through immigration and customs without a hiccup, and met the Fishes!!  So good to see them.  Poor Lisa could hardly stay behind the door that they were supposed to stay behind, and kept getting scolded by the security guard!  Finally, we were able to give hugs.  We rode the bus to Lake Victoria View Guesthouse, settled in and had a good night of sleep!  

Thursday morning - Breakfast at guesthouse was fruit (bananas, pineapple, and watermelon, eggs, toast and passionfruit juice.  We left for a mall in Kampala, learned a bit about the culture and traffic (they drive on the left here!!).  We had  breakfast (yes, we did) at a lovely place that reminded me of Panera.  Iced mocha and a chocolate chip muffin for me, please.  The kids played while adults talked.  Lots of European people in the city.  We went to a store that was like a cross between Walmart and Dollar General.  Prices, surprisingly, were pretty much similar to prices in the US.  But remember, we were in the city, where travelers and more well-to-do people would be.  At this point, I didn't feel like we were even in Africa yet.  

As we headed for GSF, we traveled through miles of poorer areas.  It began to seem more like I had pictured Africa.  As we left the city, which smelled very strongly of smoke from trash burning and was hazy with exhaust and smoke, we got into more rural areas, dotted by stretches of "shops", painted with advertisements.  Medical "clinics" stating they did HIV testing, labwork , basic care, and family planning were frequent.  Not places I would want to take my family.  An occasional larger clinic bosting more sevices was seen.  We even saw 2 or 3 hospitals along our 4 hour drive.  We stopped at the corner of the road to GSF (dirt) and the main road and got snacks.  Chicken on a stick, bananas, chapati (like a fried tortilla - my favorite thing after fruit).  Everything was yummy, and Emma tried everything.  She talked to the other kids (Colin, from our church, and Esther, Elijah, Ezra, and Ezekiel Fish) and played games and drew with Esther.  

The road to GSF was dirt... as soon as we turned onto the road, the dirt and dust went everywhere.  At times we almost couldn't breathe, but we got used to it quickly.  

Dirt on sugar cane along the road - looks like GA to me!

We started to see some houses and eventually got to GSF.  The school children met us at the gate with singing, dancing, and smiles.

To be continued....

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Three Days Left!!

We leave for Uganda in three days!  And we found out last night that we have met our fundraising goals and have the support we need!!  We are so thankful for our friends and family who have supported us financially, and now we ask that you all keep us in your prayers for the next two weeks.

We have treated our clothing with permethrin to keep the mosquitos away, bought our bug spray, filled our prescriptions for anti-malaria medicine and for antibiotics for just in case, packed medical supplies and other items for the trip, applied for our Visas, and exchanged American money for Ugandan money brought back by the other team.  We have prayed with family and friends for safety, for health, for effectiveness in being a witness to the people and an encouragement to the missionaries.  We are excited about meeting our sponsored little girl, Sisse, seeing our friends, the Fishes, meeting the other missionaries, and ministering to the people of Buundo.

When I come back, I hope to bring dozens of necklaces made by the women of the village, and sell them, so that they can have a way to make money for medical expenses and for schooling costs.  This is a new endeavor, and Lisa is trying to decide how best to help the women become independent in obtaining supplies and then selling their finished product.  Please pray that we could work on that and make some good connections to make this possible.

I am planning to upload pictures several times while we are there and give an update here on the blog.  I PLAN to keep a journal and write down everything I can remember while we are there....

I am hoping this will be full by the time we get back. :)

Thank you all for your prayers and suppport!  

-Michelle and Emma

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Update

Well, goodness!  Those two months just flew by!  I knew I needed to update our progress, but I didn't realize that it has been two months since we applied for our passports.  We received out passports and are very thankful that process is over and that we didn't run into any snags. 

You can't smile for a passport picture, so it ends up looking like a mug shot!

I finished knitting a blanket for our little sponsored girl at Good Shepherd's Fold, Cissy.  Emma and I can't wait to meet her!  I'm sure she's grown up a lot from when she first arrived last fall. 


And we have begun raising funds for our trip.  Our church will be donating half of the cost, so Emma and I will need to raise about $3,000 total.  That sounds like a lot, but we have already received over $600 and have not sent out any official support letters.  We are thankful from that response already just from updating here and on Facebook.  We plan to send out letters in the next two weeks.  If you don't receive one, it's probably because we don't have your address or don't realize you are following our journey.  Leave me a comment or message me on Facebook if you would like to update your contact info. 

Thank you all for your support and prayers!

Michelle and Emma

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

School of Fish: Celebrating!!!

Wonderful news from Lisa in Uganda.... click on the link below to go to the Fish's blog and read the whole story.

School of Fish: Celebrating!!!: Tonight I am celebrating! I have been praying for over a year for some of the women I have been getting to know in Buwundo village. We have ...


Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Yesterday, Emma and I applied for our passports.  It is harder than I expected to get two parents and one 13-year old into a government office at the same time, considering that government hours and school hours are pretty much the same!  Then I was also surprised to find that there are very few appointments available to schedule a time slot to actually apply.  Post offices and courthouses are the most common places to get a passport application done.  The courthouse seemed to have more flexible appointments.  So all this for future reference.  :)

We tried save $25 by taking our own pictures at home and using free online software to meet the requirements for a passport photo and then printing them at Walgreens.  This way, it cost $.68 total instead of $12.99 each to have them done there. However, the pictures were still not acceptable due to a shadow on the wall, so we still ended up rushing in to CVS to have an employee snap our pictures and print them out.   You aren't supposed to smile in your passport photo.  Emma had a fit of the giggles trying to get rid of her smile, but ... I laughed weakly and told the clerk that that shouldn't be a problem after all we'd been through in the past hour!

We rushed back to the courthouse and arrived at 4:59.  The clerk was such a blessing to us, patiently allowing us to do all of this to save us another attempt at setting up an appointment.   And our applications are on their way, so we should never have to go through this process again. :)

We received a personal gift in church on Sunday from a dear friend to be used towards the vaccines and other expenses we will have to cover outside our "trip costs".  That was a huge blessing.

About funding.... we have learned that our church will be funding 50% of the expenses and then we will raise or supply the remaining 50% of the expenses.  Total cost of the trip will be between $3000-3500 for each of us. I am also working on a list of items that have been suggested to take with us.  I will post that here as well, in case anyone is interested in donating some items.  Toothbrushes and toothpaste, for example... maybe you have a dentist that you know would be willing to donate some?

More info coming soon...!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Where Will We Be??

So..... where we will be isn't really on this map.  But, if you find the capital, Kampala, and go east, you can find Jinja.  We will be at the Good Shepherd's Fold in Buundo which is about 30 minutes (about 15 miles, I believe) from Jinja.  There is an inset map here, too, that shows where Uganda is in relation to the rest of Africa.

I will also include a link to the history of Uganda.  As a child, I remember hearing about the child soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army.  Now Uganda is quite stable politically and has seen success in the treatment and reduction of HIV/AIDS due to allowing the Catholic Church to promote safer lifestyle choices (this statement based on conversations I have had with those who work in Africa, not necessarily the Wikipedia link below).  That's pretty cool!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thoughts, Part 1

I spent a wonderful afternoon with a dear mentor and friend Monday.  Leanne Turk has spent years in the Central African Republic with her husband and boys.  She invited me for lunch, but I was just as hungry for her advice and encouragement as I was for the food she offered!

I have a terrible memory, so part of the reason for this blog is also for me to remember the things I learn and want to remember as I go along.

Some of the things I learned during our visit....

-the measure of success isn't "Did I get a lot done?" or "Have I accomplished my goals?"  but, "Am I closer to Jesus than I was when I started?"

-the best thing we can do as a team for the current missionaries is visit and encourage them... even if we don't DO a lot, they need us to BE with them

-Doxycycline may be as good or better a malaria preventative as anything else; plus easier to get, may be cheaper, and fewer side effects

-take gloves and wound care supplies... if I don't use them, I can leave them and someone will definitely use them

-take a BP cuff, stethoscope, and pulxe oximeter (I have a stethoscope, but still need to get a cuff and pulse ox)

-if it "gets out" that I am a nurse, I will have work to do! That is both exciting and scary, because......

-my own observation:  I might have a handle on common illnesses in the US, but I know NOTHING about medicine in Africa... time to start researching malaria, TB, and others.  The missionaries there know more from experience than I do!  Talk to doctors I know have spent time in Africa.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement... it means so much to Emma and me!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016



     Hi, I'm Emma, and I am just so excited about going to Uganda and seeing all the new things there. I love art, I am hoping to do some drawing or painting while I'm there. I absolutely love little kids, but I mostly love taking care of babies. I love to see them laugh and I like to make them feel better when they cry. I also love to sing. I've sung sometimes at my church and I am involved in choir at my school. I like to praise the Lord by singing praise and worship songs. I hope I will be able to sing to all the kids in Uganda. I am a little nervous about going because it will be the first time I've ever been on a plane that I can remember, so please pray that I will not be so nervous about my trip. I also have some good friends there; Lisa and David fish, and their children; Elijah, Esther, Ezra, and Ezekiel. I am mostly looking forward to seeing Elijah because he is my own age and I know him very well. I am looking forward to going to Uganda in the summer.


                                                ~ Emma 

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Pick me!"

Africa.... when I was a small child, I used to love to listen to missionaries come and tell about their work.  I remember learning about the Gambia (I wondered if you called the people of the Gambia "the The Gambians"...) and thinking maybe I would go there someday.  With every testimony and story, my heart’s desire was that one day God would allow me to serve overseas in medical missions.  As I got older, I was fascinated by other countries and cultures, and became interested in disaster relief, as well.  In high school, I got to go to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip.  It was more challenging than I had anticipated, but it was a great introduction to the world of mission work.  In college, I helped coordinate a medical trip to Bangladesh, but didn't get a chance to go myself.  I got to go back to the DR after Carter and I were married and do some medical work with a plastic surgeon.  I followed disaster relief efforts after almost every earthquake, flood, and typhoon.  But God never opened a door to another opportunity, and never to Africa.  Togo... Angola.... Kenya... Nigeria....The Dark Continent… the statistics telling of the need for water, food, medicine, and… Light.  Later, I followed the journey of the Myhre's as they worked during the Ebola outbreak in Uganda. Then, we met a wonderful family serving in the Central African Republic.  A group of friends from our church went to visit, work alongside them, and encourage them, but still, the Lord said, “Not yet.”

When our church began working on coordinating a trip to Uganda a few months ago, I felt the spark again… the “I want to go!” like a little child raising her hand in front of the Lord and squealing, “Pick me! Pick me!”  And when the moment finally came when I had to make the decision -- the timing seemed right, Carter agreed that this was the trip and that Emma was the one who should go with me, and we both felt it was right to commit to going.  Since that moment, God has encouraged me through songs, devotionals, scripture, and other people’s words to me that no matter what happens, He is leading, He is in control, and He loves Emma and me.  My biggest fear is not a vague, scary “Something” that might happen on the trip, but it is really that something will fall through at the last minute and I will not get to go!  For this fear, the Lord has reminded me that no matter what, He is already in this and He is already at the end.  I don’t need to convince Him that it all needs to work out.  He is already working in the details, and what He has for me and Emma is best.  We can rest in that.   This summer, Emma and I have the opportunity to go with a small group from church and visit, encourage, and work alongside the Fish family for two weeks!!   

Emma is excited about being around children and working with the toddlers and babies.  We don’t know exactly what we will be doing while we are there, but we are pretty sure it will involve kids!  I know that Emma’s biggest fear is the food… she has periodic stomach trouble, and is afraid that she won’t like the food and that it will bother her stomach.  She is hoping that she can pack some things that she will be able to eat to supplement whatever food she has there.  I don’t know if we will have room or if this is even possible at this point. Please pray for her to trust God to work out the details of the food for her, just as he will all the other details.

At this time, we don’t know the specific amount of money that we need to raise.  Our church is very missions focused and has made short-term trips a priority, but we also want to give our friends and family opportunity to support the team members and be part of the process of us going.  Emma and I already have been blessed with the funds to get our passport application started.  This is a huge encouragement, because we needed to start this process immediately and initially, the cost involved for two of us to get passports was daunting!  If you are interested in helping support us financially, please contact me.  Donations are tax deductible as long as your check is made out to the church and our individual names are not on the check.

More than anything else, though, we need your prayer support… for organization as we plan, for funds for passports, vaccines and medications, and travel, for right hearts and attitudes as we face new experiences and uncertain days, for us to be strong testimonies for Jesus, for the hearts of the Ugandan people we interact with to be open to the gospel, for safety, for health, for God to use us to encourage the missionaries we visit and to be a blessing and not a burden in any way, and for any number of challenges we can’t even anticipate yet.  I remember hearing from other missionaries that prayer support is the most vital, but never quite understood that.  As we look down this road to Uganda, it is so clear to me that they were right.  Not a thing can be accomplished without the Lord’s blessing and hand in every detail.

Thank you for being a part of our adventure.