Friday, December 24, 2010


It's Christmas Eve, and I've escaped the Nashville potentially-white Christmas cold and traded it in for Sunny and 62 in Ozark. I'm sitting outside an Arby's, my only known free-Wifi spot (any suggestions, Ozarkians?), checking emails and corresponding for the trip. Guilt has begun to set in about leaving my family, most importantly my mom, and taking this trip. I received a disturbing letter from a friend of hers telling me her health was bad and I needed to "step up and move home" to be with her. Details aside, Mom's not doing great but she's definitely not to the point of non-independence at home. I think she's bored here, but all in all ok for now. Or is she? Am I being selfish living my life so far away? Trying to get in as much as possible of my dreams, to include African living and serving, before I potentially get stuck in this town for the rest of my life? All of this plagues my mind and heart, because I love my mom so but I am desperate for this life and one day a family of my own...seeing myself as a caregiver is so far off. I'm not ready. I'm incomplete.

I see great inspiration from the family unit in foreign countries... the feeble, the extended family, the orphaned are all taken in by those viable, if able. I don't want to be part of a culture that rejects the old, sends them to assisted living but never visits... I wonder if our culture though just doesn't always lend itself to it... What more could I even do, working 40 hours a week, to take my mom to the doctor or supervise her at home? I'd still need help. It's not practical to quit everything, and it's borderline irresponsible no matter what I'd do.

Regardless. This may get deleted. But for now, I pray for my mom's health, mental and physical. That God would be with her, heal her if possible, prevent worsening of things, and watch for her safety... to surround her with friends who are kind and patient. Church family. And to allow me to learn to be a better daughter, to love and care as Christ did....not just in Africa but here as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Coming together...

We are pretty grungy today. I guess you could say we are preparing for being covered in dirt and not worrying about washing/fixing hair or makeup, not ironing clothes... but we aren't really. The Christmas shopping has been combined with toiletry shopping, scouring deals on teen boy clothes and baby items that can be used with therapy, and setting aside money for Visas and taxis from the airport. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't stretched super thin right now.

When I told my dad we were going to Uganda again, he said," Oh that must be nice, to have the money to do that," with a slightly detectable sense of resentment in his voice. It stung. I told him that we DIDN'T, but were raising money as usual. My dad loves and supports me, but I know he must think we're foolish. Even sometimes I think I'm foolish. We've had a couple of great donors, but one can tell that around the holidays, and with the economy in this states, people are having a tough year. But I know that God will provide, and even if most of it comes out of pocket it is worth it. We will make it work. The part I most want to see take off will be if we can finally get the non-profit set up for the boys' home when we are back. Speaking of, anyone have an old beat up DSLR they wanna let me borrow to take to another country to gather good photos/profiles of the boys? Ha.

Enough wishing. Let me leave you with a little note of praise for what we HAVE gotten done so far... I am so excited about implementing this! If you have donated then THANK YOU for helping us with these projects and I will post pics after we get everything to UG!

- Purchased and cut PVC pipe to create parallel bars (therapy equipment for Ekisa)
- Baby rattles, blocks, a swiss ball and play mats for therapy sessions (Ekisa and Kaihura)
- Webbing/clamps to *hopefully* set up a therapeutic platform swing (Ekisa, pending available materials and lumber in Jinja)
- Clothing for boys home
- Vitamins for Racham Ministries
- Binders with pictures and how-to for pediatric therapy exercises

Can't wait to get everything over there!
Wish list if anyone wants to know what your money may go to:
- lumber/building supplies for Ekisa swing
- Well building project - go to and view the Action Group "Nashville Cares"- you can join the group and donate directly to any project on the site!
- therapy ball- would like to buy one more, on sale for $10
- Gummy vitamins per Racham Ministries request- $10/tub

More updates soon! Keep us in your prayers!

love love love.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In my mind, the departure for Uganda might as well be tomorrow with the sense of urgency I feel about getting ready. What have you been doing these two long years since you were last there? my brain shouts... Why are you not ready? But I wont ever be perfectly ready. I'm just going to get done what I can and then continue what I can from whichever geographical location I find myself in.
Emily (Worrall, of Ekisa ministries) has FOUND and signed for a house! I'm so excited to hear this. Next, she is waiting to hear of approval for Ugandan NGO status so they can start moving in kiddos. I was touched when I saw a post about another girl she may be taking in soon and thought I should share this photo of Nancy. I don't know much about her but my heart breaks for children like this... in our own country and in many other countries who could benefit from the least bit of intervention, whose parents could easily learn some very helpful tips that could go a long way in optimizing quality of life for these kids. Side note: I don't like "scare tactics" and sad photos from infomercials to motivate people to care and get involved, but to me this photo is hopeful because I know this girl is loved and cared for.

I'm making lists of easy to carry therapy equipment for the children's home (theraball, sensory toys, etc) and trying to figure out how to best meet bigger needs (swingset for therapy and daily care? braces/helmets/walkers).

Also trying to save for the boys home and Kaihura needs we want to provide for. The Christmas season is proving rough for fundraising and saving. I'm behind on personal bills yet here I sit at a coffee shop, contemplating going out to see the new Harry Potter later... perhaps there is even more cracking down to be done on a personal level.

If you're in the Nashville area, please come out on Tuesday Nov 30 to Rocketown. There is a Red Earth Trading Co. Christmas Party, where they will have goods to benefit Global Support Mission and my friend Katie Snyder is going to be selling prints small and large to benefit the Caring Place boys home! Spread the word.


Sunday, October 31, 2010


tickets- check! Thank you, Tabitha Lovell with MKI/Cheap Mission Trips for finding the cheapest tickets yet... I'm so happy to have that out of the way.... now if I could pinch myself a few times, because that sense of urgency I had while asking off of work and picking out tickets has now flooded into a nice, all too reassuring peaceful feeling and I almost need a little anxious kick in the pants to get me going and planning again!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We are going to Uganda!
More details to follow, but urgently please pray for the funds up front to purchase our tickets which have to be paid for in the next day or so... neither one of us have a credit card, we have some savings but not quite this much! sigh. We trust God for the funds over the next couple of months its just this sort of immediacy is rough!
pray, pray...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Everyone deserves a chance...

I wish I were better at blogging these days... there is a comfort that comes from not having internet at your house, and at the same time a huge lack of communication, and in my case (being someone who can communicate better via type than talk), a lack of self-expression.

A lot of things are very quickly coming across my plate with regards to a future (date unspecified but secretly wished for) trip back to Uganda. My heart is bursting lately with a constant barrage of new knowledge of all things therapy, and while I have a job that allows me to put this into practice stateside, I cannot ignore my loved ones back in Uganda. I cannot fathom a life where I don't eventually get to put this into practice in countries where the children do not always have access to therapy services or parents who are able to provide a means of getting to a place where they can get it... or even parents at all.

[My heart is also yearning for several other non-PT related needs of my friends in Uganda, ie the boys' home, Kaihura and Home Again and clean water projects, but those are other stories for other dates]

I know that being concerned with a child's development often takes a backseat when one thinks of all the things one can do on missions trips & can even be overwhelming for those who are already in another country and find children in their care... there are doctors visits, finding help for childcare, food&clothing&shelther, schooling needs, restoring nutrition for those coming out of bad or unknown situations, and even basic safety. I mean, with all of those concerns multiplied by the number of kids at an orphanage or under foster care, I can't imagine how instructions from a therapist trying to implement some sort of intervention program with regularity even gets onto the list!
However, I know in my heart that different people have different purposes. Different skill sets. Different ways of being equipped according to the purposes to which God desires them to fulfill. Maybe the responsibility is not adding the burden to another, but doing something myself. I constantly question "Why me, Lord?" when I feel that tug to Uganda, to India, to South America... "Why can't I have the resources I need to allow me to pay off all this debt, to travel to another country and somehow be a missionary like I know you are calling me to in some extent?" and "Why do I have to wait?" Instead, maybe I should be looking more at what God is equipping me with now, and the using the resources I am already provided with rather than desiring what is in the future and as yet unattained. I know that I may be a relatively new therapist, but somehow God chose me... little me... to be a therapist with a heart for this (as I think I have met many therapists with the same heart, I know this cannot be a rarity) and even moreso, a person with a heart for this who happens to have a certain skillset.

I cannot just wait around for access to therapy to become available to these children. Maybe it will, maybe it wont. Maybe it comes through me... It may be foolish for me to envision dropping all obligations and moving away to pursue this full time, but it may be doable to continue learning here, and try to either better equip those in charge of these kids or take periodic short term trips to implement and evaluate etc etc.... I'm having some pretty interesting (and overwhelming!) ideas as of late. But regardless, I'm feeling happy and blessed to see how the aptitude for the sciences that God seemed to have placed in me has led to a certain career, combined with some crazy connection that landed me in Uganda 6 years ago, and now finally seeing two seemingly separate interests of my crazy head/heart converge into a possibility.
So currently, I am making a point to be in prayer for revelation and wisdom in Purpose, for those caring for orphans overseas, and for their physical/emotional needs so that these kids can have the best functional outcome and best LOVE outcome possible. Everyone deserves a chance. No matter what situation you were born into.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another simple revelation.

Continually, I feel like God takes the simplest of concepts and reveals them to us in a way we've never seen. I always think, " How have I gone the past 11 years (my life as a Christ-follower) without understanding THAT?" So simple. Today that moment came during a discussion on God's love/wrath.

I've never fully understood the concept of God's wrath. How can someone who IS love possible call wrath down upon us? And I know that "love the sinner, hate the sin" is a phrase we live by, but why?? A lot of us think that we serve a "New Testament God" who doesn't have wrath as he did in the Old testament, for Sodom and Gomorrah, or when he chose to preserve an ark of a few and flood out the rest. But then, how do we explain something as is written in Romans 1? Or Colossians 3:1-6?"Because of these, the wrath of God is coming."

We gloss over the part where there is punishment and accountability for our actions because we simply believe that our God is loving and merciful and will forgive us no matter what. Even those who do not claim Jesus' blood as atonement feel that God will be merciful. To me, it's always seemed confusing and contradictory that such love and wrath could coexist.

The way it was phrased by the pastor this morning was this: He spoke of his teenage daughter who was out driving and someone was harassing her and terrorizing her on the road. As a father, he wanted nothing more than to not only keep his child out of harm's way, but to chase after this road terrorist and hunt. him. down.

Think of a family member whom you love more than life itself. I think of the children at Amani and those children I've nannied for in the states as the closest thing I have to my own kids... if I could keep them from every evil in the world, I would try my best. Not only that, but because I love them SO MUCH, I actually despise anyone that would want to do them harm (any protective mama bears out there? papa bears?).

It's not that God is love AND wrath in one, it's BECAUSE of His extreme love for his children, his creation, that he pours out his wrath on what comes against us: sin, decay, the death that sometimes we embrace daily as a mere part of society. Call me stupid, but I've never fully made this connection in my brain.


How much pain, then, does it cause our Father when we embrace the pollutants of this world warned about in Romans 1?

I can't fathom that his answer for this was put out in love, instead of wrath, when he sent his son to earth to be a sacrificial Lamb. An example of purity amidst the pollution, who willingly chose his father's will for his life... (I also wonder that Jesus must've been so certain of God's voice in this matter... how can we purify ourselves so that we too might hear God's voice so clearly when it comes to his will for our lives?) And this sacrifice of love was so that we might see, and fully turn from sin, choosing to let Jesus' blood be the path to goodness in our Father's eyes?

Food for thought on this Sunday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What We Can Learn From the Poor

Last Thursday night marked the 3rd annual This is Love banquet in Nashville, organized by my friends over at Global Support Mission. I always enjoy hearing Travis and the guys speaking about their vision for Global Support because it refreshes my heart and echoes my own desires about how I believe we can *best* help other countries grow towards a place of self-sustainability.
This year, the guest speaker was Michael Hyatt, of Thomas Nelson publishing. He spoke about "What We (Christians) Can Learn From the Poor," and I found myself very attuned to what he had to say. Oh, how my heart needed to hear that message. I've been lucky enough to see firsthand the lessons we can learn, and yet I find myself drifting through more and more days at a time without reflecting on it. Humility. Gratitude. Contentment. Community.
I haven't forgotten by any means these qualities that I saw daily in people like Betty, Mama Susan (and all the mamas of Amani), Daisy, Faith, and Sarah... but I feel so stagnant in how to more actively apply them to my life. Michael gave this quote:
"The rich exist for the sake of the poor; the poor exist for the salvation of the rich."-St. John Chrysostom
I know for a fact I would not be who I am today without encountering the poverty in a foreign country firsthand, or without going out to those few soup kitchens and homeless outreaches (very few, I'm almost ashamed) of years past. And it's funny, because a lot of you, myself included, consider ourselves to be in the poorer subgroup of Americans. Until very recently, I've been in that broke, dollar-menu/ramen-eating college student subgroup who consider all sorts of things like plasma donation and medical studies to earn an extra dollar. And for a little while, I'll be in that "I have a job but I'm stuck paying off debts for the next 10-20 years" subgroup as well. Rich? Not in this country. But poor? Nothing close. Though, the more and more I think about it, I need to start living a lot more frugally than I do. Since getting back from the last Uganda trip (which I cannot believe was a year ago already), I try to be well-satisfied in my non-upgraded, brown carpet one-bedroom apartment, to shop for discounts when I need clothing, and to use coupons whenever possible. Save energy. Not worry so much if my highlights are 2 or 3 or 6 months grown out. The things I think about cutting down on really do seem sort of silly, dont they?
Who really needs a new outfit when a mother in Uganda considers a non-matching, out of style, and possibly not even gender appropriate set of clothes to be a treasure as long as it isnt full of holes and clay stains? I dont own anything that could be considered close to rags. On the little planet scale, I'm still richer than 99% of the world's population, or something close to that.
Towards the end of his speech, Michael also gave another quote that pierced directly to my current situation:

"Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything,"- Bob Pierce, founder World Vision.


Dear Amanda,
Stop being so frustrated with not knowing when your next trip to Uganda or another country will be. Stop hating your current circumstances so much that depression overtakes you and you lose the energy and time to be more proactive just because you are coddling the aches of your heart. Do what you said you wanted to do while "stuck" in the States... help where you are. Do what you can.
Somebody who knows your future better than you.

Sidenote: Mr. Hyatt also provided everyone at the banquet with a book, which I am currently starting. It's called "The Hole in Our Gospel" and it's by Richard Stearns. I'm excited to read it. Book club, anyone?