Tag Archives: daily life

Thankful

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Today was the rainiest day yet.  I think we are officially in the dreary midst of the rainy season here.  I think it may have rained about twenty out of the last twenty-four hours.  I took advantage of a break in the rain this morning to flag a boda.  About halfway to the office (yes, we work on Thanksgiving- gasp!) it began to rain… harder and harder… another few minutes my driver and I were just laughing because of what a soaking mess we were.

Bless the rains down in Africa…

Does everyone knows that Toto song?  Please download it and dance around your kitchen like Mary and I do.

Here are a few snaps of life…

On our last office holiday for Eid we took bodas through town up to one of the seven hills in Kampala to the Baha’i Temple.  A crew of mzungus on bodas usually creates a stir.  You can see me make a cameo in the side mirror!

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Did you know each continent only has one Baha’i Temple?  Africa’s is located on a hill in Kampala.  The gardens are beautiful–worth returning for quiet respite from the city.

This is Jason (Church & Community Relations intern from New Jersey), Jennie (Communications Intern in IJM’s Nairobi office from New Zealand), me (your Structural Transformation Fellow from St. Louay!), Scott (Communications fellow from Virginia), and Mary (Executive Assistant also repping St. Louie, home of Nelly and Toasted Ravs!)

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Ruth, Jennie (from the Kenya field office) and I went white water rafting on the River Nile.  I have no pictures from the actual experience because of the wild nature of the activity, but it was wonderful.

The best part was after lunch when the skies got dark and we prepared for our daily rainstorm.  As we hit the first rapid the skies opened up and unleashed pelting rain.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  The whole rafting experience seemed so much more dangerous and dramatic!!  In the tame sections between rapids we jumped in and just floated downstream.  I was laying on my back surrounded by unblemished, lush scenery staring at an endless sky in the Nile River.  I couldn’t think of anything to sum it up except repeating “Extravagant, extravagant, O Lord You have been with me.”

Here we are before we begin:

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Last weekend Mary and I were so excited to learn about a Christmas Rummage sale at the American Recreation Association (ARA– or a country club that Americans can join.  We are not members).  We spent an hour wading through piles of clothes sitting on tarps on the ground.  We literally kicked off our shoes and sat down in the clothes.  I walked away with two shirts and a dress for 24,000 shillings or about $8.00.

We also me this young man who referred to himself as “Gorilla Santa Man.”

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This is a picture of some of the buildings in our complex of tenements… err apartments.  It must have been laundry day for a family:

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Finally, this is a little guy that scampered across the wall nearly scaring the crap out of me before I realized it was just a salamander type friend.  Regardless how harmless, I hoped that my mosquito net would also keep him out of my bed that night.

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I have shared twice today in two different groups one important thing that I am thankful for.  This morning in office devotions Florence, our aftercare specialist, talked about cultivating a thankful heart and we each named one thing we were thankful for.  And then at our Thanksgiving dinner with about 30 Americans and one guy from Wales, we each also shared.  And both times I said “I am thankful for my family’s support though I know it makes them sad that I am not with them today.”

I was thinking about them all day, wishing I were watching the parade with grandma, sitting in front of the gourd bearing my name at the beautiful, overflowing table, tossing around a football or watching National Lampoon Christmas Vacation.  It doesn’t seem right to be so far away from you.  But I’m thankful for your love and I am thankful for our brief Skype chat.

To all my network– you!: I am thankful.  I am thankful for the effort that you put in to keeping connected and sharing about your life and listening and praying for mine.  It means so much.  And to those of you who have supported me emotionally, financially, prayerfully– thank you.

The rains are still falling and I’m off to bed.  Love~*natalie

Stateside

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I have been in the DC area for over a month now.  It seems like a long time ago that I quit my job, packed up my earthly belongings, climbed in my car, and drove halfway across the country.  It honestly still surprises me that I did that, that that was me.  I shake my head with an astonished chuckle.  I did it.  There is something deeply liberating and right in it.

Although I am eager to join my team in Uganda, this fellowship seems like the best of both worlds.  In addition to deploying to support the case work and structural reform project of a field office abroad, I first get to be a part of IJM headquarters, riding the metro, donning business suits, and enjoying a two month taste of living & working in our beautiful, bustling capital city.  On days when I am in the office I partake in corporate prayer at 11am when we lift up requests and praise for the work in our field offices around the world.  I get goosebumps hearing about the courage of our staff and clients attributable only to God breaking through darkness and brokenness.  We see it daily.  The God of love and justice moves.

Personally, it has been a good month.  The change of scenery and pace has been good.  I work full days and enjoy a solid commute with a book, music, or reflection.  I have so many less commitments and social engagements–and it is good—  even for a social butterfly like myself 😉  I have been running myself ragged for too long for too many reasons that beg reflection.  It has been good to rest, sit, take walks, cook meals, read, listen to good music.  It has been a sweet time with God, too, facing the brokenness I try pridefully to disguise and ignore.   IJM has 30 minutes of stillness built into each day to meet with the Lord and entrust our work to Him.  What a difference—I am such a distracted “do-er”.  Isaiah has been moving my world lately.  There has been a return to a level of intimacy and companionship I have been missing out on for far too long.

Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
-Isaiah 43:18-19

Also, through generous friends I have tagged along on a trip to Philadelphia and New York City with Alexis and her family and a trip to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware with my Chile study abroad BFF, Emily.  I learned to play Settlers of Catan and began watching The West Wing from the beginning (appropriate, I know).  I have also begun a surprising habit of watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother before bed and a crazed obsession with Pinterest (help!).  I have survived an earthquake, a hurricane, and the downgrade of US debt (did my move here cause these extraordinary events???)  And put your mind at ease–I found the DC Mizzou Alumni Association to have Tiger community now that–thank goodness–it’s football season again!!  A hearty welcome to you, Autumn!

Thanks for your love & support.  Happy Labor Day!