Monday, December 14, 2015

"THE" House ... Answer to Prayer!

On Friday, December 11th, we were headed to Walukuba which is only 5-10 minutes away from Jinja town. Knowing that Ruthie had already looked at all the houses in the area and coupled with the fact that there just wasn't much new to see, we were not expecting to see much. The broker had one new listing this week and he thought perhaps this one might work, even though it didn't have a garage. As we drove through different neighborhoods, suddenly the houses seemed a bit nicer. I had just stuck my hand out the window and pointed at this one house, saying, "Hey, that one is cool!" when the broker's car in front of us stopped. He pointed at the very same house! Could it be? Surely I had misunderstood him to mean the very same house I had just pointed out to Bob, but I hadn't. The thing that caught my eye from the street was a large, round front porch covering the central part of the house. Beautiful, I thought! As we entered the house and moved from room to room, I could almost instantly picture our furniture in each place. The kitchen was large enough for our big range/oven. Not only was there a bath tub, but the tub has a seat contoured into it. There is a linen closet in the hallway. The boys' quarters is roomy enough for our stuff and Bob's tools. The dining room is large enough for our 12 person dining room table. Four bedrooms. Four bathrooms. A small window between the kitchen and dining room to pass food through. I am still amazed at all the features that this house has for us!!! Not only did God answer our prayer for a BIG house and LITTLE money, He gave us some neat extras to enjoy!!! I can hardly wait to move in and begin enjoying the new residence that He has provided for us. Today we signed a temporary contract. Tomorrow we sign the final agreement. The deal is made. The work to repair needed things to prepare the house for us will begin in just a couple of days or so. The owner invites us to come and check on the house from time to time while it is in progress. God is so gracious to us! This house was not available earlier. It is as if God was telling us to wait, because this house was not quite ready for us to come see it. What a wonderful surprise to not only see a great house that we fell in love with, but that the landlord was agreeable with our budget and needs. All glory and praise and honor to Him who does abundantly beyond all we could ever ask or seek!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

BIG house, LITTLE money

Just under five weeks to go before we have to be in our own new place, somewhere in the Jinja area. That “seems” like a lot of time … but somehow today, it doesn’t feel like enough. We have no house to move into. Ruthie Howard, who lives with us when she is not on the island working with SHIM, looked diligently for us at house after house in anticipation of our arrival. The search was on. “Our” idea was that we would secure the house before we arrived, even doing the contract by email and sending the money by MoneyGram or Western Union to secure the deal. That would make life so much easier for us when we arrived, right?!! That way we would have ample time to pack up and move our things. As is often the case, God obviously has other plans. We have asked Him specifically for a BIG house and LITTLE money (essentially, that means a 4 bedroom house with a garage and a separate boys’ quarters for $500 or less – difficult to find in Jinja town.) Any houses that seemed to fit our needs were either too expensive or faded quickly away to another’s fair find. We believe that He has “the” house for us and we only need to find it. He has done just that for us before. Perhaps I need reminding!!! It was 1997. Bob was pastoring a circuit of three small churches in Wytheville, Virginia. He had graduated with his M.Div. degree the year before. We were expecting our first child when the phone call came. My mom informed me that my sister-in-law’s cancer was back, not only back but much worse. Bob wasn’t home at the time, but I instantly knew in my heart, “It was time to go home.” Home meant moving back to Oregon. By the time Bob came home and I shared with him about the phone call, he instantly responded, “It’s time to go home, isn’t it?” It was clear. We knew what we needed to do. Because we knew that churches looking for a pastor might be few and far between, we asked God to find us a church within 90 minutes to 2 hours away from my brother and his family. We wanted to be available for whatever they might need but thought, realistically, we probably wouldn’t be able to locate any closer than that. (Oh, my, what a faith walk we had yet to walk …) To make a long story short, in our search for a new home (unbeknownst to us), my brother was also searching for a new home, one that would be in the small town of Dufur where their children could get into a good school and be able to walk there daily from home. God not only took us to a new home two blocks away from my brother, we could even see his house from our front living room window. On top of that, it was cheaper for us to rent a truck for 7 days than it was for 5 days. My brother used our moving truck for the last two days to move his things! God is sooo good!!! It is good to remember. Ephesians 3:20-21 was forever engrained in my brain. Now if only I can “feel” it the same way that my brain, oh, so forever knows!!! Because I KNOW that He has “the” place for us and will reveal it in His time and in His way!!! “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Northwest School of Missions

This furlough I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Northwest School of Missions. It is a program where a few missionaries (this year there were four) are selected to travel around the northwest and speak at various Christian churches that choose to participate. It involved about a month of traveling and speaking. I had the opportunity to share at 20 different churches across the northwest. Michelle and the boys did not travel with me, so they could do homeschool. While it was a long and tiring month, it did allow me to meet a lot of very nice people. While I did share about our work in Uganda, my main focus was on the events of our last year and the lessons God has taught us, especially about God’s desire for us to learn to walk with Him and put our trust in Him. The message looked at the 23rd Psalm and its teaching on what it means to follow God. This was the message God had put upon my heart to share. After giving this message a number of times, I was glad Michelle and the kids did not have to travel with me and hear me give the same message over and over. I was even becoming tired of hearing myself give the message. I tried not doing the message part a couple of times. At one church I felt short on time so I decided to just talk about our work, but a fellow kept interrupting me to ask why we were working in Africa. I realized that God was not allowing me to skip the message He had given me, so I went ahead and shared the message part about following God. Another time I asked God in my devotion time to give me a different message to give. I then went to the next passage of scripture I was to read and found it to be the 23rd Psalm. It was clear I was to stay with the message He had given me. The message part made my presentation a little long, but I think it was more beneficial to those hearing than just hearing about us. God seemed to speak through the stories of our struggles to many people who were dealing with difficulties of their own. At one location before my presentation I overheard a phone conversation in which a man was saying he was not going to come to hear me speak as he was too tired. This did not overly bother me as I did not assume that everyone needed to come hear me. I always figured God could motivate the people who needed to hear. But in this case, I felt God prompt me to pray for this man to come as he needed to be there. I gave the presentation and afterwards a man came up and told me the message had especially touched him as he had been going through some very difficult times lately and had been discouraged. He said he had not planned to come as he had been very tired, but then had felt powerfully moved that he needed to be there. He was the very man I had prayed for. It was not easy being away from the family for so long to do the School of Missions, but I thank God for the opportunity, and pray for His blessings on the people I have met.

My Heart - An Update (by Bob)

It has been a while since I have up dated how things are going. In May we did go down to South Africa for my heart surgery. We had some run around with the insurance that left us in limbo for a few days but the surgery was done and it went fine. The surgery was what is called a “Heart Ablation.” They go in through veins in the lower abdomen/groin area and use lasers to cut areas in the heart which heals with scar tissue to interrupt or silence the nerves that send the wrong signals. That is about as technical as I get. They use a thingamabob to fix the whatchamacallit in my heart. We rested a couple of days and then made the trip back to Uganda. This involved having to run through an airport to make connections, after which my heart went out of rhythm again. We had been told that there was a 70% chance the surgery would fix the problem, and we were afraid I was in the 30% that didn’t work. But with the help of some prayer, my heart went back into rhythm. Praise God! After a visit to my cardiologist in Nairobi, we were told that this was pretty common right after surgery. The heart needed time to heal from the surgery. He told me I just needed to rest for a month and then we would see. It has now been about five months after the surgery and my heart has been doing well, so we are very hopeful that the heart will now behave itself so we can continue on in the work God has called us. I would ask for your prayers for not only for my continued health but for Michelle’s bone spur in her neck as it continues to cause her pain and discomfort.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Answered Prayers!

I thought I would share a picture of the vehicle God provided. It was a vehicle John Fulks (a good missionary friend of ours) owned. John had moved to work in Kenya and could not license the vehicle in Kenya. The vehicle had belonged to Rebecca Fulks' father before he passed away and was dear to them, but they had to keep taking it back to Uganda every few months to keep it legal. By selling it to us, they could in a sense keep the car in their missionary family. By God working it out as He did, He was able to not only bless us but the Fulks' family as well. We are so grateful to God and to the generosity of one of our supporters that made it possible!!! We will be heading to Kenya for one last outing with our daughter Janae before she will be heading back to the states for college. As soon as we get back to Uganda, Michelle and I will be flying down to South Africa where I will have an appointment with the doctor who will hopefully be performing the surgery on my heart. So far nothing has been set except for my initial appointment. We don’t know what to expect after that or how long we will need to be down there. Fortunately, we are blessed to have Ruth Howard as an adopted part of our family (at least we claim her whether she claims us or not). She is a true blessing and will be hanging out with our boys while we are gone! We thank you all for your prayers and we would continue to ask to keep us in them. God bless you!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

God Not Only Has This But He Gets ALL the Glory!!! (Amazed and truly overwhelmed with gratefulness)

Okay, so the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Well, actually it has been the last few months, but I digress. After my heart went into arrhythmia and then as the pastors were praying for me the heart returned to normal pattern, we went ahead and flew to Nairobi to see my doctor. I had been anticipating making the trip with my heart in arrhythmia. In fact, I had been nervous about making it there. So flying there, feeling normal, felt almost like a vacation. We went to the doctor who gave me the all-clear although we had to hang around a couple of days to complete his tests. We consulted with him as to my options. With my heart going out of rhythm with increasing frequency (this time within only three months) I was not sure we could stay in Uganda. I really felt God had brought my heart back into rhythm before we made this last trip because I had nearly not survived the one before. I did not think it was wise to expect miracles every time. I asked the doctor what were my options in dealing with this. He said I basically had two. I could just live with the condition as it continued to get worse, (for me that meant leaving the field) or I could have an operation called an ablation where they go in to the heart and kill the senders that are causing the problem. This surgery is not guaranteed to work and has its risks but was my only other option (although has a high success rate and minimal recovery period if successful). The only place in Africa the surgery could be done is in South Africa. Other than that, we would need to go back to the states to have it done. We used the time we were in Nairobi to go see Josh and Janae. It was so good to see them. As we were there a missionary friend of ours, who is now serving there, came up to us and said that he felt God was directing him to offer his car for us to buy. It was a very nice car, but they couldn’t license it there in Kenya and they didn’t really need it that bad. The car is a Landcruiser which is a good vehicle to have in Africa, but it is not one we have considered because it is worth more than we would normally consider. I told my friend that we would pray about it and asked him to pray about a price. Neither Michelle nor I felt we could afford the car, as at that point we had no money, but as I believe this was something God was going to show His hand in, if God provided the price to our friend, and He wanted us to have the car, then He would be the One to provide the money. As I was feeling mostly normal, we decided to take the bus back. The trip was long, and although it went fine, as it was the seventh trip on the bus I had made in about as many months, I was getting really tired of riding that bus. We got back to find our van had been worked on and although it would still need a new engine and was only really good for getting back and forth to town, it was at least running. Our friend in Kenya informed us of the price he was feeling lead to. It was not an extravagant price for the car but was more than we would normally consider. If we were to get that car it could only be God. We found there were other options open for cars available. They were not as nice as the car in Kenya but they were less expensive. We might have been tempted to go with one of the cheaper cars, but in truth, we didn’t have any money at that point for a new vehicle. As we could at least get around a bit with the van, we decided to wait until the first of May, and then see what money God had provided. The amount God provided would direct us to what vehicle to look at. A lot of people had good advice as to what we should do, but I would tell them that with this, we really needed to wait on God and see what He wanted us to do. (We so much enjoy waiting. Okay, you probably couldn’t hear my sarcastic tone there but you get the idea.} Waiting until May seemed a bit long but as we did not intend to ask anyone for the money we didn’t know how long it would take to get the money needed. We wanted to give God time. Yes, this was our lack of faith showing, but I am only human. Anyway, we would wait till May. Only God had other ideas. No sooner had we made that decision than the van broke down again with the same problems as before. Arrrrrrgh!!! At about this same time, Michelle began having medical problems of her own. She experienced parts of her body on her left side would go numb for hours while she was having pain in other areas and then the numbness settled in to stay. The immediate concern was she was having some mini-strokes. After seeing four doctors and having many tests it was determined that she had some bone spurs in her neck which were pinching her nerves. (Discovered after about two and a half weeks’ time.) She has been prescribed some exercises to help and will eventually need surgery but that will wait as long as possible as it is rather risky. With the van being out of action, we were needed to use the bodas (motorcycle taxis) for transportation. Going down our bumpy roads on the back of a motorcycle was not doing Michelle’s neck any good so we decided that we would move our deadline up to the start of April and ask if anyone had a car would could borrow. Even in the midst of our difficulties, God was still showing His hand. Here we saw it in the support of God’s people. One Christian friend helped us get the van to run again, others offered their cars for us to use. We also saw some money come in for the vehicle. It was not enough to buy a car but it was enough to show us God was working. God also worked it out so the insurance would cover my surgery. Arrangements are being made for me to go to South Africa in May. As we approached the end of March, we were wondering what God would do about the money for the car. We didn’t know of any more money that had come in but still felt God would provide. Then we got word today that one of our faithful supporters had felt God put on their heart to help us buy the car from the missionary in Kenya. We didn’t even know how they knew we thinking about that car, but through them not only will we be blessed with a vehicle better than we had hoped but the missionary in Kenya will be blessed as well. We are so thankful. But the best part of it is that God has shown how He can take care of those who trust in Him!!! These last few months have indeed been a bit of a rollercoaster and for us we know it is not over. We still have health issues for both Michelle and me, as well as preparing for furlough and I’m sure things I have no idea of yet. But I hope you hear in this our adventure - God is good, and He is there for us even when we can’t see Him, and even when it feels like the world is conspiring against us. This is not our home and we are not promised that things will always be nice here, but we are promised that our God will never leave nor forsake us. To God be the glory in all things great and small!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Trip Back to Nairobi Hospital

Sometimes it is hard to understand what God is doing but He is there. This morning I woke up and my heart was not beating in a regular rhythm. It was not the first time. In fact, it had happened only three months previous. It meant that we would once again need to make a trip to Nairobi for a cardio inversion. The last time we had taken the bus and by the end I was feeling my heart might go into a full heart attack with chest pains and tightness. This time we will fly. It would still take a number of hours and cost us more but I did not think I could make another bus trip in the same condition. With this happening so soon again, it brought up serious questions about my ability to stay on the mission field. We would need to talk to the doctor about possible solutions. With the heart being out of rhythm, it leaves me feeling weak and light headed. I lay in bed and prayed to God, “God, why? We are trying to live by faith. We have tried to surrender to You the vehicle problems and trust You will take care of us, and not only have we not seen any answers to that prayer, now we have this. Am I being punished for something?” We began making arrangements for the trip. Different friends jumped forward to help. Their care means more than I can say. We got a flight to go out tonight. I was feeling concerned about the trip. There would first need to be a road trip of about four hours just to get to the airport . Then I would need to deal with all the check in procedures. I had heard that if the airline knew I was having some heart issues they would not let me on, so that meant I could not use a wheelchair. I would have to get around on my own power as best I could. The pastors, who were my students, came and asked if they could pray for me. I readily accepted. Prayer is always a good thing and you never know what God might do. The pastors came in and said they would pray for God’s healing and ask for a miracle in whatever way God might choose to do. I knew that these men believed that God could still do miracles and I did, too. As they were praying over me I joined them in asking for God to do a miracle in me. Then as they continued to pray, I checked my pulse and found that it was back in normal rhythm. Once before my heart had gone back in to normal rhythm on its own but all the other times the heart had needed to be shocked, and I knew this time the heart did not do this on its own. God had restored the rhythm! I told the pastors about my heart being back in rhythm after they had stopped praying and thanked them and God. Our plane tickets were already bought and I knew the doctor would want to see me anyway so we will still fly to Nairobi. It will probably cost us about $1,000.00 but maybe the doctor will find that my heart is completely healed or we will start moving forward on what needs to happen to get this issue dealt with. I still don’t know why God has allowed this all to happen but it is clear that His hand is in this situation. For now, that will need to be enough.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Watching and Waiting

I look down and see that my sandals are coming apart. I have just arrived home after walking home from church, about an hour’s long dusty trek in the hot sun. I’m sure for some missionaries this would be nothing, but for this one, well let’s just say, I am glad to be home. Being without a vehicle for the last four weeks has not been terrible, but it has presented its difficulties. It would not be so bad if we still lived in town. Then walking to the store for groceries wouldn’t be so bad, but living some miles out of town makes it more complicated (about 20 minutes by car). We have been taking a lot more bodas (motorcycle taxis) and trying to bum rides from others. This is not really a complaint. Rather, this is just an update on the situation. We are still watching and waiting. Without a vehicle, life is a little more complicated but still very do able. The hard part is not knowing what the plan is. I would like to say we have always been very patient and never had any doubts, but I must admit, there are times I get frustrated and question how we are going about this. Should I be trying to find a way to fix the situation? Should I be working at raising money or trying to scrape up what we have to buy a cheap car? I know that sometimes God expects us to do the best with what we have. But ever since my first two attempts to fix the situation resulted in two clear “no” messages, I have felt that this is something God is going to deal with and we are to focus on being faithful in the midst of the situation and simply trust in Him. It is true that God has given us a couple of indications that He is working on this, but for the most part we cannot see much happening. One thing we have felt convicted on is being thankful not only in the midst of the difficulties but to learn to be thankful even for the difficulties. We still have some work in that area, and I must admit there are times I have some doubts. I don’t doubt that God will provide, for God has shown Himself faithful so many times; I know He is reliable. He will provide; it is just the how and the when we don’t know. Nor do we really need to know those things. My real question is the “what.” What am I supposed to do? Do I work at finding a solution for my family? Do I put out a plea to let people know about our situation? So far, it is only with a couple of close friends and in this blog that I have shared about it. Do I try to help matters along or do I just watch and wait? For now, I will watch and wait and keep asking God to make it clear what He would have me to do.

Friday, January 30, 2015

God's Got This!!!

I’m rather excited to see what God is going to do, and my hope is you will be encouraged, too! Let me give you a little background. Lately, I have been under a lot of stress. I won’t go into all the reasons. They aren’t life threatening and I know some of you face worse things, but I had allowed the pressure to get to me to the point that I was in continual physical pain. One of the problems was with our van. While we have been very thankful for our van, the roads here can be hard on vehicles. From the beginning, our van has had a tendency to overheat. We have had it worked on numerous times trying to fix the problem, but finally came to the realization that we would either have to replace the engine or replace the van. Replacing the engine can be risky here because you don’t really know what kind of engine you might get to replace it. We decided we would pray that God would provide some extra money at the end of the year so we could get a different vehicle. The van was getting worse, and we prayed it would make it till then. We made it to the end of the year and found that about four thousand dollars extra did come in for December. Praise God, and thank you so much to our supporters!!! With that, we thought we might have enough to get a cheaper vehicle. But we didn’t jump to buy one. We have learned that it is always better to seek God’s direction even if that means waiting a little. We didn’t have to wait long. Within 24 hours a different need arose that swallowed up all the extra money. It was clear the money was to go there because the extra money was almost exactly the amount needed. On the one hand, this was encouraging, for God not only knew what our needs would be, He had sent just the right amount! On the other hand, now what were we to do about the van? More stress. I decided I would take it to the mechanic and see what we could do to keep it running. There was no money for the work, but we would trust God to provide. This was on a Friday. The plan was to take the van to the mechanic on Monday. On Saturday the battery wouldn’t start the van. I had to jump the van to get to church on Sunday, and then jump it again to go home. Before we could make it home, the transmission started making noises and refusing to shift. As we pulled into our gate, the electronics on the dash went completely out. I had the feeling as if when I got out of the van and shut the door that the wheels would all fall off and the van would roll over on its side. What I felt was an urge to laugh and a sense of relief. It was clear that this was so much more than I could fix. Everything was more than I could fix, and I remembered that we had been here before. God had allowed us to be in these kinds of situations before. And either it was because there was some important lesson that we needed to learn, that, while it might not be pleasant, would in the end be for our good; or God was wanting to show Himself mighty, and was letting things get darker so His victory would be all the more clear. My attempt to try and fix things by my thinking had been answered with a resounding, “No!” Okay, I may be slow but I do eventually catch on. It was not up to me to fix this; God had a plan. I needed to surrender it to Him. That was not only true with the vehicle but all the rest as well. We have learned, when we get to this point, we don’t need to figure out the solution. We just need to focus on doing what we know to do, and trust God with the rest. We had planned to take the boys on the bus to go see Josh and Janae in Kenya. I really didn’t have the spare time or money to make this trip. It would have to be a quick one, lasting about 48 hours with over half of that being spent on the bus. But we knew it was important to go, so we decided not to think of the van and just go. Another thing we have learned is when you turn something over to God, you need to keep your eyes open to see what He might be doing so you can follow along. When we got to the school, we met up with a good missionary friend who told us he was feeling lead by God to offer to sell us his car. The car was much nicer than what we were looking for or even thought we could afford, but again, we have learned to rule out anything with God. So we asked him to pray about it and we would, too. He didn’t tell us how much he would ask for it, but in truth, it didn’t matter. We didn’t have any money for it. But more and more we felt that this was the car God intended for us to have, which meant God would have to be the One providing the money. I am not telling you this to try to make you feel sorry for us or to convince you to give money. The one thing God has made clear to me is that I am not to try to figure out a way to get the money. He already has a plan and I will just get in the way. I tell you this because I believe this is about much more than just our need. This is about God showing clearly how He can take care of those who trust in Him. That there is nothing He cannot deal with. Some of you need to hear this because you are facing situations that are beyond your ability to fix. I still don’t know how God is going to provide, but I believe He will and I write this in faith so you can see it from the impossible side before He steps in. I believe I will also be sharing sometime soon telling you how God has answered our prayers. This is a bit of a risk for if God doesn’t step in as I expect, I will look pretty foolish, but I have looked foolish for lesser things. So I invite you to stand with me to see the salvation of the Lord.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas in Nairobi

When I had gone to Nairobi for my heart in November, the doctor required me to come back in one month’s time, just before Christmas. I did not really want to have to be traveling at that time but I was not really given a choice. So after we got home, we made arrangements for me to catch a night bus on the 21st of December, be in Nairobi for a couple days and get back home on the 24th. The time came for me to catch the bus which was to leave at 9 pm from Jinja, so we arrived a half hour early only to find out that the bus driver had just before we got there. (We later found out I was not the only one he had left behind; there were three others). The ticket agent, a young fellow named Omar (who was new to the job) used two cell phones simultaneously to try to get through to the bus driver or conductor to get them to pull over and wait for me. We three (including Michelle) jumped into our van and started after the bus. Now one of the reasons I take the bus rather than drive is because I don’t really enjoy driving on the African roads, especially at night. The roads are dark with lots of obstacles, including pot holes, animals, people, bikes, motorcycles, what not. Another fun thing is that many people use their high beams all the time and in effect, blind you. So off we race after the bus. I would have preferred to go slower but knowing that bus drivers are notorious for going very fast and that this fellow had already shown little inclination to wait even the required time, I figured if he did agree to wait for us, it wouldn’t be for long. Omar finally got through to the bus conductor who said they would wait for us at Iganga, a town about 45 minutes down the road. “ Why,” I asked, “couldn’t they pull over sooner?” But Omar had no answer. I later found out they were required to stop in Iganga and the driver wasn’t willing to stop earlier. After a rather nerve racking drive, we make it to Iganga only to find no bus. Omar gets back on the phones and is told that the bus driver had changed his mind and now required that we go on to the border, another hour and a half away, to get on the bus. Omar explained that some bus drivers prefer to have some empty seats so they can pick up riders on the way and pocket the money they get. Thus this driver was not very motivated to wait for me. At this point I do not want to go on. There was no guarantee that the driver would really wait for me at the border. Plus, going on would not only mean more night driving for me but it would also mean Michelle would need to travel back with our van over two hours late at night with a stranger. Now Omar seemed like a nice guy, but I did not want to trust Him with my wife. Michelle, however, assured me she would be fine. I knew this took a lot of courage on her part to say this. She obviously felt it was important I see the doctor. So, on we went. We only made it about ten minutes out of Iganga when the van over heated. Another reason I had chosen not to drive was because we were increasingly having problems with the van. We have taken the van to different mechanics, but having your vehicle worked on in Uganda is an adventure in itself, and despite repeated attempts the problems had not gone away. In fact, they had only grown worse and more frequent. So there we were sitting on the side of the road in the dark. At this point I was done. I wanted no more. I told Omar that we would wait for the van to cool, and then add more water (which we now carried all the time, along with extra oil). After that we would go back and I would go home. In truth, I was relieved no to have to leave my family and make the trip at Christmas time. I would see the doctor some other time. Omar was very polite and agreed to give us a refund, but he insisted he could get me on the next bus that left two hours after the one I was supposed to be on. Omar was working very hard on his two cell phones to make this work. At this point I didn’t want to go to Kenya even if he drove me in his own car (which of course he didn’t actually have); however, Michelle also seemed to think I should try to get on the second bus. I knew she was only concerned for my well being, but it felt like there was a conspiracy against me, trying to get me to do what I knew I should rather than what I wanted to do. I decided I would outsmart them. I agreed to take the later bus only if Omar could get me a seat up front like I had paid for on the first bus. Seats up front were more expensive because seats in the back tended to be uncomfortable and very bumpy. I knew that the buses at Christmas time were usually sold out, so I felt safe Omar would fail in getting me a front seat, but I would still look like as if I was being agreeable. I was still mentally patting myself on the back when we arrived back in Jinja. The second bus was just arriving. Omar went on and to my dismay managed to finagle to get me a seat towards the front. The ride to Nairobi was about typical - long with little sleep. When we got to Nairobi it was around 10 o’clock in the morning, and we were stuck in a traffic jam, which was also typical. The problem was since I was on a later bus I was now going to find it difficult to make my 11 o’clock appointment. After we spent some time watching us getting nowhere fast, I decided I would need to do something different. I told them to let me off the bus. I made it across traffic to some bodas (motorcycle taxis) I saw across the street. I jumped on and off we went weaving our way through the traffic making our way to the hospital across town. We made it to the hospital with a few minutes to spare, which I was very thankful for, for it gave me time for something that had become increasingly very important - finding a bathroom! Fortunately, I knew of one close to my doctor’s office. I got to the bathroom grabbed the handle to find it locked. Someone else is already in it. “Okay”, I thought, “I can wait a couple minutes.” I wait and I wait, shifting from one foot to the other. Finally the handle rattles. I think, “Great, he is coming out.” But the handle just continues to rattle. The guy is locked in the room and can’t get out. I quickly look around for someone to help. I see a guy with a name tag, which I hope means he works there, and try to explain to him that someone has locked themselves in the bathroom and can’t get out. It takes a few attempts to get the message through but eventually he agrees to go find someone who can let the guy out. I wait around for another couple minute but then decide I need to go find another bathroom. I walk up and down corridors but have no luck finding a bathroom. I decide by now the guy surely has gotten out so I go back to the corridor by my doctor’s office and find the guy is still locked inside and there is no one there helping him. I find another person, this time a gal who is a janitor and explain again the situation. She says she will go find someone to help. “Great,” I think, “I have heard this one before.” So I leave the guy to his own fate and go off once again looking for the golden throne. Finally I find an open bathroom, and there is great rejoicing. I never do find out what happened to the guy locked in the bathroom but I do make it to my appointment just in time. They take me right back to a room to check my vitals, including my blood pressure. The nurse tells me that my blood pressure looks a little high, and I think, “You have no idea!” The rest of the appointment goes fine. My blood pressure goes back down, and I am given an okay from the doctor. The next day has its own adventures, making my way around the city by bus, doing some last minute Christimas shopping, looking for things unavailable in Uganda. I catch the night bus back to Jinja and arrive a little before noon on Christmas Eve. It is not exactly the way I would have chosen to get into the Christmas spirit, but I am back with my family and once again thankful for the many ways our God has watched over and blessed us.