new year. new project.

New Year’s Eve, three years ago, I was celebrating the countdown in Germany, while my heart was in Uganda.

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New Year’s Eve in Berlin

 

A few days ago, I was bringing in the New Year in South Korea, while my heart was in Uganda.
This year, my heart is even more so in Uganda than before, as my husband is there right now.

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Sam on an outing with our family, the day after New Years

 

Why would my husband go to Uganda and leave me in Korea?
Great question.  So glad you asked:)
We have started a new ministry, called CITY; one of our first projects is starting a school.
CITY comes from the words, Christ’s Identity, which is an important part of all we do.

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our logo

 

CITY’s first school will be a nursery and primary school; basically the equivalent of pre-school through middle school.  The name of the school will be Christ’s Identity Nursery and Primary School.
There is a lot that goes into starting a school, as you can imagine.  The first step we need to take is buying land, so we can start construction of the buildings.

Sam has been asking around and checking out different potential properties. We are hoping to get at least two acres.
So far, it looks like the cost will be around $28,000.
Although that might seem like a lot of money, I think it is reasonable for a decent amount of land and for it to be in a good location.

How will we raise all of that money?
If I am completely honest, I don’t know.
But I do know that God will provide; whether it is through you, or maybe even someone you know.

Please consider partnering with us to help build our school.
Also, if you have any connections or suggestions of someone we should reach out to, to help with this endeavor, please let me know.

All donations are tax-deductible!
We have partnered with an organization called The Cause.  Any money you would like to send to us / CITY, please do so through The Cause.

Find out more information on how to give HERE.
or
You can click HERE to donate!

Thank you in advance for wanting to be part of what we are doing in Uganda.

 

much love!

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the day i changed my name

Back in the month of March, in a land not so close to Korea, or America, a pretty momentous occasion happened.  If you’ve read my blog before, or you know me, you’ve probably already guessed the location – Uganda.
But, what was the occasion?
I was in a wedding.  This wedding though, I wasn’t one of the bridesmaids, I was the bride!

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with my new husband

 

From the time I was little, I was never one of the girls that planned her future wedding.  There were little thoughts or ideas, here and there, but that was about it.
Let me tell you, this wedding was beyond anything I ever would have imagined or thought of.
I was surprised by some of the different details of the day, and just the sheer amount of people there.
It was amazing though, if I do say so myself.

So without further ado, here are some pictures of the day.
The day Sam and I started our new life together.

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with the wedding party after breakfast

 

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the band that lead the way to the church

 

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our line of cars being surrounded by the kids

 

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do you see how many people there were – and there were many more inside

 

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walking up the aisle with my dad

 

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my parents giving me away

 

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with Sam

 

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our families

 

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Sam and I ready to go to the reception

 

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the wedding party

 

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with Elizabeth, my matron

 

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some dancing and entertainment for the guests

 

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dancing back in after a change of clothes

 

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feeding each other the cake

 

We were surrounded by so much love, joy, and excitement.
This was a day I don’t think I will ever forget; so, so great.

 

much love!

the overdue school update…

Sometimes, actually, many times, it is difficult for me to find the right words to express what I am thinking or feeling about something.
And, how, across thousands of miles, can I convey to you the progress and amazing changes that have been made at Champions between May of 2014 and when I just went back at the end of July?

I have been asked multiple times about an update on the Hallelujah Project.
For those of you that do not know: when I lived in Uganda, we started to build a new building, that would house a library and additional classrooms for Champions Christian Primary School.  Last July [2014] the Agape Library and three classrooms on the ground floor were officially opened.
But, there is more work to be done.  There is a second story, which is partially finished, that will eventually be more classroom space for this great school.

Going back to Mukono in July, I was not sure of what changes I would see at the school.
Boy was I surprised!
Driving up to the school, I could see differences immediately.
Buildings had been painted, making the school stand out, and also bringing it up a notch (many schools are painted).

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what I saw when we first drove up

 

Not only was the L-shaped building painted, but they also added stairs to help make it more accessible and nicer looking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe stairs and more of the painting

 

They moved the cooking area and made it larger, which is more sufficient for cooking for 400 plus people daily.
And now, they had a couple of play-sets for the kids to enjoy during free times.

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looking down to the kitchen (on the left) and the play-sets

 

There were other changes, such as in what classroom different grade levels were being taught, the staff, and some administrative organization.
Even being told about some of these things before I went back, it was so great to actually see things in person.

And the Hallelujah Project, how was that?
Oh my goodness, it was incredible to see the first story completed and in use.
To walk into a library full of books at a school that previously didn’t have books for their kids.

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the Agape Library

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshelves of National Geographic magazines and other various reading materials.

 

But, the building is not finished.

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the outside of the Hallelujah building

 

Pastor, Maama Frida, and I talked about the completion of the building when I was with them.
As much as I trust that this will be completed, they do too.

In order to finish it, we need to complete a couple sections of the wall, get windows and doors, and top it with a roof.
When the second story is finished, this will add at least three more, much needed, classrooms to this school.

Sometimes it seems daunting, how will this ever be completed?
From where will the money come?
But, looking back and seeing how far we have come and the amazing ways in which God has already provided for this project, I know it will be done.

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some of the nursery kids – their classrooms are on the first floor of the Hallelujah Project

 

Will you join us and help to finish the Hallelujah Project?
We need people to people to continue to partner with us in prayer and with finances.
Let me know if you have any questions!
And, you can click here for more information on how you can financially support.

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surrounded by most of upper primary my last morning there

 

much love!

 

how to describe more than just a trip

How do I tell you more about my trip back home?
I could give you a play-by-play of every moment, from landing at Entebbe and having to wait over an  hour in line for my visa to officially enter the country of Uganda, until we finally said the goodbyes we had been putting off saying outside the departure doors at the same airport one week later.
Yes, that would be one way.
But for me, it’s the little stories; the not-so big moments.
Those are what make me smile.
The things I will remember the most.
Those are what made my trip what it was.

I hadn’t been to Mukono since May of 2014.  In one year’s time, kids can grow.
Arriving at the house I call home there, two of the three kids were back from school.  Both Ronnie and Joet are tall now.  Ronnie is right under my chin, and proudly, he can pick me up and carry me (a goal of his for some time now:)

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Joet, Kata, and Ronnie  – taking fun photos with me before church

 

I was even able to go to visitation day to see the oldest from my house.  I hadn’t seen her since I first left at the end of December 2013.  We feasted and laughed with her, enjoying stories and being able to spend those precious few moments before they made all visitors leave.

IMG_6133so good to see this one again

 

Like I said in my previous blog, it was as if we picked up where things had been left off.  I answered questions about Korea, my family, and life.  They filled me in on the happenings there.
There was no awkward, “I don’t know where I belong” feeling.

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reunited and it feels so good
laughter always ensues when I am with Justine:)

 

There have been a number of babies born in the community since my last visit.  It was great to finally meet and hold them.

IMG_6248with Favour – isn’t her smile beautiful?!

 

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and this is Jeremiah – I couldn’t wait to meet him!

 

On Sunday, when I was greeting the church and telling them about what has been happening in my life and such, I taught them how to greet in Korean.  I made sure they knew, you don’t just say the words, but you also bow.
I had people bowing and sputtering through their version of annyeong haseyo for the remainder of the week.
It was so great.

I’m sure I could keep going.
Jumping back into life there felt so normal.  From helping cook dinners at the house and ironing and mending clothes again, to being back at the school.
It was so great to see my friends and family there.  And I am incredibly thankful for the time, even if it was so short.
There have been changes and progress made at the school, but I think I’ll save that for next time.

 

much love

 

 

time

It’s funny what time can do.
About five and a half months ago I flew from Michigan to South Korea.
After arriving at the airport, I needed to buy a bus ticket and get to Daegu.
Well, last night I arrived at Incheon airport in Seoul, bought a bus ticket, and made my way to Daegu.
This time though, the process seemed easier, and I knew where I was going.

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flying over Hong Kong – one of my layovers

 

Almost four and a half years ago, in March 2011, I went to Mukono, Uganda for the first time.
At that time, I had no idea I would be going back.
And not just going back to visit, but that that would become my home.

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flying into Entebbe during the day – I think this was a first for me

 

I may have only been in Mukono for one week, but my week was full and filling.
Although it had been a little over a year since the last time I was there, from the moment I was greeted at the airport, I was home.
Things weren’t having to be restarted; but rather, we were taking our finger off the pause button and starting where we left off.

It’s hard to believe my time there is over, and it’s back to teaching English to my Korean kindergarteners tomorrow.
I’m not even sure how to process or fully think about the last week.
But, I do plan to share more stories and pictures in upcoming days:)

For now, I will leave you with this:

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having fun with Joet and Ronnie while making supper

 

much love

 

 

summer vacay

Well, it’s almost time for my school here in South Korea to go on our week long Summer vacation.
Of course that means I want to go somewhere.
But where should I go?
Being in Asia, there are so many options.
I think I will go here…

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do you recognize it?

 

I’m going home!
Yep, I’m leaving Asia and going where my heart most wants to be, back in Africa
In Mukono, Uganda – with my family and friends.

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yes, this is where my heart is

 

IMG_2784let me tell you, I am excited to see her:)

 

I leave in just a couple of sleeps.
You probably won’t hear from me until I return
But then I can tell you all about my trip:)

 

much love!

 

for the tall blonde I never lost in a store…

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that flower outside my gate I told you about

 

I know you were just expecting an email, but I thought you might like this a bit more:)

Today probably wouldn’t be quite as special without a certain three people…

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somehow he thought it was cute – even though it was trying to takeover the house!

 

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one would think there would be no silly photos today – but then that would truly not be a picture of your daughters

 

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but, because it is Mother’s Day, here is a nice one as well

 

And, remember that time we were all together when I was supposed to be in Africa?

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looks as though a certain gentleman grew suddenly taller:)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!
I hope you enjoyed it from beginning to end – you deserve a great day because you are such a great woman.
I love you!