Once upon a time, there was a frightened young girl. She was sent to a far away land with lots of dust, cockroaches, ants, and mosquitoes. She knew the king wanted her in this far away land, but she was often very homesick. She was given many children to teach and care for every day. Though she loved her children, she still missed her family very much and longed for the day when she would see them again. One day she began to open her eyes to all her blessings. She realized how nice simple things like a cold coke were and how yummy a banana and pretzels could be for lunch. She found that a simple facebook chat and skype could bring great joy and encouragement. She began to enjoy watching the children in her apartment complex ride their little bikes on the stone driveway as she sat surrounded by laundry that was hand washed by her cleaning girl, Fiona. This young girl is learning to enjoy her new home. She finally got her ATM card from the bank and really likes riding on a boda boda (motorcycle), even though it is dangerous. She feels very blessed. This story is a true story, it is my story! I have had a busy last month here in Uganda filled with many ups and downs. I’m hoping that the ups will begin to out number the downs. I have taught school now for 7 weeks and been in Uganda for 8 ½ weeks. I love my 13 students very much. I have one that is smart, but needs to step it up! Pray for him! I have one who has the best attitude, but is way behind and he just breaks my heart. I have another who visualizes things and gives me great examples, but always seems two steps behind on hearing my directions. I have 3 that are quiet and do great work on almost everything! Another who does great work and cries when he doesn’t and has incredible dramatic abilities. I have another I named (name omitted) bear, since she always gives me hugs! Another who helps me set the lunch table every day and has really learned to be quieter and be a helper. I have another student, my one MK, who does almost all her work well and is rather bossy. I predict that she will be a teacher. As for living conditions, I am getting used to them. I can flush toilet paper, but things don’t always flush properly. Our shower got clogged, but the plumber came today on short notice and fixed the shower. He showed us how to access the pipe outside and get the gunk out ourselves (much easier than the US, actually). Our power was out for almost 24 hours, from Friday to Thursday, but we didn’t lose any food, thankfully! We just don’t buy meat at this point, due to that and not knowing what is good. As for cooking, we cook vegetarian in general. My roomie made biscuits and eggs with mushrooms and tomatoes this morning. Tonight, we are supposed to have Canadian Thanksgiving at Terri’s house. She’s my Canadian substitute mom her in Africa. I love her. I bought 8 bananas and 4 small eggplant for the equivalent of 60 cents last night and actually attempted to bread and fry the eggplant, which turned out better than just frying the eggplant. Today, I was able to chat on facebook with a friend from home; Ryan and we were able to really encourage each other in the Lord, which was such a blessing. Then after that I was able to talk with my best friend, Christi for about 45 minutes on Skype! God knows what we need and provides just that! So I think, the ice cream bike just came by was playing, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Someone was playing the song anyways…quite funny! This morning, I was reading Mark 6:30-52 and learned some important lessons. Even Jesus and his disciples needed to get away and rest. Resting is a good thing! “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (verse 31) But the people followed them, even then. What did Jesus do? “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (verse 34). Sometimes I need to rest, but people will still need me, at that point I need to remember to have Jesus’ compassion for them. That’s how my students are when I’m not paying attention, “like sheep without a shepherd” going crazy and all is confusion! So, I need to keep loving and caring for them, yet I need to get away and rest and spend time in the word with Jesus. I also need to remember that Jesus will provide for my needs, even when I don’t think I will have enough or have what I need on time. Jesus two loaves and five fish and fed a multitude at the last minute when all seemed lost and impossible, so why will he not care for my needs each and every day? With those two loaves and fives fish, “they all ate and were satisfied” (verse 44). Finally, I need to remember that Jesus went up on the mountain to pray. He got away. Getting away is sometimes what I need to do. I also need to be “up on the mountain to learn and grow and pray” (Steven Curtis Chapman) to be lifted up so I can go down and minister better. Yet, like the disciples when I’m out on the water and the storm is rough and it’s dark in the wee hours of the morning of life, I need to remember what Jesus said, “Take heart. It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (verse 50). Often, Jesus comes in at the last moment, so we learn what faith and trust truly are. “He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.”(verse 51). I think we need to remember to invite Jesus into our boats much more often! I’m going to close with some words from Elisabeth Elliott, “We shall be given shoes of iron. We shall find the unendurable endurable, the impossible possible. The natural processes of change and decay may be unexpectedly retarded to enable us to travel where there are no roads visible, no replenishing available. The Lord is the one who travels every mile of the wilderness way as our leader, cheering us, supporting and supplying and fortifying us. Not all God’s children, I suppose, have iron shoes—only the ones who need them! Lord, thou knowest what we need.” (Secure in the Everlasting Arms, p. 22). “Ours is the same God. There is in Him no variableness or even a shadow caused by turning. If it’s iron shoes we need, the will be provided. If it’s a touch, a word, a gift from a friend, it will be given. If God sees that the mountain should be filled with horses and chariots, He’ll fill it. Ask Him to open your eyes to his lovingkindness and tender mercies. Ask Him to help you trust him for tomorrow.” (Secure in the Everlasting Arms, p. 24).