June 23, 2016

Tasting Life (A slighty strange title, but alas, you must give it a name.)

Someone once said...

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect."

That is why we have been keeping this blog going since 2012, as inconsistent and random as it may be.  So we can taste and see our adventures play out before us time and time again. To remember all the joys and struggles, faces and places. To share the good and bad with loved ones near and far. But most importantly to tell of Jesus. To shine light on His everlasting goodness, and mercy.

Sometimes I really do just sit back and think, is this really my life? How did we get here? Looking back even over the past three months, so much has happened-- where do I begin?

How about with a few bullet points and pictures. :)

- Some friends of ours, who we met in Kenya back in 2014, sent their 17 year old daughter to come and stay with us for several months, and what a blessing that was. Tara is a kind, thoughtful, funny, and beautiful young lady-- inside and out. As you can imagine, being a first year home school mom can have it's challenges. Now, throw five more children into the mix who need to be taught, several of them hardly speaking English, and another toddler! That is a serious situation. But God, in His mercy, sent me some help. Tara was able to really focus on helping Longoli (8) and Lokke (5) with their reading. She also helped the younger children with letters, and writing while I was teaching Ava and Favour their kindergarten work. Tara actually returned home this week, and we will miss her dearly. But with that little boost from my friend, I am ready to take on the new school year come August.


- As a community we visited the Kampala Museum. It may not have all the bells and whistles that first world museums have, but it was full of Ugandan history-- my history. Let me clarify, learning about the tribe my children come from was the highlight of the whole experience for me. Their story is now our story and vice versa.
 
- A carload of us literally drove around police barricades trying to get out of town on inauguration day. The jet flying action over Kampala was enough to think that a war was breaking out! We thought that going swimming in the middle of nowhere would be a nice, quiet activity. Only to find out that the place we chose to swim at had at least a dozen of Africa's Presidents, and politicians staying at it. No wonder we had to back road it so much! Police checks my friends, are no joke.

- Sewing projects! See adorable baby bloomers, and shirt on Carol. 


- Charlton rushed our unconscious one and a half year old to the hospital on the back of a boda-boda (motorcycle) while administering mouth-to-mouth because she choked on a small piece of chapati. Ambulances are too slow, and the traffic is too bad. He had to make some quick decisions and our daughter left the hospital doing well.

- Another dear sister, Elizabeth, returned home recently as well. She has been serving in Uganda with us for roughly eight months. She became the little sister I never knew I wanted. One of my favorite recent memories with her was going shopping at a huge outdoor market in downtown Kampala. We rummaged through piles and piles of second hand clothes while people were crowded around everywhere shopping, and selling. The hustle and bustle is both thrilling and exhausting. We both came out of that market with some really fun and unique Indian tunics... and maybe a headache or two from being hit in the head by giant parcels men carried on their heads walking through the narrow pathways. Ha! Her mom and dad were able to come out to Kampala before she left, and that was a huge encouragement. We love you Elizabeth, David, and Eva!


-Charlton and I celebrated our eight year wedding anniversary on May 24th. Praise the Lord! A very sweet, and anonymous friend sent us out for a weekend getaway to a beautiful resort. When we first arrived I was totally blown away by the room and view, and I honestly felt a little guilty. The poverty that we see daily make certain things feel slightly uncomfortable for me. Charlton really helped me work through it though. That weekend we also had a small family emergency occur, so the getaway weekend was almost cut short. But by the grace of God, that time really drew Charlton and I closer together, and it is such an amazing gift to spend time together in rich prayer.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

-We also had our first Mother's Day and Father's Day being parents of eight!

All my precious Mother's Day cards!

Charlton is an incredible daddy, and he never complains when he changes diapers!

Here I sit as a follower of Jesus, a wife, a home school mother of eight, living in a foreign land (and by that I mean, the world that we all currently live in), not even tasting the age of thirty yet. I feel so immature and unequipped at times. Yet here I sit, desperately praying and seeking for revival in the hearts of those around us. Feeling at different moments such happiness and heartbreak. Heartbreak when seeing people that you care about coming so close to making that eternal decision to follow Christ, struggling with them, weeping with them, and then seeing the cares of this world come in and gobble them up. The gospel message that the men teach here is not one of prosperity, and easy-belief ism. It's totally countercultural. Pray for us, and the land that we are sojourning in.

Because of Jesus,

Natasha





Our little Hadassah Faith
The Crew
My sweet little kitchen helpers, always willing to lend a hand!
Okay. Yes. I had to add this delicious coffee treat. Come to Kampala ya'll.

March 16, 2016

MATOKE IN PEANUT SAUCE

Tonight we are sitting at Cafe Java's in Entebbe waiting to pick up some very dear friends at the airport. Our friends from Kentucky have sold everything, and have decided to join us on the mission field here in Uganda. We are beyond thrilled to have them with us in Kampala! Please keep Greg and Lorna Stierle in your prayers during this time of transition.

So with a little extra time on my hands, Nana is at home with the children tonight, I thought I would write the first of many (hopefully) recipes that we love!

Matoke in Binyebwa

It is very important for us to understand and appreciate the culture here in Uganda, and a big part of any culture is the food! Here in Uganda, the main dish is usually centered on a sauce or stew of peanuts, beans, or meat. This dish is an easy, healthy, family favorite that is suitable for vegans.

Matoke, also known as green bananas, is the staple food for the Baganda tribe which is the largest tribe here in Uganda.  Binyebwa, is how you say peanuts in Luganda. So this dish is basically green bananas cooked in a peanut paste. It is delicious! Green bananas are grown all over the country, as well as peanuts. So this is truly a cost effective meal for a group of people.

Matoke is mostly eaten mashed up and cooked in a banana leaf. But Charlton and I prefer simply peeling the banana and boiling it in the peanut sauce whole.

Ingredients

- About 3 or 4 bananas per adult
- Peanut paste about 1 kg
- Water
- Onion
- Tomato

Or any type of vegetable that you would prefer. If you really want to get fancy, add some fish!

Directions

Prep Time: Around 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1. 5 hours

1. Peel your green bananas
2. Cut up any other desired vegetables
3. Add peanut paste to pot, and slowly add water until you reach your desired consistency
4. Keep stirring until paste has dissolved and sauce has come to a boil
5. Add vegetables
6. After sauce is cooking for about 30 minutes add cooking bananas and let sit on low for about an hour. If you would like, you can cook the sauce and matoke until you see oil forming on top.


 


March 10, 2016

MY DAYS ARE FULL, MY HANDS ARE FULL, AND MY HEART IS FULL!

My heart is full!

Packing, cleaning, and organizing are all expected tasked when you are moving, or shifting as they call it here in Uganda. Now, throw eight children and three dogs in the mix and you are ready for a load of fun!

We want to give our family and friends a small glimpse into the past week. This is not written with a complaining spirit, we just want to share our experiences and praise God through it all. Here is a short recap of the past week. Let’s see, our family has experienced malaria, giardia, projectile vomit all over the dinner table, diarrhea, pus wounds, character training, sleepless nights, furniture delays, immense trash pick up, plumbing problems, and to top it all off a drunk neighbor was wandering around our house at around 6am yesterday. Then I was yelled at by him, and threatened to be thrown in jail. Just another day at the pony rides folks! Long story short, yesterday when we were trying to figure out how someone got in to our back yard (our son ran into our room and told us that a strange man was by the back door) we discovered an open window into our yard behind one of our guest buildings. This window leads to a small rented room of a young man not older then 25 years old, who, the day before came to our house asking for school fees, after we saw him drinking vodka on the street.

Well, I poked my head up to look through the window we found, and to my surprise their was indeed a bedroom. The young man was there, and appeared surprised as well. I apologized for startling him, and then asked him why he was in our yard so early in the morning. He told me that I was mistaken and we had a friendly short exchange and I left. We decided we wanted to deal with this issue quietly, and peaceably. But that young man had another idea. He came over to our house a few hours later, after he saw Charlton leave, (he was over at little bar next to our house with his landlord, Charlton and the man made eye contact) and tried to accuse me of some terrible things! Later that afternoon when Charlton returned, he and had a long conversation with this man's landlord, because the landlord wanted to ask us why we were harassing his tenant. As a side note, the landlord was also clearly drunk. Through it all, we think that we have come up with the most peaceable solution possible, so praise the Lord for that.

Don’t let that story put you off about where we are living. We truly do have some really sweet neighbors that we have met, and our area is is ripe for ministry. We actually discovered that one of our Sudanese neighbors does house church! I have also met some sweet women, one of which owns a tiny shop next to our compound.

The children seem to be adjusting well, and are enjoying their new home. Here are some fun things that I am learning about my new children:
  • They love the freezer! Making ice is the coolest thing ever! 
  • We go through soap and toothpaste like crazy. I have never seen children with such joy over receiving a toothbrush and toothpaste. And they each brush for about ten minutes twice a day…. I guess we will see how long that lasts. :)
  • Carol (the oldest girl) loves to cook and bake. We made cookies for her very first time the other day for the neighbors. She is my very special helper, especially in the kitchen.
  • They take care of each other, and help each other out. It is really sweet to see.
  • Our new baby Katie literally purrs when she cries.
  • Our five year old boy does not speak English or Luganda so we have been able to use our Swahili with him. The little we know at least. 
This is real life folks! The good, the bad and the ugly--but Christ continues to shine strong through it all. Thank you for your continued prayers. Much love from this crazy bunch.


Sweet little Katie.
Boaz and Lokke drinking out of their water bottles. These water bottles were a hit!


Our three year old Cindy

Okay guys, Missy needed some attention too!

My two babies! Twins, I can hardly tell them apart.

Longoli and his ever present ice water.

These boys love to eat. On the menu tonight was rice pilau and eggplant sauce.

Sisters

Because of Jesus,

Natasha