Friday, April 20, 2012

pure JOY!

THANK YOU to everyone who has joined in supporting the village both prayerfully and financially in Uganda, East Africa! Because of YOUR open hearts and obedience to God, We have had enough food for this week, the Greenhouse is FULLY funded and going up next week, and We will be purchasing LAND IN FULL for the babies home tomorrow! Please take a moment and say aloud "thank you, sweet Jesus Christ"

 --"..Your name and Your renown are the desire of our souls” Isaiah 26:8

Sunday, April 15, 2012

an open heart.

Right now we are in a food crisis in Bulabakulu. Yes, can you believe it? There actually are places in the world that are not able to eat every day. We had temporarily cut back to one meal a day of “posho” and beans and porridge in the morning, until last Wednesday…when we completely ran out of food.

The Lord has provided three meals a day since Wednesday! An undeserved miracle for our village! We are unsure when this crisis will be alleviated (via a sustainable income). Therefore I am writing you today and asking that you pray about God using YOU to be tangible love in these people’s lives through the purchase of food.

For a mere $60 US dollars you can feed 100+ people three meals for one day! I understand this is not sustainable, however we are still moving forward with the greenhouse that will solve any future food crisis problem. If you would like to buy food for the village please donate on the right side of this blog. Just click on the yellow “donate” button and specify the donation for “food crisis”.

I didn’t want to mention this next need until later, but as usual God has nothing but impeccable timing when He wants to get ‘er-done.
So today, out of obedience, I am writing to you with an open heart.

Almost 3 weeks ago Joshua (my contact and friend) approached me and began to tell me about a serious need he wanted me to fill in the Wakiso district of Uganda, a babies home. Yes, you read that right and are probably overwhelmed with emotions, as was I. My heart was overwhelmed and excited and just speechless. But my head and all logical reasoning was pulling the plug on even entertaining the idea. So I just sat on this information. I wanted to pray and dream and think about the possibilities, but to be honest I was just too nervous about what the Father might require of me. So I just ignored it; trying to reconcile the differences between my heart and head.

To make a long story short (which I don’t do often), the Lord has given me and some others affirmation to move forward with His dream of an orphanage in the Wakiso district. To be honest, the Lord is opening doors quicker than I alone can walk through them. In fact we have been offered a piece of land at $5,125 US dollars (this includes the land title and processing fees). The owner has agreed to hold the land until this Saturday; with the understanding we pay a down payment of $3350 US dollars.
This dream of His is HUGE and we cannot do it alone. So I ask you to join me and many others in prayer over this dream; that we would be obedient when it is uncomfortable, courageous when following in faith, and refract all admiration to the Father who deserves it.

I could go on and on about how I feel about all of this, but the truth is, it is not about me, not on ounce. If you would like to give towards buying land for the babies home, please direct your payments via pay-pal by clicking on the yellow “donate” button on the right-side of this page—be sure to denote “babies home land”.

If you would like ANY further information on any of these matters or an alternate method to give money, PLEASE contact me via commenting on this blog thread or email at:  

I want to leave you with this verse:
“YES LORD walking in the way of Your truth, we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and Your renown are the desire of our souls” Isaiah 26:8


Sunday, April 8, 2012

ohh the possibilities...

Today I am writing to you on behalf of my community here in Uganda.  We are currently dealing with food security in our village, there is not always enough food to go around. In fact for the past 6 days we have been eating porridge at noon and one serving of posho for the “meal”, for the entire day. This problem is due to the rising cost of food in Uganda, as well as a drop in monetary funding from various supporters. Although this may seem to be sad news, these circumstances are pushing us to look into alternative solutions that empower the community in a sustainable way. I believe in a “hand-up” not a “hand-out”.

“Well let’s just plant a garden then!”  It’s not quite that simple….the seasons here are getting worse; extreme droughts followed by too much water when the rains come. These factors make farming very difficult and crop production unreliable.  Therefore we are turning to a widely used, age-old strategy used in countries around the world, such as Kuwait, Israel, and Philippines: greenhouse technology.

Balton Greenhouses is a local company whose goal is “improving food security and livelihoods for small scale farmers in Uganda”. The effects of constructing a greenhouse on our property would enhance numerous aspects of the welfare of our village and the surrounding community.

We will be able to grow continually throughout the year, making the crop yield up to 10-12 times larger (depending on the crop). We will be able to incorporate farming education into our schools curriculum, providing knowledge not only to our community but to the surrounding communities via the students that attend our school from outside. The most important benefit is the food security that it will provide. We will be able to sell off the excess vegetables and fruits to provide income for the staple foods, rice, posho and beans.

The total cost for this project is $3,710.42 USD. This includes EVERYTHING; Construction materials, seeds, irrigation tanks and drip lines, gardening tools and four people to be trained properly in this gardening technique. If you ask me, that’s a bargain for not only what we will be getting, but for what we will be able to give this vulnerable community.

I ask you to prayerfully consider giving to this project today. Donating is easy, just click on the yellow “donate” button on the right side of this page and please note it is for the greenhouse. If you would like an alternative method to give, please contact me. The greenhouse can be constructed as soon as we can pay the company, hopefully before I leave in May.  

I have more information about this greenhouse than you want to read about on here, including a PowerPoint and project proposal.  If you would like any more explanation about any aspect of this project please ask! Either via comment on this blog or email:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pre-Sunrise Pictures

Recently I stood outside in the early morning with the intent of trying to capture the African sunrise. If you have ever tried to capture a sunrise or sunset you know it is nearly impossible to catch the beauty. So many mornings I just stare towards the sun as it rises, enjoying it more and more, as it gains intensity in color and splendor. As I was prepared with my camera in hand, I started clicking left and right, most of the pictures were before the sun was even visible. Thinking to myself “ohh THIS has got to be the best”…one minute later “ohh no this one!” All the while the dense hues of orange, purple, yellows and reds were just getting stronger and the sun rising higher and higher. Watching the sun intently, just peeking out and now fully visible and blazing. Once the sun had actually appeared and the full “sunrise” picture was captured I realized how grandiose and epic it was compared to my “pre-sunrise” photos.

And then it hit me… this is so much like life at times. We see the immediate situation, weather good or bad as the climax and settle for what that offers. But so many times God has a much more epic climax in the making. Building on experiences and situations, all adding to the intensity of the final shebang! It saddens me to think that too often we settle for “pre-sunrise” pictures, when there is actually something better in the making. Not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the “pre-sunrise” snapshots of life, but we must continue striving towards our romancer, Jesus Christ; settling and enjoying are two different things.

My prayer over this blog is that together, we don’t just settle for the “pre-sunrise”, 5th grade art work, but we wait patiently for the Father’s masterpiece that blazes with beauty and immaculate intensity.

Monday, March 26, 2012

the sun just keeps shining

there have been many good things happening around here lately...if only i had electricity to post everyday!

Last Monday my boys got uniforms! Seeing them for the first time with their bright purple and white checkered shirts made me overflow with emotions. They all look so grown-up and just plain beautiful!

I rode a donkey bare-back.

i was able to celebrate Favour's 40th birthday and Immy's 34th birthday with them. These women understand how to love your neighbor as yourself and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I also want to thank all of you who have been praying for my friend Amy, a mother of three. She has returned home safely to our village! Thank our Jesus for that!

Monday, March 12, 2012

picture of the day: March 12

1st world problems in a 3rd world country....
                                                I have to butcher my own meat.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mr. Cow

Today was a day of firsts.

I paraded through villages...

 ...and towns with cow in tow.


I soon became close with Mr. Cow, who later we found out was a misses.


I thought how FFA would have been somehow fun.

I bartered at Wakiso Central Market and bought 41591561 Irish potatoes.

I closed out the long day by participating in the brutal slaughtering of my well-trained, dear friend.

 I went in on a spur of the moment feast for the kids here in the village. I wish I filmed the kids as they saw us parade the cow into the village, knowing that they would be eating MEAT! That has been THE ONLY conversation for the rest of the day. It makes sense seeing as how their two main meals a day are posho and beans (posho: ground corn flour). I have paid for the cow and feast out of pocket (from my March budget) for a grand total of 150,000 Ugandan schillings (65 US dollars). If you are reading and would like to “feed” the Bulabakulu Village a fresh beef dinner, just click on the yellow donate button on the right side of this page and denote that the donation is for Mr. Cow.

After today I really feel for Chick-Fil-A’s campaigning cows. Eat mor chikin people! …for real, the slaughter is much more manageable.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

we continue to wait in hope.

This is an excerpt from my journal on February 22:

(the names have been changed for privacy sake)

“the Lord is in control. This is a truth I cling tightly to tonight. My heart is heavy and full of uncertainty. Katie comes to me after bed-time bible story, tears running down her scared face. I know exactly why. She was expressing what I feel inside.  Her mother and two brothers were expected back yesterday, after a routine day-trip to a local hospital for blood work and ARV meds. 48 hours later we are still awaiting their arrival.

If only I could feel half of Katie’s emotions. What she feels in her heart; what is racing through her mind. Will my mom return? What’s keeping her? How long do I wait? Will I end up like every other orphaned girl around me? What if she never returns, what then? I know they run deep with concerned fright. After losing her father a year ago, her mom and brothers are all she has left.

All I could do is hold her tight and pray over her until she fell asleep, among many, yet so alone. I repeated over and over, “God is in control. God is in control. He is holding you.” As I tried to believe in my heart what I was telling her.”

And the night fell again.
And again.
And again tonight.

No return.

96 hours and 5 days later we continue to wait and wonder. Lord I ask you what my role in this part of the script is. What’s my next move? Do I go and try to track her down? I know Amy and her love for her children and desire to rise on her feet again. What is keeping her? Is she sick? Was there an emergency? My mind then wanders to the worst. Has she abandoned Katie? Why take the others and not Katie? How long do I wait to intervene on behalf of the vulnerable 8 year old daughter left behind?

Father you have forged this relationship and burdened my heart with love and compassion for this family. Guide me to discern what it is you have me do or not do. Above all else I ask you to envelope Katie with your peace un-explainable.

Those who are reading, please join me in prayer for Katie and Amy.

God, you say ALL things work together for your good and to bring you glory. So let your glory shine Lord.

Monday, February 20, 2012

just a day of my life here.

I love productive days; days when you have tangible proof of being productive! They don't happen much around here, Africa doesn't have the need for speedy anything!

Mosquito nets hung: CHECK

Girls room before nets

After nets! and the lovely ones who helped me hang them :)

Washing clothes: CHECK

is there a better place to hand wash and line dry?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


             My heart was literally jumping inside of my chest as I made my trek to the village last Tuesday. The corners of my mouth could have cracked from the smile across my face. Bumping and jostling down the looong red dirt road, further and further into the bush; knowing at the end of the road, I would be reunited with some passionate and beautiful people. When I arrived I was loudly and extravagantly welcomed, indeed my friends had remembered me! I wish I could have recorded it. Words can’t describe the joy that filled the air. I will forever remember that special memory.

When returning to Bulabakulu I tried not to have any expectations. Knowing it had been two years since I had lived here. But as with anything, I did… I expected some things to be the same: children to scream when they see my skin color because they are not familiar with white skin, enjoying the challenge in pumping 20 liters of water into my jerry-can and walking a half mile uphill to bathe, short days due to no electricity, choosing wherever I want my “bathroom” to be (that can be quite interesting at night in the bush!), and my friends both young and old to remember me.

I was excited to see improvements had been made! All the structures are now permanent! They also have running water and toilets! This is major people! To my surprise, I also found 8 other muzungus here. Instantly my frame of mind shifted…wait other people know about this place?? How? How long had they been here? What were they doing? I had been prepared to go through the culture shock all over again; no running water, the challenge of communication, skin color, etc. If you know me you know I enjoy adventure, so when I saw my challenges were no more I was somewhat let down. Excited for the advancements in the community, but wondering how life here would differ. I took a step back and realized God knew about ALL of these things and still chose to send me. He has a plan. I was forced to find comfort in that plan and I still am. The other white people here do not believe in the Jesus I follow.  It is easy to share your faith across the world, people either take it or leave it.  But I have a fear of being stero-typed when sharing Christ with people from my country. I am not ashamed of the one who saved my soul, but I am ashamed of the ones who distorted the picture of a Jesus lover.  So of course I am continually searching for the lesson and growth to be gained in this experience of both discipling my village family and trying not to distance myself from the others.    

Many of the projected ‘projects’ I had mentioned have been done or are no longer a need.  Yet another let down. But I believe this too, God knew. Maybe this is so I focus more on the root of why He sent me here. To disciple. Plain and simple. If nothing more gets done, it doesn’t really matter. 

My first night here I was the only white person. I knew it would be this way, but when the reality of night hit I was beyond frightened. Fear got the best of me and I couldn’t shake it. (remember that night fall here is pitch black everywhere no lights near or far) I prayed that God would provide comfort for me. At 10 pm I chose to walk to Immy’s (my African mom) house and seek refuge.  She was more than welcoming, taking me into her house and eager to know what was bothering me. She was understanding and had compassion…just like someone else I know.  We then walked to her friend’s home and Immy requested she stay the night with me in my room. 

Mind you…I had never met this lady until now and couldn’t make out the lines of her face. So now, this big Ugandan woman who hardly looked me in the eye has been woken from her slumber and asked to sleep with a muzungu. With me. In my room. So much for sleep tonight.

That night I drift in and out of sleep all night. Reading a book of promises my mom had made me and praying, for anything! And keeping an eye on this Ugandan roommate who I don’t know from joe. Desperately trying to make it to morning and get things figured out.

Oh, but I was once again mysteriously wooed by my heavenly Father. Around 4 am I read a verse about Christ being my provider of comfort (I have read verses like this all my life, but this time something clicked) I hardly finished the verse before my body totally relaxed and I fell deep asleep.

When I woke I greeted the woman who had stayed the night. I asked for her name and she replied “Favour”. My heart leaped when she said her name.
Favour and I- teaching me how to sew on the no electricity machine :)

             Truly, truly the lord has brought me to Uganda and given me favor among the people.

ISAIAH 42:6-7
                “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness. I will take hold of your hand and   keep you. I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

Sunday, February 5, 2012


The muzungu has arrived! (muzungu is "white person" in Luganda). My trip has been nothing short of awesome and I praise God for that! soak that last statement in, because i am sure it will become hard.

My journey started with my lovely family dropping me off at the airport.

even Nana came!
I flew to Philadelphia. I did not eat a Philly cheese steak.

Then to Brussels, Belgium. I bought bread from a man there and said "do you speak-a-my language?"
He just smiled.

My chocolate croissant
Then off to Rwanda!
I arrived in Uganda 27 hours and one day later.

I received ALL THREE of my bags upon arrival in the country, a miracle I'm telling you!  And nothing was stolen! craziness.  One of my best friends from my previous trip, Rochelle, picked me up from the airport.  She lives here indefinitely now with her husband Charles and baby to be! She is 6 months pregnant and is such a trooper!

she is opening a gift for baby Eludai :)
I will stay at Rochelle's for a couple more days before heading to the village in Wakiso. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Jinja and I am adjusting much better than expected. It is so surreal being back! Thank you for your prayers.

check out these lyrics from a song i found on my ipod last night:
            "You are what I long for. When it's You and I my heart can sing. When it's You and I my  
              soul is free."  --Oceans Above "You and I"

When it's You and me, Lord. :)


Monday, January 23, 2012

A new life is calling and I owe it all to grace.

My name is Arielle and I am preparing to embark on a journey I've long awaited.  In a week I will be returning to a land full of conflicting scenes and emotions.  A land far away from Lakeland, Florida.  A country full of old friends and new friendships yet to be made. To the one place I've felt most fulfilled in my life.  This place was once named the "Pearl of Africa" and no longer shines brightly; but I believe it will shine again with vengence someday soon.  Not by anything of my doing, but from someone much bigger than I.  And I have been invited to take a front row seat!

I first traveled to Uganda in the fall of 2009, four months after graduating high school at the naive age of 18.  I volunteered at Amani Baby Cottage in a town called Jinja. (Amani's website: if you are looking for a trust worthy and safe place to volunteer and love on babies, THIS IS THE PLACE!) This experience opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  After traveling on missions work out of the country numerous times before, I really didn't think much of a three month stay in Africa.  Well let's just say I learned bunches! I am sure most of those stories will be told here in time. I made some of my best friends on that adventure, learned how to 'do life' in a hard place, and let love pour out on so many sweet babies and children of God. But perhaps the most important lesson I learned was quite elementary, at least for those that have grown up in church; craving to read my bible everyday.  This is not something that is learned. Or maybe it is...the hard way.  This is an innermost desire that wells up from within us. I hope that everybody that roams this earth will feel this feeling one day.  When I said that Uganda was the place I felt most fulfilled in my life, I believe it was more than the life-altering experiences I had.  I was filled by someone much bigger and grander than I.   I believe that I was being 'transformed by the renewal of my mind' (see romans 12:2).  And THAT has the power to fulfill someone! 

This trip will be much different than my last.  I will be living among a group of people in Bulabakulu village.  I will be teaching in a local school come mid-February.  But more than all this, I will love unconditionally.  Be a living definition of a tangible love.  Afterall, how can someone comprehend a 'Fatherly love' if they themselves have never experienced love?  There are 120+ children and 7 surviving mothers from this people group.  All the rest have died or sought-out another life.  These people need to be transformed my the renewal of their minds!  And only through the Father's work, will this desolate country again shine as the "Pearl of Africa".

thanks for reading,
Arielle :)!/profile.php?id=1388382206