Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Traffic jam Jinja Style!

Going home this evening, around 6 pm,  hit a worse than typical traffic jam at the first round about heading out of Jinja to cross the bridge .  The problem appeared to be a minor collision between 2 taxies.  The drivers and various onlookers were arguing and would not clear the vehicles off to the side of the two lane road.  The pictures really don't do the mayhem justice.  Off to the left is a field of taxies and cars trying to cut the line and get 20 feet ahead... Cars, boda bodas, heavy trucks and taxies all trying to make their own way.  In the couple of years I have been here it appears that behind the wheel or in a queue it is all about the me first mentality.  

Sigh... Oh Uganda... Patience is a constant lesson here. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Day at the Office...

What is your definition of a day at the office?

What is your definition of a professional?

To be a professional do you have to wear a suit?

Are only college graduates worthy of being considered professionals? 

Here in Uganda the emphasis is for the youth of today to attend university and get a degree that will enable them to have a professional career of some type and earn a lot of money.  

The definition of "professional" according to Webster's Dictionary is: - relating to a job that requires special education, training or skill - 

Webster also defines a "profession" as:  - a type of job that requires special education, training or skill.

What it doesn't say is that  all of the education, training or skill come from the university setting.  

What about when your car breaks down? Or the sewer backs up or a water pipe breaks? I know you hope that the person you trust to fix it has the knowledge, training and skill needed.  Think about what the world would be like with out those who have the education, training and skill to build your house... the plumbers, electricians, roofers, painters, masons, carpenters...

We each have unique skill sets are needed by others, we should appreciate that God has gifted us with these differences, and not look down on those we feel are "below" our level of "education, skill or training". 

We spent a lot of time this year talking to the iY students about careers.  We encouraged them to see their differences as gifts from God and that when you use your natural gifting and passion that God has given you,  your profession, what ever it is, will be rewarding. 


Tom after a long day at the office.  The GSF campus infrastructure is aging and breaking down.  One of the areas that seems to be breaking faster than he and his team can keep up with is the water system.

A river of precious water was flowing from the bath house behind House 5

Tom and his team trying to find the water shut off valve, unfortunately when the campus was built they were located somewhere behind the houses buried about 3 feet down.

Break identified and being dug out for repairs

Tom is a professional!! His desire is to pass on his skills, knowledge and training to those here.  Thank you God for gifting Tom and others in this way. 

I want to encourage us all to appreciate the unique gifting and skills that God has given each of us no matter where our "office" is. 

Be encouraged, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God!

Psalm 139:14  (NASB)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What I wouldn't give...

I have been thinking lately about the use of my words.  I feel we often use words or phrases glibly not really thinking about what we are saying.

What I wouldn’t give…

Do you use that phrase?  I do.

What  I wouldn’t give for a Harris Teeter grocery store.

What I wouldn’t give to have a #7 mini sub from my favorite sub shop back home.

What I wouldn’t give for my old house.

What I wouldn’t give for rules to be obeyed!

What I wouldn’t give to stop the suffering of others. 

What I wouldn’t give for my friends and family to be “safe”.

What I wouldn’t give to have the right words all the time. 

What I wouldn’t give…. you fill in the blank…

Exactly what would I be willing give to have my old house?  Am I willing to refuse following after God for my own short lived “comfort”?

Exactly what would I be willing to give to have rules obeyed? Am I willing to admit I am disobedient ?  Am I willing to humble myself under the authority of another?

Exactly what would I be willing to do to stop the suffering?  Am I willing to suffer in their place?

Exactly what would I be willing to give for my family and friends to be safe?  Am I willing to die?  Am I willing to die for a stranger?  

Exactly what would you be willing to give…?

Do you wonder if God ever asked himself that question?  

What I wouldn’t give to have an eternally restored relationship with my children.

What I wouldn’t give to heal their brokenness.

What I wouldn’t give to express my unending love for them.

What I wouldn’t give to express my mercy and compassion towards them. 

The truth is there is nothing that God wouldn’t give… even His first born Son for me… John 3:16-17

God expressed his love for me… Romans 5:8

Jesus gave up his home for me… Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus willingly submitted to the authority and will of God… John 6:38, 

Jesus died for me while I was still a stranger to him…Romans 5:6-8

Lord, I desire to submit my will to Yours and to serve you without reservation. No matter what you ask me to give.
Be encouraged...

Friday, November 27, 2015

I will put enmity...

So we are in the rainy season here in Uganda.  The grass grows like kudzu grows in the Carolinas... at least an inch per day.

Today, while I was mowing the grass I STEPPED ON A SNAKE!!!! If there is one thing I really hate and I mean hate is a snake.  It brings to mind the verse in Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed...  I am pretty sure I got a double portion of enmity!!

I proceded to call for my husband to seek and destroy.  

After Tom found the snake and decapitated it with a machete and a shovel, he showed it to Rose, who helps us cook.  She said that she thought it was a black mamba... not for sure... I am very grateful for God's protection...anti venom is several hours away. 

Just a few minutes ago I received an iMessage from a dear friend in Greensboro sharing that she had been praying for me all day.  That the Holy Spirit had continued to bring me to mind all day.  Praise God for all of the prayer warriors He hedges us in with.  Thank you Susan for being so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and such a prayer warrior!

Recognize and praise God for his provision and protection.  It is not just a happy coincidence when you are protected or saved from danger, bad situations or provision comes just when you need it.  These things are all from God 

Be encouraged!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Starlight in the Morning Part 2

I first wrote about Jaja Jennifer on Feb 23 in my post  Starlight in the morning.  I want to update you on the condition of her house now.  

In February we were very concerned about her and the condition of her house because rainy season was about to start. GSF hosts many teams through out the year and I asked the team coming from Grace Baptist Church from Camden Arkansas if they would be willing to help us provide Jaja Jennifer a new roof. Boy did they come through!!! 

They did supply the financial resources to make the repairs to Jaja Jennifer's house, but more importantly they had a great time bonding with her and the maintenance team from GSF that volunteered to server their neighbor in this way.  

Taking off the old 

Preparing for the new

New trusses being cut

and going up...

While the men were working the ladies were also enjoying time with Jennifer and her neighbors.  

Then ladies went on a prayer walk through the village with Penlope, GSF's Outreach Social Worker, who first brought Jaja Jennifer's need to my attention.  They met with many of Jaja Jennifer's neighbors and had the opportunity to share the gospel with several.  One of the ladies they spoke with made the decision to make Christ, Lord of her life.  


We did not complete the job in one day as we had hoped and had to leave one section of her home open... our worst fear happened...IT RAINED!! Upon returning to her house the next morning, we found her all smiles, she was praising God for holding the rain until day light so she could see to cover her belonging with the tarps.  I was so humbled by her joy, gratefulness and thankfulness.

No more starlight in the night!! 

Praise God for his love and care of the widow and orphan through Grace Baptist Church.  

Not only did this team bless Jaja Jennifer, there was just enough excess material to re-secure panels and cover the roof ridge on her neighbor's house.  When the iron sheets were put on this house a gap was left at the peak.  She had done the best she could to stop water from coming in by stuffing the cracks with old cloths, bark cloth, old bags.. basically anything she could.

She now has a dry house for her and her three children.  

Thank you Wesley, Travis, Kim, Debbie, Darlene, Misti, Sonya, Buster, Ethan, Sabrena, Tammy and Bethany!! God used used you, your church and supporters in mighty ways.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress..  James 1:27

Be encouraged!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

First Puzzle...

Critical thinking skills... We take these for granted, assuming  that everyone has this skill. This is not true in Uganda.  This is on skill set that is not actively taught in the school system.  I want to be careful not to stereotype all people here as not being resourceful, quite the opposite infact.  However many lack the ability to think critically about problems, situations or circumstances.  

One thing I noticed is the simple ability to stack items in an organized fashion, or pack things together so that they fit and take up the least amount of space. That got me to wondering if they could work puzzles or ever had the opportunity to work puzzles.  These simple "games or family past times" is one way we are actually taught critical thinking skills.  

In May, our home church, Westover Church, came and brought many supplies from our "wish list" that would teach and encourage the development of critical thinking skills.  The list included card games, board games, Connect4, chess & checkers, Jenga, and puzzles. 

On Friday nights we have dinner together with the students and Martin, a young man that works for us. This Friday was no different. After a few rounds of the card game DutchBlitz I pulled out a puzzle to work while the everyone else played cards.  Martin immediately became interested and wanted to learn what I was doing. So I talked with him about how to put a puzzle together and worked with him. 

Martin was so proud to have finished the puzzle.  He asked if he could work another one right then, but it was after 11 pm and time for everyone to head to bed. He looked disappointed until I told him he could come in anytime and work the puzzles.  

I thank each and everyone of you who made this moment possible for Martin!  While sitting there with him I thought of all the people back home who had a part in gathering the items on our ministry wish list, getting them to Steve, the team leader, to the team who, packed and re packed the abundance that was given.  Your support of us, be it prayerful, financial or  purchasing supplies for us IS having a very tangible impact here! 

Thank you for the privilege of having a front row seat to encourage Marin and see the moment when it "clicked" for him as he put the last peice of the puzzle in place. 

Be encouraged...


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Laugh of the day...

I was in Jinja today shopping for a team arrival and came across this brand of olives... I haven't seen them before.

Just wondering what the manufacturer was thinking of when naming this brand?  Had a good laugh and thought to myself... "Well I hope all my olives are hygienic"... And that it is most likely one of those cross cultural word uses that they understand but we don't! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Your Prayer Coverage... Our Need For It

So often people ask how to pray for us. There are many, many things to pray for...  The people we serve, the impact for Christ we desire to be, for us to always be a reflection of Christ, for wisdom and discernment dealing with the young adults in our care... Another constant is the request for for our health and safety.  

I want to thank you all for faithfully praying for all our needs and especially for our health and protection.  There have been a couple of things that have happened recently that has made me truly grateful for all that pray for us. 

Many missionaries have had malaria and bacterial infections recently.  We thank God that the illnesses have not touched us or the iY students. 

 On Friday, while Tom was driving out to GSF an object flew off a truck and struck the driver's side of the windshield.  Praise God that he gave Tom presence of mind to maintain control of the vehicle and the object didn't come through, as it struck exactly where the driver sits. 

Recently while traveling to Entebbe with some visitors we witnessed the aftermath of an accident. A small delivery vehicle that is really a  3 wheeled moped with a bed on it was hit. There was glass everywhere, the crushed vehicle off the side of the road where it came to rest, people standing around.. But the most disturbing thing was all the blood that we had to drive through. Although the body had been removed you could see the evidence of fatal injury.  

It takes all your concentration to drive here.  You must use all your offensive and defensive skills. Constantly on the look out for pedestrians, animals, boda bodas that will dart in front of you,  overtake from either side, watch for taxi vans that think the only thing that matters is them and often dangerously overtake, overspeed and are generally careless. 

There is no real organized system of emergency services. So if there is an accident the ambulance would not reach you in minutes with well trained personnel, it could take hours.  We can not live fearing to travel so we pray before getting on the road and entrust each trip into His hands. 

Thank you for your constant prayers for our protection and good health. 

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-12 NIV
   Who ever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
   I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. 
   If you say, "The LORD is my refuge," and you make the Most High your dwelling, 
   no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 
   For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 
   they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Conversation of the day... 

iY Student:  Auntie Sharon do you have a new toothbrush you can give me...mine got spoiled. 

Me: Yes I do, thanks to my sisters and friends back home for giving many supplies to help us help you! 

I go to get the toothbrush and upon return and handoff I ask... "Are you flossing?"

iY student walking away responds... 
"No" then stops and looks back at me and says.." what is that..flossing?"

Me:  Following a moment of amused and stunned silence say... "Well I guess there will be oral hygiene lessons for all very soon!"

The laughter was good but the conversation  re-enforces that Tom and I can't assume a level of knowledge, even the basics like flossing. We are here to teach any and all life skills that we can. 

Thank you for the support and supplies! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Promise of Rain

Uganda has two basic seasons... Wet and dry.  We have been in the dry season since December. According to people who have been in this area for a long time this has been the " longest, hottest and driest " dry season they can remember. 

The other day I was traveling out to GSF and thinking about  how dry and weary the land looks. 

Have you ever felt like this sugar cane looks? 

Dry emotionally and spiritually...

Dusty with the dirt if this world...

Bent under the weight of the cares of navigating this life...

Burdened for those you know are struggling through various trials...

As we draw near to the rainy season the sky has given me hope that this difficult dry season will come to an end, relief is on its way.

The dry land and crops here reminded me of when I was growing up in NC.  My home town was more rural and less city. We were surrounded by tobacco farmers.  They would often have to irrigate their crops with water from ponds on the farm. I noticed it never seemed to nourish the crops like one good rain did.  

Do you seek nourishment for your dry and hungry soul in this world by filling it with all the things this world says will satisfy and find that nothing satisfies?   

Jeremiah 2:13 says
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. 

In John 4, Jesus is speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well.  During her life she had been trying to satisfy a thirst in worldly ways that only the living God could quench.  Jesus says to her in verses 13&14...
"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

I encourage you to seek nourishment for your soul in Jesus the Christ not in this world. 

Jesus said in John 6:35
I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 

During the several days it has taken to write this post the rains have returned. In a short span of time this dry and weary land is vibrant again, the leaves washed clean,  life is bursting forth and it is blessedly cool.  The land has been eagerly awaiting the life giving water.

If you do not know Christ as your Savior  I encourage you to give yourself over to Christ and let Him fill you with his living water.  
1 Timothy 2:3-6
This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.  This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 

If you know Christ as your savior, but have allowed your soul to become dry and weary, I encourage you to return to your first love. 

Psalm 63: 1-5
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. 
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 

I love you Jesus!  You are my Lord and Savior.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Grossly Fascinating

So....I arrive at the guest house today to make sure preparations for the arrival of our fist team of 2015 was on schedule and what do I see?  A tree trunk covered in caterpillars!  

And if you look up you can see the sacks they hatched out of. 

The base of the tree was surrounded by the dead carcasses...

But upon closer inspection they are really quite beautiful... I wonder if those long wispy hairs are really things that will sting? 

All grossly fascinating! 

Friday, March 13, 2015


Do you remember the credit card commercial that would list items purchased then end in the statement ..."Priceless"?

As of March 1 the iY Students have come to reside with Tom and I!  We spent some time at the end of February getting the house set up for them to arrive... see blog post about shopping for furniture

Furniture for their rooms and the student lounge (8 bunk beds, sofa and 2 chairs, desk) ...$934

Supplies (ie mosquito nets, curtains, plates, cups, silverware) and more...$1109

Food (22 lbs of rice, 22 lbs of beans, 11 lbs of posho, 14 loaves of bread, 10 ltrs of milk, 60 eggs, this is not including all the produce consumed... at least 30 lbs in bananas!)... $264

Opportunity to invest in the lives of these young people....PRICELESS!!

Please pray with us as we walk with this group of young people into adulthood.
Pray for each one:

  • First and foremost for their walk with God, that they would truly commit their lives to Him and trust in Him for their future.
  • For the internships they will be starting in the coming week, that it would build confidence and provide good exposure to possible future vocations.
  • For their personal growth as they are challenged to expand their world view and think in new ways.
  • For healing in their lives, many have come from difficult backgrounds.

We thank God for trusting us with this responsibility and are grateful to Steve Brown of New Hope who is mentoring us through the 1st year of iY here in Jinja.

Back Row:  Tom and Sharon
Middle Row: Left to Right:  Eric, Emmanuel (aka Emma) and Jonah
Front Row: Left to Right:  Peace, Aida, Rachel and Jenny

"Investment Year is New Hope Uganda’s intensive one year program for S4 leavers designed to help them develop the skills, knowledge and character necessary for success in further education, future careers and in their personal lives.  The program helps them to become excellent and productive members of their family, community and nation.  We (Tom and Sharon) have partnered with New Hope Uganda to provide this same type program to our S4 leavers at Good Shepherd’s Fold.  
It is designed to help young people in Uganda  develop the skills, knowledge and character necessary for success in further education, future career and in their personal lives, enabling us to raise up future leaders of Uganda and cultural influencers who will take a stand for righteousness and integrity in the business world, the arts, medicine, the political arena, the church, families, their communities and in global issues.

Over 140 young people have completed the Investment Year program in the last 7 years. It has proven to be revolutionary in their lives helping turning many of them into cultural influencers and giving them clear direction for their futures.  

During their I.Y. each student completes three work internships in the field(s) he or she is interested in pursuing in the future. Such experience gives them clarity in their choice of further education and training. These internships also provide excellent experiences and training.

The students are also trained in biblical business principles and each run a small business throughout the year, encouraging them to develop the skills to become self-sufficient. Throughout the year each student receives intensive discipleship and training in life issues and skills. The curriculum is Bible based and the students learn about worldview, personal financial management, business etiquette, writing a C.V. interview skills, Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, public speaking, and much more. Each student will read the whole of the Bible, as well as being required to read at least eighteen books from a carefully selected list.  

Investment Year stretches the students tremendously and it is truly what it’s name says: a year of investing in our students and preparing them for all God has for them. As they finish their year they enter their future commissioned with clear direction and purpose.  

(Preparing young men and women of integrity and character)
Each student has a mentor who supports  them throughout the year. They are encouraged to journal to develop reflective living. Retreats and regular training are held to help develop men and women of character and integrity.

(To develop a breadth of knowledge from a biblical basis that enables discernment in all things)
Students receive training in recognizing different world views, developing a global perspective and how to read and study the Bible. Through the year each I.Y. student will read a minimum of eighteen books as well as the whole of the Bible.

To equip them do things well and with expertise 
Training is given in Biblical financial stewardship, first-aid, basic computer skills, public speaking, C.V. writing and interview skills. Each student has the opportunity to develop business skills through running their own business."

Thank you for faithfully praying for the ministry God has called us to and for us as we seek to honor Him in all we do.  If you would like to partner with us in the work here in Uganda click on the Global Outreach button above and select us, then click donate.  


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sharon what did you do Tuesday?

Good question... 

5am... Quiet time with God enjoying the cool morning breeze and cups of coffee
7:00 am Dressed and ready to get the day going
8:30 am Devos with iY students 
9:05 Chased iY students (aka sleepyheads) up and down drive to get their blood flowing 
9:10 - 11 am Taught big picture chronology of the Bible to  iY students.

Rest of day... Oversaw food prep, answered emails, directed workers activities... And more...

3pm ish... 
Student A... Auntie Sharon my leg is paining me.. And my stomach... I need tablets.
Me... What kind of pain? Are you feeling ill? 
Student A... No I carried water somehow a far distance at home this weekend. 
Me... Ok so what you are telling r is you have some sore muscles from carrying water on Saturday. Is it getting better or worse? 
Student A... Somehow better.
Me... If it is getting better each day do you really need tablets? 

Student B...Auntie Sharon, my head is paining me, I have malaria, I need test and tablets. 
Me.. Does your body ache?
Student... No 
Me.. Do you have diarrhea?
Student... No
Me... Vomiting?
Student... No
Me... How much water have you drank today?
Student...I have taken a cup of tea...
Me... You need to drink water, it is hot and your headache is most likely from dehydration and not malaria because you don't have more symptoms.  Take these Tylenol with water and have dinner, drink more water and I will check on you after dinner. 

Student... But Auntie, I know I have malaria!  ( they don't like drinking water) 
Me... I will test you after you have had water, dinner and more water.  I will eat humble pie if you test positive.  If positive I will start you on meds.. If negative you will drink 6 cups water tomorrow. 

9:00 pm ish

Test negative! 

Me... To all the students... Lots of joking about how much water this student will be drinking. Lesson.. The body needs water! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Having Mexican for dinner tomorrow...  Starting a day ahead to get all ingredients prepared. Margaret is rolling out the tortilla and I am cooking! 

YUMMMM!  Just add a little rice, beans pico and mango salsa!