Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some new stuff!

I just wanted to post a few new pictures since I havent been on here for almost a year! Looking at all of my pictures from a year ago makes me feel a little sad that I havent been able to do any mission trips this year, but I am in school now so Ive had to make a few sacrafices, I guess. Here are some pictures from the Life Church retreat, which was great! God is good! He had brought me to an awesome church and I am making some awesome new friendships with great people. Im am anxious to get involved and begin serving here. More to come...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breast cancer 3 day walk

The walk begins...

Shelly and I with the supporters!


our first few pit stops. This is where we eat, drink and pee!

the motivation medics!

all of the crew members rocked!

Lake Michigan

tons of people lined the streets with signs and bells to support us.

day 1 down, two to go!

our home away from home

lunch time at the 3 day diner

the end of day 2! Woo Hoo!

This is usually where I post about my trips to Uganda, but I figured it was a great place to post all of my pictures of the 3 day event for all my supporters to see.

I have to say that this was an exciting, difficult, painful, unforgettable and eye opening experience. Our first day was along the coast of Lake Michigan in a suburb of Winnetka. The streets were lined with mature trees and beautiful homes. We made our way 21 miles south to Des Plaines where our camp was. It was really cool to come around the corner and see a sea of pink tents. My partner in crime, Shelley, was out by the end of day 1 due to the fact the she is weeks away from starting her business as a dance teacher and, regretfully, could not continue walking and risking not being able to dance. She made a good choice. So, I found some new friends to walk with, which was not difficult here. No one walks alone. My tent mate, Andrea, became my new walking partner along with a couple of other ladies. Andrea's mom was also a breast cancer survivor. There were many stories and glimpses of women, of all ages, in tears at times, walking proudly in honor of those lost. It was an emotional experience, and one that made me feel so thankful that I am not one of those very young girls I saw in tears, as they honored their mothers in walking. It is not all women who suffer from this disease though, men are also at risk of breast cancer. I also saw many men walking in honor of their wives and I cant help but say I felt proud.

Day 2 was a difficult day. The outside of my knee started to hurt pretty bad and I was limping by the first pit stop. People really do encourage you not to continue walking if you are in pain, but really, I didn't come this far to stop. I toughed it out and after a while it just began to get numb. At that point it was better to keep walking because stopping only causes you to feel more pain. I finished day 2 and slept like a baby! For some reason you wake up several times in the night to go pee. Oh yeah, it rained on day 2 too!

Day 3 was even harder. I even considered taking a "sweep van" to lunch and waiting for my new friends there. My pride was getting the best of me at this point, so I took a van only to the next pit stop so I could ice my knee again and then I met my friends there. They had several crew members in vans and on bikes along the route to make sure people were ok and could continue walking. We were well taken care of.

This event was so well put together. Everyone down to the people who served our dinner were fantastic! They had medics at every pit stop to help with blisters and pains, they had a crew of encouraging men at every intersection to cross us and men and women dressed up in all kinds of crazy costumes along the way to support us and cheer us on. It was amazing. The police and people who lived in the neighborhoods we walked through showed their support by wearing pink shirts and decorating their houses. They even passed out popsicles and candy all along the way, it was really nice. I don't have one complaint about how this event was run. At night we took showers and hung out around camp. They provided foot massages, physical trainers, chiropractors and even had some vendors selling 3 day gear.

I, unfortunately, don't have pictures yet of the finish because my camera batteries ran out (can you believe that?!?!) but this was the most exciting day! We walked along the lakefront and through the heart of Chicago. It was beautiful! We ended in Soldier Field for closing ceremonies. There, we met all of the breast cancer survivors that walked with us and we also thanked all of the crew who took care of us for 3 days by cheering for them. We found out that we raised $6,000,000 in this event alone!!!!!!!!!!!! This experience has been a great one. From the very beginning of the training walks, which next year I will train better, to meeting some amazing women and hearing some heart wrenching stories. To enduring some pain for the sake of persevering, to learning to swallow my pride and know when to rest. And from the realization that why I am so thankful that my mom is alive and here, that the fight was not an easyone. I felt a lot of emotions over the course of 60 miles and I look forward to doing it all again next year!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I am so sad to be leaving

I feel heartbroken to be leaving Uganda today. There is something about this place, this experience, the people, the love that is shared here that makes this place hard to leave. The relationships that you develop while doing the things that we have done here are hard to part ways with. I will miss the Ugandan friends I have made while here and I look forward to returning next year... hopefully for a longer trip.

Safari days



Beautiful sunsets...



African Buffalo and bird friend...

Need I say more!

The falls. I must say that seeing the power of this water as the nile comes into a narrow fall was so powerful.

Hello friends!
Here are a few pictures of the safari that we went on. One wasy by land and the other by water. We also saw Merchison Falls off of the Nile river. It was beautiful to say the least. I even saw a rainbow. It is amazing to see something do beautiful here after experiencing days of seeing nothing but poverty and filth. So I hope you enjoy these pictures. They are nothing close to seeing it in person, but I think they are still pretty amazing...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finally... I see Adrine!

I made it to Kamwenge to see Adrine yesterday. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I arrived in her village. When I met her a year ago she had a grim future ahead due to a disease called obstetric fistula. Adrine lost her child, her husband and then was left with infection seeping from her body and stayed confined to her home due to the condition she was in. She had no money for treatment or any means of getting better, only getting worse, she became isolated, was living in extreme poverty, and had no hope. Her community had outcast her and she felt all alone. That is when we found Adrine, last year. Since then, she has had surgery, become sponsored and in now living a life that she never would’ve imagined. The emotion I felt as I approached her village was relief and familiarity.

I can relate to Adrine in a way. I know what it feels like to feel alone and unloved…unconditionally. Our situations are different but the need for love is a universal need that none are immune from. This last year has been quite an interesting one, to say the least, but it has also been a life changing one for me. I was engaged last November and I can honestly say that I had never felt more loved in my life. I thought that the love that I had been looking for my whole life I had finally found… until he left. This was not an unfamiliar pattern in my life. While the pain of him leaving was there, there was also this certainty that I was not alone, not this time. Last year while I was here in Uganda I begged God to make His love for me real to me. I was tired of looking for love in all the wrong places and always feeling so unfulfilled and empty. God made good on His promise to me. I have never felt more loved by my Savior than I do today. Its not that he didn’t love me before, its just the His timing is perfect. My life has changed in ways that I can not explain this last year. I now know that I am loved unconditionally and that love has changed my life. I wanted Adrine to feel that love. I think a woman’s biggest fear is that she is alone and I want her to know that she is never alone and she certainly is not forgotten. I am attaching some pictures of gifts being exchanged between us. You have to understand that the last thing that any person living here in Africa expects is someone from America to travel 10,000 miles to visit them and bring them gifts or send them money every month. I hope this was a mission accomplished!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just some pictures of our first day in the villages

Last night we had some time to sit with the team and discuss what everyone thought and was feeling in regards to their first time ever seeing somthing like this. Many people felt sad and were in disbelief of that they saw, and rightfully so. Another, sad that the children we saw wouldnt smile. I felt something a little different this time... I was not overwhelmed with sadness. I felt very happy to see all of the familes we visited last year, now with hope in their smiles and food in their stomachs. I felt happy to see the children healthy and not weeping fluids out of their nose and eyes. I still have a hard time believing that people really do live this way, with basically nothing, but in comparison to what I saw last year I cant help but feel happy about the improvements being made in their living conditions. My emotions are much different this time. I know that not every family in Africa is going to be sponsored, but one family at a time. It is making a difference in the lives of one family at a time. And for these familes I feel so much happiness! I am posting some pictures of the welcoming ladies and the children we visited.