It’s interesting how you can have a great month and be so excited to share and just as you’re writing, something throws a wrench into the goodness of sharing. Then you look on your phone to find the message that was never sent. So even though it’s well into November and you’ll be hearing from me real soon, here’s to October.
The great 8 happens in October and I’m so thankful that it was a wonderful day and a good month overall. If we’re friends on Facebook you may have seen my post about the 8th and 16th and if so, sorry for the repeat but it’s just important for me to share.
My mom and I shared the 8th of October as our birthday. My dad passed away 8 days after our birthday and strange enough my mom passed away 8 days after my dad’s birthday.
If you really know me you know that I start getting birthday hype in September. Of course at no point do I become Hype to share my age so just don’t ask but I digress. Well the pre birthday hype is a good 2-3 weeks and then the blah.
A few days before the 8th I become a bit blah and on the 8th there’s generally a big ole bowl of odd emotions. For some reason I feel that I need to be blah to acknowledge the absence of my mom. Not sure where that came from because my mother was far far from blah.
Surprisingly this year was different. Yeah, I got the September hype and it did calm down but on the great 8 I was in full celebration mode. I woke up to awesome gifts from Ibra and other friends. I had really cute options for birthday outfits which is always nice.
On the way to church the blahs tried to get me as I had a small fall. I thought I came become upset or set the day from here. So I got up and kept going and until now, no one was the wiser.
That afternoon I was able to bring a diverse group of friends together to celebrate with a touch of Brit, a splash of southern, a pinch of Africa and the fun of almost being home. My friends represented Kenya, Uganda, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Greece, South Africa, India, the U.K. and of course me rounding off America. In a place that once made me feel like a super sized minority, I was able to make the great 8 a date that brought people together, crossing all lines of diversity.
This cake was DELIC!!!!! (and a food reference for Oct.) no group pic from the birthday
Traveling from Kenya back to Uganda was interesting with the presidential uproars in Kenya. My bus thought it was a good idea to travel through one of the areas known for protests and disruptions. It was honestly like a scene from a movie; coaster bus follows motorcycle driver to get clearance through a town with stone blocked roads and people burning tires in the streets. I didn’t realize that I looked in distress until the bus conductor came and patted my hand saying “it will be alright don’t worry.” I guess the prayers and worship songs in my heart showed differently on my face. The funny part of this hour venture happened as we were exiting the town and needing to give money to the motorcycle driver. The bus door opened and protesters began demanding money from the bus conductor and as he was kicking them from the door the only thought in my head was ‘
ich spreche Deutsch, hide your passport. Why high school German was top of mind is still beyond me.
The week after my birthday Ibra and I were both on fall break and able to get away for a few days. We just went about and hour outside of town to a place called Vision for Africa. It’s a really spot that has a school, university and poly-tech program and students get some practical experience in hotel and restaurant management.
Later in the month I had the opportunity to volunteer at Loving Hearts Babies Home which is a part of our church’s ministry. My small group went for a Saturday morning to assist with the 32 babies at the home. It was wonderful to see how organized and clean the home was while yet heart breaking to be told to care for the kids but not to become overly affectionate as the home tries to keep the children from feeling a sense of loss and abandonment. There were babies there as young as six weeks old.
One of the other great things of the month was women’s Sunday at church. The women did everything to carry out the service from ushering to signing to delivery of the message. I was a part of the 30 women worship team and hands down it was the best Sunday I’ve experienced at our church. Seeing the pastor’s wife, Sunday school teachers and other women leaders rejoicing and doing traditional dancing to a song saying praise him the African way, was THE BEST! No dancing for me, just hiding in the back row with my tambourine.
I hope you’ll be able to view at Gaba Community Church on facebook
That day the African way praise was more about dancing before the Lord but as I think about it deeper the African way praise is something we should do daily. Many times we think ‘poor Africans’ while Africans are praising for the little they or lot that they have. From my experience the ‘African way’ praise is all about being continuously thankful for whatever you’ve been blessed with. A true spirit of gratitude and almost never a negative attitude. It’s been wonderful to look at the church this year to see how Africans have been able to help live out the church mission to transform society and be agents of change.
Our church held a major conference in July and there were at least 9 countries represented, including the US, UK and India. The pastor has traveled to at least 10 countries this year and been a blessing in word and deed. He’s focused on making sure that Africans realize they have worth and the ability to give and help others, through prayer, praise and even finances. This has indeed been a blessing and empowering.
As a thought to ponder, I’d ask how often does gratitude and thanksgiving out weigh the whining and thoughts of what we are in ‘need’ of? I’m sure that for each one of us there are more things to be thankful for than to complain about. For each one of us, we indeed have something to give. For the remainder of the year, I’d challenge you to find a way to sacrificially give something each week; time, encouragement, clothes, money, a testimony. You surely have the very blessing that could make a change.
A new year of life and multiple celebrations
Traveling mercies and protection
Opportunities to serve
Continued prayer for:
Strength, ability and discernment to do my job with excellence
Ability to live a balanced life
The blahs that can come with the holidays
Angela M Jackson Mapetla