Saturday, February 17, 2007

She is positive.

This is from an email I recieved from a friend of mine serving in northern Uganda (James Pearson). Read, and pray. Please pray.

"There was a little girl named Joyce who lived on the beautiful African savanna. The savanna is like a field, only it goes on forever in every direction, with a sky the size and depth of a hundred oceans above it. Most eyes can't take in a scene as big as the savanna and its sky, but Joyce's can. They are big, brown eyes that might be as deep as one hundred oceans and one.

Long ago I told one of Joyce's stories , a sad, sad story that will shape many of her stories to come. But today I heard another story, older than the first and just as tragic. It too will write pages in her life, and shorten its book.

The land of Uganda is situated just over the rim of your world and a little to the right. When you come to Africa, look for the biggest lake and stop just a hair to the north of it; that's Uganda. It's a small country full of busy people with the darkest skin and brightest smiles. Walking around the streets of southern Uganda reminds me of recess - everyone is out talking to each other, some playing games, some making fun, many laughing, one crying.

But mention the north to these southerners and their eyes grow distant, their smiles fade, and they look away. They are frightened and ashamed. In fact, although Uganda has been a country for over 40 years, many southerners don't consider the north part of their nation.

Joyce lives in the north.

Since long before Joyce was born war has darkened the lives of people living in northern Uganda. Roughshod rebels have roamed the land, carrying guns in their arms and a swirling confusion of darkened dreams in their hearts. The dreams come from a place that, if you close your eyes, looks like a crumbling cliff that tumbles down below the light and ends in a pool that is really a mirage, but swallows you just the same.

Many believe, as Joyce might someday come to think, that if southern Uganda had cared about the north these rebels would have been stopped before they could do much harm. But they weren't stopped, as Joyce's life shouts in its small, devastating, living testimony.

You see, it's not only rebels and their guns that kill people in northern Uganda, there is also a plague, and the frightened people of the north have been forced to live in such a way that the plague spreads like bateria on a doorhandle.

In the story of Joyce's that I last told, you heard that she was burned badly over much of her body, and that her mother was killed at the same time by the guns of rebels. But bullets or no, the war had already claimed Joyce's mother. She had the dread plague of HIV that hides hideously in the camps of the north.

Weeks ago Joyce began to cough in her hut on the wide savanna. It got worse and worse, and soon it was unavoidable that she must be taken to a hospital. She was tested and was found to have tuberculosis, a terrible lung infection that, untreated, would lead to death. But the doctors fears were not assuaged by the prescription of antibiotics. They know that tuberculosis is a friend of a plague, sneaking in the doors of bodies that the plague has left open, so she was tested for HIV as well.

She is positive.

She is positive.

She is the butt of every distasteful joke this land can muster, the depository for the misery of a 20-year war. And she sits, eyes so wide and deep, holding it all within her frail body in the hospital in Gulu, and she breathes.

By God's careful manipulation a movie star and a journalist were with Joyce when she was tested, and they have vowed to spend their money to extend the boundaries of her shrunken life. Someday, I hope, she will be strong enough to present herself to the world as evidence of its own misdeeds, and her deep eyes and easy breaths evidence that it need not be that way."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year


I rang in the new year at the beach... Long Beach... WA, not CA. Boy was it pretty, and boy was it cold. And in case you didn't know, I have smooth skills.
12/31/06 at 11:59 PM, I ran into the kitchen for a glass of sparkling cider to toas with.
1/1/07 at 12:00 AM, I was cleaning up blood. From my finger, which I somehow cut on the stem of the martini glass I broke while ringing in the new year.
Here's proof :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Four quick things.

1. My grandma, Ilo Larson, passed away on friday evening.
I am at home from now until the holidays. It was sudden, and if I didn't say goodbye to you, don't worry.
I didn't say goodbye to anyone else, either :(
2. I am sick. Thank you, Sandals Church.
3. I miss you. YES, you. And, I'll be back. Don't cry for me, Argentina.
4. I drove over a thousand miles in the last two days.
And I'm sick. So, I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Baby Losiah


He's HERE!!!! Losiah Whittaker is FINALLY home.
Carlos and Heather, I am so glad you're back from Korea, and I can't believe that your son is so stinkin tiny and cute.

For those of you that do NOT know Los and Heather, they chose to adopt a baby from Korea... and it has been my joy to watch them move through the process of brining their son home. Lots of deadlines. Lots of waiting. Lots of money. And sweat (literally). An tears. And Love. They loved this baby boy without even having met him. And now, he is finally at home with them.

I got to meet this precious little guy today, and holding his squirmy little self blessed me so much. He is a tangible presence of God's goodness, his faithfulness, and provision.

Go to ragamuffinsoul.com for videos, and to see the Whittaker's story. It will bless you. I promise.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Operation Christmas Child: 227 boxes of love...




227 Christmas wishes.

227 smiles.

227 reasons for hope.

227 hearts that will feel a little more loved, a little more worth it.

Thank you Sandals Church, for pouring love out on kids around the world that you will most likely never meet. My heart was encouraged this week by you.
(Pics courtesy of Daniel Balboa!).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My buddy E.




One of my favorite little friends is my buddy E. Ethan Brown is so stinkin cute, I just cant help but to smile whenever I see him. With dirty little feet and a droolish smile that would melt anyone's heart, there's no way to tell this kid "no". I don't know how Matt and Tammy do it.
And the thing is, he's only ONE of the MANY adorable kiddos floating around Sandals.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'll do anything...


Christmas is coming. There's lots of kids around the world that do not know Jesus, do not have parents who can provide for them, and who do not ever recieve gifts, even for Christmas. So, we at Sandals Church are taking part in Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan's Purse). The highlight of this project for me was shopping with my small group, and compiling/wrapping boxes together. Another highlight was actually wearing a box. Today. At church.
But it totally worked. Lots of people took flyers, and hopefully they'll make boxes, too. Hey---if it helps make these kiddos feel loved on, it's worth it to me.