Thursday, December 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Hello all,

Chris and I are back in the States safe and sound. We have been back 2 weeks now, and are slowly adjusting back to the time change, the culture, and the weather! 

This mountain girl is happy to be home but is missing her Ugandan family. It is a difficult thing to go from eating every meal with people, seeing them all day long, sleeping in huts and homes very near one another, to being half way across the world or country in a matter of a day where everything and everyone is different.  So those of you who are reading this half way around the world, know that we love you and miss you and recall memories of our time together fondly and often. Although it is hard to be separated, we have the hope and joy and gratefulness to know that God has stretched our hearts and given us family in another part of the world.

For those of you here in Colorado, or even in the States with us, we have been so excited to see your faces again and begin to do life with you again. Although we are slowly re-engaging back into the social scene, we are excited to see everyone. Thank you for all the hugs and the grace to just get a hug in return as we at times have had the deer in the headlights look as we process all that God has done and don’t quite know what to say yet. Your love and friendship is appreciated and, as we can, we want to meet to have more than passing conversations at church.  You are important to us!

Many of you have asked us what is next, and although God gave us a vision for our life together while in Uganda, the first step for us is to get re-established here before we begin anything else. We are currently staying with my parents while looking for jobs and would appreciate your prayers in regards to us finding employment.

While in Uganda, as you can imagine, our bills continued and we have gotten behind on a few. We know God will continue to provide for us, and if any of you know of jobs that may fit us please let us know. We are open to ideas! We also are willing to do small jobs for people to earn some money if anyone needs help! Cleaning, hanging Christmas lights, running to the grocery store, cooking/baking!  Whatever you might need! Chris has some meetings scheduled this week in regards to helping out in some areas of construction, so that is exciting and we will see what happens!

God confirmed my call to writing while we were in Uganda, so I am pursuing that more intentionally, but for the sake of immediate income, I have signed up to work as a temporary server at banquets and other holiday events. I will hopefully begin that as soon as this cold leaves me and my nose stops running! My Mom and I also may bake banana breads and possibly cookie trays for the holidays for people to purchase for their businesses, so if you’d be interested let me know!

As we get our finances in order, we are also are beginning to pray for the place we will live. We are praying for a home that has some land and will allow us to have things like a garden and the ability to host people. We know God is leading us to a place where hospitality and hominess will occur!  Thank you for your prayers in this area as well!

Anyway, we are very excited to see what God has in store for us as we intentionally settle back into life here and get our proverbially house in order.  

On a fun note, we are enjoying being home and wearing winter clothes. My feet missed warm socks and cozy shoes! And my husband joyfully has donned his fleece vest and hat again!  And my sweaters and gloves, don’t even get me started! They are glorious!  As is the cool mountain air here.

Chris and I just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary on the 4th. Thanks to a gift card from my parents we went out for a romantic meal at Chik-fil-A where we feasted on chicken, waffle fries, and milkshakes. Our first ice cream since returning to the states and it did not disappoint!  Thank you Chik-fil-a and thank you Mom and Dad for the gift card so that we could “go out” on our anniversary. We can’t believe it’s been 2 years already, but at the same time, it has flown by as we have already experienced so much together.  I can honestly say I am more in love with “my mister” than I was the day we got married and I am grateful to God that He doesn’t just stop at love but continues to deepen it, strengthen it, and cultivate it into something we could never have forseen or imagined. Chris is more in love with me too just for the record, I am quite the catch. J

So, as we head into this holiday season we are grateful to be home in Colorado pondering all the things that we learned during our time in Uganda. We look forward to seeing those of you that we haven’t yet. I am going to continue to write a blog to keep people updated on where we are in the journey here and just to have a place to set my thoughts as we experience life. Please let me know if you want to be taken off the email update list, I won’t be offended. And thank you so much for reading the blog and laughing and crying along with us throughout this journey. J

Until next time,

Aimee and Chris

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Preparing for Home

Hello friends and family,

Well, it is time. As I write these words, Chris and I are eating our last Sunday breakfast at New Hope. We are sipping coffee, reading our Bibles, and having bread with peanut butter and jelly. I will  miss these quiet mornings.Although, there are many many birds competing for singer of the day and a large, no let me rephrase that, humongous bee just flew past our windows. I will miss them. Not the bee, but the birds. Some of them sound like monkeys in the trees, another sounds like a firecracker that is taking off, not exploding. I have to say I love the birds here. They are fascinating and there is such a great variety. Just yesterday I saw one that I had never seen before and grabbed (dragged) Chris and made him chase the two birds with me so I could get a picture. We tracked them by their big orange beaks. It was fun.

This morning as we woke up, we paused for a minute before getting out of bed. Almost 5 months has passed since we left Colorado. I will be honest, some days here have been difficult and felt like we'd never get home. Most of the time though it has gone too quickly. But, we are ready to come home to you all, and yet we grieve leaving the new people that God has tucked into our hearts.

I have been reflecting back on our time here and how at times we felt like we weren't interacting enough with the Ugandans like we would on a mission team where it is go go go. I questioned myself like have I done enough here? Have I taken advantage of every moment with the people in this country? What if I never come back here?  Have I done enough for God?  My questions so often are not the right ones when looking at myself. Oh, how wonderful is God when he turns around our thinking!

Yesterday when I was about to leave for dinner, one of the teenage Ugandan girls who is our next door neighbor came up to say hello to me. I have not had much interaction with her other than a hug now an again as she passes by with laundry or a hug on the paths as she returns from school. It's not like we've had in depth conversations about God or anything. Anyway, as she spoke to me she was smiling and asking me when our schooling was finished. I told her we graduate this Friday and leave New Hope Saturday. Her reaction moved my heart. She stood there all of the sudden without her beautiful smile and kept saying "That is too soon, too soon." She would not look at me but stood straighter and said, "Then let me pray for you." She thanked God for me, asked Him to be with me wherever I go, and in whatever I am doing and then said Amen. I prayed the same thing for her and hugged her but she walked away with tears in her eyes.

In that moment with that simple prayer, God showed me how hard it is going to be to say goodbye. He also taught me something else. As I said a moment ago, I was asking the questions have I done enough for God, have I built enough relationships? But God corrected me. As I have learned over and over here, the main focus should never be what it is that I have done for Him. Because, truly, can we ever outdo God?

I should always be viewing life out of a heart that has a deep knowledge of what He has done for me. I was brought here to learn, to be equipped, to experience Him in a specific way so that I can be better able to minister to people and bring His love wherever I go. Bringing Him into a place is not about what I do or how many people I "share" God with, or even about where I go. It is about relationship, always.

My error in thinking was that I was too focused on the "who" in regards to building relationship. I am going to Uganda so therefore all of my time and effort and heart needs to be spent on the Ugandans. That is not bad, but it wasn't God's focus for us this time. Don't get me wrong, we built relationships with Ugandans, and I weep even now as I think about saying goodbye to the ones who have shared their tears of joy and sorrow with me.

As I asked the questions above, God whispered to my heart, "Aimee, I am about relationship." As my neighbor friend, who shares my name walked away with tears in her eyes He reminded me, that is the result of relationship. As I look at the kitchen staff who have become some of the most special ladies to me during my time here, that is relationship. As I reflect back upon all the nights where our couch had other Westerners on it crying or praying or laughing hysterically at each other, even farting at times, that is relationship. When I remember Wilber and Charles, two of the young Ugandan men who sat on our couch and laughed and ate milky ways and jelly beans with us, one a musician and one a writer, that is relationship. As Chris and our friend Rukundo sat at a table together eating tiny Ugandan peppers and sweating, that is relationship.

Even as I write this, a young Ugandan man is greeting my husband outside and they are talking about school and cutting firewood, and the young man just said, "How is Aunt?" (That is me.) That is relationship.

The truth is that as we experience relationship, God builds a foundation on which to reveal Himself to people. He alone is God and there is no other. If you look at all the other religions in this world, there is only one God whose heart is to be in relationship with His people. They are not just worker bees or those enslaved to do things for Him. The one true God, my God, is a relational God who wants to share every day life with us and that is what we have experienced here. God is in those hugs on the path as kids come home from school. God is in the kitchen as you cook for others to keep them well fed. God is in the conversations as you walk to "do" something.

Wherever we go, Africa or the US, as we follow God with intention and live our lives for something greater than ourselves, the reality is that when you share anything with another person it is most powerful in relationship. Over the centuries as we have tried to share God with people I think we have forgotten this perspective. God is bringing it back into the churches now, but there is a long way to go. Every one of us is relational whether we believe in God or not. What is built in those relationships is based on what we believe relationship is for. Are your relationships serving you or is it serving something greater? Do your relationships reveal you or do they proclaim what it is you believe in? Just something to think about.

Again, God has tucked people into our hearts here in Uganda and what they have shared with us we look forward to bringing back and sharing with you. Have we learned a lot? Have we been changed? That is for you to tell us. Our hearts are reflected in relationship just as God's is. That is His design. We have been so blessed by your emails and all your birthday packages for my husband. He was well loved by you all. Thank you, that is relationship. As we cry tears as we prepare to leave here, we also cry with relief and anticipation in getting to be reunited with others who are in our hearts back home.

See you all soon dear ones. Thanksgiving will be special this year for us.

Thank you God for how you build family, anywhere in the world, in the every day things. That is true relationship.

Love you all,
Aimee and Chris

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Commonality of Man

Greetings from Uganda dear friends and family!  Chris and I send you our love!

As you can imagine, many humorous things have happened since I last wrote, but I am going to save those for another time and write about something we have been learning.

Let me begin by asking you a question. Have you had your heart challenged in some way or another during your lifetime? Many of you might be thinking to yourself, yes, many times. Life does that to us, exhausts emotionally and makes us question the world, our place in it, and leaves us often asking the questions that begin with the word why.

Being across the globe, away from all that we know in every way, such as language, weather, food, housing, showers, toilets, family, etc. has displayed to us the differences between us and Africa. But what has also been displayed is how we are not so different at all in the ways that make us human.  Let me explain.

Just like at home, we’ve seen Africans grieve over the loss of a child. We’ve seen their children throw tantrums. We’ve been rejected by some of the teenagers. We’ve rejoiced over and with a woman here as her baby bump has grown month after month. We’ve seen people sick and their faithful attempts to trust God as they hope for healing. We’ve celebrated birthdays and sang horrible renditions of the birthday song and seen their faces filled with the same mixture of embarrassment and joy that we have. 

They’ve comforted us, cried with us, laughed so hard we can’t breathe with us, they’ve baked for us, and challenged us.

Despite the vast differences of our cultures, one thing we have come to believe is that our struggles, our pains, our joys and our hopes, they are the same at the heart level.  

Adjusting and adapting to living in another culture has been hard and understanding the people can be a challenge at times, but I never have to ask my heart what to do when I see someone crying, or laughing, or being playful. My heart doesn’t wonder to itself, hmm…what do their tears mean, why are they giggling like that, what does this child want that is holding its arms up towards me. This language, the language of our hearts, it is the same and something we can all understand.

Despite all this, it is amazing how culture, worldviews, money, education, have cultivated a way of categorizing each other. We define ourselves by our differences and yet somehow long for a common ground where we can understand each other. Yet, dangerously, in that longing to understand, we require change and conformity to our comforts and our sense of safety and control. Every culture does this. Every person does it in some way in their own lives. It happens within countries, states, cities, and even families. It is something common to man.

The incredible thing is that rich or poor, educated or uneducated, healthy or unhealthy,(the list is endless) we all  feel pain, long for joy, desire love and acceptance, and want to know that we have a purpose, that we are not an accident or a mistake and that our life means something. We all have a heart cry that screams for something to answer our questions, validate our lives, and might I dare say define what it is that we should fight for that is deep and meaningful and most of all true.

Think about it, although environments, economies, languages, etc. differ between us, none of those define our humanity or our heart longings. These things make me wonder even more how so many believe that we are an accident of environment.  Does your heart at the depth of its longing really want to just be cells or microbes or whatever that happened to hit at the right time in the right environment to make us, the human race? Do you like to be categorized that generally? It is the easier path to believe and depend on, no doubt, but is it the right one?   

What I have been thinking about most is that we, in our own attempts to define ourselves and each other, have lost our sense of wonder, of awe at the uniqueness and beauty of mankind. Just as the world has asked you to consider and believe in its idea of truth, I am challenging you to consider another idea.

What if instead of longing for your life to mean something, striving to make it so, and just chalking pain and suffering up to “that is how life is” and happiness is something I’ll grasp at when I can, that there was something more to your life? Dream with me for a minute.

What if your longing for joy, your desire for love and acceptance, and your search for purpose is not an accident or a mistake and that your life truly does means something?  

Think of how our hearts rise in our chests when we watch an amazing movie where people fight for truth and each other, where love is true and deep and sacrificial, and in spite of pain and suffering and loss there is an ending where we find hope.  Just like in the movies, to be a part of a great and inspirational story would be worth all that we have gone through. The hopes fulfilled and lost, the exhausting emotions of our strained hearts and the pain we endure would pass away in the face of our great victory and good ending.

However, our world, our human condition, lends itself to the abuse of the sacred and the beautiful because the sacred and the beautiful are in their very nature indefinable.  As we search for ways to define ourselves, we strangle the beauty of our purpose. What if our purpose is not to point to ourselves and what defines us one from another, but to point to something that in our commonness reveals the deep and beautiful script of a greater story in which we each play a part?

I will leave you with this.

What if we chose to embrace the sacred and its beauty because we see that in that there is a definition to cling to that goes beyond culture or any other difference? What if we chose to allow truth to define us rather than try to live within our own personal and selfish definitions of truth?

We have done a great disservice to the story of God by trying to get people to believe in Christ only for their own benefit because in that we have pointed them inward to themselves. By doing this we have created believers who end up serving a God they believe should serve them.  He doesn’t work that way so believers and people who don’t understand Christ both end up confused and discouraged.

Maybe we need to lead people to God by explaining that this is a story that you are already a character in, but we are all just waiting to see whose side you decide to fight on. The choice is yours, but the fact that you are in the story cannot be changed.

Just like a great movie, we know that some characters find things like life, hope, love, and peace while others perish and pass away during the story either fighting for the wrong thing or not ever choosing to fight at all.  These great stories do not have characters that fight for their own glory, but they are content fighting for a greater cause knowing the one they fight for can be trusted in every way.

What if people saw Christ and His message that way?

Yes, the truth is Christ offers so much to us, but do we choose to follow for what He can offer or for just Him? Don’t we all want people to love us for who we are, not what we can give them? 

You are in a story that goes beyond any of your own definitions.  Do you believe that the greater ending is coming and want to join the rest of us who are kept at the edge of our seats with our common hearts raised in anticipation?

Most of all do you believe that a story like this could be calling to someone like you…

Just some things to think about.   

With love,

P.S. Humorous blog to come.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Hi friends and family!

I finally was able to upload a few pictures while in Entebbe this past weekend. Enjoy and I will try to post more soon. Love you and miss you all!

    This is the classroom at the New Hope Institute for Childcare and Family

In the background of our classroom is the area where we eat all of our meals and keep our drinking water.

Sunrise from the door of our hut looking towards the kitchen on the left and the classroom in the center.

Joshua (another student) and Chris doing lunch dishes. Two students are assigned dish duty for lunch or dinner each day. We also take turns sweeping, mopping, and filling the drinking water jugs.

Me and Norah (another student) cleaning lunch dishes.

Our Latrine Row. 

Our latrine

A typical breakfast

Julia Dangers and I brushing our teeth before bedtime one night while we were babysitting! She is so fun!

My dear friend and African sister, Betty!!!

Our shower stall

Chris preparing for a night shower.

Slashing some grass around our hut.

Candlelight dinner (because we have no power) and we are are on our own for dinners on Sunday nights, so peanut butter and jelly it is!!! From left to right: Mackenzie, Valerie, Devin, my Mister, and me

"Paper" Plate....hehe

Pretty sunset walk. I love these trees.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Superman Gecko, a Slap on the back, and The God Rinse

Hi family,

We hope this update finds you well.  We have been busy here with classes the last few weeks and are so excited about all that we have been learning. Thank you to those who have written emails to us! We have loved hearing of what you are up to as well. Just because we are in Africa doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in your lives, so keep those emails coming!

So, as usual, we have had our share of excitement here.  The other day during our morning break, I decided to be brave and go use the latrine. I’m still not fond of the place, but hey, when nature calls you must go. Our block of latrines is up a path behind our hut. As I bravely tucked my toilet paper roll under my arm and walked up the path to the “hole” as our friend Devin calls it, I rounded the corner only to see a gecko do a “superman” off the roof of the latrines right at me. It all happened so fast. I was brave and then I wasn’t. I do have to give myself credit though that I did not scream. Yay for me. So, when Superman landed he landed on his back on top of my sandal at which point he wiggled at an incredible rate of speed to try and flip himself over and then ran into the nearest bush. I stood silent and still, turned and resolutely walked back to my room, toilet paper still under my arm, and sat down on my couch. Nature wasn’t calling anymore. Score one for the lizard, zero for Aimee.

As much as I try to bring humor to all of my bug encounters or animal incidents, some days the humor is more difficult to find. You should ask Chris, he could tell you that I have good days and bad days. For instance, one evening we were house sitting and were “relaxing” at their home when I noticed these large bugs that buzzed around and dive bombed like a wasp or large hornet might. I was having a bad bug day and was seriously on the verge of a breakdown but was trying so hard to chill out. Chris killed one of these creatures because he could tell I wasn’t going to be able to tolerate sharing the room with it. I decided to sit next to him and took a deep breath and was really trying to enjoy our evening in a home.

Then, once again, everything happened so fast, the remaining large creature dive bombed the curtain next to my hubbie and Chris lost sight of it. I didn’t. It was crawling quickly from my husband’s mid back up towards his neck. In my terror I made a choice. I had to save the man I love. I took my journal and slammed it down hard. The bug had to die, right? The look on my husband’s face was indescribable….he may have been thinking did you seriously just kill that bug on my back and hit me that hard?!  I thought I had acted bravely and then realized I just abused my husband in my bug panic.

Then I heard buzzing. It was coming from his now vacated chair and as I saw the bug fighting for life I cried out in a loud voice, “It’s not even dead!!!” Like that would have made my actions ok.  Chris began to speak to me but I burst into hysterical sobs. Literally, I totally lost my attempt at calm. Balled like a baby people. My husband being the amazing man he is took me in his arms and let me completely fall apart as I yelled my dislike for bugs. After I stopped crying and we were getting ready for bed, we did laugh about this, but it was one of the things that wasn’t at all funny at the time but a story that will be told around the dinner table for years to come.

My next story has nothing to do with bugs, unless you count the hairy caterpillar that took refuge in the door frame of our shower. He behaved himself however, so we won’ t talk about him much.  Let me first explain that Uganda has wet and dry seasons. We are now in a wet season and it is lovely. I adore rain and think that the rain here is one of the things I will miss most when I leave. It’s powerful and loud and rains for awhile once it starts. Sometimes it’s in the evenings after a hot day, and then other time we wake up to the sound of rain on the roof and it is a cozy and cool way to start the morning. I LOVE IT. 

Anyway, Chris and I try to take our showers in the evenings as then our mornings aren’t quite as hectic and you feel refreshed before going to bed after you’ve been hot and sweaty all day long. So a few afternoons ago, Chris took a shower first (remember these are outside for us and out of a bucket) and he made it inside right when is started to rain. He doesn’t like rain too much because he doesn’t like to get wet so this was lucky for him. Anyway, I thought to myself, well, I can wait and shower later in the dark with all the creepy crawlies or I can take my chances with the rain. I bet you can all guess what I chose.

So out the door I ran. First, I had to go to the place where we fill our jerry can with water. Up the hill and around the corner I went where Betty was cooking and watching me standing in the rain getting water. She thinks I’m so funny. Then back down I ran to the shower stall attached to our hut. It’s basically 3 concrete walls with no roof attached to the house. The rain was really starting to come down now. So I grabbed my stuff out of the house, Chris offered me the umbrella to rest in the corner of the stall to try to keep my towel dry, and off I went. I screamed twice, once when I saw the caterpillar, and the second time when my plastic box holding my clean clothes fell on my head.  No problem, really, I was fine.

Needless to say I was soaked through before I even started my shower. Trying to get wet clothes off is a chore and the stall is just the right size that the water was pouring off of our roof and off of the umbrella right onto my head. Now don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying this. It was crazy exciting and I thought, hey God, if this is how you answer my longing for running water than so be it. I will praise the Lord.

I must say the lightning towards the end freaked me out and although the umbrella kept my towel dry there was no way to dry off out there, the water was coming from all directions. So I put my wet soaked dirty clothes back on (putting a wet long skirt on was a task) and made a run for the door. I burst in and Chris calmly looked up at his dripping wife and said, “You’re a crazy woman.” I can be crazy, as you all know, but I was so full of joy. God knew I needed a rinse from Him and it was wet and cold and glorious. Thank you Lord.

That’s all for now, I have to go to class, but there are more stories to tell so I will write again soon.  Love you all and I pray that your day holds something joyful for you; a gift from His hand, like the rain here is for me.

With joy,
Aimee and Chris

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Corn Cob to the Chest, a Jigger and Body Types

So, the cravings for food have begun. If any of you feel the Spirit lead you, please go eat/drink  at ChikfilA, Starbucks, Subway, Pueblo Viejo, PF Changs, Boriello Brothers, Red Robin and/or anywhere that serves ice cream on a hot day in honor of the Haywood’s.  We greatly appreciate your participation.

Corn Cob to the Chest

So, last Monday, Chris and I went to our family group to work in the garden with them for the first time.  Uncle Rukundo, the family father, had to go to a meeting so we worked alongside two of his sons, Patrick and David. They had just harvested their maize (which looks like corn but is not) and needed to now clear the field in order to make room for planting again. So, we took our slashers (tools that look and are used somewhat like a golf club but are shorter and sharper and flatter) and got straight to work.  Ok, so let me try to paint you a picture. When slashing there are some warnings perhaps we should have been informed about before beginning.

One, skirts (required clothing for me as a woman here) tend to grab everything as you walk in the garden and provide a plethora of opportunities for jumping at the twigs and grass you thought for sure might be a spider or snake crawling up your legs. I’m happy to say neither were really crawling up my legs.

Two, and most importantly in my personal experience, is what we might call giving ample room between you and your fellow slashers. If you stand too close to the person next to you a few things can happen. God forbid the slasher hit you, but what I found mostly is that tall grassy weeds, dirt and other garden objects can come flying into your personal space at a high rate of speed unexpectedly. Now don’t get me wrong, getting “earth” on you while slashing is normal and actually evidence of proper technique; however, I was not prepared for what happened during my first gardening day.

Chris was to my left, David to my right, and we were all happily slashing away making really good progress when all of a sudden something hit my sternum bone with tremendous accuracy and what I will call OOMPH. I clutched my chest in shock thinking surely a rock had performed CPR on my chest when I looked down to see a bug eaten hardened maize cob laying in the dirt at my feet. David next to me looked afraid as he said, “Auntie, did that hit you?” I wanted to tell him that he should take up professional golf, but all I could do was laugh, very hard, at which he shyly joined in. Who gets hit with a maize cob right in the chest? I do.

A Jigger in the Foot

Now I’m so thankful to the Lord that this next story involves my husband and not me. Please forgive me for saying that God, but I’m glad he was the one to bear this burden.  God knows who can handle what. So, a jigger is a bug. You get them, I have been told, from the dusty dirt. Well we often walk on dusty roads, but also were in the garden the day before. Chris and I were sitting one evening talking and he was running his finger on the bottom of his foot and he felt a small bump and said it felt sore. Immediately I assume bugs because, well, that is the natural paranoid reaction right? So, our dear friend Betty who lives here took a look and said Yep, she thought it was a jigger but would look at it in the morning light. In the morning light it still looked like a jigger so she got straight to work doing surgery on Chris with a safety pin. So I’m usually fine with this type of stuff and what I mean is helping people and cleaning them up and bandaging them. I found out though that when it involves a living bug that has burroughed its way into my husband’s foot and created a white egg sac that completely surrounds the bug and has to be removed ever so carefully so the egg sac doesn’t burst inside the skin was enough to get my gag reflex going. I was fine until they were carefully squeezing it out of his skin and a perfectly shaped white ball came out. The bug and egg sac were thrown in the fire, I stopped taking pictures and went to have a moment alone. I know, wasn’t my husband the one who should be disturbed and need prayer over this? Maybe, but my husband is a stud and was not too phased. Plus all the Ugandans and staff here told him he's "official" now that he can say he has had a jigger. I’m happy to report his foot was barely sore and he is doing fine. I on the other hand am still a bit disturbed.

Body Types

I must give a disclaimer that the following would never happen in the United States of America. Never. So, I’m trying to walk through our dining hall in the middle of the day during a break from class and I get stopped by two of my Ugandan women classmates. Without asking my permission, they whip out a measuring tape, you know the kind that seamstresses use? Before I knew what was happening to me they had the tape around my waist and were holding it and studying it closely. Then they both smiled and were speaking very fast in Lugandan and then one slapped the other on the arm and said, “Ah, can you imagine?!” Then the tape dropped and they looked like they were wanting to measure my hips but I think perhaps the look of horror mixed with a smile on my face made them think twice. I walked away and was told by one of my Ugandan friends here that my body type is very attractive and that they were measuring me because they were admiring my figure. I have had a few women come up to me and tell me that I am very beautiful and that my figure is of a most desirable type. They could be lying but I’ve heard that from a few other people too, so I am choosing to go with it and feel like a babe during my time here. It’s my time people!  It’s my time! Chris is a lucky man!

There was so much more I wanted to share, but I am tired and exhausted from all that God has been doing. I hope to write more about all that we are learning very soon. For now, I needed to have a good laugh so I hope you did too. God is good and really is doing a transforming work in our lives. We can’t wait to come back and share all we are learning with you all!  Oh, and feel free to write us emails or make comments on the blog! We enjoy so much hearing from people at home. And feel free to send some chocolate. Just kidding. (No I'm not.)

Love you!

Aimee & Chris

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bugs and Spiritual Heart Surgery

Hello Family & Friends,

I am writing this blog with my headlamp while sitting in bed under my mosquito net.  The electricity is out again and has been very intermittent all week and weekend.  We were spoiled the first couple of weeks here as it was on more than off, but we are told that this week is more of the norm, so thank the Lord for headlamps and candles!

Animal update:

I have not been stung by any more caterpillars. Yahoo! This week all the bug incidents seemed to happen in one day for me. I think it was Friday after dinner, I decided to sit down for a bit in our hut and read and journal when I felt a tickle between my bottom and waistline. It was really hot that day so I thought maybe I was just sweating. As I reached my hand back to give myself a little scratchy scratch, I felt a lump. Hmm…sweat is not lumpy as far as I know. Miracle of miracles, I remained calm and decided that whatever I was touching through my skirt needed to perish before I found out what it was so I pinched and it squished. I stood up holding the material of my skirt tightly and called outside for Chris to come in. I couldn’t bear to identify the squished creature alone. Well, when my skirt had been removed we discovered a green goo mark and one in tact black and green striped leg.  Needless to say, the poor grasshopper that somehow hopped into my skirt never hopped out.

A bit later, Chris and I were sitting in our front room reading when we saw two little flying ant type creatures on our coffee table. We both killed one and then all of a sudden, within seconds the table was filled with these things, it was like they were falling from the ceiling. We ended up DOOMING the entire room and going to our dining hall to wait out the fumes only to find that they had invaded that area too. The weird thing is that it was like they hatched and then started dying and then it was over. Chris swept up the remains and out the door they went and that was that.

Then we decided to go to bed and as I hugged my husband goodnight, I saw him glance up at the ceiling behind me. I thought he was trying to kid around with me but then he looked somewhat serious so I turned to see a very large cockroach making its way across our ceiling. This bug was also swept out the front door by my hubbie.  I then told God I had reached my bug quotient for the day and was going to sleep and would appreciate it if no other creatures found their way into my clothing or home. God heard my prayer.

Other than that one day, things have been much better. Our latrine is under control and for the most part all is clear. We have started seeing frogs this week with the increase of rain which I think are very cool. Oh, and I forgot, we did have a centipede in our room earlier in the week. Just a note, when you take a picture of a centipede with the macro lens on your camera, perhaps wait until you are out of country before you zoom in and see all of its tiny legs and fine hairs. It creeped me out. But, again, the frogs are cool. Yay for frogs.

School Update:

School is incredible. I can’t even begin to describe the training we are receiving here. It was a rough week spiritually, and all of us students decided to nickname this week Open Heart Surgery week. Some of the topics covered were: self-deceit, idols and idolatry, our true motives for doing the things that we do, repentance, what is an orphan?, what does an orphan heart look like?, what are the characteristics and behaviors of the orphan heart?, what are the differences between living like you are a slave of God instead of living as an adopted son or daughter of God?

Most of us, Africans and Westerners alike, felt like we had been cut open and left to bleed by the end of the week, but then Friday brought hope and the reminder that in spite of the wickedness in our own hearts, despite the areas in which we live out of our wounds and in turn wound others, as well as the ways in which we replace God with idols in our lives, that God in His love comes to us to offer freedom, love, and a new inheritance. That in our brokenness and inability to even know what to do with ourselves, He comes to us.

There is so much I could write about, say, and flesh out for you in regards to what we learned this week, but it is too much right now and we are honestly still trying to process it all. This is difficult stuff to look at and face, but it is so worth it. Many of the Africans shared today about areas they have found freedom since the teaching last week. We too can feel our hearts being stirred and worked on and we are all just praying for the courage to allow God to do the work He needs to do.

We also have started to get involved in our family groups this week and have begun meeting with our mentors. This whole experience is awesome, really hard, in every way completely draining, but in ways we don’t have words for, it’s transformational.  We all looked at each other today and talked about how we are already seeing that the truth we are learning is already making a difference in us and how we view our areas of ministry, but that we can’t even imagine what we will all be experiencing after many months more of this. Only God knows what He has in store for us. J  So the adventure continues.

Business Items:

Many of you have emailed lately and asked what our address is in case you want to send us something. Here is that info and some basic tips:

Mail to:

Attn: Chris and Aimee Haywood
New Hope Uganda
PO Box 16
Luwero, Uganda, East Africa

It is best to send packages in envelopes or slender boxes. Big, cubelike boxes tend to get damaged or take a really long time to come. A slender box can take 2-4 weeks to come. Letters usually get here in 2 weeks. Airmail is best obviously.


Some of you have asked how we are doing on our financial support. We first of all want to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support that came in to get us here to Uganda in this season of our lives and for your generous gifts. We were overwhelmed with all of your financial and spiritual support and encouragement to take this next step in our training. We would not be here without all those who prayed and gave to us. THANK YOU.

We are in need of more support and are focusing on three things with the money that will come in during our time here.

1) School Fees: We are hoping to continue to be able to make payments towards the education, housing, and food costs that New Hope so generously allowed us to pay for as we go.

2) We are praying about going to visit the Musana Camps that are about 6 hours away from where we are now as they do a lot of discipleship training, family counseling, and other things that we are interested in possibly doing in the States.

3) Our family group is looking to begin a pig project that will allow them to have a form of income that will make them more self-sufficient. The family father is hoping this will help him to provide for his kids who are at the age where they will need money to continue their education. Many of them are ready to go into more of a skill and trade training or university and there are costs associated with that. The pig project will need some funding to get off the ground so we are hoping to possibly contribute to the building proposal for this.

Again, as stated in our original email, if you’d like to contribute financially to us while we are here, you can send a check to my parent’s home and they will put that in our bank account for us. We do have access to our bank accounts here in a small village about 30 minutes away thankfully, so that makes things easier. If you need their mailing address, please email my Dad, Paul, at and he can give you the address to mail checks to. I just don’t want to put their address on the public blog. J

Thank you in advance for giving to us as God leads you. God has provided for our every need so far and we know He will continue. He is good and faithful. Also, please continue to pray for us as that is very important as well. We have been comforted and blessed by your prayers.

Until next time, may you experience the love of God today in all its fullness and grace,

Aimee & Chris