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September 30, 2010

Singing into His presence

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 6:14 pm

Psalm 100 from the Message translation:On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.

What a great Psalm and a great reminder of the value of singing. Sing yourself into God’s presence. I think of the times when I will start on a song and use that as a springboard to sing other things – to singing a particular line that has God’s anointing on, to singing my own words, or even a revelation based on the words of the song. I’m reminded of a time that a friend and I came to worship God. We chose to go through the songs that we were going to do in the church service that morning and so we began to sing. What happened next was amazing. I had the greatest privilege of watching my friend go to a whole new level in God as we began to sing. As we sang, God just poured out His presence and my friend broke through – it was fantastic to see somebody coming to God with a freedom that I can’t explain.
When I come and sing with the right heart attitude, (and don’t give up after two minutes), I end up in God’s presence – literally by singing my way there. It’s a great reminder of the value of singing and giving God praise.

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September 24, 2010

Building Blocks

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 9:39 pm

Eph 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ
When we were little kids, we used to have some wooden blocks that we played with. There were different sizes and colours and we’d build towers, bridges, roads and all kinds of other things with them. We’d play trains with them, stand on them, bang them together like cymbals (just to annoy mum and dad I’m sure) and I bet on the rare occasion we probably even threw the odd one… There were endless things you could do with them and they’d keep us amused for hours.
As I was thinking on the above verse the other day, I was reminded of those blocks. Imagine now, that those blocks are the different gifts and talents that you’ve been given. Each of us has many different blocks, or gifts and talents that God has given to us. These gifts and talents are our building blocks, and it’s what we were made to do.
The gifts and talents that I have, the building blocks He’s given to me to use, are heavy, awkward and hard to move without Him. I might have some success, but when He comes in, He helps me move those blocks – ie do what I’m meant to do – and together I achieve far more than I ever could without Him. I am made alive with Christ Jesus. It’s like He comes into me and there’s a fusion, a joining of His and my spirits together and I come alive. I literally have a superhuman strength which makes block moving a pleasure to do.

It is only when Jesus is with me that those blocks can reach their full potential and be stacked in a solid tower. With Him my blocks, the things that I’m gifted and talented at, achieve far more than I ever could doing it on my own.

September 18, 2010

Luweero

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 4:03 pm
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One thing I quickly found out in Uganda was that there were people everywhere you went. It didn’t matter whether you were in the city or the country, there was always somebody around. You’d think you were in a quiet area in the jungle, then out of the jungle people would emerge. I guess with a population of 31 million in an area about the size of Victoria, there’s not that much spare space.
Here’s some shots from around Luweero. We just took a drive through a village, then headed out to look at some land of a friend. Of course there’s always plenty of kids around, some wanting money from us, others who were just happy to talk to Muzungu’s (white man), others who were too shy to talk, but didn’t run away and those who did all three. Normally taking a photo of them and then showing it to them broke the ice. The kids over there are plenty of fun to be around.
There were heaps of schools along the road as you drove along, but perhaps one striking image was that of a school where there were kids who were all dressed nicely in their school uniform, out in the school yard playing, but literally right next door to that was a kid, about the same age, who was sweeping the dirt floor of his house. He should have been at school. But I guess for whatever reason he wasn’t, most likely because those who were looking after him couldn’t afford to pay for him to go. Even at such a young age, the future for these kids is being decided by factors that are beyond their control. Those that don’t get an education are more than likely destined to be stuck in the same cycle of poverty that has claimed them now.

Sunrise restaurant in Luweero

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 3:39 pm
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Headed out to Luweero one day, a few days after I’d arrived in Kampala. We stopped at a local restaurant to have some lunch – my first traditional African meal. It was actually much better than I thought it would be! The matooke (cooked banana, can be cooked various ways) was the best I had all trip, and the rice and meat was also pretty good. So the food wasn’t so bad, the tea was well… sugared water, you can see Mike’s reaction to the tea!
Below is the road outside the restaurant, the food and the reaction to the tea! Those little water tanks in front of a building generally indicate that it’s a place where you can eat.

Around Mutumdwe

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 3:27 pm
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Mutumdwe is in Kampala, on the other side to where I was staying. This side of town is the wealthier side of town. Houses are much bigger, blocks of land are much bigger, the roads are better and the area is generally much better developed.
Here’s a little mud brick operation. Mud bricks are pretty much all they use to build with over there. Before the mud bricks, they used to make mud huts with a bark roof. If you get outside the city, you’ll still see plenty of them, with people still living in them.
The views of Kampala were taken from the hill in Mutumdwe and since the terrorist bombings in Uganda, this hill has been guarded by the military. We got their permission to look around and while we were looking, we got escorted to ensure that we never took any photos of the half finished former Vice Presidents house. The picture of the house (below) was taken on a previous visit there. The general in charge of the soldiers on the hill asked Mike whether I could be left there for the night and returned to Mike tomorrow. Mike politely told him that wouldn’t be happening and we never did find out why they thought a half finished abandoned house on top of a hill was worthy of being guarded 24 x 7 by a dozen or so soldiers.

Around Kampala

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 2:59 pm
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Here’s some photos around Kampala. Like most third world countries, they use bikes to cart everything, mainly due to lack of other transport. I was privileged enough to get a visit to the Ugandan Stock Exchange. It may only be small, but at least I can say that I saw it when it was small! Many people visit other countries and get shocked at the living conditions, the food they eat, the transport or just the way of life in general. For me, not much of that is a surprise, although you always see things you didn’t think you’d ever see! When I first saw a picture of the stock exchange though, it was totally different to what I ever expected. I think there’s 12 or 13 companies listed and it all happens in this little engine room – for a few hours, a couple of days a week.

September 17, 2010

The Source of the Nile

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 9:30 pm
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Jinja is where the Nile is marked as beginning its long 3 month journey through Uganda, Sudan and Egypt, finally flowing out approximately 4000 miles later, into the Meditteranean sea.
What would a tour to Uganda be without a trip to the source of this great river? So of course, I had to go! The drive itself provides for fantastic scenery as you head through the outskirts of Kampala into the tea and coffee crops and then through some jungle.
We ended up spending two days in Jinja. Bujagali falls and the area surrounding it is also very scenic. The day we were there it was overcast, so perhaps I will need to make another visit on a nice sunny day (like the day I left Uganda… grrr). Bujagali falls was small but good, but nowhere near as impressive as Murchison Falls.

Did some quad biking the first day, that was pretty cool driving past the locals flicking them with mud… Actually it was only one woman and the kids who were asking for money that we deliberately did it to! Most people were pretty friendly, waving as we went past. I guess if i had quad bikes coming through my village all the time it would begin to test my patience, but they all loved it. Except that one lady. And I promise, Mike didn’t mean to splash mud all over the clean washing (and to answer your next question – no, the woman waving her finger was not the owner of the washing!).

Saw the source of the Nile from the east side, opposite the place where Speke stood and proclaimed the source of the Nile. Of course the Ugandans want money to go and see it. Although my tip – there’s a fantastic little area where you can look out at it before you pay the money. You just have to climb some dodgy old concrete pylons there and get past the overgrown weeds and the view of the surrounding basin is more than worth the short scramble.

Also went white water rafting, that was pretty cool. Boat flipped twice, got rescued by the kayak once, and we carried all the boats past the grade 6 rapid. Grade 5 is the hardest they let you do and we actually flipped on a grade 3 and 4 rapid. I don’t think we had a strong paddling boat either, so probably another reason we flipped pretty easily! Got a few good bruises from the paddle colliding with the arm while going over the rapids, but all good. We rafted over Bujagali falls so that gives a bit of an indication of their size. And a special mention goes to Shirley who gave rafting the grade 5 rapids a go – and came out alive. I’ve spoken to others about her age who said there’s no way they’d ever do that! Way to go Shirley! We finished off the rafting with a bbq, those kebabs were delicious!

September 8, 2010

An Aussie Night

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 6:01 pm
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Here’s some Uganda updates.
James and Solomon, two young Ugandans, came over one night for an “Aussie” night. I got them watching a game of Aussie Rules – Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs. They loved that – I don’t think they moved the whole time it was on. Then they went back and started watching it all over again! After that we shared in some goat stew I’d cooked up. I cooked it up on the sigilly, bought the meat at a local African butcher and bought all the produce for it at the local market. It wasn’t bad, but the goat was a bit tough!
After that we introduced James and Solomon to good ol’ Aussie milo and Tim Tams, with the obligatory Tim Tam Slam thrown in for a bit of fun! The idea of that is to drink your drink through the tim tam, finally slamming down the tim tam just before it melts into your drink as an irretrievable mess! Had some fun with that one, the boys picked that up remarkably quickly and we had no accidents!
Finally we topped the night off by giving the boys an Aussie soccer shirt. They were pretty happy guys at the end of the night!

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