Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Dance Party

Today is Halloween, but I hardly noticed, save for some cemeteries and ghosts in people's yards, and a few people in costumes at the mall. We have tried to shelter our kids from this holiday as much as possible and it seems to have worked. I spent the evening in a host family basement with two of my girls having a private dance party. It was awesome! Since joining this tour my insecurities about my dancing skills and fears of dancing in front of others have disipated. Dancing is a big part of life for me now and I am loving it. Tonight I taught the girls a few classic Mzungu (white person) moves and I have never seen anything so funny. We were all rolling on the floor laughing. I don't think there has ever been a point in my life when I have felt as happy, joyful, peaceful, and excited as I do every day right now. I get 22+ hugs every day and I get to teach 22 African children about life...this week I taught them how to use their new Bibles. We learned about the table of contents, books, chapters, verses, etc. It is so exciting to see the kids whip out their Bibles on the bus and read. They are asking questions too, which is very exciting and encouraging. This week we are catching up on school, after a couple weeks of intense rehearsals and traveling to San Fransisco. Nelson asked me in class yesterday what characteristic means, so we were discussing the characteristics of various items in the room. The kids started naming characteristics of "Auntie Angela." It began like...she is a Mzungu, she has long hair, she is very very beautiful...and then Gilbert blurted out...she is fat!I couldn't help but laugh. He was completly serious and innocent. cultural difference: in Uganda being called fat is a compliment because it means you have enough food to eat and are well nourished. I had to inform my students that they should probably not go around in America telling people they are fat, because it is rude! The moral of the story is...if you are ever feeling overweight or unhappy about your weight..move to Africa and people will admire you! on that note...I must get my beauty sleep. Goodnight from St. Louis...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The kids received their very first brand new Bibles today. I can venture to say I have never seen anybody so excited to have their very own copy of God's word. Thank you to the people at St. Paul's in Evansville for giving this generous gift. The kids will cherish them forever. At home tonight I sat on the couch with Gilbert, Mo, and Patrick as they flipped through the pages, read passages, studied maps, and looked up verses they know. Their excitement and eagerness fueled my hunger to be in God's word and gave me a renewed desire to be in the word every day. I read to the boys from their Bibles at bedtime and we talked about faithfulness. They have pure and curious hearts and I am honored to have the chance to pour into them and disciple them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

P.S If you want to see my kids with Matt Damon...

I thought I would just add this link to my fellow chaperone Steve's blog. He has posted a clip from Entertainment Tonight that features our kids on the red carpet with Matt Damon. Check it out:


Life without God's Love is Like a Donut

Does anybody remember watching the Donut Man videos when you were a kid? The Donut Repairman and his sidekick, Duncan the Donut, would tell Bible stories and sing songs to help kids learn biblical truths. The theme song begins..."Life without God's love is like a a a without God's love is like a donut, cause their's a hole in the middle of your heart..." I have fond memories of watching these video's as a child, but I have not thought of them for years. I really don't recall much about my childhood until something happens that sparks a memory. This morning Auntie Rachel led devotions for the kids and she talked about the emptiness of a life without Christ. She used donuts and donut holes as an object lesson. As an addition to her lesson I was able to find some YouTube videos of the Donut Man show (Laura and I enjoyed a flash from the past together!). The kids were thrilled when I let them watch the video of the song (who doesn't love singing donuts?!) and they made me play it several times. I caught them singing lines from the song later on in the day as well :).

It was a long week for the kids with their big trip out to San Fransisco, so today we just chilled at the church. Despite the rapidly chilling weather we enjoyed some outdoor time. I showed the girls up with my hoola hooping skills (thanks to those Saturday morning hoola hooping competitions at Starbucks when I was in high school!). For once I could shake my hips better than the kids..they liked that!

God has given me the opportunity to have some heart to heart conversations with a few of my boys this week and I've gotten a glimpse into their little hearts. One boy showed concern that he doesn't know for sure what he wants to be when he grows up (who knows at 10?). I reassured him that it's okay and we had a long conversation about different job options. He is a smart, talented, awesome little guy (I would adopt him if I could). I told him that I know God will use him in whatever job he does, becuase his heart is surrendered to the Lord. After explaining to him what that means, I told him he can do anything he wants and I truly believe that. It is these moments I live for and I hope this is a conversation he will never forget. Thank you to those who have helped to make these moments possible by supporting me and encouraging me. Together we are making a difference!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some thoughts over a chai latte in Chi-Town

As I write this entry my kids are on stage singing with Josh Groban...yes, THEE Josh Groban :)
Yesterday morning we dropped the team off at the airport at 4am to fly out to San Fransisco for a big charity event. Since they only needed 6 of our chaperones for this trip, four of us stayed back and I joyful hopped the train to spend a few days with friends in Chicago. It's been wonderful to rest and catch up with good friends. I am enjoying the sights and sounds of my "second" home. It's a very different feeling to be back on campus as a graduate. I was able to speak in a couple classes and a department chapel today, which was exciting. I remember being a student and feeling encouraged when former students would stop by to give us a pep talk. I just never thought I would be one of those students!

Though I love Chicago for all it's diversity and culture, I've always been a little distressed by the level of materialism indicated by the lifestyles of many who live here. Being here after spending time in Africa has been even harder for me though. I was on a walk to Lake Michigan today and almost felt sick as I looked in the windows of the shops and saw shoes and purses and clothes on sale for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Why are our prioritites so messed up here? America, where did we lose sight of what is important in life? I must admit that I have wasted things in my life and and own much more than I should, but I'm feeling especially embarrised for my country right now. It's not about's about people and eternity...When you get stressed out over material things in life, look at the big picture and remember it doesnt' matter in the end.

Sorry to go off on a little rant there, but it has been what's on my mind today. In the midst of these thoughts, I have enjoyed a nice fall day here in the city, including coffee with Ralene and Heather in the morning, Ice Tea with Kristine at Borders in the afternoon, and the best Chai Latte ever with 3 amazing girlfriends at a favorite hangout spot. If your reading this girls..I love you guys!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good Friends and Great Memories

This week has been full of special moments and I have built many memories that won't soon fade. I love being able to share my kids with friends and these past few days I have gotten to do just that. Thursday was my day off, and I had the privilege of visiting my best friend, Maria's, classroom in Hopedale, IL. We graduated from Moody together and are both now teaching. Maria invited me to share with her students a bit about Africa and the African Children's Choir. What a joy it was to be there and share with them. The next day the class came on a fieldtrip to see our concert! Never would we have guessed years ago that we would be back in Springfield with both our classes in one church. I took the children back stage and they were so excited to meet the kids from Africa and interact with them. It was a moment I will never forget.

I've always been a country girl at heart and this morning I got my fix of farm life. Auntie Sarah and four of our girls enjoyed horseback riding and ATV rides around a farm near Springfield, IL on one of the most pleasant fall days I have ever seen.

May you experience the little blessings in today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Smile! Your on TV!

I don't really understand how television works....therefore I can't really explain to a bunch of children from Uganda how they can stand in a room and sing, while it is simultaneously broadcast to over 100,000 people in their homes. If you live in the Peoria, IL area you might have seen my children singing on your NBC local news at lunchtime. They had their first television appearance today and it was a great experience. The news anchors were so excited to have the kids there and everybody at the station tried to peek into the studio to see what all the ruckus was :)

Today is dreary and rainy and I am feeling exhausted (haven't had my coffee), but I am looking forward to having the day off tomorrow and spending it with my best friend and her family. I love you Imig clan!

Monday, October 13, 2008


I know I already wrote today, but tonight's moments are worth adding to my earlier list. Our wonderful host families organized a bonfire by the lake tonight for all the kids. We experienced smores together for the first time and then were dazzled by a terrific display of fireworks which lasted at least 30 min. The children cheered and screamed and clapped and giggled to their hearts content. the whole evening was an overload of sensory experiences and sugar, but all worth it in the end. As I tucked the boys into bed, Nelson was under the covers giggling, which is so unlike him. Surely it was the sugar speaking! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to those in Canada...I might not be Canadian, but we sure celebrated today!

Little Moments

It's the little moments in life that make is so special and put a smile on my face everyday. On this journey I have laughed and smiled more than ever before. Let me share with you just a few of the random moments that have brought happiness to my life lately:

1. Spending time with friends who have attended our concerts and encouraged me.

2. The night Karen, the head teacher from choir 10, attended our concert and introduced herself to me. She gave us a box of pencils that belonged to choir 10 that she has been saving for 15 years!

3. Past host families who have travelled to attend recent concerts and commented that the kids have really improved in the last few weeks.

4. Praising the Lord through song on the bus

5. The moment when Hannington and Lillian both lost teeth on the bus. Hannington lost both front teeth and has a priceless grin now :)

6. Reading letters from choir 30 and choir 31 that they have written to our children.

7. On the drive to Wisconsin, Uncle Andrew said, "Children, if you look out your window you will see people falling from the sky." Boy was it funny trying to explain to the kids that people jump out of planes with parachutes for fun!

8. Early morning walks in the crisp Wisconsin air, surrounded by colorful trees.

9. Playing fusebol with little Hannington.

10. Singing Bless Yaweh with the boys as I tuck them into bed at night.

11. Reading my favorite books to the kids

12. Eating homemade apple crisp!

Enjoy the little moments today! That is what life is all about. It's made up of many little moments. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Moody Chapel

I walked in to the church last night and informed Andrew that it had been one of the best days of my life. He chuckled at me, but I wasn't kidding or being sarcastic. Yesterday really does rank as one of the top three days of my entire life so far. The kids sang before a packed audience at Moody Bible Institute, my Alma Mater. I've been looking forward to this day ever since the school agreed to host a concert. Torrey Gray Auditorium was packed with probably 1200-1300 people and I have never seen such energy in a Moody chapel. The students were on their feet clapping and and cheering the entire concert. The kids were excited, as this was by far the largest, most energetic crowd they have sang for. I stood in the front row, surrounded by good friends, just trying to take it all in. My heart was flooded with emotion and excitement. At the end of the concert I took the stage to share a bit about my experience of graduating from Moody and then getting connected with the African Children's Choir. All the days I spent sitting in that chapel as a student, I never imagined that I would have the chance to get on stage and speak to the whole student body (especially flanked by 22 African children!). It was a very exciting moment for me, which I will never forget. The kids ate lunch in the student dining room and the whole place was buzzing with excitment. It was a beautiful moment for me when I got to introduce my kids to Mrs. Kendrick and Mrs. Fledderjohann, who taught me how to teach. The kids greeted them with hugs and I smiled at how God has brought me back to this place where he prepared me in so many ways to travel this journey He has me on. Every day is exciting, but this day was quite memorable.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Great Saturday

Tonight I am enjoying a night alone in a hotel room and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Usually, Andrew, our tour leader stays at a hotel, but on Saturdays he lets somebody else have a night to themselves. Tonight, he chose me and I am so grateful to have a night to work on lesson plans and only have me to worry about. Saturday's are nice for us..the girls and I slept in this morning, and I finally had time to get up and go for a run. Instead of rushing off to the church this morning, we got to linger over our french toast and hot tea and the girls had a chance to play catch with a very energetic little pooch. Lillian made the quote board when she was talking to Jack the dog this morning; she told him to go to Gladys and when he didn't listen she said, "excuse me..are you listening properly?" She repeated this several times, before I informed her I didn't think that the dog understood. :)

We had a nice little bus ride from Grayslake to Naperville this afternoon that was very pleasant, except for our first vomiting disaster. Thankfully, it only ended up in the aisle and Uncle Steve bravely cleaned it up without complaining. Kudos to him!

Today, I feel a renewed excitement to be here with the kids doing what I am doing and I have noticed that my love for them is becoming very deep. Some days it feels like all I do is give them instructions and correct them, but I was reminded today of the importance of really pouring into them and training them and disciplining them in love. I'm beginning to feel like a real parent!

There is a knock at the door and my dinner has just arrived...I guess that's all for tonight. As you read this, I hope you are reminded of all you have to be thankful for and especially for the poeple in your life that you love. Go give somebody a hug and remind them tonight how much you love them.


Friday, October 3, 2008


First, I must say my life has been blessed by the many churches and homes I have stayed in that have wireless internet. Second, it stinks when you are just about to post something or send an email and the internet decides to stop working. This was the case last night as I sat down to write about my day. O, well....on to the next church and next host family and here I am waiting for the kids to wake up, so let me briefly share about yesterday's wonderful events. Yesterday was my first day off since the beginning of August and of all places, we were in the Chicago suburbs! So, I handed over lesson plans, wished everybody a great second day of school and headed off to the city with my fellow chaperone, Laura. After dropping her to drool over the paintings at the art institute, I excitedly headed to Moody (my Alma Mater) to visit friends. Being at the school was a bit surreal, but it still felt a bit like "home." I was so blessed to spend time and get my fix of hugs from so many dear friends. If any of you are reading this...I love you so much and thanks for being so amazing! Laura and I did a quick bit of sight seeing and shopping before taking the train back to Waukegan. It was the perfect day off.

I chaperoned boys for the first time at a host home last night and it was quite enjoyable. As I was tucking the boys in I asked them about their favorite part of the day. My teacher's heart was blessed when they enthusiastically replied, "school!" I'd like to share with you a few lines from Gilbert's bedtime prayer as well. It blessed my heart greatly. "Lord, thank you for our host family. We have nothing to give them, but we pray you bless them Lord Jesus. Thank you for this soft bed and thank you that Auntie Laura and Auntie Angela had a good day in Chicago and came back safe. Thank you Lord Jesus that we are still alive. Amen"

A few quotes from our team for your enjoyment:

"What did you girls want to be when you grow up? Did one of you say teacher?" -host auntie

"No, that's Gilbert Big. But only when he's on stage. When he's not on stage he wants to be a gorilla when he grows up!" -Lillian

"Do you have corn in Canada?" -A host auntie to Uncle Steve

"That is my enemy" -Gilbert said, pointing to his carrots

"I will save these two photos of me-I want to remember my host families, but I like looking at myself best." -Racheal

There are many more to come I am sure! I'm off to dinner....