Where to Hide Your Children

Where to Hide Your Children

While visiting a large primary school today, we saw this decal on the wall of the school administrator. It is very sobering to consider that child sacrifice is still performed in many parts of Africa, usually by a local witch doctor. We’ve met some of these, and even known one who joined the Church, but soon fell away. In this land of the happiest faces on earth, there exists a kind of barbarianism and cruelty beyond fathom for those in more developed parts of the world. Who would think that black magic, witchcraft, child sacrifice, child slavery, brutal murders and even cannibalism would exist in our modern world? But they do. We have met and loved many people who have experienced such horrific tragedies as having their children poisoned by a family member in order to humble them when they have prospered too much for the liking of the clan. Family members have been burned alive in their huts, locked inside so they had no escape. We’ve seen huts burned (with no one inside to our knowledge). We have heard graphic stories of how people were abducted or murdered by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) in northern Uganda, in very recent years. We will never share such descriptions, for, like the atrocities of war, they are so far beyond comprehension that the very thoughts make us quake and cry. So why make this kind of post on the happiest faces website? Because we must acknowledge that this kind of cruelty exists today, and it is very real. Satan is alive and well in the land, and making progress within the realm of his influence....
Where Was Eden?

Where Was Eden?

This week we’ve been in Mbale, a city of about 500,000 people on the eastern border of Uganda. As we’ve traveled about, we’ve commented many times how this place feels like the Garden of Eden. Today, we visited the village of Sirenko at the foot of 14,000 ft. Mt. Elgon, which straddles Uganda and Nairobi. To me, this is the most Eden-like place on earth, with crystal clear spring water, deep fertile soil, mild temperatures, and foods that grow almost on their own, year round. I realize that some believe Eden was somewhere in the U.S., such as the place called Adam-ondi-Ahman in Jackson County Missouri. I beg to differ. It may have been the place where Adam dwelt after being driven from the Garden, but I’m persuaded that Uganda is a much more likely locale for year-round comfort. Consider Adam and Eve, naked, living off the land with no ability to cultivate and grow crops, find shelter from a storm, or warm themselves. Then think about what Missouri would offer such a bare-skinned pair. It seems more like the dark and dreary world by comparison. Here in Uganda, they could easily be without clothing and live off the land year round. And they’d never go hungry because food grows freely everywhere. All they’d have to do is pick and eat. As we drove with our branch leader guides deep into the bush of Sirenko, Eden was on my mind. And when we stopped to visit in a small grass shelter used for local church services (not ours), I fell in love. The children came first, peeping and giggling and daring each other...
Love is Blind

Love is Blind

After being in Uganda for sixteen months, we tend to overlook many things that shocked us when we first arrived. Because of the beauty of these amazing people, we are generally blind to the level of poverty that is ever-present. To see a bright, shining face, worn by a clean and neatly dressed woman erases the fact that she just stepped from a mud hut. In fact, it rather stuns us when we stop and wonder how in the world she does it. Take a little tour from our recent photos to see where and how our friends live. Don’t you dare compare it with where and how you live, for if you do, you might think twice about wanting more. Keep in mind that we remove our shoes every time we enter one of these huts or homes, so we don’t track dirt onto their neatly swept dirt floor. We’ve sat in places we would not have dared sit before our mission. We’ve eaten food that gave us pause. And we’ve ached for what seems to us to be a level of pure misery. And yet, the smiles on the faces blow it all away. In so many ways we want to be just like our friends here; happy, grateful, content, prayerful, and purely...
Look at Them!

Look at Them!

In a world of selfies and Facebook posts, where the number of friends, likes and shares we can gather is the measure of our personal worth, we have seen something very, very different here in Uganda. It makes us pause and say, rather than look at me, look at them! We have been asked to visit nine wards and branches in eastern Uganda over the next few months, spending one week in each. This week we visited Busia, a wonderful tropical town which straddles the Uganda-Kenya border. We’ve been in the homes of perhaps 20 families, and we’ve shed tears of amazement. Over 15 months ago, we began this website as a study of the people of Uganda, and what makes them happy in the face of heartbreaking poverty, violence and corruption. Today we realized how little we actually understand. These faces do not belong to the stories that come from their mouths. Let me share just a few examples: David and his wife have nine children (pictured above). They live in a house made of mud and sticks. They are self-proclaimed peasants and have very little money. Their stories of poverty and struggle took our breath away. But look at his smile in the photo! Does that look like a guy whose life is so difficult? Not to us. As we sat inside this house and visited, we were amazed at the giggling kids who poked their heads in the door (on a dare) to take another look at the Muzungus (whites) inside. One of David’s daughters glided back and forth on a rope swing, using a broken board as a seat. Her face was...
Happiness Documentary

Happiness Documentary

This is an early first release of a documentary on happiness, from an 18-month study of the people of Uganda. Its aim is to help you appreciate your own life and find happiness in any situation. The touching stories you will see will carve into your soul, and you will likely have a clearer perspective on your own happiness. There is a God in heaven. He has a plan for our happiness. We can find it if we pursue the path that leads to it, even when that path goes through valleys of sorrow and...