New Blog

Hello All-- I've moved to another blog location.  You can find updates from my at my new address at: www.julenetegerstrand.wordpress.com

May you have a great New Year!




Another school year is beginning at NNU. I have just finished my second LEAD retreat. Really? School is starting again? Ready or not! About 150 students and staff went to Trinity Pines up in Cascade, Idaho. We had a blast. One of the highlights, I think, were the Ignite Presentations. (5 minute presentations with a 20 slide powerpoint). The students had opportunity to engage with each other after hearing a thought provoking and very short talk. The picture above is this years group of "Life Group Leaders". They will each be leading a "Life Group" on a wing in the freshman dorms. Tonight we ate dinner at the Schandorff's. This summer Gene built his grandkids a tree house. And of course we had to play too!


Nampa Again

Aug 4 and 5

Travel was uneventful today minus one thing. I somehow lost my cell phone. Bummer. It was in my jacket on the plane and all I can guess is that it fell out when I got into it for my earplugs and facemask. So I returned home phone-less. Checked with the airline in Amsterdam but nothing came of it.

When our team got to Amsterdam the guys enjoyed McDonalds. We found comfortable places to rest for a while. When we were ready to walk again we found Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. This was what I was holding out for. Go ahead and have your Egg McMuffin, guys! I want Ben and Jerry’s. Ice Cream is its own food group in my book and I hadn’t had any for more than 3 weeks. Let me tell you….it was worth the wait.

No surprises…the flight out of Amsterdam had enough fuel. Trevor, Carrie and I said our goodbyes to Grant who was to board a different plane home to KC. Our flight to Portland was long and uneventful. When we got off the plane in Portland I put up my hands in celebration, “We are in the USA”. It is no small thing to be Stateside.

All in all the trip took about 35 hours. It is a very long journey but when I’m reminded that years ago the tip took months and months ….35 hours isn’t that bad. My new roommate picked me up at the airport in Boise and I was on my way to my own bed.

I slept until 4pm on Thursday! 17 hours of shut eye….now that is something! I’m home. I’m grateful for the adventures of the past 24 days and grateful for a few days to rest before starting back to work (and a new school year).

Kampala: Tuesday Aug 3

August 3

We spent our last day in Uganda with Pastor Wilson. After our last breakfast at Namirembe we went to a Ugandan Mall called Garden City. For us it was like stepping into a different world. Our visit to Garden City marks our first step back into the west.

We chatted with Pastor Wilson over lunch about the priority projects he sees coming in the future. We’ve been talking with Wilson about projects that will support the school ministry from multiple different angles. For instance if the school had a van/bus Wilson would be able to pick up students who currently live too far to access the school. Parents would pay fees for their child to use the bus. Also a bus/van could be used to bring in extra income when not being used for students. We are hoping to find revenue making projects for Wilson and the school. The school is in need of finishing off a P6 and P7 classroom. Right now the school doesn’t have a P6 class. However, in January when P5 advances to P6 there will be need of a classroom.

There are many things that we talked about but my favorite part of our final gathering with Pastor Wilson was the time we took to share prayer requests. After each member of our team shared something Wilson told a story about something similar in his own life. It was his way of saying, “I am trying to relate to you and now I know how to pray for you.” When we finished sharing Pastor Wilson prayed for us. I loved his prayers for us. For each of us he prayed that God would work in our lives in such a way that we’d have opportunity to give testimony to how God had answered our prayers. I remember being in Ukraike this summer and being really moved by the testimonies of God’s transforming power in people. As I’ve been in Africa I have heard people give witness to the miracle of the incarnation. So of course it would be the prayer of Pastor Wilson that we too could offer testimony to God’s goodness in our lives now and in the future. God is alive and working!

Wilson left us to go home, run some errands, and fetch Grace so that he and Grace could meet us at the airport. We all wanted to get cleaned up before taking the airport shuttle. Even though our flight was to leave at 10pm we had to leave the guesthouse at 5pm. Because security has been so tight since the bombings last month we expected it could take 90 minutes just to get into the airport compound. It wasn’t that bad although they did have us exit the car to check our persons. (but they didn’t check the van…go figure) We arrived at the airport at 6pm and waited for Wilson and Grace to arrive so we could say our final “see you next time”. What great friends they are. Tonight he and Grace took 3 modes of transportation just to get to us. Our team laughed some as we talked together about the flight experience. Wilson asked if we could role down the windows on the plane. We’ve talked some about how great it would be for Wilson to come to the USA for a visit. And we’ve known that this would be quite the shocking experience for him. His questions about the flight experience reminded us that he has no context for knowing about international travel. We said our goodbyes, sadly, and began the long process of getting to our gate.

“Nothing is easy in Africa.” This has been my slogan for the last 21 days. And it proved true to the very, very end. As we entered onto the bridge to the KLM airplane I said to Grant, “We are crossing the bridge into “The West”. I was right, mostly. However, when it was feeling like we should be going the captain got on the loud speaker to inform us that there wasn’t enough fuel. He said he was negotiating with the grounds people for the fuel we needed to make it to Amsterdam. He wasn’t sure if we’d get it. “Nothing is easy in Africa.” I’ve never had that experience…. I just assume that when I’ve booked a flight, and boarded a flight, that we will have fuel. Nope. Not tonight anyways! I’m so grateful that on this night it worked out for us and we were able to get the fuel needed to make it all the way to Amsterdam.


Katale: Monday August 2

August 2

Today was our last day at the school. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. Wilson had a job to do this morning and our team needed to finish up some work that we were doing for the school. It worked out best for us to be picked up late. I was so happy! I had a lazy morning. AH…. It is amazing how a little more sleep than normal changes how I feel about leaving Uganda. We were not picked up today until 1:15pm. We went to the school for a celebration lunch. Grace, Wilson’s wife, made an huge lunch for us. My favorite was there too…chapati. It was really good to share a meal with the teachers and to give each other words of thanks and encouragement. Our team went to each class and told the students goodbye. Carrie and I were tearing up when we walked into the oldest class. One of the girls we especially connected with had tears in her eyes. She is the one who really took to using my camera. I really do not like goodbyes. However, it was such a good thing for us and for the students. It was nice to be able to tell the kids how much fun we had with them and how impressed we are with how they are studying. Saying goodbye definitely put a hope in my heart for a return trip. It was a really great thing to spend a whole week with the kids. They had enough time with us to act like the were comfortable with us.

After we left the church Pastor Wilson took us to another village. It is a village near a very large tea planatation. I thought that we had seen poverty in Katale. However, as we walked in the village on our way to visit the church that Wilson has planted we saw a new degree of struggle. The water source was pretty rugged... Here we saw kids who are clearly malnourished. For the most part we’ve seen kids who had clothes and have had shoes. However, in this village there were kids without clothes or without “proper” clothing. Wilson explained that in this village the people are expericening struggle to even grow their own food. There seems to be something wrong with the soil. We wondered if the tea plantation is using chemicals that are running into the surrounding lands. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Trevor commented that this probably happens all over Africa. Yet here we were seeing the potential scenario in front of our eyes. The tea plantation pays people seventy cents a day to pick tea leaves. Can you imagine working in the hot sun all day to earn seventy cents? And then you can not even grow your own food? It was good to learn about another area that Pastor Wilson is ministering in. As we drove away from the church we kept on passing people Wilson knows. He is so well connected in his community.

Before Wilson returned us to the guesthouse we visited a guesthouse that is closer to his village. Like the Namirembe Guesthouse we’ve been staying at in Kampala this guesthouse is also run by the Church of England. However, this one is so much cheaper. If we have another team come back to work with Wilson we’ll have the team stay there. It would be a great space for students!

It has been a good day…. Tomorrow is our last and in the evening we plan to fly out. AH…it is time, it is time.

Katale: Sunday August 1


Sunday…. We started off the morning wondering where Pastor Wilson was, if all was well, etc. We reminded each other that we were on “Africa Time”. Wilson arrived at about 10:45am to fetch us. It was nice to have a slow morning where we could get some rest. Church was in full session when we arrived; you could hear the singing from the road as we arrived to the service. Wilson prepared special seats for us at the front. Not long after we arrived we learned that “Sunday school” was just finishing. It was when we arrived that the church service “officially” began. Dancing, dancing, dancing…it is how “we” worship while we are in Uganda. There was a ton of joy in the service as the people sang and danced. The kids did a special song and dance during the offering time. Some of students from the God is Good School go to the church (or were there yesterday to be with us). A few of the students were unrecognizable without being in a school uniform. Several of them received haircuts over the weekend.

A few days ago Pastor Wilson asked if someone in our group could preach in the Sunday service. As a team we decided to combine our efforts so that the church could hear from more of us. I preached on the “burning bush” text from Exodus 3. “You have to look and notice where God is working.“ It was so much fun to get to preach. I've preached with a translator before. I had to keep reminding myself to not talk over Pastor Wilson. Trevor then continued with “once we notice we need to partner with God”. Trevor shared from the David and Goliath text; David did his part by taking as many stones as he could. Grant then added, “it may be difficult to follow God’s voice when he calls us.” He shared how God called his whole family to move to Kansas City this year so he could begin seminary. It was really fun for the whole group to share. The church really appreciated hearing for our 3 voices too.

After church Grant drove us to Pastor Wilson’s home. He is becoming a pro at Uganda driving. Watch out Uganda! We ate lunch and then Pastor Wilson showed us his new sewing machines. This is exciting because these sewing machines will be income generating for Wilson’s family and the school. There is a lady in the village who is contracting with Wilson to use the machines. The students at the God is Good school will now be able to save money on buying uniforms. Hopefully now there will be a true “uniform” dress.

From Wilson’s home we went off to a very special event. A friend and mentor of Wilson’s invited all of us to a Dowry ceremony or “introduction”. Grace ironed and prepared beautiful Ugandan outfits for the girls. She dressed Julene and Carrie right before we left Wilson’s home. The dresses were beautiful!! When we arrived at the ceremony the girls got looks of appreciation and surprise. The group was escorted to the front where we had couches awaiting us. It was a wonderful experience to be able to witness such a unique aspect of the Ugandan culture. Wilson had informed us that these ceremonies can go on for hours so our plan was to watch for a time and then slip out. It was obvious that this was not going to happen once we were put in the front row. However, our involvement did not end there. About half way through the ceremony they introduced distinguished guests of which we were now a part. Julene and Carrie were introduced as the father of the bride’s “daughters from America” and he commented on their dress. Trevor was also introduced and they pointed out that Carrie and Trevor were married. They were given quite a round of applause. Then Grant was introduced as the director of a GAP, a large company in America. Not sure where they got the large company part. We sat and watched the remainder of the ceremony and once they were done with the cake did Wilson say it was probably okay if we left. The people were still down by the cake so Grant asked Wilson to wait until they were done so that we did not draw attention away from them while leaving. It was a good thing that we didn’t leave because just a minute later, Grant was invited to come and give a speech to the 500 people that were there! Wilson came down as Grant’s interpreter. On the way down Wilson suggested that he begin by apologizing for not being in the traditional attire, which of course he did. Grant commented on how beautiful the ceremony was and thanked the father for the wonderful opportunity he gave our group to witness this piece of Ugandan culture. Grant finished by saying “Thank you, Sir” in Luganda which the crowd seemed to appreciate (with giggles). By Ugandan standards, it probably was not long enough to be considered an actual speech, but Wilson said it was good and brought much honor to the father. Wilson now jokes that Grant is Ugandan since he has driven in Kampala, ridden on a boda-boda, and has given a speech at a dowryJ All in all, we were there for 3 hours. Though we were glad for the experience, we were also glad when Wilson suggested that we not stay for dinner.


Kampala: Saturday July 31

Last February I went to the CCCU International Forum in Atlanta, Georgia. While I was there I met Dr.Hamlet Mbabazi Kabushenga. He is a Ugandan and has served a couple of terms in parliment and worked as a chaplain there. He is working on developing the Great Lakes College. Back in February I knew I'd be coming to Kampapa so we exhanged information in hopes of my meeting each other here. This morning I met up with him. It was very cool to meet first in Georgia and then in Kampala.

I joined Dr. Hamlet at a symposium he hosted at a local college chapel. Dr. Hamlet is working to develop business opportunities for people. He has started several cooperatives in areas around the country. I've heard a lot about cooperatives on this trip. THey are ways for many people in a community to pool together enough resources to develop income and support. Dr. Hamlet brought people together today to explore 2 new opportunities of business. One of the opportunities has to do with bio-fuel. Dr. Hamlet is connecting business with mission. Even today as he talked he talked about how there business ventures are to support the community as well as others.

On the way to the symposium the driver sent for me informed me that I'd be speaking at the meeting. Surprise, surprise! Of course I would be. Dr. Hamlet asked that I share something about mission. I did my best. After the symposium ended we had lunch. I was able to talk to several women who are tkaing part in these cooperatives. There were 3 recent graduates from a local university. They explained that most university graduates are really struggling to find jobs. I thought to myself that it sounds like the USA. However, here it is much worse. So they are hoping to learn about ways they can join together to create income. All week we've been with primary school kids and focusing on how hard it is for them to be in school and stay in school. Today I got a view of how even the "lucky" ones who are able to afford university struggle to find their way.

Our team has 3 more days until we return home.Tomorrow we'll be at Pastor Wilson's church. I'm preaching. All of us are going to share something. We leave on Tuesday night here. I am ready to return home. This morning when I woke up I really felt it. I'm ready to go home. I'm dreaming of Ben and Jerry's, my own bed, food I'm familiar with (and less of it...that is odd...considering where I've been), wash machines and toilets. I'm tired of feeling dirty! ; ) Whenever I come to a place like Uganda I'm always reminded of how nice it is to live in a developed country. I'm looking forward to being back in the familiar and comfortable...not going to lie! : )


Today at God is Good School we had the afternoon for games. The teachers do sports with the kids on Fridays and today there were some really fun games to watch. Sack races were a hit. They played "fill the soda bottle with water". There was an egg eating contest (no hands allowed). They ended with a matoke (banana) pealing contest. I loved photographing today's events. And at the end of the day when most of the kids had gone home the P5 girls had their chance to take more photo's with my camera. It has been fun to share the photo fun with them. I'm going to let the photos speak or themselves today.

We did make chapati too. It wasn't what we were hoping for. We were hoping to make it and then get to eat it too. In the end the team was glad not to eat it because we were thinking that we might get sick if we ate it. We made it with really rugged supplies and tools. Hey, it was an experience and we had a lot of fun hanging with the teachers.

You can catch up on our team's activities at http://www.gappartners.org/



Katale: Thursday July 29

July 29

Our team came “home” tonight and every one of us felt fatigued. It has been an incredible week but we are dragging today. We still had a great day!! Our day was great but it was tonight that blew me(us) away. Tonight I couldn't help but know that we had a divine appointment.

Back in 2007 I was at the Amahoro Conference and met some really great people. I’ve been meeting up with people on this trip from that conference. Tonight I met up with Kennedy Kurui who works with Kampala International University as a pastor. He is an alumni of the University and he is Kenyan. Since before he graduated he has been working with the students. First he started a fellowship of Kenyans. It then turned into a fellowship of students from many countries all over the Great Lakes Region. Now this "fellowship" is a church and the University consults Kennedy on issues pertaining to student life. Officially he doesn't work for the University but he pastors a University student church and the church meets on campus 3 times a week. I visited his church and hung out in the dorms with some of his students back in 2007. I was really hoping to reconnect with him. I was hoping to introduce our team to him because he has a great story and is doing wonderful ministry.

I introduced the team to Kennedy and we were having the kind of conversation that you’d expect. Where are you from….. What do you do…. How did you start doing what you are doing…. I had told Kennedy that we were working with a Pastor in Katale. Yet as we talked with him as a team he asked us, “How is the pastor you are working with?” We said, “Pastor Wilson”. He said, “Is that Pastor Wilson who works at the African Gospel Church?” “It is,” we replied. We talked more and it also came out that Kennedy knows Swanee and Karen Schwanz too. (Swanee and Karen were missionaries in Kenya and Uganda and they are the ones who have connected all of us to GAP and to Wilson). Kennedy talked about being invited into the Swanee and Karen’s home. I think all of us were floored by the serendipity. Can I hear a round of “It is a small world afterall”? Crazy good!

One of the things the team has been talking with Wilson about is a future project which would support orphans in Katale. Kennedy had mentioned that he was working to develop a community home for 40 orphans currently. As we talked about this he told us about a ministry that is out on an island on Lake Victoria. It is called, “Africa Renewal Ministry”. They have some 117 orphans that live in community. They have a school and a health clinic. Kennedy is good friends with the director of the organization. As it turns out that director was in my small group at the 2007 Amahoro Conference and I’ve been to this ministry he spoke of. Kennedy said that this is the ministry that is the one to pattern after. Many smaller organizations are looking to this ministry for help. Unfortunately we do not have time to go out and see it this trip. However, because Kennedy knows Wilson we are hoping that he will take Wilson out to meet the director and see how they are organized. This could be a really significant connection for Wilson and GAP. Tonight I'm smiliing wide at God's very cool oversight in tonights meeting.

We were all very encouraged by Kennedy. He doesn’t know us well but he wanted us to know how important it was that we were here and that we were building relationships.

The rest of the day today we hung out at the school. Trevor and Grant continued to work with individual students to assess their developmental needs. Carrie and I again joined the classrooms and took turns “teaching”. It was so much fun. The kids have really warmed up to us. The teachers commented today how much the kids are enjoying our presence. They have really enjoyed us sharing about our families, our lives, and about how the USA is the same and different to their home here in Uganda. Today Carrie and I were in the classes that the head mistress overseas. The head mistress had so many questions about the USA. I laughed too because as we taught in English she would then “translate” what we said to the kids in her English. They heard our lessons in American English and in Ugandan English. : )

I was in the oldest kids classroom today. There are only 6 kids in "P5". I showed each of them how to use my camera. They each took turns taking pictures of mostly Carrie and their teacher. It was fun to watch them and I could tell this was something very special for them to do. Later during the break FLourence, the tallest girl in the class asked if she could take a photo of her class outside with me. I agreed (hoping this wouldn't cause a problem...all the kids begging, etc). She did a great job. And several of the other P5 girls came up to ask. Yes, the other little kids asked too but I decided to make it just an older kid priveledge.

Carrie and I got into interesting conversations today with the teachers. It seems that they too are warming up. They were never “cold” with us to begin with. However, their questions are getting more personal. Today we had a whole conversation about family planning in the USA. They have wondered how it is that in the USA we have so few kids or even no kids. Here they are expected “to produce”. They use the term “produce” to have kids and I guess since there isn’t much family planning and families are huge having babies is “producing”.

We got into a very difficult conversation today. The teachers wanted to know how much it costs for a flight to come to Uganda. We told them and their reactions were disbelief. After our many conversations this week I understand how far that amount of money could take someone here. It is crazy! The teachers were amazed by the cost. Grant was over hearing our conversation and was able to interject something that was really important for the teachers to hear. He mentioned that about 100 people helped our team come to Uganda. I think it was really helpful for the teachers to realize that we have not come by our own means. It was good for them to hear that others made it possible for us to be here. So if you happen to be reading this and you are someone who is praying or if you are someone who has supported financially, I can’t tell you how important you were for us today! You possible helped us to build some integrity with the teachers. So thanks! It is important for the school to know that we are not here without a huge community that is supporting us. And it is good for them to know that there is a huge community behind them supporting them.

At the break times I had a great time with the kids. The boys played soccer. The girls were playing a game in the dirt. They were singing a song and each of the girls in the game had a rock. They would move their rock around the circle passing it to the girl next to them. Of course I didn’t know what they were singing about. However, there was one word I’ve come to know very well. “Muzungu” They were singing about a Muzungu. I wanted to know what the song meant. I just wanted for a while. I asked one of the teachers, “Can you tell me what they are singing?” She listened and then said, “The song is about the Muzungus’ who came all over Uganda to telling people about the Gospel.” As the girls moved the rocks around the circle it was like they were moving the Muzungu’s all around Uganda. What an interesting game they were playing.

Tomorrow the team is going to be involved in the school chapel. We are also going to be taught how to make chapatti. I LOVE chapatti. I’m so excited to see how it is made. I hope to take good notes so that I can make it at home.


Katale: Wednesday July28

Wednesday….this week is moving very fast. We were at the school today by 9am. Our week is so much about building relationships. It means so much for us to just be with the teachers, the students and the school. We heard today that the kids are going home and telling great stories about the white people who are at their school this week. The kids have not wanted to leave the school. Just our presence alone is making an impact on the community.

Today Carrie and I took time to be in the classroom. We did some teaching today. I just did a simple lesson about my family. Carrie, who is the “real” teacher, created some wonderful posters and told the kids all about American culture. She shared about simple American foods, transport and insects. Several times students commented, “You have that there too?” It has been so cool for the kids to realize that in a far of land, America, that we have some of the same things! Something is happening this week. As I’ve been sitting in the classroom it is helping me to see the kids as students rather than as kids who live in poverty. These kids are just like the kids in the USA! And with opportunity to learn, like they are receiving currently, they could do very well. Also the kids are seeing that we white people are not all that different from them too.

I keep on telling the members of our team, “I can not imagine living here.” I must say that Kampala is one of the dirtiest places I’ve visited. There are very rugged roads. Even the paved roads have huge potholes. Ok, so when I complain about the roads in Nampa, and how they are horrible for cycling, I need to remind myself (or be reminded) of Kampala! It just makes me wonder how a city that seems to have such great resources can be so poorly taken care of!!

While Carrie and I were working in the classrooms the guys, Grant and Trevor, were putting individual students out of classes to assess them. Grant works with kids who have dissabilities in the USA. He is going to help Pastor Wilson and the teachers know how to help those in the school who are a little slower at learning.

Together we are learning something about how the culture here deals with the slow or disabled. We’ve heard stories of kids getting beat because they are not learning fast enough. Some of the kids at the school have been kicked out of other schools because of their learning ability. It is pretty cool that Trevor is here and able to help encourage and educate the teachers on some simple things they can do to help these students. What an encouragement Wilson can be to the parents and community to say that “at this school we will love your kids and make a place for them”. Wilson is already doing that and this will only help him more.

At break time one of the teachers brought a piece of paper from her studies. I think it was from the studies she has done in the past. She had a class on religious education. So she was “testing” me on my knowledge of the Bible. I found myself able to answer many things to her approval but not everything. It was fun for both of us. “Tell me the significance of the prologue of John’s gospel.” “Tell me why the Passover is significant in the New Testament.” “What is discipleship in Mark’s gospel.” Wow. I admit I never expected to be having this kind of conversation in Katale, Uganda. I loved it.

After lunch Carrie and I helped one of the teachers with her grading. It is the same teacher that “quizzed” me about the Bible at break time. We finished pretty quickly and then just had the chance to hear her story. For 8 years she worked as a maid. Actually the way she described her experiences she was a slave. She was able to further her education because of the perseverance she had and the work she did. Carrie and I listened with amazement. How could one treat another human being as “nothing”? Also how could one take it for 8 years? In this conversation I also got a better idea of how much it costs to go to school. Wow, it isn’t that much compared to western standards. But for here I can see that most will never be able to afford it. I felt so encouraged today by the teachers story and how she relied for 8 years on God. She didn’t persevere because she had it in her alone. She gave witness to how God helped her.