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I am so happy being married and living with my best friend. We adopted our first child, Ari, in 2011 through a domestic adoption and our second, Jude, in 2014.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kibo Group ~ Uganda

Resurrecting the ye olde blog for two reasons. One, to give Clint Davis a hard time. He knows why. And two, as most people know, Mike and I recently spent the first two weeks of February in Uganda. It was a truly incredible experience for us. It has given me so many thoughts constantly swirling around in my heard and heart that I've just got to get out there. This may result in a few posts or just this one. But either way, here is this.

Going to Uganda was something that was five years in the making for us. Five years of us feeling pulled and connected to Africa. Five years of going through two failed adoptions from Africa. Five
years of crying, seeking, praying, and asking the Lord why we felt this connection to Africa. And then suddenly the steps aligned for us to go. We felt called to go and the opportunity was there. To say that I was emotionally charged about this trip would be a slight understatement.

On January 30th we left Oklahoma and began our journey. After two days of flights and travel we arrived in Entebbe, Uganda. We then loaded onto a bus to start the 60-mile drive to Jinja. This drive took five hours!

Most of the people in our group of eight slept off and on for the majority of the drive. I dozed for about 20 minutes, but other than that I was awake and looking out my window. I was enthralled with what I was seeing, but I also became overwhelmed. I started working through thoughts along the lines of, "Why does the US get to be one way with money/healthcare/convenience, but Africa the extreme opposite? Is there even any point in trying to change all of this? To what level do you try to change things? Does it help or does it hurt?" I was truly overwhelmed and intimidated by those thoughts.

Then we had our first 24-48 hours in Jinja. We spent time with the people working for the Kibo Group, we listened to their meetings, we went with them to the villages. My previous feelings of overwhelming intimidation quickly became replaced by the overwhelming evidence of the impact that Kibo is making.

The beginning of Kibo's existence was simply a thought that some friends had while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. And now there's so much to it. The ripple effect is amazing.

In just the building where Kibo has their offices, there is also The Source Cafe, a library, a gift shop, and internet access. There's a church that meets there and other companies renting office space there. All of this is connected to Kibo, allows more people to hear about their work, and reaches out to the people of Jinja.

Then there's the daily work that Kibo is doing. They are transforming lives in the villages through their different programs of Water Source, Mvule Project, Women's Empowerment, and CLTS (read more about those here.) Kibo is teaching the people how to live healthier, safer, more efficient lives. They're not trying to unrealistically turn everything upside down, but are instead working with the villages where they're at and with what they have.

And if that weren't enough, they are also transforming lives on a personal and spiritual basis. Clint has shared a story he got to experience about a village where Christians and Muslims are coming together to better their village with mutual love and respect for each other. Really amazing stuff happening there because of Kibo's presence, patience, and love.

Mike and I got to spend time in a village that was building new stoves. The husband of the wife receiving the stove was notorious for drinking every day. He never missed the chance to go out drinking with his friends. However, this day was different. Kibo had been to his village in the past with their CLTS program, so when he knew they were coming again he stayed around. Not only did he stay around, but he told his friends they would have to wait or go drinking without him that day. Not only did he pass on drinking and stayed around, but he was actively involved the entire time with helping his wife build her new stove.

I don't say this lightly: Kibo is completely transforming lives in Uganda.

And then all of this...the stories, the experiences, the moments shared...they find their way to the US. Through that hearts are being touched and lives are being changed here. I can personally say that right now I'm not even close to being the same person that I was before going on this trip. And for all the people who may never see any of this first hand, but hear the stories, their lives are still being touched and affected.

All of this, and so much more, came from some guys climbing a mountain and saying, "What if?" It started so small, but the ripple effect that Kibo has in God's kingdom work is simply amazing. And I know it's only going to continue to grow.

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If you don't know anything about Kibo Group, please take the time to learn about them here and follow their posts on Facebook here. You will love what they have to share!

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